Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote in a statement Tuesday that the committee’s probe of Russian election meddling made clear “Russia had disdain for Secretary Clinton and was motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm her candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed.”

That statement, flagged by CNBC, seems to be at odds with the one-page summary of committee Republicans’ draft report on the probe released by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) Monday. That document said in part that the committee had concurred with the intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment of Russian meddling “except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.” 

Conaway announced Monday that the committee had completed the information-gathering portion of its investigation and would share a draft report with Democrats Tuesday. Democrats on the committee, led by Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), have long complained of Republicans’ handling of the probe.

Schiff said in an interview Tuesday that Democrats will release a minority report on Russian election meddling, including both evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and details on “the investigative steps that were never taken to answer further questions about the Russians and the Trump campaign’s conduct.”

CNBC noted that committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who stepped aside from his role leading the Russia probe over an ethics investigation, thanked Conaway, Gowdy and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) by name for their work on the investigation in a statement Monday.

Gowdy, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, announced in January that he would not seek re-election to Congress.

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, confirmed in an interview Tuesday that Democrats on the committee would be releasing their own report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The minority report, according to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, who interviewed Schiff, will both “seek to rebut the GOP conclusions” and “detail all the investigative avenues that House Republicans declined to take — the interviews that they didn’t conduct, and the leads that they didn’t try to chase down and verify.”

Schiff told Sargent that the report will feature information that Republicans “didn’t permit to influence their conclusions,” in Sargent’s words.

“There’s no way for them to reach the conclusions that they want to start with unless they ignore or mischaracterize what we’ve been able to learn,” Schiff told Sargent.

“We will be presenting evidence of collusion, some of which is in the public domain and apparent to everyone willing to see it, and other facts that have not yet come to public light,” Schiff said separately. “I fully expect that the majority will omit many of these facts in its report and mischaracterize others.”

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who led the committee’s investigation, announced Monday that it had concluded the interview and document-gathering portion of the investigation, and that Republicans would share their draft report with Democrats on Tuesday.

According to a one-page summary of the draft report, Republicans on the committee found “no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” and concurred with “the Intelligence Community Assessment’s judgments, except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

In a statement Monday, Schiff lambasted committee Republicans’ actions as yet “another capitulation to the executive branch.”

Notably, Schiff told Sargent that he expected the Democrats’ report would “be on a similar page to the analysis by the Senate [Intelligence Committee].” That committee’s probe is seen as less plagued by partisan rancor.

 “House Republicans are likely to be out on a political lark,” Schiff said.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday that he told Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo the committee would “move through the confirmation process as quickly as we could.”

Corker acknowledged to reporters, though, that he “never really had much, if any, dealings with” Pompeo, the current CIA director who Trump announced Tuesday would take Rex Tillerson’s place leading the State Department.

“I’m not sure we’ve even met,” Corker said of Pompeo. “I think we might have met once.”

Corker said he hadn’t yet had a chance to speak with Tillerson following Trump’s announcement.

In October of last year, the Tennessee senator said Tillerson was one of three people — along with Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — who “help separate our country from chaos.”

Asked about that remark Tuesday, Corker said “Pompeo seems like someone who also has a distinguished background.”

“I just need to get to know him and sit down with him,” he added. The senator said Trump called him to discuss the change at 9:58 a.m., well after the President had publicized it on his Twitter account.

Corker, though he votes with President Donald Trump’s legislative priorities the vast majority of the time, has criticized Trump in the past. In September of last year he announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018.

Corker’s office released an official statement shortly after he spoke to reporters:

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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is known for his gaffes. He didn’t disappoint Tuesday in a tweet wishing fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson well:

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The Texas Secretary of State’s office is investigating the notary who stamped her approval on an adult film star’s non-disclosure agreement regarding an alleged fair with President Donald Trump, the Dallas Morning News reported Monday.

By now, that agreement is well known: Porn actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, received $130,000 to stay mum about the alleged sexual relationship. Clifford has argued forcefully in recent weeks that she has the right to tell her story because Trump didn’t sign the document, and she’s launched a publicity tour reportedly to include a “60 Minutes” appearance.

But the News reported Monday on yet another complication with the agreement: According to a letter from the Texas Secretary of State’s office obtained by the paper, Erica Jackson, the notary public whose stamp appears on the non-disclosure agreement, did not sign or date it. Jackson also failed provide a required notarial certificate confirming that the people signing the document were who they claimed to be, the letter said.

