Politics


U.S. Supreme Court wades into Texas political district fight

When explosive population growth gave Texas four additional seats in Congress after the 2010 census, the GOP majority in the Legislature determined that three of those districts would be drawn to ensure the election of Republican candidates. The congressional district map Republicans produced, however, was met with numerous lawsuits and a series of court rulings that said the GOP achieved its electoral...
CNN’s Tapper has emerged as a staunch defender of facts in Trump era. So why is he writing fiction?

CNN’s Tapper has emerged as a staunch defender of facts in Trump era. So why is he writing fiction?

Jake Tapper doesn’t seem to get rattled easily. He’s got a TV anchor’s unflappable poise and immovable hair, and radiates an almost eerie calm when a dozen explosive stories break during his daily CNN show. He’s weathered relentless online attacks from the right for his interrogations of Trump administration officials, and seemed unruffled when the president attacked him as...
Federal money to connect Texas schools to fiber at risk, officials say

Federal money to connect Texas schools to fiber at risk, officials say

Delays and denials by the federal government are putting Texas schools at risk of losing millions of dollars in potential subsidies that would help pay for installing high-speed fiber internet in classrooms, according to state officials. Last year, state lawmakers approved $25 million to help school districts over the 2018-19 budget period replace or install fiber-optic cable, arguably the fastest...
Texas case is 1 of 3 redistricting fights before high court

Texas case is 1 of 3 redistricting fights before high court

In addition to the Texas redistricting case, the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing two other legal battles that could change the way political lines are drawn in all 50 states. The high court has already heard oral arguments this term over whether lawmakers in Wisconsin and Maryland created political districts that were improperly gerrymandered along partisan lines, producing maps that gave one party...
Abbott seeking to call a special election to replace Rep. Farenthold

Abbott seeking to call a special election to replace Rep. Farenthold

Gov. Greg Abbott has asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for a legal opinion on whether Abbott can suspend state election law to call a special election “as soon as is legally possible” to fill the congressional seat left vacant when embattled U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, resigned two weeks ago. In a letter to Paxton on Thursday, Abbott said he is concerned that state...
Kris Kobach, once the face of Trump’s voter fraud panel, is held in contempt

Kris Kobach, once the face of Trump’s voter fraud panel, is held in contempt

Kris W. Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas and face of the Trump administration’s efforts to clamp down on supposed voter fraud, was found by a federal judge on Wednesday to have disobeyed orders to notify thousands of Kansans in 2016 that they were registered to vote.  Kobach, who served last year as the vice chairman of the Trump administration’s short-lived presidential commission...
Across Midwest, farmers warn of GOP losses over Trump’s trade policy

Across Midwest, farmers warn of GOP losses over Trump’s trade policy

Here in the largest soybean-producing county in the country, a snowy winter has left North Dakota farmers like Robert Runck with time on their hands before spring planting — time they have spent stewing over how much they stand to lose if President Donald Trump starts a trade war with China.  “If he doesn’t understand what he’s doing to the nation by doing what he&rsquo...
Judge in Michael Cohen case described as no-nonsense, ‘judicial equivalent of Teddy Roosevelt’

Judge in Michael Cohen case described as no-nonsense, ‘judicial equivalent of Teddy Roosevelt’

 Judge Kimba M. Wood had barely finished a hearing this week that involved both Michael D. Cohen, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, and — in a stunning revelation — Fox News host Sean Hannity, when the right-wing media machine started going after her.  InfoWars, the conspiracy theory website run by Alex Jones, posted an article that distilled Wood’s 30-year career...
Abortion wars are heating up ahead of November elections

Abortion wars are heating up ahead of November elections

Mississippi's governor just signed a law, more restrictive than in any state, banning abortions after 15 weeks. Iowa's state Senate is trying to go even further and stop abortions at around six weeks. And 20 Ohio legislators have proposed outlawing all abortions, even if the woman's life is in danger.  In many state capitols, Republican lawmakers are backing unusually strict antiabortion laws...
Fidel died. His brother Raúl resigned. But Castros still hold sway in Cuba

