Ron Elving

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We've heard the phrase historic summit endlessly over the past few days as President Trump traveled to Singapore to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

(SOUNDBITE OF MEDIA MONTAGE)

We have encountered the phrase "historic summit" throughout our lives — and heard it endlessly repeated in recent days with respect to President Trump's meeting in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Historic summit" is part of the language we have inherited from the late 20th century. It reflects the changes in technology in the last 100 years, as well as the changes in world politics.

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The Constitution is something of an owners manual for taxpayers. But, like many an owners manual, it doesn't necessarily cover all the bases.

A constitutional crisis occurs at a moment when the Constitution is not enough to resolve a question or a conflict.

This could happen for several reasons:

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In its early days, Congress wrote a series of rules and precedents — Thomas Jefferson penned a book about it — that Congress has used ever since.

But there are also unwritten rules. And it's these unwritten rules that break down when politics get excessively polarized.

The Trump And Rudy Show

May 5, 2018

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Anyone who has followed the saga of Sen. John McCain or ever reacted with emotion to his words or actions will recognize the man speaking in this valedictory volume.

The voice and manner are familiar enough that we can almost hear and see him on every page.

It recalls his previous literary efforts (he has written seven books with longtime collaborator Mark Salter), but it also ventures deeper into our collective memories of McCain and his world — as we prepare to part with both.

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We turn now to Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on NPR's Washington Desk. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

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

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Joined now by NPR's Ron Elving, Senior Editor and Correspondent. Ron, thank you very much for being with us today.

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

A Higher Loyalty, by far the most consequential book yet in the literature of the Trump presidency, is arriving as political conflict roils every aspect of that presidency. Former FBI Director James Comey's scathing review will not settle the arguments about President Trump, nor will it calm the controversy over its author. But it will furnish mountains of ammunition for combatants on all sides.

In Henry IV, Part 2, Shakespeare writes, "Uneasy rests the head that wears the crown."

Speakers of the House do not wear crowns. But if they did, these days their crowns might as well be woven of thorns.

Just ask Paul Ryan, who has announced he will relinquish the speakership by not seeking re-election this fall.

For days, the Washington world waited for the presidential tweet that would end the troubled tenure of Scott Pruitt, the high-profile and high-maintenance administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was hard to imagine anyone surviving an onslaught of stories like those recounting Pruitt's living large on several continents — with eye-popping costs for travel and security.

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The Week In Washington

Mar 31, 2018

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And we're going to turn to NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving now to talk about an eventful week in politics. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

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

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

President Trump's intent to nominate his White House physician to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs has brought back a name long absent from the news: Harriet Miers.

Miers was White House counsel when President George W. Bush stunned Washington by nominating her to the Supreme Court in October 2005. Miers, who would have been the third woman to serve on the high court, was meant to succeed the first — Sandra Day O'Connor, who was retiring.

The Week In Politics

Mar 17, 2018

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On the night of March 12, 1968, TV audiences saw an American presidency of monumental proportions begin to crumble before their eyes.

The occasion was the New Hampshire presidential preference primary, the "first in the nation" primary that has long been a tradition in the Granite State.

The first 10 changes to the Constitution were easy. Since then, it has been an uphill battle every time, and some of those battles are, at least technically, still undecided.

We are speaking of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and those first 10 are, of course, better known as the Bill of Rights.

They provide some of the most important guarantees of freedom associated with the U.S. Constitution — even though they were added years after the Constitution was first written in the summer of 1787.

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Joining us now is Ron Elving, senior editor, correspondent on the Washington desk.

Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

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

"The Second Amendment."

If you've lived in America, you've heard those words spoken with feeling.

The feeling may have been forceful, even vehement.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

The same words can be heard uttered in bitterness, as if in blame.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

Week In Politics

Feb 24, 2018

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American politics have always been rife with individuals who invoked the Almighty and sought divine leverage to achieve their own agendas.

Partisans on both the right and the left have revered such figures – when they agreed with their ends – and reviled them when they did not.

But it is hard to think of any clergy in any era who have ascended quite so far in the national political consciousness as Billy Graham.

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We're going to go through some of the bits and pieces of this political week with NPR senior editor and correspondent of the Washington desk, Ron Elving. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

President Trump's first State of the Union address was billed as a bid for unity, a call for all to rise above party and faction in pursuit of national ideas and ideals.

In fact, scattered throughout the 80-minute speech were several moments that might qualify as outreach. But if you blinked, you might have missed them.

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Recent FBI investigations relevant to the 2016 presidential election have become the latest battleground in our deeply divided and partisan politics.

Some Republicans, disappointed by the lack of charges over Hillary Clinton's emails and distressed by the continuing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, suddenly perceive corruption in the FBI. Democrats counter that the casting of doubt on the nation's top national law enforcement agency is an unprecedented outrage.

Ask Republicans about Democrats, or vice versa, and sooner or later you will hear: "They're out of touch with the American people."

That statement was part of the soundtrack on Capitol Hill over the first weekend of the partial government shutdown, repeated so often that one ceases to hear it.

It's an all-purpose way of condemning the hated "other" party. And it conveys the assumption that whoever is speaking is not out of touch with the American people.

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Going to turn now to NPR's Ron Elving. Ron, thanks very much for being with us.

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

SIMON: You heard Democratic Senator Van Hollen. We had Republican Congressman Cole. What points do they make that stand up for you?

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