The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Grande Intentions

The former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, is thinking about running for president in 2020 as an independent.

Howard Schultz (Elaine Thompson / AP)

What We’re Following Today

It’s Monday, January 28. Federal employees are back to work today after the 35-day partial government shutdown, but the economy took an $11 billion hit, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has now invited President Donald Trump to deliver the State of the Union address on February 5, after the planned January 29 address was postponed following the government shutdown standoff.

The Latest: National-Security Adviser John Bolton announced that the U.S. is imposing sanctions on a Venezuelan state-owned oil firm as part of an effort to oppose President Nicolás Maduro. Last week, in a decidedly un-Trumpian move—off Twitter, amid concerted diplomatic efforts—the administration recognized the country’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as its legitimate president.

A Show of Strength: California Senator Kamala Harris officially launched her presidential bid on Sunday at a massive rally in Oakland—part of her team’s broader plan to start the campaign season off strong. But presidential races are all about timing, one Democratic adviser told Edward-Isaac Dovere, “and traditionally being the first to peak is not the right time.” Meanwhile, the former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, is taking a different approach as he ponders running in 2020—as an independent.

Behind the Scenes: “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched America’s soil,” the senior adviser Stephen Miller reportedly once told Cliff Sims, an obscure former administration staffer who’s now written a new tell-all book about the chaos of working in the Trump White House. The Atlantic obtained an early copy of the book, which is filled with such jaw-dropping details.


Democratic Senator Kamala Harris speaks as she formally launches her presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland, California, on Sunday. (Tony Avelar / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

Trump’s Lawyers Need to Worry About More Than Winning (Bob Bauer)
“Trump’s lawyers have the professional independence and ethical responsibility to do what they can to divert him from this path, or any other, that leads to serious harm to the nation’s democratic processes and institutions.” → Read on.

Trump Is Destroying His Own Case for a National Emergency (Elizabeth Goitein)
“A president using emergency powers to thwart Congress’s will, in a situation where Congress has had ample time to express it, is like a doctor relying on an advance directive to deny life-saving treatment to a patient who is conscious and clearly asking to be saved.” → Read on.

The Terrorism That Doesn’t Spark a Panic (Adam Serwer)
“But there’s one spike in violence that the president rarely acknowledges or even mentions, and it’s the rise in far-right terror that has accompanied his ascension to the White House.” → Read on.

The Ex-Starbucks CEO May Save the Democratic Party From Itself (David Frum)
“If you seriously believe that the Trump presidency presents a unique threat to American democracy, you want the safer choice, not the risky one. You want the candidate with the broadest possible appeal, not the most sectarian.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

How Every Member Got to Congress (Sahil Chinoy and Jessica Ma, The New York Times)

Poor Southerners Are Joining the Globe’s Climate Migrants (Lewis Raven Wallace, Environmental Health News)

Why We Need to Be Wary of Narratives of Economic Catastrophe (Jeremy Adelman, Aeon)

The Foolish Quest to Be the Next Barack Obama (Bill Scher, Politico Magazine)

Iowa Nice: Hawkeyed Experts Say Elizabeth Warren Hit Ground Running (Ben Jacobs, The Guardian)

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