Politics & Government

Politics, elections, law, military and veteran's affairs

As the first American president to be elected with no prior political or military experience, Donald Trump has had to adapt quickly to the responsibilities of public office.

It was a trifecta of conservative celebrities in the White House Wednesday night.

Ted Nugent, a longtime Trump supporter; camouflage-cowboy-hat-wearer, Kid Rock, who's been known to be strongly anti-shirt but pro- marijuana; and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin all gathered in the Oval Office for a quick photo shoot to go over some paperwork and have a little dinner.

All three jumped on the Trump train early in the primary campaign and appeared at numerous rallies on Trump's behalf in the months leading up to his election victory last November.

The woman leading the Justice Department's investigation of foreign meddling into the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has told staff members she will leave the department in May.

Mary B. McCord has served at the highest levels in the national security unit, either as its leader or chief deputy, for the past three years. A longtime federal prosecutor based in Washington, McCord easily won the confidence of both career lawyers and her supervisors inside the Justice Department.

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Democrats want to show off a positive election result in Georgia. Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez speaks tonight to Georgia Democrats as he tours the country with Bernie Sanders. Last night, Perez spoke at a rally in Miami.

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Marie da Silva is among the 25 percent of voters who are undecided ahead of Sunday's first round of voting in France's crucial presidential election.

The 52-year-old building manager and mother has soured on the men in the race, finding them too weak, unrealistic or communist.

Though she identifies as conservative, da Silva had never voted for the far-right party, National Front.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep with a guide to this day's news. David, where do we start?

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Officials at the University of California, Berkeley reversed an earlier decision to cancel the scheduled appearance of conservative commentator Ann Coulter on April 27. They proposed an alternate May 2 date after Coulter vowed to show up on campus anyway.

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A clear majority of justices at the U.S. Supreme Court seemed troubled Wednesday by a Missouri grant program that bars state money from going to religious schools for playground improvement.

Thirty-nine states have state constitutional provisions that bar taxpayer funds from going to religious schools — provisions that have been a major obstacle for the school choice movement. The Missouri case is an attempt to lower that wall separating church and state.

China's Foreign Ministry is defending a decision to grant Ivanka Trump new trademark rights for her line of handbags, jewelry and spa services. The three new trademarks were approved April 6 while the president's daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife at dinner at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to The Associated Press.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

A group of liberal lawyers is suing the Justice Department and FBI over President Trump's tweeted allegation of wiretapping ordered by then-President Barack Obama.

American Oversight is demanding records that support or disprove Trump's March 4 tweet, "Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower."

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The U.S. Justice Department is sending a message to state and local governments: Failure to comply with federal laws could have big consequences.

This year, most of the conversation has focused on whether sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities will be able to keep grant money for their police departments. But veterans of the Justice Department said that's only a piece of what could be at stake.

An inauguration is an expensive party to throw, and President Trump got plenty of help putting his on. Financial Election Commission disclosures released on Wednesday show that some uberwealthy donors helped Trump defray the cost: Million-dollar givers included investment firm founder Charles Schwab, mining entrepreneur Christopher Cline and Bank of America. Investor and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson spent $5 million.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

Fox News is parting ways with Bill O'Reilly, who for years stood as one of cable news' most popular hosts. The network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced the move in a statement Wednesday.

"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel," the statement read.

If you thought it was odd that a special election in the Atlanta suburbs got so much national attention, you haven't seen anything yet.

So far, much of the focus has been on Democrat Jon Ossoff — and with good reason. The Democratic base rallied around him and made the election a referendum on President Trump.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced that he will not run for re-election in 2018 and will not seek any public office next year.

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appointed Candice Jackson as the acting assistant secretary of the Office for Civil Rights. Jackson will oversee a staff of hundreds charged with responding to thousands of civil rights complaints every year, including some from students who feel discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, sex, ability, and age.

A piece from New York Magazine's Andrew Sullivan over the weekend ended with an old, well-worn trope: Asian-Americans, with their "solid two-parent family structures," are a shining example of how to overcome discrimination. An essay that began by imagining why Democrats feel sorry for Hillary Clinton — and then detoured to President Trump's policies — drifted to this troubling ending:

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The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a Missouri case with the potential to open grant programs to parochial schools.

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In 2011, U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Aaron O'Connell finished a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He's had a lot of time since then, year after year, to think about why that war continues.

Cokie Roberts Answers Your Tax Questions

Apr 19, 2017

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Up first, this day marks the anniversary of the start of Venezuela's struggle for independence in 1810. We normally wouldn't mention that here this morning but many Venezuelans plan to spend this day protesting their government.

Mattis Travels To Saudi Arabia

Apr 19, 2017

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Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

President Trump is set to host the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots at the White House on Wednesday, an event that brings together some of the most polarizing figures in both sports and politics.

The Patriots are well-acquainted with this championship ritual, having won five Super Bowls in the last sixteen years. But their come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Falcons — after being down 25 points — was every bit as unlikely as Trump's own upset victory three months earlier.

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