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Steve Flowers on Shelby County

9 hours ago

The late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neil is famous for having said “all politics is local.”  Along those lines, the late writer Kathryn Tucker Windham also coined the phrase that Alabama was just "one big front porch." With that in mind, APR political commentator Steve Flowers focuses on the Shelby County area and its place in Alabama’s political world…

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Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

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We have been here before - yet another game of chicken over the budget and the threat of a partial government shutdown.

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Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

In a testy Oval Office exchange with the two top congressional Democrats, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Trump made clear he would be "proud" to shut down the government in less than two weeks if he doesn't get funding for his border wall.

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Back in 2012, Donald Trump, who was then a private citizen, wrote a tweet mocking President Obama.

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As President Trump continues to threaten to potentially shut down the government over his border wall, Americans would prefer to see him compromise to prevent gridlock, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

By a 21-point margin — 57 percent to 36 percent — Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown, rather than stand firm. About two-thirds of Republicans say the opposite, and the president has been focused on maintaining his base.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors have reached a plea deal with Maria Butina, the Russian woman who parlayed her interest in gun rights and her Republican Party connections into an unofficial influence campaign inside the U.S.

Butina has agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to act as a Russian agent on America's soil without registering as required with the Justice Department.

She faces a maximum of five years in prison but could serve far less time once she is sentenced next year.

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Congress has promised for months to come together and pass legislation to overhaul the system for handling accusations of sexual misconduct against members. Bipartisan negotiators say they are confident a bill will pass before the year is out, but they still have some major issues to resolve with little time before the lame-duck session wraps up this month.

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Updated at 4 p.m. ET

President Trump says he will be making a decision "soon" on a new chief of staff. But some of the candidates whose names have been floated for the post say they're not interested.

It seems people are not exactly lining up for the chance to try to organize Trump's impulsive and unpredictable operation, especially in the face of an aggressive special counsel's investigation and newly empowered Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Russia, Recapped

Dec 10, 2018

The man, the myth, one side’s great hope and another’s witch hunter. What’s on the mind of Robert Mueller, the man charged with running the highest profile investigation in the country?

Well, it’s hard to know. “The office of the special counsel declined to comment” is one of the most common refrains in stories about the Russia probe.

But we did get a peek behind the curtain of the investigation last Friday.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought by Republican-led states that were seeking to defund Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide women's reproductive health services.

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All right, we just heard about the legal implications of the recent Mueller filing, so let's talk about the political implications with NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

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Mounting evidence about President Trump's 2016 campaign raises legal issues and a big political question.

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Last week in the Russia investigations: The special counsel ties up loose ends, but that may not mean the finish line is any closer.

Endings and beginnings

Never mind that it still isn't fully clear what the Russia imbroglio is — what picture all the puzzle pieces are supposed to form when they're put together.

An even more basic question that's just as difficult to answer is: How much longer will it go?

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