If migrant ‘invasion’ justifies Rio Grande blockade, could Texas send troops into Mexico?

WASHINGTON — Gov. Greg Abbott has justified National Guard deployments to the border and most recently, a floating barricade in the Rio Grande, by invoking Texas’ right to defend itself in case of invasion.

The Constitution lets states “engage in War” if they are “actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” But the idea that drug smugglers and unarmed migrants — as opposed to a foreign army — could trigger that clause has never been tested in court.

It may soon be

Trump takes credit for Ted Cruz win, but lead over Beto O'Rourke plunged after Houston rally

WASHINGTON -- By the time President Donald Trump landed in Houston for a rally on Oct. 22 with Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texan had already fought his way back from a summer slump.

Public polls showed a comfortable lead in the high single digits. Nationally, Democrats were openly fretting that Rep. Beto O'Rourke had blown it. But within hours of the rally with Trump, Cruz's support began to crumble and 15 days later, he limped to victory with a 2.6-percentage point margin, the worst in decades for a Re

For Trump backers, 'Lock her up!' is not hyperbole toward Clinton

WARREN, Mich. — Donald Trump pushed hard Monday on allegations of Hillary Clinton's dishonesty and lawbreaking, calling her a "threat to democracy" — a closing argument that his supporters view as a literal and justified indictment.

"Hillary's corruption is a threat to democracy," he argued at a raucous rally punctuated by boos and shouts aimed at the Democratic nominee. "She's likely to be under investigation for criminality for a very, very long time to come."

FBI director James Comey's reve

Texans afflicted by 15-inch rains dismayed that climate denial persists in Congress

BALCH SPRINGS — Weeks after the skies opened and dumped 15 inches of rain on his home, Joel Garcia was tearing out drywall on a hot afternoon, a debris pile growing at the curb.

“You should have come before all this and seen how nice my house was,” said Garcia, 34, who owns a remodeling business.

The mud line was 2 feet off the ground, nearly even with a rotting stack of stuffed animals, carpet and clothing on the driveway. A pair of creeks meet nearby and Garcia knew his family lived in a flo

Dual citizenship may pose problem if Ted Cruz seeks presidency

WASHINGTON — Born in Canada to an American mother, Ted Cruz became an instant U.S. citizen. But under Canadian law, he also became a citizen of that country the moment he was born.

Unless the Texas Republican senator formally renounces that citizenship, he will remain a citizen of both countries, legal experts say.

That means he could assert the right to vote in Canada or even run for Parliament. On a lunch break from the U.S. Senate, he could head to the nearby embassy — the one flying a brig

Rep. Van Taylor apologizes for affair with ‘ISIS bride,’ abruptly drops reelection bid

WASHINGTON — Rep. Van Taylor apologized Wednesday for an affair with an ex-jihadist dubbed the “ISIS bride” by British tabloids and abruptly dropped his bid for a third term, conceding the GOP runoff to rival Keith Self, a former Collin County judge.

“About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life,” he said in an email to supporters.

The infidelity su

Since JFK assassination, no U.S. president has visited Dallas’ Dealey Plaza

WASHINGTON — In the six decades since President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, the United States has had 11 presidents. If any of them visited Dealey Plaza or even drove through the triple underpass, there’s no record of it.

For whatever reasons — be it superstition or coincidence — every presidential motorcade since Nov. 22, 1963, has steered clear of the site where a sniper ended Kennedy’s life.

Presidents have made dozens of visits to Dallas in the past 60 years. Many got very c

Ties that bind: the itsy-bitsy strips that make a gerrymandered Texas congressional map

Ancient humans looked to the night sky and saw lions, bears and hunters. Texas congressional districts conjure thoughts of dragons and serpents.

Zoom in and it becomes apparent that about a dozen wisps of connective tissue hold the map together.

Every district must be contiguous, with an equal number of residents. But there’s no law against drawing irregular shapes stitched together by tiny strips of scrub land or industrial park.

Zoom in enough and you’ll spot the pixels.

The 18-mile chute

Ted Cruz, blistered for Cancun getaway during epic Texas power crisis, calls it ‘obviously a mistake’ in hindsight

Updated at 10 p.m. with new comment from Cruz

WASHINGTON — As 3 million Texans shivered in the dark, Sen. Ted Cruz jetted off to Cancun with his family, outed instantly by fellow vacationers and berated by critics for abandoning constituents during an epic statewide power crisis.

