WASHINGTON -- Winston Churchill famously described Russia as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." The same might be said -- and the Russia reference is no coincidence -- of Paul Manafort and the trial now underway of President Trump's former campaign chairman.
The riddle, of course, is why there is a trial at all. Given the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump's outrageous tweets are testing, once again, our capacity for outrage. They are not harmless venting. Rather, they pose a threat to the rule of law.
Consider: Trump unhinged, Wednesday edition. He launched another unfounded attack against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as being "totally conflicted." He ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "He's been lying all week, he's been lying for years. ... I don't see how he has any credibility."
Exactly. Rudy Giuliani, the president's current lawyer, was talking about Michael Cohen, the president's former lawyer. But if Cohen is so sleazy, and I don't disagree, why did Donald Trump keep the self-described fixer around for so...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Everyone who works for President Trump: Quit now. Save your souls. Save your honor, such as it is. Save your reputation, such as it remains. Russia attacked our democracy. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, and did so again with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that he doesn't care and won't defend his country.
If you...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Brett Kavanaugh describes Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he clerked and whose seat he has been tapped to fill, as his "mentor." But Kavanaugh's true judicial role models may be two other, significantly more conservative justices -- William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia.
As it happens, Kavanaugh gave speeches last year about each...Read more
WASHINGTON -- No Supreme Court nominee is a completely safe bet. No one -- not even the nominee himself or herself -- knows for certain how he or she would rule on a particular case until the moment arises.
And yet: Of all the potential Supreme Court nominees that President Trump is considering, the one who seems most inclined to undo Justice ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Hours before Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement, Justice Elena Kagan sketched out the court's potential dystopian future, with justices unencumbered by precedent and energized to make the law conform to their policy preferences.
Dissenting in the public-employee union-fees case, Kagan explained that ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Even Republican appointees on the Supreme Court -- two of them, anyway: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy -- are evidently appalled by President Trump and his behavior. Small comfort, perhaps, as they joined three other conservative justices to uphold Trump's travel ban, but still a striking example ...Read more
"I Really Don't Care. Do U?" So First Lady Melania Trump advertised, in large letters on the back of a jacket made superfluous by the muggy summer weather, as she traveled to and from visiting migrant children at a Texas shelter.
It was impossible to divine with certainty what Trump was trying to communicate, except to know that the huffy ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Many weeks -- every week? -- in the age of Trump are depressing. This last one has been sickening.
That is strong language for a moment that President Trump has declared a triumph, with his historic meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un. The problem is not the fact of the meeting itself. Diplomacy -- even Trump's brand of...Read more
WASHINGTON -- A continuing challenge of covering the three-ring circus that is the Trump administration is not letting the outrageous antics and statements of the president and his allies distract attention from the outrageous policies being implemented on his watch.
One example, unfolding right now in the midst of the president's various ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- What should the special counsel do next? I'd suggest it's subpoena time.
Robert Mueller has proved himself a remarkably patient prosecutor. His negotiations with President Trump's lawyers have stretched on for at least six months of slow-walking and subject-narrowing. And Mueller has stayed silent, as a responsible prosecutor ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- L'etat, c'est Trump.
For months we've heard President Trump's TV lawyers, as he calls them, bandy about the argument that he -- or any president, for that matter -- couldn't have obstructed justice because justice is what he says it is.
In other words, that because, they claim, a president possesses absolute power to cut short a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- If, as is often said, a president's budget proposal presents a glimpse of his heart, a president's use of his pardon power offers a companion, and even more telling, X-ray of his soul.
Writing a budget involves making trade-offs and priorities, but these must be examined and ratified by others, elsewhere. The power to pardon is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The line between appeasement and deflection is inevitably blurry. It tends to be written in invisible ink, discernible only in the clarifying light of retrospect, when the damage has already been done.
This tension, and this danger, has been evident in the recent outbreak of open warfare between President Trump and his own Justice...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Congratulations, America, indeed.
President Trump was being sarcastic when he tweeted, at 7:28 Thursday morning, "Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History ... and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction."
A year into the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller,...Read more
WASHINGTON -- We're missing something important, indeed fundamental, in all the legal-political chatter about whether Donald Trump will answer questions from the special counsel and what might happen if the president refuses.
We need to keep in mind: This is the president, not an ordinary witness -- or, to be more precise, ordinary subject -- ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "Ladies' lingerie." It was a lame, outmoded joke -- the sort of thing you say in a crowded elevator, an artifact of the days of fancy department stores with operators announcing the floor stops.
Those two words -- the speaker remembers saying "ladies' lingerie," a passenger who was offended recalls hearing "women's lingerie" -- ...Read more
WASHINGTON --The nation's capital today suffers from multiple deficits: The budget deficit, a failure to match resources to appetite, measured in hard dollars and red ink. The institutional deficit, the misalignment of national needs and political capacity to respond, displayed in legislative gridlock and partisan bickering. But also, and maybe ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Something tells me that Barbara Bush would have enjoyed reading the news over the last week -- and I don't mean the glowing tributes to the former first lady. No, some of the rest of the news, about who in the Trump administration is confused about what; about the nerves-of-steel pilot who brought a crippled airliner to safety; ...Read more