Donald Trump has a gift for self-sabotage. His candor in an interview last year with NBC, after firing FBI director James Comey, is what got him the special counsel that haunts his presidency. His instructions to Donald Trump Jr. to lie about his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the election have placed his son and other senior White House staff in legal jeopardy.

Losing is hard, particularly when you think you’re going to win. Democrats are viscerally aware of this in the wake of the 2016 election. Since then, though, Republicans have had to cope with that disappointment. Sure, they eked out a few narrow wins in places that usually vote Republican (like Georgia’s 6th Congressional District last year), but they’ve now also suffered two defeats in places that usually vote Republican by a lot.

There are many reasons Rex Tillerson’s tenure as secretary of state was a failure, from his notorious isolation from his subordinates to his failure to help quickly staff the political appointment positions at State with competent Republicans. But it was his insubordination to the president that assured that he wouldn’t be long in his position. With a summit with North Korea in the works, President Trump’s decision to oust Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo could not have come at a better moment.

Rex Tillerson was chief executive of energy giant Exxon Mobil before he was the former secretary of state. Big jobs, both, and Tillerson looked and sounded every bit the corporate titan, with a leonine head framed by thinning white hair, chevron eyebrows, a soothing, basso Texas drawl, dark suits, and an easy self-assurance.

Without interviewing key witnesses, looking at all relevant documents or awaiting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings, the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee — lacking the knowledge or consent of committee Democrats — proclaimed there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. In addition to an utter lack of initiative, Republicans were disinclined to recall events that have already been made public and that show a peculiar degree of interaction between members of the Trump campaign and Russians (e.g., then-candidate Donald Trump’s public invitation for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails; the June 2016 meeting between campaign officials and a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower). Republicans went so far as to deny Russia had intervened in the 2016 election on President Trump’s behalf.

Less than a month ago, American children were going to school with their friends, spending time with their families, and living their everyday lives. All of that quickly changed on Feb. 14 when 17 Americans were shot dead in a building they spend as much time in as their own home.

Another school shooting, another debate over gun control. An overwhelming majority of Americans want stricter gun laws, but Congress is unlikely to ban assault rifles outright, and some of the president’s proposals — a ban on “bump stocks,” for example — have unclear paths to success.

News organizations across the country often highlight the mid-March “Sunshine Week” — created by the American Society of News Editors to remind the public of the press’s crucial role in ensuring open government — by writing editorials or commentaries about the importance of a free press. This week, for the second straight year, the presidency of Donald Trump is being used as a bogeyman to suggest that the media’s efforts are more endangered than ever. The Associated Press offered such an example in a package in conjunction with this Sunshine Week.

In just a few months, in June, it will be three years since Donald Trump announced for the presidency. It feels shorter ago and longer. I will never forget that day. I watched it live, at home, wondering where this circus act was going. But as soon as the speech was over the phone rang and it was my uncle — husky Brooklyn accent, U.S. Marine of the Korean era — who said, “So how do you like my guy?” There was silence.

At the risk of setting off a global trade war of back-and-forth protectionist tariffs that could hurt such iconic American brands as Harley-Davidson, Levi Strauss & Co. and Kentucky bourbon makers, Donald Trump is determined to help the steel industry in this country. He has announced plans for steep protective tariffs on both steel and aluminum. He claims that “trade wars are good and easy to win.” By way of explanation, he claims that steel — and many other industries — has been “decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy.”

I reply here to Trib contributor Pete Commander’s Feb. 27 column, “You’re in the militia now, know it or not.” Mr. Commander: Yes, your knowledge of firearms is impressive, but it takes more than technical knowledge about a single subject and a distorted view of history to make a good argument for increasing the number of high-powered weapons among U.S. citizens, not to mention forcing citizens to be part of a militia.

Congress recently averted a health-care crisis by working in a bipartisan fashion to fix a problematic Medicare policy that would have left many of Texas’ most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries without access to lifesaving treatment. Lawmakers should build on this bipartisanship and ensure Medicare provides a comprehensive home-infusion benefit for Americans here and around the country.

This year marks 60 years since the United States started sending satellites into space, including one on March 5, 1958, when the United States attempted to launch its second satellite into space. During that span, we have led extraordinary scientific discovery across our solar system. But our space exploration has taken a toll on one particular thing: the orbital environment.

