The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The NeverEnding Shutdown

Trump faces questions over meetings with Putin, as the government shutdown stretches into its 24th day.

Snow on the north lawn of the White House (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

What We’re Following Today

It’s Monday, January 14. On the 24th day of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, midway through his first term in office, President Donald Trump took the stage at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th anniversary convention and reiterated his case for building a wall on the United States’ southern border. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that a bipartisan group of senators is forming in an attempt to reach a deal that would end the shutdown. Here’s what else we’re watching:

Dueling Narratives: Recent reports that Trump had gone so far as to seize his own interpreter’s notes in an effort to conceal details about his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the FBI at one point opened an inquiry into whether Trump was working on Russia’s behalf sparked very different reactions from Republicans and Democrats.

Pivot!: Last week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was all in for Trump declaring a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall, even tweeting on Friday, “Declare a national emergency NOW.” But by Sunday, he had started to change his tune.

Courting the Kingmaker: Potential Democratic presidential candidates from Booker to Beto are courting the endorsement of the well-known civil-rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton, reports Edward-Isaac Dovere. (Need a refresher on who else is running? Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, and Tulsi Gabbard are among those who have already declared, while others like Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand are expected to announce soon.)

Striking in Solidarity: More than 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles are striking for smaller class sizes and more funding for support staff. A sense of solidarity with the district’s students—73 percent of whom are Latino—is playing a large role in driving them to the picket line, some told The Atlantic’s Alia Wong.


Donald Trump's 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

(Drew Angerer / Getty)

Two years into President Trump’s first term in office, The Atlantic looks back on the moments that have defined his presidency. Unthinkable is our catalog of 50 of the most improbable incidents to date—from the truly outlandish to the truly destructive—that under any previous administration, Democratic or Republican, would still have been unthinkable. At number five: When Trump fired then FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017.

Join the conversation: Which moments from the Trump presidency would you add to this list? Email us at with the subject line “Unthinkable,” and include your full name, city, and state. Or tweet using #TrumpUnthinkable.


Ten-year-old Alessandro Niculescu holds up a sign in the rain during a teacher strike outside John Marshall High School in Los Angeles. Tens of thousands of Los Angeles teachers are striking after contentious contract negotiations failed in the nation's second-largest school district. (Ringo H. W. Chiu / AP)

The Conversation

Eric W. Orts argued earlier this month for a U.S. Senate that isn’t made up of two senators per state: Allocate one seat to each state, and apportion other seats based on state population.

"The constitutional designers had an elegant plan when they created the Senate and the House," Brad Vanderzanden of Knoxville, Tennessee, wrote. "If people really want to change the Senate to reflect the size of states, then just abolish the Senate."

"I have a better idea: one senator from each state, elected for a six-year term, and 50 senators elected at-large for 12-year terms," writes Daniel R. Van Wyk of Everett, Washington.

Read more reader ideas on reapportioning the Senate (or not), and read Orts’s response here.

Ideas From The Atlantic

What’s the Difference Between Iowa Representative Steve King and Donald Trump? (Adam Serwer)
“In 2014, as Trump was mulling a run for president, he made an appearance in Iowa with King, calling him ‘special guy, a smart person, with really the right views on almost everything,’ and noting that their views on the issues were so similar that ‘we don’t even have to compare notes.’”→ Read on.

Subpoena the Trump-Putin Interpreter (David Frum)
“There’s only one American who does know: Marina Gross, the professional interpreter who assisted Trump. Should she be asked? It’s a tough, tough, tough question.” → Read on.

The Truth About the Gig Economy (Annie Lowrey)
“Uber and similar companies were not and are not driving tidal changes in the way that Americans make a living. Wild predictions aside, it was always clear that many gig workers were taking on these kinds of jobs as a temporary stopgap or as a way to supplement their income, rather than as a substitute for a full-time position.”→ Read on.

Bill de Blasio and Gavin Newsom May Give Restrictionism New Life (Reihan Salam)
“Just as Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County made his name by championing restrictionist policies at the local level, in keeping with the sensibilities of his core constituency, Newsom and de Blasio have moved decisively in the opposite direction, embracing an admissionism that takes pride in defying, or rather resisting, federal immigration-enforcement efforts.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

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