Origins

In the midst of this news hurricane, we take one big step back to understand what the past can tell us about this dramatic moment in political history.

CNN Politics announced the launch of STATE at the end of April, and we marked our premiere by taking stock of President Donald Trump's remarkable -- and exhausting -- first 100 days.

Then came May: an administration battered by controversy, one earth-shattering scoop overtaken by another, a special prosecutor, and talk -- far-fetched for now -- of impeachment.

Our purpose in this effort is not to get embroiled in the news hurricane, and that's why this month we take one big step back to understand what the past can tell us about this dramatic moment in political history.

This -- our second edition -- is the "origins" issue of STATE.

CNN National Politics Reporter MJ Lee dug into Trump's formative years by spending several months talking with parishioners and religious leaders at his childhood church in Queens. Her dispatch paints a picture of a future president who has been exposed to religion all his life but seems to struggle with the basic concepts of Christianity and rarely turns to faith in times of crisis. Maeve Reston and Betsy Klein explore the First Daughter's devotion to her Jewish faith and her cautious approach to addressing rising anti-Semitism.

Only two US presidents have been impeached -- and one infamously resigned under the threat of imminent impeachment. Doing double duty this month, Reston caught up with John Dean, the White House counsel under President Richard Nixon. Their conversation, which Reston recounts in an essay, lays out the striking parallels between Watergate and the challenges facing Trump today.

CNN Digital Correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich rounds out this issue with a series of powerful profiles of border patrol agents who police three separate sections of the US border with Mexico. These agents who wear green uniforms every day call themselves part of the "green wall," protecting the areas of the border where there's no physical barrier. Yurkevich's reporting leaves the immigration debate in Washington behind to delve into who these agents are as people, why they've made the choices they’ve made and what they say they need now to do their jobs.



Thanks to Meredith Artley, Wendy Brundige, Olivia Camerini, Stephany Cardet, Nitya Chambers, Ashley Codianni, Joe Coleman, Shane Csontos-Popko, Cullen Daly, Padraic Driscoll, Dianna Heitz, Vanessa Meza, Andrew Morse, Ed O'Keefe, Michael Pisano, Damian Prado, Jonathan Reyes, Brett Roegiers, Meshach Rojas, Steven Sloan, Rachel Smolkin, Manav Tanneeru, Bernadette Tuazon, Ben Werschkul, Z. Byron Wolf, Deena Zaru.