The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Barr-b-que

The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to release the unredacted Mueller report. Plus: Remember the Mooch?

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, May 8.

‣ President Donald Trump is asserting executive privilege to stop the release of the full, unredacted Mueller report to Congress, the Department of Justice said. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has reportedly subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., to answer further questions relating to the Russia investigation.

‣ Kendrick Castillo, an 18-year-old student, was killed and eight others were injured in a school shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on Tuesday.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

In Contempt: The House Judiciary Committee voted in support of a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report. Representative Jamie Raskin, who sits on the committee, told Russell Berman that House Democrats could take a rare step: ordering Barr’s arrest. That power hasn’t been invoked in nearly a century.

Sharp as a Tax: Trump lost more than $1 billion in just under 10 years, from 1985 to 1994, according to tax-return figures obtained by The New York Times, likely losing more money than almost any other individual American taxpayer during that period. But following Trump’s lead, the media presented him as a highly successful businessman, writes Conor Friedersdorf. A 1987 Newsweek article, for instance, quoted Trump as saying, “There is no one my age who has accomplished more.”

Trade, but Make It Political: The Trump administration’s trade negotiations with China are breaking down, and Trump has pledged to impose more tariffs on Chinese imports. As tensions rise, Trump’s campaign sees a political opportunity to take down Democrats for not taking China seriously enough, reports Elaina Plott. “What Democrat now is going to be able to out-hawk Trump on China?” one campaign adviser said.

Flash Point: Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq fought alongside the U.S. to defeat the Islamic State. But the alliance was always tentative, and ran the risk of the militias becoming a flash point between the U.S. and Iran if tensions ever grew. “Those tensions have now spiked,” writes Mike Giglio. And some experts say the militia groups could prove an effective tool for Iran to reignite “an old narrative that casts U.S. troops as an occupying force in the country.”

Don’t Forget the Mooch: Would Anthony Scaramucci ever return to the White House? He’s not sure. Nearly two years after John Kelly fired him after an 11-day stint as White House communications director, Scaramucci is still finding his footing outside of Trumpland. He’s saved his marriage, which once made for tabloid fodder. He’s also mended his relationship with Trump. But what’s next? Peter Nicholas caught up with Scaramucci himself in Las Vegas.


Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with their newborn son in St. George’s Hall at Windsor Castle in southern England. The royal couple announced that they have named the baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. (Dominic Lipinski / Pool via AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Triumph of German Democracy (David Frum)
“How do we memorialize the wrongs done by our societies? How much justice can our democracies withstand? After 70 years of self-examination, modern Germany has some lessons to teach and some wisdom to impart from its own hard experience to those perhaps excessively proud of their own imperfect past and deteriorating present.” → Read on.

Tech Companies Are Deleting Evidence of War Crimes (Bernhard Warner)
“It wasn’t a sophisticated hack attack by pro-Assad forces that wiped out their work. It was the ruthlessly efficient work of machine-learning algorithms deployed by social networks, particularly YouTube and Facebook.” → Read on.

How Authoritarians Manipulate Elections (Yascha Mounk)
“From Russia to Venezuela, the strongmen who have destroyed democratic institutions won high office at the ballot box. Far from openly attacking democracy, they have tended to argue that they, and they alone, truly represent the people.” → Read on.

Remembering Andy Marshall, the Brain of the Pentagon (Eliot A. Cohen)
“Andy’s was the life of the mind, devoted to the study of conflict and informed by a deep and abiding—if often pessimistic—love of the United States … What those memorializing Andy remembered most, however, was his kindness.”  → Read on.

Lincoln’s Lid (Andrew Ferguson)
“Even in our fractious, ill-tempered times, we can all come together to agree on this: $6 million is a lot to pay for a hat.”  → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

RFK Jr. Is Our Brother and Uncle. He’s Tragically Wrong About Vaccines. (Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Joseph P. Kennedy II, Maeve Kennedy McKean, Politico Magazine)
Amy Klobuchar’s Complicated Political Inheritance (Ben Terris, The Washington Post) 
America’s Growing Gender Jail Gap (Jacob Kang-Brown and Olive Lu, The New York Review of Books)
What Do Southern Newspapers That Played a Role in Racial Violence Owe Their Communities? (Mark I. Pinsky, Poynter)

About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writers: Elaine Godfrey, Madeleine Carlisle, and Olivia Paschal. It’s edited by Shan Wang.

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