The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Area Boss Regrets Hiring Decision

During a news conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will continue to serve in his position “as long as that is appropriate.”

Andrew Harnik / AP

Today in 5 Lines

During a news conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will continue to serve in his position “as long as that is appropriate,” a day after President Trump told The New York Times that he never would have nominated Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced the nomination of Christopher Wray for FBI director. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley threatened to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, if they don’t show up to testify before the panel on July 26. On Twitter, Senator John McCain thanked his well-wishers for their support and added that he’ll “be back soon,” following the news that he has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin introduced a new version of the Dream Act, which would grant legal status and a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Visible Weaknesses: James Fallows explains how President Trump’s interview with The New York Times on Wednesday highlighted four of his greatest flaws.

  • Careful What You Wish For: Ronald Brownstein argues Republicans are still focused on Reagan-era policies that shrink government even though their voters have grown more tolerant of federal spending that supports “people like them.”

  • Trump vs. the Economists: President Trump continues to defend the widely anticipated steel tariff against China. But economists and U.S. businesses warn he could kick off a damaging trade war. (Annie Lowrey)

  • Coming tomorrow: The first episode of Radio Atlantic will be available by tomorrow morning, July 21, including the world premiere of Jon Batiste’s full “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Our hosts, Jeffrey Goldberg, Alex Wagner, and Matt Thompson, will talk with David Frum and Molly Ball about the American idea in the era of President Trump. Molly Ball will discuss the reporting that led her to this conclusion: “I don’t think America elected Donald Trump because they didn’t realize that he doesn’t always tell the truth. They knew that and they wanted to elect him any way.” Listen and subscribe at

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A life-sized wax statue of First Lady Melania Trump is seen next to the wax statue of President Donald Trump during an unveiling ceremony at Madrid's wax museum in Madrid, Spain. Susana Vera / Reuters

What We’re Reading

The Interview: On Wednesday, President Trump sat down for an hour-long interview with The New York Times, where he criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Chris Cillizza highlighted 35 remarkable quotes from the exchange. (CNN)

What’s Up With the Budget?: It seems likely that the House Republicans’ effort to pass a budget will play out much like the fight over Obamacare repeal—with the conservative and moderate wings of the chamber pulling the legislation in different directions. (Rachael Bade and Sarah Ferris, Politico)

‘The Annie Leibovitz of the Alt-Right’: Meet Peter Duke, the photographer who set out to capture images of people on the political fringe, because, he says, “there’s no Vanity Fair for the right.” (Matthew Kassel, The New York Times Magazine)

Not a ‘Lawful Tool’: Damon Root argues that, by ordering the broader use of civil-asset forfeiture, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on a “collision course” with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. (Reason)

Where Trump Is Wildly Successful: An overlooked triumph of Trump’s first six months as president, argues Ronald Klain, is his record-setting naming of youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench. (The Washington Post)


Trump’s First Six Months, by the Numbers: In his first six months in office, President Trump has signed 42 bills into law, spent 59 seconds shaking Emmanuel Macron’s hand, and held one solo press conference. Take a look at more benchmarks here. (Gregory Krieg and Joyce Tseng, CNN)

Question of the Week

On Thursday, Donald Trump will celebrate his six-month anniversary as president of the United States. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that only 36 percent of Americans approve of his performance so far, while 58 percent disapprove.

This week we want to know: In what areas do you think President Trump has succeeded? In what areas has he failed? Share your response here and our favorites will be featured in Friday’s Politics & Policy Daily.

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey), Lena Felton (@lenakfelton ), and Taylor Hosking (@13hoskingt)