Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET

Candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination took to the debate stage for the fifth time Wednesday night. There weren't any groundbreaking or game-changing moments, but here are five things that stood out:

1. Impeachment hearings may have taken some steam out of the debate

Let's face it: The biggest story of Wednesday was not the debate, it was the impeachment testimony of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

The country is witnessing one of only a handful of times in its history that Congress has gone through with public hearings on whether to impeach a president. And yet, the overwhelming majority of Americans across parties say nothing they hear in the inquiry will change their minds on impeachment, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

The first week of Trump impeachment inquiry hearings is in the books.

If you were paying attention to the thousands of pages of closed-door testimonies, you would recognize some of the details that emerged.

But there were some new and important wrinkles from the public hearings with acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor; George Kent, a top State Department official with oversight of Ukraine affairs; and Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who described a plot to oust her led by President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Two witnesses seen as crucial to the case against President Trump in the impeachment inquiry testified Wednesday.

Much of what was said by acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and George Kent, the State Department's top official on Ukraine policy, was previously known from their lengthy depositions released last week.

But there were some new things — and several moments that stood out. Here are seven:

1. A new detail from a new witness emerges

There was lots more detail in the transcripts released by congressional investigators this week that help color in the picture of what went down in the pressure campaign from the Trump administration to Ukraine.

Some had been known already, based on reporting and previously released opening statements. But far more depth was given after seeing the questions and answers from what were hours-long depositions.

And a lot of it will be aired publicly, beginning Wednesday with the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

A top State Department aide questioned the legality of a U.S. president asking for an investigation into a political rival in his hours-long, closed-door deposition before congressional impeachment investigators.

"Politically related prosecutions are not the way of promoting the rule of law. They undermine the rule of law," said George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

Updated 2:45 p.m ET

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, told congressional investigators that President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was orchestrating an international pressure campaign on Ukraine, was acting in the president's interests and trying to cast former Vice President Joe Biden "in a bad light," according to a transcript of Taylor's testimony released Wednesday.

Tuesday's statewide elections in Kentucky and Virginia were a big night for Democrats. And the results tell us a few things about national politics, consequential issues and President Trump.

In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, claimed victory Tuesday night and narrowly leads incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin by about 5,000 votes. Bevin has not yet conceded the race.

Editor's note: This is a developing story and will update with more details of the testimony.

Updated 6 p.m. ET

Updated at 3:56 p.m. ET

Ousted former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told congressional investigators that she was warned to "watch my back" by a senior Ukrainian official, according to the newly released transcript of Yovanovitch's closed-door deposition before Congress.

The Ukrainian official told her that Rudy Giuliani's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who have since been arrested on an unrelated charge, wanted a different ambassador in the post. Why?

President Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, is known as a conservative foreign policy hawk. But he is turning into a key figure in the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of Trump.

"All administrations are tempted to do bad things and have people who have bad instincts or wrong instincts," said Danielle Pletka, who oversees the conservative American Enterprise Institute's work on foreign policy and defense.

It's happening again.

Democrats are wringing their hands, wondering who else might be out there?

Michelle Obama? Sherrod Brown? Mike Bloomberg? Hillary Clinton? Oprah?

Democrats do this mental gymnastics nearly every election cycle — is there anyone not running for president who is better than who is running and can definitely win in a general election?

The rap on Mitt Romney is that though he isn't a fan of President Trump, when he speaks out, it's in a fairly lukewarm way.

And then it was revealed over the weekend that he's been behind an anonymous Twitter account under the nom de plume Pierre Delecto.

The fourth Democratic debate was a long one, about three hours, and ended after 11 p.m. ET.

You might not have made it through the whole thing, but there were some potentially consequential moments.

Here are six takeaways:

1. The scrutiny came for Warren, and her vulnerabilities were exposed some

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was under fire Tuesday night from several opponents, and when that happens to a candidate, you know they're a front-runner.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET, Mon. Oct. 14

The focus of the last two weeks has been President Trump and the congressional impeachment inquiry. But next week, Democrats running for president will take center stage again.

A dozen candidates, the most so far on one stage, will gather Tuesday for the fourth primary debate in Westerville, Ohio, at Otterbein University. The debate, which is sponsored by CNN and The New York Times, will air on CNN at 8 p.m. ET and will also be simulcast on local NPR stations.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told three House committees in a closed deposition that President Trump pressured the State Department to remove her from her post, according to prepared remarks reported by multiple outlets.

A slim majority of Americans now approve of the Democratic House-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

Adam Schiff has been a ubiquitous media presence criticizing President Trump. Trump, an omnivorous television news consumer, has returned the favor, tweeting disparaging comments about (Liddle') Schiff. (and worse.)

Updated 9:50 a.m. ET

The Trump administration has blocked Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, from testifying before Congress on Tuesday.

Sondland has been a key figure in the widening Ukraine scandal involving the president, members of his Cabinet and high-ranking diplomats.

A clearer picture is emerging of the Democratic primary field's third-quarter fundraising with the first votes to be cast in four months.

The standouts are Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who raised $25.3 million and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whose campaign revealed she brought in $24.6 million between July and September.

Well, that escalated quickly.

At the beginning of this week, it wasn't at all clear that the country was heading toward another impeachment investigation, 21 years after Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Americans are split, 49%-46%, on whether they approve of Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and independents at this point are not on board, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll finds.

But the pollsters warn that the new developments could change public opinion quickly, especially with 7 in 10 saying they are paying attention to the news.

Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET

Former Vice President Joe Biden called for President Trump's impeachment unless the White House complies with congressional requests for information about a call the president made to a Ukrainian leader.

"We have a president who believes there is no limit to his power," Biden said. "We have a president who believes he can do anything and get away with it. We have a president who believes he is above the law."

Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

After months of expressing caution on a push for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump Tuesday.

"The president must be held accountable," Pelosi said. "No one is above the law."

The landmark move comes after controversy over a phone call Trump had with the newly elected Ukrainian leader in July and reporting that the president pressured him to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

There are renewed calls for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached, after an essay in the New York Times, excerpting a book by Times reporters, was published this weekend.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Heading into Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, the third this campaign season, we had five political questions.

Here are those questions and how they got answered:

The fate of the filibuster — a 60-vote threshold for most legislation in the U.S. Senate — is again an issue of controversy among Democratic presidential candidates.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the supermajority requirement is preventing Congress from passing popular bills — such as a background check bill.

There are now less than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential nominating contest. So the spotlight is going to be even hotter on the 10 candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate in Houston. (Follow NPR's live analysis here.)

Elizabeth Warren is on the rise among Democratic voters, but she and other Democrats are less popular with the overall electorate, raising concerns about a bruising primary that could go on for the better part of the next year, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

The survey also finds President Trump continuing to struggle, with economic concerns seemingly starting to affect his standing, leaving a cloudy picture about the 2020 presidential election.

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