Politics


Democrats outraise Republicans in seven GOP-held U.S. House districts

Seven Texas Democratic congressional candidates outraised their rivals in Republican-held districts in the second quarter of the year, including four Democrats who amassed more than $1 million, according to campaign finance reports filed over the weekend, with most becoming available Monday. “I don’t think that’s happened ever before,” longtime Democratic strategist Matt Angle...
Judge orders CodeNext petition on the ballot

Judge orders CodeNext petition on the ballot

The CodeNext petition ordinance will appear on November’s ballot after a judge on Monday overturned previous action by the Austin City Council. In her order, Travis County state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo ruled it was premature for the City Council to prevent Austin residents from voting on the petition ordinance. “We are gratified by the court’s decision respecting Austinites&rsquo...
U.S. judge defends actions as trial on Texas’ fetal burial law begins

U.S. judge defends actions as trial on Texas’ fetal burial law begins

A federal trial over the future of a Texas law requiring that fetal remains be buried or cremated got off to an unusual start Monday when the judge defended himself from a federal appeals court that had questioned his motives in the case. The dispute involved a side issue over a subpoena compelling the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops to disclose more than 1,000 pages of emails and other communication...
Abbott has $29 million in campaign cash heading into fall

Abbott has $29 million in campaign cash heading into fall

Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign raised $10.9 million and spent $22 million between Feb. 25 and June 30, and it had $28.9 million in cash on hand, according to its filing Monday with the Texas Ethics Commission. Abbott’s expenditures include $16.1 million for TV time across the state for a fall ad campaign. “This is the first wave of advertising we have bought,” campaign...
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has huge fundraising advantage over Mike Collier

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has huge fundraising advantage over Mike Collier

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has 233 times as much cash on hand as his Democratic rival, Mike Collier, heading into the fall campaign. Texans for Dan Patrick will report that it has raised almost $4.5 million between Feb. 25 and June 30 and has nearly $14 million in the bank. The report will be filed by Monday’s deadline with the Texas Ethics Commission. Collier will report raising $265,000 in the same...
Abbott has $29 million cash plus $16 million ad buy heading into fall

Abbott has $29 million cash plus $16 million ad buy heading into fall

Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign raised $10.9 million and spent $22 million between Feb. 25 and June 30, and had $28.9 million in cash on hand, according to its filing Monday with the Texas Ethics Commission. Abbott’s expenditures include $16.1 million for TV time across the state for a fall ad campaign. “This is the first wave of advertising we have bought,” said campaign...
Trump can’t beat Putin at his own game

Trump can’t beat Putin at his own game

Before last Thursday, President Donald Trump's meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin already promised to be interesting. Then special counsel Robert Mueller's team indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and things got even more complicated.  Monday's summit is now an obvious opportunity for Trump...
With Trump in the White House, candidates who sound like him hit the campaign trail

With Trump in the White House, candidates who sound like him hit the campaign trail

In last week's debate between Georgia's Republican candidates for governor, policy was quickly abandoned as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp lit into one another with a familiar slate of accusations.  Kemp called Cagle a liar at least a dozen times. Cagle accused Kemp of conspiring with another Republican to release a recording of an "out of context" private conversationKemp...
‘This loss is on me’: Rep. Crowley tries to calm tensions in first interview since primary shocker

‘This loss is on me’: Rep. Crowley tries to calm tensions in first interview since primary shocker

Rep. Joseph Crowley, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, took personal blame for his shocking primary loss last month and sought to defuse tensions within his party on Sunday in his first extended interview since the election.  "This loss is on me," said Crowley of New York, who lost his bid for renomination for an 11th term on June 26 to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "I did not...
Trump raises $90 million for his reelection bid and GOP, with less going to legal fees

Trump raises $90 million for his reelection bid and GOP, with less going to legal fees

With the 2018 midterms under way, President Donald Trump's reelection campaign and two affiliated committees entered the third quarter with a massive fundraising haul of $90 million and a steep decline in attorneys fees, which have consumed his reelection expenses since he took office.  Trump's campaign committee and two fundraising committees that jointly raise money with the Republican National...
On abortion and other issues, Kavanaugh’s heroes are more conservative than Kennedy

On abortion and other issues, Kavanaugh’s heroes are more conservative than Kennedy

When Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court last week, he said he was "deeply honored" to have the chance to replace his old boss and the man he has called a mentor, Justice Anthony Kennedy.  But when Kavanaugh was asked in September to give a Constitution Day speech, he chose to celebrate his "first judicial hero," the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist...
As Trump cuts a verbal swath through Europe, Mattis stays low-keyed

As Trump cuts a verbal swath through Europe, Mattis stays low-keyed

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was in Norway over the weekend, a short hop from the site of President Donald Trump's Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. But often it seemed as though Mattis was inhabiting a distant world.  For much of the past week, amid Trump's upbraiding of the NATO allies, his undermining of the British prime minister and his courting of Putin, Mattis...
‘Maybe he'll be a friend’: Trump highlights common ground with Putin ahead of summit

‘Maybe he'll be a friend’: Trump highlights common ground with Putin ahead of summit

He allegedly helped him get elected. He has charmed him and egged him on. And on Monday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin meets President Donald Trump face to face here in Finland's capital, he will see what he gets out of it.  Coming into Monday's one-on-one summit, Trump faces intense pressure back home to confront Putin over Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, especially...
Membership rules for Austin Planning Commission both restrictive, rare

Membership rules for Austin Planning Commission both restrictive, rare

When Austin voters went to the ballot box in the spring of 1994, they were inundated by nearly two dozen proposition questions regarding possible changes to the city’s charter. One of the 22 items was yet another an attempt to establish single-member districts for the Austin City Council. That proposition failed. So did Proposition 22, an amendment that would have prohibited Austin from providing...
PolitiFact: Opponent didn’t pass any bills? We found one

PolitiFact: Opponent didn’t pass any bills? We found one

A North Texas Democrat nominated for the Texas Senate told a Dallas crowd that the incumbent, Bob Hall of Edgewood, has an empty legislative record. Kendall Scudder of Sulphur Springs was quoted by The Dallas Morning News as saying at a July event: “None of you should be surprised to find out that Bob Hall never successfully passed a bill before. And we’re going to keep it that way.&rdquo...
Wear: Texas’ frozen gas tax thawed by Propositions 1 and 7

Wear: Texas’ frozen gas tax thawed by Propositions 1 and 7

Perhaps Texas’ mummified gas tax can just stay in the crypt. Periodically through the many years I’ve been on this beat, I’ve written about Texas’ 20-cents-a-gallon gas tax and how it hasn’t been increased by the Texas Legislature since 1991. So has the Statesman’s editorial page. And the message, either subtle or overt (in the case of the opinion page), was...
Landlady Lupe Valdez: Better to offer low rent than pay taxes on time

Landlady Lupe Valdez: Better to offer low rent than pay taxes on time

Colin Howell and Jayme Thompson have a dream to start a mobile food truck — the Flying Pineapple Baking Company — selling retro desserts in Dallas-Fort Worth. What’s made the numbers work on their ambition is their phenomenal rent — $700 a month for a piece of a fourplex on the outskirts of Oak Cliff’s trendy Bishop Arts District. “This is Bishop Arts. For what?&rdquo...
Supreme Court nominee, wife met when working for President George Bush

Supreme Court nominee, wife met when working for President George Bush

The common link between U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his West Texan wife, Ashley, was none other than former President and Texas Gov. George W. Bush. After nominating Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006, Bush joked at the swearing-in ceremony that Kavanaugh’s marriage was the “first lifetime appointment I arranged.&rdquo...
Emily’s List gets involved in fifth Texas race for Congress

Emily’s List gets involved in fifth Texas race for Congress

It’s the year of the woman in terms of the number of women running for office — and it’s the year that female donors are stepping up to back them, with the advocacy group Emily’s List choosing to get involved in five Texas congressional races. Emily’s List, which promotes campaigns of Democratic women who support abortion rights, announced Friday that it was endorsing...
Migrant family separated despite Trump order, civil rights group says

Migrant family separated despite Trump order, civil rights group says

A 2-year-old girl from Guatemala was taken from her father in McAllen earlier this month after they crossed the border illegally, despite President Donald Trump’s executive order ending the practice, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project said Friday. After being apprehended, Mario Perez-Domingo presented a birth certificate to prove that the toddler was his daughter, but border authorities...
Report: Most donations to 2016 council races from outside districts

