Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We’ve seen an avalanche of news about the Trump legal team, the Stormy Daniels pay-off, the state of the Michael Cohen investigation and the President’s evolving legal jeopardy in the last 24 hours. It started yesterday afternoon with news about a shake up on the President’s legal team and spun out of control in that Rudy Giuliani interview on Hannity last night. We wanted to try to make sense of everything that happened, put it into a comprehensible whole. So we recorded a special “Extra” edition of The Josh Marshall Podcast this afternoon. Listen right here. And tell us what you think.

Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) is a notorious cult-like group of Iranian exiles which appears to have close to literally zero support inside Iran but has for years cultivated significant ties to DC Iran “regime change” advocates as well as a bipartisan list of shills willing to take their money (of which they have quite a lot).

It’s an odd group which mixes Islam, Marxism and neocon-inflected DC Pay-to-Play values into a bizarre amalgam run by current cult leader Maryam Rajavi. Until just a few years ago the US State Department listed them as a terrorist organization. They appear to be mainly out of the terrorism business now. But they’re still a treacherous and dangerous group. With all this you’ll be glad to learn that one of their biggest backers is none other than Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton. And perhaps they’re most high profile and ardent supporter (and recipient of their cash) is Rudy Giuliani.

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Read what this person says. I cannot identify the person but I can vouch for the expertise.

I know everyone has a take on this Rudy/Cohen shit-show, but I thought I would give you some perspective from someone steeped in anti-corruption enforcement (both domestic and foreign) on the prosecution and defense side.

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Here’s a Rudy Giuliani Golden Oldie from the TPM Video Vaults. Watch. You’ll be glad you did. After the jump …

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This was implicit in my earlier post. But I wanted to make the point more explicit. Trump’s tweets this morning made Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit dramatically more viable.

Stormy Daniels is a public figure. She was a public figure all the way back to 2006 when the affair happened and before that. She was certainly a public figure when President Trump made his allegedly defamatory statements. But the earlier statements were general and rather vague – trash talk, if you will. Trump has considerable latitude for trash talk about a public figure. Indeed, one lawyer reader pointed out to me that Daniels’ suit was enough of a stretch that she even had some vulnerability to a successful SLAPP motion. That basically means a counter-claim that it’s a frivolous lawsuit and Daniels’ owes Trump compensation to cover his legal fees.

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I’ve heard from a lot of people this morning claiming that Rudy’s revelation last night was all by design, and a logical new legal strategy at that. Not likely.

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Giuliani went on Hannity this evening and stumbled into saying that President Trump paid Michael Cohen back the $130,000, something Trump has denied. Hannity tried to walk him back. But it didn’t go really well.

Keep an eye on the signs that the 2018 midterms will be fought on the Republican side as a battle to save the Trump presidency from attacks from the “deep state” and Robert Mueller. Just a few moments ago Sarah Sanders released a statement that read “Emmet Flood will be joining the White House Staff to represent the President and the administration against the Russia witch hunt.” We have become inured to hearing the President refer to the Special Counsel probe in this way. Seeing the Press Secretary matter-of-factly do so in an official statement marks another stage in the President’s open war with Mueller and, frankly, the rule of law.

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