On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week

From Michael Cohen’s testimony to the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit, it’s been a busy week in American politics. Here are some of the biggest stories you might have missed (and some links if you’d like to read further).


In a daylong hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, offered a damning portrayal of life inside the president’s orbit — where, he said, advisers sacrifice integrity for proximity to power.

Accusations by Mr. Cohen, such as the president’s alleged knowledge of the hacked Democratic emails released by WikiLeaks, could create new legal issues for Mr. Trump. His testimony also revived questions about whether the president broke the law by failing to disclose that he had footed the bill for a hush payment to a pornographic film actress.

Internal memos revealed Thursday show that Mr. Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns from intelligence officials. The memos contradict previous statements made by the president, who said he had no role in Mr. Kushner’s clearance.

On Thursday, the president said his administration was “well on our way to doing something special” with China, but his top economic advisers have sent a series of conflicting messages about the trade talks’ status.

Additional Reading

Defender of World Order or Trump Mouthpiece? Pompeo Is Tested by North Korea, Iran and U.S. Allies

On Foreign Trips, Pence Steps Out of Trump’s Shadow but Always Stays on Message

Cozy Up to U.S., Vietnam Tells North Korea. Look What It Did for Us.

The House voted on Tuesday to block Mr. Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border, seeking to stop the diversion of funds to his wall. The resolution will now be taken up by the Senate, where it is one vote short of passage.

Gun control once badly divided the Democratic Party. But on Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House voted to require background checks for all gun purchasers, including at gun shows and on the internet. It was the first significant gun control bill to clear the chamber in decades. Here’s more about the vote and a look at what could come next.

More than 100 House Democrats rallied around a “Medicare for all” bill that would eliminate most private health insurance. But the proposal, which was light on details, highlighted a new split within the party.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Democrats were prepared to go to court to force the release of the final report from the special counsel if it is not made public.

Additional Reading

In Conservative Districts, Democrats Have to Answer for Party’s Left Wing

Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’

G.O.P. Tries to Hold Down Defections Before Vote to Block Trump’s Emergency

Who is Konstantin Kilimnik, and what did he and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, discuss in 2016? Here’s the story behind the Russian operative who’s central to the special counsel’s investigation.

Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta is facing rising pressure over the lenient plea bargain that he helped negotiate with Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy Trump acquaintance accused of trafficking children for sex.

A woman who worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign sued him in federal court on Monday, saying that he forcibly kissed her at a campaign event in Florida months before the election.

Mark Harris, the North Carolina Republican whose bid for the state’s Ninth Congressional District seat collapsed after a fraud-tainted voter-turnout effort, said he would not run in a new election.

Virginia’s first lady, Pam Northam, apologized for handing raw cotton to black children touring the governor’s mansion and asking them to imagine being enslaved and having to pick the crop.


Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Isabella Grullón Paz in New York

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].


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