Fidel died. His brother Raúl resigned. But Castros still hold sway in Cuba

For the first time in decades, Cubans have a president whose last name is not Castro.  But as the new president, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who turns 58 Friday, takes his first strides to govern an economically distressed country that is perennially in crisis, he will do so with a ring of Castros, and their various spouses and children, around him.  Fidel Castro died in 2016...
Comey memos offer new details on his interactions with Trump as probe intensified

Comey memos offer new details on his interactions with Trump as probe intensified

President Donald Trump expressed concerns about the judgment of his national security adviser Michael Flynn weeks before forcing him to resign, according to memos kept by former FBI director James Comey that recount in detail efforts by Trump to influence the bureau's expanding investigation of Russia.  The memos also reveal the extent of Trump's preoccupation with unproven allegations that he...
Cuba’s new leader: A progressive, a hard-liner and an enigma

Cuba’s new leader: A progressive, a hard-liner and an enigma

As soon as Cuba and the Obama administration decided to restore diplomatic relations, decades of bitter stagnation began to give way. Embassies were being reopened. Americans streamed to the island. The curtain was suddenly pulled back from Cuba, a nation frozen out by the Cold War.  But one mystery remained: While nearly everyone knew of Cuba’s president, Raúl Castro, his hand-picked...
Poll: Most Texas voters back legal status for unauthorized immigrants

Poll: Most Texas voters back legal status for unauthorized immigrants

Sixty percent of Texas voters support the National Guard being used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, but a majority oppose a border wall and support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. A majority of the survey respondents also held liberal views on gun control and marijuana, the pollsters reported. Hispanic...
Appeals court blocks Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Appeals court blocks Texas ‘revenge porn’ law

Correction appended. A state appeals court has struck down a 2015 law that made it a crime to post “revenge porn” — intimate photos and videos from a previous or current relationship — on the internet without consent. The Tyler-based 12th Court of Appeals, in a ruling handed down Wednesday, said the law violated the First Amendment by restricting expression based on the content...
VIEWPOINTS: Independent ethics panel has benefits, but don’t rush it

VIEWPOINTS: Independent ethics panel has benefits, but don’t rush it

It’s still a work in progress, but the Charter Review Commission’s proposal to establish an independent ethics panel to investigate — and if necessary prosecute — alleged violations of Austin’s campaign-finance rules and other ethics-related matters is headed in the right direction. We do offer some cautions: Whatever the final product is, it should not be rushed through...
State officials detail increased National Guard deployment to border

State officials detail increased National Guard deployment to border

At least 762 Texas National Guard troops are now deployed to the border, state officials announced at a legislative hearing Wednesday. The figure — up from 130 in March — shows how Texas has stepped up operations in response to President Donald Trump’s call for broader border security operations. Speaking to the Texas House Committee on Appropriations, Angela Isaack, manager...
Poll: Ted Cruz-Beto O’Rourke race too close to call

Poll: Ted Cruz-Beto O’Rourke race too close to call

The Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, is “too close to call,” according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Cruz has 47 percent support from registered voters to O’Rourke’s 44 percent, according to the poll. The poll comes on the heels of surprising fundraising numbers posted by O’Rourke. In...
Texas lawmakers rebuke state health officials for contract flap — again

Texas lawmakers rebuke state health officials for contract flap — again

State lawmakers on Wednesday rebuked Texas Health and Human Services Commission officials for bungling millions of dollars in contracts, a problem revealed this month. Lawmakers called the contracting problems a systemic failure of the agency, which has struggled for years to follow proper procurement processes. Officials inaccurately scored an estimated $600 million worth of contracts in recent months...
White: Use border security dollars, expand gambling to fund education

White: Use border security dollars, expand gambling to fund education

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said Wednesday he wants to increase public education spending by $6.5 billion and would pay for it by expanding gambling in Texas, ending a property appraisal law and redirecting the state’s share of border security funding. White, an investor in Houston and son of the late Gov. Mark White, is running against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez...
Texas facing a challenge in push to improve straight-to-college rate

Texas facing a challenge in push to improve straight-to-college rate

Barely half of Texas high school graduates enroll directly in college, but 65 percent will need to do so by 2030 for the state to meet goals intended to produce an educated populace and a skilled workforce, Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said Wednesday. The rate in Texas has slipped in recent years, from 54 percent in 2014 to 53 percent in 2015 and 52 percent in 2016. The figure...
The fight with the West is isolating Russia. But that isn’t stopping Putin.