He spent just one night out of the country – not long enough for a sunburn, but plenty of time to get blistered.

“It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I shouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad,” he to

Eyes roll as Ted Cruz denies role in 2013 government shutdown; 'Speechless' says one senator

WASHINGTON — To hear Sen. Ted Cruz tell it, he deserves no blame for the 2013 government shutdown that cost the U.S. economy $24 billion.

"I have consistently opposed shutdowns," he insisted Monday in a testy exchange with journalists, hours before Congress voted to end a far less damaging three-day shutdown.

"You've left me speechless," Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who seethed at Cruz throughout the 2013 episode, told reporters when asked about her Texas colleague's stance.

David Duke, leading 'deplorable' and Senate candidate, sees Trump as kindred spirit

MANDEVILLE, La. — David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who’s hoping to ride Donald Trump’s coattails into the U.S. Senate, was happy to welcome a reporter into his home to talk politics.

He was happy to expound on the threat immigrants pose to Western culture, and explore the vast similarities between his platform and the GOP presidential nominee’s on a border wall, trade, crime and affirmative action.

Happy to forgive Trump for keeping his distance if that boosts his chance

Deep Dives

TikTok billionaire spends millions on Texas candidates supporting school voucher efforts

WASHINGTON — A professional poker player turned TikTok billionaire is helping to bankroll Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s push to oust Republicans who stymied his school choice agenda.

Jeff Yass, the Pennsylvania options trader, has spent more than $209 million in the past decade promoting school choice and pro-voucher candidates.

That includes over $6 million to Abbott in recent months and even more to groups airing a

Would you pay a 30% national sales tax in exchange for scrapping the income tax and IRS?

WASHINGTON — Taxpayers scurrying to file before the IRS deadline may well be wondering if there’s another way to pay the piper.

One decades-old idea has suddenly gotten traction in Congress: replacing the income tax and just about every other federal tax with a national sales tax.

Consumers would pay 30% on nearly every purchase: diapers, new car, hamburger, six-pack of Shiner, insulin, carton of eggs or visit to the dentist. That’s on top of the 8.25% state and local sales tax you’d pay in Da

Candidates recoup $5M in old campaign loans so far thanks to Ted Cruz’s $555K court win

WASHINGTON — In May, the Supreme Court struck down limits in place for two decades that barred federal candidates from raising money indefinitely to pay off personal loans.

Three months later Sen. Ted Cruz, who’d challenged the 2002 ban, was $545,000 richer. To set up the test case, he’d left $10,000 unpaid at the end of his reelection effort in 2018, hoping the courts would let him recover the far bigger sum he’d spent winning the seat six years earlier.

“It’s a fantastic payoff,” said Craig

IRS sent $1.4B in stimulus payments to 1.1M dead people, mostly after Trump called snafus a ‘tiny’ problem

WASHINGTON — The government’s fiscal watchdog said Thursday that $1.4 billion in stimulus payments were sent to roughly 1.1 million people who had already died, bypassing IRS procedures put in place seven years to ago to prevent such improper payments.

President Donald Trump had insisted that such snafus were a “tiny” problem after anecdotal reports surfaced early in the coronavirus pandemic.

A congressman reported that a family friend’s late father had received a check. In suburban Dallas, a

Dallas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson gave scholarships to 5 students who didn't meet residency rule

WASHINGTON - Relatives were not the only ineligible winners Dallas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson picked for scholarships funded by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

At least five other college students the Democrat chose since 2005 didn't live in her district or that of any other caucus member, as required by the nonprofit foundation.

None of the five had any apparent relation to Johnson, unlike her two grandsons, two great-nephews and two children of her top Dallas-based aide to whom sh

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson violated rules, steered scholarships to relatives

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes. Eddie Bernice Johnson

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's d


Cruz disputes no facts in Trump indictment but blisters it as old news, political hit job

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz, who tried to stall certification of the 2020 election the day a mob attacked Congress, blistered Donald Trump’s indictment Wednesday as an abuse of the justice system — a weak case that rehashes old allegations.

But like most of Trump’s defenders, he did not dispute that the former president lied to the American people, knowingly and repeatedly, with unfounded claims the election was stolen.

“This is a political indictment brought by a political prosecutor, working

Abbott says migrants’ camouflage shows border ‘invasion’ worsening, but it’s an old tactic

WASHINGTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shrugged off a rebuke for calling the surge of illegal border crossings an “invasion,” ramping up the rhetoric Thursday by warning that migrants in “military style gear” are now sneaking into Texas.

