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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 has 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, N.Y., Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college-basketball junkie.

Remember when President Trump allegedly leaking classified information to the Russians was dominating news coverage?

You'd be forgiven if you only vaguely remembered that, because it was so long ago — Monday, a lifetime in Trump-era news terms.

Take a look at what else happened this week

Monday
"Reports: Trump Gave Classified Info To Russians During White House Visit"

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

The morning after former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named special counsel to oversee the investigation into the Trump team ties to Russia, President Trump is declaring "this" the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

It's another example of Trump going to grievance politics after a week of missteps and revelatory leaks.

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.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

President Trump is responding to the backlash against the allegations that he shared "highly classified" information with the Russians by saying he had "the absolute right to do" so.

He tweeted Tuesday morning:

And he went a step further, again taking aim at fired former FBI Director James Comey and "leakers":

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 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."

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.

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.

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.

Updated at 12:54 p.m. ET

For President Trump, one thing is important: winning, or at least the appearance of it.

So when the media narrative started to become that he didn't get what he wanted out of a new spending bill that will keep the government open through September, Trump got upset. (That compromise bill is supposed to get a vote and is expected to pass the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.)

Trump's irritation manifested in hot — and somewhat contradictory — ways Tuesday.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Trump just seems to have a thing for strongmen.

He invited the brutal Philippine leader, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House during a "very friendly" phone call Sunday. On Tuesday, Trump has another call — this one with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The president went on a tweetstorm Thursday hyping the idea of a potential shutdown and blaming Democrats on a variety of issues:

But Congress isn't likely headed for a shutdown. It is likely to vote on a spending measure Thursday or Friday that would keep the government open for another week. And negotiators are working on a plan to fund the government for the rest of the year.

So what's going on?

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have endorsed the idea of a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while budget negotiations continue.

The stop-gap spending measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, would put off the deadline to May 5.

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The White House is banging the drums that President Trump is doing something big again ahead of his 100th day in office — unveiling a tax "plan."

"This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country," Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a panel Wednesday morning.

Let's get this out of the way: health care and border-wall funding are probably not happening this week.

There isn't even a bill written for health care, and while conservatives like the draft language that's circulating, moderates don't.

It's the same problem Republicans have had from the beginning — appeal to conservatives, lose the moderates; appeal to moderates, lose the conservatives.

It's like a water balloon — no matter which end you push on, it still pops.

With any new president, there's a learning curve. But for President Trump, it's been steeper than others.

"Mount Everest" is how Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, described it ahead of Trump's 100th day in office, which is coming up Saturday, April 29. "It's as steep as they come and ice-covered, and he didn't bring very many knowledgeable Sherpas with him."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Democrats want to show off a positive election result in Georgia. Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez speaks tonight to Georgia Democrats as he tours the country with Bernie Sanders. Last night, Perez spoke at a rally in Miami.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

If you thought it was odd that a special election in the Atlanta suburbs got so much national attention, you haven't seen anything yet.

So far, much of the focus has been on Democrat Jon Ossoff — and with good reason. The Democratic base rallied around him and made the election a referendum on President Trump.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

This is what a president can do with the bully pulpit:

It's Tax Day. And that means another reminder of the fact that President Trump has broken with tradition and not released his tax returns.

For someone who speaks with as much conviction as President Trump, he sure has a way of changing positions with an equal level of certitude.

Could a real shake-up be coming soon to the Trump White House — and is his chief strategist Steve Bannon the one on the outs?

The president sounds fed up with the infighting, and he appears to be picking sides — predictably with his family. In an interview with the New York Post's Michael Goodwin, Trump seems to push away Bannon.

A special election in Kansas on Tuesday has Republicans sounding worried about an enthusiasm gap in the Trump era.

Trump himself was apparently worried enough that he cut a robo call for Republican state party Treasurer Ron Estes.

Updated: 10:31 a.m.

President Trump made the biggest move of his presidency so far Thursday night — he struck Syrian military targets after an apparent chemical weapons attack allegedly ordered by Syria's Bashar Assad against his own people.

There's a school of thought in politics that says there are key strategists who are puppet masters, pulling the strings of a president or politician. Understand them and their influence, and you understand the person in power.

Some of us don't subscribe 100 percent to that notion — and it's especially true when it comes to Donald Trump.

President Trump issued a remarkable statement following a Syrian gas attack U.S. officials say was leveled by that country's leader against his own people.

Some 40 words of the short, 78-word statement blamed former President Barack Obama for inaction.

President Barack Obama stepped to the microphone in the White House briefing room and had a job to do — make the case for a major change made by his party's Senate leader to how the chamber works.

"Ultimately, if you got a majority of folks who believe in something, then it should be able to pass," Obama said in 2013 after then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed the rules of the Senate to require a simple majority to allow for judiciary nominees other than those for the Supreme Court to proceed to a final vote for confirmation.

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