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Mara Liasson

It has been more than a week since the first reports emerged about alleged domestic abuse by White House staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter denied the allegations but resigned a day later, last Wednesday. Yet, the scandal over his departure has not waned.

He was consistently at President Trump's side, charged with handling the flow of paper to the president, including sensitive information, while holding an interim security clearance. It's still not clear exactly which top White House officials knew what and when about the allegations against Porter.

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When President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, he'll be giving his assessment of the economy and national security. But occasions like these are also a good time to take a look at the state of our politics.

The state of our politics is...tribal (and mistrustful)

More than ever before voters and politicians seem to be taking sides not according to issues or principles or ideology but according to their political tribe.

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In a surprise meeting with reporters tonight, President Trump said this about the prospect of being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation.

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Well, one unknown in the path forward on immigration is President Trump. What kind of a deal will he agree to? And how actively will Trump, who prizes himself as a great dealmaker, be flexing his negotiating muscles?

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When Donald Trump delivered his inaugural address a year ago this week, he departed sharply from tradition. NPR's Mara Liasson looks at whether that speech has been a useful roadmap for the first year of the Trump presidency.

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Let's bring in a familiar voice to hear more about how President Trump is handling all of this, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning. Happy New Year.

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If nothing else goes wrong for them, Republicans will pass a final tax bill this week. The House votes today, and Congressman Kevin Brady is in.

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As we've just heard, we've heard some of what President Trump had to say about this deal. Later in the day in a speech, Trump made another pitch for it, urging Americans to call on Congress to help push the measure over the finish line.

In Washington and around the country, Democrats and Republicans are trying to make sense of Doug Jones' stunning upset in the Alabama Senate race.

Jones' victory in a state that hadn't sent a Democrat to Washington in almost 30 years was even more shocking than when Republican Scott Brown won the late Ted Kennedy's seat in a Massachusetts special election in 2010.

Here are 5 takeaways from Tuesday's political earthquake:

1. The blue wave looks real

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Once upon a time, there was a group of conservative intellectuals who were agnostic about Donald Trump.

They were not "Never Trumpers," but they weren't Trump superfans either.

They thought Trumpism might offer something new for the GOP. Since Trump wasn't tied to the orthodoxies of either party he could, theoretically, offer a more populist path toward the future for Republicans.

Conservative writer Henry Olsen, at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, looked to the tax plan to reflect this new vision, but it wasn't there.

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President Trump went to Utah on Monday. The official purpose of his trip was to announce the reduction of two national monuments in the state, though he could have signed those orders in the Oval Office.

But the journey west may have served a political purpose for the president — to keep a political rival out of Washington.

Democrats' success in this month's elections was bigger than expected, and was fueled in part by strong opposition to President Trump. In the past few weeks, there's been a lot of chatter about whether that means a big, blue wave is forming off the political coast that could potentially crash into the 2018 midterm elections.

We asked Republicans and Democrats what the off-year elections could mean for their parties next year. Here are five takeaways.

1. Good news for Democrats

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When Donald Trump won the election a year ago, he promised to be a transformational president, to drain the swamp, shake up the establishment and do away with gridlock. He also predicted that being president would change him.

A year ago Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, and the surprises haven't stopped since.

He promised to be a transformational president, to "drain the swamp" and shake up the establishment.

And he promised that being president would change him — saying that he could become more "presidential" than anyone except Abraham Lincoln.

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