Arnie Seipel

A raw, emotional scene played out on Capitol Hill on Friday morning, minutes after Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, one of a handful of Republicans expected to decide the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, announced he would vote in favor of confirmation.

Two women confronted the Republican lawmaker as he boarded an elevator, telling him they are survivors of rape and sexual assault. Their identities were not immediately available to NPR.

Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with the American public, are hearing, for the first time, on Thursday directly from Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both teenagers in high school.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' future was cast further into doubt on Wednesday after President Trump made clear how broad his displeasure is with the man he tapped to lead the Department of Justice.

"I don't have an attorney general," Trump told Hill.TV in an interview on Tuesday.

The Republican National Convention in 2020 will be held in Charlotte, N.C., the party announced on Friday. The city was the only known contender to formally bid for the convention, and it is the city that hosted Democrats' convention in 2012 when President Barack Obama was renominated.

"We look forward to seeing the Queen City take center stage as the Republican Party renominates President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence," Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

A day after the Republican members of the House intelligence committee released their findings from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, which cleared President Trump's campaign of collusion, Democrats from the committee said today it was "premature" for the majority GOP members to conclude the probe, and that they would keep investigating.

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

President Trump is facing calls to act in the wake of the latest mass shooting, which killed 17 people Wednesday at a high school in Florida, and the White House is not ignoring them. The president will participate in a pair of listening sessions on school safety this week, and on Monday morning the White House said he supports efforts to improve the federal background check system, something Congress has expressed broad support for without acting on after past shootings.

While a lot of furious negotiation has been going on behind the scenes on Capitol Hill to end a partial government shutdown, to voters and cable news viewers it may look like most of the work in Washington is going into pointing fingers.

As the countdown to shutdown hit zero, an official White House statement called Democrats "obstructionist losers."

Democrats pointed to President Trump's inconsistent statements on immigration to say he's an unreliable negotiating partner.

Updated on Dec. 22 on 12:02 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans delivered on their first major legislative accomplishment of the Trump era on Wednesday, when the House voted 224-201 to pass a $1.5 trillion tax package. The bill cuts individual rates for eight years and slashes the top corporate tax rate to 21 percent permanently.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

In making his "closing argument" for tax legislation expected to get a vote in Congress next week, President Trump announced that the changes would take effect early next year.

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

Congress has voted to avert a partial government shutdown that could have come Friday night.

Updated Dec. 2 at 11:57 a.m. ET

The Senate narrowly approved a $1.4 trillion tax overhaul early Saturday morning following a day of procedural delays and frustration.

The legislation, which would cut the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent and lower taxes for most individuals, narrowly passed in a vote of 51-49. Tennessee Republican Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote against the legislation, joining every Democrat and both independents in opposing the sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

Senate Republicans continued maneuvering to pass their overhaul of the nation's tax code on Friday, possibly working around concerns by stern deficit hawks after an official estimate on Thursday said that the economic growth spurred by the plan would still leave a $1 trillion hole in the deficit.

Senate Republicans have begun debate on their bill to overhaul the nation's tax code. Many GOP members sound hopeful about passing their tax bill, possibly in a matter of hours. But they aren't there yet. To pass, 50 of the 52 GOP senators need to support the legislation. As the bill is debated on the Senate floor Thursday, several amendments are expected to try and get their support.

Here's what to watch for:

ANWR Drilling

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is putting North Korea back on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism. President Trump says the move "supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate this murderous regime."

President Trump told reporters on Monday that the Treasury Department will officially announce additional sanctions and penalties on the North Korean regime on Tuesday.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The National Rifle Association says it is open to new regulations on bump stocks, devices possessed by the mass shooter in Las Vegas that can be used to fire rifles similarly to automatic weapons. This comes as top Republicans in Congress appear open to the idea of a federal law banning the devices.

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