The controversy over Donald Trump's ties to Russia, explained

Trump’s proposed foreign policy would, intentionally or no, aid Vladimir Putin in ways the Russian dictator could only dream about before Trump. Trump has repeatedly expressed wild admiration for Putin personally; his campaign staff and businesses have extensive ties to Russian interests. (Just yesterday, the New York Times reported the existence of a handwritten ledger documenting $12.7 million in payments to Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, from Ukraine's pro-Russian deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych).

The Trump and Clinton campaigns finally had a substantive climate debate

The energy advisers to the two campaigns squared off. It wasn’t half bad. The hour-long debate featured its share of depressing nonsense, like when Cramer waffled on whether humans are causing global warming. (Spoiler: They are.) But the discussion was genuinely substantive, and the advisers delved into issues like the Paris climate deal, nuclear power, and (oh yes) transmission policy.

Bernie Sanders said he would work with Donald Trump. Then he saw Trump’s infrastructure plan.

At first, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tone with Donald Trump was conciliatory: “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” he said in a statement after Election Day. Then he saw Trump’s infrastructure plan. Sanders’s tone changed; he tweeted that the president-elect’s plan for infrastructure is a “scam,” proving just how difficult working with a Trump administration will be in practice:

Bernie Sanders: “It is not good enough for someone to say, 'I'm a woman! Vote for me!’”

What Sanders’s remarks about "identity politics" say about the Democratic Party’s future. Having the party embrace both gender and racial diversity is a necessary first step, Sanders said. But if “identity politics” means promoting black and female candidates who don’t have “the guts to take on the oligarchy,” Sanders argued, it’s largely beside the point.

Don’t let Donald Trump’s antics distract you from what’s really important

He’s paying fraud fines and collecting bribes — and distracting you with Hamilton tweets. The truth is that nothing about the Hamilton story – is in any way important to how he runs the country. By contrast, foreign governments directly putting money into Donald Trump’s pocket is very important. The fact that these attempted bribes are being paid to a man who is also paying out millions of dollars to avoid standing trial for his corrupt business practices is very important.