Politics

Ways to Connect

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To talk more about what this lawsuit could mean for health care, we turn to Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News. Good to see you, Julie.

JULIE ROVNER: Nice to see you, Ari.

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Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, is on of the senators who quizzed the nominee today. Senator Whitehouse, welcome to the program.

SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: Thank you. Good to be with you.

India and the United States are the world's biggest democracies. They're both capitalist countries, nuclear powers and former British colonies. They should be natural allies.

But over the past year, the Trump administration twice postponed high-level talks with India, citing scheduling conflicts. That left some in New Delhi feeling like the U.S. was taking India for granted.

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So as we heard, one big line of questions in today's hearing was about presidential powers. Here's another moment - Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, questioning the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

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With a deadline looming and pressure on lawmakers escalating, a large bipartisan, bicameral conference committee gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday for the first formal negotiations of the Farm Bill.

Many on the committee — which includes a whopping 56 conferees — reiterated that it is imperative that work on the new Farm Bill be completed this month — before the current one expires on Sept. 30.

But the biggest sticking point between the competing House and Senate bills has to do with changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often called food stamps.

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In an epigraph to The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution, Justice William J. Brennan is quoted as saying of the nation's highest court: "If you have five votes here, you can do anything."

Justice Brennan, who died in 1997, was celebrated for path-breaking opinions but also for his effectiveness as a behind-the-scenes, judicial deal-maker. In this possible majority of one that Brennan describes, author David A. Kaplan, a former legal affairs editor of Newsweek, reads danger.

Judges in North Carolina on Tuesday said that despite declaring the state's electoral map to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered for partisan reasons, there wasn't enough time for the map to be redrawn before midterm elections in November.

"We further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina's congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State's electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout," Judges James Wynn Jr., William Osteen Jr. and W. Earl Britt wrote in their order Tuesday.

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As we have been looking back on the political career of John McCain, we have heard a great deal about bipartisanship, especially around one issue. This is Senator McCain at a campaign rally in Michigan in 2000.

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Senior medical student Giselle Lynch has plenty of accomplishments to list when she applies for a coveted spot in an ophthalmology residency program this fall.

But one box she won't be able to check when she submits her application is one of the highest academic awards medical students can receive, election to the honor society Alpha Omega Alpha.

Updated at 10:21 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is presenting himself as an open-minded judge who is guided by the law but not indifferent to the effects of his decisions, during a marathon day of confirmation hearings.

"I don't live in a bubble," Kavanaugh told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I base my decisions on the law, but I do so with an awareness of the facts and an awareness of the real-world consequences."

Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly dropped his insistence that President Trump appear in person to answer questions related to potential coordination his 2016 election campaign and Russia, agreeing instead to accept written responses.

The New York Times first reported on a letter sent Friday to the White House by Mueller making the offer. It comes after months of wrangling over whether Trump would or would not sit for an interview with the special counsel.

Zalmay Khalilzad, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq and as U.N. ambassador during the administration of President George W. Bush, has been named President Trump's special adviser to Afghanistan. His job will be to try to bring the Afghan government and the Taliban to a reconciliation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the appointment on Tuesday.

In a surprise defeat that reflects a changing Democratic Party, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley has defeated 10-term Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano in Massachusetts' 7th Congressional District.

Pressley is poised to become the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in the state's congressional history.

"It's not enough for Democrats to be back in power," she said at her election night celebration. "It matters who those Democrats are."

The first day of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings was long on quarreling, protesting and speechifying. While good theater, there was little actually learned about the man whom President Trump has nominated for a lifetime seat on the nation's highest court.

Here are a few takeaways from Tuesday's often contentious session:

1. Democrats came ready for a fight

The costs of protecting the Environmental Protection Agency chief more than doubled under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency's inspector general said in an audit report released Tuesday.

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