Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's lead editor for politics and digital audience. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs political coverage across the network's broadcast and digital platforms.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, NY, Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

President Trump led an incendiary rally at which he ripped at cultural divides, played to white grievance, defended himself by stretching the truth or leaving out key facts, attacked members of his own party and the media, played the victim and threatened apocalyptic political consequences — all the while ignoring political norms and sensitivities.

The only thing that's surprising is if you're surprised by it.

There is a telling photo that has gotten some attention in social media after Steve Bannon's exit as President Trump's chief strategist. (You can see it above.)

It shows President Trump behind the desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by his top advisers: Seated are Vice President Pence and national security adviser Mike Flynn; standing, from left to right, are chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer.

That was Jan. 28, eight days after Trump was inaugurated.

Today, only Pence remains.

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No single issue has been a greater animating force for the Republican base over the past decade than immigration — except maybe the Affordable Care
Act (aka Obamacare).

And with the failure of GOP health care efforts in Congress and sliding poll numbers this summer, the Trump White House seems to be making a concerted effort to elevate cultural wedge issues, from immigration and a ban on transgender people in the military to affirmative action and police conduct.

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The new White House chief of staff removed a distraction by firing Anthony Scaramucci. So what's he do with all those other distractions?

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Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, was interviewed by Rachel Martin on NPR's Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Gingrich threw out a lot of allegations, including that the Justice Department is "very liberal" and "anti-Trump"; that Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and now special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation, is biased because of donations to Hillary Clinton from people at his law firm; and that Mueller has hired "killers" to take down Trump.

"Know your audience" is usually the first rule of public speaking. But that doesn't really seem to matter all that much to President Trump.

Trump became overtly political in yet another setting that some are seeing as crossing the line — in a speech to the Boy Scouts.

Ironically, Trump began his remarks Monday night promising not to talk about politics.

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President Trump's son-in-law wrote it down. Jared Kushner says he did not collude with Russia during the 2016 election.

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Meghan McCain writes that, of her family members, the one most confident and calm right now is her father.

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Her father is Senator John McCain. And his office says he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

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And, Steve, did a presidential tweet just bring unity to Washington, D.C.?

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Defeat is an orphan.

Summing up the left's response to its deflating loss in a special congressional election in the Atlanta suburbs were two reactions:

1. Jim Dean, chairman of the progressive activist group Democracy For America, in a statement:

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

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Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday — help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump, and, in turn, help Trump.

The attorney general, an early Trump supporter, revealed little in the congressional hearing about the ongoing Russia saga or Trump's role in possibly trying to quash the investigation looking into it.

Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning — and that may be exactly how the White House wants it.

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All we want are the facts, ma'am.

During his congressional testimony Thursday, James Comey played his best Sgt. Joe Friday, the protagonist of the 1950s Dragnet TV series known for that signature line.

Asked whether he thought President Trump obstructed justice, Comey, the fired FBI director, declined to give his opinion.

"I don't know," Comey said. "That — that's Bob Mueller's job to sort that out."

Updated June 20, 2017, at 2:42 p.m. ET

The elephant in the room whenever talking about President Trump and the Russia investigation is the big I-word — impeachment.

The word had been in the not-so-far reaches of liberal conspiracy talk since Trump was elected. There is a website with more than 976,000 signatures on a petition encouraging Congress to impeach Trump. There is even an "Impeach Donald Trump" Twitter handle.

Donald Trump wasn't the first president to think the mainstream media was "fake news" — and determined to do something about it.

In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was irritated with reporting on a leaked conversation between himself and senators that portrayed his position toward the emerging threat of Germany as "the American frontier is on the Rhine." In other words, FDR appeared to be pledging — in private — not to allow Germany to get far beyond its borders, thereby making it likely he would commit America to war.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

Undermining the prior rationale laid out by the White House, President Trump said he decided to fire James Comey as FBI director without regard to the Justice Department's recommendation.

"It was set up a while ago," Trump admitted to NBC's Lester Holt in his widest-ranging remarks about his firing of Comey. "And frankly, I could have waited, but what difference does it make?"

He added, "Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey."

The White House says President Trump fired James Comey because of how he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The president, who campaigned before crowds that chanted, "Lock her up," is telling the American people that he summarily fired the FBI director, by letter, because he went outside Department of Justice protocols in speaking out about the Clinton investigation months ago.

The president fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday. NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to NPR's Domenico Montanaro and GOP Rep. Chris Stewart, member of the House Intelligence Committee, about the decision. Stewart tells Inskeep that Comey had lost confidence "frankly on both sides of the aisle. ... It was probably appropriate to make a change."

It was like two different hearings in one.

Democrats quizzed former Obama administration officials on Russia, how former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn had been "compromised" and how the White House officials conducted themselves when confronted with the information.

Republicans wanted to know how the information got out in the first place.

It was striking watching the two distinct focuses on a topic — national security — that shouldn't be so hotly partisan.

And the data bear out the different approaches.

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We're starting to get a better picture here of what President Trump's former national security adviser was doing when he was talking to Russia's ambassador.

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There are way too many signs that the 2020 election is already beginning.

Consider:

-Here's a crazy stat: 129 people have already filed to run for president in 2020, as of Friday afternoon. In fairness, in 2016, more than 1,700 filed. But...

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Republicans finally got their health care bill.

After seven years of repeal-and-replace rhetoric against the Affordable Care Act, two presidential campaigns waged for and against it and a recent high-profile failure, House Republicans passed their bill.

The trouble is this bill is unlikely to ever become law — at least in its current iteration.

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