Politics & Government

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

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump joined his Republican allies on Friday in piling on with attacks about "bias" in the FBI and the Justice Department as Washington, D.C., waited on tenterhooks for the release of a controversial secret spying memo.

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The political hurricane that could bring about the release of a controversial memo on Friday has blown the American ship of state off the map.

Not only has a congressional committee seldom if ever released secrets "owned" by the executive branch. Not only has Washington, D.C., seldom seen a law-and-order party in power commit to such a sustained flogging of its own FBI and Justice Department.

A federal judge has declared unconstitutional Florida's procedure for restoring voting rights to felons who have served their time.

In a strongly worded ruling seen as a rebuke of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is the lead defendant in the case, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the disenfranchisement of felons who have served their time is "nonsensical" and a violation of the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

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Joining us now with the latest on that classified memo is NPR justice reporter Ryan Lucas. Hi, Ryan.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hello there.

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In a tweet, President Trump claimed the largest audience ever tuned in for his State of the Union address. That's not true.

As the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election forges on, Robert Mueller, the Justice Department special counsel leading the investigation, has managed to stay largely out of public view.

Journalist Garrett Graff says that is in keeping with Mueller's personality: "This is not someone who in any way has tried to grab the spotlight, but instead has kept his head down and worked hard throughout his career."

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

President Trump could notify Congress as soon as Friday that he endorses releasing the controversial memo that alleges the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance powers.

That would set the stage for it to become public, perhaps that afternoon, although the procedure is unclear.

Democrats went on the attack Thursday trying to stop the process and even to get rid of the man who has driven it, Trump ally Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee.

As the Trump administration moves to give states more flexibility in running Medicaid, advocates for the poor are keeping a close eye on Indiana to see whether such conservative ideas improve or harm care.

Indiana in 2015 implemented some of the most radical changes seen to the state-federal program that covers nearly 1 in 4 low-income Americans — including charging some adults a monthly premium and locking out for six months some of those who don't pay their premiums.

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Depending on who you ask, this is a battle over the public's right to know or a battle over whether information is even worth knowing.

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Updated at 3:06 p.m.

Republicans are gathered at the storied Greenbrier Resort — home to a Cold War-era bunker once meant to house Congress in the event of a nuclear attack — to plot the party's legislative agenda for 2018 and strategize for what could be a bruising midterm election.

Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET

The latest political sandstorm in the Russia saga is over four pages of paper that have never seen the light of day. Here's what you need to know to make sense of what's going on with this story.

1. What exactly is this memo that everyone is talking about?

In 2012, as Syria's internal unrest deepened into full-scale civil war, Syrians living in the U.S. were offered an opportunity: If they met certain conditions and paid the requisite fees, they could register for temporary protection from deportation — and avoid having to return to the violence that awaited them back home.

The Republican National Committee has named Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts its new finance chairman days after its former fundraising chief, real estate and casino magnate Steve Wynn, stepped down amid allegations of sexual assault.

"His incredible leadership and proven track record of results will continue to grow support for our party and ensure we have the resources needed to deliver Republican victories in 2018 and beyond," RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said of Ricketts.

Janet Yellen chaired her final Federal Reserve policymaking meeting Wednesday. She and her Fed colleagues held interest rates steady and officially elected Jerome Powell to succeed her as chair. As Yellen steps down, she is getting high marks for her four years at the helm of the nation's central bank.

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President Trump says now is the time to fix the nation's crumbling roads and bridges. Here's part of what he said last night in his State of the Union address.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2018 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS)

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President Trump is keeping a low profile today as his team talks up his performance in last night's State of the Union address. We'll hear responses and analysis of that speech all through the show.

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To get a sense of how the president's State of the Union address was received in different parts of the country, we've called on two governors. Elsewhere in the show, we'll hear from Colorado Governor Democrat John Hickenlooper.

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