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When President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, he'll be giving his assessment of the economy and national security. But occasions like these are also a good time to take a look at the state of our politics.

The state of our politics is...tribal (and mistrustful)

More than ever before voters and politicians seem to be taking sides not according to issues or principles or ideology but according to their political tribe.

Updated at 1:52 p.m. ET

President Trump and his allies are harnessing their control over the levers of power to lean harder than ever into their narrative about the FBI, the Justice Department and the Russia imbroglio — while stopping short of actually replacing any more top leaders.

Republicans went on offense Monday by voting to authorize the release of a much-discussed memo that alleges the FBI and Justice Department abused their authority while investigating the Trump camp's connections to Russia.

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Kelsey Snell, as a reporter who covers Congress, do you get all excited when you have a State of the Union speech coming?

KELSEY SNELL, BYLINE: Well, I would say it is an interesting display of...

INSKEEP: Interesting...

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A memo - a much-talked-about memo, though a memo that has been secret, may now actually see the light of day.

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President Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday night is intended to outline the priorities of the nation, while guests of the president and of lawmakers reflect the political messages each party wants to highlight.

Trump has invited a list of law enforcement and military heroes, a reinforcement of his intended theme of "building a safe, strong and proud America."

Eight years ago, the Koch brothers' network spent millions to help boost the Tea Party wave.

In 2010, the right benefited from historical trends: Midterm elections are traditionally disastrous for the president's party. Close to a decade later, the wave is rolling back in.

"You're just going against the tide. You're going against history, which makes it a little tough," quipped network official Tim Phillips, president of the grassroots organization Americans For Prosperity.

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A Crisis In Community Health

Jan 29, 2018

With guest host John Donvan.

For several months, the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was in limbo. Its budget expired and Congress took no action to reauthorize it. Then, relief came as part of the bill that ended the government shutdown last week.

The Bargaining Chip At The Border

Jan 29, 2018

With guest host John Donvan.

It seems President Trump has every intention to make good on his campaign promise to build a wall along the nation’s southern border. And it seems he’s ready to make a deal to do it.

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New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is the latest veteran Republican to announce his retirement, opening up another competitive district as the GOP braces for what could be a brutal midterm cycle.

Of the 690,000 undocumented immigrants now facing an uncertain future as Congress and President Trump wrangle over the DACA program are about 8,800 school teachers.

The real possibility that they'll be deported if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is allowed to expire has put enormous stress on them.

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Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union on Tuesday.

Top Democratic leaders in Congress made the announcement Thursday evening, calling Kennedy a "relentless fighter for working Americans." Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968. He is also the great nephew of both the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late president John F. Kennedy.

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This happens a lot when Congress faces some tricky problem. A few members form a little bipartisan working group with a catchy name.

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A liberal group is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to demand an investigation into whether the National Rifle Association took contributions from Russians, which would be a violation of the law.

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