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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 mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

The New York Times issued a correction for a staff editorial on Thursday, noting the initial piece, “America’s Lethal Politics,” inaccurately stated a link between “political incitement” and the shooting of then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) at a “Congress on Your Corner” event.

“An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords,” the correction reads. “In fact, no such link was established.”

The editorial was largely in response to a shooting early Wednesday at a Republican congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia. The alleged shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, regularly posted online about his left-leaning views and hatred of Republicans. “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co,” he wrote in March.

Though the Times’ correction did not include specific corrected passages, a cached copy of the post shows changes the paper made.

“In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear,” the original post read.

In the corrected version, the last clause is replaced with a new sentence: “At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right.”

In the corrected editorial, the first clause of the following sentence is deleted as well: “Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.”

Finally, after the sentence “Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs,” the corrected post adds another sentence: “But in that case no connection to the shooting was ever established.”

Indeed, many outlets initially speculated that Sarah Palin’s map of congressional districts with targets placed over Democrats may have motivated Giffords’ shooter, the mentally disturbed Jared Loughner, to carefully plan and carry out the attack.

Lougher was eventually found to have read and supported a variety of fringe ideologies. A friend recalled to Mother Jones that Loughner told him he asked Giffords at an earlier event, “What is government if words have no meaning?”

Giffords, for her part, made a different point in the the Washington Post following Wednesday’s shooting.

“We know, as always, that no one law could prevent a shooting like this,” she wrote. “But we also know that we must acknowledge a problem: an unacceptable rate of gun violence in this country.”

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Less than a week after President Donald Trump contradicted his own State Department after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked Gulf states to ease their blockade of Qatar, the Trump administration finalized the sale of billions of dollars worth of military equipment to the country.

Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Qatari Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah to sign off on a previously-approved deal for $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets, part of a more-than-$20 billion package approved by Congress and the Obama administration in November 2016, CBS News reported.

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness told CNN Wednesday that the sale “will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar.”

Qatar’s ambassador to the United States posted a picture of the signing ceremony online, writing “Qatar signs LOA for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets creating 60,000 new jobs in 42 states across the United States. Two hours later, he wished Trump a happy birthday.

Several Gulf states and their allies abruptly cut off relations with Qatar beginning June 5, blaming the nation for funding extremist movements.

On June 9, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the nations blockading Qatar to “cease,” saying “[t]here are humanitarian consequences to this blockade. We are seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school. We believe these are unintended consequences, especially during this Holy Month of Ramadan, but they can be addressed immediately.”

Hours later, at a press briefing, Trump said “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level” and recalled his attendance at the Arab-Islamic American Summit in May as an inciting incident for the blockade.

“In the wake of that conference, nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior,” he said. “So we had a decision to make. Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism.”

The day after the blockade began, Trump seemed to take some credit for it on Twitter:

At least one unnamed White House source told MSNBC two days later that Trump “may not have known” that Qatar is home to the militarily crucial Al Udeid Air Base.

On Wednesday, CNN noted, Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “[t]here is no gap between the President and myself or the State Department on policy,” only “differences in terms of how the President chooses to articulate” United States policy.

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Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) on Thursday pinned “partial” blame for the highly charged political climate in the United States on President Donald Trump.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” centered on the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice Wednesday, which left Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods in critical condition, Sanford reflected on the political atmosphere Trump cultivated throughout his campaign for president, especially at what the congressman called Trump’s “bizarre” rallies.

“I would argue that the President has unleashed — is partially — again, not totally, but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed,” Sanford said. “Whether it’s what I saw at a senior center back home, in people saying ‘F you and F you and F you’ to each other at a senior center? At a retirement center where they’re going to see each other playing croquet the next day?” 

“Or with what happened — again, not with what happened yesterday, but the fact that you’ve got the top guy saying ‘Well, I wish I could hit you in the face, and if not, why don’t you and I’ll pay your legal fees?’ that’s bizarre,” he continued. “We ought to call it as such. And what I’ve said back home, when some of these people have been frankly weird and different in a town hall meeting, I’ve said ‘What is going on?’ And they’ll say ‘Look, if the guy at the top can say anything to anybody at any time, why can’t I?’”

“I think we all need to look for ways to learn from what happened yesterday and to say, wait a minute, this is a pause moment,” Sanford concluded. “What might I do a little bit differently in the way that I reach out to other members?”

Watch below via MSNBC:

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Sen. John Thune (R-SD) defended the special counsel put in charge of the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 on Thursday, disputing President Donald Trump’s claim earlier Thursday morning that he was the subject of an investigatory “witch hunt.”

