Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Requiem for Elizabeth Warren's Campaign

I could be dead wrong (I was before on this subject) but after her distant fourth place finish in New Hampshire, I suspect that Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign is over. Who knows what might happen at a brokered convention, but I can’t see her contesting much longer for delegates. And that’s a shame.

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Senior administration official on Trump: “I think he feels like the chains are off now. It’s like things have taken a turn. The gloves are off. And everything that used to be hush hush is now just… out in the open.”

Meanwhile this story, which seems like inside baseball about withdrawing a nomination for a position at the Treasury Department, is almost certainly tied to covering up efforts to keep Flynn and Stone out of prison.

He Learned His Lesson

My colleagues are covering the details of the emerging DOJ scandal tied to the sentencing of Roger Stone. I want to note a pattern, which seems critical. Famously, the day after Robert Mueller testified before Congress Trump was on the phone with President Zelensky of Ukraine, trying to bully him into opening those investigations. The plot had been going on for months – but Trump was largely in the background, letting his henchman speech for him. It was on July 25th when Trump grabbed the plot with both hands and communicated directly to Zelensky. He followed up by shutting down the military aid pipeline.

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The Billionaire Question

From TPM Reader AL

I completely agree that Bloomberg’s ads are very persuasive. I also feel something is missing from the discussion on your blog. If we have a billionaire nominee because that person was the best individual in the primary, well so be it. I would prefer if the nominee was not a billionaire, but in that situation the best candidate won and I certainly don’t think billionaires should be barred from running.

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Prosecutor Resigns

Update: Tierney Sneed now has a full report on this news.

We’ll have more in a moment. But this Stone story just got bigger and worse. The lead prosecutor in the Stone case has just submitted a notice of withdrawal from the case. And a footnote to that one sentence notice says he is resigning as an Assistant US Attorney in DC effective immediately. Aaron Zelinsky was acting as a US Attorney in DC but his permanent position is as US Attorney in Baltimore. And according to CNN, the Baltimore US Attorney’s Office says he has not resigned from his position there.

Ed.Note: My initial post wasn’t clear on whether this was resigning for DOJ or from the DC assignment, which stems from the Mueller probe. It appears to be the latter.

Readers Respond on the Rise of Bloomberg

TPM Reader BB on the rise of Bloomberg and the impatience to go after Trump …

Just wanted to respond to this, because it SO accurately describes my experience:

Quoting from this Editors’ Blog post: “Bloomberg’s ads ignore the entire primary process. They focus on Bloomberg himself and increasingly on bashing Donald Trump. I see them a lot on social media. They’re good. Even if you’re a Sanders supporter you’d think they’re good, even if you despise Bloomberg. For a lot of Democrats right now, watching the primaries unfold is highly dispiriting. Bloomberg is already running against Trump, running ads that land hard punches on Trump. If you’re a Democrat, the Democratic primary race is exhausting and demoralizing and the ads bashing Trump get you pumped – just because a lot of Democrats are so focused on driving Trump from office and want to get on to running against him.”

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Exhaustion and Impatience

Usually I publish single emails. But in this case I asked for a follow up with TPM Reader LS

Josh, your next-to-last paragraph REALLY speaks for me (except I’m not supporting Bloomberg, just FYI). I just DGAF, especially after the impeachment farce last week. All the debates and primaries seem like worthless folderol. For me, the primaries are over. I just want to get on with beating this cancer of a human being and ending his crime spree masquerading as an administration once and for all.

I replied …

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As Crooked As It Gets

We’ve now seen what appears to be the second example of the Department of Justice intervening to assist Trump associates facing sentencing. We appeared to see it with Mike Flynn, when prosecutors shifted gear and said they were okay with no jail time after Flynn attempted to tear up his guilty plea and publicly claim to be the target of a witch hunt. I don’t think we knew it directly in that case. It just seemed like the most logical conclusion.

Here though we appear to have DOJ leadership intervening out in the open to protect a friend of the President. And not just a friend of the President but a criminal who was convicted for crimes intended to keep the President out of legal trouble.

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Into The Numbers

Like many of you I’ve been keeping tabs on the news of the novel Coronavirus in China. I’ve been using the Times as my go to source. They have a good, regularly updated run-down that let’s you follow the key details in a quick read. But here’s a piece from three days ago that goes a bit deeper and looks at six factors that will determine the scope of the spread of the virus.

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