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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

“I am not a ‘safe, legal, and rare’ person. I am an ‘on demand and without apology’ person. I am a ‘holy s*** I am so pissed off right now I’m gonna rip out my IUD, get pregnant, and have an abortion, over and over as many times as I can while I still can, as an fu to those people’ person. But I am also pragmatic. Why can’t Democrats be the same?”

TPM Reader AX has some thoughts about the Hyde amendment ….

(Remember, publishing a reader email does not signal agreement or disagreement. As they say on Twitter, don’t @ me.)

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Oh my. Michael Flynn has fired his lawyer and retained new counsel ahead of sentencing. Story coming shortly.

In recent days we’ve been talking about the pace and strategy of Democratic investigations of President Trump. Impeach or not to impeach has taken up a lot of the discussion. We’ve also discussed the need to dramatically up the pace and the aggressiveness of the push, quite apart from whether or not it’s labeled an impeachment inquiry. As I’ve been at pains to explain, when you have a recalcitrant, indeed a law-defying President, most of this quickly ends up in the courts. There the logic of legal strategy usually fits at best uneasily with the logic of politics. No one’s going to be satisfied with the pace. Keeping the substance and the optics and the strategy in alignment is a complicated task.

As a general matter I’ve assumed, I think accurately, that people’s aims are on the up and up whatever disagreements there may be about strategy. But just in the last few days I’ve started to wonder about Rep. Richard Neal (D), dean of the Massachusetts delegation and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. That’s the tax writing committee which is normally of most concern to policy wonks and corporate lobbyists. But in our Trump corruption moment it’s a position with unique hold over the question of getting the President’s tax returns.

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I, probably obviously, think TPM Reader JB has this right …

I seriously don’t know why Dems are arguing about impeachment now, impeachment later or impeachment not at all. It’s irrelevant.

This Senate will not convict, and Agent Orange will take that as a victory into November 2020. Insane.

But he must leave office in January 2021. To ensure that, we need hearings. Lots of hearings.

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TPM Reader CG says action is the ideology …

That post crystallizes a point along the lines of your “bitch slap”/”dominance” theory: that the action is the ideology. (A hat tip to Marshall McLuhan.)

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TPM Reader ML says the spectacle and process of impeachment is the point …

I have to believe there is a “failure to communicate” when it comes to your views on impeachment and mine. You write that impeachment is silly and a waste of time; at the same time, you advocate aggressive investigations of the president and his administration. The point is not to prevail in impeachment – we assume the senate wont convict. But that doesn’t make the process irrelevant.

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As usual, TPM Readers followed up with a flood of smart and often heated emails in response to my post yesterday on impeachment. I’m going to publish a number of them today and respond serially to points I should expand on or clarify as well as address new ones. The note below from TPM Reader JC gets into the point of just what we’re talking about when we talk about impeachment. I’ll address that and another point first.

Let me start with a concession. Yesterday I referred to moving immediately to impeachment as “silly” and “a waste of time”. Unsurprisingly this focused a lot of people’s attention. I took this as hyperbole. But it doesn’t give the seriousness of the question its due. Nor does it help persuade anyone to belittle something they feel so strongly about. Equally important, I’m not against impeachment. I simply think it’s a weapon that is more powerful in reserve than in use, at least until there’s more than a non-trivial or even conceivable chance of Trump being removed from office.

Now on to the question JC raises. Relatively few people I talk to say House Democrats should vote articles of impeachment literally today. In most cases they mean starting an impeachment inquiry today, which they argue will strengthen the House’s hands before the courts (I think this is wrong), up the ante politically, focus the public’s attention and is just the right thing to do. At some level the argument is, why not? You advance the ball and don’t have to really commit to anything.

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