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As President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, made the rounds Tuesday on Capitol Hill, early contours of what is likely to be a bitter confirmation battle began to take shape.

Democrats, who had previously focused largely on the impact to legalized abortion, began shifting their focus to the threat Trump’s pick might pose to the survival of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Not only has healthcare proved to be a galvanizing force for the party’s supporters, it’s far less divisive than abortion.

Republicans, meanwhile, are working to soften Kavanaugh’s image as a political operative who has been at the center of some of the most partisan battles of the last two decades. The White House and its surrogates are instead drawing attention to the nominee’s impressive credentials and what they see as his commitment to women and diversity.

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An attorney for former FBI lawyer Lisa Page says she will not appear for a private interview Wednesday with two House committees, despite a subpoena. 

Page's lawyer says she didn't have enough time to prepare and had asked the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees to schedule another date. Because they would not, “Lisa is not going to appear for an interview at this time,” Amy Jeffress said in a statement Tuesday evening. 

The committees are interested in Page as part of their investigation into what they say is bias at the Justice Department. Page exchanged text messages critical of Donald Trump with FBI agent Peter Strzok, who will testify publicly before the panel Thursday. Page and Strzok both worked on the FBI investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails and, later, special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. 

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President Trump kicked off his two-day visit with NATO allies by doing exactly what many of them feared, worsening tensions within the alliance by claiming that Germany, a bulwark of the transatlantic democratic order, "is totally controlled by" and "captive to Russia."

President Trump attends a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, ahead of a NATO Summit on July 11.
President Trump attends a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, ahead of a NATO Summit on July 11. (Stephanie Lecocz / EPA/Shutterstock)

In a combative start to his NATO visit, President Donald Trump asserted Wednesday that a pipeline project has made Germany "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" and blasted NATO allies' defense spending, opening what was expected to be a fraught summit with a list of grievances involving American allies.

Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the U.S. protecting Germany when the European nation is making deals with Russia.

"I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we're supposed to be guarding against Russia," Trump said during a breakfast with Stoltenberg, his first event since arriving in Brussels. "We're supposed to protect you against Russia but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate."

In choosing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump went with a well-credentialed Washington insider who compiled a long record as a reliable conservative and won the respect of White House lawyers and the outside groups that advise them.

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A group of asylum seekers waits to be processed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego.
A group of asylum seekers waits to be processed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego. (Alejandro Tamayo / San Diego Union-Tribune)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials attempted to rebut claims that they have been separating families at border ports of entry, saying Monday that the agency split only seven families out of 5,298 who presented themselves at legal international checkpoints from May to June.

“Separation at the ports of entry is very rare,” said Todd C. Owen, executive assistant commissioner of the agency’s office of field operations. “We are very judicious about the family unit.”

Owen said, however, that U.S. officials have been struggling to process asylum seekers because of a lack of temporary holding space at the nation’s 328 ports of entry. He also said the agency has been working with Mexican counterparts to hold families seeking asylum at shelters in Mexico instead of letting them wait on border bridges where they would be “exposed to the elements.”

A 30% U.S. tariff on imported solar panels put in place last winter should have caused prices here to jump.

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Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on Sunday sought to downplay North Korea’s harsh complaints about U.S. demands and insisted that negotiations on Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament were making progress.

Narrowly outnumbered in the Senate, Democrats are embarking on a Hail Mary campaign to block President Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.