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Updated: 2017-07-22T15:43:09Z


The Crisis Is Upon Us


I want to clarify and expand on something I noted yesterday. The President stands accused, now with a mounting array of evidence, of conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win the Presidency. He has now made clear that he will not permit any investigation of those accusations. Read More →


Sorry. Trump's Attacks Aren't Remotely Like Clinton and Starr


With the flurry of news over the last 24 hours over President Trump’s expanding war on Robert Mueller, we’ve heard a growing chorus of voices comparing this battle to that between the Clinton White House and Independent Counsel Ken Starr during the Whitewater/Lewinsky investigations. The comparison is quite simply lazy, baseless and stupid. It is fair to note that I am a bitter critic of President Trump and during the 1990s was a strong supporter of President Clinton. So my perspective is not disinterested. But I think the facts of the matter are so elementary that the case can be argued on the merits in a very convincing way.

Let’s go through some basic facts.  Read More →


The President at War


The Times and the Post tonight both have stories out reporting the Trump legal team’s expanding war against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and – hyperbolic as it may sound to say – the law itself. While there are a number of individual dimensions to the stories, the larger story, especially from the Post, is that the President refuses to allow the law to apply to himself or his family. Read More →


There It Is, Folks


A host of stories are out tonight on the Trump White House’s new war about Special Counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller. But I want to focus on one thing. The Post reports that the President has been canvassing his lawyers about the possibility of pardoning aides, family and even pardoning himself.

From the Post

Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.


Great Moments in Governing


Senators still don’t know which Obamacare repeal bill they’ll be voting on next week, but Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn called that a luxury we don’t have.”


The Twitter Comes In Handy


Remember I explained on Monday how the Trump team’s obsession with getting hacked emails from Clinton’s (allegedly hacked but very likely not hacked) private email server may have spurred the Russian intelligence effort to hack and disclose the DNC and Podesta emails.

Look what this top Trump campaign official was looking at a month before the Don Jr. meeting …


Repeal Is Back On


It looks Obamacare repeal is back on track in the Senate. Sen. Paul now says he’ll allow the bill to move to the Senate floor as long as he’s allowed a vote on his version, which seems like an easy ask. That doesn’t mean Trumpcare will pass necessarily. But simply getting it to the floor for a vote would be a big, big step in that direction.


The Times Interview, Annotated


Entirely unsurprisingly, the new New York Times interview with President Trump shows he has learned nothing from the biggest mistakes of the first six months of his presidency. He has turned completely against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of his staunchest loyalists, who he now blames for essentially launching the Russia probe. He is also lashing out at Rod Rosenstein. Sessions and Rosenstein, were complicit, substantively if not legally, in firing FBI Director James Comey, what I believe is to date the greatest impeachable offense of his Presidency.  He is setting out the terms upon which he will fire Robert Mueller. He inexplicably admitted to using his second conversation with Vladimir Putin to discuss the issues that had come up a year ago in that Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr.

You’ve heard about those. What I was almost more interested was the litany of bizarre and often inexplicable statements and claims that came before he even got to those issues. So I took a moment to annotate each of these passages … Read More →


McCain Diagnosed With Brain Cancer


statement was just released through Sen. John McCain’s office.


We're Headed Nowhere Good


Remarkable NYT interview today with President Trump in the Oval Office, in which he castigated his own attorney general as being “extremely unfair … to the president” for recusing himself from the Russia probe, accused James Comey of using the Steele dossier as leverage over Trump to keep his job, and warned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would cross a red line if he investigated Trump family finances beyond any Russia connection. There’s much more.





I have just a moment to remind you that we’re coming into the home stretch of our annual Prime membership drive. It’s critical we build our membership rolls to make TPM vital, strong and expanding. It’s very important. Please take a quick moment and sign up today. Thank you.


On Trump and Russia, It's Probably A Lot Worse Than We Thought


I have never been convinced that our current policy of trying to unseat the Assad government in Syria is the only reasonable one for the US to pursue or even the correct one. A couple years ago I wrote that I wasn’t sure it made sense, or was even logical, to think we could battle ISIS in Syria and the Assad regime at the same time.

I know there are strong contrary arguments. The situation on the ground is now quite different with respect to ISIS and Assad than it was two years ago. But that’s not my point here. My point here is simply to grant that it is not inherently questionable or suspicious to end our covert support for anti-Assad rebels in Syria, as President Trump has just done, according to reports this afternoon. But it is highly, highly disquieting in the context of Trump’s extremely suspicious behavior with respect to Russia in general. Read More →


Senate GOP To House GOP: Sorry, Suckas


TPM’s Cameron Joseph talked to some disgruntled GOP House members who cast risky votes for Obamacare repeal only to see it die in the Senate: “I just find it interesting to note the number of geniuses serving in the United States Senate,” said one, after Speaker Paul Ryan warned members not to disparage the Senate. Give it a read.


Revisiting The GOP's Big 'Take Away Their Coverage' Celebration


With the apparent (zombies are undead) collapse of Obamacare repeal, I thought it made sense to republish these handy infographics. Back on May 4th, 2017, the House passed the American Health Care Act, which included devastating coverage loss numbers across the country. House Republicans who voted for it went to the White House shortly thereafter to celebrate bigly with laughs and guffaws and cheers and backslapping all around. Here are some of the best pictures of the celebration with President Trump, with annotations noting how many constituents would lose their coverage in each member’s district.


Click the “read more” link to see the full story where the photos are large enough to easily read the annotations.

Read More →


The Rage and the Derp


Alice Ollstein walks us through Day 2 of the collapse of Obamacare repeal.


Fantasies of Control


I was discussing with a friend this morning that much of the drama and chaos of the first months of the Trump administration is explained by a simple fact: President Trump thinks running the US government is essentially like running his private family business in which people work for him (it’s a very personalized operation) and people have to do what he says. That’s not how the US government works at all. It’s not even how the executive branch runs. Read More →


Check This Out!


Check out our look at some of choicest nuggets from Josh Green’s new bio of Steve Bannon, “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency,” the first big book of the Trump era. How about the time Bannon raged at Speaker Paul Ryan as “a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation”? Broken clock, a way with words … Josh will be taking your questions in The Hive on Friday at 9:00 AM eastern. Get your questions in now and join Josh at The Hive Friday morning.


The Big Picture on Tonight's Trumpcare Defeat


As you can see, this evening a rapid-fire succession of events appears to have closed the door on Trumpcare 2.0 in the Senate. That doesn’t mean Obamacare repeal is over by any means. But it’s another major defeat. And after a while defeats tend to grow on themselves. I fully expect Mitch McConnell to go back to the drawing board, tinker with the bill and try again. But this is the first time I sense that McConnell’s next attempt may be harder than the last. Or, to put it a different way, it’s possible that this defeat for the repealers may prove a turning point in the grinding war over Obamacare repeal even though it will not be the final battle.  Read More →


Moving Fast


In the wake of Sen. Ron Johnson pulling back on his clear support for Senate Trumpcare 2.0, Sens Lee and Moran have now also pulled their support altogether. That leaves Mitch McConnell well under the 50 votes required for passage. Expect other conservatives and moderates to jump off the ship probably as soon as this evening.

This is a big, big development. But it would be quite wrong to see this as the end of Obamacare repeal. Expect McConnell to take at least another crack at rejiggering the bill for eventual passage.


Another GOP Senator May Be A No On Obamacare Repeal Bill


TPM’s Alice Ollstein asked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about a report that Mitch McConnell was double-dealing and now look what’s happened.