The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: One Fish, Two Fish, Whitefish, $300 Million Fish

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has “significant concerns” over how a $300 million contract was awarded to a small Montana company to rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.

Whitefish Energy Holdings workers restore power lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. (Ramon Espinosa / AP)

Today in 5 Lines

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has “significant concerns” over how a $300 million contract was awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings, a small Montana company, to rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. The White House said it was not involved in the decision. And in a statement, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he did not advocate for Whitefish, which is based in his hometown, to receive the contract. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said President Trump has agreed to shrink the boundaries of the Bear Ears National Monument, at Zinke’s recommendation. Spain dissolved Catalonia’s parliament and dismissed its president, after the region voted to declare its independence.

Today on The Atlantic

  • The Radicalization Process: Recent polling from the Pew Research Center shows that 97 percent of Democrats are more liberal than the median Republican—and for that, Donald Trump is likely to blame. (David A. Graham)

  • Senator Romney?: Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is telling friends that he might retire from Congress—and that Mitt Romney might run for his seat. (McKay Coppins)

  • Tying Trump’s Hands: Senator Chris Murphy explains why he’s introducing legislation to restrict President Trump’s war-making powers. (Uri Friedman)

  • Radio Atlantic: The journalism of Jodi Kantor, Katie Benner, and their colleagues at The New York Times has been a major catalyst for putting sexual harassment at the top of the national agenda. Kantor and her reporting partner Megan Twohey shared a byline on the October 5 investigation revealing three decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. As a technology reporter based in Silicon Valley, Benner has chronicled numerous reports of predatory behavior by investors, founders, and other influential figures in the tech industry. In this episode of Radio Atlantic, Kantor and Benner join Alex and Matt to discuss what they've discovered in their reporting, and where they think it will lead.

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A group of Indigenous women raise their fists as they sing during the opening session of the three-day Women's Convention at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. Rebecca Cook / Reuters

What We’re Reading

Hmmm: The talking points brought to a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya were reportedly shared with the Kremlin. (Sharon LaFraniere and Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times)

The Resurrection of Michael Grimm: The former New York congressman, who was jailed for tax evasion and once threatened to “break” a local news reporter, is now attempting to remake himself—with the help of Steve Bannon. (Olivia Nuzzi, New York)

Assault in Congress: Some lawmakers and staffers fear that Congress’ protocol for handling allegations of sexual misconduct against its members actually discourages victims from coming forward. (Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Elise Viebeck, The Washington Post)

An Unknown Number: Funeral directors in Puerto Rico are reportedly burning the bodies of people killed by Hurricane Maria, many of whom have not been counted in the official death toll. (Nidhi Prakash, BuzzFeed)

Muddy the Waters: It’s been a confusing five days in politics, with the revelations about the DNC-funded dossier and new investigations against Hillary Clinton. But all that confusion is good for President Trump. (Chris Cillizza, CNN)


The White House Gets Spooky: Check out this photo gallery to see some memorable Halloween festivities at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Don’t miss Al and Tipper Gore dressed as werewolves in 1997.)(Politico)

Question of the Week

In her story on Monday, The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reported that some researchers attempting to understand how Americans were feeling after the 2016 presidential election didn’t seem to be listening to their focus groups. So this week, we asked whether you think it’s important for Americans to move past political partisanship. Here’s what you said:

Don Buchanan said the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have become meaningless. “How do you define liberal? As Bernie Sanders defines it—or the way Fox News defines it? It is the same for ‘conservative,’ it has no concrete definition. We need to get back to discussing issues, policies, the facts that matter.”

Susan P. B. argues that we should be focusing on changing our party system: “I think it is more important that we get more than two parties in the debates and in the elections. We need to be a country of more than two choices.”

Finally, Paul Schickler takes issue with the question itself. “Your answer seems to assume that we can move past partisanship, just as Third Way assumed it. Everything I read suggests that we cannot any time soon. Certainly we cannot under this president, who exploits division. A different president, after being elected by a suspicious populace, may, eventually, through speech and wiser policies, begin to heal us.”

Thanks to everyone who submitted responses, and stay tuned for next week’s Question of the Week.

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)