The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Once Upon a Crime

British police arrest Julian Assange. Plus: Federal prosecutors charged a former White House counsel under Obama, in a case stemming from the Mueller probe.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at the Westminster Magistrates Court, after he was arrested in London. (Hannah McKay / Reuters)

What We’re Following Today

It’s Thursday, April 11.

‣ A U.S. federal court unveiled an indictment charging the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with conspiring in 2010 with the former U.S. Army analyst Chelsea Manning to illegally obtain secret U.S. intelligence. Earlier today, British police arrested Assange in response to the United States’ extradition request.

‣ Federal prosecutors charged Gregory Craig, the former White House counsel under President Barack Obama, with making false statements to federal officials about his work on behalf of the Ukrainian government. The case is linked to work from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

‣ Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for Stormy Daniels, was indicted on 36 counts—ranging from fraud to identity theft—by federal prosecutors in California.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

President Pete?: Every election cycle has its flukes. Some pundits say Pete Buttigieg, the gay, Christian, 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has become a media sensation, is just another flash in the pan in the Democratic presidential primary. But Edward-Isaac Dovere, who recently followed Buttigieg in New Hampshire, reports on whether there are signals that the mayor could have genuine staying power: “He has had more big ‘moments’ in the past few weeks than most candidates are likely to get in the whole race,” Dovere writes.

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In. (Chung Sung-Jun / Getty)

Settle for Less: President Donald Trump wants the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to make big concessions during nuclear negotiations, and has pushed South Korea President Moon Jae In to help secure the deal. Moon, on the other hand, wants Trump to settle for something a little smaller. South Korea’s president is now in Washington “on a mission to first persuade Trump, not Kim, to consider a compromise between the big and small deals,” reports Uri Friedman. “But there’s no indication yet that Trump or Kim will accept it.”

Losing Their Will: The Republican response—or lack thereof—to Trump’s purge of the Department of Homeland Security this week shows that the ever more white GOP has pretty much stopped resisting Trump’s restrictionist impulses, Ronald Brownstein reports. “Just over halfway through Trump’s first term, the only question left in the GOP is not whether to follow his lead toward greater hostility to immigrants and diversity, but how far and how fast to move along that track.”

Segregated Schools: A program to bus students from Boston’s primarily black and Latino urban neighborhoods to schools in its wealthy white suburbs was conceived as a stopgap—something that would only be necessary until Massachusetts housing was more integrated. Fifty years later, the program remains in place, with 8,000 students on its wait list. Alana Semuels tells a personal story of a deeply American failing.


Artists from the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles wear clothing in honor of Nipsey Hussle at the late rapper’s Celebration of Life memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Fundamental Legitimacy of Donald Trump (Shadi Hamid)
“The collusion claim was an indirect—or direct—way of saying that Donald Trump was illegitimately elected. For Mueller’s team to stop short of concluding that collusion had occurred, then, was the best possible result for American democracy. Citizens should be relieved, not disappointed, when the legitimacy of election outcomes is strengthened, however much we dislike them.” → Read on.

You Don’t Have to Like Julian Assange to Defend Him (James Ball)
“While Julian Assange may deserve punishment for other things he is accused of having done in his life, he does not deserve to be punished for what he published in 2010. Barring some new and major revelation, neither extradition nor prosecution over his work with WikiLeaks is merited.” → Read on.

Trump’s Treason Accusations Violate His Oath of Office (Conor Friedersdorf)
“The Framers were guarding against the possibility that Americans would one day elect a man so morally weak and corrupt that he would falsely accuse political enemies of treason. In 2016, Americans narrowly elected a man who is that degraded.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

The U.S. Immigration System May Have Reached a Breaking Point (Michael D. Shear, Miriam Jordan, and Manny Fernandez, The New York Times) (🔒 Paywall)
Mine Safety Debt for West Virginia Governor’s Family Companies Grows to $4 Million (Alexandra Kanik and Brittany Patterson, Ohio Valley ReSource)
Vigilantes Not Welcome: A Border Town Pushes Back on Anti-immigrant Extremists (Eric Reidy, Mother Jones)
From Gentrification to Decline: How Neighborhoods Really Change (Tanvi Misra, CityLab)

And One More Thing …

Recently The Atlantic asked its readers, “What is the greatest act of courage?” The May issue published your answers.

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