Start Making Sense

Behind Trump’s Heartless Attack on the Dreamers: John Nichols, plus Elizabeth Holtzman on Impeachment and Joan Walsh on Mike Pence

John Nichols says Trump sent Jeff Sessions out to announce that the administration was targeting the Dreamers for deportation because Sessions has always been bitterly anti-immigrant, and helped bring that constituency into Trump’s base.
Also: Trump could fire Mueller or pardon all of his targets—but that won’t protect him from investigation by the state of New York, and Mueller has formed a partnership with New York’s state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Elizabeth Holtzman explains—she’s a former member of Congress from New York who won national attention for her work on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.
Plus: You’ve probably had this debate with your friends: Do we want Donald Trump to resign or be impeached, which would leave us with Mike Pence in charge? Would Pence would be better, or worse, than Trump? Joan Walsh has been thinking about this too—and she’s got some hard evidence and an original analysis.
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Houston Developers’ Losing Battle With Climate Change: Roane Carey, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio and Bob Dreyfuss on Seth Rich.

Roane Carey, The Nation’s managing editor, reports from Houston on the political battles there: Developers have defeated local anti-growth groups, but they can’t stop the climate changes that have brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding.

Plus: Erwin Chemerinsky, the new dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, says Trump’s Pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is “outrageous”—because it violates the separation of powers, and encourages the police to ignore Latinos’ constitutional right to liberty.

And if you wanted to discredit the idea that Russians hacked the DNC and sent what they found there to Wikileaks to help Donald Trump, you’d need a counter-theory—right? Bob Dreyfuss looks at the leading Republican counter-theory, and how it crashed and burned.

Steve Bannon’s Exit: All Power to Jared Kushner? Amy Wilentz , plus John Nichols on Trump after Bannon, and Joshua Holland on Russia and democracy.

Steve Bannon says his departure as chief strategist at the Trump White House leaves the Wall Street Democrats led by Jared Kushner in charge there. Is he right? Amy Wilentz, our Chief Jared Correspondent, outlines the differences between Jared and Bannon on key issues.
Also: John Nichols says the Bannon forces, funded by right-wing hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, will continue to fight with an “inside-outside” strategy—since their allies Sebastian Gorka and Kellyanne Conway remain part of Trump’s inner circle, now pressured from outside by Bannon and Breitbart News.
And Joshua Holland takes a new tack in the debate over whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians: he examines Russian interference in democratic elections across Europe, which have nothing to do with making excuses for Hillary’s defeat.
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White Nationalists in Charlottesville & the White House: Eric Foner; Plus Bob Dreyfuss on Paul Manafort & Robert Lipsyte on Trump and golf.

The white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville use the Confederacy as a symbol of white supremacy, says award-winning historian Eric Foner. Is Donald Trump a neo-Confederate? To call him that suggests he has coherent ideas—which clearly he does not. He does know that these kinds of people are part of his political base—as he made clear on Tuesday in his defense of the white-nationalist demonstrators in Charlottesville.
Also: if you understand golf, you understand Trump. Golf is a game for “successful greedheads and their wannabes,” says legendary sportswriter Robert Lipsyte. It’s a waste of space and water, and it poisons local aquifers with chemicals. And it represents all that is retrograde and exclusionary in American life. Lipsyte asks, Doesn’t that remind you of our president?
Plus: The FBI raid on Paul Manafort’s house shows that Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia has entered a more aggressive phase. Manafort could become a “cooperating witness,” providing testimony against Trump and his family in exchange for immunity. Bob Dreyfuss reports.
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Frank Rich on How the Trump Presidency Ends–Plus Joshua Holland on Trump voters & David Cole on the resistance.

