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Letter sent on Feb 15, 2017

The News

February 15, 2017

It’s Wednesday, the midpoint of the week. In headline news, the President approved federal emergency relief funding for California to deal with the damage from the Oroville Dam spillway and the scandal regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s December meeting with the Russian ambassador continues to engulf the nation’s capital (see coverage below). Coming later today, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet with the White House in an official state visit and spring training kicks off in Major League Baseball.

As per usual, enjoy the newsletter and enjoy the day ahead.


The Wonks Team


  • The New York Times reports on the communications between Donald Trump’s advisors and Russian intelligence officials — in addition to Michael Flynn — during the 2016 presidential campaign and the ongoing FBI investigation on the matter.
  • The Washington Post reports on the fallout of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s pre-inauguration talks with the Russian ambassador and the White House’s muddled response to the public about the details of their conversation.

Public Policy

  • The Upshot Blog analyzes President Trump’s opportunities to shape the federal judiciary by estimating the expected vacancies on the lower courts during his term in office and explaining the president’s role in directing the federal court system.

Science and Health

  • FiveThirtyEight writes about the rising number of cancer diagnoses in Appalachia, examining how lack of access to adequate health care and occupational liabilities of the region’s dependence on coal attribute to poor health outcomes.


  • SB Nation evaluates the Toronto Raptors’ trade with the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka and assesses how the trade could reshape the NBA’s Eastern Conference as the Raptors make a final run at the Cleveland Cavaliers for the no. 1 seed.


  • Vulture interviews author George Saunders about his debut novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” including questions about his writing process and incorporation of Buddhist concepts in the novel, as well as his thoughts on the benefits writing fiction.