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The Atlantic Daily: Trump's Accomplishments, Troops in Syria, Shutdown Countdown

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Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

What We’re Following

The Scandal-Plagued Presidency: Reports that Donald Trump paid an adult-film star to keep silent about an affair she claims they had in 2006—and the fact that a gossip magazine plans to release a detailed interview about their encounters—might seem more fit for a tabloid cover than for the White House briefing room. In Trump’s case, however, the alleged hush money fits into a pattern of paying for silence, while the scandal speaks to the president’s skill for manipulating drama. Behind the bluster, he’s just completed what may be the most productive months of his term so far. Here’s what he’s accomplished—and here’s why he might nevertheless be leading conservatives toward a dead end.

A force of about 2,000 U.S. soldiers is helping to in northeastern Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s government has lost ground. These activities come close to the nation-building activities Trump forswore during his campaign, though officials say their scope is far smaller. Meanwhile, National-Security Adviser H. R. McMaster continues to argue that North Korea intends to use its nuclear weapons aggressively rather than as a deterrent. While conventional wisdom says otherwise,

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