The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The Root of the Mattis

James Mattis was supposed to be one of the last “adults in the room” in the Trump administration. He speaks to Jeffrey Goldberg in his first interview since resigning last year.

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis (Yuri Gripas / Reuters)
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What We’re Following Today

It’s Thursday, August 29.

‣ Hurricane Dorian could hit Florida as a Category 4 storm ahead of Labor Day—one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Here’s what else we’re watching.

A Taste of His Own Medicine: The inspector general for the Justice Department said that former FBI Director James Comey broke agency policy by keeping and then leaking memos he produced during meetings with President Donald Trump. But despite scolding him harshly, the inspector general has decided not to prosecute. Hillary Clinton might relate to that.

The Mooch Is Back for More: Anthony Scaramucci, the president’s onetime ally and very short-term press secretary, is apparently the newest member of the anti-Trump Resistance. “No way you can reconcile with somebody like that,” he told Peter Nicholas. “He’s a presidential monster, and he’s got to be defeated.” But is Scaramucci’s second act even believable?

(Christie Hemm Klok)

‘The Man Who Couldn’t Take It Anymore’: In our forthcoming October issue, the Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg talks with General James Mattis about his leadership philosophy, his time in the White House, and his impression of Donald Trump:

I thought back to what he’d told me earlier in the summer, when I had asked him to describe something Trump could say or do that would trigger him to launch a frontal attack on the president. [Mattis had] demurred, as I had expected. But then he’d issued a caveat: “There is a period in which I owe my silence. It’s not eternal. It’s not going to be forever.”

An Update From the 2020 Corner:
Michael Bennet will turn this car around. The Colorado senator turned presidential candidate is mild-mannered with a soft voice and a calm smile. But during the past few months he’s spent campaigning, he’s been mad as hell.

Running for president may have tarnished the (Gilli)brand. Running for president usually boosts a politician’s profile, writes David A. Graham. But Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s unsuccessful 2020 bid might have done more to harm than help her.


(Gregg Newton / Reuters)

Residents wait to fill their cars with gas in Kissimmee, Florida, in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival.

Ideas From The Atlantic

The People Who Think Bernie Is Moderate (Annie Lowrey)
“Historians and political scientists—and socialists themselves—make the point that although the left has moved to the left, there is still a lot of left left to the left … But socialism … meaning worker collectives and the nationalization of critical industries and the end of the free-enterprise model? In the presidential race, nobody is even talking about it.” → Read on.

Greenland Should Unite the U.S. and Denmark—Not Divide Them (Anders Fogh Rasmussen)
“Both China and Russia are interested in getting a foothold in Greenland, to expand their influence in the Arctic region. Instead of being a source of contention, Greenland should serve to highlight how many interests the United States and Denmark have in common.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Who said it: Trump or Biden? (Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg) (Paywall)

Leaked emails show how white nationalists have infiltrated conservative media (Hannah Gais, Splinter)

Pete Buttigieg has cooled off but his campaign says it’s time for “phase three” (Henry J. Gomez and Molly Hensley-Clancy, BuzzFeed News)

How a ring of women allegedly recruited girls for Jeffrey Epstein (Amy Julia Harris, Frances Robles, Mike Baker, and William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times) (paywall)

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

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