Revisiting the Ukraine War 

Back on March 30th, little more than a month into the Russo-Ukraine War, I published an email from TPM Reader BF who I identified as from the U.S. national security world. You can read the post here. But the gist, according to BF, was that I had it all wrong, that “notwithstanding its battlefield embarrassments and mishaps Putin is on the verge of getting everything he wants and Ukraine is on the verge of what amounts to surrender.”

Last week I heard from another reader asking for an update from BF in light of the last six months. That follow-on note was a bit ungenerous in its tone and somewhat tendentious in its read of BF’s comments. But the overall suggestion seemed worthwhile. When I asked, BF was game. So here’s his response …

[ed. note: BF’s response was written on September 15th, so before the recent mobilization announcement.]

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Into the Storm 

The congressional generic ballot continues to drift slowly in the Democrats’ direction. But there’s been some tightening in key Senate races that have looked promising for Democrats. These are all very small shifts that are as likely to be noise as actual trends. But the fact that most of these small moves are in the GOP direction suggests it’s something more than noise. The simplest explanation is that a variety of factors allowed Democrats to dominate the airwaves through the late summer. Republicans had fundraising challenges; they hadn’t settled yet on nominees; their various committees and mega-donors were feuding among themselves. That’s changed now. And that change seems to be showing up in the polls.

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Surprise Surprise

One of the questions I’ve mentioned a few times in the DeSantis Vineyard story is that the company Florida is paying for the migrant flights isn’t the one which is actually running the flights. The former is Vertol Systems, newly of Florida, and the latter Ohio-based Ultimate Jet Charters. Vertol is mostly a helicopter company and doesn’t seem to have the kind of planes needed for this kind of work, which sort of raises the questions of why they got the contract. (Since the news of all this broke Vertol took its website offline.) Since Vertol can’t do it, they’ve subcontracted the work to Ultimate Jet Charters. This new Miami Herald article goes into all the details and reveals that Vertol has close ties to Larry Keefe, the DeSantis appointee charged with running his anti-immigration policies. Who could have guessed.

Of course, this isn’t the first state contract given to a governor’s cronies and it doesn’t get us closer to knowing the real question: who is DeSantis working with in Texas? And where’s “Perla”?


Listen To This: Oh Dearie

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss Trump’s special master woes and activist efforts to keep a potentially catastrophic case out of the Supreme Court’s hands.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.


‘Perla’ Behind Another Flight and Stranded Migrants 

There was a scramble at Delaware Coastal Airport near Georgetown, Delware Tuesday as state authorities and immigrant support organizations rushed to be ready to receive a plane filled with migrants from Texas. The DeSantis administration leaked word to reporters in Florida about the flight. There was no official word from anyone in Delaware but rumors abounded that such a flight was on its way from Texas and would arrive by 1:30 p.m. But the plane never showed. Courtesy of TPM Reader DC we have a report on the commotion here. Later, DeSantis spokesperson Christine Pushaw tweeted that the whole flight rumor was “disinformation.” But it wasn’t. Venezuelan migrants in San Antonio had been recruited. A charter flight had been booked.


Circuit Court Gives Feds Partial Stay of Judge Cannon Order 

A three judge panel of the 11th circuit has granted the Justice Department motion to stay a key part of Judge Cannon’s recent special master ruling. Cannon ruled that they could not continue using the classified documents in their criminal investigation while the special master, Judge Dearie, is doing his work. This three judge panel has overruled Cannon on that point. It’s an important win for the DOJ, though it is perhaps slightly less consequential since Judge Dearie has signaled he plans to move rapidly to do his review. Two of the three judges are Trump appointees.



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The Josh marshall podcast


Ep. 241: Oh Dearie

Josh and Kate discuss Trump’s special master woes and activist efforts to keep a potentially catastrophic case out of the Supreme Court’s hands.


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