Frank Rich has been “wallowing in Watergate,” as he put it, and found some fascinating stuff about Trump’s situation today and Nixon’s a year before his fall.  Also: the ways Nixon was significantly stronger than Trump in resisting impeachment and resignation.
Also: Joshua Holland has some significant new evidence about Trump voters and why they voted the way they did. He discusses what the evidence tells us about whether those who switched from Obama to Trump can be brought back.
Plus David Cole, legal director of the ACLU and legal correspondent for The Nation, talks about the resistance. He’s found some lessons by looking outside the United States, drawing from other countries facing autocratic leaders to inform our work in the Age of Trump. The book he edited and introduced, Rules for Resistance, is out now.
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Surviving the Trump Years: Katha Pollitt’s Guide for the Anxious and the Depressed. Plus John Nichols on Medicare-for-All and Rosa Brooks on the generals.

We’re six months into the Trump era—and how are you feeling about the world today? Katha Pollitt conducted an unscientific survey. She found anxiety and depression, but also wisdom about working together over the long haul: We will defeat Trump (if he doesn’t defeat himself first).

Also: One good result of the Republicans’ failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is the growing support for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system—not just among the public, where it’s always been popular, but also among Democratic Party leaders. John Nichols comments.

Plus: It seems like the military is becoming everything in the Trump administration. The president just made a general his chief of staff, and has another heading the Defense Department—and yet another as his national-security adviser. That led us to a conversation with Rosa Brooks about “how the military became everything.” Her book, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything, is out now in paperback.
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The Desperation of Donald Trump: David Cole; plus George Zornick on healthcare in the Senate and Joshua Holland on happiness in Denmark

David Cole, legal director of the ACLU and The Nation’s legal-affairs correspondent, argues that Trump would only be talking about pardoning himself if he was desperate—because he knows what the special counsel is likely to find—and is thus willing to pay a tremendous political price to avoid impeachment.
Plus: The Senate GOP healthcare bill is confusing—that’s the way they want it, says George Zornick: It’s their only chance of repealing Obamacare. (recorded Tuesday afternoon, before their bill failed).
And Joshua Holland explains why Danes are so much happier than Americans: It’s not just because Donald Trump is not their president.  Josh wrote and narrated the animated video at TheNation.com.
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Trump’s Troubled Top Attorney; plus The Children’s Hour–Don Jr., Jared, Ivanka, and Eric

Bob Dreyfuss reports on the lawyers on both sides of the Russia investigations, starting with Mark Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, who is also working for Russian bankers connected to the meeting with Don Jr. at Trump Tower. Also: the deep challenges facing Trump’s legal team.
Plus: Amy Wilentz with The Children’s Hour: news about Don Jr., Jared, Ivanka, and Eric—boy, are those kids in trouble this week!  One big question: Why were Jared and Ivanka partying with Chuck Schumer in the Hamptons last week?
And Suzanne Gordon argues, in the wake of the Republicans’ failure to repeal or replace Obamacare, that the VA provides a strong example of healthcare for America—better in many ways than Medicare for all.
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 Al Franken Versus the De-Humorizer

Al Franken talks about the dangers of humor in politics, about the voters who supported Trump, the “deep hole” Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dug for himself, and the need for a public option in health care in America.  His new book is Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.
Also: Joan Walsh comments on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian government representative promising dirt on Hillary: It may make him a criminal, and it certainly made him a liar.
And Ari Berman explains what the Russians did to hack voting, and what it would take to make our systems less vulnerable—and why Trump’s commission on “electoral integrity” should be disbanded.
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Naomi Klein: We’re all in Trump’s reality show now

Trump’s presidential reality show is nonstop, Naomi Klein says in Part 2 of our interview, HERE—and, as a result, people really die.  Naomi’s new book, No Is Not Enough, debuted at number two on the New York Times bestseller list.
Also: The Jared Report: Amy Wilentz talks about the most trusted man in the Trump White House—his real-estate holdings, his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, and his first speech as a public official—sad!
And we revisit our 2003 interview with Al Franken about his number one bestseller, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Now he has a new number-one bestseller: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.
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