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President Donald Trump's most recent public campaign against the US intelligence community has stunned current and former intelligence officials. "He's doing the enemy's job for them," one FBI agent told INSIDER. Another agent compared Trump's unwillingness to accept intelligence assessments that contradict his beliefs to the behavior of a toddler. "It's like when my son threw temper tantrums when I told him he couldn't do something or if I said something he didn't like. Of course, my son was three years old at the time and wasn't sitting in the Oval Office with the nuclear button," the second agent told INSIDER. As a result of Trump's actions, intelligence officers are "more vulnerable to approaches by foreign intelligence services — and more vulnerable to accepting those approaches — than any other time in US history," Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative, told INSIDER. "For decades, the Soviet Union and, more recently, Russia, have denigrated the CIA and our intelligence professionals, attempting to delegitimize US intelligence in the process," another intelligence veteran, Ned Price, said. "Now our adversaries have a helper who sits in the Oval Office." President Donald Trump's public insults against his top intelligence chiefs and apparent unwillingness to accept assessments that contradict his own beliefs pose a dire threat to US national security and create a goldmine for foreign intelligence services to exploit, current and former intelligence officials told INSIDER. Trump's latest attacks came after US intelligence leaders, including FBI director Chris Wray, CIA director Gina Haspel, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee at an annual hearing on Tuesday regarding the top global security threats facing the country. Trump grew enraged when, among other things, the officials testified that while Iran is still a global threat, it is complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international deal the Obama administration spearheaded that's designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.Pentagon confirms 3,750 additional troops heading to the US-Mexico border - Elizabeth McLaughlinThe new troops are expected to deploy in mid-February, an official told ABC News. Approximately 3,750 additional active duty U.S. troops are heading to the southern border in support of Customs and Border Protection, according to a statement released by the Department of Defense on Sunday. "That support includes a mobile surveillance capability through the end of September 2019, as well as the emplacement of approximately 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry," the statement said. (MORE: House Democrat reveals 3,500 additional US troops heading to southern border, slams Pentagon for lack of transparency). The new troops are expected to deploy in mid-February, a U.S. official told ABC News. There are already about 2,350 active duty troops along the border in Texas, Arizona and California. In the statement, the DOD said the total number of active duty forces would only rise to 4,350, meaning some of those currently deployed troops would return to their bases. There are also about 2,200 National Guard troops who have been serving on the southern border since last April.Trump taps Ronny Jackson to receive promotion and be his top medical adviser, despite investigation - Dan Lamothe, Josh DawseyThe Pentagon’s inspector general opened a case against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson in June. President Trump has tapped a senior Navy officer who he considered last year to be his Veterans Affairs secretary for promotion to two-star admiral and to be his chief medical adviser, even though there is still an open Pentagon investigation against him into allegations that derailed his VA secretary nomination. The White House sent Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson’s name for promotion consideration to the Senate on Jan. 15. He was serving as the president’s doctor last April when Trump nominated him for the VA post, and withdrew from consideration after accusations of mismanagement and misconduct as White House physician emerged. A spokesman for the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office, Bruce Anderson, said his office’s investigation into Jackson is still ongoing. The office, considered the Pentagon’s top watchdog, said in June that it had opened a case against Jackson, though it would not comment on the scope of it.US president intensifies pressure on socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to hand over power to opposition leader Guaido. President Donald Trump has said deploying the US military to Venezuela is "an option". "Well, I don't want to say that. But certainly, it's something that's on the - it's an option," Trump said on CBS's Face the Nation programme on Sunday when asked if he would use the American forces during Venezuela's crisis. The US recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president on January 23, and is leading an international campaign to drive Nicolas Maduro from office. Trump also said Maduro requested a meeting with him "a number of months ago" but he declined it. "I decided at the time 'no' because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela," he said, citing the "poverty, anguish, and crime" in a country that was once one of the wealthiest in Latin America. Trump again praised Guaido describing him as "a young and energetic gentleman". "If you talk about democracy - it's really democracy in action... I think the process is playing out - very, very big tremendous protests."Trump’s Venezuela Sanctions Put Russian Billions at Risk - Jack Farchy, Olga TanasAs U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company ripple through the market, there’s one company with more at stake than most: its Russian counterpart, Rosneft PJSC. Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin has personally spearheaded Russia’s support for President Nicolas Maduro’s government and over the past five years, the Russian oil company has funneled more than $7 billion in Venezuela, largely through loans to be repaid in future crude deliveries. Rosneft is “one of the largest international investors in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” according to its annual reports, and the country is one of the company’s largest international investments.The Trump administration will stop abiding by a landmark arms control pact with Russia as soon as Saturday after last-minute diplomatic efforts to bring Moscow back into compliance failed, a top State Department official told Reuters. “We’ll have an announcement made, follow all the steps that need to be taken on the treaty to suspend our obligations with the intent to withdraw,” Andrea Thompson, under secretary of State for arms control and international security, told the publication in an interview Thursday. Thompson’s remarks followed talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Beijing, where Thompson is leading the U.S. delegation at the 2019 P5 Conference. The U.S. has publicly accused Russia of violating the Soviet-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) since 2014, which Moscow denies. President Trump signaled in October that he planned to withdraw from the treaty, citing Russia's failure to comply.EU launches mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Iran - Virginia PietromarchiEU opens new channel for humanitarian trade with Iran, showing its willingness to stand against US policies. The European Union has announced the setting up of a payment mechanism to secure trade with Iran and skirt US sanctions after Washington pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal last May. The proposal of a financial instrument has been a key element in the EU's strategy to keep Iran from quitting the 2015 nuclear agreement, which was signed to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. The new institution, named INSTEX - Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges - will allow trade between the EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions. It is a project of the governments of France, Germany and Britain and will receive the formal endorsement of all 28 EU members. The administration of US President Donald Trump has been closely eyeing European efforts to establish the financial mechanism and warned any attempt to evade its "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran would be subject to stiff penalties. The mechanism is the first concrete step by the EU to counter Trump's unilateral decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal.Trump administration faces an increasingly adversarial Congress — in both parties - Seung Min Kim, Sean Sullivan, Josh DawseySenior Republicans are warning him away from a national emergency declaration to build a border wall. The top Senate leader is directly rebuking his national security policy in Syria and Afghanistan. And Democratic committee chairs are threatening subpoenas for his top officials. For an administration that had largely been accommodated by Republican lawmakers during its first two years, President Trump is facing an increasingly adversarial Congress eager to assert itself on matters of foreign policy and oversight. Senate Republicans — fresh off a bruising fight over the longest government shutdown in history — are sending fresh signals of discontent, challenging the administration on foreign policy and imploring it to stay out, for now, of talks to avert another shutdown next month. And in the House, where Democrats came into power largely on a promise to serve as a check on the president, several Cabinet secretaries have already declined to testify before committees on contentious topics such as the impact of the shutdown and the administration’s abandoned policy of separating migrant families.Sarah Sanders: God 'wanted Donald Trump to become president' - Brett SamuelsWhite House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that God "wanted Donald Trump to become president." Sanders spoke with David Brody and Jennifer Wishon of the Christian Broadcasting Network. Brody during the interview asked the press secretary for a "spiritual perspective" on Trump's presidency. "I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president," Sanders said. "And that’s why he’s there, and I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.” Trump has often courted the support of evangelical leaders, and many high-profile evangelicals have defended him despite criticism regarding his rhetoric on immigration, race and other subjects. Sanders was asked Wednesday about a pair of religion-based issues, including allegations from conservatives that freshmen Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) harbor anti-Semitic views. The two representatives have drawn criticism for their support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which is critical of the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians. - Sarah God did not Donald J. Trump to be president Putin and the devil did.Trump reportedly keeps finding a way to meet the Russian leader privately. If you’re a US president, it’s probably not a great idea to meet with a foreign leader who meddled in your country’s elections without some way to record what’s being discussed. But that’s just what President Donald Trump apparently did — again. According to the Financial Times, Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin during last November’s G20 summit in Argentina without a US official present to take notes. First lady Melania Trump was by the president’s side during the chat, but no staff joined them. The White House had previously acknowledged that both leaders met for an “informal” talk but didn’t disclose that Trump had no official member of his team present. Putin did have someone, though: his translator, although it’s unclear if that person wrote anything down. This isn’t the first time Trump has done this. During the G20 meeting in Germany in July 2017, he got up from his seat during a dinner in order to sit next to Putin, who did have his translator to help. That meeting, which the White House didn’t initially reveal, came just hours after Trump bought Putin’s denial that Russia didn’t intervene in the 2016 presidential election. Why having no note taker matters: There are two major problems with Trump’s continued and ill-advised conduct. First, the optics. Trump continually finds ways to meet with Putin privately. That’s a really bad look when you consider the fact that US intelligence says the Russian directed a sophisticated campaign to help Trump win the White House, not to mention special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Trump-Russia ties during the 2016 presidential campaign. But second, and more importantly, we’ll never really know what happened during the Trump-Putin chat since only four people were there — Trump, Putin, the first lady, and the translator — and nothing was recorded (that we know of). In addition to this, the administration apparently has no notes of any of the many Trump-Putin interactions over a two-year span. And at least on one occasion in 2017, Trump told his translator after an official meeting with Putin not to share details of the meeting with staff. Trump actually seized his notes. This isn’t a minor clerical issue. It actively hinders some US officials from doing their job when they don’t receive a detailed briefing about what the president discussed with another head of state. Without knowing what they agreed to, fought about, or even laughed at, it’s nearly impossible for the administration to