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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

My personal posting may be a bit lighter today or delayed until later in the day, as it was yesterday, because I’m going through the impeachment inquiry transcripts methodically. Here’s Sondland’s and here’s Volker’s testimony.

We’re back to another round of the Democratic woe-is-me, contending polls psychodrama. Jon Chait has a follow-on on yesterday’s NYT/Siena in which he sees those perilous numbers in key swing states as a sign that the Democratic presidential primaries have slipped into an echochamber in which no one realizes or cares that the leading candidates are pushing a policy platform that is simply not popular with most voters. As Chait puts it, Trump is “right on the cusp of victory.” Meanwhile, this morning, WaPo/ABC has a new poll out showing the Democrats holding thunderous margins against Donald Trump nationwide. Both of these soundings cannot be true at the same time.

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I’ve been working my way through Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony.

We’re so deep into the minutiae of this plot that we need to take a few paces back to see one of the most important parts of the story. It’s not hidden precisely. But it’s seldom the focus of the discussion: The President is absurdly susceptible to foreign influence.

Let me explain.

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One year out from the 2020 election, this article and group of polls from the Times is getting a lot of attention this morning and just as much heartburn for Democrats. The gist of the piece is a series of horserace polls in key swing states, measuring Trump against the top three Democratic candidates — Biden, Sanders and Warren.

If these polls are accurate they paint a sobering reality for Democrats, which is that even their strongest contender could easily lose the election even with big leads nationwide.

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I’ve read through the Mueller probe/FBI interview memos released yesterday by CNN and Buzzfeed. There is quite a lot there. Not surprisingly, lots is redacted and the redactions come at the most critical points. Let me briefly note what I thought were the most critical passages.

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This may be a relatively minor point and it’s a bit in the weeds. But it’s important to note. On CNN a couple days ago I saw David Chalian say that polling numbers are getting more complicated for Democrats on impeachment because independents are moving from significant support to more like evenly divided. But that’s actually not quite true. What has happened is that the question pollsters are asking, and especially the ones they and the press are focusing on, are changing.

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I am going to work my way through the docs, which are pretty voluminous. But they show what we’ve been saying for months and really years. The Trump/Ukraine and Trump/Russia story are the same story. And the “the real collusion was Ukraine and the DNC” storyline goes back to Paul Manafort (and his Russian intelligence associates) who has continued to provide back channel and guidance from prison to Giuliani and Trump.

Wow. We just recorded a special episode of the podcast with Errol Morris about his new Steve Bannon documentary. It was actually pretty contentious. But I think a pretty interesting listen. At one point I thought Morris was going to walk out of the interview. But we chatted afterwards and now we’re like best buds.

Hopefully for your listening pleasure by this evening.

One of the perversities of the Trump era is that non-Trump loyalists have become starved for any signs that there are limits on what his supporters will accept from him. Like a child starved for love or a man dying of thirst in the desert, they are excited by the thinnest hints of hope or, in this case, the slightest resistance or criticism from true believers to Trump’s latest outrage or crime.

But of course this leads to setting a horribly low bar for Republicans. Chris Ruddy is getting press today for calling Trump’s notorious July 25th phone call with the President of Ukraine “inappropriate” and a “mistake.”

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