The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Amorphous Tapes

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters she “can’t guarantee” that Trump has never used a racial slur after Manigault Newman claimed Trump is on tape using the N-word.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)

Today in 5 Lines

  • President Trump escalated his attacks against former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, calling her a “dog” on Twitter.

  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters she “can’t guarantee” that Trump has never used a racial slur after Manigault Newman claimed Trump is on tape using the N-word.

  • Defense lawyers for former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort rested without calling any witnesses in his fraud trial. Closing arguments for the trial are expected to begin on Wednesday morning.

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a report listing more than 300 clergy members accused of sexual abuse, and identifying at least 1,000 child victims.

  • Two people were injured after a car plowed into the gates of the United Kingdom’s Parliament. London’s Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident as a possible act of terrorism.

The Races We’re Watching

Voters in Connecticut, Vermont, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are heading to the polls for their primary elections.

In Minnesota, Republicans see opportunities to take back several seats, including the governor’s mansion: Former Governor Tim Pawlenty and Jeff Johnson are vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. On the Democratic side, former Republican staffer and political pundit Richard Painter is challenging incumbent Senator Tina Smith. And three women—state Representative Ilhan Omar, state Senator Patricia Torres, and state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher—are running against each other in Minnesota’s 5th district, which is strongly Democratic.

In Wisconsin, Tony Evers, the state’s public-schools chief, appears to be the clear favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary and take on Governor Scott Walker in November. If he does, our own Adam Harris writes, the race will primarily be focused on education. Another key Democratic primary race to watch is in Speaker Paul Ryan’s district: Will Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce defeat his Democratic opponent, Cathy Myers?

Today on The Atlantic

  • America Doesn’t Need Another Tape: Adam Serwer argues that the only Americans who don’t believe Trump would use a racial slur are his supporters—and “it would be naive to think that a mere recording of him using it would alter that.”

  • ‘The Church of Trump’: It’s no surprise that President Trump hasn’t lost approval from his supporters, writes Alex Wagner: “Trumpism, like many forms of non-secular worship, makes its believers feel good.”

  • An Insider’s Account: In her new book Unhinged, former senior White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman slams Vice President Mike Pence, Hope Hicks, and the Trump kids. (Elaina Plott)

  • The Contagion Is Spreading: Americans are living in a world where partisans control the gateways to the courts and where principle no longer matters—to voters or anyone else, writes Benjamin Wittes.


Victims of clergy sexual abuse, and their family members react as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Matt Rourke / AP)

What We’re Reading

12 Weeks to Go: These are six Senate races to keep an eye on heading into November. (Albert R. Hunt, Bloomberg)

The Next Sarah Palin?: Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent campaign gaffes have given Republicans reason to celebrate, writes Michael Graham. (CBS News)

‘He’s Got a Camera!’: When Antifa, an “anti-fascist” militant group, descended on Washington D.C., last weekend for the “Unite the Right” rally, they didn’t find many white supremacists. So they fought the press instead. (Avi Selk, The Washington Post)

Like Wildfire: Here’s the story of how three conspiracy theorists popularized the emerging “Qanon” theory. (Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, NBC News)


Does Trump Hurt or Help?: The New York Times examined the kind of candidates who have earned the president’s backing—and whether they’ve succeeded in their races. (Audrey Carlsen and Isabella Grullón Paz)