Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

New York’s newly-reelected quasi-permanent governor Andrew Cuomo sits down for lunch with President Trump this afternoon. I’m not really a critic of Cuomo. I voted for him. But given that it’s President Trump, and given that New York State is the locus of Trump’s greatest legal jeopardy after the Special Counsel’s office, it’s almost certainly the case that Trump will ask Cuomo to intervene to protect him from New York-based investigations.

Those investigations aren’t really under the Governor’s control. But that hardly matters to President Trump. If you’re going sit down with President Trump, you need to expect this and you need to share that information with your constituents.

We had a slew of new developments since my last update. Let me try to give you my read on them one at a time.

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We’ve got a smattering of results in now out of Mississippi. Way to soon to know much. But it at least doesn’t seem like a Hyde-Smith blow-out. She clearly seems to be underperforming in some key counties. But remember, she has LOTS of room to underperform. For the best moment by moment analysis of the county breakdowns, I recommend the Twitter list of number crunchers I follow. You can see it here. Actual results data here.

9:04 PM: Later numbers are starting to look more solid for Hyde-Smith. But they still point to a pretty competitive race.

Mississippi run-off election results here.

Let’s look at some dates on this emerging Manafort story.

Manafort’s visit to Ecuador in May 2017 was on a key date, May 9th, 2017, according to this November 2017 AP story. That’s pretty deep into the multiple investigations of Manafort. His home was raided by the FBI two months later and he was arrested on a multi-count indictment at the end of October.

May 9th, 2017 is also the same day President Trump fired James Comey. Six days later, on May 17th, Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as Special Counsel.

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Carl Bernstein is speaking as I write on CNN. He is reporting that Robert Mueller has been probing a May 2017 meeting Paul Manafort held in Quito with the then-President Elect of Ecuador Lenin Moreno. That meeting has been known for well over a year. At the time it was presented as Manafort’s effort to rustle up some new business on behalf of some Chinese clients. The questions seem to be over whether he was there, at least in part, to discuss Julian Assange.

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Trump-Russia watchers have been expecting new developments, perhaps big new developments, after the mid-term election which is now three weeks in the past. There’s been chatter – episodes in the Stone and Corsi as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern phase of the story – but very little tangible new information or developments. But in the last 36 hours we’ve had a bewildering series of developments. They are potentially very big. But they’re also difficult to make sense of.

Let’s try to walk through them.

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It’s hard to keep track of the outrages. But this is a good point. From our former federal public corruption prosecutor reader …

Trump and his Congressional allies seem to be getting a pass from the media on his refusal to cooperate with the Mueller investigation by sitting for an interview and/or testifying to the grand jury. It is easy to chalk this up to yet another outrage that, over time, fades in our memories and seems to become the new normal for the pundit class. Instead, the “will he or won’t he” question has become the classic Trumpian reality show cliffhanger that has set the media narrative around this issue. But let’s be really clear about one thing: it is still an outrage and must be described as such. The man is President of the United States, not a mob boss. This should not be a “will he or won’t he” question. The real question should be “why the hell won’t the President of the United States agree to an interview with federal law enforcement”?

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This is funny. From Bloomberg

Two months ago, Facebook showed off a “War Room” that brought employees from different teams together to quickly spot and fix issues like misinformation during the U.S. midterm elections. At the time, the company said the War Room might be deployed for future elections. But it’s been disbanded. Facebook says it was never intended to be permanent, and the company is still assessing what is needed for future elections.

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Seth Moulton, head of the 16-signer-letter anti-Pelosi group, now wants to sue for terms from Leader Pelosi. But she apparently won’t take his calls. So he’s forced to go to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa to sue for terms. Actually, it’s now a 14 signer letter since two of Moulton’s fellow 16 – Reps. Higgins and Lynch – already bailed out while Moulton was still on the plane.

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