The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Memo Fight, Rocket Flight

SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket.

A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket lifts off at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (John Raoux / AP)

Today in 5 Lines

SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket. Senate leaders said they are close to an agreement on a long-term budget deal. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said that President Trump will be briefed on a Democratic rebuttal to a Republican memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. The Ohio state legislature approved a congressional redistricting plan with unprecedented bipartisan support. After a drop in the morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back throughout the day.

Today on The Atlantic

  • ‘We Have to Set the Record Straight’: The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat Adam Schiff talks to Natasha Bertrand about Trump’s insults, Representative Devin Nunes’s next moves, and his own witness wishlist for the Russia investigation.

  • Reverse Engineering: New Orleans wasn’t always below sea level. Here’s the story of how engineers accidentally sunk the city, and the threat that poses to its future. (Richard Campanella)

  • The Irony in the Memo: The only long-lasting effect of the Nunes memo will be discrediting the future work of the committee that produced it. (Julian Sanchez)

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speak to press at the Government Palace in Lima, Peru. Guadalupe Pardo / Reuters

What We’re Reading

A Disappearing Act: Ben Carson has taken a markedly quiet role at the agency he oversees—which isn’t necessarily the worst thing for Housing and Urban Development employees, writes Ben Terris. (The Washington Post)

Missing Meals: FEMA contracted Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur, to provide 30 million meals to Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria. She only delivered 50,000. What went wrong? (Patricia Mazzei and Agustin Armendariz, The New York Times)

Et Tu Press Office?: Before joining the administration, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah reportedly called Trump “a deplorable” in private messages. Olivia Nuzzi takes a look at the contempt for the president in the White House press office. (New York)

Not a ‘Nothingburger’: Victor Davis Hanson argues that the Nunes memo implicates the previous administration. Here’s how. (National Review)

A Marijuana Election?: Too risky to broach even a few years ago, marijuana legalization is becoming a rallying point for Democratic challengers in red states in 2018. (James Higdon, Politico)


Forget the Dow: The economy is doing just fine. (Neil Irwin, The New York Times)

Question of the Week

In The Atlantic’s March issue, Jonathan Rauch and Ben Wittes argue that “the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself” is for all voters—Republicans and Democrats alike—to vote against Republican candidates at every opportunity, “until the party either rights itself or implodes.”

Do you believe the GOP needs to be defended from Donald Trump? If so, do you agree with this strategy?

Share your response here, and we’ll feature a few in Friday’s Politics & Policy Daily.

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