Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

CBS News’ Lesley Stahl said Monday that President Donald Trump once told her that he attacked the press “to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Speaking with PBS’ Judy Woodruff at the Deadline Club Awards Dinner in New York City on Monday, Stahl recalled a meeting she had with Trump ahead of his first interview after winning the presidential election:

“At one point he started to attack the press. And it’s just me and my boss and him, in— He has a huge office. And he’s attacking the press. And there were no cameras. There was nothing going on, and I said, ‘You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this? You’re doing it over and over, and it’s boring, and it’s time to end that. You’ve won the nomination (sic). Why do you keep hammering at this?’

“And he said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

Watch below:

H/t Daniel Roberts.

Read More →

The White House on Tuesday declined to weigh in on whether Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) should step down from his leadership position before his actual retirement takes effect at the end of this term. 

“At this point, that’s something for Speaker Ryan and members of Congress to make that determination, not something that the White House has waded into at this point,” Sanders told reporters at a press briefing Tuesday.

Yet the White House’s own budget director, Mick Mulvaney, has reportedly weighed in on that question.

The Weekly Standard reported Monday that Mulvaney wondered aloud at a conference sponsored by the magazine the previous day: “Wouldn’t it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That’s a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it.”

Pelosi has said she’ll run for the speakership should Democrats win control of the House in November.

A spokesperson for Mulvaney told the Washington Post his comments were “purely hypothetical.”

Read More →

Despite admitting Monday night to becoming “violent with other people, including my former wife” in the mid-1970s, South Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Archie Parnell has refused to quit the race.

“This campaign has always been about the people of the 5th district, my home, but never about me,” he told the Charleston Post and Courier Tuesday. “Forty five years ago, while still a college student, I did something that I have regretted every single day since. In response to actions I feel unnecessary to specify, I lashed out and became violent with other people, including my former wife, which led to a divorce and monumental change in my life.”

The unspecified actions, according to divorce records documenting allegations from the candidate’s ex-wife Kathleen Parnell and obtained by the Post and Courier, are as follows: In 1973, Archie Parnell used a tire iron to break into some friends’ apartment, “after being locked out for the protection of the Plaintiff,” who was inside.

Parnell then “did repeatedly strike the Plaintiff, with such force as to cause her acute physical injury,” his ex-wife alleged in the divorce records. Kathleen Parnell was “again accosted and beaten by the Defendant” later the same night, she said.

After filing for a divorce citing “acts of physical cruelty,” Kathleen Parnell obtained a restraining order, the Post and Courier reported. The divorce was finalized the next year.

Parnell did not deny the allegations when confronted about his past this week, the paper said.

“These actions were inexcusable, wrong and downright embarrassing,” Parnell told the Post and Courier Monday night, without specifying what actions he was referencing. “Since then, my life has been changed by a remarkable woman, two amazing daughters, a forgiving God and a career that has taught me to cherish what I have.”

The revelations by the Post and Courier prompted a massive exodus by Parnell’s campaign staff, rapid un-endorsements from numerous high-profile supporters and calls to quit the race from Democratic elders and organizations including the party’s congressional campaign committee.

Read More →

A Republican candidate for Congress in Florida has walked back an earlier assertion that Puerto Rican hurricane evacuees should not be allowed to register to vote in the mainland United States.

As reported by Politico on Tuesday, Republican congressional candidate John Ward made the remark last week in response to a voter who asked about Puerto Ricans who have moved “either temporarily or permanently” to Florida: “How do you respond to them when they say that they need more help and that the aid to Puerto Rico is not enough?”

“First of all, I don’t think they should be allowed to register to vote,” Ward said. “And it’s not lost on me that, I think, the Democrat Party’s really hoping that they can change the voting registers in a lot of counties and districts. And I don’t think they should be allowed to do that.”

“We should be looking to put the Puerto Ricans back in their homes,” he added, per Politico. “So the idea that they can come to the mainland United States, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. But I think we should be thinking about it in terms of getting them back home and providing the capital and resources to rebuild Puerto Rico, which I honestly think is where they belong.”

The campaign of a GOP primary opponent of Ward’s, Fred Costello, posted a video of the exchange on Wednesday, Politico noted:

On Friday Ward was asked about the remarks, and he replied that “of course” Puerto Ricans are American citizens who have the right to vote in Florida once establishing permanent residency, per Politico.

But in an email to Politico, Ward maintained that the Democratic Party shouldn’t “be able to take advantage of Puerto Rican evacuees fleeing a natural disaster, here on a temporary basis, in order to manipulate voter registrations rolls in the run up to the 2018 elections.”

I would welcome any Puerto Rican who wants to permanently resettle in Florida to register to vote here,” he continued. “We’re all American citizens together. That said, if a natural disaster displaced me from Florida to some other state temporarily, I’d still want to vote by absentee in FL, my home community and voter registration, and not elsewhere.”

Read Politico’s report here.

Read More →

Trump fixer Michael Cohen, acting as a consultant for a major Trump inauguration donor, met with the donor and a representative of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in early April seeking an investment for the donor’s nuclear plant project, two reports Monday indicated.

