Politics


Joseph Kopser to face Chip Roy in 21st Congressional District matchup

Update 10:15 p.m.: Chip Roy has won the Republican nomination in the 21st Congressional District. He will face Joseph Kopser, the winner of the Democratic nomination, in the November general election. Roy won 52.7 percent of the vote and Kopser won 58 percent of the vote in their respective primaries. RELATED: Central Texas congressional matchups take shape Update 9:45 p.m.: The Associated Press has...
Congress moves to revamp laws to combat sexual misconduct in its ranks

Congress moves to revamp laws to combat sexual misconduct in its ranks

Congress moved closer Wednesday to revamping its laws on sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct after Senate negotiators unveiled a compromise plan that would prohibit controversial taxpayer-funded settlements.  Under the new proposal, lawmakers would be personally liable for any settlements from their own misconduct, similar to the version passed by the House in February, and it would...
Trump administration warns Democratic-led states are skirting GOP tax law

Trump administration warns Democratic-led states are skirting GOP tax law

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it will propose new regulations for a provision in the Republican tax law that disproportionately raises taxes on residents in Democratic-led states, suggesting that federal officials will move to block attempts to circumvent the tax overhaul.  In a notice, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said they will issue regulations for...
Five lessons from this week’s primaries

Five lessons from this week’s primaries

Five lessons from this week's primaries:    For nearly three months, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reeled from its decision to dump opposition research on Laura Moser, an activist who moved home to Houston from Washington to run for a newly competitive House seat. It backfired in the district, as Moser's fundraising surged, and she won a slot in the May 22 runoff. ...
In reversal, Giuliani now says Trump should do interview with Mueller team

In reversal, Giuliani now says Trump should do interview with Mueller team

President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani switched gears Wednesday, saying that he would prefer the president grant an interview to special counsel Robert Mueller's office and that a decision would be made within "the next couple weeks."  "I guess I'd rather do the interview. It gets it over with it, it makes my client happy," he said. "The safe course you hear every...
Mueller targeted flows of money to Israeli social-media company

Mueller targeted flows of money to Israeli social-media company

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has asked about flows of money into the Cyprus bank account of a company that specialized in social-media manipulation and whose founder reportedly met with Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016, according to a person familiar with the investigation.  The inquiry is drawing attention to PSY Group, an Israeli firm that pitched its services to super-PACs and other...
Trump’s cryptic China tweet threatens another course change on trade

Trump’s cryptic China tweet threatens another course change on trade

President Donald Trump has sent outraged tweets and combative tweets and happy tweets and tricker tweets (covfefe). There have been tweets in all capital letters and with multiple exclamation points. There have even been tweets that seemed to threaten a preemptive nuclear strike.  But there haven't been many tweets like the one Trump sent Wednesday morning, where he was both cryptic and subtle...
Trump violates First Amendment by blocking Twitter users from feed, judge says

Trump violates First Amendment by blocking Twitter users from feed, judge says

Apart from the man himself, perhaps nothing has defined President Donald Trump’s political persona more than Twitter.  It was through the @realDonaldTrump account on the social platform that Trump kick-started what once seemed like a long-shot presidential bid and mobilized his electoral base.  Now that he is in the White House, he uses Twitter to announce policies, conduct diplomacy...
Kushner receives permanent security clearance, ending uncertainty over his status

Kushner receives permanent security clearance, ending uncertainty over his status

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, now has a permanent security clearance and recently sat for six to seven hours of questioning by special counsel Robert Mueller's team on a wide range of topics including Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, according to a person briefed on the matter.  The FBI's background check into Kushner's financial history and...
Gov. Greg Abbott says he can support modest gun safety regulations

Gov. Greg Abbott says he can support modest gun safety regulations

Concluding his second day of roundtable discussions on gun violence, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that there are several modest gun regulations he could support, including stronger requirements for reporting lost or stolen firearms. Abbott also supported requiring judges to more quickly report court orders that deny people access to guns for safety reasons. “In the state of Texas right now...
Ahead of speaker election, moderates hold strong in Texas GOP runoffs

