The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Disorder in the House

House Democrats will vote on a resolution to condemn the president’s racist tweets. Plus: Can Mark Esper really help steer Trump?

Yuri Gripas / Reuters
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What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, July 16.

‣ Representative Al Green of Texas said he will file articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump tonight. More than 80 members have so far called to begin an inquiry.

‣ The House is preparing to vote tonight on a resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets, as Trump and his defenders continue to push back.

‣ The Justice Department said it will not bring federal charges against the New York City police officer involved in Eric Garner’s death five years ago.

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, speaks to the media about the decision to not prosecute NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Secretary of Defense on Defense: Senators pressed Mark Esper today during his confirmation hearing on whether he would—as the defense secretary, a position that’s gone seven months without a confirmed person—stand up to President Donald Trump if he disagreed with him. Esper conveyed that he would be willing to. But in this administration, there’s a limit to anyone’s influence, Kathy Gilsinan writes.

A ‘Rhetorical Swiss Army Knife’: The Trump administration is reshaping government for generations to come by embracing a two-word phrase that no reasonable person can oppose: religious freedom. Mattathias Schwartz spoke with Ambassador Sam Brownback on what’s afoot.

Update on 2020: Several Democratic presidential candidates, from Kamala Harris to Beto O’Rourke, have a new tactic for reaching black Americans: Writing op-eds in publications like Essence and other magazines with predominantly black readerships, Adrienne Green reports. But paying attention to black media is hardly the same as offering tangible support to black communities.

+ Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, told reporters that he’s considering challenging Trump for the GOP nomination (he has a specific bone to pick with Trump). Sanford has a lot of experience campaigning for office … but there’s at least one example of his time on the trail going south.

Ideas From The Atlantic

Can’t Impeach Trump? Go After His Cabinet. (Garrett Epps)
“Although Speaker Nancy Pelosi has frozen talk of removing the president, making a lot of Democratic voters angry, let’s remember that the impeachment power is not just for presidents.”→ Read on.

Leave the Jews Out of It (James Kirchick)
“If Trump & Co.’s intent is to spark a ‘Jexodus’ from the Democratic Party, it would be hard to find a less effective catalyst, notwithstanding all the positive things this administration has done for the Jewish state.” → Read on.

Am I an American? (Ibram X. Kendi)
“We were rarely told to go back to our country when we did kneel, when we did not kneel, when we did as told by the slaveholder and the abolitionist, by the segregator and racial reformer, by the American mentor telling us to pull up or pull down our pants. Am I an American only when I act like a slave?” → Read on.

House Insurrections Are Here to Stay (Steve Israel)
“Speakers can count on unrest, because members know they have little to lose in opposing their leaders.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

The American right defines patriotism as complacency about racism (Eric Levitz, New York)

A border patrol agent reveals what it’s really like to guard migrant children (Ginger Thompson, ProPublica)

5% of Congress was born abroad. Those members show what it means to be American. (The New York Times) (🔒 Paywall)

About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writer Elaine Godfrey. It’s edited by Shan Wang.

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