Elections | KERA News

Elections

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The midterm elections 2018 are shaping up to be decisive in the direction of the nation and the state. Texans will elect a governor, a U.S. senator and an array of statewide candidates. KERA and its partners in the Texas Station Collaborative -- KUT in Austin, Houston Public Media and Houston Public Media -- will chronicle those races, and with NPR will chronicle the early rumblings of the 2020 presidential campaign. Catch up on the latest election coverage here.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh shares one important view with President Trump: Both are deeply suspicious of any attempt to limit the president's power over executive branch officials.

That view could have important consequences for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, which includes allegations of collusion and possible obstruction of justice.

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.

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.

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 9:38 p.m. ET

The Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday with a litany of alleged offenses related to Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, state election systems and other targets in 2016.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictments, said the Russians involved belonged to the military intelligence service GRU. They are accused of a sustained cyberattack against Democratic Party targets, including its campaign committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Russia's information attack against the United States during the 2016 election cycle sought to take advantage of the greater trust that Americans tend to place in local news.

The information operatives who worked out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg did not stop at posing as American social media users or spreading false information from purported news sources, according to new details.

They also created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans' hometown headlines.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Some North Texans with ties to Mexico are excited about the new President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who campaigned on rooting out corruption and advocating for the poor. Others are skeptical.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador — who campaigned partly on a platform of standing up to President Trump — will become Mexico's next president after easily outpacing his two main rivals.

With about a third of the votes counted, López Obrador was polling about 53 percent to 24 percent for conservative candidate Ricardo Anaya and 15 percent for Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) party.

Along with picking a new president in this Sunday's election, Mexicans will also replace every member of Congress and will elect thousands of state representatives and hundreds of new mayors. In that array of candidates are more than 3,000 women, who are vying for elective office in unprecedented numbers. Some Mexicans are calling 2018 "el año de la mujer," the year of the woman.

From Texas Standard.

Still celebrating its advance in the World Cup this week, Mexico is headed into another emotional weekend as the much anticipated presidential election gets underway.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

When Rep. Jeb Hensarling announced he’d be stepping down as the congressman from Texas’ 5th District, eight Republicans scrambled to replace the staunch conservative. Now the top two vote-getters from the March primary face off in Tuesday’s runoff election: Hensarling’s former campaign manager Bunni Pounds and state Rep. Lance Gooden of Terrell.

Updated at 6:46 p.m. EDT

The Democratic National Committee filed an attention-grabbing lawsuit against the Russian government, WikiLeaks and Donald Trump's presidential campaign that says they conspired to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The suit — which faces legal obstacles because of the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's attack and the difficulties involved with suing a foreign government — develops a theory about alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

President Trump believes Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in his probe of potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

Her statement to reporters did little to tamp down speculation that Trump may seek to fire Mueller — an authority that Sanders says Trump enjoys.

This week in the Russia investigations: Mueller sends the feds to meet some international arrivals; new sanctions on some powerful, wealthy Russians; and Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington.

Fade in:

A gleaming new Gulfstream G650 — or maybe it's a Sukhoi business jet — sweeps in for a landing at Teterboro Airport, the suburban New Jersey gateway to nearby Manhattan for elite fliers.

Special counsel Robert Mueller notified President Trump's lawyers last month that the president is being investigated as part of the Russia probe, but a source familiar with the situation says they were told Trump was not a criminal target at that time.

Updated 9:05 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials from the United States and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, the White House announced Monday.

The move follows the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Not even a week has passed since it was announced that Fox News firebrand Joseph diGenova was joining President Trump's special counsel legal team to help address the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Fast forward five days and diGenova and his lawyer wife, Victoria Toensing, are out before they even got in.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

John Dowd, the veteran attorney leading President Trump's outside legal team, has tendered his resignation, marking a shakeup just as Trump had turned his Twitter ire on special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation.

Dowd declined to explain why he was leaving the team that is helping the president deal with the Russia investigation. But a source familiar with Dowd's thinking says he was tired and frustrated, in a draining job with not enough resources and with a client who was not taking his advice.

It has been a bad week for Cambridge Analytica.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans say they still support special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference even as the president continued his offensive Sunday against the investigation, as well as a recently fired high-ranking FBI official, Andrew McCabe.

Trump sent a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, in which he painted the Mueller-led special counsel probe as a politically biased witch hunt.

Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

Before Washington, D.C., had fully processed the late-night firing of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was let go by Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 48 hours before his planned retirement after more than two decades of service to the bureau, the saga took several new, head-spinning turns Saturday.

Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions against Russia on Thursday, slapping punitive measures on 19 people and five entities over their alleged role in Moscow's interference in the 2016 election and other "destructive" cyberattacks.

The House intelligence committee has completed its "Choose Your Own Adventure" story about the Russia imbroglio. Republicans wrote a happy ending for President Trump. Democrats wrote a cliffhanger.

Even though members of the committee say they're taking separate ramps off this highway, however, the road goes ever on. Here are 4 more mileposts still to come in the remainder of the Russia imbroglio.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

House intelligence committee Republicans on Monday cleared President Trump's campaign of colluding with the Russians who attacked the 2016 U.S. election, concluding a probe that minority Democrats had long argued was focused on appeasing the White House.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For the first time in three decades, the 6th Congressional District in North Texas is an open seat. The race to replace longtime Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis, who announced he wouldn’t seek another term amid a scandal last year, touched off one of the most crowded Republican primary races in Texas.

After nearly a month of pronouncements, melodrama, headlines and strife, Round One of memo mania is finally complete.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans went first with their Feb. 2 salvo that alleged "biased" FBI and Justice Department officials had abused their surveillance powers by withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Then, on Saturday, committee Democrats released a rebuttal giving their perspective on the story — or at least part of it.

Texas Tribune

DALLAS — U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, once again reported raising more money than Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in what is shaping up to be an intense general election matchup, according to a campaign finance report obtained by the Dallas Morning News.

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury unveiled new charges on Thursday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, accusing them of a broader range of financial crimes.

Graphic by Emily Albracht for The Texas Tribune

Texas Republican voter opinion turned against the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller even before last week’s mass shooting in a Florida high school and indictments of Russian propagandists who tried to influence American elections, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

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