Ahead of speaker election, moderates hold strong in Texas GOP runoffs

But in Tuesday’s runoff elections and in the March 6 primary, GOP voters overwhelmingly rejected candidates aligning themselves with the agenda Patrick pushed in the state Senate, which he leads, and instead chose business-backed centrist Republicans associated with retiring House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio. Candidates backed by House leadership fundraising groups on Tuesday won five...
Valdez squeezes past White, faces big Abbott challenge next

Valdez squeezes past White, faces big Abbott challenge next

Lupe Valdez was beaming Tuesday night as she accepted the cheers of supporters at a downtown Dallas restaurant in her hometown for making history as the first Latina and the first lesbian to become the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas. “I am constantly hearing this is going to be such an uphill battle,” said Valdez, elected four times as Dallas County sheriff. “Please, tell...
Lawsuit: GOP judge fired secretary for anti-Trump Facebook posts

Lawsuit: GOP judge fired secretary for anti-Trump Facebook posts

A federal lawsuit claims that a longtime secretary was illegally fired last year because her boss, a Republican judge on the state’s highest criminal court, disapproved of her Facebook posts disparaging President Donald Trump and other GOP politicians. Olga Zuniga argued that her Facebook activity, which included support for Democrats, was done in her role as a private citizen, that she had...
Manafort accuses Mueller prosecutors of smearing him with leaks

Manafort accuses Mueller prosecutors of smearing him with leaks

Lawyers for Paul Manafort accused prosecutors working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller of smearing their client through unflattering media accounts that originated with illegal grand jury leaks.  The lawyers on Monday urged U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis to hold a hearing focusing in particular on communications involving Andrew Weissmann, one of the Mueller prosecutors, with The Associated...
When it comes to Trump, men and women remain far apart

When it comes to Trump, men and women remain far apart

The evidence continues to pile up. When it comes to Donald Trump, there's a big difference between men and women.  Yes, many women voted for Trump in 2016 and continue to support him as president almost without reservation. They are women like Janelle Lutgen, whom I met during intermittent travels through counties in the Midwest over the past year-plus. She's a Republican official in Iowa and...
House members response on Parkland gun policy agenda shows party divide

House members response on Parkland gun policy agenda shows party divide

A student walked into Santa Fe High School outside Galveston, Texas on Friday and began shooting his classmates, murdering eight students and two teachers.  The horrific shooting comes at a time of increased focus on gun policy issues nationwide, brought to the forefront by survivors of another school shooting in Parkland, Florida, just three months ago.  Following that shooting, a group...
Schumer calls for removal of North Korean leader’s face from commemorative coin

Schumer calls for removal of North Korean leader’s face from commemorative coin

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the White House on Tuesday to remove an image of Kim Jong Un from a coin meant to commemorate the planned summit next month between the North Korean dictator and President Donald Trump.  Schumer's call, made via Twitter, came a day after media reports surfaced about the design of the "challenge coin," which features likenesses...
Can parents be charged for failing to keep their guns locked up?

Can parents be charged for failing to keep their guns locked up?

Authorities in Texas were quick to identify the owner of the pistol and shotgun used to kill 10 people at Santa Fe High School on Friday — they had been bought legally by the suspect’s father, the police said.  Less clear was how the suspected gunman, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, came to possess the weapons, raising questions about whether anyone else could be held responsible for the massacre...
Cohen’s partner in businesses pleads guilty in deal, and will aid inquiry

Cohen’s partner in businesses pleads guilty in deal, and will aid inquiry

A significant business partner of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office...
Bannon condemns Mnuchin’s trade truce as China giveaway

Bannon condemns Mnuchin’s trade truce as China giveaway

Former Trump political strategist Steve Bannon condemned a weekend truce in the U.S. trade dispute with China as a capitulation, signaling dissatisfaction among the president's allies.  Bannon targeted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, for his role in the trade talks. President Donald Trump "changed the dynamic regarding China but in one weekend Secretary...
Trump says U.S. reconsidering ZTE penalties as “favor” to Xi

