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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

A short time ago The Washington Post published a transcript of an August 14th, 2018 call between President Trump and Bob Woodward. The call is from Trump. After months of refusing an interview with Woodward for his book, suddenly he wants to do one – even though the book is already at the printer.

I wouldn’t say that I felt sorry for Trump reading the transcript. But it’s a deeply awkward read. Trump’s angle is that he would have been happy to talk to Woodward for the book. But Woodward never asked. No one ever told him. Over the course of the interview it becomes clear that Woodward has asked basically every senior member of the President’s communications team: Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Raj Shah, et al. He even asked Lindsey Graham – Trump’s new best bud – to talk to the President on his behalf.

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I wanted to flag your attention to the new ABC/WaPo poll out this morning. No one poll is that significant. But this is part of a trend I noted yesterday. The poll shows Democrats now holding a 14 point edge in the so-called congressional generic ballot. That’s on the high side for recent polls, but not dramatically so. The 538 ‘average’ of all polls for the generic ballot is now just under 11 points. It started diverging in the Democrats’ direction in the first week of August.

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One key goal of our new front page design was that we wanted to get “Livewire” back to what it began as years ago: short, fast nuggets of news as they develop. That’s where we’ll be doing most of our breaking updates out of the Kavanaugh hearings today. You can see that over on the right rail of the front page. Or you can go to the Livewire page here.

We’ll be bringing you close coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings today. TPM’s Tierney Sneed is on Capitol Hill in the hearing room. Our team will be covering the unfolding events in and outside the hearings.

A few times over the last month I’ve had the sense that I may actually struggle to acclimate to a post-Trump politics. That doesn’t mean I don’t want it or look forward to it. As basically every sensible person has argued, the rise of Trump has been a catastrophe for the United States and every day he remains in office inflicts greater damage. But recently I’ve been thinking back to the Obama years and – crazy as they often seemed – how comparatively placid they were, even though they were not really placid at all. But the sheer intensity, drama, bad-acting nature of Trump’s presidency is in an entirely different category.

As I wrote before Trump even became President, living with a Trump presidency, at least if your work is politics, is comparable to living in the home of an abuser or someone with a severe personality disorder. People who live in those settings develop tools, coping mechanisms to handle that level of emotional turbulence, aggression, craziness. They can require a degree of unlearning once they find a more healthy environment. The tools you develop living in close proximity to an abuser are usually mal-adaptive when the abuser is no longer present. 

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Argh. I should have reminded you yesterday! We set an extremely ambitious goal for the first week of our annual Prime membership drive: 1000 new members. We defined the end of the first week more or less arbitrarily as Sunday, yesterday. And we got to 990! I was a little crushed when I checked the numbers this morning. But the truth is this is still an amazing number and gets us a big chunk of the way to our goal for the entire drive. So thank you. In that spirit I’ve decided to extend the notional week for on additional day, today. So if you feel like Labor Day is the day to finally sign up for Prime, there’s no better day than today. Just click right here.

For the Prime buffs and/or journalism buffs among you, there are now 28,835 paying Prime members.

The news that alleged Russian agent Maria Butina was trying to partner with the wife of the former President of the NRA and CPAC on a ridiculous and massive oil deal with fuel from Russia is entirely, wholly expected, entirely to form. The original Times story actually contains this line, which is revealing on a number of levels: “During her time in the United States, she surrounded herself not only with high-profile American conservatives but also with dubious characters who seemed bent on making a fast buck — and it was not always easy to tell one from the other.

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Yesterday we were 220 sign-ups away for our goal of 1000 new sign-ups for the first week of our annual Prime sign-up drive. Now we’re at 132. We can totally get there. I just noticed as I was starting to write this post that The Village Voice is shutting down for good. That caught my attention in a big way. There’ve been so many stories like this over the last couple years — publications that either went under or are living on as zombies, names bolted on to some new shabbier thing, shaming what they once were. It is probably always tempting to use fear as a motivator. But I won’t do that and indeed cannot do that. Because that’s not going to happen to TPM. I raise the example of the Voice because the reason I can be so confident is precisely because we here at TPM — us and our readership — have already come so far in building a business model that highly, highly insulates us from the forces in the advertising, tech and platform industries which are destroying so many publications. This is why you see me writing all these posts, joking, finger-wagging, descriptive, antic, thoughtful. Because I believe so much in what we’re doing. We are not simply surviving. We are building and we have confidence in the future because we started early building a different kind of model which is better for journalism, better for business and better for everyone who either as a staffer or as a reader has a relationship with this site. But we need to get the whole way there. So if you haven’t subscribed yet take this moment to do it. Click right here.

As noted below, we have a new Mueller investigation court document out this evening: the Papadopoulos’s defense memorandum on his sentencing. Let me quickly run through the key details. The most notable claim is that President Trump personally signed off on Papadopoulos’s offer to develop a relationship with and set up a meeting with Vladimir Putin during the campaign.

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