Report: Most donations to 2016 council races from outside districts

Most of the money Austin City Council candidates raised for their races in 2016 came from outside their council districts — more than 90 percent for Council Members Delia Garza and Greg Casar — according to a report issued by Texans for Public Justice. The city’s three wealthiest districts accounted for 68 percent of all resident campaign donations, even though two of those three...
Texas’ fetal burial law to go on trial in federal court

Texas’ fetal burial law to go on trial in federal court

In a five-day trial set to kick off Monday morning in Austin, the fate of another abortion-related restriction in Texas will be decided by a federal judge — this one requiring that fetal remains be buried or cremated instead of incinerated and deposited in a landfill. Lawyers for Texas plan to argue that the 2017 law, which has not been enforced, promotes respect for human life and the dignified...
Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

An Austin advertising legend who once helped sell “Don’t mess with Texas” is now working with state officials on a sequel: a campaign to get Texans to cherish water, from their lakes to their sinks. Roy Spence, one of the founders of ad giant GSD&M, is partnering with Texas State University’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and the Texas Water Development Board...
Army: Quality of life, tech culture helped Austin land Futures Command

Army: Quality of life, tech culture helped Austin land Futures Command

The same things — quality of life, innovation, civic support, higher education facilities – that have helped attract countless businesses to Austin also played a key role in the city landing the U.S. Army’s new Futures Command center. The facility, which will ultimately employ 500 enlisted and civilian workers, is expected to be up and running by next summer. Futures Command&rsquo...
Taxpayers on hook if Pflugerville’s risky water park gambit fails

Taxpayers on hook if Pflugerville’s risky water park gambit fails

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, Pflugerville seemingly has plenty to teach ambitious small towns eager to prosper. But the suburb north of Austin is at risk of imparting one lesson in the form of a cautionary tale. A high-profile Pflugerville initiative — a water park that the city’s economic development arm financed for a private company about five years ago &mdash...
Putin’s got a lot to gain from Trump meeting — and might get it

Putin’s got a lot to gain from Trump meeting — and might get it

Vladimir Putin has everything to gain from his first summit on Monday with Donald Trump. The U.S. president's critics as well as American allies are worried the Russian leader will get what he wants.  Trump and Putin will sit down together in Helsinki for meetings that U.S. and Russian officials say will touch on every major point of tension between their countries — the Kremlin's meddling...
Peter Strzok is the symbol of whatever you want him to be in the Russia investigation

Peter Strzok is the symbol of whatever you want him to be in the Russia investigation

The epitome of deep-state animus toward President Donald Trump, or a forceful spokesman against Republican efforts to undermine the Russia investigation?  You can look at what FBI agent Peter Strzok has privately texted and publicly testified over the past two years to back up whatever case you want to make. Members in Congress did just that Thursday, turning Strzok into a symbol for how a divided...
Trump cites “great progress” in North Korea nuclear talks

Trump cites “great progress” in North Korea nuclear talks

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was making “great progress” in denuclearization talks with North Korea, citing what he called a “very nice note” he received last week from Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, though it made no mention of nuclear weapons.  In a letter that Trump posted on Twitter along with an English translation, Kim called his summit with...
7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing

7 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing

FBI agent Peter Strzok had his moment on an extremely hot seat Thursday morning in a contentious hearing that quickly devolved into angry yelling, interjections and parliamentary maneuvering.  Appearing before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, Strzok sought to explain his anti-Trump text messages at a time when he was the lead agent on the FBI's then-nascent Russia...
Democrats divided over how to attack Kavanaugh

Democrats divided over how to attack Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee has amplified divisions in the Democratic Party, spurring competing views about how, or even whether, to attack Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  Democrats trying to defeat Kavanaugh were still searching for a potent line of attack Thursday. Some have focused on portraying him as a threat to take away health-care protections and abortion rights. Others have...
Limits put on security clearance for Kushner

Limits put on security clearance for Kushner

Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump's son-in-law, lacks the security clearance level required to review some of the government's most sensitive secrets, according to two people familiar with his access.  For the first year of the Trump administration, Kushner had nearly blanket access to highly classified intelligence, even as he held an interim security clearance...
Trump spectacle leaves NATO allies with ‘whiplash’

