Politics

Political news

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

Ordinary people often get into legal trouble in response to desperate circumstances. Politicians, however, seem to make the worst trouble for themselves when they are riding high and carrying all before them.

Thus the most famous political scandals of U.S. history have happened not when presidents or members of Congress had their backs to the wall but when their sails were filled with a favorable wind.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

After receiving formal permission from the queen, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that she will forge a government after a snap-election gamble that cost her Conservative Party its parliamentary majority.

"I will now form a government," May said in front of No. 10 Downing St. moments after speaking with Queen Elizabeth II, "a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country."

Georgia's 6th Congressional District in the suburbs north of Atlanta was once held by former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Its most recent occupant, HHS Secretary Tom Price, resigned to join President Trump's Cabinet.

Both Republicans and Democrats see the June 20 special election to replace Price as a possible bellwether of what's to come in 2018.

And they are spending.

Nearly $30 million has been raised by the candidates and outside groups in a race that now comes down to two finalists: 30-year-old Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel, 55.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

Spokespeople at the White House and the State Department say the Trump administration remains committed to cooperation among Arab allies in the Middle East. The reassurance comes after a series of tweets in which President Trump appeared to be siding with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in their push to isolate Qatar.

Several decades ago, Evan Nodvin's life probably would have looked quite different.

Nodvin has his own apartment just outside Atlanta, in Sandy Springs, Ga., which he shares with a roommate, and a job at a local community fitness center. He also has Down syndrome.

"I give out towels, and put weights away, and make sure people are safe," the 38-year-old says.

To get to and from work, Nodvin relies on rides from people who are hired to help him. He also has a counselor to help him do daily chores like grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking.

By day, Don McGahn is a straight-laced lawyer, but by night, he's a long-haired rocker.

It’s only June in an off-election year, but yard signs are up and candidates are knocking on doors in Washington’s 45th legislative district. It’s just one race, but the outcome could decide who controls the Washington state Senate.

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to complain about Democratic "OBSTRUCTIONISTS," blaming the Senate for being slow to approve his nominees, including his ambassadors.

A spokesman for the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee threw it right back, saying Trump should be spending less time on Twitter and more time actually filling those positions.

Updated at 2:20 pm ET

President Trump is mounting a vigorous defense of his controversial travel ban, continuing an argument he started over the weekend in response to a terrorist attack in London.

That message launched a series of tweets.

His uncompromising language could complicate matters for administration lawyers charged with defending the travel ban in court.

Republicans are running way behind schedule.

In the dream scenario outlined by party leaders back in January, President Trump would have signed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, months ago. By early June, Republicans were supposed to be in the thick of overhauling the tax code.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is standing by his controversial comment that poverty is a "state of mind," but he says that "how a person thinks" is only one component that contributes to being poor.

"What I said is that it is a factor. A part of poverty can be the state of mind," he told NPR in an interview. "People tend to approach things differently, based on their frame of mind."

His agency, he says, wants "to find ways to make sure that people understand that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you, is you."

President Trump said Sunday night that the violence in London over the weekend was a "horrific terrorist attack."

Trump made the remarks at a fundraising gala at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Seven people died Saturday night and dozens more were injured when a van crossed London Bridge and veered into pedestrians. Three men exited the vehicle and began a stabbing rampage. Police shot and killed the three attackers.

According to a pool report from the gala:

Even though President Trump took office with record-low approval ratings, multiple polls (and, accordingly, news reports) have shown his approval rating dipping even further.

Look at his ratings on polling aggregators like RealClearPolitics or FiveThirtyEight, and the drop sure looks dramatic.

Welcome to another edition of NPR Ed's Weekly Roundup!

Warren announces 'DeVos Watch'

The White House on Wednesday night released 14 ethics waivers — documents that exempt some top presidential aides from important ethics rules.

The disclosures came after a quiet but tough battle between Trump administration officials and the Office of Government Ethics.

The waivers are considered public documents, but for weeks after President Trump took office, they weren't made public.

