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NOEL KING, HOST:

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NOEL KING, HOST:

The ripples from President Trump's recent tweet suggesting he could pardon himself continue to billow out into the body politic.

No president in the history of this country has ever pardoned himself, though President Nixon, and perhaps others, may have contemplated it. Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush were each under investigation by a special prosecutor as their terms drew to a close, but neither chose to pardon himself.

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DON GONYEA, HOST:

Alaska Sen. Murkowski's Balancing Act

Jul 29, 2017

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DON GONYEA, HOST:

The GOP's Next Step

Jul 29, 2017

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DON GONYEA, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

My job — for years now — has been NPR national political correspondent. I spend lots of time on the road. Chasing candidates, certainly, but also sitting down to have conversations — some long, some short — with voters.

Last week, a milestone.

While in Wyoming, on a visit with our colleagues at Wyoming Public Media, I checked off number 50 on the list of states I've been to. Fifty. I've actually spent time in all of them now. Not just changing planes at the airport.

The week had almost ended when the Twitter item came across. Minutes before quitting time, less than an hour after the markets closed: Gen. John Kelly named White House chief of staff.

The secretary of homeland security was replacing Reince Priebus at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

After about six months and a week, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee had been removed as the No. 1 aide to President Trump.

Calling members of the transnational street gang MS-13 "animals" who like to let their victims "die slowly because that way it's more painful," President Trump on Friday sought to highlight his administration's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, reduce violent crime and secure additional congressional funding for immigration enforcement.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It has been a momentous few days for Arizona Senator John McCain.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators David Brooks of The New York Times and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. They discuss President Trump's decision to replace Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. They also discuss GOP health care repeal efforts and White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The changes at the White House keep coming. President Trump tweeted this afternoon that he has named a new chief of staff. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly now takes that job.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Trump's White House has been operating so far outside of this country's traditional ethical "norms" that it's been "a shock to the system," Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said Friday.

"We are truly in an ethics crisis, and something needs to be done about it," he said at a news conference at the National Press Club.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump ended a week defined by White House staff turmoil when he named retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as his new chief of staff on Friday evening.

Trump made the announcement via Twitter.

"He is a Great American and a Great Leader," Trump said. "John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."

Trump also tweeted his thanks to Reince Priebus, who had been his chief of staff since Inauguration Day.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

As speculation continues in Washington over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' future, in his home state, Alabama, there's a raucous race for his former Senate seat. And President Trump is playing a big role in that race. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

He rose from relative state-party obscurity and reached an unlikely pinnacle as the man responsible for the agenda of the president of the United States.

Now, Reince Priebus is out of that job as White House chief of staff in the most significant shake-up of the rocky Trump presidency.

President Trump announced on Twitter on Friday that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has been named to replace Priebus, who says he resigned Thursday.

NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators David Brooks of The New York Times and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. They discuss Sen. John McCain's surprise vote that killed GOP health care repeal efforts early Friday morning and White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci's foul-mouthed call with a reporter about his foil, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

The Senate effort to undo the Affordable Care Act failed dramatically early Friday morning, with Sen. John McCain casting a deciding "no" vote. The promise of repeal has animated the Republican Party for seven years, and the defeat was a devastating loss for the GOP and President Trump.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma talks to NPR's Robert Siegel about why he's disappointed that the health care vote failed. His state has only one insurer available to Oklahomans on the exchange, and premiums have increased an average of 76 percent.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Russia Retaliates Against U.S. Sanctions

Jul 28, 2017

Tom Grove of The Wall Street Journal bureau in Moscow talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the state of relations between the U.S. and Russia after Moscow's announcement that it would order Washington to reduce its diplomatic staff. The move comes after the Senate approved a package of tough financial sanctions against North Korea, Iran and Russia.

Deputy White House counsel Gregory Katsas is the leading candidate for a judgeship in one of the most important federal appeals courts in the nation, NPR has learned.

While the White House has not yet named its pick for the seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a Katsas nomination would open the door to confirmation hearings that could plumb a series of legal controversies from the first six months of the Trump administration.

Friday News Roundup - International

Jul 28, 2017

The U.S. slaps sanctions on Venezuela officials as opposition leaders organize another strike against the government. Speaking of U.S. sanctions, new ones have been imposed on Russia.

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Jul 28, 2017

After purportedly consulting with generals and military experts, the president issued a ban on transgender troops. Then, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said his generals won’t act on the president’s tweets.

Thomas Wheeler, who has been leading the Justice Department's civil rights unit, informed staffers there Thursday that he would be leaving the post, according to two sources familiar with the communication.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In most conservative media, the Russia story is still fake news even as daily revelations continue to pile up about contacts between Russians and Donald Trump's inner circle.

The tone taken by conservative outlets has had an impact on voters such as the Bauchles from Watkins Glen, N.Y. They believe the whole Russia story is a sham, a political head-fake crafted by Democrats and by the crooked media.

"I don't think there's any basis to it," said Dennis Bauchle, a farmer, during an interview this week.

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