Trump administration

Throughout the Trump presidency, Democrats have had one glimmer of optimism looking ahead to 2018. Polls continue to show that the party is well ahead of Republicans on the "generic ballot" — the term for when pollsters ask voters which party they would like to win the House of Representatives in the next election, or which party's House candidate they would likely vote for.

Updated at 10:24 p.m. ET

The White House communications operation underwent a dramatic shake-up Friday. Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a wealthy New York financier, as his communications director. Appearing on camera before the White House press corps at a televised press briefing, Scaramucci then announced Sarah Sanders, Spicer's deputy, as the new press secretary.

In statements Friday night, Trump praised Scaramucci and Sanders.

There was much pomp and circumstance — and hand-holding, and even a dash of Daft Punk — in President Trump's visit to Paris, as French President Emmanuel Macron used any means possible to embrace and entertain the American leader during his two-day stay.

Trump's visit began Thursday with a trip to Napoleon's Tomb at Les Invalides, where he was given full military honors as he and Melania Trump met Macron and his wife, Brigitte. It continued with the two couples having dinner high inside the Eiffel Tower, and it ended Friday with a parade to mark Bastille Day.

The U.S. refugee program surpassed the Trump Administration's 50,000-person cap on Wednesday, meaning that many refugees will now be denied entry into the country.

The J. Edgar Hoover FBI building is crumbling. Literally. Workers have placed netting along parts of its facade to keep chipping concrete from falling on pedestrians below. There are concerns about its security and the building, which opened in 1975, is no longer big enough to house the Bureau's headquarters staff.

Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted an email exchange that seemed to show the president's son entertained an offer of Russian government help for his father to be elected president in 2016.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," said the text that Trump Jr. posted on Twitter.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched down in Kuwait City on Monday, opening a series of talks aimed at ending a diplomatic impasse between Qatar and four of its Arab neighbors.

Attorneys general from Massachusetts, New York and 16 other states filed suit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her department Thursday, accusing DeVos of breaking federal law and giving free rein to for-profit colleges by rescinding the Borrower Defense Rule.

Several weeks before President Trump nominated Indiana's state health commissioner Jerome Adams to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, Adams toured the Salvation Army Harbor Light detox center in Indianapolis, Ind., the only treatment facility in the state for people without insurance.

The Trump administration has been remarkably on-message on social media over the past week — that is, if you only look at official Twitter accounts, rather than the president's personal feed.

As Americans prepare to celebrate the country's 241st birthday, they believe the overall tone and level of civility between Democrats and Republicans in the nation's capital has gotten worse since the election of President Trump last year, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds. The same survey also shows distrust of many of the nation's fundamental democratic institutions among the public.

Ivanka Trump is a lot of things: a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur, an Instagram goddess and a first daughter. But there is one thing she recently said she is not:

"I don't profess to be a political savant," she confessed to Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt in an interview.

"I try to stay out of politics," she said in a measured, half whisper.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Georgia will partially comply with a request for voter data made by President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The commission recently asked all 50 states for everything from party affiliation to Social Security numbers for registered voters.

 Candice Broce is spokeswoman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp. She says Georgia can’t share party affiliation, because the state doesn’t record it.

 

A letter from Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of a White House commission looking into voter fraud and other irregularities, is drawing fire from some state election officials. The letter, sent Wednesday to all 50 states, requests that all publicly available voter roll data be sent to the White House by July 14, five days before the panel's first meeting.

John Huber is a career prosecutor in Utah who's served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. This month, the Trump White House nominated him to serve as a U.S. attorney in that state.

But it came as something of a surprise to current and former Justice Department veterans Wednesday when Huber appeared for a news conference in Washington: not in the halls of Justice, but at the White House podium.

During a White House press briefing Tuesday, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used a familiar tactic when she criticized the news media for producing a “constant barrage of fake news.” The criticism prompted Brian Karem, executive editor of the Montgomery County Sentinel, to interrupt Huckabee Sanders and accuse her of continually trying to undermine the media.

President Trump, who is fond of dining at his Trump International Hotel near the White House, will have some company Wednesday — a roomful of people who paid as much as $35,000 or $100,000 each to be there.

The money will go to two joint fundraising operations — Trump Victory, which will take in large donations and Trump Make America Great Again Committee for smaller-dollar donors.

When Trump Victory started sending out invitations four weeks ago, it announced the price points, but kept the venue secret until a prospect had RSVP'd.

Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday — help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump, and, in turn, help Trump.

The attorney general, an early Trump supporter, revealed little in the congressional hearing about the ongoing Russia saga or Trump's role in possibly trying to quash the investigation looking into it.

Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning — and that may be exactly how the White House wants it.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced that regulations protecting the sage grouse – rules which have been subject to years of negotiation and controversy in Western states – are once again under review.

This puts the Greater Sage Grouse Conservation plan, finalized in 2015, in a state of flux.

The Trump administration has granted ethics waivers or partial releases to about a dozen federal agency officials, freeing them from full compliance with ethics rules.

That's according to documents released Wednesday by the Office of Government Ethics.

Over and over again, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos deflected a barrage of pointed questions with one answer:

"Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law."

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions "at one point recently" offered to resign because his relationship with President Trump had grown so tense, according to reports from ABC News and multiple other news outlets.

The Trump administration is warning that the U.S. might leave the U.N. Human Rights Council, arguing that it displays anti-Israel bias and ignores violations by certain countries.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a speech to the council Tuesday that the United States is "looking carefully at this council and our participation in it. We see some areas for significant strengthening."

By day, Don McGahn is a straight-laced lawyer, but by night, he's a long-haired rocker.

The Trump administration is taking steps to allow five energy companies to use seismic air guns for oil and gas exploration off the U.S. Atlantic coast even though they would incidentally harass marine mammals. Environmental groups and some coastal communities object.

"The testing would take place over a huge area ranging from the Delaware Bay, south to Cape Canaveral in Florida," NPR's Jeff Brady reports. "Ships would crisscross the ocean shooting loud bursts of sound underwater to map the geology."

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is standing by his controversial comment that poverty is a "state of mind," but he says that "how a person thinks" is only one component that contributes to being poor.

"What I said is that it is a factor. A part of poverty can be the state of mind," he told NPR in an interview. "People tend to approach things differently, based on their frame of mind."

His agency, he says, wants "to find ways to make sure that people understand that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you, is you."

The White House on Wednesday night released 14 ethics waivers — documents that exempt some top presidential aides from important ethics rules.

The disclosures came after a quiet but tough battle between Trump administration officials and the Office of Government Ethics.

The waivers are considered public documents, but for weeks after President Trump took office, they weren't made public.

In April, the Office of Government Ethics began to push the issue.

Updated at 10:08 p.m. ET.

The Office of Government Ethics has rejected a White House attempt to block the agency's compilation of federal ethics rules waivers granted to officials hired into the Trump administration from corporations and lobbying firms.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrapped up a meeting of the world's wealthiest nations with the assertion that the United States reserves the right to be protectionist.

At a news conference in Bari, Italy, where finance ministers from the Group of Seven nations gathered, Mnuchin said, "We do not want to be protectionist but we reserve our right to be protectionist to the extent that we believe trade is not free and fair."

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were interviewing four candidates Wednesday to serve as interim FBI director, following the firing of James Comey.

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