Tag Archives | Atlantic

The Ohio Special Election Is a Warning to Republicans

By Russell Berman

Republicans look poised to eke out a victory in the last major congressional bellwether before the November midterm elections. But a razor-thin margin in a suburban Ohio district the GOP has held comfortably for decades confirms that the party’s grip on control of Congress is shaky.

Troy Balderson, a Republican state legislator who secured a late push from President Trump, appeared to hold off Democrat Danny O’Connor on Tuesday in a special House election in and around Ohio’s capital city of Columbus. With all precincts reporting, Balderson led 50.2 percent to 49.3 percent, although the race remained too close for the major networks and the Associated Press to call. Rather than explicitly concede, O’Connor rallied his supporters for a November rematch both candidates knew was coming regardless of the night’s result.

“We’re not stopping now,” he said late Tuesday. “Tomorrow we rest and then we keep fighting through to November.”

The race was the last in a series of closely watched special elections in House districts that Republicans have dominated for years. The GOP has won all but one of them—a narrow loss in Pennsylvania in March—but over-performance by Democrats in nearly every instance has buoyed the party’s hopes that it can …read more

From:: The Atlantic

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Special Featured

By Elaine Godfrey

Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)

Today in 5 Lines

  • After reimposing sanctions against Iran, President Trump warned in a tweet that “anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.”

  • On the sixth day of Paul Manafort’s trial, his former deputy, Rick Gates, described how Manafort skirted taxes and used offshore companies to accept millions of dollars from Ukrainian businessmen.

  • The Trump administration is expected to unveil a proposal that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens, according to NBC News.

  • Forbes reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stole millions of dollars throughout his career as an investment banker.

  • Missourians are voting on an amendment that would outlaw mandatory union fees.

The Races We’re Watching

Keep an eye on the special election in Ohio’s 12th district, where President Trump won comfortably in 2016. The race has come down to Trump-backed Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor, and recent polling shows it as a tossup. If O’Connor wins, it’ll be a good sign of things to come for Democrats in November.

In Kansas, the Republican gubernatorial primary is one to watch. Against the recommendations of senior party officials, Trump endorsed Kris Kobach over current …read more

From:: <a href=http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AtlanticPoliticsChannel/~3/V_y6-kS-Nrc/ target="_blank" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Special Featured” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic

Jim Acosta’s Dangerous Brand of Performance Journalism

By Todd S. Purdum

The verb to accost comes from the old French that meant “to sail up close to a ship or a shoreline.” CNN’s Jim Acosta lived up to his patronymic (which has comparable coastal roots in Portuguese and Spanish) when he confronted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders with guns blazing last week, demanding to know if she shared Donald Trump’s belief that the press is the enemy of the American people.

Stipulate that Sanders traduces the truth each waking or speaking hour. Stipulate, too, that Acosta had just been the object of threatening and abusive taunts at a Trump rally in Florida. Even stipulate, if you wish, that his question was a cri de coeur and not a showy bid for clicks and ratings in the debased ritual of performance art that the White House briefing has become.

But acknowledge this also, please: Whenever a reporter who has not been kidnapped by terrorists, shot by an assailant, or won a big prize becomes an actor in her own story, she has lost the fight. Or in this case, reinforced the corrosive, cynical, and deeply dangerous feedback loop that has convinced Trump’s most fervent supporters that his …read more

From:: The Atlantic

The Ultimate Betrayal of Paul Manafort

By Franklin Foer

You know what would be surprising? If Rick Gates and Paul Manafort had suddenly suspended their apparently deeply ingrained habits of fraudulence and thievery during the three months they ran the Donald Trump campaign.

Other chapters of their recent history—the chapters bracketing the campaign—include alleged episodes of witness tampering, lying to federal prosecutors, bank and tax fraud, as well as the failure to register as agents of a foreign government. Therefore, given all that has emerged about their shared ethical framework, it’s hard to imagine that the public has received the exhaustive account of those months.

To understand just how ingrained their slippery habits had become, consider a defining moment from Monday’s proceedings of the Manafort trial. In the course of turning state’s witness against his old boss, Gates, a former lobbyist, admitted to the court that he had repeatedly defrauded Manafort by inflating the expense reports he submitted to him. It wasn’t a trivial sum that he had siphoned. He described his take as amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or put it this way: Gates defrauded Manafort, who was, in turn, allegedly defrauding banks and the United States government (with his Potemkin tax returns).

Nor was …read more

From:: The Atlantic

Congress Finally Can Tell Hemp From Pot

By Olivia Paschal

Hemp is currently a Schedule I federally controlled substance, in the same legal category as LSD, heroin, and Ecstasy. Like all forms of cannabis, it was criminalized in 1970, partially because Congress was worried that law enforcement couldn’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. “There was tremendous biological understanding of the difference, but Congress was not making policy based on this—they were basing it on fear,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of Marijuana: A Short History.

Now, four years after universities and state agriculture departments were allowed to begin growing limited quantities of hemp for research purposes, Congress is expected in September to make the crop legal for Americans to grow for the first time in nearly 50 years. Legalization as part of the 2018 omnibus farm bill would be a major victory for American hemp producers, who believe hemp cultivation could become a billion dollar–plus industry, given hemp’s growing use in pharmaceuticals, food, and textiles. But legalization is just the first step in cultivating the American hemp industry, with many challenges ahead for farmers to ensure the viability of what is essentially a brand-new crop: establishing a supply chain, …read more

From:: The Atlantic

What Rick Gates’s Testimony Means for Manafort—and Trump

By David A. Graham

Robert Mueller cultivates a reputation as a staid, even dour, man of the law, but the special counsel’s team isn’t above a bit of courtroom showmanship.

