The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Beef Justice

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rejected President Donald Trump’s criticism of a federal judge as “an Obama judge.”

Supreme Court Associate Justices Samuel Alito, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at the Medal of Freedom ceremony on November 16, 2018 (Andrew Harnik / AP)

Programming note: We won’t be publishing a newsletter on Thursday or Friday. We’re leaving you with some stories here to read and discuss for the rest of this week, and will be back in your inboxes on Monday, November 26. Happy Thanksgiving!

Elaine Godfrey

Today in 5 Lines

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rejected President Donald Trump’s criticism of the federal judge who ruled against his attempt to restrict asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying there are no “Obama judges or Trump judges.”

  • Trump reportedly told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey. Former Justice Department officials called the president’s reported desire to prosecute his political opponents alarming and “un-American.”

  • Democrat Ben McAdams unseated Republican Representative Mia Love in Utah, bringing the net total number of House seats flipped by Democrats in the midterms to 38.

  • Trump is reportedly planning to visit U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan for the first time in his presidency.

  • The White House authorized troops stationed at the border to engage in lethal force and take on some law-enforcement roles, if necessary. The so-called “Cabinet order” was signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, not Trump.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper carries plates of food to recipients of the Great Thanksgiving Banquet at the Denver Rescue Mission on Wednesday in downtown Denver. (David Zalubowski / AP)

From the Politics Desk

She came into Washington like a wrecking ball. Here’s what colleagues in the House think
“Veteran Democrats are happy about the youth and enthusiasm Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her progressive cohort bring to the caucus. But at the same time, these Democrats are worried that their approach might sometimes prove counterproductive.” → Read on.

Why doesn’t Trump seem to trust his vice president?
“Trump tried to dismiss the Times report over the weekend as just another ‘phony story’ from ‘the enemy of the people.’ But the doubts about Mike Pence’s loyalty to the president aren’t entirely paranoid—nor are they new.” → Read on.

Trump likes to pit elite and non-elite white people against each other. Are white liberals playing into that trap?
“It’s true that overt racists flocked to Trump...But does this mean every Trump voter is a deplorable whom Democrats could never win over, and would never want to?” → Read on.

Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton became the first president to be impeached since Andrew Johnson in 1868
“We had maybe half the Senate standing along the back rail of the House chamber watching the vote. There was just absolute, utter shock…they were apoplectic: ‘What’re we going to do now?’” → Read on.

Trump hasn’t yet visited troops in combat zones
He “never served, but he is more than happy to use the military as a tool—both to solve real problems, and as a political prop for bogus ones...Trump is the perfect chickenhawk president for a chickenhawk nation.” → Read on.

How the Democrats took back Michigan
“Debate what counts as a blue wave in the rest of the country, but there was a tsunami off the Great Lakes.” → Read on.

Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii tweeted Wednesday a blistering criticism to President Trump: “Hey @realDonaldTrump: being Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First.’” (Mario Garcia / AP)

From the Ideas Desk

13 tips for politicizing your Thanksgiving dinner
“Do you freeze up when it’s time to say what you’re thankful for? Pre-write your list on a phone app and read from the screen when your turn comes. Members of oppressor groups will want to begin by noting, ‘I’m thankful for my white-male privilege.’” → Read on.

This is why Nancy Pelosi deserves to be speaker
“She may be a lackluster orator who, according to polls, lacks widespread support even among grassroots Democrats. But when it comes to outmaneuvering her opponents inside the Capitol’s marble walls, no one in her party even comes close.” → Read on.

Stacey Abrams is not undermining democracy
“If the democratic process is being undermined, then losing faith is not only rational, it is a necessary first step to making the process fair and legitimate.” → Read on.

A Thanksgiving story about the limits of human empathy
“That is what the Yellville Turkey Trot festival is famous and infamous for, you see: living, breathing, squawking birds getting lobbed out of a low-flying aircraft.” → Read on.

This special edition of the Politics & Policy Daily was written by Elaine Godfrey. Concerns, comments, questions? Email

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