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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Last week, in his sentencing hearing, George Papadopoulos expressed deep remorse for his crime and asked for a lenient sentence, which he got: 14 days in jail. In her weekend interview, Papadopoulos’s wife, Simona Mangiante, seemed to all but troll the Special Counsel’s office with the widespread suspicions that she is in fact herself a spy or tied in some fashion to Russian intelligence. After the sentencing I thought, what happened to all the “deep state” conspiracy theories Mangiante had been peddling on Fox News all summer, asking for a pardon, going deep into the Fox News/Hannity-sphere with every conspiracy under the sun?

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There’s a cardinal rule of politics, at least presidential politics. That is that the President gets the credit, especially when it comes to the economy. It seldom matters just who is responsible. Often it’s quite difficult, even in retrospect, to know who is responsible. But good or bad, the incumbent gets the praise or the blame. Right now the President’s Council of Economic Advisors chief is giving a presentation as part of the daily press briefing. But almost the entirety of it is making the point that absolutely, positively none of the good stuff has anything to do with Obama.

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There’s no Democrat most Democrats outside of West Virginia find more consistently annoying than Joe Manchin. He consistently provides the most unreliable vote on numerous issues that national Democrats care deeply about. Many Democrats say he should just become a Republican or get primaried. You probably remember that when he last ran for reelection he ran an ad in which he shot the “cap and trade” bill currently before Congress – a twofer of cultural and economic messaging.

This time, running for reelection in what is likely the most pro-Trump state in the country, West Virginia, he’s running a similar ad. But what he’s shooting this time is quite interesting. It’s a lawsuit, supported by his rival, that threatens Obamacare.

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In case you missed it over the weekend, journalists seem to be coming around to what should have been clear from the git-go: “Senior Administration Official” applies to scores of appointees and many people you probably haven’t heard of before.

This is a super important week for TPM and for our annual Prime sign-up drive. We had a great start. We’re more than half way to our goal of 2,000 new members. This week it’s critical we get to 1500. If you’re a regular reader of TPM and you haven’t become a member, please make it this week. You’ll see a handful of my posts on it over the next few days. When you see one, take a moment to click the link and join us.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m skeptical that the “anonymous” writer of that New York Times “resistance” oped is really as senior a figure as people think. In part it is difficult to believe that a Cabinet Secretary or top White House adviser would pen such an attack – inevitably they’d be found out. But that’s not the main reason. I learned a long time ago that this phrase “senior administration official” and similar phrases are actually highly elastic in nature. It can refer to a substantially greater number of people than the two or three dozen that includes cabinet secretaries, heads of top agencies and highest level White House officials. How many more? I have no idea. At a minimum I’d say two or three dozen White House officials and at a minimum the top and number two person at every department. It potentially includes a lot of people. Always has. Now comes some confirmation of this reasoning, but in a round about and somewhat a**-covering way.

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I confess I was a bit perplexed by the news that Paul Manafort had entered into a plea negotiation with the government. That in itself didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is that, at least based on the reports, cooperation is not part of the negotiation. The deal would simply be that in exchange for pleading guilty and admitting to key facts he would get some reduction of sentence, avoid the expense of a trial and perhaps avoid surrendering some property. That’s the standard plea deal, which for better or worse much of our criminal justice system is based on.

But Paul Manafort’s is far from a standard case.

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We’re three installments into our special 2018 Series on Voting Rights and Democracy. Our second installment, by Rick Perlstein and Livia Gershon, looks at the modern history of bogus vote fraud hysteria as a tool to suppress voting by Democrats or racial minorities or the poor or anyone else. I know quite a lot about the story from the late 90s onward. But the part of the story that goes back into 1960s and 1970s I knew much less about. If you haven’t had a chance to read the second installment you can read it here.

Yesterday I discussed the article and the hysteria of partisan vote fraud propaganda going back to the beginning of the 1960s. You can listen to our conversation here.

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