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<i>The Atlantic</i> Politics & Policy Daily: Elton Don

  • Five Questions: Recent media reports on the federal investigation into Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, have prompted more questions about the probe’s scope and findings.
  • Propaganda 101: ISIS's response to the Parsons Green attack demonstrates how the terrorist group can still achieve its desired effect in light of failed operations.
  • Untapped Potential: As the number of farms drops rapidly across most of the United States, Alaska’s warming climate is actually encouraging more and more people to take up farming.
  • Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.SnapshotSenate Armed Services committee chairman Senator John McCain comforts Victor Sibayan, of Chula Vista, whose son, Navy FC1(SW) Carlos Sibayan, 23, died in the USS Fitzgerald collision, after a hearing on recent Navy incidents on Capitol Hill.
Elaine Godfrey / The Atlantic | September 19, 2017, 4:59 pm

Right-wing And Fringe Media Falsely Claim Legal Manafort Wiretap Vindicates Trump's Illegal-wiretap Lie

  • CNN: “US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election.” The Obama administration “wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders” initially as part of a 2014 investigation into “work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party,” CNN reported on September 18.
  • US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.
  • The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.
  • Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 19, 2017, 4:33 pm

Trump Slump? International Travel To U.S. Suffers Noticeable Drop Since January

  • According to Department of Commerce figures, there has been a marked decline in international travel to the United States since the beginning of the year:
  • Fewer international travelers came to the United States during the first few months of this year than over the same period last year, confirming concerns of some in the travel industry.
  • Overall, 697,791 fewer foreigners visited the United States in the first three months of the year, down 4.2 percent to 15.8 million.
  • As points of comparison, the first quarter of 2013, after the reelection of Barack Obama, international tourism was up 6.4 percent, and the first quarter of 2009, after President Obama’s first election (and during global recession that began at the end of 2008), it was down 14.3 percent.
Doug Mataconis / Outside The Beltway | September 19, 2017, 4:28 pm

Midday Open Thread: Hurricane Maria, Uday Trump Jr., And Snakes

  • From the Prime Minister of Dominica, horrifying news on the impact of Hurricane Maria:
  • It seems Uday needs more privacy—according to The New York Times, for camping and fishing (insert eye roll):
  • Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has elected to forgo protection by the Secret Service, according to a senior administration official, and another top White House official is losing hers.
  • Toys “R” Us Inc., the ultimate toyland for a generation of postwar baby boomers, filed for bankruptcy thanks to a crushing debt load from a buyout and relentless competition from warehouse and online retailers. (Barbara Morrill) / Daily Kos | September 19, 2017, 2:18 pm

Is Trump's 'Wiretap' Claim Vindicated?

  • Viewed from the most obvious angle, the latest scoops about special counsel Robert Mueller investigating Paul Manafort are at best neutral news for the president and more likely bad news.The new reports say that U.S.
  • So Obama WAS wiretapping @realDonaldTrump after all--once again Trump is right & the media hyenas prove to be wrong
  • — Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) September 19, 2017So does this really vindicate Trump?
  • That surveillance ended because of lack of evidence before Manafort joined Trump’s campaign in March 2016.
David A. Graham / The Atlantic | September 19, 2017, 1:48 pm

Fox's John Bolton: United Nations Speech "was The Best Speech Of The Trump Presidency"

  • JOHN BOLTON: This was the best speech of the Trump presidency, in my view.
  • And he made what I think is a key point when you look at what our next steps might be.
  • Fox & Friends gushes over Trump ahead of his UN speech: "What an amazing moment he's going to have"
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 19, 2017, 1:27 pm

Donald Trump’s First General Assembly Address Strikes Belligerent Tone

  • During his campaign for President and at several points during his still-young Presidency, Donald Trump has proven to be a sharp critic of the United Nations.
  • Trump delivered that speech this morning and to say it raised eyebrows is something of an understatement:
  • NEW YORK — President Trump warned the United Nations in a speech Tuesday that the world faces “great peril” from rogue regimes with powerful weapons and terrorists with expanding reach across the globe, and called on fellow leaders to join the United States in the fight to defeat what he called failed or murderous ideologies and “loser terrorists.”
  • “We meet at a time of immense promise and great peril,” Trump said in his maiden address to more than 150 international delegations at the annual U.N.
Doug Mataconis / Outside The Beltway | September 19, 2017, 1:24 pm

Trump Attacks North Korea, Iran, And Others As He Tells UN That 'Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission'

  • Trump opened his praise of nations as sovereigns with a statement that “In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.“ Which provides a handy excuse to not mention human rights to China, or freedom of speech to Russia, or say anything at all about the ongoing massacre in Myanmar.
  • However, this new respect for the absolute sovereignty of nations didn’t stop Trump from blatantly adopting a good vs. evil position in attacking North Korea, an attack that included his tooth-grinding mention of “Rocket Man.” Because calling a national leader by a childish name is something that always plays well at the UN. 
  • Trump spent even more time on attacking Iran, using vague and unattributed statements in painting them as a threat equal to Kim’s regime and acting as if there was no Iran deal to check their nuclear program before turning around to call that deal “an embarrassment to the United States.” As with many recent statements, Trump seemed to be setting up the idea of walking away from the deal—an action that would encourage Iran to follow North Korea down the fast path to nuclear weapons—but he didn’t quite pull the United States out of the agreement.
  • After inserting an attack on Islamic terrorists, Trump moved on to go after the regime in Syria. (Mark Sumner) / Daily Kos | September 19, 2017, 11:13 am