Trump says U.S. reconsidering ZTE penalties as “favor” to Xi

President Donald Trump said his administration is reconsidering penalties on Chinese telecommunications maker ZTE Corp. as a personal favor to the country's president, Xi Jinping.  "The president asked me to look into that," Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. He said there is no deal yet to reduce U.S. penalties that have caused the company to suspend its business,...
Herman: Time for the look-at-me candidate to look ahead

Herman: Time for the look-at-me candidate to look ahead

In the end, as loser Andrew White sees it, “look at me” beat “listen to me” as Democrats, the relatively few who showed up to vote, picked former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez as their November candidate against GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. “It’s been an odd race,” White told me two hours before the polls closed as we sat in the garage apartment that served as...
Valdez defeats White in Democratic runoff for governor

Valdez defeats White in Democratic runoff for governor

Lupe Valdez defeated Andrew White in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial runoff election. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Valdez won 227,141 votes, or 53.2 percent, to 200,205, or 46.8 percent for White. “Texas is changing,” Valdez told an ebullient victory celebration in a room at Ellen’s, a restaurant specializing in Southern cuisine in downtown Dallas. “Look...
First gun violence meeting yields ‘solid’ ideas, Abbott says

First gun violence meeting yields ‘solid’ ideas, Abbott says

Proclaiming that he learned more than expected, Gov. Greg Abbott said his first gun violence roundtable Tuesday yielded a list of “solid” ideas for protecting Texas schools, including adding more counselors, creating threat-assessment teams and requiring schools to create emergency plans with local police. Many of the suggestions can be in place before the next school year begins, Abbott...
Democrats’ newest midterm pitch: A crackdown on corruption

Democrats’ newest midterm pitch: A crackdown on corruption

Democrats plan to highlight allegations of corruption surrounding the Trump administration — and a legislative agenda to prevent future abuses — as they continue rolling out their party platform ahead of November's midterm elections.  The first planks of the "A Better Deal" platform, released last year, focused on the party's economic agenda. Now, with questions about pay-to-play...
Trump to meet S. Korea’s Moon amid signs that partnership is faltering on N. Korea

Trump to meet S. Korea’s Moon amid signs that partnership is faltering on N. Korea

President Donald Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Tuesday amid signs that his close partnership with Seoul in brokering a historic nuclear deal with North Korea's Kim Jong Un is faltering.  Moon's top aides presented Trump in March with the invitation from Kim to hold the unprecedented summit, an offer Trump accepted on the spot. But Moon's visit to...
Mexican candidates take hard line on Trump

Mexican candidates take hard line on Trump

The four candidates to be president of Mexico called each other liars and hypocrites. They slung demeaning nicknames. They lobbed accusations about each other's alleged corruption and pampered families.  But if there was one thing that the candidates agreed on in a debate Sunday night, it was President Donald Trump.  The candidates charted a similar course: Each said he would demand respect...
Xi Jinping can make or break any deal between Trump and Kim

Xi Jinping can make or break any deal between Trump and Kim

President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will meet next month to negotiate a deal that could avert nuclear war. But the ultimate success of any agreement hinges on someone else: China's President Xi Jinping.  As North Korea's largest trading partner, China's enforcement of United Nations sanctions helped bring Kim to the negotiating table while also shielding his regime from Trump's warnings of...
Blankenship says he will make a third-party run for Senate in West Virginia

Blankenship says he will make a third-party run for Senate in West Virginia

Controversial former coal baron Don Blankenship said Monday that he is launching a third-party campaign for the Senate after losing in West Virginia's Republican primary, a decision that could complicate the GOP's efforts to keep its majority in the midterm elections.  Blankenship, who finished third in the Republican primary for Senate in West Virginia earlier this month, said in a statement...
They spoke Spanish in a Montana store. Then a border agent asked for their IDs

They spoke Spanish in a Montana store. Then a border agent asked for their IDs

In the small town of Havre, Montana, the Town Pump Convenience Store is about the only shop open after midnight. It was about that time last Wednesday when a pair of friends, Ana Suda, who was out of eggs, and Mimi Hernandez, whose daughter needed milk, walked into the store.  Suda does not recall what they discussed while they browsed the store, but she knows they conversed in Spanish. That...
Divisions within Trump team undercut quick trade victory with China