The fight with the West is isolating Russia. But that isn’t stopping Putin.

At least one bright spot stands out in the Russian economy, even as its prospects darken in the face of escalating sanctions: the manufacture of work uniforms.  The production of specialized work clothes, including bulletproof vests, is one of the lone growth areas in the economy, up by 27 percent, said Igor Nikolaev, director of the Strategic Analysis Institute at the FBK auditing and consulting...
GOP Rep. Charlie Dent will leave Congress within weeks, potentially setting up special election

GOP Rep. Charlie Dent will leave Congress within weeks, potentially setting up special election

Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump and a leader of the GOP's moderate bloc in the House, said Tuesday that he will resign from Congress within weeks. His decision could set up a costly special election if the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania orders one.  Dent had already announced his retirement from Congress in September, citing personal reasons...
Mattis wanted congressional approval before striking Syria. He was overruled.

Mattis wanted congressional approval before striking Syria. He was overruled.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged President Donald Trump to get congressional approval before the United States launched airstrikes against Syria last week, but was overruled by Trump, who wanted a rapid and dramatic response, military and administration officials said.  Trump, the officials said, wanted to be seen as backing up a series of bellicose tweets with action, but was warned that an...
President pulls support of trade pact for 2nd time

President pulls support of trade pact for 2nd time

After publicly flirting last week with having the United States rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Donald Trump appeared to rebuff the idea once and for all late Tuesday.  In a Twitter post at 10:49 p.m. Eastern time, Trump said that although Japan and South Korea would like the United States to join the 11 other nations in the multilateral trade agreement, he had no intention of...
Sandy Hook parents sue Alex Jones for defamation

Sandy Hook parents sue Alex Jones for defamation

Three parents whose children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 filed a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who has long claimed the shooting was “completely fake” and a “giant hoax” perpetrated by opponents of the Second Amendment.  Jones, the popular radio show host who also operates the conspiracy theory...
Sanctions flap erupts into open conflict between Haley and the White House

Sanctions flap erupts into open conflict between Haley and the White House

President Donald Trump was watching television Sunday when he saw Nikki Haley, his ambassador to the United Nations, announce that he would impose fresh sanctions on Russia. The president grew angry, according to an official informed about the moment. As far as he was concerned, he had decided no such thing.  It was not the first time Trump has yelled at the television over something he saw Haley...
Hannity’s rising role in Trump’s world: ‘He basically has a desk in the place.’

Hannity’s rising role in Trump’s world: ‘He basically has a desk in the place.’

The phone calls between President Donald Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off the air. They discuss ideas for Hannity's show, Trump's frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe and even, at times, what the president should tweet, according to people familiar with the conversations. When he's off the phone, Trump is known to cite...
Trump requests extension to file 2017 taxes

Trump requests extension to file 2017 taxes

For decades, presidents have publicly released their tax returns each year — an act of transparency and a way to connect and commiserate with Americans on Tax Day.  On Tuesday, President Donald Trump did not even file his taxes.  White House officials said Trump, who has steadfastly refused to make any of his previous tax returns public, requested a six-month extension because of the...
After Cohen raid, Trump turns sour on talking to Mueller

After Cohen raid, Trump turns sour on talking to Mueller

The FBI seizure of records from President Donald Trump's personal attrney last week deeply rattled the president - souring him on his long-stated preference to sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller III and prompting him to renew efforts to hire more legal firepower, people familiar with the discussions said.  Trump, who had previously expressed a desire to submit to a...
CIA Director Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend

