Democrats seized on President Trump's comments alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin as the latest evidence supporting one of their arguments that the president needs to be reined in by Congress. They argued that Republicans' responses show that the GOP isn't up to the job.
Against the backdrop of a looming Supreme Court fight, a less visible battle in the judicial wars is playing out over a conservative Western Pennsylvania attorney. Senate Republicans are poised on Thursday to break with tradition and advance David Porter for a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, despite objections from one of his home state senators, Democrat Bob Casey. Two years ago, GOP leadership allowed Pennsylvania's Republican senator, Pat Toomey, to use his home state privilege to stop one of President Barack Obama's nominees to the same circuit.
Members of both parties supported U.S. intelligence agencies' findings that Russia was, in fact, responsible for a hacking operation that roiled the campaign in an effort to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton - contradicting the president, who raised doubts about that conclusion while standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Sen. Bob Casey's firm opposition to President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh underscored how Casey has embraced a newly combative persona as a key to his reelection this fall. The strategy is in line with a fired-up Democratic base that has been roused anew by the likelihood of Trump adding another conservative to the Supreme Court, but may carry risks in a state the president won in 2016.
Democratic senators from Pennsylvania and New Jersey immediately blasted President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Monday night, just minutes after the president announced his selection. Their thin hopes of stalling the Trump nominee hinge on unified opposition, though even if they all hold firm they still face steep odds because Republicans control the Senate with a slim majority. Republicans hailed Kavanaugh as a well qualified judge who should be quickly confirmed.
Unless railroads speed up the pace of installation of Positive Train Control, another deadline imposed by Congress will come and go with many rail passengers still vulnerable to the same kinds of human errors that have led to fatal consequences.
Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement handed President Trump a chance to appoint a second justice in a little more than a year - and potentially cement a conservative majority for a generation. The decision means Trump will again wield one of the most powerful levers available to him, just as Democrats dreamed about reining in the president by taking control of the U.S. House this fall. Kennedy's departure is "the most consequential event in American jurisprudence at least since Bush v. Gore in 2000 and probably since Roe v. Wade in 1973," wrote Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law professor who once clerked for Kennedy. Writing for The Washington Post, he added, "His departure leaves the future of U.S. constitutional law entirely up for grabs." The prospect of a fight over the future of the high court added more tension to an already raging public debate over Trump and looming congressional elections this fall, amid widening cultural divides.
In President Trump, traditional Republicans finally have the president they need to help advance their policy agenda. At the same time, Trump has advanced ideas that would have turned Republicans apoplectic during Obama's term and soaked the GOP brand in controversy. Last week's fight on immigration - just as the GOP marked the six-month mark of their tax cuts - reflected the two sides of the rocky relationship.
Primary election results in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the country show how Republicans have fully embraced President Trump and his incendiary style - two years after many Republican insiders opposed him in primaries and predicted he would lose.
President Trump's clash with allies at the G7 economic summit has left tension hanging over an upcoming NATO meeting with U.S. partners. NATO leaders plan to meet in Brussels next month to approve measures to deter Russian aggression - but the unity of the trans-Atlantic pact has been challenged by battles on trade and personal insults from the White House that have frayed long-standing ties.
Vice President Pence is scheduled to visit Philadelphia next week for a fund-raiser alongside GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner. It's another event that will further put President Trump's impression on key Pennsylvania races this year. Pence is expected at an event Tuesday raising money for the Republican Governors Association, which tries to elect GOP governors across the country, according to three Republican sources familiar with the plans. Tennessee Gov. Bill H
The Super Bowl championship that thrilled Philadelphia just months ago took center stage Tuesday as another national flashpoint, as President Trump accused Eagles players of "abandoning their fans." Instead, he pushed ahead with plans for a rally with the military, in place of a planned event to honor the victorious Eagles.
In abruptly canceling the Eagles visit to the White House Monday night, President Trump reinforced his standing as an unusual leader who thrives on - if not purposely fuels - conflict. With his decision, the most routine kind of event on a president's calendar, welcoming a championship team to the White House, became yet another cultural flashpoint. "This is a divider," said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University.
Philadelphia's three congressmen urged House leaders to dedicate federal money to repairing the city's schools, which are suffering from mold, deteriorated asbestos, and peeling paint likely to contain lead. The letter from Democrats Bob Brady, Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans came in response to the Inquirer and Daily News series "Toxic City," which detailed the conditions and the sometimes devastating health consequences for school children.
Dent, a Republican from Allentown, accepted a government affairs job with the law firm DLA Piper, setting up the former House Ethics Committee chairman to trade on his knowledge of government and Congress. He will work in the firm's Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. offices.
As a state Senator, Democrat Jeff Van Drew keeps a photo of Ronald Reagan in his South Jersey office and has voted against several major liberal priorities - but he is still backed by national Democrats in one of the most important congressional races in the country. The move has chafed liberals, who say the party should back someone who will faithfully push progressive ideas. The June 5 primary features the kind of debate between moderates and liberals that has cleaved several Democratic races.
A prominent conservative group is taking aim at U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican running in a key U.S. Senate race, over his support for a vast spending bill. In putting Barletta on its list of targets, Americans for Prosperity is pounding a Republican who is running an uphill challenge against U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) and counting on conservative groups to help his cause.
Until recently, few people saw U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta as a potential Senate candidate. Then Donald Trump happened. Now, Barletta - one of Trump's most vocal supporters - is the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, and he's trying to recreate the president's path to Republican victory in the state, discarding old methods that called for appealing to moderates in the Philadelphia suburbs.
I cover national politics and policy from Washington D.C., with a focus on Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawmakers and issues.