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Republican worries over congressional special elections haven't entirely reached South Carolina's 5th District — yet.

At a GOP candidate forum Thursday night in Rock Hill, five of the candidates vying to succeed former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who left to direct the White House's Office of Management and Budget, were virtually united on most major issues facing their party and in their praise of President Trump.

For someone who speaks with as much conviction as President Trump, he sure has a way of changing positions with an equal level of certitude.

Reporters ask lots of pesky questions during campaigns for a reason: to find out how someone would govern.

Most candidates right and left comply with the public interest in what they would do by putting out policy papers and laying out facts and figures, numbers and details.

President Trump's economic policy pronouncements have taken some twists and turns this week.

From Chinese currency manipulation to his choice to head the Federal Reserve, Trump contradicted statements he'd made during the presidential campaign.

In doing so, Trump is departing from some of the radical changes he promised, and moving toward the positions of his predecessors.

Until now China was a frequent target. Over and over during the presidential campaign, Trump pilloried China, accusing it of manipulating its currency.

Could a real shake-up be coming soon to the Trump White House — and is his chief strategist Steve Bannon the one on the outs?

The president sounds fed up with the infighting, and he appears to be picking sides — predictably with his family. In an interview with the New York Post's Michael Goodwin, Trump seems to push away Bannon.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has registered to run for his third term as Iran's president, putting a jolt into next month's elections. He's the latest hardline challenger to emerge against President Hassan Rouhani, declaring his candidacy in a move that caught many by surprise.

Alison Lu was in shock on election night. The Harvard Business School student had voted for Hillary Clinton, and she couldn't fathom how Donald Trump had managed to win the presidency.

She opened her Facebook page searching for answers, but she didn't find any Trump-supporting friends. "None of them [Trump voters] showed themselves on my Facebook feed," she says.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson wants to restore ballot access to some Oregonians whose voter status has been changed to "inactive."

The Trump administration is lifting a federal hiring freeze as of Wednesday morning.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the policy change in a briefing to reporters Tuesday.

Cautioning "this does not mean agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly," Mulvaney said the across-the-board hiring freeze the president imposed by executive order three days after taking office in January is being replaced with a "smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan."

Updated: 6:33 p.m. ET

White House spokesman Sean Spicer warned Russia today that its alliance with Syria is putting it "on the wrong side of history, in a really bad way, really quickly."

The press secretary found himself in the same situation just a moment later, while trying to underscore the horror of Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.

"You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," he said, overlooking the millions who were gassed to death in Nazi concentration camps.

A special election in Kansas on Tuesday has Republicans sounding worried about an enthusiasm gap in the Trump era.

Trump himself was apparently worried enough that he cut a robo call for Republican state party Treasurer Ron Estes.

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to negotiate a state budget that complies with a Supreme Court ruling to fully fund schools.

Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is recommending the White House nominate Washington labor lawyer Eric Dreiband to lead the Justice Department's civil rights division, according to two NPR sources briefed on the hiring process.

Updated: Tues., 4/11/17, 9:50 a.m. ET

Democrats are hoping to prove that the growing opposition to President Trump is very real with an upset in one — or possibly even two — upcoming special congressional elections.

The Affordable Care Act's worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage the law created. They're also discussing changes that could affect a wider net of employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for seniors.

Although Republicans failed last month in their first attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Donald Trump vows the effort will continue. And even if Congress does nothing, Trump has suggested he might sit by and "let Obamacare explode."

Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed Friday as the 113th justice to serve on the nation's highest court. The final vote was 54-45, mostly along party lines.

Texas Republican Mike Conaway will now preside over the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This comes after the announcement on Thursday morning that the embattled Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., will be stepping away from the Russia probe.

Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says he is temporarily stepping aside from the committee's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the House Ethics Committee opens an inquiry into whether he improperly disclosed classified information.

Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take the lead on the Russia investigation.

All presidents since Gerald Ford have volunteered to show the public their tax returns. All of them except Donald Trump.

He has said emphatically that he really wants to do it, including at a Republican primary debate in February 2016.

"Let me just tell you something. I want to release my tax returns. But I can't release it while I'm under an audit. We're under a routine audit. I've had it for years I get audited. And obviously if I'm being audited I'm not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done — I love it."

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

Steve Bannon has been removed from his controversial role on the National Security Council just months after he was elevated to the position.

President Trump's chief strategist will no longer be a regular attendee of the principals committee of the NSC, but he will retain his role as senior adviser for domestic affairs.

Speaking to CEOs on Tuesday, President Trump touted his plans for deregulation and infrastructure-building. In the process, he made a striking claim: that the Obama administration passed an infrastructure bill that built nothing and gave money to social programs.

You may not remember that happening (because it didn't). Here's what Trump seems to have been saying and how close to the truth it is.

President Barack Obama stepped to the microphone in the White House briefing room and had a job to do — make the case for a major change made by his party's Senate leader to how the chamber works.

"Ultimately, if you got a majority of folks who believe in something, then it should be able to pass," Obama said in 2013 after then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed the rules of the Senate to require a simple majority to allow for judiciary nominees other than those for the Supreme Court to proceed to a final vote for confirmation.

President Trump has donated his salary from his first few months in office to the National Park Service, making good on a campaign pledge to forego a presidential paycheck.

His gift represents a small fraction, however, of the money the Park Service stands to lose if Trump's budget were adopted.

Instead of collecting a salary of $400,000 a year, Trump has volunteered to donate that money to charity. He chose the Park Service as the beneficiary of his first installment, $78,333, which covers the first ten weeks Trump was in office.

Would opening the door to cheaper, skimpier marketplace plans with higher deductibles and copays attract consumers and insurers to the exchanges next year? That's what the Trump administration is betting on.

In February, the administration proposed a rule that would take a bit of the shine off bronze, silver, gold and platinum exchange plans by allowing them to provide less generous coverage while keeping the same metal level designation.

Washington lawmakers are working this year to craft a solution to the state’s school funding crisis. Much of their work is happening behind the scenes and in closed door meetings. So who’s in those meetings and who’s trying to influence the outcome? The top four leaders of the legislature denied a public records request to see their emails and calendars. 

Jared Kushner "is on the ground" in Iraq, visiting the embattled nation along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, White House press secretary Sean Spicer says. Kushner is both a senior adviser to President Trump and his son-in-law.

Spicer confirmed Kushner's visit to NPR's Tamara Keith early Monday. According to Reuters, which has a reporter traveling with Kushner and Dunford, the U.S. group arrived on Monday, not over the weekend as some news outlets reported on Sunday.

With a razor-thin margin, leftist candidate Lenín Moreno appears to have won Ecuador's presidential election. But his conservative opponent, Guillermo Lasso, plans to object to Sunday's vote — he says the numbers don't add up, citing an exit poll that had showed him in the lead.

The U.S. Senate could make history this week, but no one is feeling particularly good about it.

"It is depressing; I'm very depressed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "We're all arguing against it, but we don't know any other option."

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP blockade against Merrick Garland before him are forcing another showdown over whether to invoke the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate to make it easier for a president to get all of his nominations approved.

Since the Republican health care bill collapsed a little more than a week ago, President Trump's White House has struggled with a path forward. Trump is dealing with finger-pointing and infighting that threatens to derail his agenda, as well as nagging Russia investigations on Capitol Hill that are raising more questions than answers about his team.

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