Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant 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

After an opinion contributor for the Hill speculated that “a Sanders-Warren ticket could win big in 2020″ last week, New Zealand’s second-ranking diplomat in the United States was blunt: “No it couldn’t. Please get your shit together or we will all die.”

That response from diplomat Caroline Beresford, reported by the Kiwi site Newsroom and flagged by the Hill, wasn’t her only rebuke.

Separately, according to Newsroom, Beresford wrote in response to the post that Democrats had “learned nothing” and “If this is what they have against Trump we should be planning for the eight years.”

“Yes I did send those tweets and realised very quickly that they were inappropriate, which is why I deleted them,” Beresford told Newsroom, which published screenshots of two of the tweets.

An unnamed spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the outlet it “[did] not in any way endorse the content or tone of the tweets, which we note have now been deleted.”

“These expectations were not met in this instance. The ministry will be making this clear to the staff member concerned and taking appropriate action,” the spokesperson added.

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The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), on Tuesday released an extensive list of witnesses, documents and lines of inquiry he claimed committee Republicans had failed to pursue during the investigation of Russian election meddling.

The move comes a day after committee Republicans, led in the investigation by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), announced they had concluded the information-gathering portion of the probe and released a one-page summary of a draft report of their findings.

In the one-page summary, Republicans said that they had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that they disagreed with the intelligence community’s assessment in January of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a preference for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Schiff wrote at the top of his “Status of the Russia Investigation” Tuesday that “[t]he decision to shut down the investigation before key witnesses could be interviewed and vital documentary evidence obtained will prevent us from fully discharging our duty to the House and to the American people.”

The document, Schiff wrote, lists “key witnesses” the committee has not yet contacted or interviewed, as well as document production requests the committee has not yet made “from persons and entities of relevance to the investigation.”

Read Schiff’s Status of the Russia Investigation” below:

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Radio host Bubba the Love Sponge Clem interviewed adult film star Stephanie Clifford in 2007 about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump, Clem said Friday in a segment flagged Tuesday by CNN.

Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, has argued that a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016 covering the alleged affair is invalid because Trump never signed the document. She’s sued for the right to discuss her relationship with Trump and has taken her case to the court of public opinion, including in a forthcoming interview with “60 Minutes.”

On Friday and Monday, CNN reported, Clem played audio from a 2007 conversation he and several others on his show had on air with Clifford, in which they discussed a famous man she’d slept with. Trump’s name is never mentioned — Clifford writes it down and the audio captures the rest of the room’s response — but CNN said it had corroborated that Clifford was discussing Trump with another, unnamed person who was in the room at the time of the 2007 taping.

CNN noted that Clifford’s 2007 description of the affair matched known details of Clifford’s story.

“This interview happened in May 2007,” Clem said in a statement to CNN. “I only asked the questions. Stormy answered them. I wish her and our President nothing but the very best. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. We need to stop worrying about the past and focus on the future. President Trump is our President, regardless of who he slept with 12 plus years ago. The media and haters need to get over it.”

Watch Clem’s segment and read CNN’s report on it here.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote in a statement Tuesday that the committee’s probe of Russian election meddling made clear “Russia had disdain for Secretary Clinton and was motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm her candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed.”

That statement, flagged by CNBC, seems to be at odds with the one-page summary of committee Republicans’ draft report on the probe released by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) Monday. That document said in part that the committee had concurred with the intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment of Russian meddling “except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.” 

Conaway announced Monday that the committee had completed the information-gathering portion of its investigation and would share a draft report with Democrats Tuesday. Democrats on the committee, led by Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), have long complained of Republicans’ handling of the probe.

Schiff said in an interview Tuesday that Democrats will release a minority report on Russian election meddling, including both evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and details on “the investigative steps that were never taken to answer further questions about the Russians and the Trump campaign’s conduct.”

CNBC noted that committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who stepped aside from his role leading the Russia probe over an ethics investigation, thanked Conaway, Gowdy and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) by name for their work on the investigation in a statement Monday.

Gowdy, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, announced in January that he would not seek re-election to Congress.

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed in an interview Tuesday that Democrats on the committee would be releasing their own report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The minority report, according to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, who interviewed Schiff, will both “seek to rebut the GOP conclusions” and “detail all the investigative avenues that House Republicans declined to take — the interviews that they didn’t conduct, and the leads that they didn’t try to chase down and verify.”

