What We’re Following Today
It’s Tuesday, May 14.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian President Vladimir Putin today, and Trump allies are trying to spin the president’s chumminess with Putin as just one part of a complex U.S. strategy toward Russia, Peter Nicholas and Kathy Gilsinan report. But who’s really being played here?
Moon Money: The Trump administration wants to put American astronauts on the moon again by 2024—and it’s asking Congress for $1.6 billion to do it. But 2024 is awfully soon, reports Marina Koren, and NASA has a long way to go to get a moon mission off the ground.
The Tariffs Start Coming and They Don’t Stop Coming: The Trump administration said it’s preparing to impose $300 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese imports, in retaliation against China’s retaliation. But Trump’s approach fundamentally misunderstands how tariffs work, argues Annie Lowrey: “The Chinese government is no more apt to fork over billions of yuan for Trump’s tariffs than Mexico’s government is to pay for a border wall. Rather, tariffs fall on the American importers of Chinese goods, who often pass those cost increases onto American consumers.”
The Root of a Conspiracy Theory: There’s a program that’s paid out about $229 million a year from 2013 to 2017 to people who claim they’ve been injured by vaccines. This federal-government initiative has “long percolated at the heart of misinformation and misunderstanding” over the safety of vaccines, writes James Hamblin. He looks at how the program came to be; why the government, not drug companies, is making payouts to alleged victims; and how the program became a flash point for conspiracy theorists.
Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser shows the president his Trump socks in Lake Charles, Louisiana. (Leah Millis / Reuters)
Ideas From The Atlantic
The Supreme Court’s Worst Decision of My Tenure (John Paul Stevens)
“District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench.” → Read on.
Revisionism Is Winning in American Politics (Megan Garber)
“Amnesia is a powerful force in part because it can be deeply preferable to the alternative: Remembering—recognizing—reckoning—is hard. It is so much easier to look around and give a shrug and conclude that, all things considered, it’s time to move on.” → Read on.
Rashida Tlaib Has Her History Wrong (Benny Morris)
“But the historical reality was quite different from what Tlaib described: The Palestinians indirectly, and in some ways directly, aided in the destruction of European Jewry.” → Read on.
Russia Has Americans’ Weaknesses All Figured Out (Jim Sciutto)
“U.S. military commanders, national-security officials, and intelligence analysts have a definitive answer: Russia is an enemy … But the public has been slow to catch on, polls suggest, and Trump has given Americans little reason to believe that their president recognizes Russia’s recent actions as a threat.” → Read on.
Democrats Need to Place China at the Center of Their Foreign Policy (Thomas Wright)
“There is an incentive to think about new approaches that draw a stark contrast with Trump but also depart from the Obama administration. Democrats need a powerful foreign-policy message that connects with domestic politics. Competing responsibly and effectively with China is the best one they have.” → Read on.
What Else We’re Reading
‣ We Must Restore the Dignity of Work. All Work. (Avi Woolf, The Bulwark)
‣ How Democrats Who Beat Republicans Last Year Plan to Keep Their Seats (Jennifer Steinhauer, The New York Times) (🔒 Paywall)
‣ Restrictive Abortion Bill Weighs on Alabama Republicans (Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)
About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writers: Elaine Godfrey, Madeleine Carlisle, and Olivia Paschal. It’s edited by Shan Wang.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.