Ron Elving

The latest book-length tell-all on life inside President Trump's White House has appeared, and it's just as unsparing about dysfunction and deception as all those earlier versions by journalists, gossip mavens and former staffers. Maybe more so.

The difference is that the president likes this one.

Or at least he says he likes it. And it's probably not because of the catchy title (Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election), or any previous works by the author, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The news world is ravenously awaiting the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference.

But Attorney General William Barr's two trips to the Capitol last week strongly suggest that the version of the report he releases will only whet the appetites of many in Congress and beyond for more information.

Welcome to the nightmare of being the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, Joe.

Two women have complained about being touched inappropriately by former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been the leading (if still undeclared) candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Biden's poll numbers, while far from overwhelming, have still been the best of the ever-widening Democratic field. So any story that even hints at a Biden scandal is going to lead the newscast and leap to the front page.

Federal judges have sentenced other former aides of Donald Trump to prison, but a filmmaker is seeking a different kind of judgment on Steve Bannon, the onetime guru who thinks he's the one who got Trump elected president.

A presidential pardon can't be stopped, blocked, vetoed or overturned. So where does this power come from? And is there any limit to it?

President Trump says he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself (though he says he wouldn't need to because he hasn't done anything wrong).

Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI, says President Trump's treatment of the bureau and its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign was so profoundly disturbing during the spring of 2017 that Justice Department officials discussed contacting Cabinet members to initiate Trump's removal from office under the 25th Amendment.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

As a rule, presidents want to have it both ways in their annual State of the Union addresses.

They want to "reach out to all Americans" with uplifting appeals to unity and bipartisanship. But they can't resist pumping up the pep rally for their party and most loyal supporters.

If that applies to all presidents in all seasons, it surely applied Tuesday night to President Trump, who has found the halfway point of his term to be fraught with political travail.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

And from Don to Ron, let us bring in NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving, a man who has covered many presidents, many State of the Union addresses over the years. Welcome to the studio, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Mary Louise.

Congratulations, Stacey Abrams, you have just won the most dubious political prize in Washington!

Abrams, a former Democratic leader in the Georgia State Assembly, was named last week to respond to President Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Who would question that it's a privilege to deliver the opposition party's response to the president's State of the Union address? Well, perhaps you could start with some of the people who have actually done it.

Updated Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. ET

It was nearly midnight Wednesday when President Trump sent the tweet saying he would wait to deliver his "great" State of the Union speech until after the government is fully reopened.

When President Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night he will be sharing the space with more than a teleprompter and an array of TV cameras.

The room with the legendary shape will also be filled with ghosts. The spirit of every president in the television age will be alive in the memories of millions watching at home.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Rarely have six words meant so much, and so many different things, to so many.

As the years pass, we edit and compress our memories of presidents and other national figures until only a few salient impressions endure. Most of what we once knew recedes into our cerebral hard disk. That may be especially true for one-term presidents, often remembered more for what turned them out of office than for what got them there.

Would this apply to the one-term president who died Friday, George H.W. Bush? His name was attached to some of the nation's top positions for more than two decades even before his namesake son won the White House twice.

Want to feel old? Consider the fact that babies who were crying in cribs while their parents agonized over Florida's protracted presidential recount in 2000 are now of voting age.

Eighteen years is a long time. Even so, when we think of that time, many of us conjure up memories as sharp as barbed wire, roll our eyes or sigh out loud when anyone mentions "Florida 2000."

That phrase is being invoked a lot in light of this year's ultra-tight Florida statewide elections.

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