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David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Let’s stipulate that the bogus Devin Nunes memo was designed to muddy the waters, kick up a lot of dust, spread chaff — pick your metaphor.

When Robert Mueller, who is supervised by Rod Rosenstein, makes an allegation against Trump or his associates, then what about Rosenstein’s own problems? What about the FBI’s bias? It’s simple, direct and not terribly creative whataboutism (though I have to say the whole “secret memo” designation has worked brilliantly). But for the con to work, you have to maintain the charade, stroking your chin and muttering about your grave concerns and the dark conspiracy that could be at work. You have to pretend to believe the mock concerns you’re raising.

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How did we go from the DOJ inspector general probing whether Jim Comey’s pre-election conduct was too aggressive to looking at whether Andrew McCabe wasn’t aggressive enough?

There’s an organic and not nefarious — but still interesting — dynamic at play here.

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We’ve been organizing our investigative coverage in part around the idea that President Trump’s politicization of the Justice Department (and federal law enforcement broadly) is already underway, with a big assist from Hill Republicans like Devin Nunes.

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Howard Fineman reports:

Instead, as is now becoming plain, the Trump strategy is to discredit the investigation and the FBI without officially removing the leadership. Trump is even talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.

“Here’s how it would work: ‘We’re sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won’t be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury,'” said one Trump adviser.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) digs up a two-year-old radio interview of current EPA administrator Scott Pruitt warning of the dangers of a President Trump… and springs it on Pruitt at today’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Watch:

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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]

We’re not in the predicting biz, but the signals this morning on the Hill suggest we may be close to an end to the shutdown. Here’s the latest.

 

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