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

This Is A Very Big Difference

Buried deep in Ashley Parker et al.’s Saturday Post story on Trump and the Russia probe is this paragraph …

And that same month, Trump did, in fact, order McGahn to fire Mueller, a directive first reported Thursday by the New York Times. But McGahn told West Wing staff — though not the president — that he would quit before carrying out Trump’s directive, and the president ultimately backed down, people familiar with the events said.

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This Sounds Just Right To Me

Former federal prosecutor shares a key point about June and July of last year when Trump’s staff was trying their best to keep Trump from destroying himself and the limits on Ty Cobb’s cooperation strategy. Give this a read. Very important perspective.

I wanted to share some thoughts on the President’s current legal strategy and the shift from Kasowitz to Cobb/Dowd, which I think is fascinating as you’ve discussed in your post this morning.

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Key Point

Here’s one structural/political point to keep in mind about President Trump’s proposed “four pillars” immigration deal. We know from hard experience that almost no piece of immigration legislation on the 2006/2013 model can make its way through the House. Even though a clear majority would likely vote for some version of 2013-era “comprehensive immigration reform”, the right-wing faction in the GOP caucus simply won’t allow such a bill to get a vote. But it’s a very different matter for the House GOP right to pass its own preferred legislation. And that’s what Trump’s “four pillars” proposal amounts to, even with Dreamer protections thrown in – which they’re allegedly up in arms over. Point being, we’re talking about a minority of the House. A bunch of different reasons make it much easier to block something than to pass something.

Boom

And we have more. Trump tried to fire Mueller in June. But he backed down when his White House Counsel threatened to quit. Sometimes it just seems like this won’t go four years. More to come shortly …

"A Defense Lawyer's Worst Nightmare"

From an ex-DOJ prosecutor whose insights I often seek, responding to a question I asked about this Prime Nugget item from yesterday.

Your layman’s sense is right: “this tells me that Mueller’s interest may not suggest he thinks these other events are indictable crimes in themselves. He may think they are evidence of a pattern which could strengthen a criminal case about the two earlier incidents we knew about – the Flynn request and Comey’s ouster.”

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The Evolving Definition

The Times’ Maggie Haberman pressed Sarah Sanders today on how the President is defining “collusion” these days.

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You Need To Watch This

I’ve been watching rightwing media since the late 80s. I’ve been doing it professionally for two decades. Very little surprises me. But last night on a tip I checked out a series of segments on Fox claiming new evidence of a anti-Trump “secret society” at the FBI plotting to overthrow the Trump administration.

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Where The Burden Falls

From Alice Ollstein’s feature this morning, this little nugget. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) defended his support for Alex Azar to head up HHS (his Senate confirmation is expected today) in light of Azar’s comments on reproductive rights issues: “Trust me, I have enough faith that the good women who work at HHS can bring some common sense to him in his thought process.”  [emphasis mine]

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