Politics & Government

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In deep-red Texas, Republicans will have to fight for every seat in Congress during next year's midterm elections. For the first time in 25 years, Democrats are running in all of Texas' 36 congressional districts, according to documents filed with the Texas Secretary of State's office.

Those filings set a record for the number of Democratic challengers in an era of Republican dominance, says Mark Jones, political science fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute. It is a departure from 2016, he says, when eight Republican-held congressional seats went uncontested by Democrats.

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein faces questions Wednesday on Capitol Hill about the investigation into Russia's election interference, he is certain to be asked about unflattering text messages exchanged by FBI agents about then-candidate Donald Trump.

In the text messages, seen by NPR's Carrie Johnson, between agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Trump is referred to several times as an "idiot."

Updated at 12:44 a.m. ET

Democrat Doug Jones has won the Alabama Senate special election, a victory that was a stunning upset in a deeply red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump. The president, who had backed Republican Roy Moore despite multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and assault, congratulated Jones on Twitter.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. would negotiate with North Korea without demanding that the country first agree to nuclear disarmament. This marks a significant change in a approach for Tillerson, who has spent much of this year working on the pressure campaign to cut off financial resources for the North Korean nuclear program.

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A pro-Islamic State group sought to tie a bomb explosion in New York City to last week’s announcement that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The announcement from the Trump Administration set off protests around the globe, many targeting U.S. embassies in Muslim-majority nations. 

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the U.S. would be willing to enter negotiations with North Korea without requiring that it agree beforehand to give up its nuclear weapons program. The willingness to engage in talks without that understanding is a significant change in the U.S. approach.

With a single 8 a.m. tweet, a classic Trumpian feud has erupted between the president of the United States and the junior senator from his home state, a high-profile female Democrat who called his tweet "a sexist smear."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was attending a bipartisan Senate prayer meeting Tuesday morning when she got a phone call. President Trump had tweeted about her.

This appears to have been a response to Gillibrand's call on Monday for Trump to resign.

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Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

The anti-corruption organization Transparency International says Americans are expressing greater concern this year about wrongdoing within the U.S. government, and especially within the White House.

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