Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

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.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for a summit today in in Helsinki, Finland.

This is the first stand-alone summit between the two leaders, and comes just days after an American grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges related to Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

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.

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