Donald Trump

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On this holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. offers his thoughts on the slain civil rights leader, and critiques Pres. Donald Trump's recent tributes to Dr. King and Rosa Parks.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Kansas set lofty goals for its public schools in the next dozen years – but the Trump administration and independent experts suggest the state’s plan is as vague as it is ambitious.

The state’s plan lacks concrete details on closing academic gaps in its public schools, so much so that federal officials and outside reviewers question the state’s compliance with civil rights law that demands all children get fair learning opportunities.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The White House may have scrapped the controversial national election integrity commission that he was helping to lead, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is still rooting out alleged voter fraud in his home state.

Armed with powers not usually assigned to a secretary of state, Kobach filed a pair of criminal complaints Thursday against two people he said voted when, and more, than they had the right to.

Updated at 8:44 p.m. ET

The White House announced Wednesday that President Trump's controversial Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — which was mired in lawsuits and had received pushback from states over voter data requests — has been dissolved.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's effort to dramatically tighten voting rules goes to trial in March.
File Photo / Kansas News Service

The fight over whether Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violated the constitution in his quest to demand proof of citizenship from voters goes to trial, with a ruling Wednesday that could complicate his case, in March.

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback has more hurdles to clear before potentially leaving Kansas to head the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department.

The governor’s name wasn’t among dozens of nominees approved in the Senate this week, nor was it on a list of nominees to hold over until its next session.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union questions the security of a multistate voter registration database championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The ACLU this week added concerns about personal privacy and data security to its list of complaints against President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. The national organization also claims that the commission violated sunshine laws on public meetings and public documents.

Taking America's Political Temperature

Dec 14, 2017
Public Opinion Strategies

For Pres. Donald Trump, the one-year mark of occupying the Oval Office is in sight. As he enters year two, the country remains politically tense and ideologically divided. Today, Neil Newhouse, one of the country's top Republican pollsters, looks at what attracted voters to candidate Trump and whether they continue to stand with him. Newhouse also offers his thoughts on the efforts of Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill to retain their seats in 2018.

President Donald Trump made grand promises Wednesday that a pending federal tax overhaul will bring jobs back to "Main Street America'' by revamping a "dysfunctional'' tax system and providing tax cuts for working families.

He told a packed audience at the St. Charles Convention Center that only Democrats like Missouri's U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill stood in the way of a more prosperous future.  The president portrayed McCaskill, a former prosecutor, as a tax-cut opponent who is "weak on crime,  weak on the border, weak on the military."

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Donald Trump Jr. appeared at a fundraiser Monday night in Overland Park, Kansas, for Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach is one of 11 people running for the Republican nomination for governor of Kansas. 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran candidly discussed his reservations about President Donald Trump’s tax cut bill Wednesday at a town hall meeting in the small north-central Kansas community of Frankfort.

But in response to prodding from some in the crowd of approximately 100, he declined to commit to voting against the bill if Republican leaders don’t address his concerns.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Floyd Abrams probably is the best-known First Amendment lawyer in the United States. He represented the New York Times before the Supreme Court in the landmark Pentagon Papers case in 1971 and argued in the controversial Citizens United case, decided in 2010, that restrictions on corporate expenditures in elections violated the First Amendment. His newly published book, "The Soul of the First Amendment," argues that America's guaranties of free speech and press set it apart from the rest of the world. 

Courtesy Sunflower Foundation

Progressives deride supporters of President Donald Trump as willfully ignorant reactionaries, even racists.

Fans of the president respond in kind, dismissing liberals as snowflakes and worse.

The escalating war of words is a clear and present danger to American democracy, said Carolyn Lukensmeyer, executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, in a presentation sponsored by the Topeka-based Sunflower Foundation’s Advocacy in Health speaker series.

HuffPost

A federal judge on Monday partially blocked President Trump's ban on transgender recruits to the military.

In a 76-page opinion Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia said parts of the president's ban are not supported by the evidence.

The judge's opinion reinstates Obama-era policy toward transgender service men and women, which lifted long-standing restrictions. For decades, the military identified gender non-conformity as a mental illness.  

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

A U.S. Senate committee has given the green light for the full chamber to proceed with a vote on Gov. Sam Brownback’s confirmation to an ambassador-at-large position.

Approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the position relating to international religious freedom was the first hurdle after President Donald Trump picked Brownback for the role in July.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican, says he is optimistic that Congress will overhaul the tax system by the end of the year. Blunt says most people don’t know the details of the tax proposal he expects Senators to vote on this year, but he anticipates it will  involve a break for working class people.  He also thinks it will likely increase the budget deficit.

“I think a short term increase in the deficit that leads to a long term increase in income is the right thing to do,” Blunt says.

Frank Morris / NPR and KCUR

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says she welcomes Republican Josh Hawley to the U.S. Senate race, but the incumbent Democrat has a lot of questions for Hawley.

The GOP primary for Senate isn’t until next year, but Senator McCaskill, a Democrat, is taking aim at Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, painting Hawley as a pawn of the unpopular Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Newly unsealed documents show Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had proposed changes to federal voting law when meeting last year with then President-elect Donald Trump. The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to disclose the documents in a lawsuit over Kansas voting rules.

At issue were two documents. One was a partially obscured paper Kobach carried into a meeting in November 2016 with Trump, and the second was a document distributed in his office.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

President Donald Trump is giving Congress six months to come up with a solution to help unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children, including thousands in Kansas. 

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Facing what could be a tough race for re-election, Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder appeared determined to strike a bipartisan tone Tuesday night in his first in-person town hall meeting since last year’s election.

He stressed the importance of civility and working across the aisle several times during the meeting sponsored by the Kansas City Star, touting his work with Democrats to expand child-care tax credits and strengthen privacy laws.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

News of White House strategist Steve Bannon’s resignation broke Friday afternoon during U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s town hall meeting in Topeka.

The second-term Republican was fielding questions about President Donald Trump’s fitness for office when a man in the back of the American Legion hall reading the news on his cell phone shouted that Bannon was out

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons--CC

President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders came up short in their initial efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says they’re still working to engineer its failure.

In a recent interview, Sebelius, who spearheaded implementation of the ACA, said she knows that the law isn’t perfect. But she said it would be working better if Republicans would stop undermining it.

“The notion that this law is imploding is just not accurate,” Sebelius said.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

With President Donald Trump’s poll numbers sliding into historically low territory, Democrats won’t be satisfied with modest gains in next year’s midterm election.

They’re hoping for an anti-Trump wave that gives them control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday touted his credentials and passion for helping the Trump administration mitigate religious persecution around the globe.

The prospective ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom said he does not know how long it might take for the U.S. Senate to consider his nomination by President Donald Trump, and he hasn’t yet decided when to turn over the reins to his lieutenant governor, Jeff Colyer.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

After months of speculation, news broke Wednesday evening that Pres. Donald Trump nominated Kansas' governor as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The appointment requires Senate approval. Today, we hear from journalists, political thinkers, and Kansas state lawmakers to find out what this long-rumored move means for the Sunflower State, and to discuss the legacy Gov. Sam Brownback will leave behind.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

While controversy surrounding the president's opposition research has been hogging headlines recently, the practice of digging up dirt on an opponent is as old as politics. In fact, today's first guests, consultants John Hancock and Michael Kelley, say it's essential to a successful campaign.

Tex Texin / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City's ongoing violent crime problem is no secret. Today, we hear from two former presidents of the Board of Police Commissioners, Jeff Simon and Pat McInerney, who offer their thoughts on solving the city's preeminent hurdle. Then, we examine how a wall between the U.S. and Mexico would (or would not) affect existing tensions over immigration, crime, trade and more.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

A federal magistrate judge on Wednesday refused to reconsider his order fining Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $1,000 for misleading the court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara said the reconsideration request raised arguments that Kobach should have made earlier.

Ryan Bavetta / Flickr - CC

It's easy to claim that Mexican immigrants, workers or political policies are what ails the American economy, but the problem is more complex than that. Today, we learn why simple solutions won't solve complicated issues between the United States and its southern neighbor. Then, we meet a journalist and author who toured small towns throughout the Midwest, and was pleasantly surprised by the resilience and hope she found in them.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The same group of elderly white men meet every morning at 6 a.m. at Fubbler’s Cove diner on Front Street in Orrick, Missouri. And pretty much every day they discuss the usual stuff: the weather, the crops, etc.

On a recent warm spring day, I dropped in to ask for their opinions on how they think national politics affects them.

“You probably don’t want to hear,” said one, who asked that I not use his name.

These guys disagree all the time – about everything from the new mayor to the food.  But it doesn’t get in the way of their daily coffee and conversation.

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