Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's lead political editor. Based in Washington, DC, his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage and is the lead editor for Supreme Court coverage.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, NY, Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

Supreme Court Takes Up DACA Appeal

Jun 28, 2019

The fates of almost 1 million people brought to the country illegally as children, known as DREAMers, are now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court granted an appeal to the Trump administration's decision to end the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The Obama-era program to protect DREAMers will get a one-hour hearing before the high court next term. The court said it would consolidate three appeals into one argument.

When Sen. Kamala Harris of California launched her presidential campaign in January and drew a crowd of 20,000 in Oakland, Calif., she raised some eyebrows about the potential for her candidacy.

But during the early stretch of this Democratic primary campaign, Harris struggled to catch on or stand apart — until Thursday night.

Updated 7:45 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 decision along traditional conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question — not reviewable by federal courts — and that those courts can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the Constitution.

The ruling puts the onus on the legislative branch, and on individual states, to police redistricting efforts.

If the overarching question heading into the first debate of the 2020 presidential primary for Democratic voters was "Who can you see as president up there?" it's not certain they got a clear answer.

Rather than fireworks — toward each other or President Trump — the candidates took a cautious approach. Will that be the approach on Night 2, Thursday night, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden on the same stage?

Here are five takeaways from Wednesday night's debate:

1. Elizabeth Warren was consistent.

For millions of Americans, this week's debates will be their introduction to many of the almost two dozen Democrats running for president, vying for the chance to try to unseat President Trump next year.

Twenty of the candidates will debate over two nights — Wednesday and Thursday — in Miami on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Some lesser-known candidates will be hoping for a boost, and those who are better-known have pressure on them to perform.

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

After two years of silence, special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke for 10 minutes Wednesday morning.

By the end, he had resigned and handed his caseload to Congress.

The man who headed the sweeping investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, the Trump campaign's role and the actions of now-President Trump himself took no questions. He said he hoped this was the last he would have to say about it.

It's decision season at the U.S. Supreme Court, and there are a host of consequential cases the justices are deciding, from a controversial Trump administration proposal to adding a citizenship question to the census to gerrymandering and a question of separation of church and state.

As always, timing of which exact cases will be decided is unknown until the court releases them. The only clues are when the cases were argued, and, sometimes, that's not predictive either.

Now that the 2020 Democratic field is pretty much set (barring a last-minute Stacey Abrams or John Kerry bid) with former Vice President Joe Biden getting in Thursday, let's look at what we've learned so far about the field and what to watch for going forward:

1. How far does name identification go? Biden is a huge boulder in the lake, and his entry into the presidential campaign is sending ripples throughout the primary field. So far, he leads the pack. That's largely a product of the fact that people know the former vice president and recognize his name.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell is the latest Democrat to jump into the race for president.

"I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home. Nothing gets done," Swalwell said in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday night.

The Supreme Court appeared sharply divided on the question of whether there's any limit on what the courts can impose on partisan redistricting, also known as gerrymandering, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the newest member of the court, appearing at least somewhat conflicted.

"I took some of your argument in the briefs and the amicus briefs to be that extreme partisan gerrymandering is a real problem for our democracy," Kavanaugh told the lawyers arguing the case, "and I'm not going to dispute that."

There were two headline "principal conclusions" out of Attorney General William Barr's publicly released letter to Congress about the now-concluded Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller:

  1. It "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

Bernie Sanders filed Monday to be a candidate for the Senate in 2024 — as an independent.

But last month, Sanders filed as a Democrat for president.

It's not unusual for candidates to file with the Federal Election Commission for re-election to their current office, which allows them to begin raising money. Most candidates file shortly after Election Day, in fact.

More than 6-in-10 Americans disapprove of President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency so he can build barriers along the U.S border with Mexico, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

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President Trump delivered a wide-ranging State of the Union address Tuesday night that went an hour and 21 minutes. That's the third-longest ever.

So what should we make of Trump's third address to Congress, and in a year when Democrats are gearing up for a crowded primary to decide who will face Trump in 2020?

1. Trump did not acknowledge the new political reality in Washington

In this game of who would blink first in this shutdown showdown, it was, perhaps surprisingly, President Trump.

Late Wednesday night, the president tweeted saying he would defer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and not deliver a State of the Union address until the government is back open.

While the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, President Trump's approval rating is down, and there are cracks showing with his base.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds Trump's approval rating down and his disapproval rating up from a month ago. He currently stands at 39 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove — a 7-point net change from December when his rating was 42 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove.

President Trump delivered the first Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night — and it came in the midst of a protracted partial government shutdown.

There were a lot of questions going into the address, but there were at least as many afterward — especially, and most importantly: What now?

So what did we learn from the president's address and the rare Democratic response? Here are seven insights:

When we set out to try to look back on the year that was in politics, we started with a list that grew ... and grew ... and grew. After a couple of days, the list was just shy of 100 news events. That's about one notable story every three days.

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.

President Trump continues to rail against special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Trump has, for example, used the words "witch hunt" in tweets nearly a dozen times in the month since Election Day.

Updated Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., delivered a decisive blow to President Trump Friday, ruling in favor of CNN and the news media.

Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, ordered the White House to restore correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials, something the White House said later it would do.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There are a lot of different ways to read the results from elections across the country Tuesday.

There will be lots of spin in the coming days about what it all means, but here are seven ways to cut through the noise and put what happened in context:

1. It was a Democratic wave in the House, and that is a very big deal.

There's a lot that can happen Tuesday, the culmination of a long midterm election campaign that will provide the first nationwide measure of the U.S. electorate since Donald Trump was elected president.

There are dozens of competitive races across the country that will determine control of the House, Senate and governors' seats. Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to take back the House, Democrats need a net gain of two seats to flip the Senate and Democrats are expected to slice into Republicans' 33-16 advantage in governors' seats.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Roughly 80 percent of voters say they are concerned that the negative tone and lack of civility in Washington will lead to violence or acts of terror, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

But they are divided on who is the most to blame.

This election really is about Donald Trump.

Roughly two-thirds of voters say President Trump is a factor (either major or minor) in their vote in this year's midterms, far more than said so in 2014 about then-President Barack Obama, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

The 2018 elections could see the highest turnout for a midterm since the mid-1960s, another time of cultural and social upheaval.

"It's probably going to be a turnout rate that most people have never experienced in their lives for a midterm election," Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who studies turnout and maintains a turnout database, told NPR.

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