The Politics & Policy Daily: From Lotus to POTUS?

This little-known Rust Belt yoga devotee with complex political views is running for president. Plus: What’s going on with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?

Nati Harnik / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Thursday, April 4.

‣ President Donald Trump walked back his threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that he’ll give Mexico a “one-year warning” to address his concerns about the flow of migrant workers and drugs into the United States.

‣ Members of Robert Mueller’s team are reportedly frustrated about Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the special counsel’s final report.

‣ The House voted to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen—now entering its fifth devastating year—in a rebuke of the Trump administration. The measure now heads to the president, who is expected to veto it.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Another Bunch?: Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, best known as the member who led the unsuccessful revolt against Nancy Pelosi in 2016, announced that he’s running for president. Ryan is running as a strong supporter of unions and blue-collar workers, but the Rust Belt yoga devotee has complex political views. The Democrat Eric Swalwell of California is joining the pack, too. His key priority going into 2020? Gun safety.

+ At this point, dozens of people are running or seriously considering running for president on the Democratic side.

Who’s Coming Forward?: Tricia Newbold recently became the first Trump White House official to publicly take accusations of wrongdoing to Congress. But House Oversight Committee veterans say that the number of whistle-blowers is higher now than during previous administrations, reports Russell Berman: A “small army” of them is working with the House Oversight Committee to report alleged malfeasance inside the Trump administration.

Doing a 180: A few months ago, President Donald Trump and his allies were publicly haranguing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who, along with Attorney General William Barr, may be the only person outside the special counsel’s team to have seen the entire Mueller report). But now, in the days since Barr’s memo concluded that Trump did not obstruct justice, the deputy AG has gone from public enemy to potential savior.


Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill after the House voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Alongside her are Representative Barbara Lee, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, and Representative Deb Haaland. (Patrick Semansky / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

They Had It Coming (Caitlin Flanagan)
“Sometimes they would say things so outlandish that I would just stare at them, trying to beam into their mind the question, Can you hear yourself? That so many of them were (literal) limousine liberals lent the meetings an element of radical chic. They were down for the revolution, but there was no way their kid was going to settle for Lehigh.” → Read on.

Unusual Cruelty at the Supreme Court (Garrett Epps)
“In the 5–4 majority opinion for a case called Bucklew v. Precythe, [Neil Gorsuch], the author of The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, did not simply tolerate but warmly embraced state killing—even if the state knowingly inflicts agony in the process.” → Read on.

Joe Biden’s Deviant Decency (Eve Gerber)
“My kids fought to be plus-ones for Biden events because of the type of behavior that is being called into question. He habitually nuzzled, hugged, and kidded around with them. But he wasn’t just physical. He tuned in emotionally.” → Read on.

(The Atlantic)

Filing Your Taxes Is an Expensive Time Sink. That’s Not an Accident. (Monica Prasad)
“And that—the fear that the government might do a good job of collecting taxes, that people might come to appreciate this, and they might come to view paying taxes as anything other than an onerous burden—explains exactly why we don’t have automatic returns, despite all the benefits.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

You Elected Them to Write New Laws. They’re Letting Corporations Do It Instead. (Rob O’Dell and Nick Penzenstadler, USA Today)
A Green New Deal for Agriculture (Raj Patel and Jim Goodman, Jacobin)

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