This is a brief note and is in no way a defense of the Saudis. But I think we can see another common pattern between our relationship with the Saudis and the Russians. In both cases, because President Trump is not only resistant to taking action against Saudi Arabia but apparently under some kind of corrupt influence by Saudis there is a tendency to propose more and more extreme responses. This is a manageable but dangerous tendency we should all be mindful of, with both countries.
Yesterday we saw a flurry of discussion about Bob Mueller’s investigation moving quickly after the election either to indictments or a report or perhaps to start wrapping up the investigation altogether. Let me share a few thoughts on that.
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Based on 538’s forecast which just got posted, if every race goes the way 538 is calling it (insert caveats here), the following states among others will have a Democratic governor: WI, MI, PA, FL. That’s a whopping 75 electoral votes right there.
For days I’ve been getting emails from TPM Readers asking me if I thought there was a connection between the assassination of Saudi exile Jamal Khashoggi (10/2) and the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (10/9). In response to each email I gave a version of this response: I could think of no positive evidence whatsoever connecting the two events. But I had definitely considered the possibility for the simple reasons that 1) Khashoggi’s disappearance and apparent murder was a major international incident that lined up closely in time with Haley’s departure and 2) we have yet to receive any credible explanation for Haley’s abrupt resignation. Remember: not only did Haley’s departure come as a public surprise. Apparently the most senior members of President Trump’s foreign policy team were also caught off guard by her resignation.
Here is a story about an on-going lawsuit by a group of advertisers against Facebook. It all seems fairly technical and distant from most of our concerns. But it’s actually something that has had a huge impact on the evolution of the news publishing industry over the last few years, and something that seems to have been based in large measure on Facebook’s fraud.
The more you read this Bloomberg report on the Mueller probe, the more questions it raises. Mueller may be prepping a report of some sort soon after the midterms. But he’s also not close to being done with the probe. The biggest news, as far as I can see, is the hint that Rod Rosenstein is losing patience with the probe and is pressuring Mueller to wrap it up.
As we evaluate the Trump administration’s reaction to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and the President’s heavy reliance on the value of his $110 billion arms deal, it is very important to understand that that deal doesn’t even exist. Does not exist. It’s a mix of old proposals, new proposals, letters of intent and smoke – with a heavy emphasis on smoke. Here are the details.