Good morning, pals. This email is coming to you special from the mountains of northern Pennsylvania, where your correspondent is out on a reporting trip and spent several blissful hours yesterday driving through a forest with no cell phone reception. I hear I missed a real nothing burger of a story.
You're getting this email because you've signed up for a newsletter about President Trump and how his policies affect Philadelphia. You can send questions/suggestions/complaints/notes from secret admirers here. If someone forwarded you this email, or you're reading it online, you can sign up here to get it in your inbox, for free, every week.
If you were watching yesterday's news from the left, you saw the president's son blithely tweeting himself into treason charges. If you were watching from the right, you saw a hopelessly biased media, hell-bent on destroying the president and everyone around him, conducting business as usual.
It may not have been illegal. But Donald Trump Jr.'s surprise reveal of a chain of campaign-trail emails in which he was offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, purportedly on behalf of the Kremlin, is the farthest thing from a nothing burger, a phrase I cannot believe I have typed twice now. It's evidence that someone at the highest levels of the Trump campaign went after information they were told was "part of the Russian government's support for Mr. Trump," and contradicts months of denials from the Trump administration over any connection with Russian meddling in the election.
I tend to disagree with people on both sides of the aisle who argue that this whole thing is distracting the country from important issues — foreign election interference is an important issue, and people are generally capable of paying attention to multiple things at a time. We have smartphones, after all! (I'm here all week.)
That said, in the interest of not going through the litany of Philadelphians investigating the Russian connection again, the only local angle here is that lawmakers representing us keep getting asked about Russia while an enormous piece of legislation with potentially dire implications for the region is moving through Congress. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey wrote the healthcare bill, spent Monday making the rounds on cable TV to defend it, and still ended up with a Morning Joe headline about the Russia investigation. (And we spotted you at U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer's presser, Woke Bob Casey.) If the future of the administration is at stake over these emails, then so too is its agenda — the infrastructure plan and the tax plan and the healthcare plan, all of which could affect the Philly region, all of which have yet to be passed.
Also, Don Jr. went to Penn. So there's that.
The president's son just preempted a blockbuster New York Times story by tweeting out an email with the subject line "Re: Russia — Clinton — private and confidential," so I am done trying to predict anything. But, since the GOP controls the House and the Senate and therefore the impeachment proceedings that Democrats are increasingly bringing up, the Republican reaction to developments in the Russian investigation is the one to watch. So far? It's a shrug, the Washington Post writes.
"For me, this was opposition research." — Donald Trump Jr., on Hannity last night, dismissing the meeting with the Russian lawyer outlined in the emails he tweeted Tuesday.
"So this is straight-up collusion, right?" — the London editor of the far-right-wing site Breitbart — generally some of the president's most ardent defenders — musing on the Trump Jr. emails in a Slack message obtained by CNN.
"My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!" — President Trump, on Twitter, reviewing Junior's Hannity appearance.