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Politics

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

Bill Hanna / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

An effort in Arlington aims to establish term limits for public officials, but Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams says he doesn't think it would be good for business.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

President Trump's effort to reset relations with Russia backfired at home after he failed to side with the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. The president's equivocation drew bipartisan condemnation, capping a week in which Trump alienated allies and cozied up to adversaries.

Trump himself declared his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki a success, in what he called the "proud tradition of bold American diplomacy."

From Texas Standard:

Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke wants to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. O'Rourke's campaign has enjoyed record fundraising success, and he's a star among national Democrats. But to win, he needs to generate excitement among potential voters, especially those who don't normally turn out to vote in Texas elections.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) says he raised a massive $10.4 million between April and June for his campaign to unseat Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The sum brings O’Rourke’s total raised since he began his campaign to more than $23 million. He ended the first quarter of 2018 with more than $8 million in cash on hand.

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.

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

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, have agreed — to a point — to debate at least once this fall.

And if the event comes off as proposed on Sept. 28, there will be some stiff competition: Friday night football and the first day of the State Fair of Texas.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

While President Trump is in Brussels attacking NATO members for not spending enough on defense and calling Germany "a captive" of Russia for its support of a new pipeline to deliver Russian gas, lawmakers in Washington are standing up for the 69-year-old trans-Atlantic alliance.

President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy was met with swift partisan response from many in Congress, emphasizing the power of a narrow group of uncommitted senators.

A large number of Senate Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., immediately announced that they plan to vote against Kavanaugh.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The announcement Monday night came less than two weeks after the high court’s swing voter announced his retirement. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would solidify the Supreme Court's conservative majority.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

With just hours to go before the official announcement, President Trump has made a decision on his pick for the next Supreme Court justice, a source close to the decision-making process tells NPR's Mara Liasson.

But there is still no indication which of the four finalists it will be.

As of Monday morning, Trump was still deciding among Judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The final hours of President Trump's decision-making on his second Supreme Court nominee are being described as hectic and unpredictable — and the president has still not made a decision.

"It's insane" over there, said a source close to the process. Few have had any sleep in Bedminster, N.J., as deliberations continue over the pros and cons of the potential nominees, and no one is sure which way the president is going to go, the source said.

Mike Davis didn't think Donald Trump could get elected.

Davis is the kind of Republican who backed Ohio governor John Kasich in the 2016 primaries, the kind of Republican who subscribes to the Wall Street Journal. Davis, 64, is the former mayor of Dunwoody, Ga., a small city in the state's 6th Congressional District, one of the most highly-educated districts in the country.

Updated at 6:01 p.m. ET

Scott Pruitt will no longer lead the Environmental Protection Agency, President Trump announced Thursday afternoon via Twitter.

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt," Trump tweeted. "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this," Trump also wrote.

From Texas Standard:

Many in Texas and across the U.S. are trying to understand why seven members of Congress are spending their independence Day break in Russia, meeting with lawmakers and officials. The group, all Republicans, includes six senators and one member of the House, Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth.

Despite all the Democrats' special election wins, high voter turnout in primaries and polls showing strong party enthusiasm heading into the midterms, the fact remains that Democrats are still stuck at their lowest level of power in nearly a century.

Even though President Trump's poll numbers have stabilized, party leaders see 2018 as a chance to seize back one key lever of government: the House of Representatives. But Democrats and their core voters can't seem to agree on the best direction to take.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat, has so far resisted pressure from grassroots groups to call for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The agency has become a lightning rod under the Trump administration.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

The 2018 elections will move forward without any tweaks to Texas' political maps.

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.

Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer and longtime fixer for the president who once said he would "do anything" to protect Donald Trump, now says his "first loyalty" rests with his family.

In an interview with ABC News, Cohen acknowledged that he soon could face criminal charges in an ongoing FBI probe of his finances and business dealings. But Cohen told ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos that he respects the prosecutors and the process.

via Texas Tribune

Despite nine candidates on the ballot, Republican Michael Cloud drew enough support to win Saturday's special election to fill former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold's seat, sparing the GOP a runoff in the 27th District. 

President Trump said on Friday that he plans to announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

"I've got it down to about five" candidates, including two women, Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. He indicated that he may interview one or two candidates there this weekend.

"It is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges," Trump added.

Former President Barack Obama has kept a low profile since he left office. It was just a coincidence that the man who so inspires Democrats made one of his rare public appearances in Beverly Hills on Thursday night during what has been a mostly dispiriting week for members of his party.

Updated Thursday, June 28 at 8:19 a.m. ET

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues when they meet in Helsinki on July 16.

The meeting will follow a NATO summit in Brussels on July 11.

"I think we'll be talking about Syria. I think we'll be talking about Ukraine. I think we'll be talking about many other subjects," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

During a rally in North Dakota Wednesday night, President Trump underscored the importance of protecting the GOP's Senate majority this fall, deeming it especially critical in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement.

"Justice Kennedy's retirement makes the issue of Senate control one of the vital issues of our time — the most important thing we can do," Trump told a crowd in Fargo.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

President Trump said Wednesday he intends to nominate a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from a list of names he first compiled during his 2016 campaign. He told reporters he had recently added five more names to the list. Here is a look at who is under consideration:

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Standing before a federal judge in a San Antonio courtroom on Tuesday afternoon, former state Sen. Carlos Uresti was contrite.

“I truly feel remorseful, ashamed, disappointed, disgraced, angry at myself and sad,” Uresti told the court, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Updated at 12:35 a.m. ET

National progressives scored a major coup over the Democratic establishment Tuesday night as 28-year-old activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset House Democratic Caucus chairman and longtime New York Rep. Joe Crowley.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Kim Olson is running to be Texas Agriculture Commissioner, but when she addressed the Young Democrats Caucus at the Texas Democratic Party Convention in Fort Worth on Friday, she didn’t spend much time talking about farms.

Instead, she had a message for the under-40 crowd: It is up to you.

Civil rights attorneys say the Supreme Court's decision Monday in a Texas redistricting case showed how difficult it is to prove discrimination in voting laws.

The Supreme Court mostly sided with Republican lawmakers in the case, which challenged state House and congressional maps. Plaintiffs had argued lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when they drew up the maps.

In the shadow of President Trump's raucous campaign rallies this midterm election season are dozens of quieter campaign events and fundraisers headlined by Vice President Pence.

He's working to get Republicans elected this year, while quietly earning political capital that could help his own future.

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