The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Secretary of Interior Design

During a congressional hearing, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended his purchase of a $31,000 dining set.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Today in 5 Lines

  • Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 agreement requiring her to stay quiet about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. And a New York court ruled that a defamation lawsuit filed against Trump by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, may go forward.

  • In a press conference, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, “should be allowed to finish his job.”

  • A package thought to be Austin-bound exploded at a FedEx facility in Texas. Officials said they believe the blast is connected to the other recent explosions in the Austin area.

  • Two students were injured after being shot by a gunman at Great Mills High School in southeast Maryland. Authorities identified the shooter as 17-year-old Austin Wyatt Rollins.

  • During a congressional hearing, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended his purchase of a $31,000 dining set. “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something,” Carson said.

The Race We’re Watching

Voters in Illinois are headed to the polls to cast their ballots in primary elections across the state. They’ll choose candidates for November’s gubernatorial race, which is turning out to be one of the most expensive in U.S. history. A host of Democrats, including former Governor Pat Quinn, is vying for Illinois’s open attorney general’s seat.

We’re also keeping an eye on the Democratic primary in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district, where seven-term Representative Dan Lipinski, a conservative Democrat, is being challenged by the much more progressive political newbie Marie Newman. The GOP primary in the state’s 16th district could also prove interesting: Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger has spoken out against Trump and as a result, could lose votes to pro-Trump businessman Jim Marter.

Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.

Note: The single Republican running for the GOP nomination in the 3rd district is Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier and self-described “white racialist.”

Today on The Atlantic

  • What Donald Trump Is Hiding: The president has reportedly used non-disclosure agreements to gag White House staff—another reminder of just how much Trump wants to conceal from the public. (Conor Friedersdorf)

  • The Inevitability of Ignorance: Fifteen years after the invasion of Iraq, James Fallows writes that the U.S. is destined to continue “overlearning” the lessons of the conflict.

  • What’s the Difference Between a Frat and a Gang?: Both groups are blamed for violence, but societal perceptions and reactions to the two could not be more different. (Ibram X. Kendi)

  • Will the President Get Primaried?: Right now, Donald Trump is the Republican Party, writes Peter Beinart, and there’s little evidence that rank-and-file party members will challenge him in 2020.

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


A father shelters his daughter, a student from Great Mills High School, from the rain as he picks her up from Leonardtown High School. Carolyn Kaster / AP

What We’re Reading

Nixed: Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said it suspended CEO Alexander Nix after undercover videos showed Nix saying he could entrap politicians with bribes and women. (Jordan Robertson, Bloomberg)

What Should Democrats Do If They Win Back Congress?: Ryan Cooper outlines a platform for the party to reform America’s political institutions. (The Week)

The Left’s Problem with Free-Speech Criticism: Progressives are dodging questions about left-wing dogmatism by pointing fingers at conservatives, argues Jonathan Chait, an impulse that “encourages overlooking unhealthy habits on one’s own side.” (New York)

A Wave of Losses Coming: There’s an influx of female candidates running for Democratic seats in 2018—but many of those women are running in races considered to be easy Republican wins. (Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR)

‘Utterly Horrifying’: The former Facebook operations manager said it’s likely that hundreds of millions of Facebook users had their private information gathered and exploited by numerous companies. (Paul Lewis, The Guardian)


Did It Help or Hurt?: Data from the Congressional Budget Office shows how the Affordable Care Act’s tax increases affected the wealthiest and poorest Americans. (Sam Baker, Axios)

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)