Trump spectacle leaves NATO allies with ‘whiplash’

The NATO summit was concluding on course here Thursday, with European leaders pleased that their unruly American counterpart had been surprisingly well behaved, if not truly conciliatory. Their planes were getting gassed up at the airport, and they were ready to call the whole shebang a success and jet home.  Then President Donald Trump showed up, a half-hour late and with another agenda. He...
Shooting rampage suspect targeted victims at random, Austin police say

Shooting rampage suspect targeted victims at random, Austin police say

Austin police on Thursday said a former policy analyst at the Legislature is a suspect in the fatal shooting of a man at a South Austin apartment complex Monday and in a shooting rampage Wednesday that left two women injured. Charles Curry, 29, was arrested about 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Post South Lamar apartment complex at 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. Curry has been charged with aggravated assault with a...
Consul: DPS helped Bastrop traffic operation that led to deportations

Consul: DPS helped Bastrop traffic operation that led to deportations

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper participated in the Bastrop County sheriff’s controversial “zero tolerance” traffic enforcement operation, which resulted in 24 people being arrested and 14 of them picked up by immigration authorities for deportation proceedings, according to Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Mexican consul for Austin. González said he...
O’Rourke maintains blistering fundraising pace in race against Cruz

O’Rourke maintains blistering fundraising pace in race against Cruz

Maintaining his blistering fundraising pace in his Senate bid, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised more than $10.4 million in the second quarter of the year, more than twice as much as U.S. Sen Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent he is seeking to unseat. O’Rourke had $14 million cash on hand as of the end of June, compared with $10.4 million for Cruz. The Cruz campaign reported raising $4.6...
Abbott and Valdez to debate amid Friday night lights

Abbott and Valdez to debate amid Friday night lights

There will be at least one debate between Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic rival, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, to be held in Austin, and broadcast statewide, at the end of September. The Abbott campaign effectively unveiled the debate plan Wednesday when it announced it had accepted an invitation from Nexstar Media Group to debate Valdez from 7 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28 at a location to be...
Commentary: Why we cannot take the 14th Amendment for granted

Commentary: Why we cannot take the 14th Amendment for granted

Few times in recent memory have demanded a more careful examination of our nation’s history than now — the year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment’s passage. At a time when the Trump administration is throwing asylum seekers in jail without due process, and undermining efforts to desegregate schools, it is critical to remember that the “pervading purpose&rdquo...
Ryan and top GOP leaders back Jordan amid Ohio State allegations

Ryan and top GOP leaders back Jordan amid Ohio State allegations

Top House Republican leaders, including Speaker Paul Ryan, are publicly supporting Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as the powerful conservative leader faces allegations that he failed to act on reports of sexual abuse while serving as a college wrestling coach more than two decades ago.  Ryan, R-Wis., on Wednesday called Jordan a "friend" in comments to reporters and called for a complete...
Kushner’s firm deepens ties to those with business in Washington

Kushner’s firm deepens ties to those with business in Washington

Eighteen months into Jared Kushner’s White House tenure, his family’s real estate firm is deepening its financial relationships with institutions and individuals that have a lot riding on decisions made by the federal government.  In the latest example, an arm of Brookfield Asset Management is close to completing an investment of up to $700 million in the Kushner family’s tower...
New EPA chief gets ris of Pruitt’s management style but not his policies

New EPA chief gets ris of Pruitt’s management style but not his policies

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new boss, Andrew Wheeler, has unlocked the entrance to the third-floor administrator’s suite — which had been closed tight during the tenure of his predecessor, Scott Pruitt. Wheeler, who started Monday after Pruitt’s resignation, has also reduced his security detail and provided faster public updates to his daily schedule of events. ...
Democrats take major step to reduce role of superdelegates

Democrats take major step to reduce role of superdelegates

Democratic Party officials took a major step Wednesday toward sharply reducing the role and influence of powerful political insiders in the presidential nominating process, a change sought by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and many other liberals after the 2016 campaign.  These insiders, called superdelegates, who are free to back any candidate regardless of how the public votes, would no longer...
Senate approves symbolic criticism of Trump’s tariffs following failed efforts to block them

Senate approves symbolic criticism of Trump’s tariffs following failed efforts to block them

