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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We’ve discussed it many times. Most of us realize it: one of the great ironies, and perhaps tragedies of the “gun control” debate is that it has been backed into such limited and incremental policy prescriptions that those prescriptions can be reasonably derided by “gun rights” advocates as barely worth the trouble or hardly of any use. We know that no one restriction would prevent every needless tragedy. But together, a number of them, interweaving and compounding each other, would prevent or limit many massacres and bloodbaths. More importantly, this whole logic is not one we apply to any other problem of criminality or public health. Our entire counter-terrorism policy is based on no silver bullets but a series of traversable but still consequential obstacles, the aim of which is to disrupt, make more complicated or reveal conspiracies. We have collectively made it mainly too difficult to hatch plots to commandeer airliners or even effectively communicate to plan major operations at all. So radicals are reduced to largely ineffectual (but still often deadly) DIY kitchenware based bombs and trucks. That’s a good thing.

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As you may have seen last night, Michael Cohen, President Trump’s purported longtime personal lawyer, conceded that he did pay adult actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election. But there’s a catch. It was his money! Or so Cohen says. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign reimbursed him. “I am Mr. Trump’s longtime special counsel and I have proudly served in that role for more than a decade,” said Cohen in a statement released yesterday. “In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump … Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

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It turns out the Maine GOP got into the Nunes fake GOP news site racket even before Devin Nunes did. Check out our story.

Some Prime members are continuing to have issues logging into the site. We are aware of the issue and working as rapidly as we can to solve it. We made one fix today which has minimized but not fixed the problem. Our team worked late into the evening tonight on a permanent fix and will be back at it in the morning. Please know: We are aware of the issue. This is affecting a small number of readers and a smaller number after this evening. But if it’s affecting you I know it’s very annoying. Fixing it is our top priority. I will continue to update you here in the Editors’ Blog. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We’re going to bring you some more details about this shortly. But the White House’s position on the Porter background check was that it was an on-going process, so in key ways out of their hands. FBI Director Christopher Wray just confirmed that that is not true – that the check was mainly completed last year and that the file was officially closed in January, before any of the scandal broke. Here’s Dana Bash explaining.

As Bash notes, it was on the calendar that Wray would be testifying in a public setting. So all but certain he’d be asked about this and presumably wouldn’t lie, in an easily impeachable fashion, on their behalf.

I have thought for some time that we still have little grasp of the gravity and unprecedented nature of the challenge President Obama and his team faced during the interregnum between the 2016 election and President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, 2017. The President had to manage a smooth transition and hand off of authority to the new President. Given Obama’s deep-seated institutionalism, doing this right was clearly an important personal commitment. At the same time, he and his top national security and intelligence advisors believed they had to be careful about whether information they shared with the President’s incoming team might be going to agents of Russia. Our system simply has no mechanism to grapple with such a situation. I want to refer back to this remarkable ‘note to file’ email from Susan Rice.

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In recent weeks we have seen a flurry of Fox News hothouse scandals which blow up for a day before collapsing under the weight of their own ridiculousness. Last week we had the story about how President Obama supposedly wanted to hear all the information about the Clinton emails investigation before it was clear that the date of the text in question made it clear it was about the Russia probe. Now we have some related but demonstrating a different tendency.

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