President Trump’s announcement that he will impose stiff tariffs on American companies that purchase imported steel and aluminum should have come as no surprise. From moving our embassy to Jerusalem to pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump is a president who does what he promises. Unfortunately, his proposed tariffs undermine his ability to deliver on many other important promises he made in the 2016 campaign.

The recent shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school has many of us struggling with what needs to happen to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again. For a young person to even have such thoughts and feelings of rage, vengeance and mayhem is almost unimaginable. To have one actually follow through with these heinous acts is chilling. But assigning teachers the responsibility to bear arms on campus as a means of protection for students and themselves is not the answer to address campus gun violence.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke with reporters Friday morning in an apparent effort to clarify some things. By the end, she clarified that President Trump spent much of the week saying things he may not mean, possibly including his remark on confiscating the guns of obviously dangerous people first, then allowing for due process under the law rather than the constitutionally mandated reverse.

When Billy Graham brought his evangelistic crusade to the Holy Land in the spring of 1960, he was already a world-famous figure. But not in Israel. People there had never seen him on television because in those early days of socialist austerity there was no television. Even if there had been, Graham, who died last week, wouldn’t have appeared. Attempting to convert Jews was (and remains) taboo.

I’m used to being vilified by the far left as a bloodthirsty neocon warmonger for the Original Sin of having supported the invasion of Iraq along with 72 percent of the American public. It has been a little more surprising to be simultaneously vilified by the far right as a dangerous left-winger.

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre and spokeswoman Dana Loesch have in recent days helped pull back the curtain on the mind-set of the NRA. This is not a group that wants responsible gun ownership. (Do responsible people have a weapon of war designed purely to kill as many people as possible as fast as possible?) This is not a group that is focused on making cogent arguments about gun legislation. Instead, like President Trump and Fox News, the NRA now operates in the fever swamp of what used to be a conservative party. Now, it’s a cult based on the preservation of Trump, a cult that requires conspiracies, bizarre rhetoric and out-and-out lies to keep its members in a high-pitch frenzy.

Here we are. Another horrific school shooting has gripped the country — and with it come calls for Washington to do something. And it is time to do something. Republicans control the House, Senate and White House. We should be creative enough to come up with a few specific changes to the law — not something cosmetic or hollow.

Following the horrible school-shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida, the gun-control mob is out in full force. These well-meaning Americans are once again demanding prohibition from the top of their lungs. They’re mortified by the meaningless slaughter of 17, as we all are, and they are convinced that the answer is banning guns.

The Constitution requires that, upon assumption of the office, a president swear as follows: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

I feel the need to offer a response to Trib opinion editor Bill Whitaker’s Feb. 1 column, “Will GOP memo caper on FBI make your toes curl?”, on Republican Congressman Bill Flores, his concerns about the integrity of the FBI and Department of Justice and, finally, a conservative constituent who fears Flores and other Republicans are attacking federal law enforcement in order to rally around their president and party.

The nation’s top intelligence officers warned Congress this week that Russia is continuing its efforts to target the 2018 elections. This should come as no surprise: A few months ago, the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that hackers had targeted their election systems in 2016. Yet Congress still has not passed legislation to meaningfully address election cybersecurity.

Matt Bellina is a 34-year-old Navy veteran in the prime of his life. He’s a husband and a father of two young children. But just a few years ago, he was diagnosed with ALS, a fatal disorder that attacks the nervous system. There is no cure, but experimental treatment could prolong his life. Unfortunately, FDA laws prohibit Matt from being able to try experimental medication and treatment.

The immigration free-for-all that starts in Congress this week will test the character of House Speaker Paul Ryan, the courage of Republican moderates, the cunning of President Trump and the sensibilities of the Democratic left. Odds are any deal will fall apart and all of the above will be losers. Washington will prove to be as dysfunctional as the public perceives.

Our nation is about to get a whopping lesson in tariffs, an economic trade initiative that has sharply divided the United States since the republic’s earliest days. President Trump’s decision to impose largely indiscriminate and significant tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as a way to revive the domestic steel industry has fellow Republicans in Congress worried that it could undermine benefits of the recently passed tax law.

Losing is hard, particularly when you think you’re going to win. Democrats are viscerally aware of this in the wake of the 2016 election. Since then, though, Republicans have had to cope with that disappointment. Sure, they eked out a few narrow wins in places that usually vote Republican (like Georgia’s 6th Congressional District last year), but they’ve now also suffered two defeats in places that usually vote Republican by a lot.


What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.