Divisions within Trump team undercut quick trade victory with China

By the time U.S. negotiators wrapped up high-level talks with a visiting Chinese delegation last week, President Donald Trump’s ambitions for a multibillion-dollar trade agreement had, for the time being, shriveled into a blandly worded communiqué without any dollar figures. It was not clear that the talks set a path to success.  Ceaseless infighting and jockeying for influence on...
Trump team’s Mueller strategy: Limit the investigation and attack the investigators

Trump team’s Mueller strategy: Limit the investigation and attack the investigators

Frustrated and impatient, fed up with waiting and eager to fight back, President Donald Trump has embarked on what amounts to a two-prong strategy to contain the threat and undercut the credibility of the escalating investigations targeting him and his associates.  The blizzard of Twitter messages combined with a string of public statements by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in recent days seemed...
By demanding an investigation, Trump challenged a constraint on his power

By demanding an investigation, Trump challenged a constraint on his power

When President Donald Trump publicly demanded that the Justice Department open an investigation into the FBI’s scrutiny of his campaign contacts with Russia, he inched further toward breaching an established constraint on executive power: The White House does not make decisions about individual law enforcement investigations.  “It’s an incredible historical moment,” said...
Trump’s charm and threats aren’t working on China. Here’s why.

Trump’s charm and threats aren’t working on China. Here’s why.

China has called President Donald Trump’s bluff.  Chinese negotiators left Washington this weekend with a significant win: a willingness by the Trump administration to hold off for now on imposing tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports. China gave up little in return, spurning the Trump administration’s nudges for a concrete commitment to buy more goods from the United States...
Abbott to launch 3 days of private gun discussions

Abbott to launch 3 days of private gun discussions

Inviting advocates on opposing sides of the gun debate, Gov. Greg Abbott will kick off three days of roundtable discussions on school safety with a Tuesday event featuring districts that arm teachers or have partnerships with local police. The hastily organized Capitol meetings, however, will be closed to the public and open to the media only at the beginning and end of the discussions. Abbott said...
PolitiFact: Austin is creating jobs but not more than any other city

PolitiFact: Austin is creating jobs but not more than any other city

Austin’s mayor made a best-in-the-nation claim about local job gains that made us wonder. Steve Adler, who seeks a second term in November, was asked on KLBJ-AM about ending “the red tape and paperwork that businesses have to go through just to expand in this city.” Adler replied: “You ought to minimize the bureaucracy as much as you can. But we’re doing something right...
SANTA FE SCHOOL SHOOTING: Dan Patrick renews call to arm more teachers

SANTA FE SCHOOL SHOOTING: Dan Patrick renews call to arm more teachers

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Sunday blamed the Santa Fe High School shooting on “a violent culture where we devalue life,” citing movies and video games, bullying on social media, and abortion. He called for arming teachers as part of the militia envisioned by the Second Amendment. Patrick’s remarks on ABC’s “This Week” won a swift rebuke from an enraged Fred Guttenberg...
PolitiFact: In governor’s race, abortion divides Democrats

PolitiFact: In governor’s race, abortion divides Democrats

Houston investor Andrew White says he’ll protect abortion rights if elected governor despite personally believing abortion to be wrong. During the debate for the Democratic nomination for Texas governor, White declared that a national abortion rights leader, Cecile Richards, said there’s room for people like him in “her movement.” We wondered about that. Richards, the Texan...
Texas backs off cannabis oil ban, seeks ‘big picture’ plan

Texas backs off cannabis oil ban, seeks ‘big picture’ plan

A state health agency has tapped the brakes on its drive to strip food and supplements infused with CBD oil — a non-psychoactive extract of marijuana — from Texas retail store shelves. But it’s unclear how long the reprieve will last for over-the-counter food products containing CBD, or cannabidiol. An official with the Texas Department of State Health Services said the agency has...
Texas Democrats’ question: which governor candidate can help ticket?

Texas Democrats’ question: which governor candidate can help ticket?

