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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I’ve seldom considered a public question in which the two possible answers both seem quite so compelling and convincing as this one. Late last month I said I had grave misgivings about ending the Impeachment inquiry, as the House appears intent on doing, without having deposed any of the key players in the scandal. The list is long: Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton in addition to as many as a dozen others. Stopping here seems crazy on several fronts: There are numerous key questions that remain unanswered. There are dimensions of wrongdoing that remain all but unexplored – side rackets pursued by Rudy Giuliani, his hustler pals Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas and others. These unknowns appear to contain at least substantial venal corruption, likely subversion of US foreign policy and even possible subversion by foreign nation states.

For all of these reasons, ones that are both substantive and narrowly political, it seems crazy to leave these questions unanswered. And yet I think they should. People talk about whether the Democrats should go small or go big. I think it’s more whether they should go fast or go slow. (After all, it’s easy enough to add on an obstruction article based on the Mueller Report. The work is already done.) I think they’re right to go fast, even as I agree that the arguments to the contrary are powerful and compelling.

Here are my four reasons.

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Did Sheldon make a big purchase? From TPM Reader AM

I’d written you previously about Pompeo’s likely senate run. Just reading that piece in McClatchy now about the warchest he’s amassing and the outreach he’s doing to megadonors and this caught my eye:

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I just heard — to my great chagrin and distress — one of my favorite CNN hosts say “clearly President Trump doesn’t think he did anything wrong.” Not only is this not “clear,” it is almost certainly false. We shouldn’t say this because it’s not true. He certainly knows he did something wrong. He simply doesn’t care.

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Here’s a helpful article by Philip Bump in the Post.

Bump takes the GOP claims of Ukraine election interference at face value and looks at what they amount to. As he shows pretty clearly, even taken on their face the alleged evidence is basically absurd. It amounts to information coming out of Ukraine – not by the government – about Paul Manafort’s criminal activities and the fact that a few government officials said negative things about Trump on social media, largely in reaction to Trump’s saying Russia was entitled to annex Crimea.

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From Nathan Gonzales in Roll Call

“With a combination of Republicans’ self-inflicted wounds, slow recruiting, or suburbs continuing to shift against the president, Democratic chances of winning improved in a dozen House races in recent weeks. Those rating changes include:”

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Everything we’re discussing about President Trump’s pressure campaign against Ukraine and President Vladimir Zelensky is framed as events in the past, ones that ended in early September when President Trump released held-up military aid to the country. That is wrong.

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TPM Reader JEB follows up with some thoughts on Trumpism, strongman rule and extreme wealth …

As it’s a slow Thanksgiving weekend Friday I re-read your “Brittle Grip” series of posts. You spoke today about the global rise of extreme wealth and strongman rule, though you had previously written mostly about the United States only. This prompts a few thoughts.

The first is the most obvious. Strongman rule has been around for a long time. In one form or another it long characterized the government of nations in several regions of the world. Most of those nations were not especially wealthy; your typical local strongman held political power but not a great deal of economic power, certainly not compared to the United States or the European countries. This has changed somewhat in recent years, more in some countries than in others.

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TPM Reader DK has a good point. Leaving these to one-off decisions by the Chief Justice as presiding officer has the additional possible advantage of avoiding some damaging precedents …

I have read your discussion of a Senate impeachment trial with John Roberts in the role of presiding officer. The take away being that the Democrats don’t need to wait for a Supreme Court decision to subpoena witnesses (Mulvaney, et.al.) with direct knowledge of White House actions. Instead a witness could be called during a Senate trial, and if Roberts were to overrule objections, they would have to testify.

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A bit uncharacteristically and somewhat uncomfortably I’ve been mulling over a series of issues and commonalities connecting the global rise of strongman rule, Trumpism and extreme wealth but without feeling I’d pulled my thoughts together sufficiently to write about it. So absent any new posts, I thought I’d share the list of earlier posts I’ve been reading through to focus my thoughts.

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There’s some backstory to the current Rudy Giuliani drama I’d like to share.

After he left the mayoralty at the end of 2001 Giuliani made tens of millions of dollars on his reputation as “America’s Mayor” and a 9/11-based terrorism and security expert under the shingle Giuliani Partners. In the nature of things that rep was more valuable abroad than at home. He cashed in big time. That went on for about 15 years with a brief timeout for his failed 2008 presidential bid. He also had his own law firm Bracewell Giuliani, before leaving the firm to join Greenberg Traurig in 2016.

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