Opinion writer

* Julia Ainsley reports on why Rachel Brand skedaddled out of Trump’s Justice Department:

The Justice Department’s No. 3 attorney had been unhappy with her job for months before the department announced her departure on Friday, according to multiple sources close to Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.

Brand grew frustrated by vacancies at the department and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation, the sources said.

She will be leaving the Justice Department in the coming weeks to take a position with Walmart as the company’s executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary, a job change that had been in the works for some time, the sources said.

This is a momentary embarrassment for Trump, but great news. Now he can install Brand’s replacement, fire Rod Rosenstein, and have Brand’s replacement oversee the Mueller probe.

* Tracy Jan, Caitlin Dewey and Jeff Stein report on just how brutal the Trump budget is:

President Trump proposed a budget Monday that hits the poorest Americans the hardest, slashing billions of dollars in food stamps, health insurance and federal housing subsidies while pushing legislation to institute broad work requirements for families receiving housing vouchers, expanding on moves by some states to require recipients of Medicaid and food stamps to work.

The Trump budget proposal would gut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, by $17.2 billion in 2019 — equivalent to 22 percent of the program’s total cost last year. It calls for cuts of more than $213.5 billion over the next decade, a reduction of nearly 30 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In addition, Trump is proposing a full-scale redesign of SNAP, which provides an average of $125 per month to 42.2 million Americans. For the last 40 years, the program has allowed beneficiaries to use SNAP benefits at grocery stores as if they were cash. Under the budget proposal, the Department of Agriculture would use a portion of those benefits to buy and deliver a package of U.S.-grown commodities to SNAP households that receive $90 or more in assistance each month, using the government’s buying power to obtain common foods at lower costs.

Just imagine how Republicans’ heads would explode if a Democratic president proposed that kind of social engineering. The government, telling you what food to eat!?!?

* Nate Cohn explains why Republicans’ structural advantages in the midterm elections are eroding.

* Stuart Rothenberg explains why the recent tightening of the generic ballot match-up probably doesn’t mean Democratic chances of taking back the House have gotten worse.

* Harry Litman argues that Trump’s obstruction of justice has actually been worse than what Richard Nixon did.

* David Catanese talks to pollsters who theorize that no matter how well things go for Trump, he may never crack 50 percent approval.

* Jonathan Bernstein makes a good case that we can’t analyze the GOP enabling of Trump without acknowledging that there’s something wrong with the party on a very fundamental level.

* Robert Greenstein lays out some of the horrors in the Trump budget.

* Matt Barreto argues that standing up against anti-immigrant bigotry isn’t only the right thing to do, it can be a winning issue for Democrats.

* Ari Berman reports that Trump’s controversial pick to lead the Census Bureau has withdrawn, which could avert more civil rights abuses.

* And over at the American Prospect, I explained why the Trump era is turning into a hard-right ideological bacchanal.