Schiff told Sargent that the report will feature information that Republicans “didn’t permit to influence their conclusions,” in Sargent’s words.

“There’s no way for them to reach the conclusions that they want to start with unless they ignore or mischaracterize what we’ve been able to learn,” Schiff told Sargent.

“We will be presenting evidence of collusion, some of which is in the public domain and apparent to everyone willing to see it, and other facts that have not yet come to public light,” Schiff said separately. “I fully expect that the majority will omit many of these facts in its report and mischaracterize others.”

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who led the committee’s investigation, announced Monday that it had concluded the interview and document-gathering portion of the investigation, and that Republicans would share their draft report with Democrats on Tuesday.

According to a one-page summary of the draft report, Republicans on the committee found “no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” and concurred with “the Intelligence Community Assessment’s judgments, except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

In a statement Monday, Schiff lambasted committee Republicans’ actions as yet “another capitulation to the executive branch.”

Notably, Schiff told Sargent that he expected the Democrats’ report would “be on a similar page to the analysis by the Senate [Intelligence Committee].” That committee’s probe is seen as less plagued by partisan rancor.

 “House Republicans are likely to be out on a political lark,” Schiff said.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday that he told Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo the committee would “move through the confirmation process as quickly as we could.”

Corker acknowledged to reporters, though, that he “never really had much, if any, dealings with” Pompeo, the current CIA director who Trump announced Tuesday would take Rex Tillerson’s place leading the State Department.

“I’m not sure we’ve even met,” Corker said of Pompeo. “I think we might have met once.”

Corker said he hadn’t yet had a chance to speak with Tillerson following Trump’s announcement.

In October of last year, the Tennessee senator said Tillerson was one of three people — along with Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — who “help separate our country from chaos.”

Asked about that remark Tuesday, Corker said “Pompeo seems like someone who also has a distinguished background.”

“I just need to get to know him and sit down with him,” he added. The senator said Trump called him to discuss the change at 9:58 a.m., well after the President had publicized it on his Twitter account.

Corker, though he votes with President Donald Trump’s legislative priorities the vast majority of the time, has criticized Trump in the past. In September of last year he announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018.

Corker’s office released an official statement shortly after he spoke to reporters:

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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is known for his gaffes. He didn’t disappoint Tuesday in a tweet wishing fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson well:

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The Texas Secretary of State’s office is investigating the notary who stamped her approval on an adult film star’s non-disclosure agreement regarding an alleged fair with President Donald Trump, the Dallas Morning News reported Monday.

By now, that agreement is well known: Porn actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, received $130,000 to stay mum about the alleged sexual relationship. Clifford has argued forcefully in recent weeks that she has the right to tell her story because Trump didn’t sign the document, and she’s launched a publicity tour reportedly to include a “60 Minutes” appearance.

But the News reported Monday on yet another complication with the agreement: According to a letter from the Texas Secretary of State’s office obtained by the paper, Erica Jackson, the notary public whose stamp appears on the non-disclosure agreement, did not sign or date it. Jackson also failed provide a required notarial certificate confirming that the people signing the document were who they claimed to be, the letter said.

“Attaching your seal to a document without a notarial certificate constitutes good cause for the secretary of state to take action against your notary commission,” wrote Maria Y. Morales of the Secretary of State’s office in the letter, which was attached to a formal complaint.

Jackson told the News Friday that she didn’t recall the document and declined to be interviewed, the paper said.

Notably, the non-disclosure agreement used fake names to refer to Clifford and Trump: Peggy Peterson and David Dennison, respectively. While Clifford’s signature appears above “PP,” Trump’s does not appear above “DD,” which Clifford argued last week invalidates the agreement.

Clifford’s lawyer, Michael J. Avenatti, told the News that Trump’s missing signature was still “the issue […] not any issue involving a notary.”

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The leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s probe of Russian election meddling announced Monday that the first phase of the probe was over.

“We will now be moving into the next phase of this investigation, working with the minority on a report to give the American people answers to the questions they’ve been asking for over a year,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) said in a statement, adding that “with just 238 days until the mid-term elections in November, it’s important that we give the American people the information they need to arm themselves against Russian attempts to influence our elections.” (Read Conaway’s full statement below.)

An attached one-page summary of a draft report promises “40+ initial findings that describe,” among other things, that “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Republicans said they would share their draft with Democrats Tuesday.

