Trump in Trouble

Wednesday's testimony before the House Oversight Committee from Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, marks an important milestone in the fight over Trump's future.

To better understand the most divisive US political drama in decades, we divide the Trump investigation story into three broad phases:

1- Investigations

2- Accusations

3- Court Decisions

Phase one (investigations) continues. Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to probe potential ties between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. Federal prosecutors in New York appear to be looking closely at Trump's businesses. The House and Senate have ongoing investigations of their own.

But phase two (formal accusations) began this week, because Michael Cohen is the first person directly implicated in any Trump investigation to speak in public under oath. His appearance on Wednesday will add to the lengthening list of those that Democratic lawmakers will call to testify. Mueller will produce a report at some point, and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will have announcements of their own. In this second phase, the drama will play in committee rooms in front of cameras, not simply behind closed doors.

We'll enter the third phase (court decisions) when attempts by Democrats to gain access to business records, including Trump's tax returns, and to subpoena testimony from members of Trump's family begin their journey through the courts.

This final phase, which will center on battles over the authority of the executive to resist the demands of Congress and lower courts, will test the independence and integrity of US political institutions and the courts like nothing we've seen in the modern era of American politics.

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.