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What We’re Following Today

It’s Tuesday, August 27.

‣ A federal judge blocked Missouri’s ban on abortions after eight weeks (the ban had been set to take place tomorrow).

‣ Tropical Storm Dorian is on the edge of hurricane status as it heads toward Puerto Rico.

Here’s what else we’re watching.

The Never Trump Train: Former Representative Joe Walsh announced that he’ll take on President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020, joining fellow challenger ex-Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. But Walsh isn’t really a threat to Trump, writes Russell Berman.

To Meet, Or Not to Meet: Following some G7 activity around potential Iran-U.S. diplomacy, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he will only meet with President Donald Trump if the U.S. lifts sanctions against his country. Economic warfare has been a favorite tool of the Trump administration as tensions between the two countries continue to build.

Amazon, Burning: Brazil will reject $22 million in aid from G7 countries to fight massive fires in the Amazon (unless, President Jair Bolsonaro said, certain comments are withdrawn). The scale of deforestation is alarming: there are 80 percent more fires this year than there were last summer, according to figures from the Brazilian government, Robinson Meyer reports. And more than 1,330 square miles of the Amazon rainforest have been lost since January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year.

+ One note: While the Amazon is a “vast, ineffable, vital, living wonder,” it isn’t the “Earth’s lungs,” and doesn’t actually provide 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, Peter Brannen writes.


Snapshot

(Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

A man climbs a traffic light at a protest over Newark’s lead-in-water crisis, outside the venue of the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.


Ideas From The Atlantic

Trump’s Unprecedented Fight to Withhold Information (Kerry W. Kircher)
“President Donald Trump’s administration has declared war on congressional oversight, and the House of Representatives is fighting back—by suing in federal court to enforce its subpoenas.” → Read on.

Prosecutors Need to Take the Lead in Reforming Prisons (Lucy Lang)
“It is not enough...for prosecutors to decline prosecution of low-level offenses and to create alternatives to incarceration for appropriate cases. These work-arounds are important, but the majority of incarcerated Americans are imprisoned for crimes of violence. Simply diverting nonviolent offenders and reducing sentence lengths will not solve mass incarceration.” → Read on.

The Idea That Whites Can’t Refer to the N-Word (John McWhorter)
“It’s one thing to ban a word because it is a pitiless slur often used amid physical violence...However, since the 1990s this rule has undergone mission creep, under which whites are not only not supposed to level the word as a slur, but are also not supposed to even refer to it.” → Read on.


What Else We’re Reading

Protesters descend on MTV’s Video Music Awards angry about Newark lead crisis (Amy Kuperinsky and Karen Yi, NJ Advance Media)

The Federal Election Commission needs 4 of 6 members to enforce the law. It now has 3. (Shane Goldmacher, The New York Times) (🔒Paywall)

Why journalists’ old tweets are fair game for Trump (Jack Shafer, Politico)

Incoming Harvard freshman deported after visa revoked (Shera S. Avi-Yonah and Delano R. Franklin, The Harvard Crimson)


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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