The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Zero Tolerance

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector / AP

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)

Today in 5 Lines

  • During a meeting of the National Space Council, President Trump ordered the Pentagon to create a “space force,” which would be the sixth branch of the U.S. military.

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy amid mounting pressure from Democrats and Republicans to stop the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump also chimed in, again blaming Democrats for the unfolding crisis.

  • The administration continued to receive pushback over its “zero tolerance” policy: A growing number of GOP lawmakers condemned the policy and called for legislation to address it. All 49 Democratic senators signed onto a bill prohibiting the separation of children from their families at the border, except in specific instances. California Senator Kamala Harris also went a step further—calling on Nielsen to resign.

  • During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz defended his review of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, saying there was no “documentary evidence” of political bias.

  • The Supreme Court avoided ruling on two major cases dealing with partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin and Maryland, allowing the current district maps to be used in November’s midterm elections.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Should Your Child Get Hormone Therapy?: The growing awareness of gender-identity issues has made life easier for many young Americans, but, Jesse Singal writes in our July/August cover story, how should parents know when physical interventions are necessary?

  • ‘The Sessions Doctrine’: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s agenda is the culmination of a long legal tradition of undermining minority civil rights. (Vann R. Newkirk II)

  • Across the Pond: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hold on power is under threat in Germany, but she might have gotten some unexpected help from President Trump. (Krishnadev Calamur)

  • A Cage By Any Other Name: A semantic debate is raging over where immigrant children are held after being separated from their families. (David A. Graham)

Recommended Reading


Demonstrators gather outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans to protest an appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the administration's policy of separating migrant children and their parents at the U.S.- Mexico border. Rebecca Santana / AP

What We’re Reading

Separated: ProPublica obtained audio from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility where children are heard crying after being taken away from their parents at the border. Listen here. (Ginger Thompson)

He Can’t Make Up His Mind: On the question of partisan redistricting, two of the Supreme Court’s savviest justices, Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts, are still trying to persuade Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Richard L. Hasen, Slate)

Is This Normal?: Politicians and members of the media are decrying the separation of children and parents at the border, but putting children in temporary housing when their parents engage in illegal activity is pretty standard in America, argues Bre Payton. (The Federalist)

What Counts As Reasonable?: It makes sense to detain families and deport them back to their home countries, writes Rod Dreher. “But do not violate the family bond.” (The American Conservative)

Strange Ties: Joseph Hagin, President Trump’s deputy chief of staff for operations, reportedly worked closely with an exiled Libyan politician who was also involved in a celebrity “sex cult” currently under federal investigation. (Tarini Parti and Aram Roston, BuzzFeed)


A Country On the Brink: The United States is expanding its role in Yemen’s civil war. Here are five things to know about the growing crisis. (Alan Sipress, Laris Karklis, and Tim Meko, The Washington Post)