CIA Director Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend

CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Donald Trump to meet with that country's leader, Kim Jong Un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip.  The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump's most trusted emmisaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for...
Alex Jones facing four lawsuits calling him to account for “fake news”

Alex Jones facing four lawsuits calling him to account for “fake news”

The parents of children killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., have filed suit against Alex Jones and InfoWars for suggesting the death of their children was a “hoax,” setting the stage for what could be a landmark Austin trial on where to draw the line between free speech and libel in the era of fake news. “We’re not settling; everything...
Phillips: Billy Harden opened doors and brought passion to the stage

Phillips: Billy Harden opened doors and brought passion to the stage

Billy Harden was an Austin treasure. Not just because he was a towering figure in the African-American community, but because Billy — who I knew for over 25 years — was a mover and shaker in Austin’s arts and education communities. Austin School Independent School trustees plan to pay tribute to Harden on April 30 for his efforts helping students succeed. The Austin native died last...
In South Florida, Trump reaches out to Hispanic voters who are receptive to his message

In South Florida, Trump reaches out to Hispanic voters who are receptive to his message

"Are there any Hispanics in the room?"  President Donald Trump grinned. "No, I doubt it," he said with a chuckle, but he knew there were. His was a rhetorical question. On stage with him here at Bucky Dent Park were Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, the only Latino cabinet member, and several local Hispanic business...
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victories in November.  The poll finds that the gap between support for Democratic vs. Republican House candidates dropped by more than half since the beginning...
Independent New York prosecutors pose potential risk for Trump

Independent New York prosecutors pose potential risk for Trump

Faced with a sprawling investigation by the special counsel in Washington, President Donald Trump must also contend with an independent-minded office of federal prosecutors in his hometown, New York, who are investigating his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.  Trump’s administration had fired the Obama-era leader of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District...
Eyeing 2020, Trump fundraisers return to familiar well: Small donors

Eyeing 2020, Trump fundraisers return to familiar well: Small donors

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has ramped up its fundraising this year, bringing in $20.2 million, while investing heavily in cultivating a wide base of small donors, according to reports filed Sunday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission.  Trump’s campaign apparatus spent nearly $8.2 million through the end of last month, with more than 60 percent of that...
Nursing election grievances, Hillary Clinton supporters curse Comey 

Nursing election grievances, Hillary Clinton supporters curse Comey 

When it comes to James Comey’s book-tour crusade against President Donald Trump, the question for hard-core Hillary Clinton fans boils down to this: Curse Comey, or cheer him?  Curse him, mostly.  They may be card-carrying members of “the Resistance,” who oppose everything that the president stands for, but Clinton’s former aides and advisers are still too angry at...
Pruitt's $43,000 phone booth broke the law, Congressional auditors say

Pruitt's $43,000 phone booth broke the law, Congressional auditors say

The Environmental Protection Agency violated the law when it installed a soundproof phone booth for the administrator, Scott Pruitt, at a cost of roughly $43,000, a congressional watchdog agency ruled Monday.  The congressional agency, the Government Accountability Office, said in a report that the EPA had not notified Congress as required before spending more than $5,000 on office equipment...
Hannity had a lot to say about Cohen lately, but he left a few things out

Hannity had a lot to say about Cohen lately, but he left a few things out

On his prime-time show last week, Fox News host Sean Hannity repeatedly criticized a federal raid on the office and home of Michael Cohen, the embattled personal attorney for President Donald Trump.  He never mentioned anything to his viewers about his own dealings with Cohen.  Hannity's name unexpectedly came up in court Monday as a judge hearing a motion brought by Cohen's legal team to...
The gaping hole in Sean Hannity’s story about being Michael Cohen’s client

The gaping hole in Sean Hannity’s story about being Michael Cohen’s client

It's not what it looks like. That's the refrain from Sean Hannity, after lawyers for President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, revealed in court on Monday that the Fox News host is one of only three clients that Cohen represented this year and last.  Cohen's previous work included arranging a $130,000 payment to prevent porn star Stormy Daniels from talking publicly about her...
Notable moments in ABC’s interview with ex-FBI chief

