What We’re Following
Political Partners: President Trump’s speech at a rally for Marsha Blackburn didn’t focus very closely on the current congresswoman’s Senate campaign. But that might not matter to Blackburn, who appeared to see the event as an opportunity to show she stands with the president. Another one of Trump’s allies in Congress is House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at a congressional baseball practice last summer. Now he’s a contender for speaker of the House. As Elaina Plott writes, he could “enshrine Trumpism as the future of the GOP.”
Plot Twists: The Russian journalist and dissident Arkady Babchenko, who had been reported murdered on Tuesday, appeared alive at a press conference to explain that his death had been faked as part of a Ukrainian intelligence operation. Natasha Bertrand explains the complicated saga. And Bill Browder, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested and released in Spain after Russia abused the Interpol system to prevent his anti-corruption testimony.
Broader Implications: The racist tweet in which the comedian Roseanne Barr compared a former Obama-administration official to an ape didn’t just prompt the cancellation of her show; it also gave the lie to hopes that America could easily be unified, Spencer Kornhaber writes. What’s more, Conor Friedersdorf says, it should be a wake-up call for the populist right—if the movement’s leaders will heed it.