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Cracks in GOP support for Trump emerge, but White House claims ‘we’re all good’
‘What was boiling under the surface … has now come to the surface,’ Republican insider says

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as Republican senators look on following a lunch meeting in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican lawmakers are increasingly breaking with Donald Trump — through critical words and high-profile votes — but White House officials contend the president still has a grip on his party mates on Capitol Hill.

The Senate floor in recent weeks has become ground zero for GOP members jumping out of line. With a series of national security and government spending speeches and vote results, the president’s party has issued a string of stinging blows after nearly two years of mostly sticking with and defending him.

Shutdown or national emergency? Trump plays coy in pre-Super Bowl interview
POTUS: Pelosi ‘very bad for our country.’ Her spokesman blasts his ‘recklessness’

President Donald Trump blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an interview with CBS News. Her spokesman fired back as their feud continued 12 days before the government might again shut down. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump used his pre-Super Bowl interview to send mixed signals about his next move in his border wall standoff with Democratic leaders and to blast Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “very bad for our country.”

In an interview set to air Sunday morning ahead of the NFL championship game as part of CBS’s pregame coverage, the president floated a second partial government shutdown and declaring a national emergency that would allow him to access Pentagon funds for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border structure — and inevitable court challenges from Democrats and pro-immigration groups.

So many 2020 Democrats, so much (executive) time
Aides say Trump makes own decisions. Dem strategist sees ‘cable news’ approach

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., center, during a swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol in 2017. Both could be among the top Democrats attracting the ire of President Donald Trump as the 2020 presidential race gets under way. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The West Wing portico was vacant most of Tuesday morning. The U.S. Marine who stands guard when a president is in the White House office space was not seen until 14 minutes before noon. In the meantime, President Donald Trump zeroed in on a new critic and fired away.

Cliff Sims, a former special assistant to Trump, is making the book tour rounds on cable television as he peddles the latest explosive tome about life in Trump’s West Wing. That included a stop by CNN’s “New Day” morning show Tuesday. As Sims spoke, the president appeared to be watching from the White House residence, slamming the tell-all book that describes the West Wing as a chaotic place occupied by a “team of vipers” and the man who penned it — even appearing to threaten legal action over an alleged nondisclosure agreement.

Will the Lone Stars Align for Beto O’Rourke in Texas Senate Race?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 41

Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke joins Willie Nelson on stage during his Turn out For Texas Rally last month. Other Texas legends are coming out for O'Rourke. How much difference will it make, though? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Will appealing to Whataburger partisans get out the vote? What about a new Willie Nelson song? These are but some of the questions that will be answered by the Texas Senate race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke

That’s because some of the Lone Star State’s favorite sons, like country-music legend Nelson and filmmaker Richard Linklater, have come out strong for O’Rourke and are putting their artistic talent where their mouths are. Will it make a difference, though? Leah Askarinam from Inside Elections and McClatchy’s Alex Roarty, who grew up in Houston, discuss the race, whether famous Texans will help O’Rourke and what sort of downstream effect the race has on competitive House races we might see on the latest Political Theater Podcast. 

Opinion: No Holiday in the United States of Exhaustion
Memorial Day week started like any other, with sniping and infighting

Flags were placed at every grave for Memorial Day at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, Nev., on Monday. There was little public evidence this Memorial Day of Americans coming together to mend the tears in the nation’s fabric, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In overworked America, with national holidays too few and far between, citizens look forward to each one. Memorial Day, especially, is a time of unity — a day to honor those who have served and sacrificed, without regard to political party or philosophy.

This year, though, that always delicate truce seemed particularly fraught.

Opinion: Hollywood Discovers America!
Roseanne has tapped into the frustrations of many voters

Roseanne Barr has tapped into the frustrations that drove millions to take a risk in the 2016 election, Winston writes. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images file photo)

As a matter of preference, television sitcoms rank somewhere behind handyman shows and zombie apocalypse series when it comes to my viewing habits. But like 25 million other Americans last week, I watched the societal/political phenomenon that is “Roseanne.”

For me, watching this working-class family struggle to make ends meet was eerily familiar.

Analysis: After Stormy, Trump Goes Dark
Trump avoiding reporters for second day after porn actress broke silence

President Donald Trump has gone uncharacteristically silent after Stormy Daniels’ “60 Minutes’ interview on Sunday. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has gone dark.

On the first work day after porn actress Stormy Daniels alleged a consenual sexual encounter with then-married businessman and reality television star Trump in 2006 then a payoff to remain silent in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election, Trump stayed out of view of reporters Monday — and out of range of their myriad Stormy questions — on an uncharacteristically quiet day at his White House.

An Environmental Film Festival That Aims for a Big Tent
26th annual confab pitches itself as both mission-driven and entertaining

The 26th annual Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital is underway, and runs through March 25. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maryanne G. Culpepper, executive director of the Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital, has a long-standing heads-up for filmmakers who arrive at screenings to talk about their movies. 

“People are going to challenge you with questions. Be sure that you really know your stuff, and don’t try to bluff your way through an answer, because they’ll call you on it,” she says. 

The Newspaperman
Members share memories of Ben Bradlee as HBO biopic premieres in D.C.

Ben Bradlee speaks during a question and answer session at the 30th anniversary screening of “All The President’s Men” in New York in 2005. (Brad Barket/Getty Images file photo)

HBO’s “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” premieres on the network Dec. 4. Some VIPs in D.C. got a sneak peak Wednesday.

Bradlee guided the paper as it peeled away the layers of the Watergate scandal, which toppled the presidency of Richard Nixon. Reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward told the story in their book “All the President’s Men,” later adapted for the film of the same name. 

New High Court Term, Same No-TV and Tape-Delay Rules
Arguments will be invisible, and hard to hear, even for member of Congress with eyes on landmark redistricting case

Cameras still won’t be allowed in the U.S. Supreme Court and arguments will continue to be on a tape-delay. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court term starting next week promises to be among the most consequential in years, but it’s guaranteed to be as invisible as ever to the American citizenry.

The campaign to get cameras in the courtroom has almost totally foundered. Instead, some open-government advocates have started campaigning to simply hear oral arguments in real time  — so far, also with no success.