The governor’s office pointed to news reports showing migrants dressed in camouflage, captured last February through May in remote parts of West Texas. None of the reports indicate weapons.

Migrants and smugglers have used camouflage clothing to avoid detection f

About Trump’s boast that he swept the Texas border vote: He didn’t come close

WASHINGTON — Despite his boast as he launched his 2024 comeback bid, Donald Trump did not carry every community along the Texas border – not when he won the presidency in 2016 and not when he lost it in 2020.

There were other whoppers related to Texas that Trump told the cheering crowd at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

This one was the most specific, involving a congratulatory call from Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Along the border in Texas we won every single community. I won every single community. The gover

Ted Cruz says Pfizer COVID vaccine was promoted with ‘zero data.’ Medical experts disagree

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz is promoting vaccine skepticism, accusing Pfizer and U.S. officials of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine without testing whether it would curb transmission of the coronavirus.

“They had zero scientific basis, zero data backing it up,” Cruz said, referring to vaccine recommendations from federal officials and mandates on the military, federal workers and contractors. “It was politics. It wasn’t science. It wasn’t medicine.”

What Cruz didn’t mention is that regulators d

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is peddling baseless conspiracy theory that FBI incited Jan. 6 Capitol riot

WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz has been peddling a conspiracy theory for weeks suggesting that the FBI incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In this scenario, the nation’s prime law enforcement agency prodded supporters of defeated president Donald Trump to ignore police lines, assault officers, smash through doors, turn flagpoles into spears, invade the Senate chamber and threaten the vice president and House speaker.

No evidence has surfaced for this explosive theory.

Cruz and others who prom

Cruz decries $1,400 stimulus checks for inmates and ‘every illegal alien,’ but Trump deals had same rules

WASHINGTON – Will convicted felons be eligible for $1,400 per person stimulus payments? What about everyone who is in the country illegally?

Sen. Ted Cruz raised objections on both counts as the Senate debated the $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan likely to become law in the next few days – blasting the plan for extending federal largesse to murderers, which is true, and to all 11 million or so residents living in the United States without permission, which is not true.

Democrats shot down amend

No, Mr. President, you didn’t win Texas by ‘landslide’ and polls didn’t show dead heat four years ago

Updated with details from last 11 presidential elections in Texas.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is serving up revisionist history of his 2016 victory in Texas, telling Ohio voters Monday night that he won in a “landslide” despite “suppression polls” this time four years ago that showed a dead heat in Texas.

There’s no precise definition of “landslide,” but political scientists and campaign experts reserve the term for an overwhelming victory, particularly if the margin so exceeds expect

Political analysis

Razor-thin GOP majority in Congress rests on 4 ‘extra’ seats from Texas gerrymander

WASHINGTON — When the new Congress opens for business Tuesday, two-thirds of the Texans taking the oath of office will be Republicans.

Texas is a red state. But it’s not that red.

Compared to their share of the electorate, Republicans should have nabbed 21 U.S. House seats from Texas, not 25. And as it turns out, the GOP’s razor-thin majority hinged on the success of the latest once-a-decade exercise in gerrymandering.

Without those four extra seats from Texas, Republicans would control the H

Post-Uvalde gun law is legacy moment for Texas’ John Cornyn, but backlash is fierce

WASHINGTON — This is a legacy-making moment for Sen. John Cornyn.

The Texas Republican leveraged his A+ rating from the NRA and his credibility within the Senate to shepherd the biggest gun violence prevention measure in a generation through an evenly divided Senate.

It’s also a moment of unusual political peril for the four-term senator.

His collaboration with President Joe Biden and other Democrats has infuriated the most strident gun rights advocates and alienated grassroots activists. Tex

For Ted Cruz, culture war skirmishes at Supreme Court hearing track his 2024 ambitions

WASHINGTON — What’s a woman? Are babies racist? Why are you so soft on child porn defendants?

Those and other provocative questions hung over last week’s Supreme Court confirmation, implying the answer to yet another: Is it possible to run for president from a Senate hearing room?

Sen. Ted Cruz’s combative examination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson left little doubt that he had 2024 on his mind.

