The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Grand Scam

Celebrities, wealthy parents, and college-prep executives were among the dozens charged in a massive college-admissions cheating scandal.

Prospective students tour Georgetown University's campus in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, March 12.

‣ China, Australia, and European Union authorities are grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes after the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend became the second in five months to involve the Boeing jet. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not yet grounded the planes, but more senators have called on the FAA to take that step.

‣ The New York attorney general reportedly issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank related to financing of four Trump Organization projects, and Donald Trump’s failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills football team in 2014.

‣ The Senate plans to vote Thursday on a resolution to block Trump from declaring a national emergency over border security. The resolution has already been passed by the House, and appears likely to pass in the Senate, leading to an almost-certain presidential veto.

Here’s what else we’re following:

Cheaters: Celebrities, wealthy parents, and college-prep executives were among the dozens charged in a massive scam to cheat college admissions spanning nearly a decade. The college-admissions process for highly selective, elite schools has long involved hiring consultants to help better-connected prospective students game the system. And at these same schools, college sports often serve as a kind of quiet affirmative action for wealthy white kids.

Great Expectations: Assumptions set by the Starr Report—a juicy 200-page document that came out during Bill Clinton’s presidency and detailed the chronology of his sex life—or press coverage of the Russia investigation might have inflated many Americans’ expectations about the impending report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, writes David Graham. “Mueller might send a five-page memo to [Attorney General William] Barr, saying, ‘I got a guilty plea from these people, and I didn’t charge these ones,’” one law professor said.

Making Lemonade: Negotiations between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, fell apart at their recent summit, but the White House says there’s a silver lining: The summit’s collapse could empower Trump’s advisers.


Former Vice President Joe Biden signs a poster that reads "Run Joe Run" after speaking to the International Association of Firefighters in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harnik / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

Why the Democrats Chose Milwaukee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention (Charles J. Sykes)
“They chose it because Milwaukee, like so many places in the U.S., has struggled as the economy has changed; it’s a city of immigrants that was known not only as the Beer Capital, but as the Machine Shop of the World. They also chose it because Wisconsin, which the president won in 2016, seems up for grabs, neither solidly blue nor solidly Trump country.” → Read on.

What Fiji Can Teach America About Immigration (Reihan Salam)
“A well-designed points system would benefit the U.S. by ensuring that newcomers can make larger economic contributions sooner, because they’ll have a better sense of the challenges involved in successfully navigating the American economy.” → Read on.

Don’t Trust Facebook’s New Privacy Play (Conor Friedersdorf)
“Facebook’s perverse incentive to impinge on the privacy of its users will persist so long as the company derives the bulk of its profits from selling its ability to target ads with unusual precision. A privacy-focused platform that inspires confidence wouldn’t be run by a corporate parent that stores detailed data on its users to sell ads.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

The Real Reason Pelosi Doesn’t Want to Impeach Trump (Benjamin Parker, The Bulwark)
Buttigieg Feels Momentum After CNN Town Hall, With $600K Raised in 24 Hours (Dan Merica, CNN)
AFL-CIO Criticizes Green New Deal, Calling It ‘Not Achievable or Realistic’ (Colby Itkowitz, Dino Grandoni, and Jeff Stein, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)
The Tragedy of Baltimore (Alec MacGillis, The New York Times and ProPublica)
Reparations for Milwaukee? (Kevin D. Williamson, National Review)

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