Groundhog Day For Obamacare Repeal

  • According to Cassidy, the bill has the private support of 49 GOP senators, putting it, again, just one vote shy of the 50 needed to clear the Senate under the budget reconciliation rules that expire at month’s end and that allow Republicans to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Russell Berman / The Atlantic | September 19, 2017, 10:44 am

Sinclair Insiders Are Sounding The Alarm About Its Plans To Transform Local News

  • Conservative local news giant Sinclair Broadcast Group is deepening its right-wing bias and looking to expand its reach into larger U.S.
  • After years of quietly pushing a right-wing perspective on unsuspecting local news audiences across the country, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s recent expansion efforts have thrown it into the media spotlight.
  • Sinclair employs an unusual tactic of designating certain conservative commentary segments it produces in its national studios as “must-runs,” meaning that every Sinclair-owned local television news station, from Portland, ME, to Salt Lake City, UT, is required to air them.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now pushing back on Sinclair’s efforts to expand via the Tribune acquisition, asking Sinclair for more evidence to back up its claims that it would fully comply with national and local news ownership caps and that the acquisition would actually lead to improvements for local newscasts.
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 19, 2017, 10:26 am

Mueller’s Russia Investigation Closing In On Paul Manafort

  • One of the most common techniques used in complex law enforcement investigations that potentially involve many players, it’s a common practice for prosecutors and investigators to focus on lower level officials and associates in the hope that they can get them to become cooperating witnesses, or as it’s generally called in law enforcement, “flipping” a witness.
  • First up, there’s a report from The New York Times detailing the extent of Mueller’s efforts to pin charges down against Manafort;
  • Few people can upend Washington like a federal prosecutor rooting around a presidential administration, and Mr.
  • The Times report goes on to note that, at least for now, the Mueller investigation has treated the White House and other officials close to Trump, such as Trump’s son-in-law far differently from the way it is proceeding against people such as Manafort and former National Security Adviser retired Lt.
Doug Mataconis / Outside The Beltway | September 19, 2017, 10:23 am

Republicans Rush To Destroy Healthcare With 'cruel' Bill That Smashes Both ACA And Medicaid

  • That doesn’t mean that Graham–Cassidy is going to be voted down by the same crew.
  • Republicans are literally playing with numbers to kill Americans in the states that dont’ go their way.
  • This bill is not only destructive to healthcare, the way Republicans are pushing it through the Senate represents the end of that chamber as a debating body. (Mark Sumner) / Daily Kos | September 19, 2017, 8:08 am

Can Conservative Journalism Survive?

  • Donald Trump’s rise to power put National Review, The Weekly Standard, and the sorts of journalists who work there in a distressing bind.
  • After reading them, Buskirk asked those gathered in the audience, “The Huffington Post?
  • To what extent do the legacy conservative media not think they are part of the mainstream media?
  • The New York Times prints a story, it starts a narrative, and we on the right simply react, we don't drive our own narratives or our own stories.
Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic | September 19, 2017, 7:43 am

How The NRA Exploited Hurricanes To Promote Gun Ownership

  • NRATV hosts repeatedly used hurricanes Harvey and Irma to push for both more gun ownership and pro-gun laws, while fearmongering that this type of catastrophe can happen anywhere and people should be prepared with guns to fight looters as law enforcement can’t be everywhere.
  • NRATV host repeatedly fearmongered that during a catastrophic event, “criminals will always exploit weakness.”
  • The National Rifle Association’s broadcast platform, NRATV, steadily covered the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston during Stinchfield, the daily show that runs for 10 minutes at the top of the hour from 9 a.m.
  • The next day, Stinchfield reiterated that “evildoers do take to the streets” after natural disasters but that “Texans have unfettered access to firearms” which “puts the victims of this disaster at ease,” during the August 31 edition of Stinchfield.
Media Matters for America / Media Matters | September 19, 2017, 7:24 am

Sean Spicer Says He Regrets The Lie That Set The Tone For His Time At The White House

  • One day after a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards ceremony that earned criticism from many pundits, former White House Press Secretary expressed regret for the incident that defined his time in the Trump Administration:
  • During his surprise comedy skit at the Emmys on Sunday, Sean Spicer may have made light of his six-month tenure as the White House press secretary, but a message was also embedded in his performance.
  • Laughter and applause could be heard throughout the Microsoft Theater, and celebrities in the audience were seen on the telecast, reacting with their mouths agape.
  • Perhaps the most amusing piece of news is the cloak and dagger manner in which Spicer’s appearance was handled:
Doug Mataconis / Outside The Beltway | September 19, 2017, 7:18 am