Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward has written about every U.S. president since Richard Nixon — nine in total. But in all his years covering politics, he has never encountered a president like President Trump.

Woodward's latest work, Fear: Trump in the White House, paints a portrait of Trump as uninformed and mercurial. The book describes moments when staff members joined together to purposefully block what they believe are the president's most dangerous impulses — sometimes by surreptitiously removing papers from the president's desk.

Just in the past few months, elections in the U.S. have been decided by hundreds of votes.

The 2016 presidential election tilted to Donald Trump with fewer than 80,000 votes across three states, with a dramatic impact on the country. Yet, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots in 2016.

Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up four days of hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The committee is likely to vote on Kavanaugh in about two weeks.

And nothing in this week's often partisan-squabbling, protest-interrupted spectacle has changed the likely outcome: a party-line vote in favor of Kavanaugh's elevation to the high court.

Here's a look back at some themes, issues and events of the past four days.

1. "Women for Kavanaugh"

Not seeing the video? Click here.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

In his first major political speech in the U.S. since leaving office, former President Barack Obama argued that Americans must rebuke President Trump at the polls this November.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Friday marks the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Brett Kavanaugh finished testimony on Thursday.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

CARROLLTON — Julie Johnson squinted at a map on her iPhone before walking up to the next house on her list.

“Are you registered to vote?” Johnson, a Democratic state House candidate, asked a Hispanic woman standing in her driveway one morning in August. The woman wasn’t, she responded, but her mother was.

“Well, we wanna make sure she votes in November,” Johnson said. “I’m running against Matt Rinaldi — he’s the guy who called ICE on all the protesters.”

Bob Daemmrich/BDP Inc.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a statement from the Ted Cruz campaign.

The campaign of Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an "impostor" was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh weathered another long day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

He was pressed once again for his views on presidential power.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sought a promise from Kavanaugh that he would be willing to serve as a check on the president who nominated him.

The White House slammed a newspaper essay on Wednesday attributed to an anonymous administration official that criticized President Trump and suggested that aides have discussed ways to try to remove him from office.

Trump and others blasted The New York Times after the newspaper ran what it said was a column written by someone within the president's administration who called into question his judgment and vowed to block some of his wishes.

In a highly unusual situation, the author was identified only as "a senior official in the Trump administration."

Updated at 6:34 p.m. ET

Members of Congress clashed on Wednesday with giants of the Internet world — including, in one case, a personal confrontation in the hallway.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced questions Wednesday afternoon from a House committee amid criticism from Republicans that Big Tech suppresses conservatives online.

Andrew Harnik / AP

After a sometimes raucous day of opening statements on Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces his first round of questioning from senators on Wednesday.

Updated at 10:21 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is presenting himself as an open-minded judge who is guided by the law but not indifferent to the effects of his decisions, during a marathon day of confirmation hearings.

"I don't live in a bubble," Kavanaugh told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I base my decisions on the law, but I do so with an awareness of the facts and an awareness of the real-world consequences."

Andrew Harnik / AP

Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh started today. 

The 53-year-old federal judge is President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the spot left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedy who retired in July.

The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is often a major event that ripples through American law for decades. But Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, which opens Tuesday, is especially historic because, if confirmed, Kavanaugh is expected to solidify a hard-right majority on the nation's highest court, a majority the likes of which has not been seen since the early 1930s, and which is likely to dominate for a generation or more.

Updated at 5:22 p.m ET

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh opened on a contentious note Tuesday, with Senate Democrats raising noisy objections that much of Kavanaugh's lengthy paper trail is still off limits.

The hearing proceeded despite Democrats' call for delay. Republicans, who control the Senate, hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time to join the high court when its fall term begins next month, cementing a 5-4 conservative majority.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

Friends, family and former political rivals saluted the late Sen. John McCain on Saturday as a loving father, a fierce but forgiving political brawler, and a champion of American values around the world.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

In a tweet Friday, President Donald Trump announced that he’d be coming to Texas in October to participate in “a major rally” for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican incumbent facing a tougher-than-usual challenge this year against Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

The late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has returned to the U.S. Capitol one last time on Friday to lie in state in the rotunda, where only 30 other people have lain since the practice began in 1852.

President Trump wants to cancel an automatic pay raise set to take effect next year for federal civilian workers.

Federal workers were to get a 2.1 percent across-the-board raise in January, with more for those who live in high-cost areas. But in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, Trump wrote, "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases."

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

Joe Biden walked up to the microphone on the altar in the church at his friend John McCain's funeral and sounded like a man with something to confess.

"My name's Joe Biden," he said. "I'm a Democrat. And I loved John McCain."

Then he paused. Biden noted that he had given a lot of eulogies over the years. But "this one's hard," he said.

Texas Republicans are facing what could be one of the most serious challenges from Democrats in recent history – and Hispanic voters could be part of that challenge.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

White House counsel Don McGahn is resigning this autumn after a tumultuous stretch as President Trump's in-house lawyer.

Trump announced the departure on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

One likely candidate to replace McGahn is Emmet Flood, who joined the president's legal team in May to focus on the Justice Department's Russia investigation.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday morning that Trump likes McGahn and that they have a "good relationship. There's not really a lot to add here."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: Abbott/Laura Buckman: Valdez

Lupe Valdez, the Democratic candidate for governor, has agreed to debate the Republican incumbent, Greg Abbott, on Sept. 28 in Austin, ending weeks of uncertainty over whether the two would face off.

John McCain, a titan in the U.S. Senate, was a consistent conservative, though unafraid to buck Republican Party leadership on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to the GOP-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

He died Saturday at age 81.

While the Arizona senator and two-time presidential candidate will be remembered for his self-proclaimed "maverick" persona, it was his military bloodlines and 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam that shaped much of McCain's legacy.

Arizona senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81.

McCain leaves behind his wife of more than three decades, Cindy; seven children, including three from his first marriage, to Carol Shepp; and his 106-year-old mother, Roberta McCain.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday challenged Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera to a debate over immigration.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

Since 2016, Texas Republicans have been spoiling for a fight over NFL players protesting during the national anthem, confident they have a winning issue on their hands — or at least one that will fire up their voters.

That fight has now arrived in the state's 2018 U.S. Senate race.

Doug Young: O'Rourke/Michael Stravato: Cruz

Just as the fall television ad wars are about to begin, a new NBC News/Marist poll of Texas registered voters shows a tight U.S. Senate race between U.S. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso.

This story is part of our Senate Tracker series, looking at Senate races across the country ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Check out all of our election coverage.

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."

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