Politics | KERA News

Politics

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

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.

The Supreme Court of the United States
Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Extinguishing the possibility that Texas could be placed back under federal electoral supervision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday pushed aside claims that lawmakers intentionally discriminated against voters of color when they enacted the state's congressional and state House maps.

The Texas Tribune

Republican Ted Cruz leads Democrat Beto O'Rourke 41 percent to 36 percent in the general election race for a Texas seat in the U.S. Senate, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Immigration took center stage at the Texas Democratic Party convention in Fort Worth last weekend. Delegates from across the state are concerned about the Trump administration policy that was separating families at the border until it was reversed last week.

Joan Brook for The Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — Even before Texas Democrats’ convention officially got underway here this weekend, its top candidates were chomping at the bit to seize on the biggest story in the country: thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Thousands of Democrats will gather in Fort Worth starting Thursday afternoon for the Texas Democratic Party Convention.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott is asking Texans in Congress to take bipartisan action to address the crisis of thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced Monday that he will introduce a bill called the "Protect Kids and Parents Act" to keep what his statement calls "illegal immigrant families" together while their cases are being heard.

That's very different from what he told KERA's Krys Boyd earlier this month.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Laura Bush, the former first lady of the U.S. and of Texas, called the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy of separating immigrant children from their parents "cruel" in an op-ed published in the Washington Post Sunday evening. 

"It breaks my heart," she wrote. 

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's decision to separate children from their families as a way to curb illegal immigration is adding fuel to an already fiery debate over immigration.

A group of House Democrats converged on an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday, days before a planned vote by House Republicans next week. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials alternately took credit and sought to distance the administration from the family separation policy.

The Department of Homeland Security says 1,995 minors were separated from their "alleged adult guardians" at the southern border in just over a monthlong period.

A DHS spokesman said the separations occurred between April 19 and the end of May under the administration's relatively new "zero tolerance" policy, in which parents have also been arrested.

Political party conventions are always about the future – the next election, to be specific, but also the five- and 10-year plan for growth.

The last couple of decades for Texas Republicans have been pretty rock solid. In 2014, Gov. Greg Abbott won the election by 20 points. And in the 2018 primaries, Republicans set records for voter turnout in an off-year election.

Texas' top Republican lawmakers spent the morning Friday revving up the crowd at their convention in San Antonio. Now the heavy lifting of this biennial event begins.

The delegates vote on a party chairman and then begin debate on the state party platform. The (currently) 38-page document lists the party's priorities, plans and ideals.

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

President Trump took Capitol Hill by surprise on Friday morning when he said that he would not sign a House GOP immigration bill — only to reverse course later in the day.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump told Fox News in a previously unannounced interview on the White House lawn.

Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET

A federal judge ordered Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to jail on Friday following allegations by prosecutors that he tampered with witnesses in his case.

"You've abused the trust placed in you six months ago," said Judge Amy Berman Jackson. "I thought about this long and hard, Mr. Manafort. I have no appetite for this."

But Berman Jackson said she could not turn a blind eye to the charges that Manafort had attempted to contact witnesses in his case after he was on bail.

Thousands of Republicans are in San Antonio this week for the state convention. They'll bring plenty of red, white and blue clothing – along with elephant hats. But in the midst of the spectacle, there's work getting done by party officials and delegates. Here's a little checklist of what to watch for over the next three days.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office announced late Tuesday a vote on two immigration bills next week to address the legal status of people brought to the U.S. as children.

Specific details of the two bills will be released Wednesday morning. They are aimed at appeasing the ideological wings of the House GOP. One is expected to be a more conservative measure preferred by the House Freedom Caucus, and the other a more moderate one supported by more centrist Republicans.

President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday in Singapore. The two signed a joint statement committing to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

After the summit, Trump spoke to reporters about the meeting and took questions. Following is a transcript of the press conference, provided by the White House, annotated by NPR reporters.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

Several thousand Texans will descend on San Antonio and Fort Worth for the biennial Republican and Democratic conventions to hear from the state’s most prominent politicians, adopt new platforms and elect party leaders.

Veteran diplomats say it could take years to assess the results of this week's nuclear summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump doesn't expect to wait that long.

"I think within the first minute, I'll know," whether Kim is serious about giving up his nuclear weapons, the president told reporters Saturday. "Just my touch. My feel. That's what I do."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon and Martin do Nascimento / KUT News

The U.S. Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke got personal this week when the incumbent attacked the challenger over a tax fraud case involving his mother.

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