Notable moments in ABC’s interview with ex-FBI chief

ABC News aired an hourlong interview on Sunday with James B. Comey, the FBI director fired by President Donald Trump last year. George Stephanopoulos spoke with Comey, who is promoting his new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” for five hours in all. Here are highlights and analysis of the conversation.  “I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages...
Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate

Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate

While we’re talking about a Democratic gubernatorial runoff debate (something Lupe Valdez might be forced to talk about a lot unless and until she firmly agrees to do one), let’s take a look at a potential first question she and foe Andrew White might get in said debate. Valdez fielded it last week at a San Antonio campaign event. “Thanks for your service in the military and law...
Eyeing Congress, two Austin-area Democrats outraise Republicans

Eyeing Congress, two Austin-area Democrats outraise Republicans

Two years ago, in the midst of a hot-and-heavy presidential race, Democrat Mike Clark, running in a congressional district just north of Austin, reported raising $1,035 in a six-week period ending in late March on his way to getting crushed by incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Carter. During the equivalent periodof 2018, Democrat Mary “MJ” Hegar, running in the same district, raised...
Granddaughter: Barbara Bush is ‘a fighter,’ in good spirits

Granddaughter: Barbara Bush is ‘a fighter,’ in good spirits

Former first lady Barbara Bush, who was reported to be in failing health over the weekend, is in “great spirits,” and the family is grateful for “everybody’s prayers and thoughts,” her granddaughter said Monday. Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release Sunday that “Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will...
Trump wants to review material seized from personal lawyer before federal investigators

Trump wants to review material seized from personal lawyer before federal investigators

President Donald Trump asked a federal judge Sunday night to allow him to review documents that FBI agents seized from the office of his longtime lawyer before criminal investigators have a chance to see the material.  The request underscores the high stakes in an ongoing legal fight in federal court in New York, where Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, is also fighting to get a chance to review...
Trump’s reelection committee has spent more than $1 out of every $5 on legal fees this year

Trump’s reelection committee has spent more than $1 out of every $5 on legal fees this year

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign spent more than $1 out of every $5 on attorney fees this year as the president contended with the ongoing special counsel investigation and a new legal challenge from an adult-film star.  Of the $3.9 million Trump's committee spent in the first quarter of 2018, more than $834,000 went to eight law firms and the Trump Corp. for legal fees, according...
Haley says new sanctions coming on Russia

Haley says new sanctions coming on Russia

The Trump administration signaled Sunday that it will impose new sanctions as soon as this week on Russia for supporting the Syrian regime as it allegedly conducted a deadly chemical attack against its own people.  The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Sunday announced the sanctions and President Donald Trump's commitment to staying involved in the Syria crisis, hours before...
Pence’s tone toward refugees, oppressed contrasts with Trump’s harsher rhetoric

Pence’s tone toward refugees, oppressed contrasts with Trump’s harsher rhetoric

As Vice President Mike Pence addressed fellow world leaders at the Summit of the Americas this weekend, he told the story of a grandmother he met in Colombia who fled her home in Venezuela with her five grandchildren.  "She told me, with tears in her eyes, how the poverty had become so acute, her grandchildren had to stand in line at five in the morning to get a ticket to buy a piece of...
Swamped by flood, stung by theft, tiny Martindale rebounds

Swamped by flood, stung by theft, tiny Martindale rebounds

For the small, rural Caldwell County town of Martindale, the news last April that its bookkeeper, whom City Council members failed to vet, had stolen more than $20,000 from city coffers was something of a wake-up call. One year later, the city has instated several ethics and due diligence policies, hired a professional, bonded certified public accountant and has reached solid financial footing. &ldquo...
Austin City Council to examine if land-use board’s roster is illegal

