Trump, Russia, Apple: Your Weekend Briefing

Trump, Russia, Apple: Your Weekend Briefing

Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

1. Another dizzying week in the White House.

President Trump broke with members of his administration on several key issues. Be it Russia, NATO, Iran or North Korea, Mr. Trump’s staff and his party projected a radically different message from that of the president himself.

Against the advice of his lawyers, he pushed to arrange an interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller — who is investigating Russian election interference and any related crimes — in the hopes of bringing the investigation to a swift end.

The president is on a “working vacation,” spending some time at his Bedminster estate in New Jersey, but he’s also rallying his supporters and is, of course, on Twitter.

2. We may also hear from President Trump as voters in Kansas, Michigan, Washington and Missouri head to the polls on Tuesday. Mr. Trump is never shy about voicing his support for candidates — or lack thereof.

Here’s a look at the midterms battleground.

A record number of L.G.B.T. candidates are running for office this year, as the Trump administration and state-level politicians have moved to roll back some legal protections. More than 400 such politicians are campaigning, and many, like Sharice Davids of Kansas, above, are using sexuality, race and gender as campaign assets that intersect with their warnings about lost progress on civil rights and their policy ideas.

As one put it: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

For more from Washington, check out our roundup of the week’s biggest stories in American politics.

3. Top national security officials warned that the midterm elections were a target of Russia, which was behind a “pervasive” campaign to influence them. “Our democracy itself is in the cross hairs,” Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, said. Here’s how the government is working to stop the threat.

And Facebook announced it had detected a sweeping campaign to influence the midterms. It stopped short of linking those efforts to Russia. But officials told lawmakers that some of the tactics matched those of a Kremlin-linked group at the center of an indictment this year alleging interference in the 2016 presidential election.


4. The trial of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, began Tuesday. He faces charges of bank and tax fraud, and on Friday, his accountant admitted to falsifying documents to cover up the state of Mr. Manafort’s finances.

It may have been Mr. Manafort’s money troubles that drove him to volunteer for the Trump campaign. There is evidence that Mr. Manafort saw the campaign as a way to bolster his stature and eventually garner more work from foreign clients.

5. Good news this week for Apple, which became the first public U.S. company worth $1 trillion. We took a look at the rise of powerful megacompanies, and what they might mean for wage stagnation and a shrinking middle class.

The July jobs report showed a strong hiring trend, and less-educated workers saw some of the biggest gains. The economic expansion in the United States is now nine years old. And eventually, something will kill it, Neil Irwin writes.


6. It could be the trade war with China, which continued apace. President Trump urged his administration to weigh raising the rate of tariffs on Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent. China responded by considering taxes on an additional $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

But the U.S. and Mexico are nearing an agreement on rewriting parts of Nafta. Talks wrapped up on Friday, and though much remains unresolved, there may be reason to be optimistic: “For the first time in negotiations, the U.S. seems to be negotiating from a genuine posture to get to a ‘yes,’” one expert said.


7. The deadly Carr Fire has devastated parts of Redding, Calif. Examine the damage in augmented reality. Fires in California this time of year are nothing new, but scientists are noticing a worrying increase in temperatures, which could be to blame for the destruction.

One U.C.L.A. scientist put it succinctly: “It’s a new climate.”

Europe, too, is feeling the heat: Temperatures across the Continent are edging higher, and in Northern Europe, this summer feels like a modern-day version of the biblical plagues.

In case you missed it, the Magazine this week is dedicated to a single story: how 30 years ago, we had the chance to halt climate change, and failed.


8. Wow, that was grim. Now, take a break to smell the flowers with Dick Cavett.

Mr. Cavett, 81, may be the last great intellectual talk-show host. His show is getting a second wind thanks to YouTube, where clips of his interviews have been viewed millions of times.

“It’s the strangest sensation to be getting the same comments that I got decades ago: ‘I’m addicted to your show,’ or ‘I watch it every night,’” he said.


9. Finally, Spike Lee takes on the Klan, plus a look at the decline of the Civil War re-enactor and the rise of the face tattoo. We’ve got these stories and more in our Best Weekend Reads.

Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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