Jessica Taylor | KUNC

Jessica Taylor

In an election year shaping up to be a good one for Democratic women candidates, Republican women could see their numbers drop after November. But one state where GOP women might find success is in Tennessee.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn will go up against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in one of the year's most critical and competitive Senate races. Rep. Diane Black is running for governor, though she first has to win a very competitive primary next week.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has words of praise for Sarah Sanders, his successor on the podium, and says she has figured out how to please President Trump in the job in a way he struggled to do.

"I think Sarah has done a great job of making sure that she understands what the president wants," Spicer told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly in an interview on Wednesday in advance of next week's release of his book The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Many Republicans harshly criticized President Trump's performance Monday at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump said Putin's denial that Moscow interfered with the 2016 election is "strong and powerful" — despite U.S. intelligence findings to the contrary.

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

There was a private lobbying force behind President Trump's change of heart on his controversial policy that resulted in thousands of family separations at the southern U.S. border: first lady Melania Trump.

A White House official confirmed to NPR's Sarah McCammon that Mrs. Trump pressed her husband to act to keep undocumented immigrant families together.

Mark Sanford is a political survivor like few others.

As governor of South Carolina, he disappeared from the state and infamously claimed to be "hiking the Appalachian Trail" in 2009 when he was instead carrying on an extramarital affair in Argentina.

That scandal ended Sanford's marriage but he rode out the political storm and finished his second term in 2011.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

President Trump unloaded on both Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, hours after federal agents raided the office of Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen.

"It's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt," Trump said on Monday. "When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness."

Updated on March 5 at 7:13 p.m. ET

The 2018 primary elections kick off this week, and Democrats are already seeing reasons to be excited deep in the red, beating heart of Texas.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants are "accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes," according to a statement from the special counsel's office. The indictment charges them with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

The federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown, and it appears it will be that way for some time.

President Trump and members of Congress publicly say they want to reopen the federal government, but, in the first day of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue showed no signs of ending their stalemate.

As President Trump approaches the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, a majority of Americans think that his first year in office has been a failure and that he has divided the nation.

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll data released Thursday finds that Americans deemed Trump's first year a failure, 53 percent to 40 percent. And by an almost 2-to-1 ratio (61 percent to 32 percent), Americans said they believe Trump has divided the country since his election.

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