Bill ShineSusan Walsh / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Friday, March 8.

‣ President Donald Trump is visiting Alabama after tornadoes ripped through the state earlier this week, killing 23 people. Trump approved an emergency disaster declaration for the area on Tuesday.

‣ The House passed H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” a sweeping bill aimed at cracking down on lobbying, reforming the campaign-finance system, and expanding voter rights. However, the bill isn’t likely to become law, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring it to a floor vote.

‣Bill Shine, the deputy White House chief of staff and former Fox News executive who led communications for the Trump administration, resigned from his post to join the Trump campaign. Shine was the sixth person to lead communications for the White House, and served longer than any of his predecessors.

Here’s what else we’re following:

Mueller Isn’t Invincible: On Thursday, a judge sentenced Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, to 47 months in prison for bank fraud and tax evasion. The sentence was much shorter than what the special counsel’s team had been pushing for, representing the most significant defeat for Robert Mueller so far, writes David Graham.

Clearing the Cobwebs: Lawmakers in the House and Senate are stoking anticipation that they will soon update the Higher Education Act, a revamp that typically happens every four to six years and could have big implications. A renovation of the bill could address problems with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA; adjust the amount received by Pell Grant recipients; or increase federal oversight of higher-education institutions.

The Ghost of Diseases Past: Infectious diseases such as typhus and tuberculosis that once ravaged communities during the Middle Ages are resurging in California and across the country. But they’re especially hard on America’s homeless population.

The Dragon Has Landed: A spacecraft specially designed by the private company SpaceX to carry humans successfully completed a trip to and from the International Space Station on Friday. “This is an amazing achievement in American history,” says Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator.

Elaine Godfrey


Snapshot

Representative Ilhan Omar whispers to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as Democrats rally outside the Capitol ahead of the passage of H.R. 1 in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)


Ideas From The Atlantic

The ‘Otherwise Blameless Life’ of Paul Manafort (Franklin Foer)
“‘He has lived an otherwise blameless life,’ said Judge T. S. Ellis as he sentenced Paul Manafort to just 47 months in prison on Thursday … In an otherwise blameless life, he worked to keep arms flowing to the Angolan generalissimo Jonas Savimbi, a monstrous leader bankrolled by the apartheid government in South Africa … In an otherwise blameless life, Manafort was found guilty of tax evasion on an industrial scale.” → Read on.

How the U.S.-Russian Relationship Went Bad (William J. Burns)
“Arriving at his office, [Putin] proceeded to show [Hillary Clinton], on a large map of Russia covering most of one wall, the areas he had visited on his Siberian-tiger trips, as well as areas in the north where he planned to go that summer to tranquilize and tag polar bears. With genuine enthusiasm, he asked whether former President Clinton might like to come along, or maybe even the secretary herself?” → Read on.

Probing the ‘White People’ Rant That Roiled Columbia (Conor Friedersdorf)
“I wanted to know why this Ivy League undergrad embraced the rhetoric of white identitarianism, if only to better understand its rise and perhaps how to arrest its spread.” → Read on.


What Else We’re Reading

Trump Cheered Patriots to Super Bowl Victory With Founder of Spa Where Kraft Was Busted (Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, and Caitlin Ostroff, Miami Herald) (🔒Paywall)
The Democrats’ Dilemma (Tim Alberta, Politico Magazine)
Elizabeth Warren Proposes Breaking Up Tech Giants Like Amazon and Facebook (Astead W. Herndon, The New York Times) (🔒 Paywall)


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