conduct policy accordingly. And let’s not forget that we’re talking about Trump here: the guy who shared highly classified intelligence in a meeting with top Russian officials in the Oval Office back in May 2017 and who has surrounded himself with a high number of pro-Kremlin confidants.Trump blasts U.S. intelligence officials, disputes assessments on Iran and other global threats - John Wagner, Shane HarrisPresident Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence officials Wednesday, calling them “extremely passive and naive” about the nuclear danger posed by Iran and pushing back on their assessments of the Islamic State and North Korea during a congressional hearing. In a series of tweets, Trump offered what amounted to a rebuttal of testimony on an array of global threats provided to the Senate on Tuesday by a panel of top officials from his administration. Trump was most pointed in his pushback on the assessment of Iran. During testimony, officials said that Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon and was in compliance with an agreement forged during the Obama administration from which Trump subsequently withdrew the United States. The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump wrote. “They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.” “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” the president added.The White House quietly rolled back workplace safety rules during the shutdown - Alexia Fernández CampbellPublic health groups are suing the Trump administration for blocking a rule requiring employers to report details of workplace injuries. The partial government shutdown may have disrupted air travel and triggered financial hardship, but it didn’t stop the White House from continuing to dismantle regulations meant to protect US workers. On Friday, the Trump administration gutted a 2016 rule that required most employers to electronically submit detailed reports of all workplace injuries to the Department of Labor each year — reports they’ve long been required to keep, but never required to submit. The Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule would have allowed the government, for the first time, to get more complete data on how many US workers are injured on the job and how those injuries happened. Enacted under the Obama administration, it was supposed to help inspectors identify dangerous work conditions, and in turn pressure businesses to comply with workplace safety laws. But in 2017, the Trump administration put the electronic reporting rule on hold, then amended it this summer to let employers off the hook. Employers would no longer have to submit the detailed injury reports — just a summary report. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which reviews regulations before they are published, then rushed the amendment through the three-month review process in just six weeks — even though the office was closed during the shutdown and two-thirds of the office’s employees were furloughed. By Friday, the changes were finalized and published. The move caught labor leaders off-guard and drew sharp criticism from public health researchers, who rely on injury data to analyze health risks and develop prevention programs. Public Citizen, a nonprofit group that promotes research-based policies to improve occupational health, immediately filed a lawsuit with two other public health groups to block the changes. The AFL-CIO labor federation accused the department of ramming through the controversial changes as a favor to big business groups, who oppose the rule.The US faces threats from China, Russia and ISIS but Trump's rhetoric appears to be pushing America's allies away, a US intelligence report warns - Caitlin FosterThe director of national intelligence, as well as directors from various intelligence agencies, briefed the new Worldwide Threat Assessment to the Senate Intelligence Community Tuesday, lining out the top international threats to the US. Cyber threats from China and Russia and the loss of allies were highlighted as significant threats to the post-World War II world order. The report also directly contradicts White House statements on North Korea's commitment to denuclearization and the defeat of ISIS. Cyber threats, espionage, and election interference. "We anticipate that all our adversaries and strategic competitors will increasingly build and integrate cyber espionage, attack, and influence capabilities into their efforts to influence US policies," the report states.Trump's biggest media supporters turn on him after government reopens without border wall funding - Kevin BreuningerSome elites of the pro-Trump media sphere have turned on the president for his failure to secure border wall funding after a 35-day partial government shutdown. Trump signed a measure Friday to reopen the government for three weeks while border security negotiations continued. After Trump signed the stopgap measure, Coulter sent a flurry of tweets attacking Trump as a “wimp.” After singing his praises for years, some of President Donald Trump’s most influential defenders have abruptly changed their tunes. Just as recent polls show Trump’s base of supporters shrinking, some elites of the pro-Trump media sphere have turned on the president for his failure to secure border wall funding after a 35-day partial government shutdown. While politicians generally pay close attention to the media, even Republicans in Congress have speculated that a handful of conservative pundits hold significant sway over this president. He reportedly maintains close relationships with some talk-show hosts and has even invited some to speak at his campaign-style rallies.Trump to Deliver State of the Union Next Week - Sheryl Gay StolbergPresident Trump will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on Feb. 5, 10 days before the deadline for lawmakers in the House and the Senate to reach an agreement on a border security package to avert another government shutdown. On Monday afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent an invitation to the president, and he later replied, agreeing to the date. “We have a great story to tell and yet, great goals to achieve!” he wrote. The exchange capped weeks of back-and-forth between the speaker and the president over when, and whether, he could deliver the speech in the House chamber. On Jan. 23, in the middle of the 35-day government shutdown, Ms. Pelosi told the president she wanted to postpone the address, initially scheduled for Tuesday. When Mr. Trump pressed ahead last week, insisting he wanted to give the speech on Tuesday, Ms. Pelosi disinvited him.Government shutdown cost economy $11 billion, budget office says - Dareh GregorianOf that $11 billion hit, $3 billion is gone forever, a Congressional Budget Office report found. shutdown in government history — but the economic