The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The I Word

Trump calls impeachment a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word.” Plus: A new proposal from Senator Kamala Harris could escalate tensions between states and the federal government.

Evan Vucci / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Thursday, May 30.

‣ President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and balked at the suggestion that Congress might move to impeach him. “To me it’s a dirty word, the word impeach. It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word,” he said.

‣ New documents cited in a federal-court filing offer evidence that the administration proposed the census citizenship question to advance Republican Party interests. (The administration has previously claimed that the question would help officials uphold the Voting Rights Act.).

‣ The administration is reportedly considering a proposal that would deny asylum to immigrants who travel to the United States through a third country.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

McConnell’s Grand Plan: The Senate majority leader said this week that if a vacancy on the Supreme Court occurs in the next year, the Republican majority will confirm the president’s nominee. In 2016, he refused to even hold hearings for former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. But no one should be surprised McConnell’s playing it out this way.

Watch This Space: A new proposal from Senator Kamala Harris of California would require that individual state laws restricting abortion access be approved at the federal level, highlighting escalating tensions between states and the federal government: “More and more, both parties are seeking to use federal authority to block state initiatives they oppose, even as they routinely mobilize their power in the states to resist the other party’s agenda in Washington,” writes Ronald Brownstein.


Cadets toss their hats in the air as planes fly over at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation on Thursday at Air Force Academy, Colorado. President Donald Trump spoke at the commencement. (David Zalubowski / AP)

Ideas From The Atlantic

A Stain on the Honor of the Navy (Eliot A. Cohen)
“The [Navy] … did its efficient best to conceal the name John McCain from President Donald Trump’s sight when he recently visited Yokosuka Naval Base … What this episode shows is that the black fungus of fear, and ambition, and servility is more pervasive than might have been imagined. It stains uniforms even as it has stained business suits. The president has merely brought it to the surface.” → Read on.

Mueller Counted on Institutions to Grapple With His Report. They Didn’t. (Quinta Jurecic)
“The fact that this material is being treated as new when it has been available for weeks is indicative of a vast failure on the part of American institutions, which have not adequately grappled with the information conveyed in the Mueller report or presented it to the public with sufficient clarity.” → Read on.

The Wisest Remedy Is Not Impeachment (David Frum)
“Trump outrages the sense of justice. It is understandable that many yearn for urgent and decisive action to cleanse the American system. But wise action is better than urgent action, and the best decision is one that leads to success.” → Read on.

Congress, Not Mueller, Should Have Investigated the President (Charles Cooke)
“The very moment the investigation was announced, it was inevitable that we would end up with a mess. Because, as usual, our political leaders abdicated their constitutional responsibilities and contrived to use the wrong tools for the job.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Extreme Weather Is Pummeling the Midwest, and Farmers Are in Deep Trouble (Katie Mettler, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)
The Democratic Party Is Waging a War Against Its Very Own Base (Tory Gavito and Sean McElwee, GQ)
Roy Moore Hits Back at Trump in Defiant Interview (James Arkin, Politico)

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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