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.

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."

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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.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

Reporters ask lots of pesky questions during campaigns for a reason: to find out how someone would govern.

Most candidates right and left comply with the public interest in what they would do by putting out policy papers and laying out facts and figures, numbers and details.

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.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

Since the Republican health care bill collapsed a little more than a week ago, President Trump's White House has struggled with a path forward. Trump is dealing with finger-pointing and infighting that threatens to derail his agenda, as well as nagging Russia investigations on Capitol Hill that are raising more questions than answers about his team.

While the political world continues to focus on the machinations of congressional investigations about Russia (which won't have conclusions drawn for months, if not longer) and where health care goes from here, there's another, arguably more important story going on — ramped-up military engagement.

Here's the New York Times Thursday:

The fallout from Friday's Republican health care bill collapse is still trying to be understood.

Right after the bill was pulled, President Trump teased that he wanted to work with Democrats and believed a bipartisan bill would be possible.

But it wasn't clear if that was just talk. On Tuesday night, he may have taken the first step to trying to reach across the aisle.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama ran an ad with this opening line: "The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind."

And then it showed men working on roofs: "The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels."

Calls are growing for the Republican chairman of a key intelligence panel to recuse himself.

"There is such a cloud over the chairman's leadership," Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told NPR's Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition.

Schiff was referring to Chairman Devin Nunes, who revealed Monday that he had met with an intelligence official on the White House grounds a day before announcing that there was evidence he had seen to indicate the Trump campaign and transition were scooped up in incidental surveillance.

President Trump was downright low energy.

The look on his face, as he meandered through unscripted remarks Friday after the defeat of the Republican health care plan he supported, told the story. The unusually subdued Trump called the loss a "learning experience." Then he seemed to shrug it all off and said he was moving on.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

Donald Trump likes to move fast.

But to this point, for all the bravado, executive actions and tweets, much of Trump's presidency has been showy without a lot of practical effect. For that to change, much could depend on the next three weeks. This critical phase could set his ambitious agenda on course or derail it.

It took a lot to get to this point, but Republicans have released their long-awaited health care bill. (For more on the policy, check out the NPR health team's reporting over at Shots.)

The version that was released is likely to change as the bill goes through committees, but now that it's released, here are four potential challenges President Trump and Republicans face:

1. Health care is complicated

For more than a year, Donald Trump has harped on white nostalgia.

A hearkening back to a rosy, but ambiguous, time in American history with his Make America Great Again slogan propelled his presidential run. It was a message, though, largely not embraced in minority communities, given that blacks, Latinos and women were fighting for equal rights during the same period Trump has indicated he believes America was great (the Industrial Revolution and the post-World War II 1940s and '50s).

It was almost a year ago when then-candidate Donald Trump said the following (bolding ours):

"My wife is constantly saying, 'Darling, be more presidential.' I just don't know that I want to do it quite yet ... because we have a job to do. ... And we're doing so good. And we have to be tough for a little while. And I'll be — at some point, I'm going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored."

President Trump is receiving plaudits for his first joint address to Congress.

The White House certainly thinks it went well — so much so, it was reported that the White House is holding its revised travel ban, in part, to bask in the glow of the positive reviews.

Snap polls after the speech showed that people who watched it largely liked it.

3:23 p.m. ET: Perez wins DNC chairmanship, names Ellison deputy

Former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez won the DNC chairmanship on second round.

It was met by protest from about a dozen Keith Ellison supporters, who chanted, repeatedly, "Not big money, party for the people."

They were shushed and overshouted.

President Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, struck a defiant tone in brief remarks before conservative activists at a political conference outside Washington, D.C., on Thursday. But she held back on the administration's rescinding of Obama administration guidance to schools on transgender rights.

Updated at 9:59 a.m. ET Feb. 14

President Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night amid allegations he inappropriately talked about U.S. sanctions with a Russian official, and later allegedly misled then-Vice President-elect Pence about the conversations. Flynn spoke with the Russian ambassador in December, before Trump was inaugurated.

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