Politics & Government

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

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Presidents learn quickly to enthuse about how much they love to get out of Washington, D.C., but President Trump becomes almost a different man entirely.

One day, Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia — and taking away his ability to lift them unilaterally — in part because Congress wanted to punish Moscow for its interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to impose new sanctions on North Korea over the country's long-range missile tests last month.

The measure cuts about $1 billion worth of North Korean exports, or about a third of the country's export revenue each year.

"This resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime," said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. "This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.

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No single issue has been a greater animating force for the Republican base over the past decade than immigration — except maybe the Affordable Care
Act (aka Obamacare).

And with the failure of GOP health care efforts in Congress and sliding poll numbers this summer, the Trump White House seems to be making a concerted effort to elevate cultural wedge issues, from immigration and a ban on transgender people in the military to affirmative action and police conduct.

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When West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice stood next to President Trump during a campaign rally in Huntington, W.Va., on Thursday to announce that he was switching parties and becoming a Republican, it was a historic moment for the GOP.

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Ned Price was in the National Security Council under President Obama, and he joins us now for some insight into who leaks and why. Welcome back.

NED PRICE: Thank you, Ari.

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So Congress is on vacation, and members went home without any significant legislative accomplishments. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed a hope that things will be different when lawmakers come back.

In August, those who can flee D.C.'s swamplike heat and humidity in search of a cool breeze. This summer, that number includes President Trump. He's spending the next 17 days at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. — not a wilderness, for sure, but likely a degree or two cooler and less humid than the capital city, even if it's not far from the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

When a receptionist hands out a form to fill out at a doctor's office, the questions are usually about medical issues: What's the visit for? Are you allergic to anything? Up to date on vaccines?

But some health organizations are now asking much more general questions: Do you have trouble paying your bills? Do you feel safe at home? Do you have enough to eat? Research shows these factors can be as important to health as exercise habits or whether you get enough sleep.

Some doctors even think someone's ZIP code is as important to their health as their genetic code.

At San Antonio's largest homeless shelter, huge fans cool off the temporary residents. The courtyard can get crowded. One of the hundreds of nightly boarders is James Harrison. "I lost my apartment and had nowhere else to go," he explains.

Like most people at Haven for Hope, Harrison, who is 55, doesn't plan on staying long. But while he's here, he's taking advantage of some free medical testing — a screening for dormant tuberculosis.

The Justice Department has experienced an "explosion" in the number of referrals, or requests for probes, this year from intelligence agencies over the leak of classified information, prompting the attorney general to consider whether to loosen regulations on when it can subpoena media organizations.

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And, David, the president's going on vacation today. It is August after all. But he - before he took off, he got one more campaign-style rally in - right? - this time in West Virginia.

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We're going to dig further into what this grand jury means with Benjamin Wittes. He's editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog. And he has been a vocal critic of President Trump. Ben, thanks for being back on the program.

BENJAMIN WITTES: Thanks for having me.

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President Trump says the Russia story is a, quote, "total fabrication" pushed by Democrats, who lack a positive agenda and are just making excuses for their election loss last year. This is how Trump characterized it at a campaign rally last night in West Virginia.

For weeks, there has been speculation that President Trump would try to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.

To try to keep Mueller from being fired without cause by the president, two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the Senate.

The U.S. Secret Service had a command post stationed within Trump Tower in New York City before July, but that is no longer the case.

Cathy Milhoan, director of communications for the agency, in a phone call with NPR Thursday, confirmed the relocation took place in July. While the command post — where supervisors and backup staff cluster — remains nearby, she said for security reasons she could not disclose its current location.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced he will flip from the Democratic Party to the GOP, making the announcement Thursday night while appearing at a rally with the president.

"Today I will tell you with lots of prayers and lots of thinking, I'll tell you West Virginians, I can't help you any more being a Democrat governor," Justice said.

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