effects will be felt for a long time. A report released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the economy took an $11 billion hit, including $3 billion that's gone forever, in the 35 days that parts of the federal government went unfunded. "In CBO's estimation, the shutdown dampened economic activity mainly because of the loss of furloughed federal workers' contribution to GDP, the delay in federal spending on goods and services, and the reduction in aggregate demand," the report said. And that may just be the tip of the economic iceberg. "Underlying those effects on the overall economy are much more significant effects on individual businesses and workers. Among those who experienced the largest and most direct negative effects are federal workers who faced delayed compensation and private-sector entities that lost business. Some of those private-sector entities will never recoup that lost income," the report said. The CBO said its estimates "do not incorporate other, more indirect negative effects of the shutdown, which are more difficult to quantify but were probably becoming more significant as it continued." "For example, some businesses could not obtain federal permits and certifications, and others faced reduced access to loans provided by the federal government. Such factors were probably beginning to lead firms to postpone investment and hiring decisions," the report said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that the report shows that "the President’s shutdown inflicted needless pain and chaos in the lives of millions of Americans, and stole billions of dollars from the economy."Trump National Golf Club in N.Y. Fires Undocumented Workers, Lawyer Says - Mihir Zaveri, Annie CorrealFor eight years, it seemed to Margarita Cruz that the management at the Trump Organization’s golf club in Westchester, N.Y., did not notice — or did not care — that the green card and Social Security card she had used to get hired were fake, purchased in Queens for about $120. Ms. Cruz, a housekeeper, said she cleaned guest rooms, offices and shops at the club. She laundered sheets and pool towels. But that all ended this month, she said. Ms. Cruz and about a dozen other employees — housekeepers, landscapers and a head chef — at the club, Trump National Golf Club, were fired Jan. 18 because they were in the country illegally, according to interviews with Ms. Cruz and the former workers’ lawyer. The firings were first reported on Saturday by The Washington Post. The New York Times reported in December that undocumented immigrants had been employed at another club owned by the Trump Organization, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and that they were kept on the payroll for years even though management there had some knowledge of their fraudulent papers. Several workers deemed ineligible to work in the country had already been fired at the Bedminster club, according to people familiar with the matter. The employment of undocumented workers at Trump Organization properties runs counter to President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, which he has made central to his campaign and his presidency. He is currently in a heated political battle to build a wall along the border with Mexico, which he claims would stop drugs and crime. Evidence does not support Mr. Trump’s thesis.Just days after losing the battle with House leader Nancy Pelosi over funding for a border wall, President Donald Trump is laying out his case, once again, for a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. While most Americans were sleeping, reading the paper or getting ready for church Sunday morning, Trump was on Twitter calling for increased border security. To get his point across, he dropped several statistics alleging illegal immigration is spiraling out-of-control and costing the country millions every month. “We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392,” Trump tweeted. “There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported for years, in our Country. So ridiculous! DHS.” He didn’t say where he got those numbers. But according to a December 2018 report from the Department of Homeland Security, there were an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015, the last year figures were available.Trump Repeats Unfounded Arguments in New Appeal for a Border Wall - Linda Qiu, Michael TackettEven as he agreed to reopen the government, the president used recycled inaccurate claims to press his case for a wall. President Trump has addressed the nation in prime time from the Oval Office, delivered remarks from the Rose Garden, met with Democrats in the Situation Room and traveled to the border with Mexico to make his case that the government would not reopen unless he got funding for a border wall. Thirty-five days into the shutdown, the president announced on Friday from the Rose Garden that the government would reopen until at least Feb. 15, giving Congress time to work out a deal on border security. He did not get any funding for a wall. And on Friday, he did not advance any new arguments for building one. In fact, many of the claims he made were recycled heavily from previous comments and contained many of the same misstatements and exaggerations. Also notable was something Mr. Trump did not say, namely that Mexico would pay for the wall, one of the most often repeated, and unsupported, claims he has made on the border funding dispute. Mr. Trump continued to inflate figures about crime and drugs. The essence of Mr. Trump’s pitch for a border wall — that a porous border had led to a crime and drug epidemic — remained unchanged. Last year, he said, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement “removed 10,000 known or suspected gang members like MS-13 and members as bad as them.” (This is exaggerated; the agency reported it had removed 5,872 “known or suspected” gang members in the 2018 fiscal year.)The House speaker also took aim at the indictment of Roger Stone, calling Trump’s choice of friends “staggering.” Following the arrest of longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delivered a damning rebuke of the president’s choice of friends, questioning the legitimacy of his election and his ties to Russia. “The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people,” the congresswoman said in a statement Friday evening. “It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.” Stone, who was charged with seven counts Friday, including lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, has credited himself with Trump’s presidential run and was an informal adviser to his campaign until the summer of 2015. Stone appears to have seen the indictment coming, often saying that he expected this day to come. In her condemnation of the president, Pelosi accused Trump of continuing to attempt to subvert