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Yes or No: Who’s in charge? Power struggles roil Washington



Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson testifies at a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


A dozen times, Rep. Ayanna Pressley asked the witness for a yes or no answer on housing policy.


Not once did Ben Carson, President Donald Trump’s housing secretary, give her one. Instead, he mocked her: “Yes or no, can you ask me some questions yourself and stop reading?” Other times, he repeated: “You already know the answer.”


“I know the answer,” snapped Pressley. “Do YOU know the answer?”


It was a smaller pop in the epic struggle over who’s in charge in Washington these days, reflecting the dynamics crackling high and low across the battlefield of divided American government. Meeting by meeting, questions of competence, generational change, #MeToo politics, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and the 2020 elections are animating the fight for power. Even as Trump and his top Cabinet officials refuse to cooperate with congressional investigations, there is evidence that newly empowered Democrats are slowly — sometimes messily — resetting the balance after Trump’s first two years in office under Republican congressional control.



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