Politics & Government

Political news and news about government; who runs it and how it works.

Officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada met Wednesday to begin renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In an opening statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer praised President Trump for the fact that these negotiations were even happening.

"American politicians have been promising to renegotiate NAFTA for years, but today, President Trump is going to fulfill those promises," he said.

To walk around Berlin is to constantly, inevitably, trip over history.

Almost literally, in the case of the Stolpersteine, or "stumbling stones," embedded in the sidewalks outside homes where victims of the Holocaust once lived.

Germany's culture of "remembrance" around the Nazi years and the Holocaust is a well-documented and essential part of the nation's character. Though occasionally political parties may challenge it, those elements have thus far remained thoroughly fringe.

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's rarely seen but longest-serving aides, has been named interim White House communications director, filling the position left vacant by Anthony Scaramucci after his 10-day tenure.

Hicks will work alongside press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders until a permanent replacement is found, the White House said. She has been serving as director of strategic communications.

"We will make an announcement on a permanent communications director at the appropriate time," a White House official said.

"So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? ... [Jefferson] was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue?" — President Trump, Aug. 15, 2017

One of the largest university systems in the country is doing away with remedial classes. Until now, the California State University system has required nearly 40 percent of its students to take the preparatory classes — which cost full price, but don’t earn college credits.

CSU senior strategist James Minor (@JT_Minor) tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young that starting next year, the university will try a number of other strategies to help entering students who aren’t yet ready for college-level work.

The aftermath of the violent protest and counterprotests in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend continue to reverberate across the country — sparking discussions about race and the country's Civil War past.

Mourners gathered in Charlottesville on Wednesday to remember Heather Heyer, who was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally. Attendees were asked to wear purple, Heyer's favorite color, in her memory.

In an overnight operation, workers removed Baltimore's high-profile statues linked to the Confederacy, using cranes and trucks to haul away monuments that honored Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Roger B. Taney, author of the Supreme Court's Dred Scott opinion.

"It's done," Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun. "They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could."

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