special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election, arguing it raised serious questions, including “what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially,” and Trump’s motivations behind weighing a NATO pullout. Pelosi said a NATO withdrawal would be a win for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Offering as much insurance as possible that Mueller’s work would be safeguarded, the congresswoman also spoke out against witness intimidation, stating that any effort to “prevent them from appearing before Congress” must be stopped.7 Takeaways From The Longest Shutdown In U.S. History - Domenico MontanaroThe longest government shutdown in U.S. history is finally over. The government is back open — at least until Feb. 15 — after President Trump announced Friday he would be in favor of opening and funding it for three weeks while he and congressional negotiators try to work out a broader deal on immigration and border security. Congress then quickly acted to reopen it Friday evening. There are no two ways about it — Trump caved. He blinked Wednesday night when he agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he would not deliver the State of the Union address next week from the House chamber until the shutdown ends. Then, early Friday afternoon, after a day dominated by the news that his former political adviser Roger Stone was indicted as part of the Mueller Russia probe, Trump completely gave in. Why? The shutdown was taking a political toll on the president, and Democrats showed no signs of budging on negotiating over border wall funding while the government was shut down.Government jobs were considered stable. Now the damage from the shutdown could cause workers to flee - Jacob PramukAbout 800,000 government workers are set to lose their second paycheck Friday on the 35th day of a partial government shutdown. The longest funding lapse ever has damaged worker morale and led to concerns that talented federal employees could leave government jobs. Government jobs have generally been considered stable positions for years. As the partial government shutdown hits its 35th day, and hundreds of thousands of people face another missed paycheck, the closure threatens recruitment and retention of top talent in federal departments. For years, government jobs have earned a reputation as stable. Employees could generally count on few surprises, good benefits and a solid retirement. For many workers, it comes with the reward of feeling like they helped the public. The record-long government shutdown has damaged that notion. On Friday, about 800,000 federal workers will start to lose their second paychecks since funding for nine departments lapsed on Dec. 22. Some face furloughs, while others have had to toil without pay. The missed paydays have left thousands of workers scrambling to cover meals and bills, selling personal items or seeking temporary or permanent work outside of their government posts. Some U.S. employees and outside groups advocating for them worry the political fight over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall will drive talented people away from government service. “I expect there will be some long-term repercussions of this in terms of really good people deciding this is not the career they signed up for,” one American diplomat posted in Europe who declined to be named said last week about younger people entering the foreign service. The official, who also mentioned Trump’s travel ban as a potential factor in driving young diplomats away, is reporting to work during the shutdown and not getting paid.Donald Trump had previously insisted on the inclusion of $5.7 billion to help pay for a wall along the vast U.S.-Mexico border in any legislation to fund government agencies. President Donald Trump agreed under mounting pressure on Friday to end a 35-day-old partial U.S. government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall, handing a political victory to Democrats. The three-week spending deal reached with congressional leaders, quickly passed by the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives without opposition, paves the way for tough talks with lawmakers about how to address security along the U.S.-Mexican border. The Republican president's agreement to end the shuttering of about a quarter of the federal government without securing wall money - an astonishing retreat - came three days after he had insisted "We will not Cave!" But Trump vowed that the shutdown would resume on Feb. 15 if he is dissatisfied with the results of a bipartisan House-Senate conference committee's border security negotiations, or he would declare a national emergency to get the wall money. A lapse in funding had shuttered about a quarter of federal agencies, with about 800,000 workers either furloughed or required to work without pay. Many employees as well as contractors were turning to unemployment assistance, food banks and other support. Others began seeking new jobs. With polls showing most Americans blamed him for the painful shutdown - the longest of its kind in U.S. history - Trump embraced a way out of the crisis that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been pushing for weeks. The shutdown, which pitted Pelosi against Trump - was her first test since assuming the post three weeks ago. She drew praise from fellow Democrats for what they said was an outmaneuvering of the president.Trump says deal has been made to temporarily reopen government after weekslong shutdown - Natalie NewportPresident Donald Trump says a deal has been reached to reopen the government. The continuing resolution would reopen the government temporarily for three weeks, until Feb. 15, giving negotiators time to talk about border security, while ensuring paychecks for 800,000 federal employees. Trump said federal workers will receive backpay as soon as possible. Trump spoke at the White House on Friday as intensifying delays at some of the nation's busiest airports and widespread disruptions brought new urgency to efforts to break the impasse. This is a developing situation and this story will be updated as we get more details.Twitter users piled on the president after he suggested businesses would “work along” with federal employees going without pay.Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that grocery stores would “work along” with furloughed federal workers during the government shutdown. However, Twitter users were quick to reality check the billionaire president for appearing to suggest that retailers would extend credit to the 800,000 employees who are either furloughed or working without pay. Many questioned the last time Trump set foot inside a supermarket, while others noted his past claim that shoppers need to show identification to buy groceries.Bloomberg rips Trump: ‘Totally incompetent’ - Nolan D. MccaskillThe former New York mayor and potential 2020 contender touts his credentials for president in a hard-hitting speech. Michael Bloomberg came to Virginia on Friday to deliver a message to Democrats: I told you so. The former New York City mayor delivered his most scathing remarks about Trump since he called then-candidate Donald Trump a “dangerous demagogue” and knocked his business credentials in a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. “I said then that he was just not suited,” Bloomberg said Friday morning in a speech at the Democratic Business Council of Northern Virginia event. “He did not have the skills, the temperament, the work ethic to be president of the United States.” Though both are New York billionaires, Bloomberg said he knew Trump in their former lives only “casually" through interactions at ceremonial events. He assailed the former real estate mogul for what he called “a complete failure of presidential leadership" and "totally incompetent management" as some federal agencies remain shuttered amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. The government has been partially shut down for more than a month as Trump and Democrats spar over billions of dollars for his border wall. “The whole episode really is a cynical, political stunt, and, unfortunately, we’re the ones paying the price,” Bloomberg said. “You’ve gotten exactly what I described: This is a person who should not be the president of the United States, and I think we have to get serious. He is way in over his head.” Bloomberg dismissed America’s executive-in-chief as a “real estate promoter who’s never run a large organization before” and “lost big on a bunch of bets” after inheriting his fortune from his father. And as he continues to mull whether he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, Bloomberg touted his credentials for the job. “We’ve gotta do something to make sure we get somebody different in the White House two years from now, and I’m committed to do that,” he said. “This is about competence — or the lack of it. The presidency is not an entry-level job, and the longer we have a pretend CEO who is recklessly running this country, the worse it’s gonna be for our economy and for our security. This is really dangerous.”Exclusive: White House preparing draft national emergency order, has identified $7 billion for wall - Priscilla Alvarez, Tammy Kupperman(CNN)The White House is preparing a draft proclamation for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for his signature border wall should he go that route, according to internal documents reviewed by CNN.Trump has not ruled out using his authority to declare a national emergency and direct the Defense Department to construct a border wall as Congress and the White House fight over a deal to end the government shutdown. But while Trump's advisers remain divided on the issue, the White House has been moving forward with alternative plans that would bypass Congress. "The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency," a draft of a presidential proclamation reads. "Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States," the draft adds. The draft was updated as recently as last week, a US government official told CNN.Pelosi says she'll meet with Trump "anytime" but not for a "photo-op" - Holly RosenkrantzHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would meet with President Trump "anytime he wants" as she pressed for an end to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. However, she said there are currently no plans for a meeting with the president. "The last time we met it was a photo-op for the president to leave the room," she said at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill. Pelosi spoke hours after the president acceded to her request that he postpone his State of the Union address until after the government reopens. "I'm glad we got that off the table," she told reporters, adding, "It's so unimportant in the lives of the American people." There is no clear path to ending the shutdown, though both the House and Senate are considering measures to reopen the government.How the shutdown is impacting national security - David Shortell(CNN)As the standoff between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over border security stretches into a second month, examples of how the partial government shutdown is damaging national security are beginning to mount. From counterterrorism investigations to cybersecurity protections, critical elements of the country's national security infrastructure are showing signs of strain. "From a security standpoint we are letting our guard down. If this shutdown ended tomorrow, I fear that the damage already done to our security will be months if not years," former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who served under President Barack Obama, said Thursday at an event with former senior DHS officials. On Wednesday, Johnson, along with former Trump White House chief of staff and DHS Secretary John Kelly and three other former secretaries of homeland security, sent Trump and members of Congress a letter calling for full department funding and an end to the shutdown. "As former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we write to you today with a simple message -- fund the critical mission of DHS," wrote the bipartisan group of Kelly, President George W. Bush alums Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and President Barack Obama alums Johnson and Janet Napolitano. The Pentagon and intelligence agencies are fully funded, and federal law and Office of Management and Budget guidelines direct even unfunded agencies to maintain operations that involve "the safety of human life or the protection of property." But at key agencies like the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, an unpaid work force and tightened operational budgets are having an impact.Trump Russia: Seven legal headaches for the president - Anthony ZurcherInvestigations into Donald Trump's election-eve hush money payments and any possible ties between his presidential campaign and Russia have been dominating headlines. But there are other legal woes too. In New York and Washington, the list of inquiries into the Trump world is expanding - any of which could produce serious headaches for the president. Here's a look at the latest collection of eyeballs scrutinising the president - and what it all could mean.Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has made a series of bizarre statements about the President’s relationship with Russia, muddying the waters even further. US President Donald Trump’s Russia problem is not going anywhere and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani spent the weekend making new bizarre revelations about the relationship. The former New York mayor said Mr Trump was involved in discussions about building a Trump Tower Moscow throughout his 2016 presidential campaign. “It’s our understanding that they went on throughout 2016 — there weren’t a lot of them, but there were conversations,” Mr Giuliani told NBC’s Meet The Press. He told The New York TimesMr Trump had said negotiations to build a hotel in Russia were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won”. That’s a major step forward from previous claims by the President’s associates that he was minimally involved in talks of a deal and that it was cancelled far earlier. It would mean Mr Trump was still involved in a Russian deal when he called for an end to economic sanctions against the nation imposed by Barack Obama, gave interviews questioning the legitimacy of NATO, and called on Russia to release hacked Democratic emails.The president’s anniversary message to himself isn’t going over well as the shutdown approaches the one-month mark. President Donald Trump marked on Sunday two years since his inauguration by boasting about his promises as well as what he called “historic results.” The White House tweeted a link to a statement from Trump about his accomplishments, and the Republican Party fired off a similar tweet about “promises made, promises kept.” Vice President Mike Pence and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also sent out similar congratulatory tweets bragging about Trump’s supposed accomplishments. All of the messages brought Trump’s critics out in force: Nope. His core promise was that Mexico would pay for the wall. Now he has shut down the government for 29 days because he cannot get us to pay for it. More than 800,000 people are without a paycheck. When you lie for him, you are killing the Republican Party. — Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) January 20, 2019. if by promises you mean “lies” then yes you are correct — Rogue WH Snr Advisor (@RogueSNRadvisor) January 21, 2019.Trump Wrong About Wall Effect in El Paso - By Robert FarleyPresident Donald Trump falsely claimed that El Paso went from “one of the most dangerous cities in the country to one of the safest cities in the country overnight” after “a wall was put up” along the Mexico border. Here are the facts: El Paso has never been “one of the most dangerous cities in the country.” The city had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – before construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008. There was no “overnight” drop in violent crimes in El Paso after “a wall was put up.” In fact, the city’s violent crime rate increased 5.5 percent from 2007 to 2010 — the years before and after construction of the fence, which was completed in mid-2009. Along with the rest of the country, El Paso’s violent crime rate spiked in the early 1990s and has been trending downward ever since. The city’s violent crime rate dropped 62 percent from its peak in 1993 to 2007, a year before construction on the fence began. The president, who is locked in a budget standoff with Congress over funding for his border wall, made his remarks about El Paso during a Jan. 14 speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in Louisiana. Trump pointed to the border city as an example of the impact that a wall can have on crime.Republicans rebuked the Iowa representative for his recent racist remarks, exposing an uncomfortable truth: why does the party still support Trump’s similar views? When Iowa representative Steve King questioned how “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” became offensive terms, the nine-term Republican congressman was overwhelmingly rebuked by members of his own party. King, whose longstanding nativist views were well documented, was stripped of his committee assignments in Washington, and swiftly became the target of a Super Pac launched by Iowa Republicans with the goal of unseating him in 2020. Steve King stripped of committee posts after 'white nationalist' comments But the Republican response to King also exposed uncomfortable truths about the party’s penchant for attracting white nationalists: the individual most championed by the latter’s movement resides in the White House. “In many respects, Steve King was the easier target to go after. The harder target is Donald Trump,” said Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican national committee. “We have had now three years of Donald Trump, as candidate for president and as president, espousing very similar views,” he added. Trump, much like King, has made sharp anti-immigrant sentiment central to his platform.Democrats reiterate demand: Reopen the government before negotiations on border security - Eli Watkins(CNN) A day after President Donald Trump offered his plan to end the shutdown and fund a border wall in exchange for temporary protections for groups of immigrants, Democrats stood by their demand to reopen the government before negotiating about the border. "Let's not hold the American people, especially the federal workers, hostage to these negotiations," South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, a member of Democratic leadership, told Fox News. "And hopefully we will open with what he has put on the table, and let's go back and forth on this and see where we can find common ground." The Democratic rejection came as Vice President Mike Pence made clear the GOP intended to go forward with the plan the President outlined, positions that combined to show little tangible progress toward ending the longest government shutdown on record. Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to taunt House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and knock her for rejecting the deal. "Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday before I even got up to speak. They don't see crime & drugs, they only see 2020 - which they are not going to win. Best economy! They should do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work," Trump tweeted.Rudy Giuliani: ‘So What’ If Trump Spoke With Cohen Ahead Of Congressional Testimony? - Hayley MillerTrump’s personal attorney also acknowledged that discussions about a Trump Tower deal in Moscow may have occurred through November 2016. Rudy Giuliani on Sunday downplayed the significance of a possible discussion between President Donald Trump and his then-personal attorney Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen’s testimony before Congress in 2017. CNN’s Jake Tapper peppered Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York City, with questions about the president’s potential involvement in Cohen’s false statements to Congress about a potential Trump Tower real estate deal in Moscow. “So it’s possible that ... President Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony?” Tapper asked. “I don’t know if it happened or didn’t happen,” Giuliani responded. “And so what if