Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., 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.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, 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, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

Two witnesses seen as crucial to the case against President Trump in the impeachment inquiry testified Wednesday.

Much of what was said by acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and George Kent, the State Department's top official on Ukraine policy, was previously known from their lengthy depositions released last week.

But there were some new things — and several moments that stood out. Here are seven:

1. A new detail from a new witness emerges

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

CNN can be dramatic when it comes to hosting Democratic presidential debates. We saw a bit of that back in July in Michigan.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The fourth Democratic debate was a long one, about three hours, and ended after 11 p.m. ET.

You might not have made it through the whole thing, but there were some potentially consequential moments.

Here are six takeaways:

1. The scrutiny came for Warren, and her vulnerabilities were exposed some

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was under fire Tuesday night from several opponents, and when that happens to a candidate, you know they're a front-runner.

Updated 9:50 a.m. ET

The Trump administration has blocked Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, from testifying before Congress on Tuesday.

Sondland has been a key figure in the widening Ukraine scandal involving the president, members of his Cabinet and high-ranking diplomats.

Well, that escalated quickly.

At the beginning of this week, it wasn't at all clear that the country was heading toward another impeachment investigation, 21 years after Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

After months of expressing caution on a push for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump Tuesday.

"The president must be held accountable," Pelosi said. "No one is above the law."

The landmark move comes after controversy over a phone call Trump had with the newly elected Ukranian leader in July and reporting that the president pressured him to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

There are renewed calls for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached, after an essay in the New York Times, excerpting a book by Times reporters, was published this weekend.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Heading into Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, the third this campaign season, we had five political questions.

Here are those questions and how they got answered:

There are now less than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential nominating contest. So the spotlight is going to be even hotter on the 10 candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate in Houston. (Follow NPR's live analysis here.)

Labor Day has long been an unofficial start to election season. So far, two rounds of Democratic debates, and two fundraising deadlines have revealed a lot about where the Democratic primary stands.

President Trump doubled down Wednesday on his remarks that American Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal to Israel.

"In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel," Trump told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, "and only weak people would say anything other than that."

The first leg of the second round of Democratic presidential debates is over, and now it's on to Night 2.

Center stage features former Vice President Joe Biden, who has a lot on the line. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has been promising attacks on Biden's racial justice record, and Biden is promising to not be as "polite" as he was in the last debate. Night 1 also drew a bold line between moderates and progressives onstage.

The Democratic presidential candidates take the stage for the second round of debates Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit. A lot is on the line for the candidates, who have been engaged in back-and-forths over race and health care coming into this round of debates.

On Tuesday, progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren face off for the first time in this campaign. And several other candidates will be scrambling for a breakout night to get back on voters' minds.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential candidates are proposing lots of progressive policies in this election. And while those policies may resonate with the party base, some of those ideas are not popular with a general election electorate, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

President Trump will nominate Eugene Scalia, son of late Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the next labor secretary, the president announced via Twitter Thursday evening.

A source close to Scalia earlier Thursday confirmed to NPR that the president had offered Scalia the job and that he accepted.

Scalia, 55, is a partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., where he handles cases related to labor and employment.

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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