Ron Elving

Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professional in Residence at American University, where he is now an adjunct professor. In this role, Elving received American University's 2016 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown University.

He has been published by the Brookings Institution and the American Political Science Association. He has contributed chapters on Obama and the media and on the media role in Congress to the academic studies Obama in Office 2011, and Rivals for Power, 2013. Ron's earlier book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster and is also a Touchstone paperback.

During his tenure as the manager of NPR's Washington coverage, NPR reporters were awarded every major recognition available in radio journalism, including the Dirksen Award for Congressional Reporting and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Ron came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, he had been state capital bureau chief for The Milwaukee Journal.

He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California – Berkeley.

President Trump's choice of Brett Kavanaugh is already the most contentious nomination to the Supreme Court since Clarence Thomas won a 52-48 confirmation vote in 1991.

Thomas' was the closest vote confirming a justice since the 1800s, and it followed a stormy hearing and an adverse vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The process nearly foundered on accusations of sexual harassment and racial prejudice.

But the Senate in that day settled down, and Thomas has served on the court for 27 years – a nearly always silent anchor on the court's right.

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In the last couple of years, most of the attention on Senator McCain has been focused on his clashes with President Trump. To talk more about that, we're joined by NPR's Ron Elving. Ron, thanks so much.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Hi, Michel.

No president of the United States has ever been removed from office by impeachment. But it's hard to watch the news these days without hearing the word.

So, what does it actually take to impeach a president?

In this Ron's Office Hours, NPR's Ron Elving explains the procedure by which the House of Representative and the U.S. Senate remove a sitting president.

The Trump era has already produced many moments of unprecedented strangeness, but perhaps none to match his triumphal visit to West Virginia just hours after two of his key associates were found guilty or pleaded guilty on a total 16 federal counts in two separate proceedings in two courts.

As President Trump enthralled a rally crowd for more than an hour on Fox News Tuesday night, a click to another channel revealed endless tape loops of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen leaving courthouses.

The median age in America is roughly 37. So most of the people in this country today have no memory of events in the 1970s, much less the 1950s.

But President Trump does. He has not only memories but also direct personal connections to some of the actors in those eras. And the drama of those times remains vivid to him, or at least worthy of mentioning on Twitter.

The media world that revolves around President Trump is a world of promising news, which is to say news that is mostly about promises.

The stories that dominate front pages and lead newscasts are typically about things that might happen or could happen. And sometimes, these things actually do happen.

Given the attitude with which President Trump has greeted all news of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, his performance in Helsinki on Monday should have come as no surprise.

And yet there was surprise — even shock — when the president of the United States stood onstage alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and accepted the former KGB officer's denials regarding that interference.

The last thing Washington needs right now is another blockbuster news story.

But here it comes anyway, President Trump's latest choice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. At a minimum, that person will be the center of attention in Washington through much of the summer and fall, through Senate hearings and deliberations — after which the nominee is highly likely to be confirmed and to serve on the nation's highest court for decades.

When it comes to Washington news stories, it doesn't get much bigger than that.

So much has happened in the past two years that many may have forgotten what happened to Merrick Garland in the spring of 2016.

But filling in that recollection goes some distance in explaining a lot of what has happened since.

To recap, Garland was nominated to fill the 2016 vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death that February of Justice Antonin Scalia, an icon of conservative jurisprudence.

The Constitution is something of an owners manual for taxpayers. But, like many an owners manual, it doesn't necessarily cover all the bases.

A constitutional crisis occurs at a moment when the Constitution is not enough to resolve a question or a conflict.

This could happen for several reasons:

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In its early days, Congress wrote a series of rules and precedents — Thomas Jefferson penned a book about it — that Congress has used ever since.

But there are also unwritten rules. And it's these unwritten rules that break down when politics get excessively polarized.

For days, the Washington world waited for the presidential tweet that would end the troubled tenure of Scott Pruitt, the high-profile and high-maintenance administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was hard to imagine anyone surviving an onslaught of stories like those recounting Pruitt's living large on several continents — with eye-popping costs for travel and security.

Recent FBI investigations relevant to the 2016 presidential election have become the latest battleground in our deeply divided and partisan politics.

Some Republicans, disappointed by the lack of charges over Hillary Clinton's emails and distressed by the continuing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, suddenly perceive corruption in the FBI. Democrats counter that the casting of doubt on the nation's top national law enforcement agency is an unprecedented outrage.

Capitol Hill Republicans are nervous about November. The margins of their majority are dwindling in both chambers. It's looking like a good year to run as a Democrat, and President Trump isn't helping with his weak polls and potent controversies.

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The word debase - debase has been trending on Merriam-Webster's website.

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And to help us understand what's happening on Capitol Hill tonight, I am joined by NPR's Ron Elving. Hello there, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Kelly.

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