In early 2014, I was offered what I will, for the rest of my life, consider an amazing opportunity: the chance to edit National Journal magazine. The job was perfect and daunting all at once. NJ had legendary stature but also faced a massive challenge: Like all print publications, it needed to figure out how to justify its existence in the Internet age.
The past two years have been fun and rewarding not in spite of this challenge, but because of it. While the magazine is ending with this issue, the process of trying to reshape the publication—by putting a new twist on its traditions and emphasizing long-form storytelling and elegant design—yielded many individual pieces and overall issues that my colleagues and I are extremely proud of.
We were quite lucky in at least one sense: As should be clear from reading the recollections of the NJ stalwarts who wrote for this issue, the journalistic tradition that NJ had built up over time—the one that we inherited—was extraordinary. It was a tradition that had, for decades, insisted that the details of policy and politics mattered enormously. That the decision-makers behind the scenes could not be ignored. That there was no shortage of investigative digging to be done in Washington. That reporting and argument could strengthen each other. That a magazine could earn the respect of both conservatives and liberals.
There is one other theme that is abundantly clear from these recollections—and it too is part of the tradition of this place: National Journal has always been a magazine with a streak of idealism. Putting out a weekly is inevitably grueling. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, the stress and long hours will never seem worth it. Read the remembrances in this issue, and you will have no doubt that generation after generation of NJ writers, editors, and staffers were passionate about their work.
My colleagues and I are no exceptions. We continued to strive, right up until our very last issue, to publish as strong a magazine as possible. I want to thank everyone who was on the magazine’s small team over the past two years; but in particular, I want to acknowledge and thank Andie Coller, the magazine’s brilliant deputy editor, who twice served as acting editor.
All of us are immensely proud to have been part of the National Journal tradition. And we know that the 46-year run of this magazine will be remembered and celebrated for a long time to come.
Editor, National Journal magazine
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."