Magda Gonzales has dreamt about Lupe Valdez. In the dream, Valdez is campaigning in the border community of El Cenizo, a one-time colonia 16 miles south of Laredo where Gonzales lives, and Gonzales is vainly running all over the barely half-square-mile city of about 800 households trying to find Valdez and get a picture with her. Wednesday night, at a lively rally at the Pan American Courts food truck...
Abbott calls for immediate talks to find ways to end mass shootings

Abbott calls for immediate talks to find ways to end mass shootings

With a sense of urgency, Gov. Greg Abbott called Friday for state officials and affected parties to begin discussions next week to find ways to ensure the school shooting in Santa Fe that claimed 10 lives is not repeated. “We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families,” Abbott said at a news conference in Santa Fe hours after the shootings. “It’s...
Frustration in West after EPA does away with chemical plant rules

Frustration in West after EPA does away with chemical plant rules

Five years after the fatal explosion of the West Fertilizer plant exposed wide gaps in oversight of chemical facilities, it appears the disaster won’t result in significant federal reforms or regulatory overhaul. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced proposed rules that will not include many of the Obama administration regulations the agency had proposed in the wake of the explosion...
Texas objects to proposed motor-voter fixes

Texas objects to proposed motor-voter fixes

After losing a legal fight over the way Texas handles online voter registration, state lawyers are arguing that fixes proposed by a civil rights group go too far and should be rejected. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio had given both sides until Thursday to submit plans that will let Texans easily register to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license on the Department...

Williamson County Democrats square off in congressional runoff

The two Democratic candidates in the primary runoff for the 31st Congressional District, which encompasses fast-growing suburbs north of Austin and stretches north to Fort Hood, seem determined to say nothing critical — or really much of anything — about each other. Mary Jennings Hegar, known as “MJ,” an author and former military helicopter pilot, and Christine Eady Mann,...
Toth, Davidson in GOP runoff for Austin appeals court

Toth, Davidson in GOP runoff for Austin appeals court

Longtime Austin lawyer Donna Davidson and Mike Toth, part of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s inner circle, are squaring off in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for a seat on the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals. Toth emerged from the four-way March primary with 39.2 percent of the vote to Davidson’s 31.8 percent, and both candidates say their backgrounds have prepared them...
Kushner tower, drowning in debt, gets lifeline with ties to Qatar

Kushner tower, drowning in debt, gets lifeline with ties to Qatar

The company controlled by the family of White House adviser Jared Kushner is close to receiving a bailout of its troubled flagship building by a company with financial ties to the government of Qatar, according to executives briefed on the deal.  Charles Kushner, head of the Kushner Cos., is in advanced talks with Brookfield Asset Management over a partnership to take control of 666 Fifth Ave...
‘Bigger than Watergate’? Both sides say yes, but for different reasons

‘Bigger than Watergate’? Both sides say yes, but for different reasons

President Donald Trump and his critics actually agree on something. If a column he read in a magazine is correct, he wrote on Twitter on Thursday, “this is bigger than Watergate!”  Never mind that he was thinking of something different than his adversaries when they use the same phrase. Trump was referring to what he deems a deep-state conspiracy to get him. His detractors are referring...
Show starring Avenatti and Scaramucci is being pitched to TV executives

Show starring Avenatti and Scaramucci is being pitched to TV executives

A television show featuring Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who is suing President Donald Trump on behalf of a pornographic film actress, and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was pitched to two cable networks in recent weeks, people briefed on the matter said Thursday.  Prominent television agent Jay Sures discussed with executives at CNN and MSNBC the concept of a program...
Trump joins push by allies to expose an FBI source

Trump joins push by allies to expose an FBI source

President Donald Trump's allies are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source. The effort reached new heights Thursday as Trump alleged that an informant had improperly spied on his 2016 campaign and predicted that the ensuing scandal would be "bigger than Watergate!"  The extraordinary push begun...
Trump can't block people on Twitter, judge rules

