The Atlantic Daily: How to Understand Trump’s Latest Russia Comments

Interpreting statements from Putin and Trump. Plus Brett Kavanaugh’s past, the problem with happy endings, and more.

Leah Millis / Reuters

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.


Katie Martin’s illustration captures the structural barriers that kept black and Latino voters away from the polls in 2016—and could do so again in this year’s coming midterms. Read more.

Evening Read

Megan Garber on the American search for happy endings:

“Good news is rare these days,” Hunter Thompson wrote of a truth that manages to keep being true, “and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.” It’s a vintage insight that has only gained relevance in the age of Twitter and memes and jokes like “today was a long week”: The American media may have a reputation for reveling in tragedy—the familiar indictments of disaster porn—but they also have a bias toward the very thing CNN was offering when it shared the story of Jimena Madrid while emphasizing cookies and coloring books: We denizens of the current news cycle are in constant need of happy things. We will look for them even in—especially in—the stories that are, manifestly, tragic.

Keep reading, as Megan describes how stories of immigrant children reunited with their parents have revealed the dark side of a bias toward optimism.

What Do You Know … About Science, Technology, and Health?

1. A series of new studies provide evidence for a link between certain ____________ viruses and Alzheimer’s disease.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. As of this week, the planet Jupiter is known to have __________ moons.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The preferred social network of online nudist communities is ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: herpes / 79 / Twitter

Look Back

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s account of his political philosophy, was published on this day in 1925. In our March 1932 issue, Nicolas Fairweather described the agenda revealed in the text:

At the present juncture, when the followers of Adolf Hitler appear to be the strongest group in Germany ... it may be of interest to consider the ideas of this extraordinary man, what he believes, and how he came to believe it. When Hitler was in prison, after the Bavarian Putsch of 1923, he set himself to write down for the instruction of his followers a full account of his political philosophy. The volume that resulted, entitled Mein Kampf (“My Fight”), is now the Bible of the National Socialist movement and is diligently circulated among faithful by the official “Nazi” publishing house. It was not intended (in fact, Hitler has always declined) to offer a detailed programme or outline a specific procedure for attaining the National Socialist ideals when the actual control of Germany shall have fallen to his party; nevertheless the book does indicate very clearly the governing ideas, the fundamental points of view, the feelings and beliefs, which will guide him if he comes to power.

Read more.

Reader Response

Every Wednesday, Lori Gottlieb gives advice on reader dilemmas in the Dear Therapist column. Michelle, in Los Angeles, writes:

A friend of mine asked to rent a work tool of mine (namely, a high-end camera) in order for someone to photograph her wedding. I happily obliged, but then was shocked to later realize that not only was she not inviting me to the wedding but that she had failed to tell me so before she asked to use the camera.

My question is: How do I get her to give a sincere apology and admit her wrongdoing in asking for the camera in the first place, especially without an explanation about not inviting me? I don’t even know how to start this conversation and neither of us has said anything about it.

Read Lori’s perspective, and write to her at

Time of Your Life

Happy birthday to Elaine (the same age as Alaska’s statehood).

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