Mother Jones and the Wall Street Journal, each citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported on the meeting Monday afternoon.

The Trump donor, Franklin Haney, gave $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, according to the reports, and at least $125,000 to the Republican National Committee this year, according to Mother Jones. He’s seeking to complete an unfinished nuclear plant in Alabama. Both reports said the results of the meeting were unknown.

Both reports also noted that Haney is seeking the extension of a federal nuclear power tax credit, among other things.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, with whom Cohen and Haney met on April 5, is the Qatari minister of economy and commerce as well as the deputy chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund.

Haney, the Journal reported, recently hired Cohen as a consultant, though Cohen’s fee is unclear. The trio met at a Four Seasons near Miami Beach, the Journal reported, just days before Cohen’s home, office and hotel room were raided as part of a months-long criminal probe.

Foreign Policy, Mother Jones noted, had reported earlier this month on the meeting between Cohen and Al Thani but could not detail their discussions. (Haney is unmentioned in that report.) 

A spokesperson for the Qatari government confirmed to the Journal that Cohen had requested the meeting, and that it had been granted, but did not elaborate on its purpose.

Read Mother Jones’ report here and the Wall Street Journal’s report here.

Read More →

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the Justice Department had asked its inspector general to expand an inquiry into the FBI “[b]ased on the meeting with the President.”

Sanders also said White House chief of staff John Kelly would “set up a meeting” with three agencies whose leadership met with the President Monday, the Department of Justice (represented by its deputy director, Rod Rosenstein), FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “together with Congressional Leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”

Read Sanders’ full statement below:

“Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s or the Department of Justice’s tactics concerning the Trump Campaign. It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with Congressional Leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”

Read More →

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign used his recent “demand” that the Justice Department investigate special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in a fundraising email Monday.

WORSE than Watergate,” the email’s subject line read.

I hereby DEMAND that the Department of Justice investigate whether Obama’s FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled our campaign for political purposes,” the email, signed by Trump, reads.


“I need you to sign your name right this second to join me in demanding this abuse of power gets investigated.”

The petition link leads to a form on Trump’s campaign website, with the following text:

President Trump is demanding that the Department of Justice investigate whether Obama’s FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the President’s campaign for political purposes.

The President needs you to add your name to ensure this abuse of power gets investigated. 

Add your name right now. 

Once filled out, the form leads to a fundraising page for Trump’s campaign.

Fine print below the form carries the necessary disclaimer for political communications: That it was “Paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.”

Trump on Sunday tweeted that he would “demand” an investigation of a reported FBI informant who had contact with members of the Trump campaign prior to the election. Without evidence, Trump has raged at the possibility that the informant was used to damage him politically, rather than to provide information as part of the FBI’s larger election meddling probe.

The Justice Department announced within hours of the President’s “demand” tweet that it had asked its inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to add the inquiry to an existing one into the FBI’s warrant application to surveil Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

The White House confirmed to multiple outlets Monday that the President would meet today with DOJ Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

H/t Julie Davis.

Read More →

The White House refers to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Supreme Leader” on a challenge coin made for the upcoming peace talks between President Donald Trump and Kim, several reports revealed Monday

Reports differed on the source of the coin: CNN’s Jim Acosta said it was produced by the White House Military Office. NBC’s Peter Alexander said it was from the White House Communications Agency. Both are part of the larger West Wing bureaucracy.

Though “Supreme Leader” is an official title used for Kim (one of several), it’s slightly jarring to see it in White House lettering.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to Kim as “chairman” during his trip to meet with the North Korean leader earlier this month. (Pompeo initially, and incorrectly, referred to the leader as “Chairman Un.”)

A quick search of the Obama White House’s archives found several uses of the term — by the former President, then-Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, and then-press secretaries Josh Earnest and Robert Gibbs. But they were all referring to the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Read More →

President Donald Trump will meet Monday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Monday, the White House confirmed to multiple reports.

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl said that Trump’s tweeted “demand” for an investigation into Robert Mueller’s probe would be among the matters discussed.

Sanders told CBS News that the meeting was scheduled last week.

Read More →

Just more than a year later, former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros’ lawsuit against the network, in which she alleged she had been the victim of “illegal electronic surveillance and computer hacking,” was dismissed Friday.

Tantaros alleged in her suit that the network had surveilled and harassed her in retaliation for her claims that she was sexually harassed by former network chair Roger Ailes and others. A separate suit covering Tantaros’ harassment claims was sent to private arbitration last year.

In the suit dismissed Friday, Tantaros had alleged that Fox News — she specifically named the network; Ailes; former Co-President Bill Shine; Fox and Fox Business corporate communications head Irena Briganti; and tech investor Pete Snyder and his company, Disrupter, Inc. — gained unauthorized access to her email and social media profiles in order to harass her.

Tantaros also alleged Snyder was employed to target her with a swarm of aggressive social media accounts in order to harass and discredit her. Tantaros alleged the accounts were “sock puppets,” operated by the defendants.

“Plaintiff’s amended complaint is based primarily on speculation and conjecture,” Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York wrote (read his full decision below). “Moreover, she fails to adequately make out the basic elements of her claims.”

Read More →