Trump can't block people on Twitter, judge rules

A federal judge in New York ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump can’t block people from his Twitter feed because doing so would violate their First Amendment rights, according to multiple reports. The ruling was issued by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in response to a lawsuit filed in July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and others, Reuters...
Lupe Valdez será la candidata para gobenadora del partido demócrata

Lupe Valdez será la candidata para gobenadora del partido demócrata

Lupe Valdez buscará ser la siguiente gobernadora de Texas después de haber derrotado a Andrew White en la contienda por obtener la nominación del partido demócrata. Tras las elecciones de desempate, las cuales se llevaron a cabo el martes, la Associated Press declaró a Valdez la ganadora. Le ganó a White por casi 18,000 votos – ó 5 puntos porcentuales...
Election Digest: Lawyer edges out associate judge in 459th court race

Election Digest: Lawyer edges out associate judge in 459th court race

TRAVIS COUNTY Attorney wins Travis County Democratic 459th court primary Maya Guerra Gamble has won the Democratic nomination for Travis County’s new 459th Civil District Court. In a close race, Guerra Gamble earned 25,122 votes, 51 percent, to Aurora Martinez Jones’ 23,962 votes. Turnout in Travis County for the primary runoffs was just 8.5 percent, compared with 21 percent in March for...
In his first 100 days, Cronk’s ‘listening tour’ interrupted by a crisis

In his first 100 days, Cronk’s ‘listening tour’ interrupted by a crisis

It appears the only certainty Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk can count on each day is that he likely won’t get much sleep. Like most days, Tuesday dawned for him as a nearly 12-hour plus workday, but Cronk, the city’s top bureaucrat and the most powerful person at City Hall, said he isn’t bothered by the workload. “There is no typical day,” he told the American-Statesman...
Travis County tax employees charged in fraud tied to vehicle titles

Travis County tax employees charged in fraud tied to vehicle titles

Fraud involving Travis County tax office employees resulted in an undisclosed loss of state revenue, state investigators said Monday as they began to disclose findings that resulted in seven arrests. The scope of the multiagency investigation is still unclear. Most of the theft detailed in each arrest affidavit totaled only in the hundreds of dollars. At a news conference Monday, officials said they...
Martinez Jones, Guerra Gamble compete in 459th District Court runoff

Martinez Jones, Guerra Gamble compete in 459th District Court runoff

A Travis County-appointed associate judge and a longtime Austin attorney are competing in Tuesday’s runoff election to run Travis County’s new 459th Civil District Court. Aurora Martinez Jones, an associate judge, is pursuing a bigger judiciary role with increased responsibilities. She emerged atop the three-candidate March primary with 45 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Maya Guerra...
Responding to leaks, White House limits number of staff in daily meeting

Responding to leaks, White House limits number of staff in daily meeting

The White House communications office has canceled a large daily morning meeting in response to the leak of a joke about Sen. John McCain being close to death that a staff member made at one of those meetings, two people familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.  The meeting, which brought together roughly 30 communications staff members from the West Wing, did not take place Thursday or the...
Congressional candidates, not Mueller, could decide Trump’s future

Congressional candidates, not Mueller, could decide Trump’s future

For months, the political world has treated Robert Mueller as the arbiter of President Donald Trump’s fate: Hopeful Democrats have theorized about the damage Mueller’s investigation might inflict. Suspicious Republicans, led by Trump, have cast him as leading a “witch hunt.”  But this week Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, offered a bracing reminder that Mueller...
Yanny or Laurel? The Trump White House wants to know, too

Yanny or Laurel? The Trump White House wants to know, too

The Laurel vs. Yanny debate, which has sharply divided the American public this week, reached the highest levels of government on Thursday.  In a 45-second video posted on Twitter, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials weighed in.  And like the rest of the country, they were divided.  The debate in question refers to an audio clip that was...
Trump defends ‘animals’ remark, saying it referred to MS-13 gang members

Trump defends ‘animals’ remark, saying it referred to MS-13 gang members

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his use of the word “animals” to describe dangerous criminals trying to cross into the United States illegally, saying that he had been referring to members of the brutal transnational gang MS-13 when he used language critics called inappropriate.  “I’m referring, and you know I’m referring, to the MS-13 gangs that are...
Mexico frontrunner could stymie U.S. cooperation on cartels, migration

