Politics

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The nation's top legal officer is set to go before Congress on Tuesday to try to defuse a bomb that the former FBI director dropped into his lap.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is sounding the alarm over the pace of budget negotiations at the state Capitol. During a media availability Monday, the Democrat said that it’s time for both sides to make “major moves” toward compromise.

The brand new party of brand new French President Emmanuel Macron is poised to sweep parliamentary elections after a first round of legislative voting yesterday.

Official tallies show his party could wind up with more than 400 seats in the 577-seat French parliament after next week's final round. French news media are likening a party that barely existed a year ago to a tidal wave sweeping everything in its path.

Just over a week away from the formal start of Brexit negotiations, British Prime Minister Theresa May is scrambling to cobble together a new government in Westminster — and to maintain her own position in 10 Downing Street.

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tries to heal a deep rift among Arab partners, President Trump seems to be upping the ante. Trump says he consulted with Saudi Arabia and others on a recent trip to Riyadh and decided to call out Qatar for its "very high level" of terror financing.

President Trump has broken the silence he maintained during former FBI Director James Comey's testimony Thursday, saying on Twitter that he was vindicated in the hearing that explored Russian meddling in the U.S. election, its ties to Trump's security adviser, and Trump's dealings with Comey.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" the president tweeted early Friday morning.

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.

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