Politics | KERA News

Politics

Political news from North Texas, across the state and beyond.

President Trump praised federal agents protecting the nation's borders and enforcing immigration laws, calling them "great patriots" and telling them, "We love you, we support you, we will always have your back."

Editor's note: Parts of this story contain content that is sexually explicit.

Twenty years ago Friday, the long-running independent counsel Whitewater investigation had reached a crossroads, far from where it started, with prosecutors questioning President Bill Clinton about his relationship with a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

If you arrived at Beto O'Rourke's recent town hall meeting in San Antonio even 40 minutes ahead of time, you were out of luck. All 650 seats were already taken.

It was one sign that the El Paso Democratic congressman has set Texas Democrats on fire this year, as he takes on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's re-election bid.

Texas Democrats have been wandering in the electoral wilderness for two decades — 1994 was the last time they won a statewide race — but at O'Rourke's events, they have been showing up in droves. Often, it's standing room only.

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is demanding an explanation of President Trump's decision this week to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan

In a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked for a detailed briefing on the decision and suggested Trump may have failed to follow proper procedures.

Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become an outspoken critic of the president.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the move on Wednesday following an earlier discussion about pulling the clearance held by Brennan and a group of other targets.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET

Vermont voters made history on Tuesday as Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, won the Democratic primary for governor.

Hallquist, who will now face Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott in the general election, becomes the first openly transgender person to ever win a major party's nomination for governor in U.S. history. If she wins in November, she'd be the nation's first transgender governor.

Primary voters in four more states — Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont — go to the polls on Tuesday.

This year's been dominated by talk of Democratic gains, but Tuesday, Republicans will pick nominees in several places where they hope to flip House seats and even governors' mansions.

Two Republicans who failed to win the White House are hoping voters will elect them to lead their states for a third time — but one is trying to make a political comeback after almost a decade out of office.

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

The FBI has fired an embattled special agent who was removed from the Russia inquiry after internal investigators discovered he had criticized then-candidate Donald Trump in text messages with another bureau official.

Peter Strzok had remained on the FBI payroll until his employment finally was terminated on Friday, his attorney said Monday morning.

Updated at 1:14 a.m. ET Sunday

It's not uncommon for President Donald Trump to make statements that draw controversy.

But the backlash he faced a year ago over his response to a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., was unusual even for him.

From Texas Standard:

Political pundits, pollsters and activists have been saying for a while that the 2018 midterm elections are likely to result in some upheaval in the ranks of incumbent officeholders. Already, in special elections in other states, Democrats have run strong in reliably Republican areas, and here at home, one senator, and several members of Congress face enthusiastic opposition. But statewide officeholders – Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller – face somewhat easier paths to reelection. Still, Democrats are campaigning aggressively.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman

After seven long years of litigation, opponents of Texas' voter ID law say the case is over.

In a court filing on Wednesday, opponents of the law requiring Texas voters to present photo identification to vote told a federal district judge that the case was settled and that they would not pursue any other remedies or changes to the law they first challenged in 2011 as discriminatory against voters of color.

Leigh Vogel for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — Silhouetted against the window of U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s Capitol Hill office is a model Vulcan 500 series rocket, seemingly ready to blast off into the summer D.C. sky.

States across the country are in the process of receiving grants from the federal government to secure their voting systems.

Earlier this year Congress approved $380 million in grants for states to improve election technology and "make certain election security improvements."

But how states use that money is up to them.

President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump is again speaking out against the separation of children and parents accused of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

At an Axios News Shapers event in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Trump was asked for her thoughts on the separations that occurred as a result of her father's immigration policies.

The interviewer noted that some White House officials saw that as a "low point" in the Trump administration.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

North Texas congressman Pete Sessions is drawing criticism for recent remarks about a domestic violence incident, in which he seems to imply a woman was killed by her husband because she won an “unfair” divorce settlement.

A Sessions spokeswoman says the longtime North Dallas congressman misspoke, but his Democratic challenger pounced, accusing Sessions of excusing domestic violence.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz / Texas Tribune

A new poll released Wednesday morning suggests a tightening race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Roughly a third of Texas high schools have requested voter registration forms from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, a new report from the Texas Civil Rights Project finds.

Requesting forms from the state agency is the first step schools must take so they can register students to vote. Texas law requires schools to give eligible students these forms at least twice each school year.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Facebook announced Tuesday afternoon that it has removed 32 Facebook and Instagram accounts or pages involved in a political influence campaign with links to the Russian government.

The company says the campaign included efforts to organize counterprotests on Aug. 10 to 12 for the white nationalist Unite The Right 2 rally planned in Washington that weekend.

Texas election officials have been removing more people from the state’s voter rolls ever since the Supreme Court struck down a part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice.

The group says the court’s decision to specifically strike down one provision of the law led to the rise in voter purges.

When Russian hackers targeted the staff of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., they took aim at maybe the most vulnerable sector of U.S. elections: campaigns.

McCaskill's Senate staff received fake emails, as first reported by The Daily Beast, in an apparent attempt by Russia's GRU intelligence agency to gain access to passwords. McCaskill released a statement confirming the attack but said there is no indication the attack was successful.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz / Texas Tribune

Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee in Texas' U.S. Senate race, is accepting Republican incumbent Ted Cruz's proposal to debate five times over the next three months, though O'Rourke also is suggesting a few changes to the plan — including having a sixth debate in his hometown of El Paso.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump denied a CNN report that he knew in advance that his son Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials planned to meet with a group of Russians in June 2016 who said they had dirt on 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump wrote "I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz / Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has challenged Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke to five topical debates before Election Day, about three months after O'Rourke challenged Cruz to six.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

In a blow to President Trump, a federal judge says a lawsuit that alleges Trump's business interests violate the Constitution can proceed.

Federal District Judge Peter Messitte denied the Department of Justice's request to dismiss a case brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia. The Emoluments Clause bars any president from personally profiting from his dealings with foreign governments — or even U.S. state governments.

Abbott: Sue Ogrocki; Valdez: Richard W. Rodriguez / AP

Democrat Lupe Valdez accepted an invitation Wednesday to debate Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — it's just not the same debate Abbott agreed to last week.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

The White House is denying that President Trump believes Russia is no longer targeting U.S. elections and other infrastructure, despite his apparent answer to a reporter's question Wednesday morning.

Asked at the start of a Cabinet meeting whether Russia is still targeting the U.S., Trump shook his head and said "no."

Later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders sought to clarify Trump's comments, saying his "no" meant that he was not taking any questions from reporters.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

A day after his much-criticized news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump attempted some damage control Tuesday, saying "I accept" the findings of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.

But he again repeated his claim that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia and suggested that others may have interfered in the election.

Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON – There are few bigger warning signs for a member of Congress that their re-election may be in doubt than when a challenger outraises them. In Texas, it just happened to seven incumbents, all Republicans.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Many Republicans harshly criticized President Trump's performance Monday at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump said Putin's denial that Moscow interfered with the 2016 election is "strong and powerful" — despite U.S. intelligence findings to the contrary.

PUTIN: Thank you so much. Shall we start working, I guess? Distinguished Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. Negotiations with the President of the United States Donald Trump took place in a frank and businesslike atmosphere. I think we can call it a success and a very fruitful round of negotiations.

We carefully analyzed the current status – the present and the future of the Russia/United States' relationship – key issues of the global agenda.

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