The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: I, Spy

Maria Butina, an alleged Russian spy, pleaded guilty to engaging in an effort to influence U.S. conservatives before and after the 2016 presidential election.

Pavel Ptitsin / AP

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

Today in 5 Lines

  • The Senate voted 56–41 to withdraw U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, amid bipartisan outrage over President Donald Trump’s defense of the Kingdom’s actions.

  • In a letter to the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department, 22 House Democrats condemned the Trump administration’s plan to deport some Vietnamese immigrants with protected status, who fled to the United States during the Vietnam War.

  • In an interview with Fox News, Trump said he never ordered his former attorney Michael Cohen to violate the law. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to several charges, including tax evasion and campaign-finance violations.

  • Maria Butina, an alleged Russian spy, pleaded guilty to engaging in an effort to influence U.S. conservatives before and after the 2016 presidential election.

  • In a major victory for state employees, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down a pension-reform law that sparked teacher protests last spring.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Lock Him Up?: Trump has now been implicated in at least two instances of campaign-finance fraud. How will 2020 Democratic contenders react? (Ronald Brownstein)

  • The End of the ‘Search for Truth’: The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point recently proposed cutting six liberal-arts majors, including history. In a tech-hungry economy, can a liberal-arts education survive? (Adam Harris)

  • Out of Excuses: As details about Michael Cohen’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels continue to surface, the president’s claim that he didn’t commit any crimes seems less and less plausible. (Adam Serwer)

  • America Can Still Lead: Democrats need to reclaim American exceptionalism and steer the country toward becoming a global force for good once again, argues Jake Sullivan.


Volunteer diver George Bell, dressed as Santa Claus, waves to children after speaking inside the Philippine Coral Reef Tank at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu / AP)

What We’re Reading

Adapt or Get Out: Every 100 minutes, Louisiana loses a football field’s worth of coastal land to climate change. Here’s how local farmers and scientists are fighting back. (Katherine Webb-Hehn, Scalawag)

Who’s That?: Despite seemingly endless speculation about top 2020 presidential contenders, a recent poll suggests that most Americans don’t even recognize the names of “rising stars” such as Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. (Dylan Scott, Vox)

Another Green Revolution: Just as fighting fascism during World War II brought about a democratic transition to Keynesian liberalism, the fight against climate change can lead America out of neoliberalism, argues Eric Levitz. (New York)

In Denial: John Podhoretz asks why some Republicans still refuse to acknowledge that the midterms were a loss for their party. (New York Post)

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