From new revelations in the Russia inquiry to the death of a president, it’s been a busy week in American politics. Here are some of the biggest stories you might have missed (and some links if you’d like to read further).
President George H.W. Bush died at 94.
Mr. Bush, the 41st president, steered the nation through a tumultuous period in world affairs, but he was denied a second term after support for his presidency collapsed under the weight of an economic downturn. His office announced his death on Friday night.
Tributes and condolences poured in. His son George W. Bush, the 43rd president, called him “a man of the highest character.” President Trump praised his “sound judgment, common sense and unflappable leadership.”
Mr. Bush entered the White House with one of the most impressive resumes of any president. Here’s a look at some milestones in his life.
The special counsel made strides in the Russia investigation.
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, lied to federal investigators in breach of a plea agreement he signed two months ago, the special counsel’s office said. Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Manafort cannot withdraw his guilty plea.
Later in the week, it was revealed that Mr. Manafort’s lawyer had repeatedly briefed Mr. Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators. Some legal experts speculated that it was a bid for a presidential pardon. By the end of the week, it was clear that Mr. Trump would not rule out a pardon, and that Mr. Manafort might be charged with additional crimes.
In another step forward for the Russia inquiry, Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to the first charge brought against him by Robert Mueller, admitting that he made false statements to Congress about efforts to pursue a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign. He asked a judge for leniency.
According to Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Mr. Cohen’s new account of the abortive Trump project in Moscow essentially matches what the president said in written answers to the special counsel’s inquiries. But how Mr. Mueller will approach the various accounts is an open question.
Democrats geared up to run the House.
Nancy Pelosi was nominated to be the speaker of the new House of Representatives on Wednesday, but since 32 Democrats voted against her, she was well short of the number needed to ensure her election in January.
While the shortage could give a potential challenger time to step forward, Ms. Pelosi had a long-term strategy: giving her Democratic opponents a chance to blow off steam by casting a protest vote. If all goes according to plan, they will change course by the final vote.
The congressional freshman class of 2019 includes the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House and boasts an avalanche of firsts, from the first Native American congresswomen to the first Muslim congresswomen.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York was a rare young face elected to a House position this week. At 48, he was chosen as chairman of the House Democratic caucus, putting him on the fast track to potentially make history as the first black speaker of the House, though he has said he would not be seeking that role.
Trump tested foreign relationships.
President Trump declared victory on Friday at a ceremonial signing of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement in Buenos Aires, predicting that gaining the congressional approval needed to enact the pact with Mexico and Canada would not be “very much of a problem.” But Democrats disagree.
Mr. Trump’s vow to keep thousands of migrants from crossing the border puts the incoming president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in a difficult position. And the United States military may stay involved: the Department of Homeland Security formally asked the Pentagon on Friday to extend the mission of active-duty troops on the southwestern border through the end of January.
After Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian ships ahead of the Group of 20 summit, Mr. Trump canceled his planned meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The incident has threatened to upend Mr. Trump’s hopes to forge closer ties with the Russian leader and may deepen the renewed tension between the two countries.
When Mr. Trump sits down with President Xi Jinping for dinner on Saturday, their meeting will be about more than trying to contain the trade dispute between the United States and China. It could foretell whether the two powers are destined to enter a new era of Cold War-like confrontation.
Washington stayed busy this week.
Furious over being denied a C.I.A. briefing on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, senators from both parties spurned the Trump administration on Wednesday with a stinging vote to consider ending American military support for the Saudi-backed war in Yemen.
Tim Scott of South Carolina, the lone black Republican senator, said on Thursday that he would oppose the judicial nomination of Thomas A. Farr, a lawyer who defended a North Carolina voter identification law and a partisan gerrymander that a federal court said was drafted to suppress black votes.
As Federal Trade Commission lawyers investigated a Miami company accused of defrauding thousands of customers last year, they were stunned to learn about a new job for a figure in their inquiry, Matthew G. Whitaker: He had been named chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Representative Raúl Grijalva, a high-ranking House Democrat, called for Interior secretary Ryan Zinke to resign. In response on Friday, Mr. Zinke took to Twitter to accuse the congressman of being a drunkard.
Believe it or not, the midterms are still not over.
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Mississippi Republican who apologized for a cavalier reference to a public hanging, won a special runoff election on Tuesday. She defeated the Democratic nominee, Mike Espy, who was trying to become the state’s first black senator since Reconstruction.
As much as Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida and Beto O’Rourke in Texas may have electrified black and progressive white voters, in rural county after rural county, they performed worse than President Barack Obama did in 2012.
Some midterms races are literally not over yet: Twenty-four days after the polls closed on November 6, two House races were at least nominally unsettled — and 210 state legislative seats were still up in the air.
Dozens of Democrats are considering a presidential run in 2020, but few of them have said so outright. Here’s how they’re making it known, one way or another.