Why did Putin talk to Trump about 'adoption'?

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017 Image copyright Reuters

Buried in the middle of the wide-ranging interview Donald Trump granted the New York Times on Wednesday was an interesting tidbit. What, exactly, did the US president and Vladimir Putin discuss when they exchanged "pleasantries" during a dinner at the recently concluded G20 summit?

The subject, Mr Trump said, was "adoption".

If that seems a strange topic for a post-meal chat it helps to understand that, when it comes to US-Russia relations, a conversation about adoption isn't really about adoption. It's about sanctions.

In particular it's about the restrictions placed on high-level Russian officials by the Magnitsky Act, a law passed by the US Congress in 2012 after Russian lawyer and government critic Sergei Magnitsky died under questionable circumstances while being held in a Russian prison in 2009.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionReality Check: Six Trump promises after six months

The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, as it's formally known, has been a burr under Mr Putin's proverbial saddle ever since it hit the books. It imposed visa restrictions and froze the US assets of 18 senior Russian officials deemed by the US government to have committed human rights abuses.

Read full article Why did Putin talk to Trump about 'adoption'?

Trump's Obamacare repeal: Back to drawing board for Republicans

Demonstrators protest Donald Trump's policies that threaten the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid, in Los Angeles, California, 25 January 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Is this the end of the repeal-and-replace war?

In the end the death blow to the latest iteration of Obamacare repeal came from the right flank.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was always going to have to walk a fine line in his effort to keep both moderates and hardcore conservatives in the party on board with his healthcare reform proposal.

Read full article Trump's Obamacare repeal: Back to drawing board for Republicans

Unanswered questions from Trump Jr saga

Special Counsel Robert Mueller thinks. Image copyright Getty Images

Now that Hurricane Junior has blown through Washington, special counsel Robert Mueller - charged with investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign - faces the task of sifting through the debris.

According to CNN, the former FBI director and his team of crack investigators were caught somewhat flat-footed by the recent email revelations. They were believed to have been focusing their attention on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort, among others.

Read full article Unanswered questions from Trump Jr saga

Four explosive lines in Trump Jr emails

Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner at an inauguration ball

The word "explosive" doesn't do justice to the details of the emails Donald Trump Jr tweeted out on Tuesday morning.

Calamitous, perhaps? Seismic? Twitterdämmerung?

Read full article Four explosive lines in Trump Jr emails

Is this a smoking gun and other Trump Jr questions

Donald Trump Jr waves at the White House Image copyright Getty Images

Call it a journalistic triple punch.

The New York Times on Friday revealed that Donald Trump Jr, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort had a previously undisclosed meeting with an influential Russian lawyer in Trump Tower during the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Read full article Is this a smoking gun and other Trump Jr questions

Democrats struggle to find a message

The empty stage at Hillary Clinton's election night headquarters. Image copyright Getty Images

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - the group that will help organise what the party hopes will be a successful push to take control of US House of Representatives in mid-term US elections next year - recently tested out some new bumper-sticker slogans.

It did not go well.

Read full article Democrats struggle to find a message

Three minutes of Trump - decoded line by line

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRussian interference? No-one knows - Trump

There's an old saying in Washington that politics should "stop at the water's edge".

It reflects the tradition that, while a president is overseas, domestic bickering should be put on hold, as partisan grievances are best kept within the family.

Read full article Three minutes of Trump - decoded line by line

Why CNN 'assault' tweet should surprise no-one

Donald Trump raises the hand of WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley in victory after Lashley defeated Umaga in the Battle of the Billionaires at the 2007 World Wrestling Entertainment's Wrestlemania April 1, 2007 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trump's history with wrestling goes back at least a decade

On Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted that he's redefining the social media behaviour of a "modern-day" president. On Sunday he once again proved it.

Mr Trump's CNN-wrestling video, apparently cribbed from a user on the internet message board Reddit, may be unfamiliar commentary coming from the chief executive of the US, but it's classic Trump.

Read full article Why CNN 'assault' tweet should surprise no-one

Will Trumpcare's unpopularity be fatal?

Protest in Washington Image copyright Reuters

The latest round of polling, which shows approval numbers for the Senate healthcare reform legislation hovering in the mid-teens, is 50 shades of bad for Republicans.

They're about to head home for a week-long Fourth of July recess, and between parades and pie-eating contests, they'll likely hear from constituents, few of whom will have nice things to say.

Read full article Will Trumpcare's unpopularity be fatal?

Big win for Trump and his travel ban

Trump walks down the steps of a plane Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trump's week is off to a good start

Donald Trump just got his travel ban. At least, most of it...

Although the Supreme Court left parts of the lower-court-ordered suspension of his travel ban intact, and agreed to consider the merits of the case in October, a considerable portion of it can now go into effect.

Read full article Big win for Trump and his travel ban