Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We’re going to do a Breaking News Inside Briefing at 3 PM this afternoon to answer your questions about the Roger Stone indictments, the inclusion of Steve Bannon and possibly the President in the Wikileaks line of discussions. We’ll have me, TPM reporters and possibly some outside reporters on this case to dig into what it all means and answer your questions.

If you’re an Inside Subscriber, you’ll be receiving an email invite shortly. If you’re interested in joining us we now have monthly Inside memberships in addition to annual ones. Talk soon.

With Michael Cohen’s decision to postpone his testimony before Congress, people are starting to focus on President Trump’s repeated attacks on Cohen’s unnamed “father-in-law”. It is outrageous that a sitting President would repeatedly threaten anyone with legal action, especially in a case when it is done with the intention of squelching testimony against him. But this isn’t just out of the blue character assassination. Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, does have a criminal record (he pleaded guilty to money laundering related charges in the early 90s) and has reputed Russian/Ukraine organized crime connections that, critically, Trump appears to be connected to. There’s good reason to believe that it was Trump and Shusterman’s business ties, money flow ties, that is actually what brought Cohen into Trump’s world in the first place. I go into some detail about it here. Shusterman seems to be one of the links that ties Trump to the Russian money channels that are central to this entire story.

So we shouldn’t run after Trump’s character assassination. But this has always been part of the story that requires a lot more attention and scrutiny. As I said, more here.

Last evening I saw the news that Buzzfeed is laying off 15% of its staff, over 200 people. On the same day Verizon announced that it is cutting 7% of the staff at its media division (formerly known as Oath). That’s about 800 people. There’s another round of layoffs at Gannet, though the numbers there aren’t clear. This is all just news announced today. I run a much smaller operation. But each time I read these stories, which seem to come with increasing frequency, I feel both a chill of fear and an odd satisfaction that, at least for now, we’re bucking the trend.

Satisfaction isn’t quite the word for it. It’s more like what you feel if you’re sailing in very rough water, made a plan, stuck to the plan and at the other end of the voyage found you were still afloat. It’s not satisfaction. It’s more like ‘We’re still afloat and that’s much better than not being afloat.’ Maybe it’s relief.

I’d first written a more elaborate version of this post. But the point is simple. We’re here and not going anywhere because we have a super dedicated audience, one dedicated enough to subscribe and become members of our community. When you sign up for Prime or Prime AF or Inside, that’s the basis of our vitality as a publication. If you’re a subscriber, we’re here because of you. It’s that simple.

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Over the weekend I gave you my take on the incident at the Lincoln Memorial last Friday. As I argued, the original video that went viral lacked a good deal of context. But when you add in the context, the upshot is not dramatically different, an ugly interaction in which a gaggle of white teens, many in MAGA caps, taunt and jeer an impassive Native American man with ‘tomahawk chops’ amid various hoops and hollers. NBC News is now out with an interview with Nick Sandmann, the high schooler at the center of the drama. Sandmann’s “position”, as he calls it, is that he wasn’t disrespectful and that he didn’t do anything wrong.

Sandmann’s interview is of a piece with the statement he put out earlier in the week with the assistance (or probably actually written by) a GOP PR firm hired by his parents. Sandmann says he was simply trying to defuse the situation and wanted to listen to Phillips.

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The Louisville Courier Journal first reported last night that a GOP-aligned PR firm run (along with two other partners) by a paid CNN commentator, Scott Jennings, was the outfit behind the published testimonial of Nick Sandmann, the high school junior got into that stand-off with Native American activist Nathan Phillips in DC on Friday. But there’s more! Jennings was also a key player in the US Attorney firing scandal way back when. Here’s a search for Scott Jennings and ‘Iglesias’, the last name of the New Mexico US Attorney he was instrumental in firing for not pushing enough bogus voter fraud cases. There’s like a million stories from the 2007 to 2009 era from various TPM elders like Zack Roth, Kate Klonick, Paul Kiel and even me.

Here’s the passage in Isaac Chotiner’s New Yorker interview with Rudy Giuliani that we’ll inevitably all be talking about tomorrow (emphasis added) …

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Over the last couple days I’ve been watching the unfolding reaction and re-reactions to the video of the confrontation between Native American activist and elder Nathan Phillips and a crowd of high school students from Covington, Kentucky on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The whole story is a good example of how we can react quickly to a zoomed in (both literally and metaphorically) video and miss a lot of what led up to it, as well as some key context. With that said, though, when you add all the context I’m not sure it’s all that different from what it looked like on the first go, despite some now saying the new evidence and new videos change everything.

Saturday night and into Sunday I watched numerous different videos of the encounter itself and what led up to it. So let me give you my impression of what happened as well as links to videos and accounts which can help you come to your own conclusions.

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We’re just a short time away from introducing Prime AF, our new Ad Free version of Prime. I want to thank all our current Prime subscribers who’ve asked to be notified when Prime AF is ready. So far that number is just under 3,000 subscribers out of our total of just under 30,000. That’s a great start. If you’re one of those 3,000 subscribers you will get an email as soon Prime AF is ready, along with instructions on how to upgrade and get a special discount if you sign before the end of January.

If you’re an existing Prime subscriber, I hope you’ll consider upgrading to Prime AF. Upgrade for no ads. Upgrade for the faster site. Upgrade because it’s critical to the future of our operation.

If you’d like to be emailed when you can sign up just click the thumbs up icon at the bottom of this post.

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Seemingly using the opportunity of the disputed Buzzfeed story, Rudy Giuliani is now conceding a maximal version of President Trump’s attempts to get a multi-hundred million dollar payday from Vladimir Putin for the length of the 2016 presidential campaign. Giuliani quotes Trump saying that negotiations for the Moscow Trump Tower deal were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”

During the time Trump was singing Putin’s praises on the campaign trail and getting Putin’s help with hacking and information campaigns, Putin was dangling a few hundred million dollars in front of Trump.