Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

Annals of Incitement Prime Badge

Another thing I wanted to flag for you. At his rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday Donald Trump appeared to take a decisive new step in embracing the QAnon conspiracy theory. He’s been dog whistling about it for years. But at this rally there was an especially dark and fetid tone and the rally concluded with what was either the Q movement song or one that was so similar as to be indistinguishable from it. (Yes, there’s a movement song.) The crowd responded with an index finger salute — also a Q movement trademark — as they swayed to the music and Trump’s rhythmic incitement. This comes after various posts on Trump’s “Truth Social” Twitter clone site which now openly embrace Q.

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Back to the Polling Dramas Prime Badge

Since I’ve noted the “will the polls be wrong again” debate a few times I wanted to share another article with you. This one is by Nate Silver. He basically argues that the confidence that 2022 is likely to see the same kind of hidden GOP strength is misplaced. He doesn’t prove this idea is wrong. And I don’t think he would say he does. (We can’t ‘prove’ anything about a future we don’t know.) What he does is lay out a series of counter-arguments or rather arguments and evidence that leads to the opposite conclusion.

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Doesn’t Add Up Prime Badge

Most of the news discussion about the DeSantis/Martha’s Vineyard saga appears to have moved on to chin-scratching pieces about what it all means or how the politics might shake out. That’s premature. The fact that DeSantis would pull a stunt like this is entirely unsurprising if also morally obscene. But if it was his work why did he fly migrants from Texas? There’s been no clear or really any explanation for why this would be the case. He’s vaguely suggested that he was flying them from Texas before they could come to Florida. But the details about how the migrants were found in San Antonio doesn’t suggest anything like that. DeSantis won’t discuss it.

It also seems clear that this wasn’t arranged by actual government employees. At a minimum it was delegated to private parties who quite possibly broke a few laws to do it. The woman “Perla” seems to have disappeared and gave one migrant a card with only her first name and a phone number. That’s not a government employee, at least not one working on the books.

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Perla Spoke of “Anonymous Benefactor”

Here’s more pieces of the puzzle. We now learn that “Perla,” the woman who coaxed the migrants on to the DeSantis Air flights under false pretenses, paid another migrant, a 27 year old Venezuelan named Emmanuel, for the contact information of the migrants Perla would eventually coax onto the plane. Emmanuel gave her contact info for about 10 migrants he’d met at the migrant center where they were saying.

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Trump the Master Prime Badge

Important context here from TPM Reader and Alum WT

Cannon’s order denying the DOJ’s stay request is insane enough that it seems to have overshadowed the other thing she did yesterday: issuing the attached “order appointing a special master.” The actual details of the order are gobsmackingly bad: the order neuters Dearie’s authority before the process begins, boxes in the DOJ, and puts Trump’s counsel in the driver’s seat of the entire process.

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Perla and the Thirsty Governor Prime Badge
LAKELAND, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2021/08/21: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference to announce the opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment site for COVID-19 patients at Lakes Church in Lakeland, Florida. DeSantis stated that the site will offer the Regeneron treatment, and will operate 7 days a week, treating 300 patients a day. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Aaron Blake and TPM alum Greg Sargent both had pieces in the Post yesterday looking at whether these immigrant transport stunts might break the law. There are a number of interesting legal complexities. One has to do with whether they’re “illegal” or “undocumented.” There are laws against knowingly transporting such immigrants or doing so to further them committing crimes. But in most cases these are people who have been processed as asylum seekers and are awaiting an asylum hearing. So until that hearing they are in the country legally. So that doesn’t really apply. It’s also unclear what state government authorities might be authorized to do as opposed to federal authorities. But the operative issue seems to be whether people are coerced or deceived into being transported.

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WTF? Prime Badge

I am both aghast and now fascinated by just what Ron DeSantis was doing here. We get the basic idea of shipping immigrants and legal asylum-seekers to liberal cities to own the libs. But DeSantis apparently sent a team to Texas who approached a few dozen Venezuelan immigrants after they emerged from a shelter in San Antonio, Texas. According to one of the migrants, Luis, age 27, they were “promised a flight to Massachusetts, along with shelter, support for 90 days, help with work permits and English lessons.” The woman called herself “Perla” but did not provide any identification or explanation of who she was working for other than having the group sign liability waivers.

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DeSantis Previewed to Top Donors

The Post now reports that at a GOP donor retreat last weekend DeSantis bragged that he had a pot of money for shipping migrants to liberal parts of the country and that he might go to Texas to find immigrants to send. “I do have this money. I want to be helpful. Maybe we will go to Texas and help. Maybe we’ll send to Chicago, Hollywood, Martha’s Vineyard. Who knows?”

DeSantis Going Mum Prime Badge

Gov. DeSantis got a state law passed in Florida to ship migrants out of Florida and send them to high profile liberal parts of the country as a sort of performative cruelty. So far so good. But The Miami Herald now reports that those Venezuelan migrants don’t appear to have started off in Florida. They appear to have been brought from Texas. At least that’s what a number of them say. And flight records show the flights did originate in Texas.

There were two flights and they made stops in Crestview, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina. Both started in Texas. Florida picked up the tab.

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Don’t Waste Everyone’s Time Prime Badge

There’s no analyzing Judge Cannon’s latest ruling in Florida. It’s absurd on its face and really makes no attempt to suggest its anything other than absurd. It’s an assertion of power rather than judicial interpretation. The Judge has now ordered a retired federal judge to review and recommend to her which highly classified documents should be covered by the executive privilege of a private citizen in Florida against the law enforcement and national security mandates of the President of the United States. I saw a respected legal commentator say this raises serious separation of power issues. That’s like saying turning someone’s body inside out might be harmful to their health. Judge Cannon further arrogates to herself the decision over what documents are actually classified. She won’t take the government’s word for which documents are or should be classified. Notably the former President has made no claim in court that he declassified anything. So on what basis the documents would not or should not be classified or on what basis a trial court judge in Florida could determine this is quite unclear.

Remember that there are remedies and processes that get into this at trial or prior to a trial. But no one has brought any charges against anyone. The only issue at the moment is the federal government has recovered its property and is using it to conduct both a national security and potentially criminal investigation.

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