“Attaching your seal to a document without a notarial certificate constitutes good cause for the secretary of state to take action against your notary commission,” wrote Maria Y. Morales of the Secretary of State’s office in the letter, which was attached to a formal complaint.

Jackson told the News Friday that she didn’t recall the document and declined to be interviewed, the paper said.

Notably, the non-disclosure agreement used fake names to refer to Clifford and Trump: Peggy Peterson and David Dennison, respectively. While Clifford’s signature appears above “PP,” Trump’s does not appear above “DD,” which Clifford argued last week invalidates the agreement.

Clifford’s lawyer, Michael J. Avenatti, told the News that Trump’s missing signature was still “the issue […] not any issue involving a notary.”

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The leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s probe of Russian election meddling announced Monday that the first phase of the probe was over.

“We will now be moving into the next phase of this investigation, working with the minority on a report to give the American people answers to the questions they’ve been asking for over a year,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) said in a statement, adding that “with just 238 days until the mid-term elections in November, it’s important that we give the American people the information they need to arm themselves against Russian attempts to influence our elections.” (Read Conaway’s full statement below.)

An attached one-page summary of a draft report promises “40+ initial findings that describe,” among other things, that “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Republicans said they would share their draft with Democrats Tuesday.

The committee has faced a bitter partisan divide in its approach to the investigation. The USA Today noted Monday that Democrats on the committee will pen their own report with likely far different conclusions that Republicans’.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the committee’s ranking member, said in a statement Monday that “While the Majority members of our committee have indicated for some time that they have been under great pressure to end the investigation, it is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch.”

“By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly,” Schiff added.

Republicans’ report will also describe, according to the summary released Monday, “How anti-Trump research made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign” and “Problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media.”

The summary said committee Republicans concurred with “the Intelligence Community Assessment’s judgments, except with respect to Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

The last sentence of the summary document hinted at more partisan fights to come: “Additional follow-on efforts arising from the investigation include oversight of the unmasking of Americans’ names in intelligence reports, FISA abuse, and other matters.”

“I look forward to working with Ranking Member Schiff on this next phase of our investigation,” Conaway said in his statement. “The American people deserve our cooperation, and our transparency.”

Read Conaway’s full “HPSCI Russia Investigation Update” below:

Washington — On Monday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) announced an update on the status of the Russia Investigation. Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11), who has led the probe since last April, released the following statement:

“Near the start of the HPSCI investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 election, the Committee majority and minority agreed to four parameters for this investigation, covering Russian active measures directed against the 2016 election and against our European allies, the U.S. Government’s response to those attacks, links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and leaks of classified information. After conducting 73 witness interviews, holding nine hearings and briefings, and reviewing over 300,000 documents, we are confident that we have thoroughly investigated the agreed-upon parameters, and developed reliable initial findings and recommendations.

“We will now be moving into the next phase of this investigation, working with the minority on a report to give the American people answers to the questions they’ve been asking for over a year. With the 2018 primary elections already underway and just 238 days until the mid-term elections in November, it’s important that we give the American people the information they need to arm themselves against Russian attempts to influence our elections.

“I look forward to working with Ranking Member Schiff on this next phase of our investigation. The American people deserve our cooperation, and our transparency.”

A one page overview of the status of the investigation can be found here. The bipartisan parameters of the investigation can be found here. The metrics of the investigation can be found here. More information about the need for urgent action on election security can be found here.

This post has been updated.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday claimed that President Donald Trump still supports raising the purchase age for firearms, though he’s done little to enact any relevant policy.

At a press briefing, Sanders claimed that Trump was referring to Congress when he tweeted Monday morning that there is “not much political support” for a proposal to raise the purchase age for firearms. 

The White House did not list the policy as a legislative priority in a plan to prevent school shootings that it unveiled on Sunday, though various polls show that most Americans support raising the age for gun purchases. Instead, it announced that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a Federal Commission on School Safety to “study and make recommendations” on that subject and others.

“The President, as you know, doesn’t have the ability to just create federal law,” Sanders said Monday. “What he is pushing forward are things that can immediately be accomplished, either through the administration or that have broad-based bipartisan support in Congress. But that doesn’t mean that he has wiped away some of those other things that we’re still looking at how best we can move forward on.”

Sanders said Trump and congressional Republicans could ultimately leave it to states — as Florida did recently — to raise the purchase age on their own.

