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For a party halfway in the grave, the news thudded like another shovelful of dirt — thwack! — heaved atop its coffin: The Republican Party may soon slip into third place among registered California voters, trailing Democrats and self-declared independents.

The decline of the GOP — now barely a quarter of the state’s electorate — has been a precipitous one in this formerly deep-red redoubt, a decline all the more striking given the provenance of figures like Earl Warren, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Between them, they represented California on the national ticket in 8 out of 10 presidential races over a nearly 40-year span.

That said, the latest registration figures weren’t that hot for Democrats, either. True, at 45%, the party enjoys a sizable advantage over Republicans. But that level of support has hardly budged in 20 years, even as the party tightened its vise grip on the state.

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Take the guns first, go through due process second.

In a contentious White House meeting about guns Wednesday, President Trump suggested law enforcement officials should be able to confiscate people’s firearms without a court order to prevent potential tragedies. 

Trump also told lawmakers to send him “one terrific bill” on gun safety, including stronger background checks and restrictions based on one’s age and mental health.

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U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.
U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. (Toya Sarno Jordan / Getty Images)

President Trump has added “disgraceful” to the list of insults he’s thrown at his own attorney general. But this time, Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top lawman, is pushing back.

Trump, who has shredded long-standing norms by repeatedly attacking his own FBI and Justice Department, on Wednesday tweeted his unhappiness that Sessions had referred charges raised in a memo by House Intelligence Committee Republicans to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

“Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc.” the president complained, referring to an ongoing review of former FBI Director James Comey’s actions during the 2016 election.

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President Trump and his wife, Melania, leave the rotunda after paying homage to evangelist Billy Graham, whose body is lying in honor.
President Trump and his wife, Melania, leave the rotunda after paying homage to evangelist Billy Graham, whose body is lying in honor. (Shawn Thew / EPA/Shutterstock)

A simple wooden casket bearing the body of evangelist Billy Graham was borne by a military unit on Wednesday into the U.S. Capitol and onto a black-draped catafalque in the rotunda, where the confidant of presidents and world leaders was to lie in honor until evening.

President Trump led scores of dignitaries — senators, members of Congress and diplomats — as well as longtime Graham friends in acclaiming the religious leader, who died at age 99 a week ago.

“He took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden and to the brokenhearted, to inmates in prison, and to the overlooked and the neglected,” Trump said, standing near the casket during a brief ceremony. 

Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) wields the speaker's gavel after being elected as the first female speaker of the House in 2007.
Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) wields the speaker's gavel after being elected as the first female speaker of the House in 2007. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s mark on history will soon become part of the Smithsonian, with a donation of three items related to her swearing-in as the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.

Pelosi will donate a lacquered maple gavel, the burgundy pantsuit she wore and a copy of the speech she gave on the morning of Jan. 4, 2007, to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She gave up the job four years later after Republicans won a majority and took control of the House.

Democrats are itching to regain the 24 seats they need to retake the House and potentially put the San Francisco Democrat back in the speaker’s chair during her 17th term in the House.

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  • White House
  • Immigration
A barrier built in the 1990s in Calexico from recycled metal scraps and landing mat is being torn down for bollard-style posts.
A barrier built in the 1990s in Calexico from recycled metal scraps and landing mat is being torn down for bollard-style posts. (Sandy Huffaker / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump hailed his administration’s “big victory” in court in a case that challenged his proposed border wall, but threatened Wednesday to delay improving some sections of the existing border barrier in California.

His tweet, an apparent attempt to punish California, seemed to be an effort to fuel the continuing battle between the state’s liberal, pro-immigration officials and Trump’s White House.

Trump’s administration won an order Tuesday from a federal judge in San Diego, who ruled that the administration did not abuse its authority in waiving some environmental laws and other regulations when it began building new barriers and demonstration projects in Southern California.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks arrives for her closed-door hearing on Tuesday.
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks arrives for her closed-door hearing on Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks declined Tuesday to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee about her work since President Trump was inaugurated.

That means Hicks wouldn’t talk about the drafting of a controversial statement about a meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, and a Russian lawyer offering political dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. 

The statement, issued last July when news of the June 2016 meeting came to light, falsely said the meeting was about adoption policies.