President Donald Trump is remaking the global trade order without significant political resistance or penalty, unchecked by a largely compliant Congress and bolstered by the loyalty of his supporters — even those likely to be hurt by his burgeoning global trade war.  The Senate on Wednesday passed a nonbinding measure calling for a greater role in overseeing Trump's trade decisions, an...
Vice President Pence turns up the heat on Missouri’s Sen. McCaskill as Supreme Court battle kicks off

Vice President Pence turns up the heat on Missouri’s Sen. McCaskill as Supreme Court battle kicks off

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday put pressure on Sen. Claire McCaskill to support President Donald Trump's latest pick for the Supreme Court, using a speech in McCaskill's home state of Missouri to hammer the vulnerable Democrat for her opposition to Trump's first nominee last year.  "Today, we call on Senator Claire McCaskill, put politics aside, give our nominee a fair hearing and...
‘Rubbing salt in the wounds’: Trump won't take yes for an answer at NATO

‘Rubbing salt in the wounds’: Trump won't take yes for an answer at NATO

For a president who loves declaring victory, the NATO summit here Wednesday could have provided a perfect opportunity.  After a year of haranguing by President Donald Trump, Western leaders had agreed to his administration's long-sought priorities on defense spending and counterterrorism — and were prepared to let him take all the credit.  But Trump had other plans.  The U.S....
In major abortion ruling, Kavanaugh offers clues of how he might handle divisive issue

In major abortion ruling, Kavanaugh offers clues of how he might handle divisive issue

Judge Brett Kavanaugh has only one major abortion ruling in his 12 years on the federal bench, but that forceful opinion will define the coming debate on what his elevation to the Supreme Court would mean for a woman's constitutional right to the procedure.  Antiabortion activists say they are assured, without specific evidence in his writings, that President Donald Trump's second nominee could...
Kavanaugh piled up credit card debt by purchasing Nationals tickets, White House says

Kavanaugh piled up credit card debt by purchasing Nationals tickets, White House says

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets, according to a review of Kavanaugh's financial disclosures and information provided by the White House.  White House spokesman Raj Shah told...
Abbott accepts invitation to debate Valdez amid Friday night lights

Abbott accepts invitation to debate Valdez amid Friday night lights

Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday accepted an invitation from Nexstar Media Group to debate Democratic rival Lupe Valdez. The debate will be broadcast statewide on television and online. It will be held in Austin and is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, a Friday night during high school football season. Valdez offered her qualified acceptance, tweeting: “Thanks @GregAbbott_TX for accepting a debate!...
Troxclair, Austin council’s lone conservative, won’t seek re-election

Troxclair, Austin council’s lone conservative, won’t seek re-election

City Council Member Ellen Troxclair will not seek a second term, she said in a news release issued Wednesday, setting up an open race to replace Austin’s only conservative City Council member. “I can leave knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do — serve as an advocate for my district, a voice of reason, a fiscal watchdog, an unwavering voice for lowering the cost of living...
Austin Mayor Adler accused of crossing U.S.-Mexico border illegally

Austin Mayor Adler accused of crossing U.S.-Mexico border illegally

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been accused by federal authorities of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border last month during a trip to a Tornillo tent city housing migrant children, according to a report by Fox News. Fox News published the story Wednesday, citing a letter U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials sent to New York police. The letter also accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio...
Judge orders CodeNext petition ordinance on the ballot

Judge orders CodeNext petition ordinance on the ballot

The CodeNext petition ordinance will appear on November’s ballot and likely pour kerosene on Austin City Council elections this year just as campaign season begins to ramp up. Travis County state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo issued the order on Monday ruling that it was premature for the Austin City Council to deny the petition ordinance. If approved, the proposed ordinance would allow voters...
Public relations campaign ramps up support of Jordan as he battles allegations

Public relations campaign ramps up support of Jordan as he battles allegations

A conservative crisis communications firm is pitching in to help Rep. Jim Jordan fight claims he turned a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse by a team doctor at Ohio State University three decades ago, while Jordan's House colleagues are stepping up their own defense of the outspoken conservative leader.  Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is known for representing...
Melania Trump’s task in Europe? Show another side of White House