The committee has faced a bitter partisan divide in its approach to the investigation. The USA Today noted Monday that Democrats on the committee will pen their own report with likely far different conclusions that Republicans’.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the committee’s ranking member, said in a statement Monday that “While the Majority members of our committee have indicated for some time that they have been under great pressure to end the investigation, it is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch.”

“By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly,” Schiff added.

Republicans’ report will also describe, according to the summary released Monday, “How anti-Trump research made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign” and “Problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media.”

The summary said committee Republicans concurred with “the Intelligence Community Assessment’s judgments, except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

The last sentence of the summary document hinted at more partisan fights to come: “Additional follow-on efforts arising from the investigation include oversight of the unmasking of Americans’ names in intelligence reports, FISA abuse, and other matters.”

“I look forward to working with Ranking Member Schiff on this next phase of our investigation,” Conaway said in his statement. “The American people deserve our cooperation, and our transparency.”

Read Conaway’s full “HPSCI Russia Investigation Update” below:

Washington — On Monday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) announced an update on the status of the Russia Investigation. Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11), who has led the probe since last April, released the following statement:

“Near the start of the HPSCI investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 election, the Committee majority and minority agreed to four parameters for this investigation, covering Russian active measures directed against the 2016 election and against our European allies, the U.S. Government’s response to those attacks, links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and leaks of classified information. After conducting 73 witness interviews, holding nine hearings and briefings, and reviewing over 300,000 documents, we are confident that we have thoroughly investigated the agreed-upon parameters, and developed reliable initial findings and recommendations.

“We will now be moving into the next phase of this investigation, working with the minority on a report to give the American people answers to the questions they’ve been asking for over a year. With the 2018 primary elections already underway and just 238 days until the mid-term elections in November, it’s important that we give the American people the information they need to arm themselves against Russian attempts to influence our elections.

“I look forward to working with Ranking Member Schiff on this next phase of our investigation. The American people deserve our cooperation, and our transparency.”

A one page overview of the status of the investigation can be found here. The bipartisan parameters of the investigation can be found here. The metrics of the investigation can be found here. More information about the need for urgent action on election security can be found here.

This post has been updated.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday claimed that President Donald Trump still supports raising the purchase age for firearms, though he’s done little to enact any relevant policy.

At a press briefing, Sanders claimed that Trump was referring to Congress when he tweeted Monday morning that there is “not much political support” for a proposal to raise the purchase age for firearms. 

The White House did not list the policy as a legislative priority in a plan to prevent school shootings that it unveiled on Sunday, though various polls show that most Americans support raising the age for gun purchases. Instead, it announced that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a Federal Commission on School Safety to “study and make recommendations” on that subject and others.

“The President, as you know, doesn’t have the ability to just create federal law,” Sanders said Monday. “What he is pushing forward are things that can immediately be accomplished, either through the administration or that have broad-based bipartisan support in Congress. But that doesn’t mean that he has wiped away some of those other things that we’re still looking at how best we can move forward on.”

Sanders said Trump and congressional Republicans could ultimately leave it to states — as Florida did recently — to raise the purchase age on their own.

“Look, the President still has in this plan the age limit increase and that is part of one of the things that will be reviewed on what the best path forward is on that front, whether it can be done at a federal level or whether it needs to be done on a state-by-state basis,” she said.

Sanders separately complained that members of the media “continue to misunderstand and misrepresent the comments that I’m making,” but acknowledged that DeVos’ commission wasn’t focused on immediate legislative priorities.

“Why did he name this DeVos commission less than 24 hours after ridiculing the idea of blue ribbon commissions?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked at one point, referring to Trump’s characterization of opioid commissions during a rally Saturday in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. “He said all they do is talk and talk and talk and two hours later, they write a report. On this issue, a commission’s okay? Why?”

Sanders did not dispute Trump’s disparaging description of commissions, but told Karl, “There are a number of things that he is pushing forward that are very tangible,” citing “support of specific pieces of legislation that we expect to move forward” and “administrative action like getting rid of the bump stocks that the President has been very vocal about and is going to continue to push for.”

Sanders in February said that Trump was “supportive of the concept” of raising the age of gun ownership to 21 years old in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which left 17 people dead. Trump himself endorsed the idea in more absolute terms, and at one point said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was “afraid of the NRA” for hesitating at the proposal.

The White House’s policy proposal announced Sunday backed away not only from the proposal to raise the purchase age for firearms but also from other policies objectionable to the gun lobby, including universal background checks and empowering law enforcement to seize firearms from individuals understood to be an urgent threat to themselves or others.

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