The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: I Beg Your Pardon?

Trump pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign-finance laws.

Dinesh D'Souza at the 'America' film premiere at Regal Cinemas LA Live in Los Angeles (mpi86 / MediaPunch / IPX / AP)

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)

Today in 5 Lines

  • President Trump reasserted on Twitter that he didn’t fire former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Andrew McCabe, the former acting FBI director, turned over a detailed memo on Comey’s firing to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

  • The Trump administration announced that it will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Mexico, and Canada. Officials in those countries quickly denounced the move, and some issued retaliatory measures.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “good progress” has been made in meetings with top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol as the two countries seek to salvage a historic summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

  • Trump pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign-finance laws. Trump also told reporters that he’s considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

  • Comedian Samantha Bee apologized for using an expletive to describe Ivanka Trump during her TBS show on Wednesday night. The White House condemned the comment on Thursday, calling it “vile and vicious.”

Today on The Atlantic

  • A Lesson in Corporate Contrition: ABC’s and Starbucks’s handling of recent race-related episodes show two different ways companies can deal with problems: Try to solve them, or simply get rid of them. (Alex Wagner)

  • A Widening Rift: The Trump administration’s decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union caps a year defined by policy divergence. (Yasmeen Serhan)

  • What Do Atheists Believe?: A new study from the Pew Research Center found that non-believers and agnostics in America are actually more religious than Christians in many European countries. (Sigal Samuel)

  • Trump’s New Weapon: In pardoning Dinesh D’Souza, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby, President Trump is using his pardoning power as a tool in the culture war, argues David A. Graham.


Snehal Choudhury, 13, from Massillon, Ohio, reacts after spelling her word correctly during competition in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

What We’re Reading

Permanent Harm: Many of President Trump’s official actions can be reversed by future presidents, writes Shira A. Scheindlin, but the anti-choice, anti-union, and anti-immigrant judges he has appointed could cause lasting damage. (The Guardian)

‘What If We Were Wrong?’: Former President Obama went through many emotional stages after the 2016 presidential election, including wondering if his own presidency came “10 or 20 years too early,” according to a new book by his longtime adviser Ben Rhodes. (Peter Baker, The New York Times)

A Growing Correlation: A new study published in Social Forces found that opposition to welfare programs among white Americans has grown since 2008—and it’s partly due to increased racial resentment. (Caitlin Dewey, The Washington Post)

In It for the Long Haul: On June 11, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be the longest-serving Republican Senate leader ever. And he doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. (Burgess Everett, Politico)

Does Rush Limbaugh Matter Anymore?: The right-wing radio shock-jock now seems tame compared to some of his peers in the conservative movement, writes Eliot Nelson. (HuffPost)


Who’s Who in the Russia Investigation?: Track the people involved—and all the publicly known developments—in the probe using this interactive graphic. (Marshall Cohen, Tal Yellin, and Liz Stark, CNN)