Melania Trump’s task in Europe? Show another side of White House

After weeks of solo travel around the United States, the first lady, Melania Trump, plans to revive her child-focused project “Be Best” as she accompanies her husband on a weeklong trip through Europe, the White House said Monday.  The trip, with diplomatic-and-golf-focused hops planned between Belgium, England, Scotland and Finland, will be a high-profile re-entry into the spotlight...
Flynn is cooperating with Mueller and eager to have case wrap up, court hears

Flynn is cooperating with Mueller and eager to have case wrap up, court hears

In Michael Flynn's first appearance in federal court since pleading guilty seven months ago, his lawyers confirmed that he continues to cooperate with prosecutors and is eager to be sentenced and wrap up his case.  But it was no clearer after Tuesday's hearing when President Donald Trump's former national security adviser's federal case will conclude.  Flynn's presence in court in Washington...
Conservatives close in on 3-decade dream: Tipping court to right

Conservatives close in on 3-decade dream: Tipping court to right

President Donald Trump’s selection of a new Supreme Court nominee on Monday culminates a three-decade project unparalleled in American history to install a reliable conservative majority on the nation’s highest tribunal, one that could shape the direction of the law for years to come.  All of the years of vetting and grooming and lobbying and list-making by conservative legal figures...
What does the Supreme Court mean for the midterm elections? Here are 2 hints

What does the Supreme Court mean for the midterm elections? Here are 2 hints

President Donald Trump’s selection of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his second Supreme Court nominee could be a consequential moment for the midterm elections. Republicans hope a confirmation battle will galvanize voters on the right, while Democrats are balancing their own energized liberal base against the political pressure on some red-state Democrats to side with Trump.  Here is how the...
President wavered late on nominee decision

President wavered late on nominee decision

After the two couples — President Donald Trump and his wife and federal judge Brett Kavanaugh and his wife — gathered in the residence of the White House for over an hour Sunday night, Trump made Kavanaugh a historic offer: to be his choice to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.  Yet just hours later on Monday morning, Trump seemed to waver — making a flurry of calls...
Republicans express confidence about Supreme Court pick, Dems plot to sink him

Republicans express confidence about Supreme Court pick, Dems plot to sink him

Senate Democrats launched a fierce campaign Tuesday to derail President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee by warning of the potential damage he might do to health-care access, abortion rights and the pending federal investigation into Trump's associates. But Republicans largely rallied around the nominee, U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, leading party leaders to predict his inevitable confirmation...
A more conservative Supreme Court could step, not lurch, to the right

A more conservative Supreme Court could step, not lurch, to the right

President Trump's choice of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is intended to move what is already one of history's most conservative courts to even more consistent right-of-center outcomes.  But expect more of a gradual climb than a jack-rabbit acceleration, without the kind of alarms that are set off by disposing of the few landmark precedents...
Pruitt is out at EPA, but ethics probes might live

Pruitt is out at EPA, but ethics probes might live

Scott Pruitt's portraits have begun to come down at the Environmental Protection Agency, which he helmed until Friday. His official Twitter account has gone dark. And the posters inside the EPA highlighting the Oklahoman's policy priorities — flanked by coal miners and other supporters — have been replaced by ones featuring a smiling Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.  But at least...
At summit, Mattis faces uphill battle

At summit, Mattis faces uphill battle

For Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, this week's NATO summit presents a central test: how to preserve a U.S.-European alliance that he sees as crucial to America's security while not crossing a boss who doesn't share that view.  The summit, which will bring Mattis and President Donald Trump together with the traditional allies of the United States, illustrates the tightrope the former general has...
Judge rejects long detentions of migrant families, dealing Trump another setback

Judge rejects long detentions of migrant families, dealing Trump another setback

The Trump administration on Monday lost a bid to persuade a federal court to allow long-term detention of migrant families, a significant legal setback to the president’s immigration agenda.  In a ruling that countered nearly every argument posed by the Justice Department, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles held that there was no basis to amend a long-standing...
Prosecutor who said on social media that Maxine Waters should be shot is placed on leave

Prosecutor who said on social media that Maxine Waters should be shot is placed on leave

A California prosecutor will be placed on administrative leave as his office investigates offensive comments made on his social media accounts, the county district attorney announced on Monday.  Michael Selyem, who leads the "Hardcore Gang Unit" of the San Bernardino County District Attorney Office, is the subject of an internal investigation, according to a statement from district...
With Trump’s nominee announced, the battle for the court begins