Last week, prosecutors trying Paul Manafort in federal court in Northern Virginia suggested they might not call Rick Gates, Manafort’s former partner and protege, to testify against him. That raised eyebrows: Gates, who pleaded guilty after being pressured by Mueller’s team, had been expected to be a star witness in the trial. And in fact, Gates took the stand Monday, and his testimony was as dramatic as expected.

“Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?” a prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” Gates replied.

“Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?”

“Yes,” Gates said again.

Manafort, who served as chairman of President Trump’s campaign during the summer of 2016, is charged with laundering tens of millions of dollars. Gates said he conspired to file falsified tax returns on Manafort’s behalf. He also said that he and Manafort had 15 foreign bank accounts they did not report to federal authorities, in violation of federal law but at Manafort’s behest.

Gates’s testimony wasn’t just accusations. “He’s probably one of …read more

From:: The Atlantic

The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Gates-Crashing

By Madeleine Carlisle

Written by Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2) and Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal)

Today in 5 Lines

Today on The Atlantic

  • An Unfolding Tragedy: In The Atlantic’s September cover story, Franklin Foer investigates the radicalization of ICE under President Trump.

  • It’s Happened Before: Fifty million years ago, there were palm trees in the Arctic Circle. Peter Brannen explains the frightening precedent revealed in a recent climate change study.

  • Useful Signaling: “White-bashing,” which some have accused recent New York Times hire Sarah Jeong of, can actually serve a purpose, argues Reihan Salam.

  • Twitter Trouble: President’s Trump tweet on Sunday about the purpose of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" …read more

    From:: <a href=http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AtlanticPoliticsChannel/~3/cb_525qoI4Y/ target="_blank" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Gates-Crashing” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic

Trump’s War With the Koch Brothers Makes No Sense

By Dick Polman

It’s plausible to dismiss the current feud between Donald Trump and the mogul Charles Koch as merely an alpha-male ego-fest—in the words of the journalist and Koch-watcher Jane Mayer, “a plutocratic pissing match” for control of the Republican Party. Trump turned up the heat last week when he tweeted that the scion of the conservative donor network was “overrated,” which may be the first time that a president has used the same word to insult Koch and Meryl Streep.

But seasoned Republicans recognize that the feud is symptomatic of broader tensions within the party—Trump’s trade wars clash with the Koch network’s traditional free-market support for open trade—and that the last thing the party needs, in this tough midterm-election year, is to have Koch turn off the money spigot. Particularly at a time when dozens of House Republican incumbents are raising less than their Democratic challengers.

Granted, the Koch brothers (the ailing brother David has ceded the fight to Charles) never liked Trump. Two years ago, they deemed him the sole unacceptable candidate in the GOP field. Trump had no conservative pedigree, and Charles Koch clearly laments that the party’s elected lawmakers—many of them beneficiaries of Koch largesse—have embraced Trump’s …read more

From:: The Atlantic

There’s Nothing Wrong With Black English

By John McWhorter

The Nation recently published a poem in which a homeless narrator speaks a complex, nuanced variety of English with a long and interesting history.

The variety of English is Black English, and the poet is Anders Carlson-Wee, a white man. In the wake of the controversy, The Nation’s poetry editors have appended a kind of trigger warning to the poem calling its language “disparaging.” (They also apologized for its “ableist language;” the poem used the word “crippled.”) Carlson-Wee has dutifully, and perhaps wisely, apologized that “treading anywhere close to blackface is horrifying to me” and declared that the poem “didn’t work.”

However, I suspect that many are quietly wondering just what Carlson-Wee did that was so wrong—and they should.

The primary source of offense, in a poem only 14 lines long, is passages such as this, in a work designed to highlight and sympathize with the plight of homeless people: “It’s about who they believe they is. You hardly even there.” The protagonist is referring to the condescending attitudes of white passersby who give her change. Yet Roxane Gay, for example, directs white writers to “know your lane,” and not depict the dialect.

To be sure, America long harbored a tradition …read more

From:: The Atlantic

Fear and Anxiety at Refugee Road

By Jeremy Raff

There are roughly 3,000 immigrants from Mauritania in Columbus, Ohio. They came to America fleeing persecution and slavery in the West African country. For years, ICE allowed even those with failed asylum claims to remain in the U.S. “Since Donald Trump has become president, more than 50 people I know have been detained and deported,” says a local Mauritanian community leader.

A new documentary from The Atlantic, based on Franklin Foer’s article “How Trump Radicalized ICE,” visits an undocumented immigrant who says he would rather flee to Canada than risk deportation.

…read more

From:: The Atlantic

What Did the President Just Admit?

By David A. Graham

In an attempt to defend his son Donald Trump Jr. on Sunday, President Trump may instead have incriminated him—and himself.

Responding to a Washington Post report that he is increasingly concerned about his eldest son’s legal exposure, the president denied that claim in a tweet Sunday morning:


Both Trump and Trump Jr. have at times in the past denied that the purpose of the June 9, 2016, meeting was to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but the president has now flatly acknowledged it. Despite the limitations of the medium, the president packed a great deal of potential trouble into less than 280 characters. First, he seems to proceed from the assumption that by declaring the purpose legal, that makes it so, when in fact the acknowledgement points to the ways the meeting may have broken federal laws.

Second, by …read more

From:: The Atlantic

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