Politics & Government

Political news

Updated at 1 a.m. Friday ET

The sun danced and dipped through a bright blue sky over Nationals Park Thursday night, leaving a warm still evening in its wake.

"What a beautiful day for baseball," blared a voice over the loudspeakers, after Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" faded out, and John Fogerty's "Centerfield" finished, too.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has figured something out: "I learned how to become one of the most popular politicians in America," he says. "Announce that you are not running for president, and be authentic."

Biden shared that secret with Fresh Air on Tuesday in front of a live audience at WHYY studios in Philadelphia, where he received WHYY's Lifelong Learning Award for his distinguished career in public service and commitment to education.

The Wednesday shooting at a Virginia baseball field that critically wounded Louisiana GOP Rep. Steve Scalise and at least four others shook Washington.

Members of Congress were breaking into tears talking about the event.

But the violent outburst, while shocking and distressing, was not a complete surprise; threats and aggression toward members of Congress have gotten a lot of press in recent months, notably at town hall-style events. And especially related to the health care debate.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

What does it mean to make a bill less "mean"? This week, President Trump told Senate Republicans to do just that to their health care overhaul bill, and to also make it "more generous," as sources told the Associated Press. But it appears the White House didn't give much more direction: "the president did not say what aspects of the bill he was characterizing," the AP also reported.

"The Case of the Bloviating Bloggers."

That might be an apt title for the mini-drama that took place Wednesday when two judicial nominees came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, among the first batch President Trump has sent to the Senate for confirmation.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our next guest is Congressman Dave Schweikert in our studios once again. He's a Republican from Arizona. Congressman, thanks for coming by this morning.

DAVE SCHWEIKERT: Oh, happy to.

INSKEEP: Got your cup of coffee, ready to talk here.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

After fired FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress, the president touted one particular revelation that came out of that. Here's Senator Roy Blunt questioning Comey.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A special counsel's curiosity now reportedly extends to the actions of President Trump.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

alumroot

Wisconsin may soon join the list of states demanding a convention to change the U.S. Constitution. Wednesday, the state Assembly voted to request a meeting of states to amend the document, requiring a balanced federal budget.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos supports a balanced budget amendment. He says a constitutional change is necessary and blames former President Obama for increasing the national debt to $20 trillion. Vos wants people to visualize the huge number.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The violence that struck a ballfield in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday abruptly plunged what had been a routine start to the day in the Del Ray neighborhood into chaos. Residents were focused on morning workouts and getting coffee; a congressional contingent had driven over for an early baseball practice. But then the shooting started, and they all scrambled for cover.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Gunfire broke out this morning on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Republican lawmakers were on that field practicing for a congressional charity game. Five people were shot.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Pages