“The junior senator from Texas likes to get on television,” blurted an exasperated Sen. Patrick Le

Analysis: Push to replace Justice Ginsburg six weeks before election is both hypocritical and savvy

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg threw a monkey wrench into the presidential race with just 46 days to go. And it created a major new issue in the Texas race between three-term Sen. John Cornyn and Democrat MJ Hegar.

The White House and a chorus of Senate Republicans vowed Saturday to push through a replacement in the few weeks remaining before Election Day, with uncertain implications for the elections.

Yet in early 2016, a month after co

Behind the Texas firewall, suburban shifts leave Trump vulnerable. Can strongholds save him?

CONROE, Texas — It’s a steamy Friday night and, this being Texas, that means high school football — the glaring lights, the band and cheerleaders pumping up the crowd.

Parents in the stands aren’t talking politics. But if you can get them to take their eyes off the game, it doesn’t take long to figure out that this is Trump country.

“Trump 2020!” declared Alicia Elliott, 40, who owns an electrical business with her husband. “If he wasn’t doing a good job, that would be one thing.”


Flip side of George Bush's flexibility: Ideology took back seat to survival

WASHINGTON — George Bush projected decency and restraint in a life of public service, and pragmatism over purity.

There were other sides to the 41st president and other ways to assess his record.

His ideological flexibility allowed him to navigate political crosscurrents — and also made voters wary. His record of fighting hard and a bit dirty, even while coming across as so nice he had to tamp down an image as a wimp, struck opponents as disingenuous.

Glowing eulogies have flowed since Friday

Muleshoe Democrats welcome Beto O'Rourke, and marvel that he bothered

MULESHOE — Does the road to the U.S. Senate really run through Muleshoe?

For Rep. Beto O'Rourke, stumping Tuesday in the remote Panhandle town underscored a new campaign theme — that unlike Sen. Ted Cruz, he's "showing up."

It's not as though Muleshoe and surrounding Bailey County offer enough votes to tip a statewide election. Only 42 local Democrats cast ballots in the March primary. And O'Rourke only collected 16 of those.

"Either he's real desperate or he's real interested," said Cindy Co

Deadline reporting

Jeered at State of the Union, Biden touts US resilience after Jan. 6 riot and pandemic

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to tout a robust economic comeback from the pandemic, and to affirm that democracy “remains unbowed and unbroken” two years after a mob stormed the Capitol trying to overturn his election.

“Soon we’ll end the public health emergency,” he declared, bringing most everyone in the House chamber to their feet. But the ovation was entirely one-sided at the reference to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, with silence on the Republ

Trump complaint equating impeachment inquiry to ‘lynching’ infuriates black Texas lawmakers

Updated at 7:25 p.m. with Trump campaign comment.

WASHINGTON — An uproar swept through the capital Tuesday after the president complained that he’s the victim of a political “lynching."

Black lawmakers, in particular, expressed outrage as Donald Trump equated the impeachment inquiry to the hangings of slaves and former slaves by mobs in the Deep South as a method of punishment and intimidation.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Dallas Democrat who chairs the House science committee, said she was

'Hell, yes,' Beto O'Rourke's call to confiscate AR-15s pushes gun debate to new level

Beto O’Rourke’s declaration at Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate that he wants to confiscate all 10 million or more assault-style weapons owned by Americans electrified both sides of the nation’s gun divide.

"Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," he said. "We're not going to allow them to be used against fellow Americans anymore."

On one side of the gun divide, the unvarnished call for confiscation was a gift, proof that Democrats really are a bunch of gun-grabb

Trump moves goalposts on border wall, says 500 miles of replacement fence would be good enough

WASHINGTON — Locked in a showdown with Congress over border wall funding, President Donald Trump moved the goalposts on Tuesday by suggesting that he would be satisfied with funding to renovate existing barrier — not just add barrier to parts of the border that aren't already fenced.

And he set a goal of 500 to 550 miles of barrier — new or replacement — in place by the 2020 election, 22 months away.

Prior to an unusual Christmas morning session with reporters in the Oval Office, on Day 4 of a

Legal coverage

Abortion drug access could hinge on ‘relic’ from 1873, the anti-smut Comstock Act

WASHINGTON – The future of abortion rights could hinge on an anti-smut law from 150 years ago that an Amarillo judge deems enforceable once again.

The 1873 law hatched by morality crusader Anthony Comstock banned the mailing of lewd material, and any drug, device or information, that can prevent or end a pregnancy.

