Politics

Ways to Connect

Many people these days might be getting worked up about the fact that President Trump owns a lot of businesses. Not Chris Kinney.

"I think this country really needs to be run more like a business at this point," says the 51-year-old Lino Lakes, Minn., resident, a former business owner who fixes printers for a living. The United States faces a lot of serious problems, such as the growing federal deficit, and the fact that Trump brings a businessman's sensibility to solving them is a plus, Kinney says.

The Affordable Care Act's tax penalty for people who opt out of health insurance is one of the most loathed parts of the law, so it is no surprise that Republicans are keen to abolish it. But the penalty, also called the individual mandate, plays a vital function: nudging healthy people into the insurance markets, where their premiums help pay for the cost of care for the sick. Republican lawmakers think they have a better alternative.

The U.S. government is preparing to require passengers arriving from eight Mideast or North African countries to put their electronics larger than a cellphone in their checked luggage, according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Associated Press and Reuters. But certain medical devices will be permitted in the cabin.

The new security measure came to light when Jordanian Airlines disclosed it. The airline has deleted a tweet it posted, replacing it with a notice that more information is coming.

Call it an outburst of outrage giving.

Since President Trump's budget proposal was unveiled last Thursday, Meals on Wheels America, the national group which says it supports more than 5,000 community-based organizations that deliver meals to homebound seniors, has seen a flood of donations.

At an hours-long public hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he pushed back against President Trump's allegations that he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama.

One of the themes that developed on Day 1 of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's hearings is that Democrats plan to make an issue of what they say is the Supreme Court's pro-business leanings. In their opening statements on Monday, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee argued that Gorsuch is likely to continue the trend.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island alleged that when the court's majority is made of Republican appointees, the narrow 5-4 decisions "line up to help corporations against humans."

FBI Director James Comey lit the fuse Monday on a political time bomb and no one — including him — knows how long it will take to burn or what kind of damage it may cause when it goes off.

Comey confirmed to members of Congress that his investigators are looking into possible collusion between the campaign that elected President Trump and the Russian government. In fact, he said, the FBI has been doing so since last July.

The Department of Homeland Security made good Monday on a Trump administration promise to publicly shame cities and counties that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released its first weekly list of local jails and jurisdictions that haven't honored so-called immigrant detainer requests.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Another person who's been following the House Intelligence Committee hearings is Benjamin Wittes. He is editor in chief of Lawfare. That's a website about national security. And he is with us now. Thanks for joining us.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Center stage on Capitol Hill today - Russian election mischief, intelligence leaks and President Trump's explosive accusations against his predecessor. In a marathon hearing, the House Intelligence Committee held its first public airing of these issues.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish in Washington where Judge Neil Gorsuch made his first appearance today before the senators weighing his nomination to the Supreme Court.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And now we are joined by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. She watched the hearing today. Hi there, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi there.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Courtesy Peter Bergen

Today on “Political Rewind” we spend the full hour with terrorism expert Peter Bergen. The author of "The United States of Jihad," Bergen is an authority on the topic. In addition to being CNN's Terror Analyst, Bergen is one of the few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden in 1997. In the era of travel bans targeting mostly Muslim nations, Bergen says his research shows that the terrorists are already among us, like the Tsarnaev brothers who masterminded the Boston Marathon bombings. They may have been born here, or they may be naturalized U.S.

Kansas lawmakers know they are late to the Medicaid expansion party, but they appear determined to show up anyway.

"I feel like now is as good a time as any," says Anthony Hensley, the leader of the Democratic minority in the state Senate.

For the past three years, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders were able to block debate on expanding health care for the disabled and working poor via Medicaid, a component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Not anymore.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The director of the FBI, James Comey, told lawmakers this morning that his agency is investigating possible links between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Andrew Harrer / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Judge Neal Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, begins his three-day confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Republicans have praised the federal appeals court judge as a brilliant jurist who would continue in the conservative mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who he's vying to succeed. His nomination also fulfilled a key campaign promise for Trump, who helped woo wary Republicans with his pledge to nominate a conservative justice.

In this corner of Appalachia, poverty takes a back seat to art galleries, country clubs, golf course communities, five-star restaurants, and multimillion-dollar houses.

From this perch in Highlands, N.C., Congressman Mark Meadows, a real estate entrepreneur who capitalized on the area's transformation to a prosperous retirement and vacation community, rose to political power quickly. Now, Meadows leads the House Freedom Caucus, controlling about 30 votes and showing few qualms about endangering his party's best chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Public Domain

Environmental advocates say Georgia’s water supplies could be at risk if Congress approves President Trump's proposal to cut $2.5 billion from the  Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.

If approved, the budget would slash the EPA's funding by 31 percent and lay off over 3,000 workers. 

Gil Rodgers is the director of the Georgia and Alabama offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says the EPA plays a big role in protecting many facets of the state's environment. 

Cliff Owen / AP Photo

The NPR Two-Way blog will provide live coverage of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The live blog will include streaming video of the proceedings, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's inaugural trip to East Asia was marred by misunderstandings that arguably could have been avoided had Tillerson followed decades-old practice and spoken for himself — to the State Department press corps aboard his plane.

But there was no State Department press corps aboard his plane.

Tillerson had one reporter along — from a conservative-leaning news site who does not cover the State Department. In another break with tradition, the reporter did not offer a pool report to colleagues on the ground.

The effect?

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Donald Trump likes to move fast.

But to this point, for all the bravado, executive actions and tweets, much of Trump's presidency has been showy without a lot of practical effect. For that to change, much could depend on the next three weeks. This critical phase could set his ambitious agenda on course or derail it.

Pages