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We're going to get some historical context now to this surprising development today. And to do that, we have NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving. Hello there, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Kelly.

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And the news surprised lawmakers on both sides of the aisle today. NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis is at the Capitol, and she has been talking to some of them. And she is with us now. Hi there, Sue.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.

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Right now we have NPR's Mara Liasson, who is at the White House. And Mara, are we expected to hear anything more tonight from White House Spokesman Sean Spicer or anyone else?

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Updated at 11:00 p.m. ET

For months, Democrats in Congress have criticized and questioned FBI Director James Comey about his handling of last year's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Still, they've met President Trump's surprising Tuesday evening decision to fire Comey with near-universal outrage.

Updated at 9:22 p.m. ET

The president has fired FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and possible ties to the Trump campaign and top aides.

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President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey. The White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, says this is effective immediately. NPR's Mara Liasson is with us now from the White House. And Mara, what do you know so far about why this happened?

A small group of Jewish-American citizens from around New England celebrated their dual German citizenship at an understated ceremony last week at the German consulate office in Boston.

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Do black and white children who live in assisted or subsidized housing experience different life outcomes?

That question was at the center of a new study by Sandra Newman and C. Scott Holupka, two researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They combed through federal data on households in public housing or those that received housing vouchers from the 1970s through the first decade of the 2000s.

It was like two different hearings in one.

Democrats quizzed former Obama administration officials on Russia, how former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn had been "compromised" and how the White House officials conducted themselves when confronted with the information.

Republicans wanted to know how the information got out in the first place.

It was striking watching the two distinct focuses on a topic — national security — that shouldn't be so hotly partisan.

And the data bear out the different approaches.

The White House and Congress reached a deal last week to keep the government open — at least until this fall.

But in reality, the compromise may well have just kicked the can down the road until September, when both sides may be spoiling for a fight amid the specter of a government shutdown.

California may end a decades-old ban on members of the Communist Party working in its government, after the state Assembly approved a bill that would delete references to the party from its employment requirements.

The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, said that California's laws should focus on individuals' actions and evidence rather than political affiliations and what he termed "empty labels."

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Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are back in their home districts for a recess this week. After seeing the reception some of their colleagues got in previous town hall-style meetings following the election of Donald Trump, most House Republicans are skipping them.

But a handful are diving in headfirst.

On Monday night, a few days after voting in favor of the House bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Elise Stefanik, 32, from Northern New York, held a town hall at a public television station.

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And let's talk - turn now to one of the senators who was in the room questioning Sally Yates yesterday. It's Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. Senator, welcome back. Thanks for coming on.

CHRIS COONS: Thank you, great to be with you.

Reading old love letters right after a devastating breakup is rarely a good idea.

Someday — after the wounds are a little less raw — they could be a fond reminder of a different era of one's life. Eventually, they could be warm memories of an intoxicating love affair. They might even teach a few lessons about how to do the next relationship differently.

So then, the question is: How soon is too soon?

Networking, connecting, pitching — it's all routine in the business world.

But a connection pitched in China over the weekend — involving ties between President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and a real-estate project — has prompted ethics experts to raise objections, and some lawmakers to call for change. There are concerns about potential conflicts of interests, but also about a visa program for investors.

President Trump is moving quickly to put his personal stamp on the federal courts.

On Monday the president nominated 10 people for federal judgeships. Thanks to an unusually large number of vacancies on the bench, there could be many more to come.

"This is just a down payment," said John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation. He noted there are more than 100 open seats on the federal district courts and appeals courts.

Ryan Lennon Fines seems like a typical 2-year-old. He and his parents, Scott Fines and Brianna Lennon, flip through a picture book of emergency vehicles. Ryan is looking for the motorcycle, but a photo of an airplane catches his dad's eye.

"That's an air ambulance," Fines tells him. "You've been on one of those."

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