Politics & Government

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Joining us now to talk about the week in politics is Erick Erickson of the website The Resurgent and Jonathan Capehart, who's on the editorial board of The Washington Post. Hi, guys.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hi, Ari.

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Updated Feb. 10 at 4:17 p.m. ET

President Trump appeared to defend two recently resigned members of his staff accused of domestic abuse on Saturday, arguing in a tweet for due process and saying that people's lives are being destroyed by "a mere allegation."

Friday News Roundup - International

Feb 9, 2018

In South Africa, they’ve started calling it Zexit: The country’s controversial president, Jacob Zuma, appears close to stepping down.

Meanwhile, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un steps up.

And pressure mounts to save thousands under siege in Syria.

GUESTS

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When President Trump visited Ohio this week, he had a message for the GOP Senate candidate Rep. Jim Renacci.

"Jim, get in there and fight — we need you, we need you," Trump told the crowd.

A few weeks ago, White House staff personally intervened to persuade Renacci, who had been running for governor, to switch over to the Senate race to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. That is because GOP front-runner Josh Mandel dropped out last month, saying his wife is dealing with health problems. The move set off a scramble since the filing deadline was this past Wednesday.

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One year ago this week, Jeff Sessions stood beaming in the Oval Office as he awaited his swearing-in as the 84th attorney general of the United States.

On that day last February, President Trump signed executive orders on violent crime and gangs, pledging that a "new era of justice begins." And, in the year that followed, Sessions has managed to transform the Justice Department, particularly in the areas of civil rights, immigration and drugs.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

President Trump signed a bipartisan budget agreement Friday morning, following approval of the bill in Congress shortly before sunrise.

The two-year spending pact will let lawmakers spend $300 billion more than current law allows.

The deal suspends a 2011 budget law championed by conservatives that set hard caps on discretionary spending and included an automatic trigger known as "sequester" cuts if Congress attempted to bust those spending caps.

Updated at 10:47 p.m. ET

It seems all but certain that the nonessential operations of the government could shutter for at least a few hours overnight after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., repeatedly objected to a Senate vote in order to air his grievances over what he calls runaway federal spending.

Paul faced off with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the Senate majority whip, just after 10 p.m. on the Senate floor and blocked multiple attempts by Cornyn to hold a vote on funding legislation before 1 a.m. Friday.

Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

There have been several significant rulings recently in the continued fight over partisan gerrymandering in states around the country. The US Supreme Court this week said it won’t interfere with a ruling ordering Pennsylvania lawmakers to redraw Congressional district maps, which state courts had found in violation of the state constitution.

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