ESSENTIAL #1: “TRUMP AG NOMINEE TO DEFEND RECORD IN SENATE HEARING” ALEX ROGERS, CNN
From the article: “President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, will testify before a Senate panel Tuesday amid questions about the Justice Department's independence from the White House and future of the special counsel investigation.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “TRUMP DISCUSSED PULLING U.S. FROM NATO, AIDES SAY AMID NEW CONCERNS OVER RUSSIA” JULIAN E. BARNES AND HELENE COOPER, THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the article: “There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.
Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States.
Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “TO TAKE BACK THE MAP, DEMOCRATS NEED A PLAN TO REVIVE HEARTLAND CITIES” DANIEL BLOCK, WASHINGTON MONTHLY
From the article: “Fixing America’s regional inequality would be a good idea irrespective of its political implications. It would increase innovation and GDP across the country. With economies, as with professional sports leagues, having more cities that can compete ups everyone’s game. It would help curb the broader scourge of income inequality. And it would improve our quality of life by making it easier for talented people to stay with family and friends in the communities where they grew up, or to move wherever else they might like to go, rather than being channeled to a handful of overly expensive, traffic-choked megacities.
But reducing regional inequality is a case where what’s good for the country would also be good for the Democrats. In fact, if the party can’t find policy levers to boost growth rates—and hence the number of Democratic voters—in purple and red state metro areas, they will have a hard time ever overcoming the Republican geographic advantage in the Senate and Electoral College. Yet almost no one on the left talks as if they understand this reality.
To fix the problem, Democrats first have to realize they have one, and how it came to be. ”
ESSENTIAL #4: “WHITE HOUSE LOOKS TO CHIP AWAY AT DEMOCRATS’ RESOLVE AS RECORD SHUTDOWN ROLLS ON” PETER NICHOLAS AND KRISTINA PETERSON, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
From the article: “The White House is looking to peel off rank-and-file Democrats from the leadership, administration officials said, in a long-shot bid to strike a deal giving President Trump the border-wall funding he demands as options for reopening the government narrow.
White House officials said there were no meetings planned this week with the two top Democrats leading negotiations over the shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, neither of whom have shown any sign they will yield to the president’s insistence on $5.7 billion for wall construction. Still, lawmakers and aides from both parties were skeptical that any deal could come together without them.”