The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Mueller-ing It Over

What We’re Following Today It’s Wednesday, March 20. ‣ President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House today that he thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on his investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election should be made public. Here’s what else we’re watching: Mother Russia: Maria Butina, the first Russian to plead guilty to attempting to influence American policy makers before the 2016 election, has had a bad year. She’s currently being held in a Northern Virginia detention center awaiting sentencing. But she still has powerful allies: An NGO partly funded by the Kremlin is paying her legal bills, and as Natasha Bertrand reports, “One of… Read More

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The Enigmatic Russian Paying Maria Butina’s Legal Bills

In the murky world of Russian influence operations, a troll farm based out of St. Petersburg can flood American voters with propaganda and disinformation at a deniable distance from the Kremlin. A Russian gun-rights group can cultivate U.S. conservatives at arm’s length from Vladimir Putin. And an unregistered Russian agent being held in a Northern Virginia detention center can have her legal bills paid by an NGO that is partly funded, but not directly controlled, by the Kremlin. Maria Butina, the first Russian to plead guilty to seeking to infiltrate and influence American policy makers in the run-up to the 2016 election, remains somewhat of a mystery. But her prosecution… Read More

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Vaughn Palmer: Pushing to make daylight time permanent without ticking off the masses

VICTORIA — For the longest time, British Columbia debated the annual ritual of turning the clocks forward an hour in the spring, backwards in the fall. “Annual Battle Over Daylight Saving On,” was the headline in The Vancouver Sun 68 years ago this month. “Victoria favours 2 months, Vancouver 4, farmers none,” summarized the subhead. The article went on to detail how Vancouver city council was prepared to establish longer evenings for four months, the rest of the province be damned. Whereas the Fraser Valley milk producers wouldn’t stand for even a two-months-long departure from standard time because neither would their cows. Transportation companies disliked the shift because of confusion… Read More

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First-time home buyers big winners in budget, but will incentives work in B.C.?

The federal budget offers incentives aimed at making housing more affordable for first-time buyers, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll work in the overheated B.C. housing market. “We’ll want to look at the details, we’ll want to take a look at whether it will assist people in communities where unaffordability really is a crisis and housing prices are very high,” said B.C. Finance Minister Carole James. “I think that will continue to be a challenge.” The budget, which was released Tuesday, includes a first-time homebuyer incentive that will allow those who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage to finance a portion through a shared-equity mortgage… Read More

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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Jair Ally

What We’re Following Today It’s Tuesday, March 19. ‣ Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met with President Donald Trump and held a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden. Trump said that he will designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally. ‣ The scale of devastation is still emerging after Cyclone Idai swept across Mozambique and multiple other countries in southern Africa. It’s one of the deadliest tropical cyclones to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere. Here’s what else we’re watching: It’s Hard to Be a Farmer: American agriculture was facing a tough economic outlook even before the Trump administration’s trade war with China began last summer. But now farmers… Read More

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The Unexpected Side Effects of Trump’s Trade War

Several weeks ago, John Boyd’s combine broke down. The machine is an absolute necessity for Boyd—he, like most commodity farmers, uses it to harvest the soybeans, corn, and wheat he grows each year in Baskerville, Virginia. What he really needs is a whole new combine, which would allow him to harvest his crops more efficiently, and would last him much longer than fixing his current machine or buying a used one. But a new combine would cost him more than $480,000. With his farm income down and equipment prices up, “I haven’t been able to buy anything at all,” Boyd said. Like farmers around the country, Boyd is in the… Read More

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Vaughn Palmer: B.C. NDP poverty reduction very much a work in progress

VICTORIA — Ten years after New Democrat Shane Simpson first called for a B.C. poverty reduction strategy, the now cabinet minister released the first version of one on Monday. Together Now, as it is called, runs to more than 40 pages and lists dozens of measures large and small, some announced earlier, others still to come. Together, they are supposed to reduce the poverty rate in B.C. by 25 per cent and the child poverty rate by 50 per cent over the next five years. Cost? About $4 billion all in, Simpson told reporters Monday, which would be less than two per cent of budgeted provincial spending over the five… Read More

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The White House Still Can’t Get the President’s Tweeting Under Control

Long before he got into politics, Donald Trump relished the power and reach of his Twitter feed. And not long after he took office aides recognized the damage that unvetted tweets could inflict, with the president using them to set policy, settle scores, and steer the national conversation. Worried about misfires, aides have implored him to use social media more sparingly. At times, they’ve given Trump menus of pre-vetted tweets from which to choose. And they’ve held what some describe as interventions in the White House residence, with friends and family encouraging him to stop tweeting and praising him on days he’s shown restraint. The push-and-pull has played out behind… Read More

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The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: She’s (Also) Running

What We’re Following Today It’s Monday, March 18. ‣ Historic floods are engulfing midwestern states, including Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri, after a bomb cyclone and high levels of melting snow and ice caused rivers to overflow their banks. Here’s what else we’re watching: On the Campaign Trail: At Beto O’Rourke’s latest events, the candidate’s celebrity status seemed to make up for his inability to answer attendees’ specific policy questions, Edward-Isaac Dovere reports from Iowa, where he has been chasing around the many 2020 presidential-primary candidates. (O’Rourke hauled in $6.1 million in donations within the first 24 hours of his announcement, his campaign said today.) Meanwhile, on Sunday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand… Read More

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Daphne Bramham: B.C. among the last to adopt gender-equitable budgets

Mitzi Dean recently took a ride on the bus along Highway 16 in northern B.C. and sat next to a mother and her child. They were taking a two-hour trip to visit Grandma. Until two years ago, when the provincial government began subsiding the bus that connects the communities from the Alberta border to Prince Rupert, the only way Grandma could get to see her grandchild was by hitchhiking along the route that’s become known as the Highway of Tears. At least 18 women have disappeared or been murdered along it while they were hitchhiking. The mother told B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for gender equity that the improvement in the quality… Read More

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