Ron Elving

The week had almost ended when the Twitter item came across. Minutes before quitting time, less than an hour after the markets closed: Gen. John Kelly named White House chief of staff.

The secretary of homeland security was replacing Reince Priebus at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

After about six months and a week, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee had been removed as the No. 1 aide to President Trump.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

In an emotional return to the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. John McCain admonished the leaders of his party for how they managed the health care bill and called instead for "regular order."

President Trump has summoned all Senate Republicans to the White House on Wednesday for a debrief on the state of health care legislation effort in their chamber. Based on the week so far, the meeting may be more like a post mortem.

Now that Donald Trump Jr.'s emails have produced the kind of solid evidence the Russia connection story had been lacking, what had been mostly speculative reporting has instead become the first draft of history.

Expect that history to be much debated. All accounts of political skulduggery with foreign actors tend to be "tangled and murky," as one foreign policy historian has written.

President Trump plans a European trip next week for a gathering of representatives of the world's largest economies — including those of allies such as Britain, Japan and Germany, and rivals such as China and Russia.

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Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

Ordinary people often get into legal trouble in response to desperate circumstances. Politicians, however, seem to make the worst trouble for themselves when they are riding high and carrying all before them.

Thus the most famous political scandals of U.S. history have happened not when presidents or members of Congress had their backs to the wall but when their sails were filled with a favorable wind.

Until now, all the controversy over President Trump, his associates and their various connections with various Russians has been billows of smoke without a visible fire.

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We're going to get some historical context now to this surprising development today. And to do that, we have NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving. Hello there, Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Kelly.

In the Rose Garden last week President Trump and the House Republican leadership celebrated their vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as though it had actually repealed and replaced the 2010 law colloquially known as Obamacare.

It had not, of course. Several more giant steps remain in the process. And more than a few of these same Republicans may well be grateful.

President Trump has a flair — perhaps a genius — for counter-programming, which can be described as the art of upstaging your rivals just when they think they're about to have their spotlight moment.

He did it countless times as a candidate, eclipsing all the other Republican contenders and the Democrats as well. He demonstrated his prowess again on the 100th day of his presidency, rallying a blue-collar crowd in Pennsylvania and shunning the annual black-tie White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

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