Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

First Thoughts on Page

I was in meetings most of this morning. I’m only now catching up on the reporting on Carter Page’s testimony before Congress. But I did read the first half of his testimony transcript last night. And I wanted to share a few initial impressions.

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Trump and the Authoritarianism of Fails

Over the last four days President Trump has made a series of statements demanding his Justice Department ‘investigate’ Hillary Clinton and other Democratic enemies. These demands aren’t entirely new. But by their specificity, repetition and speed they represent a new departure in demands for extra-legal action and rule. We should note that Trump is increasingly acting like a dictator or would be strong man. The only difference is that the machinery of government, seemingly up to at least some of his high level appointees, seems to be largely ignoring him. This is much better than the alternative. But it is still a bad, dangerous development.

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Russia Puts the Squeeze on Don Jr.

That notorious Russian lawyer who met with Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort in Trump Tower in June 2016 is talking again. Natalia Veselnitskaya gave a two and a half hour interview yesterday in Moscow in which she claimed that Don Jr. had told her that key sanctions against Russia might be lifted in what seems to have been a tacit exchange for help in the election.

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Media Critic & Journalism Prof. hosting Q&A in the Hive Wed. @ 3pm

Professor Jay Rosen has been on the NYU Journalism faculty since 1986, and from 1999 to 2005 he served as chair of the department. He is also the author of PressThink, a weblog about journalism and its ordeals. As a press critic and reviewer, Jay has published in The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and others. He has a Ph.D. from NYU in media studies.

Jay will be in the Hive to discuss journalism and media in the Trump era. Post your questions and join us on Wednesday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

Don’t Miss This

If you’re following the Trump/Russia story, don’t miss this one. I’m pretty confident Investigations Desk reporter Tierney Sneed is on to something here. In our story out tonight she notes that the Papadopoulos timeline Mueller lays out stops abruptly on July 22nd, the day the first Wikileaks DNC email hit. That can’t be a coincidence. It’s too central a part of the story. Check out our story. She walks us through different possibilities of what it might mean.

Kushner

This seems like a key paragraph in David Ignatius’s column on what appears to be unfolding in Saudi Arabia.

MBS is emboldened by strong support from President Trump and his inner circle, who see him as a kindred disrupter of the status quo — at once a wealthy tycoon and a populist insurgent. It was probably no accident that last month, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, made a personal visit to Riyadh. The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy.

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Quotes from the Trip

Aboard Air Force on en route to Tokyo, President Trump held a brief Q&A with reporters (from pool report) …

The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do. And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well.

From the Japan Times

The U.S. president said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles, the sources said.

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