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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Here’s something that caught my eye in the new Kavanaugh controversy about an alleged sexual assault while he and the alleged victim were in High School in the 1980s. Kavanaugh went to an elite DC preparatory school, Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland. It was an all-boys school. So no female students. The New Yorker article says the alleged victim “attended a nearby high school.”

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The two words “remain safe” in Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing’s comment on his client’s decision this morning says quite a lot. “He wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

Look here for the latest updates from our team at the courthouse and in DC and NY are publishing in real time about this morning’s events at the federal courthouse in DC. But let me note a side point, which is quite interesting. Paul Manafort’s team has been putting out disinformation about this deal for a couple weeks now. I don’t put this out as a criticism or not. It just is what it is. And frankly, in a purely pragmatic light, it made a lot of sense to do that. This had to be secret until the last possible moment, especially from the President. He needed the element of surprise. And he got it.

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There is a cooperation agreement.

Update: So just some detail here. We don’t know precisely what the scope of the cooperation is. We don’t know who he’s cooperating against. What we have here is that Andrew Weismann, in the court a short time ago, referred to the deal as a “cooperation agreement.” The hung jury charges from Virginia will be dropped, pending his cooperation.

Later Update: I got this wrong. I’m glad I did. But note that last night I wrote that if Manafort was going to cooperate it made sense that he would keep that fact under wraps until the very last moment. It appears that that is just what happened.

I’m still skeptical that this is a Manafort cooperation agreement. But there does seem like there’s more possibility of it than I sensed last night. If I’m reading these outlines correctly, this deal will leave the 69 year old Manafort with a combined sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison. That might as well be 100 years. We’ll know very soon. We’ll bring you the news as soon as we have it.

We had a slew of primaries in New York State last night. If you’re looking at a left-right, establishment versus progressives dichotomy it was sort of a mixed picture. Actual Democrats crushed something called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of Democrats who until quite recently were keeping the state Senate in de facto Republican hands. That, along with other more deep-seated factors, have had the effect of taking a very blue state and giving it a fairly purple politics, something that affects not just New York but the country as a whole. (Big states like California being deeply Democratic and Texas being deeply Republican have an impact on the rest of the country.) At the same time, the state’s very establishment Democratic governor easily won renomination. The candidates he supported won the Lt. Governorship and Attorney General nominations too. So some are saying, well, it’s a mixed picture. But I would argue this is at least in part a misleading prism through which to these results and results around the country. It obscures a much clearer picture and set of trends.

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As you can see ABC News is reporting a “tentative” plea deal between Paul Manafort and the office of special counsel. Assuming this is accurate and moves from tentative to real by tomorrow, I think there’s good reason to expect that this is not what it seems. This isn’t Manafort flipping on Trump. It’s Manafort locking in his pardon. 

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In the last dozen years we’ve seen at least two and arguably three wave elections, with two tied to a midterm election: 2006, 2008 and 2010. They have certain common characteristics, along with others from earlier decades. One is that key patterns generally take shape or come fully into view at the end of the summer. Whether this is because our media and political cycles our designed to kickstart after the Labor Day holiday, whether it’s the shift from summer or just a certain proximity to election day that creates a critical mass of focused attention in the voting electorate, I’m not sure. But we are currently seeing a pattern that looks a lot like these earlier cycles, with a congealing trend coming out of late August into the first days of September.

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I put together what I see as the key quotes, factual claims etc in that Politico piece that notes a Trump/Manafort joint defense agreement.

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What should we make of President Trump’s joint defense agreement with Paul Manafort? Here’s my take.

On the one hand, I assume a high degree of bad-acting – on-going bad acting – on the part of Trump and Manafort. I would have assumed that they have some channel of communication because I believe they are both covering up evidence of their involvement in a conspiracy tied to the 2016 election and Russia. Manafort can protect Trump (or do his part to do so) and Trump can protect Manafort (via a pardon). So both need to know what the other is doing. It’s a classic prisoner’s dilemma situation. If the prisoners can compare notes that changes everything.

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