It was far from the first time Trump used that term to define one of the several investigations into his campaign and associates. But it was the first time he used it after the Washington Posted reported that the President is under investigation for obstruction of justice.

The Washington Post first reported Wednesday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, that the obstruction of justice probe began just days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, on May 9.

“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Nice.”

“Senator, is Bob Mueller is man of integrity?” MSNBC’s Mark Halperin asked Thune during an appearance on “Morning Joe” Thursday, referring to the special counsel in charge of the investigation. “And has he done anything so far in the conduct of the investigation that leads you to believe he is conducting a witch hunt?”

“No, he is a man of integrity, Mark, and he needs to be able to do his work,” Thune replied. “And I think it’s better for all of us if that work continues. It’s — obviously he is going to get to the bottom and he is going to find the facts, and I think that’s his role. And I think we ought to let him continue to do that and I assume at some point there will be an end to all this. He’ll have done his investigation and there will be whatever findings there are.”

“But I think for now we ought to proceed on our agenda,” he continued. “We ought to try and reform health care, and reform the tax code, and do an infrastructure bill and focus on jobs and the economy for the American people knowing full well that that investigation is going to be ongoing.”

“So not a witch hunt,” Halperin prodded.

“It’s not a witch hunt, no,” Thune said. “You know, I think that he’s got a job to do. I think we all understand that. And I think it’s in everybody’s best interest if we let him do his job, and we do ours.”

Asked by MSNBC’s Ari Melber about how he would advise Trump on the question of dismissing Mueller — which a friend of Trump’s, Christopher Ruddy, recently floated in several interviews — Thune was direct.

“Well, I would certainly advise against that,” he said. “And I don’t think legally he can. I think there are — it sounds like, and I’m not a lawyer — legal grounds for good cause. But I don’t expect that to happen, and I would certainly advise that step not to be taken.”

But, Thune added later, noting the winding paths of special counsels in prior investigations, “I think at some point you have to wrap it up and move on, but we’ve got to let him do that.”

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The Republican nominee for the Georgia special House election responded on Wednesday to a post made about her campaign by the alleged gunman who shot at members of the Republican congressional baseball team.

The gunman, James T. Hodgkinson, posted on his Facebook page about Republican Karen Handel’s remark during a debate that she does “not support a livable wage.”

“Republican Bitch Wants People to Work for Slave Wages, when a Livable Wage is the Only Way to Go! Vote Blue, It’s Right for You!” Hodgkinson wrote on his Facebook page on June 8, linking to a Yahoo News story about Handel’s livable wage remark, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“My thoughts are with the victims of this morning’s despicable, unprovoked attack on the Republican congressional softball team,” Handel said in her statement. “Representative Scalise is a friend, and my heart goes out to him and his family. Steve and I wish him and the others wounded a speedy recovery. They remain in our thoughts and prayers. I also want to commend the heroic actions of the Capitol Police officers who clearly prevented today’s attack from being a much bigger tragedy.”

“I am aware that the suspect recently made vile comments about me on social media,” she continued. “It also appears that the suspect targeted members of Congress specifically because he disagreed with their views.”

“We should not allow our political differences to escalate to violent attacks,” Handel’s statement concluded. “We must all refuse to allow the politics of our country to be defined in this way. Now more than ever, we must unite as a one nation under God. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together in a civil and productive way, even when we disagree.”

“I condemn this appalling act of violence committed, obviously, by a disturbed individual,” Handel’s Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, said, according to the Journal-Constitution. “The country is united right now in our prayers for those who are fighting for their lives and our appreciation of those who saved lives.”

The run-off election between Handel and Ossoff is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 20. The winner will fill the seat vacated by current Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

This post has been updated.

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The FBI on Wednesday released a joint statement on the early morning shooting at a Republican congressional baseball team practice, documenting a second injured congressman in addition to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)

The unnamed second congressman sustained “minor injuries and was also transported by a medic unit,” the FBI said.

The agency also confirmed the identity of the alleged shooter, James Hodgkinson.

Asked about the FBI statement at a press conference Wednesday, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who was present at the shooting, appeared to identify the second congressman as Roger Williams (R-TX), whose staffer was among those shot.

“Congressman Roger Williams is my coach, and he, in trying to protect some of the players and my son — my son and I scrambled into the dugout — he sprained his ankle, and he has had medical attention,” Barton said. “We don’t think it’s broken. He was not shot though. He injured himself in trying to protect some other people.”

That brought the total number of injured in the incident to six — including the two congressmen, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist for Tyson Foods and two Capitol Police officers.

