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Stop Saying This!

I just heard — to my great chagrin and distress — one of my favorite CNN hosts say “clearly President Trump doesn’t think he did anything wrong.” Not only is this not “clear,” it is almost certainly false. We shouldn’t say this because it’s not true. He certainly knows he did something wrong. He simply doesn’t care.

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Today's Agenda: Republicans To Switch Tactics For Next Phase Of Inquiry

Happy Tuesday, December 3. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee plan to try out new tactics in the next phase of the impeachment inquiry, disposing of Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) conspiracy-theory fixation. Here’s more on that and the other stories we’re watching.

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Good Reference Material

Here’s a helpful article by Philip Bump in the Post.

Bump takes the GOP claims of Ukraine election interference at face value and looks at what they amount to. As he shows pretty clearly, even taken on their face the alleged evidence is basically absurd. It amounts to information coming out of Ukraine – not by the government – about Paul Manafort’s criminal activities and the fact that a few government officials said negative things about Trump on social media, largely in reaction to Trump’s saying Russia was entitled to annex Crimea.

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From Nathan Gonzales in Roll Call

“With a combination of Republicans’ self-inflicted wounds, slow recruiting, or suburbs continuing to shift against the president, Democratic chances of winning improved in a dozen House races in recent weeks. Those rating changes include:”

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It's Not Over

Everything we’re discussing about President Trump’s pressure campaign against Ukraine and President Vladimir Zelensky is framed as events in the past, ones that ended in early September when President Trump released held-up military aid to the country. That is wrong.

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Today's Agenda: Nice Try, Nadler

Happy Monday, December 2. White House counsel Pat Cipollone officially notified the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday that it has no plan to participate in the House’s impeachment inquiry, citing poor planning on behalf of Democrats and an unfair process. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

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Notes, Part 2

TPM Reader JEB follows up with some thoughts on Trumpism, strongman rule and extreme wealth …

As it’s a slow Thanksgiving weekend Friday I re-read your “Brittle Grip” series of posts. You spoke today about the global rise of extreme wealth and strongman rule, though you had previously written mostly about the United States only. This prompts a few thoughts.

The first is the most obvious. Strongman rule has been around for a long time. In one form or another it long characterized the government of nations in several regions of the world. Most of those nations were not especially wealthy; your typical local strongman held political power but not a great deal of economic power, certainly not compared to the United States or the European countries. This has changed somewhat in recent years, more in some countries than in others.

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An Additional Point

TPM Reader DK has a good point. Leaving these to one-off decisions by the Chief Justice as presiding officer has the additional possible advantage of avoiding some damaging precedents …

I have read your discussion of a Senate impeachment trial with John Roberts in the role of presiding officer. The take away being that the Democrats don’t need to wait for a Supreme Court decision to subpoena witnesses (Mulvaney, et.al.) with direct knowledge of White House actions. Instead a witness could be called during a Senate trial, and if Roberts were to overrule objections, they would have to testify.

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A bit uncharacteristically and somewhat uncomfortably I’ve been mulling over a series of issues and commonalities connecting the global rise of strongman rule, Trumpism and extreme wealth but without feeling I’d pulled my thoughts together sufficiently to write about it. So absent any new posts, I thought I’d share the list of earlier posts I’ve been reading through to focus my thoughts.

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