Austin City Council to examine if land-use board’s roster is illegal

An influential land-use commission will come under scrutiny by the Austin City Council on Thursday after groups, including the NAACP, have called the composition of the board illegal because too many members are tied to real estate businesses. Since 1994, Austin’s charter has limited the makeup of the Planning Commission to no more than one-third “directly or indirectly connected with...
Travis County opioid drug overdoses on the rise, 2006-16 data show

Travis County opioid drug overdoses on the rise, 2006-16 data show

The rate of opioid overdose deaths in Travis County, including those from heroin and prescription pain medication, nearly doubled from 2006 to 2016, according to data released by the Austin Public Health Department. In 2006, Travis County averaged four deaths per 100,000 residents. The rated jumped to 7.5 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016. The figures, from a report in the latest edition of the...
Williamson County approves hospital payments for indigent health care

Williamson County approves hospital payments for indigent health care

Williamson County commissioners have approved collecting an estimated $30 million per year in mandatory payments from area hospitals to help pay for indigent care. The county’s nine hospitals will be paying 3.89 percent of their net revenue per year for the program for needy patients. The federal government will match every dollar the county collects with approximately $2, said Carlos Zaffirini...
One major area where Comey has some explaining to do

One major area where Comey has some explaining to do

Former FBI director James Comey enjoys higher public trust than President Donald Trump, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, but there is one major area where Comey's honesty is sure to be questioned in a gantlet of interviews that begins Sunday with ABC's "20/20."  In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in May, shortly before Comey's firing, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa...
Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost

Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost

President Donald Trump seemed distracted in March as his aides briefed him at his Mar-a-Lago resort on the administration's plan to expel 60 Russian diplomats and suspected spies.  The United States, they explained, would be ousting roughly the same number of Russians as its European allies — part of a coordinated move to punish Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter...
Comey says Trump ‘morally unfit to be president,’ possibly susceptible to Russian blackmail

Comey says Trump ‘morally unfit to be president,’ possibly susceptible to Russian blackmail

Former FBI Director James Comey said in his first televised interview since being fired that he believed Donald Trump was "morally unfit to be president" and that it was "possible" that the Russians had material that could be used to blackmail him.  In a wide-ranging conversation with George Stephanopoulos broadcast on ABC late Sunday, Comey took aim at Trump in no uncertain...
Central Texas lawmakers have varied reactions to airstrikes on Syria

Central Texas lawmakers have varied reactions to airstrikes on Syria

U.S. lawmakers from Central Texas and across the state had mixed reactions Saturday to President Donald Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes at Syria, with some applauding the action and others saying he first needed congressional approval. The airstrikes were in retaliation to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his own people. On Saturday...
Lawrence Wright: Eight things the other 49 states need to understand about Texas

Lawrence Wright: Eight things the other 49 states need to understand about Texas

As we who live here are painfully aware, Texas can seem absolutely baffling to outsiders. In his latest book, “God Save Texas,” Lawrence Wright takes the myth and truth of the Lone Star State head-on in a series of essays that, the more one reads them, feel like a Texas 101 primer, the sort of thing to hand your relatives back east to explain How We in Texas Live Now.  Here are eight...
Austin plan that targeted homeless living under freeway now stalled

Austin plan that targeted homeless living under freeway now stalled

A proposal that would have empowered Austin police to arrest people living under a South Austin overpass appears all but dead. Council Member Ann Kitchen — who represents the part of Austin where a 1,000-foot-long overpass of U.S. 290/Texas 71 stretches over Manchaca Road and Pack Saddle Pass — told the American-Statesman recently that she would not be pursuing the program in the foreseeable...
Larry Kudlow plays “happy warrior” role in counseling Trump

Larry Kudlow plays “happy warrior” role in counseling Trump

In the Oval Office on Tuesday, as fears of a trade war with China roiled markets and panicked U.S. farmers and lawmakers, Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s new top economic adviser, scored what passes for a major coup in a White House whipsawed by angry presidential tweets.  He helped get the president to say something nice on Twitter about President Xi Jinping of China.  &ldquo...
GOP campaign seeks to brand ex-FBI director Comey a liar as he touts book critical of Trump

GOP campaign seeks to brand ex-FBI director Comey a liar as he touts book critical of Trump

