Ron Elving

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Going to turn now to NPR's Ron Elving. Ron, thanks very much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: You heard Democratic Senator Van Hollen. We had Republican Congressman Cole. What points do they make that stand up for you?

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Travel back in time with me for a moment to 1981, the government shutdown. Two-hundred-forty-one-thousand federal employees were furloughed, and this is what it sounded like when you called the White House switchboard.

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Capitol Hill Republicans are nervous about November. The margins of their majority are dwindling in both chambers. It's looking like a good year to run as a Democrat, and President Trump isn't helping with his weak polls and potent controversies.

This past week brought a series of stunning reports about President Trump and his White House, reports some Americans found hard to believe. But one quote attributed to the president should have surprised no one: the one in The New York Times where the president asked, "Where's my Roy Cohn?"

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A Senate election in Alabama. A Republican tax bill moving through Congress. Violent protests in the Middle East following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

What could these widely disparate matters have in common, besides heavy news coverage? It turns out that they all have enabled President Trump to send a message to one distinct and crucial category of his supporters.

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LIANE HANSEN, BYLINE: I'm Liane Hansen. A woman who served as personal assistant to Clarence Thomas for over two years has accused him of sexually harassing her. National Public Radio has learned that the woman...

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