In April, the Office of Government Ethics began to push the issue.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton argued Wednesday that Russian meddling in the 2016 election in large part cost her the White House, and said she was "leaning" toward believing that President Trump's campaign did, indeed, collude with the Russians.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

White House communications director Michael Dubke has resigned. Dubke offered his resignation on May 18, prior to President Trump's overseas trip to the Middle East and Europe. He is still working at the White House and has not set a departure date yet.

What a week it's been for education news. Let's begin NPR Ed's weekly roundup as the week began, on Monday ...

DeVos talks choice in Indianapolis

It was expected to be an important speech, perhaps the unveiling of President Trump's long-awaited, $20 billion plan to expand school choice nationally. But that didn't happen.

Instead, when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took the stage in Indianapolis at the American Federation For Children's National Policy Summit, she talked philosophy.

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

Polls have closed in the closely watched Montana special election. The race was upended in the final hours following an altercation between the Republican congressional candidate, Greg Gianforte, and a reporter, adding even more uncertainty to an unusually tight contest.

When it comes to poor Americans, the Trump administration has a message: Government aid is holding many of them back. Without it, many more of them would be working.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney said as much when presenting the administration's budget plan this week to cut safety net programs by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years. The administration also wants to tighten work requirements for those getting aid, such as food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

At a NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump marked the unveiling of memorials of the Berlin Wall and the Sept. 11 attacks with a speech that, among other things, told gathered NATO leaders their levels of defense funding are "not fair" to U.S. taxpayers.

Trump also omitted any clear statement of support for Article 5, the NATO mutual-defense pledge — something other leaders had been hoping to hear.

U.S. aid for international family planning would be eliminated.

Programs to combat HIV/AIDS in the world's poorest countries would be slashed by 17 percent.

Efforts to fight malaria would be chopped by 11 percent.

Those are just some of the cuts to global health spending called for by President Trump in the proposed budget he unveiled this week.

On one level the reductions did not come as a surprise. Trump had already made clear in his "skinny budget" proposal, released in March, that he wanted to lower spending on foreign assistance by more than a third.

Health care groups that represent doctors and patients are warning members of Congress that the House Republicans' plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act would hurt people who need insurance most.

By heading straight to the homelands of Islam, Judaism and Christianity on his first presidential trip, Donald Trump took a major risk. The possibility of offending his hosts somewhere along the way with an ill-considered tweet or offhand remark loomed large. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican are places where appearances matter and words must be chosen carefully.

If you fly into Haines, Alaska, you'll be on a prop plane so small that your pilot will call the roll.

"Melissa." Yup. "Mary." Yes. "Joseph?" Right here.

Just 2,500 people live in Haines — a small town in southeast Alaska surrounded by water. The scenery is incredible, with snowy mountains and lush green forest beyond. The city center is just a few blocks, with several bars, a few restaurants and a beautiful, award-winning library.

The Trump Organization appears to be making only a limited effort to live up to President Trump's promise to give the U.S. Treasury all foreign profits from his hotels and resorts, according to documents released in recent days.

Trump made the promise in mid-January as a way to avoid violating the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits a president from accepting gifts and payments from foreign governments.

When President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, unveiled the administration's budget blueprint earlier this week, which calls for significant cuts to food stamps, he noted that the aim of the budget was to get people working.

"If you're on food stamps and you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you're on disability insurance and you're not supposed to be — if you're not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work," Mulvaney said Tuesday.

The revised Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will leave 23 million more people uninsured in 2026 than if that act, also known as Obamacare, were to remain in place. The GOP bill would also reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years.

After making the need for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a central campaign theme, President Trump has asked Congress for just $1.6 billion to start building 74 miles of barriers. Texas alone shares more than 1,200 miles of border with Mexico.

If Congress approves the current request, 14 miles of old fencing in the San Diego sector would be replaced, and 60 miles of new structures would be built in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas — the region with the heaviest illegal traffic.

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