Donald Trump sacks Reince Priebus as chief of staff

UNDER the best of circumstances—when America has a president who is disciplined, willing to hear harsh but necessary truths and loyal to those he trusts—the post of White House chief of staff is “perhaps the second most powerful job in Washington”, according to James Baker, a political giant who held that post for two presidents,…

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The Trump administration still has the power to wreak havoc on Obamacare

REPUBLICANS’ latest efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s health care law, failed in the Senate on the night of July 27th. Three of their Senators—Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowksi  of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona—joined all 48 Democrats to vote down “skinny” repeal (see article).  The amendment was the last…

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Republicans claim to have made progress towards tax reform

THE thing about Donald Trump’s tax plans, writes Alan Cole, formerly of the Tax Foundation, a think-tank, is that they get “progressively less detailed” over time. Almost two years ago Mr Trump released a fanciful but relatively detailed plan for lower tax rates (see blog). After he won the Republican nomination, this went through several…

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Donald Trump’s ill-considered ban on transgender soldiers

TRANSGENDER people are no longer welcome in America’s military, Donald Trump announced abruptly on July 26th. The news seemed to catch everyone by surprise, including Pentagon officials, and was delivered via Mr Trump’s favourite medium, Twitter. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts”, Mr Trump wrote, apparently disingenuously, “please be advised that the United…

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Another appeals court rejects Donald Trump’s travel ban

“EVEN for the president”, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said on June 12th, immigration policy “is not a one-person show”. By a 3-0 vote, the court refused to lift a Hawaii judge’s stay on Donald Trump’s revised order banning travel from six mostly Muslim countries. The decision in State of Hawaii v Trump is…

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A primary contest in Virginia offers clues to the future of the Democrats

TO HEAR Tom Perriello on the stump, you might think his main opponent in Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, due on June 13th, was not Ralph Northam, the state’s respected lieutenant-governor, but Donald Trump. “A big turnout in this primary will be a massive statement against Trump!” Mr Perriello, a diminutive former congressman, with a slightly…

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The Supreme Court will consider a mobile phone privacy case

TIMOTHY CARPENTER, a Michigan man, had a habit of stealing smartphones from Radio Shacks and T-Mobile stores; his own phone provided the evidence authorities needed to nab him. On June 5th, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr Carpenter’s complaint that his privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment were violated when his phone company shared…

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James Comey is to testify that Donald Trump demanded “loyalty”

JAMES COMEY, whom Donald Trump fired as the FBI’s director last month, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence committee on June 8th. His written statement, released the previous day, offered an explosive preview. In it Mr Comey related how, at a private dinner at the White House on January 27th, Mr Trump ominously…

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