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  • The consensus was clear at a discussion by ethics experts at the Texas Tribune festival on Saturday: Donald Trump's White House may be the most unethical administration Americans have ever seen. Walter Shaub, who was the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics until he quit in frustration earlier this year, said Trump had told his office to "go jump in a...

  • Houston’s police chief called on state leaders to help the city rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, saying the effort shouldn’t rest on Mayor Sylvester Turner's shoulders alone.  "Nobody's going to come and rebuild the city of Houston for free. Unless someone has a magic pill that we can just give somebody and say, 'You will build this for free, you will fix it for...

  • Susan Rice, the former national security advisor to President Barack Obama, firmly defended the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran on Saturday, saying that pulling out of the deal would be "the height of folly — and incredibly self-destructive." "The deal is strong, it is working, it serves our interest," she said in Austin. "It makes no sense to cast it aside." During an appearance...

  • U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, praised House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Saturday but said he does not want her help in his U.S. Senate campaign. "No, I don't want Nancy Pelosi to come to Texas to campaign with me," O'Rourke said during an interview at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. "I don't want anybody from outside of Texas to come...

  • Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional remarks from Straus. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus brushed aside complaints that he controls the House and said he is confident that most of the members of the chamber will support him for a record-breaking sixth term in that post in January 2019. “I won’t be speaker forever,” Straus said. “It just seems that way...

  • A little over a year from the midterm elections, one of the highest-ranking members of the U.S. House addressed the future of the Democratic party in a Saturday morning interview at the Texas Tribune Festival.  U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the U.S. House minority whip, talked about Democratic candidate recruitment, grumblings about his place in an aging U.S. House leadership structure, and Democratic chances...

  • U.S. Sen. Al Franken said Friday that while Republican colleague John McCain announced his opposition to the latest Republican health care plan, Franken is not ready to declare victory. "We've still got to fight," Franken, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, said about the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. McCain's opposition puts that effort in serious jeopardy....

  • *Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout. State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed paperwork to run to be the next speaker of the Texas House. "Over the past several months, many of my colleagues have encouraged me to consider running for Speaker," King said in a statement. "In order to have an open discussion concerning the future of our Texas House, I have...

  • Chris Hayes of MSNBC and Jamelle Bouie of Slate joined us this afternoon for a community forum on race and justice. Here’s what we learned: The problems are intractable, but there are solutions. Audience members asked Bouie and Hayes to tackle big subjects: the racial wealth gap, covert racism and the school-to-prison pipeline. Even for thorny issues, there is hope, the panelists said. To...

  • In Houston and dozens of other Gulf Coast towns, piles of once-cherished belongings, flood-soaked sheetrock and furniture are everywhere, gathered in isolated pockets outside apartment complexes and behind bricked subdivision walls in long lines that snake along street after street. And there’s no telling how long these piles of trash will sit as decaying reminders of how far Southeast Texas has to go...

  • Are you ready to fest? The 2017 Texas Tribune Festival kicked off Friday with a series of events including a conversation between Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith and U.S. Sen. Al Franken. The Festival runs through Sunday with some of the biggest names in politics gathered to explore the state’s — and nation’s — most pressing issues. Join us here throughout the weekend for a liveblog of key moments from more than 60 panel discussions on education, climate change, President Trump, the role of media in 2017 and much more.  Watch: A Conversation with Ted Cruz and John Cornyn  Coming up: Sunday, Sept. 24 10:30...

  • Thanks for reading The Brief, our daily newsletter informing you on politics, public policy and everything in between. Forward this email to friends who may want to join us. They can sign up here. — CP What you need to know Texas is facing off with its opponents in court again — this time, it's over the state's new immigration enforcement law. Here's what you...