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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I’ve been wondering the same thing as TPM Reader GG all day long. It’s a whole other issue that the President’s private criminal defense attorney shouldn’t be opining, seemingly on his behalf, about high-stakes national security issues. But this comment … Rudy told a conference in Tel Aviv that “Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”

What is going on with Team Trump appearing to go for the most inflammatory possible language in relation to Kim? Between Bolton’s Libya nonsense and Rudy’s “begging on his knees” remark, surely we have to note a pattern of extreme provocation that seems laser-focused on upending the summit.

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You heard that crazy story about how a White House contract employee was arrested by the Secret Service because of an outstanding warrant for attempted murder in Maryland. Almost certainly this is some crazy story tied to Martest Edwards’ personal life and not anything to do with the White House. But he wasn’t just any contractor. He worked at the National Security Council. An online bio on Linkedin says he worked as an executive assistant at the Pentagon from June 2015 and as a “police officer” at the Defense Intelligence Agency since early 2012. He seems to have had various positions at the DIA doing general security related tasks. Who knows what this guy’s story is. But I’m curious to learn more about how he got his job and what his job was at the NSC.

One of my most important lessons in Trumpist ideology came early and it came from then-Times columnist Joe Nocera. Describing one of Trump’s golf resort deals, he wrote over two years ago: “What was taking place in Jupiter was an essential part of Trump’s modus operandi. In every deal, he has to win and you have to lose. He is notorious for refusing to pay full price to contractors and vendors after they’ve completed work for him. And he basically dares the people he has stiffed to sue him…” It goes beyond this though. Trump doesn’t know he’s won until you lose. Indeed, that’s what winning is: making you lose.

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Oh

NSC contractor arrested at the White House on outstanding attempted murder warrant.

Today as I was writing up various bizarre new permutations of the George Papadopoulos/Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos story, I didn’t know there was even more bizarreness emerging from a separate interview Simona Mangiante gave The Daily Caller. The Caller interview, which was conducted Sunday, largely tracks with what Mangiante told Tucker Carlson last night on Fox News. The new detail is her claim that George Papadopoulos old pled guilty to the charge of lying to federal investigators because the Mueller team had threatened to charge him with acting as an agent of Israel without registration as such – the same crime Paul Manafort got hit on with Ukraine.

What on earth is going on here?

Let’s take these points one at a time.

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Dershowitz: “The President wasn’t wrong when he said I want loyalty from my Attorney General. It’s the constitution that’s wrong for allowing that kind of a division to occur.”

Note that in the tweet I had the transcription of the first sentence slightly off. The text in the post is correct. Same gist, slightly different wording.

In my post from yesterday, I put together the timeline and circumstantial evidence which, I believe, strongly suggests President Trump discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin the phony cover story he would prepare the next day for his son, Donald Trump, Jr. There’s another element of the story which also provides key context and points to President Trump’s state of mind and sources of information at the time.

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I’ve been poking around this morning and the George Papadopoulos/Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos situation is way, way weirder than I’d come close to realizing. As I noted this morning, for whatever reason the couple has now glommed on to Trump’s “spygate” conspiracy theory. As I noted, not only is this troubling. It doesn’t even add up in any obvious way in self-interested terms. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to a relative minor felony, lying to federal agents. With cooperation he should get a light sentence. Shifting gears and playing for an anti-Deep State pardon seems very hard to figure. But something else happened when I was listening to that interview last night.

Put simply, when I listening to Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos last night she didn’t sound like she’s Italian.

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