With Trump’s nominee announced, the battle for the court begins

Antiabortion activists plan to descend upon the home-state offices of three key Democratic senators on Tuesday. Liberals hope to take over Twitter with the #SaveSCOTUS hashtag while holding dozens of events across the country. And groups on both sides have prepared multimillion-dollar digital and television ad campaigns set to start Monday night.  Even before President Donald Trump's announcement...
Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, has sided with broad views of presidential powers

Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, has sided with broad views of presidential powers

Brett Kavanaugh, the federal judge nominated by President Donald Trump on Monday to the Supreme Court, has endorsed robust views of the powers of the president, consistently siding with arguments in favor of broad executive authority during his 12 years on the bench in Washington.  He has called for restructuring the government's consumer watchdog agency so the president could remove the director...
How key senators reacted to Trump’s Supreme Court pick

How key senators reacted to Trump’s Supreme Court pick

President Donald Trump's selection of Brett Kavanaugh as his choice for the next Supreme Court justice sets into motion an intense battle over the future of the court — and all eyes are now on the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-to-49 majority.  With Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., away from Capitol Hill as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, Kavanaugh's fortunes could hinge on...
Warren fires back at Trump: a ‘bully’ going after ‘women all across this country’

Warren fires back at Trump: a ‘bully’ going after ‘women all across this country’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., responded Sunday to President Donald Trump's taunting attacks on her last week, calling him a "bully" who is targeting "every woman who speaks up."  "He tries to bully me to shut me up, and he's also trying to bully women all across this country. He talks about MeToo. It isn't just me he is going after," Warren said after an event...
Pompeo plays down North Korea’s criticism of talks

Pompeo plays down North Korea’s criticism of talks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shot back against North Korea on Sunday, saying the regime's criticism that U.S. negotiators acted in a "gangster-like" way during his two-day visit to Pyongyang was unfounded.  "If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster," said Pompeo, noting that U.S. demands for North Korea to denuclearize were supported by a consensus among...
The House returns to deep uncertainty over leadership of both parties

The House returns to deep uncertainty over leadership of both parties

  The House returns from its July Fourth recess this week in a state of remarkable uncertainty, with both Democrats and Republicans facing open questions about their leaders’ futures and neither party certain of which will be in control after November’s elections.  “Sometimes things have to be torn down before they can be built back up,” said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N...
Scott Pruitt, fallen EPA chief, may rise again in Oklahoma

Scott Pruitt, fallen EPA chief, may rise again in Oklahoma

Scott Pruitt’s brief, tumultuous tenure as head of the Environmental Protection Agency has left him disgraced in the eyes of many in Washington and across the country. But it may not have done him much harm in his home state.  Though a comeback for Pruitt is far from assured, some liberals and conservatives in Oklahoma agree he could engineer one in this oil- and gas-dependent state where...
McConnell pursued from Kentucky restaurant by angry crowd

McConnell pursued from Kentucky restaurant by angry crowd

A group of Democratic Socialists and other angry protesters pursued Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell through a restaurant parking lot in Kentucky on Saturday, berating him with a mixture of immigration rhetoric and personal insults — and at one point an apparent threat to visit his home.  The Louisville encounter was the second time in two weeks that McConnell's private life has been...
Jordan returns to Washington, D.C., as scrutiny over alleged sexual abuse at Ohio State intensifies

Jordan returns to Washington, D.C., as scrutiny over alleged sexual abuse at Ohio State intensifies

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is under intense scrutiny over claims he knew about alleged sexual abuse three decades ago at Ohio State University. Now, the influential congressman and former wrestling coach will face new pressures as lawmakers return to Washington this week.  Jordan's Fourth of July recess was consumed by controversy, as former Ohio State wrestlers claimed one by one that he knew...
A look at the list helping Trump reshape the Supreme Court

A look at the list helping Trump reshape the Supreme Court

In early 2016, while working as Donald Trump's top campaign lawyer, Donald McGahn came up with a novel idea whose reverberations are still being felt. Although Trump was surging toward the GOP nomination, uncertainty about his ideology and how he would govern had unnerved many mainstream Republicans and social conservatives.  So McGahn conceived of a list. It would contain the names of people...
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