Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Here’s a worksheet on how President Trump has dealt with and reacted to his various top advisors who have now pleaded guilty to various felonies.

One of the most characteristic qualities of the Trump era is the deep-seated uncertainty. We talk a lot about the endemic chaos and unpredictability that President Trump seems to thrive on. But I mean something different. Most Presidents usually act in relatively predictable ways based on a more or less known set of basic beliefs and policy goals. The Trump White House operates very, very differently.

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President Trump makes everything so binary, everything so black and white, that there is an inevitable tendency to lionize anyone who goes into opposition to him. That is a tendency worth resisting, as much with out-going Secretary Mattis as with anyone else. I’m trying to resist over-interpreting his resignation letter. But it doesn’t leave a lot of room for interpretation. The critical passage in my mind comes here …

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Here’s one of the weirder dimensions of late 2018 Trumpism. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me the word has apparently come down from the White House that the wall, as in the wall to be built along the southern border, must now be called “wall”. In other words, no definite article, no “the”. President Trump now does this. It was part of a DHS press release a week ago. And today in a congressional hearing, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Rep. Tom Marino: “From Congress I would ask for wall. We need wall.”

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As I noted this morning, last night for the first time we had the first concrete evidence and proof of the Trump Moscow project, even though we’d basically known the facts for months. Since we’ve now actually seen the Letter of Intent (LOI) document, that’s spurred a number of the new questions. I’d like to address two of them that have come up in your reader emails.

The first is, how much was this deal worth?

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If you’ve been in the news business long enough, either as a producer or a consumer, you know that it doesn’t always – maybe doesn’t mainly – work in logical or linear ways. Last night CNN’s Chris Cuomo went live with a copy of the letter of intent President Trump signed to build a Trump Moscow development project in October 2015.

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For all the fireworks and all the details about the Turkish lobbying, the big issue here remains why Flynn was lying in the first place. He lied for a reason. It went to the heart of the pay offs to Russia after the election and indeed backchannel communications prior to the election.