Ron Elving

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We've heard the phrase historic summit endlessly over the past few days as President Trump traveled to Singapore to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

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We have encountered the phrase "historic summit" throughout our lives — and heard it endlessly repeated in recent days with respect to President Trump's meeting in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Historic summit" is part of the language we have inherited from the late 20th century. It reflects the changes in technology in the last 100 years, as well as the changes in world politics.

The Constitution is something of an owners manual for taxpayers. But, like many an owners manual, it doesn't necessarily cover all the bases.

A constitutional crisis occurs at a moment when the Constitution is not enough to resolve a question or a conflict.

This could happen for several reasons:

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In its early days, Congress wrote a series of rules and precedents — Thomas Jefferson penned a book about it — that Congress has used ever since.

But there are also unwritten rules. And it's these unwritten rules that break down when politics get excessively polarized.

Anyone who has followed the saga of Sen. John McCain or ever reacted with emotion to his words or actions will recognize the man speaking in this valedictory volume.

The voice and manner are familiar enough that we can almost hear and see him on every page.

It recalls his previous literary efforts (he has written seven books with longtime collaborator Mark Salter), but it also ventures deeper into our collective memories of McCain and his world — as we prepare to part with both.

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Joined now by NPR's Ron Elving, Senior Editor and Correspondent. Ron, thank you very much for being with us today.

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

A Higher Loyalty, by far the most consequential book yet in the literature of the Trump presidency, is arriving as political conflict roils every aspect of that presidency. Former FBI Director James Comey's scathing review will not settle the arguments about President Trump, nor will it calm the controversy over its author. But it will furnish mountains of ammunition for combatants on all sides.

In Henry IV, Part 2, Shakespeare writes, "Uneasy rests the head that wears the crown."

Speakers of the House do not wear crowns. But if they did, these days their crowns might as well be woven of thorns.

Just ask Paul Ryan, who has announced he will relinquish the speakership by not seeking re-election this fall.

For days, the Washington world waited for the presidential tweet that would end the troubled tenure of Scott Pruitt, the high-profile and high-maintenance administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was hard to imagine anyone surviving an onslaught of stories like those recounting Pruitt's living large on several continents — with eye-popping costs for travel and security.

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