Josh Marshall

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Articles by Josh

The House released a bundle of new Parnas documents this evening. I’ve been working my way through them at home. The most interesting to me are copies of exchanges between Robert Hyde – the landscaper from Connecticut – and an unidentified man in Belgian, or at least texting from a Belgian country code number.

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President Trump’s decision to put Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Ray on his impeachment defense team is a good illustration of Trump’s mindset and strategy and the very different approach of Mitch McConnell.

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There’s an interesting catch here from Marcy Wheeler. I’m not sure I entirely agree with her on what it means. But I think she’s on to something. It has to do with Lev Parnas’ explanation of his efforts to get U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired. It’s a bit in the weeds but a pretty big deal.

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There’s a lot of big new information in the various documents given to Congress by Lev Parnas. His interview with Rachel Maddow is a little fuzzier. There’s at least a lot there that seems spun to the hopes of his current audience, which is largely people opposed to Donald Trump. This is hardly surprising. Parnas appears to be a conman, basically. He’s trying to save himself. So we should be cautious about any claims not backed by corroborating evidence, of which there is quite a lot. But here’s one passage worth watching in the second part of his interview that aired tonight on Maddow’s show.

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Lev Parnas is apparently going to appear on Maddow tonight. So we’ll hear a bit more about him and how he’s presenting himself. Maybe he’ll break substantive new news. One fascinating question though is just what his angle is in all this.

You’re probably saying, “well to stay out of jail obviously!” And yes, 100%. He’s definitely trying to save himself. But just how isn’t completely clear, at least not to me. Let’s walk through this.

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I’m trying to get a handle on this question myself. But the big question from last night’s Parnas documents is just what the story is with Robert Hyde, landscaper, absolute biggest Donald Trump fan ever and longshot candidate for Congress who had already been disowned by much of the Connecticut GOP back in December. Was he really involved with surveilling and perhaps considering harming the US Ambassador to Ukraine or is he all talk or perhaps literally crazy? Here’s Josh Kovensky’s write up of what we know so far.

It seems like a stretch to think Hyde’s claims were totally made up. But a month or so after the text exchanges in question Hyde was taken into custody at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida and apparently involuntarily committed for roughly a week to a psychiatric facility after telling police he feared someone was trying to assassinate him.

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Let me share some very preliminary thoughts on the documents and text messages released by the House Intelligence committee from Lev Parnas.

I stress preliminary. I’ve gone through them once. In Josh Kovensky‘s and Matt Shuham’s write up they caught a number of references, the import of which wasn’t clear to me until I understood the full context.

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10:23 p.m.: Warren has dominated this debate so far. That seems unquestionable to me. But winning on points doesn’t always translate into the race itself. Biden has also had a good night simply because no one is really attacking him and he’s making the points he wants to make. He’s ahead. Maybe not in Iowa but nationwide. So in terms of the race itself I think this debate is going well for both of them.

10:08 p.m.: Do not miss my colleagues’ debate live blog which apparently I can’t join.

10:02 p.m.: The debate about the Warren-Sanders conversation was messy. Warren’s comments were similar to her press release: state quickly and unequivocally that Sanders did say it (and by implication is lying) and then quickly pivot to other general comments. Sanders’ answers were weird in large part because he sort of tried to change what was being discussed. That seemed shifty. On balance Warren got the better part of the exchange. But I think it could have gone a lot worse for Sanders. Warren closed the discussion with this which was very strong.

9:24 p.m.: There were some decent answers on the foreign policy discussion. But Blitzer framed it in a very confusing and misleading way. Combat troops? Does that mean the U.S. Navy in the Gulf? Qatar, Bahrain? By framing it around Iran’s demand for a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East he had people answering whether they supported something like the British withdrawal in like 1971. That’s not what any of these candidates are talking about with the possible exception of Sanders. And I don’t think he really is either.

9:13 p.m.: Warren’s answer was the best on the foreign and defense policy questions so far tonight.