Mexico frontrunner could stymie U.S. cooperation on cartels, migration

The man who comfortably leads the pack in the race for Mexico’s presidency launched his campaign along the Mexico-Texas border, a few hundred yards from the border wall that has bolstered his candidacy. The location was no coincidence. “Neither Mexico nor its people will be the piñata of any foreign government,” Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador proclaimed in Ciudad...
Prospective Democratic presidential candidates put their ideas on audition

Prospective Democratic presidential candidates put their ideas on audition

Cory Booker. Sherrod Brown. Kirsten Gillibrand. Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren. The former secretary of housing and urban development Julián Castro. And Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York.  All luminaries in the Democratic Party, all on the progressive side of the spectrum. And all potential presidential candidates who were road-testing their pitches on Tuesday at the Center for American...
How the FBI set out, in secrecy, on trail of Trump team

How the FBI set out, in secrecy, on trail of Trump team

Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the FBI dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.  Their assignment was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election...
Critics fear Trump’s style eclipses substance on North Korea

Critics fear Trump’s style eclipses substance on North Korea

President Donald Trump's strategy on North Korea has played out in full public view over 16 months with dramatic, made-for-TV moments designed to focus global attention on his risky faceoff with dictator Kim Jong Un.  But as North Korean officials abruptly cast doubt this week on Trump's planned historic summit with Kim in Singapore next month, critics fear that a president determined to declare...
Top Trump trade officials still at odds after shouting match in Beijing

Top Trump trade officials still at odds after shouting match in Beijing

Two top trade advisers to President Donald Trump had an expletive packed-shouting match during their trip to Beijing earlier this month, three people familiar with the exchange said, part of an ongoing turf war that's dividing the team negotiating new trade arrangements with China.  The fight erupted when senior White House adviser Peter Navarro complained to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin...
Thousands of pages of congressional testimony shed light on 2016 Trump Tower meeting

Thousands of pages of congressional testimony shed light on 2016 Trump Tower meeting

As Donald Trump Jr. greeted his Russian-speaking guests in a conference room high atop Trump Tower in June 2016, he cut straight to the chase.  "I believe you have some information for us," Trump Jr. said to a Russian lawyer visiting from Moscow, according to one of the attendees.  Trump Jr. had been expecting dirt on Hillary Clinton provided as part of a Russian government effort...
Trump’s personal attorney solicited $1 million from government of Qatar

Trump’s personal attorney solicited $1 million from government of Qatar

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, solicited a payment of at least $1 million from the government of Qatar in late 2016, in exchange for access to and advice about the then-incoming administration, according to several people with knowledge of the episode.  The offer, which Qatar declined, came on the margins of a Dec. 12 meeting that year at Trump Tower between the Persian...
Tillerson says ‘alternative realities’ are a threat to democracy

Tillerson says ‘alternative realities’ are a threat to democracy

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson warned Wednesday that deceptive leaders and "alternative realities" are a threat to democracy, an implicit critique of his former boss, President Donald Trump.  In his first major address since leaving Washington after he was fired in March, Tillerson told graduates at the Virginia Military Institute to remember the importance of integrity and...
Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers the special counsel cannot indict a sitting president

Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers the special counsel cannot indict a sitting president

Special counsel Robert Mueller III's team told President Donald Trump's lawyers recently that prosecutors do not believe they can charge a sitting president with a crime under Justice Department guidelines, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday.  The special counsel's conclusion signals that it would be left to Congress to address any finding of wrongdoing by Trump in the investigation. Mueller's...
Trump wants to win Colorado and Minnesota in 2020. One is more likely than the other.

Trump wants to win Colorado and Minnesota in 2020. One is more likely than the other.

Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's communications adviser Jason Miller proclaimed that both Michigan and New Mexico were in play. In both states, Miller said, internal polls showed a "dead heat," and he predicted that campaigning in both places would spike.  In Michigan, of course, that prediction was borne out. Trump won the state by the skin of his teeth...
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