- In advance of a publicity tour by James Comey to promote his new book, the Republican National Committee is preparing a widespread campaign to undercut his credibility, including a new website that dubs the former FBI Director as "Lyin' Comey."  The website prominently features quotes from Democrats highly critical of Comey before his firing by Trump nearly a year ago as the president...
Trump weighs rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership

Trump weighs rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Donald Trump ordered top administration officials Thursday to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sprawling trade pact he rejected three days after taking office.  The move would mark a stunning reversal for Trump, who sharply criticized the pact as a "disaster" and made opposition to global trade deals a centerpiece of his economic agenda as a candidate. ...
Trump orders review of Postal Service’s business model

Trump orders review of Postal Service’s business model

President Donald Trump, who has assailed Amazon.com and falsely accused the online retail giant of cheating the U.S. Postal Service by taking advantage of bulk delivery rates, on Thursday night ordered a sweeping overhaul of the Postal Service's business model.  Trump issued an executive order forming an administration task force, to be chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and directed...
Pentagon urges greater caution on imminent strike against Syria

Pentagon urges greater caution on imminent strike against Syria

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought on Thursday to slow down an imminent strike on Syria, reflecting mounting concerns at the Pentagon that a concerted bombing campaign could escalate into a wider conflict between Russia, Iran and the West.  During a closed-door White House meeting, officials said Mattis pushed for more evidence of President Bashar Assad’s role in a suspected chemical attack...
Search warrant for Trump’s lawyer sought info on bank loans linked to taxi business

Search warrant for Trump’s lawyer sought info on bank loans linked to taxi business

A federal investigation into what role President Donald Trump's personal attorney played in facilitating payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump is also examining the lawyer's interactions with a bank that gave him loans against his taxi business.  When they raided the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday, FBI agents sought his communications with New York-based Sterling...
Before learning of raid, Trump’s legal team convened to discuss Mueller interview

Before learning of raid, Trump’s legal team convened to discuss Mueller interview

Shortly before news became public Monday of an FBI raid on the hotel room and office of President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Trump’s legal team met in Washington to draft a proposal that would allow him to be interviewed by the special counsel in the Russia investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.  The proposal included details on where and under...
Comey’s memoir: Trump fixates on proving lewd dossier allegations false

Comey’s memoir: Trump fixates on proving lewd dossier allegations false

The nation's intelligence chiefs had just finished briefing Donald Trump on Russia's interference in the 2016 election when FBI Director James Comey stayed behind to discuss some especially sensitive material: a "widely circulated" intelligence dossier containing unconfirmed allegations that Russians had filmed Trump interacting with prostitutes in Moscow in 2013.  The president-elect...
Investigators focus on another Trump ally: The National Enquirer

Investigators focus on another Trump ally: The National Enquirer

President Donald Trump has long had ties to the nation’s major media players. But his connections with the country’s largest tabloid publisher, American Media Inc., run deeper than most.  A former top executive of Trump’s casino business sits on AMI’s four-member board of directors, and an adviser joined the media company after the election. The company’s chairman...
Senate Republicans express concerns about Trump’s choice to lead Veterans Affairs

Senate Republicans express concerns about Trump’s choice to lead Veterans Affairs

Ronny L. Jackson, President Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, is facing mounting skepticism from Senate Republicans over whether he has the management experience to lead the nation's second-largest bureaucracy.  The comments from several GOP senators, particularly those with influence on veterans' issues, signal Jackson will have to work overtime to persuade not...
John Boehner was a longtime opponent of marijuana reform. Here’s what changed his mind.

John Boehner was a longtime opponent of marijuana reform. Here’s what changed his mind.

John Boehner, the former Republican speaker of the House who once said he was "unalterably opposed" to decriminalizing marijuana laws, has joined a board of directors for a cannabis company with an eye on rolling back federal regulations.  The former Ohio congressman has been appointed to the board of advisers of Acreage Holdings, invoking the need for veterans to access the drug legally...
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