One of the Capitol Police officers, the statement noted “was transported to the hospital in a police cruiser for minor injuries and has been released.” The other, according to the statement, “is hospitalized and is reported to be in stable condition.”

Hodgkinson, the FBI said, “was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.”

The FBI statement also said it was “actively investigating Hodgkinson, to include his associates, whereabouts, social media impressions, and potential motivations. This is an active investigation that continues to unfold.”

“The ATF is running a trace on two weapons, to include a rifle and a handgun,” it added.

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Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said Wednesday that he hoped the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball team practice would send a signal to Democrats to “tone down the rhetoric.”

He later said that “all of us, including myself” should tone done their rhetoric. Collins also said he would carry his gun with him as a result of the shooting.

“The rhetoric has been outrageous, of the finger-pointing, just the tone, and the angst, and the anger directed at Donald Trump and his supporters,” Collins said in an interview with WBEN shortly after news of the shooting broke Wednesday morning. “Really, then, some people react to things like that. They get angry as well, and then you fuel the fires.”

“Maybe this is a wake-up call,” he added. “I’m not saying it will be, but let’s hope we can disagree on a more polite, conversational basis, and not do things like what they did at my office a couple of weeks ago, they had a die-in. It’s gone too far.”

Collins said earlier in the interview that “you can never get into the motivation of a crazy person shooting,” but that he suspected Scalise had been a target for the gunman. “Apparently the shooter was waiting for them,” he said separately.

“I’m not going to live my life any differently, that’s not going to happen,” he told WBEN.

In a separate interview with WKBW Wednesday morning, though, Collins noted one significant change.

“I will be carrying when I’m out and about, which, I have to tell you, I have not been, even though I have a carry permit at home,” he said, referring to his permit to carry a firearm.

“On a rare occasion, you know, I’d have my gun in the glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward,” he added.

Beginning minutes after the shooting began, and throughout the day, Collins shared his concern for those injured in the shooting and thanked Capitol Police.

In a statement posted to his account at 1:17 p.m., Collins appeared to temper his earlier sentiments, saying that “[i]t’s time for all of us, including myself, to tone down our rhetoric and recognize that we are all of one country and all proud Americans.”

H/t The Buffalo News

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Several outlets on Wednesday published video of the scene of a shooting that occurred during a Republican congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

The gunman, who President Trump said died of his injuries, shot five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). At 2:29 p.m. ET, the Washington, D.C. hospital where Scalise was taken for his injuries, said he “was critically injured and remains in critical condition.”

Watch video of the incident below, credited to witness Noah Nathan, via the New York Post. (Warning: The video is graphic and may be disturbing to some.)

This post has been updated.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Wednesday expressed his condolences to those injured during a shooting at a Republican congressional baseball team practice earlier in the day, and said “an attack on one of us in an attack on all of us.”

“I know we want to give our thanks to the first responders and to the Alexandria Police Department who were on the scene in minutes,” Ryan said, speaking from the floor of the House. “And I know this House wants to state unequivocally that we are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police.

“It is clear to me, based on various eyewitness accounts, that without these two heroes, agent [David] Bailey and agent [Krystal] Griner, many lives would have been lost,” he said to applause.

Ryan also pointed to a widely-shared picture of the Democratic congressional baseball team praying for their colleagues.

“You know, every day we come here to test and to challenge each other,” he said. “We feel so deeply about the things that we fight for and the things that we believe in, at times our emotions can clearly get the best of us. We’re all imperfect. But we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber.”

Watch Ryan’s remarks below:

This post has been updated.

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President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the suspected gunman who opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball team practice Wednesday morning had died of the injuries he sustained during the shooting.

“Authorities are continuing to investigate the crime, and the assailant has now died from his injuries,” Trump said.

“Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault,” Trump said, after noting the injuries of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the two Capitol Police officers, and “at least two others.”

“Congressman Scalise is a friend, and a very good friend,” Trump said. “He’s a patriot and he’s a fighter. He will recover from this assault. And, Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world.”

“America is praying for you,” Trump continued. “And America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.”

Trump said he had spoken to Scalise’s wife to offer his support, and to the chief of the Capitol Police, Matthew Verderosa, “to express our sympathies for his wounded officers and to express my admiration for their courage.”

“Our brave Capitol police perform a challenging job with incredible skill, and their sacrifice makes democracy possible,” Trump said. 

He also commended the actions of the Alexandria’s first responders.

“Everyone on that field is a public servant,” Trump said, adding: “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capitol is here because, above all, they love our country.”

“Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe,” Trump said before concluding.

Watch Trump’s remarks below. He begins at 24:20 in the White House’s video:

This post has been updated.

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