“Look, the President still has in this plan the age limit increase and that is part of one of the things that will be reviewed on what the best path forward is on that front, whether it can be done at a federal level or whether it needs to be done on a state-by-state basis,” she said.

Sanders separately complained that members of the media “continue to misunderstand and misrepresent the comments that I’m making,” but acknowledged that DeVos’ commission wasn’t focused on immediate legislative priorities.

“Why did he name this DeVos commission less than 24 hours after ridiculing the idea of blue ribbon commissions?” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked at one point, referring to Trump’s characterization of opioid commissions during a rally Saturday in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. “He said all they do is talk and talk and talk and two hours later, they write a report. On this issue, a commission’s okay? Why?”

Sanders did not dispute Trump’s disparaging description of commissions, but told Karl, “There are a number of things that he is pushing forward that are very tangible,” citing “support of specific pieces of legislation that we expect to move forward” and “administrative action like getting rid of the bump stocks that the President has been very vocal about and is going to continue to push for.”

Sanders in February said that Trump was “supportive of the concept” of raising the age of gun ownership to 21 years old in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which left 17 people dead. Trump himself endorsed the idea in more absolute terms, and at one point said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was “afraid of the NRA” for hesitating at the proposal.

The White House’s policy proposal announced Sunday backed away not only from the proposal to raise the purchase age for firearms but also from other policies objectionable to the gun lobby, including universal background checks and empowering law enforcement to seize firearms from individuals understood to be an urgent threat to themselves or others.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to deliver a press briefing at 2:30 p.m. ET on Monday. Watch live below:

President Donald Trump on Monday claimed that there is “not much political support” for a proposal to raise the purchase age for firearms, a month after a 19-year-old allegedly opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.

“States are making this decision,” Trump tweeted.

Trump initially voiced support for raising the age of purchase for firearms to 21 years in the wake of the Valentine’s Day mass shooting.

Senior executives from the National Rifle Association reportedly asked the President at a lunch later in February to reconsider his position on the idea. In a televised meeting with lawmakers a few days later, however, Trump told them to “think about” raising the age and mocked Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) when he hesitated at the proposal, telling him “You’re afraid of the NRA.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in March hedged that Trump was simply interested in the “concept” of raising the age of purchase for “some weapons,” and said that the President knew “there’s not a lot of broad support for that.”

After Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) last week signed a bill into law raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 years, the National Rifle Association sued the state of Florida over that part of the legislation on the same day.

The White House on Sunday unveiled a school safety plan without any commitment to support raising the minimum age of purchase for firearms. Instead, the White House announced, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a new commission that will examine the proposal.

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Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg returned to cable television Sunday, following a Friday appearance before special counsel’s Robert Mueller’s grand jury, with a simple message for the President: Cooperate.

“The President is going to have to explain, and the President has to do an interview, I would say,” he told MNSBC’s Alex Witt in an interview Sunday, before referring to the President’s decision to fire then-FBI Director James Comey. “I would highly suggest that he does.”

The Sunday interview represented a 180-degree turn for Nunberg. In November of last year, he advised Trump not to cooperate with Mueller. And last week he made a show, in several televised interviews, of promising to defy the special counsel’s subpoena for his communications with several campaign officials, including Roger Stone, who Nunberg has called his mentor. 

Nunberg did end up committing to hand over the requested emails and appearing before Mueller’s grand jury. He’s since bragged about the coverage his defiant interview blitz achieved.

On Sunday, he advocated for the President’s cooperation with Mueller, saying that “taxpayers are getting their money’s worth,” with the special counsel’s office and describing the grand jury as serious, attentive, and “people that represented all parts of America.” Robert Mueller himself, Nunberg said, wasn’t in attendance at his appearance.

“To me it felt like he was a Talmud teacher and I was back in Yeshiva,” Nunberg told Witt, describing the lawyer interviewing him before the grand jury.

“It was ‘boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.’ There was nothing subjective,” he continued.

Asked if Mueller’s team was looking into Russian involvement in the Trump campaign, Nunberg said he didn’t think he was “leaking anything that the special counsel would be upset with” by saying that “of course they’re looking into whether there was coordination with the emails, of course they are, and the hacking.”

Nunberg said he thought both Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-candidate Donald Trump were “too smart” to attempt to work directly with each other.

“There are a lot of weird connections,” though, he noted at one point.

“This is legitimate to have this special counsel,” Nunberg said. “That’s why I also think the President should meet with him and get this over with.”


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