Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Trump-Russia watchers have been expecting new developments, perhaps big new developments, after the mid-term election which is now three weeks in the past. There’s been chatter – episodes in the Stone and Corsi as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern phase of the story – but very little tangible new information or developments. But in the last 36 hours we’ve had a bewildering series of developments. They are potentially very big. But they’re also difficult to make sense of.

Let’s try to walk through them.

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It’s hard to keep track of the outrages. But this is a good point. From our former federal public corruption prosecutor reader …

Trump and his Congressional allies seem to be getting a pass from the media on his refusal to cooperate with the Mueller investigation by sitting for an interview and/or testifying to the grand jury. It is easy to chalk this up to yet another outrage that, over time, fades in our memories and seems to become the new normal for the pundit class. Instead, the “will he or won’t he” question has become the classic Trumpian reality show cliffhanger that has set the media narrative around this issue. But let’s be really clear about one thing: it is still an outrage and must be described as such. The man is President of the United States, not a mob boss. This should not be a “will he or won’t he” question. The real question should be “why the hell won’t the President of the United States agree to an interview with federal law enforcement”?

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This is funny. From Bloomberg

Two months ago, Facebook showed off a “War Room” that brought employees from different teams together to quickly spot and fix issues like misinformation during the U.S. midterm elections. At the time, the company said the War Room might be deployed for future elections. But it’s been disbanded. Facebook says it was never intended to be permanent, and the company is still assessing what is needed for future elections.

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Seth Moulton, head of the 16-signer-letter anti-Pelosi group, now wants to sue for terms from Leader Pelosi. But she apparently won’t take his calls. So he’s forced to go to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa to sue for terms. Actually, it’s now a 14 signer letter since two of Moulton’s fellow 16 – Reps. Higgins and Lynch – already bailed out while Moulton was still on the plane.

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Flailing (though probably winning) candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith lauds “distant relative” Sen. Henry Hyde of Oklahoma, author of the Hyde Amendment.

With a highly dangerous situation unfolding between Russia and Ukraine over the weekend, it’s important to return to a basic point about President Trump and the danger he represents to the United States. This is as relevant to the crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia as it is with Russia and Ukraine.

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Here’s a really good article from the Jackson Free Press about Cindy Hyde-Smith, the appointed Republican US Senator now running for election in her own right against Democrat Mike Espy. It’s a more detailed and complex story than the way it’s been presented when aggregated in other publications. Hyde-Smith went to one of the notorious segregation academies set up in the deep south to escape desegregation in the public schools. She in turn sent her daughter to the descendent of one of those academies, which remains almost exclusively white. Hyde-Smith herself comes off in the story as mostly a cypher and a weather vane but one whose tendency and instincts have always been toward the worst aspects of the state’s racist past and present. Hyde-Smith was actually a Democrat until about a decade ago. It’s a good read.

Any discussion of voting rights, voter ID laws, voter suppression efforts and related matters requires journalists who have some understanding of the issue. So it was disappointing to see NBC News publish this piece by a reporter who seems to have not even the most passing familiarity with the issues involved. This isn’t just journalism criticism. These pieces, uninformed and tendentious, have real consequences in building political support to take away people’s ability to vote. The NBC story is tied to a scam in which a group of people allegedly went to Los Angeles’ ‘skid row’ district and paid homeless people either money or cigarettes to sign bogus voter registration forms and petitions to place referendums on the California ballot. This part of the story is real, as we can see from this report from a real news organization, The Los Angeles Times.

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Jerome Corsi is a professional liar and a volatile one at that. But the Post is reporting that he is now in negotiations to plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If that’s true, if it happens, that will likely bring him significantly closer to Roger Stone (who I strongly suspect Mueller already has more than enough information on to indict). And that in turn should be a big step closer to unraveling what went on between the Trump campaign, Russia and Wikileaks. They’re all part of one big story.