FROM Kathryn Depalo
Political Party Platforms: Do They Really Matter? A committee of party insiders met for two days this week to write the Republican platform . It's expected to be adopted by the convention in Tampa next Monday. But the party chairman, Reince Priebus has already made it clear that it's "the platform of the Republican Party. It's not the platform of Mitt Rommey ." Party platforms contain language to appease insiders, even though that carries the risk of political damage. In Tampa this week, the Platform Committee's anti-abortion plank revealed a split within the Republican Party and a potential threat to support from Independents. Advocacy of a flat tax and abolition of mortgage relief might also look too extreme. The Democrats will have to explain the embrace of same-sex marriage. When provisions cater to narrow constituencies, will politicians try to enact them if they're elected? Will the platforms have long-term influence once the conventions are over?
Trump's opening offer: Making some of America 'great again?' A massive increase for the Pentagon at the expense of domestic programs. We hear about winners and losers in the President's first proposed budget.
Cover-up or witch hunt?: The latest on the WH ties to Russia Less than two months into his Presidency, Donald Trump is struggling to get his agenda under way, making it harder himself with tweets that dominate public attention. Meanwhile, important questions are going unanswered: why have staff members and the Attorney General lied about contacts with Russian officials?
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?