What We’re Following
Parsing Trump: Just a day after he walked back comments about Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Trump appeared once again to reject the intelligence community’s conclusion that such information warfare is ongoing. While the White House denied that interpretation, the president’s rhetoric on Russia remains distant from the policies advanced by Congress and the State Department. And if Trump’s goal is, as he’s stated, to warm the U.S. relationship with Russia, the deference to Vladimir Putin he’s shown this week may do just the opposite.
Parsing Putin: An ambiguous line in the English translation of Putin’s recent press-conference remarks is much clearer to Russian speakers: Putin did not admit to election meddling, but did say he wanted Trump to win the presidential election. Putin’s reference to William Browder, a former investor who has lobbied for tougher sanctions on Russia, may add to the story behind a 2016 meeting between Trump-campaign officials and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. Natasha Bertrand explains why.
Court Battle: Republican Representative Justin Amash is calling on his Senate colleagues to oppose Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, because of his record on privacy. And two Democratic senators raised concerns about the honesty of Kavanaugh’s answers at his D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals confirmation hearing in 2006. Other critics of Kavanaugh are concerned about the possibility that a more conservative court could overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving women to attempt illegal self-abortions by ordering pills online—a practice that’s already taking place.