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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

On the House side (and to some but a much lesser extent in the Senate) congressional oversight has been entirely focused on protecting President Trump. With so many key questions ignored and evidence covered up, that leaves an ample to do list of necessary investigations if the Democrats retake control of the House of Representatives in January 2019. Here’s another for the list – it’s about Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes and his probable collaborator in the White House.

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The national press is now sifting over just what triggered the original Russia probe in the summer of 2016. Ironically the Nunes Memo appears to confirm something Republicans have been at pains to deny: that it was the Australian intelligence tip about George Papadopoulos that triggered the initial probe in July 2016. But if we look at, or for, one single trigger I think we will miss a major part of the story, maybe the story itself.

Going back months before summer 2016, the FBI had been investigating a series of cyberattacks on the DNC and other political committees. This in itself was not that surprising: hacking for intelligence gathering is a part of intelligence work. It’s not welcome. But it’s part of the routine cat and mouse of modern intelligence gathering. But certainly, some people at the FBI’s counter-intelligence division must have noticed in March when Trump announced that a man the FBI had surveilled for years as a possible Russian agent would be his top advisor on European and Russian affairs. That’s Carter Page.

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I’d say we need to know more about. Quickly.

From a South Korean paper, flagged on Twitter by The Washington Post’s Tokyo Bureau Chief …

Indeed, White House National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Matthew Pottinger was reported as saying in a recent closed-door meeting with US experts on Korean Peninsula issues that a limited strike on the North “might help in the midterm elections.”

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Let me share some informed speculation and inference about last night’s news about Hope Hicks and Mueller probe. It has to do with the lead reporter Jo Becker and a series of stories she’s done on the Russia story.

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My colleague David Kurtz makes a very good point about this afternoon’s Peter Strzok revelation. Before getting to that good point, let me review the news. Strzok is the high-ranking FBI counter-intelligence agent who was removed from the Mueller probe over anti-Trump texts he’d shared with another FBI employee he was then having an affair with. Strzok and his then-girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, have become the centerpiece of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory which posits an FBI/Deep State cabal manufacturing the Russia probe to delegitimize and destroy Trump’s presidency.

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I saw a fascinating interview just a few moments ago on CNN. It was with Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL). Great minds think alike, I guess. Here’s a bit of background before we get to the interview.

Over the last day or so I’ve been hearing these questions about whether the White House collaborated on writing the Nunes Memo. It seemed neither side – not Nunes or the White House – was giving a straight answer. After hearing this a few times, it clicked for me. Of course, they worked together! They have a history. This goes all the way back to the Spring of 2017 when Devin Nunes got caught up in that bizarre “un-masking” nonsense, working as the errand boy of the White House. Remember, that midnight visit to the White House, looking at supposedly highly classified documents that revealed a scandal about ‘un-masking’ and illicit Obama White House surveillance of the Trump 2016 campaign. The whole charade finally blew up in Nunes’ face and led indirectly to his what amounted to his forced recusal from the House intelligence committee investigation. So he’s got a history.

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If you missed it last night in the run up to the speech, please take a moment to read my backgrounder post about the Inspector General’s investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton emails probe in 2016. Big picture: what began as a probe into James Comey’s at best botched final-week intervention into the campaign appears to have been repurposed into a probe into whether the FBI didn’t intervene enough. It’s like entering bizarro world. Very troubling stuff. Take a look (Prime access).

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