The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Wall Brawl

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Written by Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2), and Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal).

Today in 5 Lines

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he would let the Senate vote on a bipartisan criminal-justice reform bill, the First Step Act, backing down from his earlier reluctance to bring the measure to the floor.

  • President Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer openly argued in front of reporters about funding for Trump’s proposed border wall. The president threatened to shut down the government if Democrats do not agree to increase their funding offer for the wall.

  • The House Judiciary Committee questioned Google CEO Sundar Pichai for the first time about the company’s data-collection practices, potential censorship on its platforms, and other issues.

  • James A. Fields Jr., the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who killed the demonstrator Heather Heyer after driving his car into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder and nine other crimes.

  • The Trump administration is planning a multi-agency effort to target and sanction China for alleged economic espionage and hacking.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Trump Keeps Confessing: The president can’t stop commenting on his legal troubles—and it only makes things worse for him, writes Adam Serwer.

  • Accepted: Does it matter where you go to college? Derek Thompson reconsiders the question.

  • The Death of the IRS: After eight years of budget slashing, the Internal Revenue Service is on its last legs. Corporations and the wealthy are benefiting. (Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger; co-published with ProPublica)

  • What Big Pharma Knew: In the January/February issue of The Atlantic, Ray Fisman and Michael Luca examine how psychological nudges through small gifts, such as free pens, might have precipitated the opioid crisis.

Recommended Reading


President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office. Evan Vucci / AP

What We’re Reading

True Trump Fans: Trump is really popular in rural areas, reports FiveThirtyEight. In cities and suburbs? Not so much. (Nathaniel Rakich, Dhrumil Mehta)

Welcome to the Resistance: In the past few weeks, Ammon Bundy, of right-wing militia fame, has turned into a fierce critic of Trump’s immigration policies. What’s going on? (Ruth Graham, Slate)

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Impeachment proceedings would be a political firestorm for the Democratic elite, writes Jonathan V. Last. What if that’s their only choice? (The Weekly Standard)

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