NPR Political Coverage

Bernie Sanders thinks he has a pretty good idea why Hillary Clinton and Democrats lost in the 2016 election.

"Look, you can't simply go around to wealthy people's homes raising money and expect to win elections," the Vermont senator, who gave Clinton a surprisingly strong run for the Democratic nomination, told NPR's David Greene in an interview airing on Morning Edition. "You've got to go out and mix it up and be with ordinary people."

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Intelligence agency leaders repeated their determination Thursday that only "the senior most officials" in Russia could have authorized recent hacks into Democratic National Committee and Clinton officials' emails during the presidential election.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper affirmed an Oct. 7 joint statement from 17 intelligence agencies that the Russian government directed the election interference — and went further.

The Republican Party has embraced President-elect Donald Trump's positions on immigration, trade, the deficit and conflicts of interest, but when it comes to Russia, Trump and his party are not even close to being on the same page.

Trump has repeatedly and consistently expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin and has refused to accept intelligence community findings that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails during the campaign. That puts him at odds with almost every other Republican in Washington, D.C.

Opening punches were thrown in what one top Democrat today called "the first big fight" of the new congressional year — the promise by President-elect Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama met with Democrats on Capitol Hill while Vice President-elect Mike Pence sat down with Republicans, as each side prepared for the skirmishing in the days and months ahead.

Asked what advice he gave Democrats in the closed-door meeting about the legacy program that bears his name, Obama responded, "Look out for the American people."

It looks like an almost-full complement of ex-presidents will be watching from the inaugural stand when Donald Trump takes the oath of office Jan. 20 — along with the candidate Trump defeated in the bitter 2016 campaign.

Aides to Hillary and Bill Clinton tell NPR's Tamara Keith that the 2016 Democratic nominee and former president will attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this month.

President George W. Bush's office announced earlier that he and former first lady Laura will also attend. Jimmy Carter had previously announced his intention to be on hand.

Viridiana Martinez's parents brought her to the U.S. illegally when she was 7. But it wasn't until she was in her 20s, when she took the microphone at a rally in Durham, N.C., that she "came out" as being unauthorized herself. Martinez, now 30, has been on the front lines of the immigrant rights movement in North Carolina ever since.

One in five Americans is religiously unaffiliated. Yet just one of 535 members of the new Congress is.

That's what the latest data from the Pew Research Center show on the opening day of the 115th Congress. The nation's top legislative body remains far more male and white than the rest of the U.S. population as well, but religion is one of the more invisible areas where legislators in Washington simply aren't representative of the people they represent.

After a storm of criticism, including from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans have reversed themselves and restored the current rules of the Office of Congressional Ethics.

GOP members met Tuesday afternoon and agreed by unanimous consent to withdraw a change to House rules approved late Monday evening, before the new Congress was sworn in, that would have weakened the ethics office, an independent watchdog first established in 2008 under House Democrats.

The House and Senate are back in Washington today for the start of the 115th Congress. With GOP control of both chambers and soon the Oval Office, Republicans are promising an aggressive agenda that will prioritize the repeal of the current president's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. The Senate is expected to start that process with a budget resolution this week.

In the Washington of 2016, even when the policy can be bipartisan, the politics cannot. And in that sense, this year shows little sign of ending on Dec. 31.

When President Obama moved to sanction Russia over its alleged interference in the U.S. election just concluded, some Republicans who had long called for similar or more severe measures could scarcely bring themselves to approve.

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