Courts poked major holes in the Comstock Act during the Great Depression. Congress repealed the parts about contraceptives during Vietnam. But abortion foes say the ban never went a

Supreme Court ends half-century of abortion rights, overturns Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade on Friday, a momentous ruling that erases constitutional protection for abortion rights in place for nearly a half-century.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” the ruling says.

Roe vs. Wade in crosshairs at Supreme Court, which sticks with precedent, except when it doesn’t

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has overturned hundreds of its own rulings since 1789, but hardly any on an issue as divisive as abortion rights.

Next Wednesday, the justices will hear arguments on a 15-week ban adopted by Mississippi in open defiance of Roe vs. Wade, which gives women another two months to legally terminate a pregnancy.

Anti-abortion forces have waited decades for a court willing to overturn the 1973 landmark. But the conservative majority’s distaste for Roe is only part of th

Breaking: Supreme Court strikes down formula that puts heightened scrutiny on Texas under Voting Rights Act; Voter ID law could go into effect soon

WASHINGTON -- The US Supreme Court has struck down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act that has long put Texas and most of the South under federal scrutiny.

The historic 5-4 ruling, by Chief Justice John Roberts, finds that the current formula for picking which states face such hurdles is outdated and unconstitutional. Until Congress devises a new formula that passes muster, these states no longer need to seek Justice Department approval ahead of time for new voter ID rules, congressio

Ted Cruz

Cruz could see $545K windfall as justices lift cap on donors paying off winners’ debt

WASHINGTON — Siding with Sen. Ted Cruz, the Supreme Court on Monday struck down a $250,000 cap on how much candidates can recoup for personal loans with donations that come in after Election Day.

“This provision burdens core political speech without proper justification,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the 6-3 opinion, with the three liberal justices dissenting.

Cruz placed a $10,000 personal bet on the case in order to challenge a restriction he views as an infringement on free speech. B

‘He’s an idiot’: Parents slam Cruz for decrying mask order in class hit by 4 COVID cases

SILVER SPRING, Md. – When COVID-19 swept through a Rosemary Hills Elementary School kindergarten last week, the principal sent home a note telling parents the rest of the class would have to wear masks for 10 days.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has railed against mask mandates since early in the pandemic, did not approve.

“If you want to voluntarily wear a mask, fine, but leave our kids the hell alone,” the Texas Republican posted online.

At the school – 3 miles from the National Institutes of Health an

Cruz ‘pissed off’ by midterms, but unscathed despite so-so results in 17-state bus tour

WASHINGTON – One day before the midterms, Sen. Ted Cruz was brimming with confidence about the GOP’s prospects.

Ending a month-long bus tour to bestow his seal on dozens of like-minded candidates, Cruz predicted a rout on par with the 2010 midterms that cost Barack Obama’s Democrats 63 House seats.

That’s “the magnitude of change the voters are looking for,” Cruz told Fox News. “I am incredibly optimistic” that Republicans will “retake the House and the Senate….This is going to be not just a r

The Donald Trump-Ted Cruz bromance, from 'Lyin' Ted' to 'total endorsement'

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, the president Ted Cruz once labeled a "sniveling coward," "utterly amoral," a "pathological liar" and a "serial philanderer," will campaign Monday night in Houston for an erstwhile rival he delighted in calling "Lyin' Ted."

They're hardly the first political foes to trade blows and then patch things up for expedience. And ideologically, they're more natural allies than odd couple.

But the mutual disdain and nastiness reached unusual heights even for a presidential c

From rival to wingman, Ted Cruz boasts of chumminess with Trump as he stumps for re-election

SUGAR LAND — One thing Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t doing as he seeks a second term is running away from the president. Despite a checkered history, the Texan boasts about his access and influence on matters ranging from taxes to the Paris Climate Accord.

“I spent a lot of time urging President Trump to pull out of that deal,” he recounted. “I spent 45 minutes on Air Force One saying, `Mr. President, this is killing jobs and it’s bad for our economy.'”

The day after Trump announced his decision, Cruz c

Analysis: Ted Cruz's strengths turned into weaknesses as he ran into a wall named Trump

INDIANAPOLIS – Ted Cruz went further than just about anyone outside his inner circle thought possible, ending his presidential bid Tuesday night as the runner-up for the Republican nomination.

Could he have won? Or were the seeds of his stunning success and ultimate disappointment sown long before the impatient young Texas senator announced his White House ambition 13 months ago?

At each juncture, Cruz’s strengths also proved to be limitations.

He cultivated support among evangelical Christia