The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: A Nothingbloomberger

Michael Bloomberg won’t run for president, but at least 15 candidates are in the 2020 mix. Plus: What kind of influence is John Bolton on the White House?

Leah Millis / Reuters

What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, March 5.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has reportedly hired a veteran prosecutor with experience battling Russian organized crime to lead the investigation into Donald Trump’s administration. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he isn’t running for president, and is instead launching a new clean-energy initiative.

The Biggest Side Effects: The Trump administration passed a new rule prohibiting clinics receiving Title X funds from performing abortions. But the most significant consequences of the new restrictions might not actually be for abortion, writes Olga Khazan.

Define ‘Actual Malice’: Nicholas Sandmann, the 16-year-old high-school student from Kentucky enveloped in controversy after a confrontation with Native American activists on the National Mall, is suing The Washington Post for $250 million. Sandmann is alleging that the Post’s coverage of him caused permanent damage to his life and reputation. His case might hinge on proving “actual malice,” a standard set by a 1964 landmark Supreme Court case involving The New York Times.

More Than a Gimmick: Elizabeth Warren has pledged to avoid high-dollar fundraisers during her presidential campaign. The move is a logical one for a candidate running on an anti-corruption platform. But her promise is much more significant than other candidates’ pledges to eschew corporate PAC dollars. Here’s why.

John Bolton, Dark Horse: Until recently, John Bolton’s career was considered practically dead. But about a year after Trump took office, he became one of the most powerful figures in American national security. Serving as one of the only people in the Trump administration who’s seen how a “normal” White House runs, he might be one of the most qualified officials to rein in the president’s isolationist impulses. In the April edition of The Atlantic, Graeme Wood profiles the national security adviser. Bolton could have done better for himself had he been “less of a dick,” an acquaintance told Wood, in an city where “it’s difficult to exaggerate how hard it is to earn a reputation as a dick.”

Stop Yelling So Much: Bernie Sanders is known for his gruff, grumpy demeanor. It’s his brand. But staring down the 2020 election cycle, his staffers have been begging him to soften up a little.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about voting rights during a joint a news conference with Representative Lloyd Doggett in Austin, Texas. Eric Gay / AP

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Anger of Amy Klobuchar (Caitlin Flanagan)
“It’s shameful to humiliate and mistreat employees, no matter your gender. It’s unacceptable to be so unable to control your emotions that you throw things toward co-workers, and despicable to do it to subordinates who are afraid of you. Trying to sell cruelty and pathological behavior as a feminist victory is yet another reason that so many women who care deeply about equality don’t identify themselves as feminists.” → Read on.

The Inevitable Return of Muddling Along in North Korea (Richard Fontaine)
“Washington had no choice but to reduce the scope of its ambitions and return to managing the problem. Trump’s best option is to do the same. Because North Korea is unwilling to denuclearize, no conceivable nonmilitary mix of carrots and sticks will fully resolve Washington’s central concern. If the pressure and authority of a leader-level summit could not elicit a deal, Trump’s and Kim’s lieutenants are unlikely to produce their own breakthrough.” → Read on.

The Ugly History of Dual-Loyalty Charges (Steven Waldman)
“Recently, a West Virginia Republican group put up a poster of [Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota] in front of an image of the smoldering Twin Towers. If this is not exactly a dual-loyalty claim, it is a close cousin: An American Muslim is really the same as a terrorist Muslim. They read from the same holy book, follow the same Sharia law, and certainly can’t be trusted to be loyal Americans. This is where the logic of divided loyalties—a logic Omar is herself applying to American Jews—ultimately leads.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

You Have to Pay With Your Body’: The Hidden Nightmare of Sexual Violence on the Border (Manny Fernandez, The New York Times) (🔒Paywall)
Ilhan Omar Has a Point (Jordan Weissmann, Slate)
A New Luxury Retreat Caters to Elderly Workers in Tech (Ages 30 and Up) (Nellie Bowles)

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