The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: ‘No’ Problem

When asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether Russia was still targeting the U.S., President Trump answered, “no.” The White House said he was talking about something else.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey), Maddie Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2), and Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal)

Today in 5 Lines

  • When asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether Russia was still targeting the U.S., President Trump answered, “no.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later clarified Trump’s response, saying the “no” was in reference to answering reporters’ questions.

  • A federal judge ordered Maria Butina, an alleged Russian spy, to be held in jail until her trial. Federal prosecutors argued that Butina is a flight risk because of her connection to the Russian government.

  • During remarks at a Cabinet meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a denuclearization deal with North Korea “may take some time,” but that sanctions would continue being enforced.

  • House Republicans approved a symbolic measure praising Immigration and Customs Enforcement, after several progressive Democrats introduced legislation to abolish the agency.

  • The House voted to go to conference with the Senate on the 2018 farm bill.

Today on The Atlantic

  • The Russians Are Coming: President Trump appeared to suggest on Wednesday that Russia has stopped targeting the United States. He’s wrong, writes Amy Zegart: “We are at war. But only the enemy is fighting.”

  • Hmmm: The White House transcript of President Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin left out a key exchange. Here’s what was missing. (Uri Friedman)

  • Abortion by Mail: If access to legal abortion becomes more restricted in the U.S., some women may opt to purchase mifepristone and misoprostol pills through the mail. (Olga Khazan)

  • The Loneliest Number: Only one congressional Republican has spoken out against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: Michigan’s Justin Amash. (Russell Berman)

  • ‘Have You No Shame?’ In the Trump era, Americans no longer require decency in their politicians. (James Traub)


Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, left, meets with Senator Mike Lee, a member of the Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

What We’re Reading

An Unlikely Leader: Here’s the story of how Adam Schiff, a once little-known congressman from California, became the Democrats’ go-to man on all things related to Trump and Russia. (Andy Kroll, The California Sunday Magazine)

Who Started It?: The “fake news” boom that began in Macedonia in 2016 wasn’t just the work of local teenagers, according to a BuzzFeed investigation. It was launched by a Macedonian media attorney—and two Americans.

Inside ICE Detention: Thousands of immigrants have said they were sexually abused while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the past 10 years. Two former detainees shared their stories. (Emily Kassie, The New York Times)

Banned: Leaked documents reveal Facebook’s ever-evolving thresholds for banning pages and groups—which could offer insight into some of the company’s recent controversial decisions. (Joseph Cox, Motherboard)


Education Deserts: Nearly 11.2 million Americans live an hour or more from the nearest college. See who they are and where they live. (Ben Myers, The Chronicle of Higher Education)