Today in Politics

It’s Monday, October 21. Today, several key tensions running through American politics that will shape the week to come. ¶ Plus, “What was Hillary Clinton thinking?” our contributing writer Tom Nichols asks. ¶ Finally, scenes from a massive Sanders rally.

(Ryan Melgar)

1. Republicans standing behind Trump / Republicans mulling over impeachment. “Romney is taking the prospect of a Senate trial seriously—he’s reviewing The Federalist Papers, brushing up on parliamentary procedure, and staying open to the idea that the president may need to be evicted from the Oval Office,” writes McKay Coppins, who’s reported on Romney for the past nine years and spoke to the Senator extensively for this story.

+ Tracking key Congressional retirements: “Representative Francis Rooney of Florida announced he would retire after just two terms, one day after he became the first House Republican to say he might vote for Trump’s impeachment.”

2. Americans supporting impeachment / opposing impeachment. According to new polling out today, 93 percent of Republicans are still opposed to impeachment as of this month.

Two subgroups stand out, Emma Green reports, one of those being white evangelicals: “Nearly two-thirds of white evangelicals said Trump has not hurt the dignity of the presidency. By contrast, majorities of all other religious groups said Trump has damaged the image of the office.”

3. Closed-door hearings / transparency. “...House investigators have broken through the administration’s stonewalling of Congress and heard dozens of hours of testimony from key witnesses,” Russell Berman and Elaine Godfrey report. “The public, however, has seen virtually none of it—and that dynamic could ultimately threaten the Democrats’ bid to get public opinion firmly on their side.”

The Week Ahead

🗓Tuesday, October 22: Bill Taylor, a former American ambassador to Ukraine, will testify in Congress as part of the impeachment inquiry. Taylor expressed concern about a Trump quid pro quo in text messages that were unearthed, but whatever fireworks happen won’t be visible to the public.

🗓Wednesday, October 23: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will head to Capitol Hill to defend his company’s plan to create a cryptocurrency. The public hearing comes as the tech giant faces public scrutiny from … just about everyone over just about everything. How did the last time go? It was a “free-for-all,” Elaina Plott wrote at the time.

🗓Thursday, October 24: Elijah Cummings, the Maryland congressman at the center of the House’s impeachment investigation before his unexpected death last week, will lie in state at the Capitol on Thursday and Friday. The revered representative had a knack for personal friendships with Republicans with whom he publicly sparred.

🗓Friday, October 25: The Second Step Presidential Justice Forum kicks off in Columbia, South Carolina, featuring nearly all of the major Democratic presidential contenders, as well as their Republican opponent: Trump will deliver the keynote speech. In the Trump era, criminal-justice reform has emerged as a rare space for bipartisanship


Argument of the Day

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee was quoted calling a 2020 longshot Tulsi Gabbard a “favorite of the Russians.” The Hawaii representative responded, calling Clinton the “queen of warmongers.” It was an unnecessary interjection by Clinton, Tom Nichols argues:

The congresswoman from Hawaii is a completely discreditable candidate—more on that in a moment—but Clinton’s accusation that Gabbard is a tool of the Russians was so blunt and clumsy that it has added new life to a primary bid that should never have existed in the first place. Within a day, Gabbard was already fundraising off of it, a development as predictable as a sunrise.

→ Read the rest

+ More from Tom: “Trump’s admissions on social media alone provide enough material for Congress to remove him.”


Before You Go

(Andrew Kelly / Reuters)

“You can’t kill ideas, and they can’t die either ... I’d like to see him live through one term at least.”

That’s what one supporter told our campaign reporter Isaac Dovere, who was at the Bernie Sanders rally in Queens on Saturday (25,000-people strong, with a personal endorsement from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

→ Read the full story


About us: The Atlantic’s politics newsletter is a daily effort from our politics desk. Today’s edition was written by Saahil Desai, with help from Christian Paz, and edited by Shan Wang.

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