he talked to him about it?” He added, “As far as I know, President Trump did not have discussions with him. Certainly no discussions with him in which he told him or counseled him to lie.”Trump warns Nancy Pelosi to 'be careful' after Democrats signal they won't accept his shutdown offer - Allan SmithResponding to criticism from the right, Trump said amnesty for immigrants was not part of his offer. President Donald Trump lit into Democrats — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in particular — in a Sunday tweetstorm in which he appeared to threaten to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants living in the United States and defended his proposal to end the partial government shutdown. That offer, which Trump presented Saturday in a White House address, included giving about 1 million immigrants a three-year protection from deportation in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S. southern border. Those immigrants include 700,000 who were brought to the country illegally as children and remain protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and 300,000 who fled their countries and are facing the expiration of their "temporary protected status." While Republicans praised the proposal and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to bring it before the full Senate for a vote this week, Democrats panned the deal because it did not ensure permanent protections for those two vulnerable populations and funded a border wall they say is unnecessary. Additionally, some on the far-right complained that the deal amounted to "amnesty" for those 1 million immigrants.(CNN) President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani argued Sunday he did not know for sure if Trump spoke with Michael Cohen about his congressional testimony, but that it would not have been significant if Trump did. "I don't know if it happened or didn't happen. It may be attorney-client privilege if it happened, where I can't acknowledge it. But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him, but I'm telling you I wasn't there then," Giuliani said on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper. He continued, "So what if he talked to him about it?" Giuliani said as far as he knew, Trump had not had discussions with Cohen where Trump "told him or counseled him to lie." Giuliani's comments came after the office of special counsel Robert Mueller disputed a report from BuzzFeed News that said Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow. Mueller's office said the outlet's "description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate."Inside the Mueller team’s decision to dispute BuzzFeed’s explosive story on Trump and Cohen - Matt Zapotosky, Devlin BarrettWhen a BuzzFeed reporter first sought comment on the news outlet’s explosive report that President Trump had directed his lawyer to lie to Congress, the spokesman for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III treated the request as he would almost any other story. The reporter informed Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, that he and a colleague had “a story coming stating that Michael Cohen was directed by President Trump himself to lie to Congress about his negotiations related to the Trump Moscow project,” according to copies of their emails provided by a BuzzFeed spokesman. Importantly, the reporter made no reference to the special counsel’s office specifically or evidence that Mueller’s investigators had uncovered. “We’ll decline to comment,” Carr responded, a familiar refrain for those in the media who cover Mueller’s work. The innocuous exchange belied the chaos it would produce. When BuzzFeed published the story hours later, it far exceeded Carr’s initial impression, people familiar with the matter said, in that the reporting alleged that Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and self-described fixer, “told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie,” and that Mueller’s office learned of the directive “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.”Shutdown: Trump imposes new travel restrictions, plans 'major announcement' on Saturday - David Jackson, Michael CollinsPresident Donald Trump moved Friday to further limit travel by Congress members during the partial government shutdown, and said he would make a "major announcement" about border security on Saturday after weeks of mulling the declaration of a national emergency. "I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse," Trump tweeted late in the day. Trump has spoken in recent weeks about declaring a “national emergency” at the border, theoretically allowing him to use defense money for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border - but also triggering a lawsuit from Democrats who say the president lacks the legal authority for such a move. The White House would not say whether Trump’s announcement would be an emergency declaration. "I suggest everybody tune in," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. Trump issued his cryptic tweet hours after his administration said it would bar members of Congress from using government planes without prior written approval. The new policy, announced in a memo to department heads, was put in place one day after Trump canceled a military plane for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was planning to lead a congressional delegation to Afghanistan this weekend. "Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff," wrote Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.Mueller's office disputes BuzzFeed report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress - Katelyn Polantz, Caroline Kelly(CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller's office disputed an explosive story from BuzzFeed News as "not accurate" Friday night, after the news outlet reported the President had directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, for which Cohen was later prosecuted. "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate," said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller's office, in a statement. It's highly unusual for the special counsel's office to provide a statement to the media -- outside of court filings and judicial hearings -- about any of its ongoing investigative activities. In response, BuzzFeed said in its own statement, "We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report." Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed, echoed similar sentiments. "We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing," he tweeted. But following the story's publication late Thursday night, Democratic members of Congress began pointing to the report as grounds for the President's impeachment. The clamor grew throughout the day and into Friday night.Melania Flies To Florida On Military Jet After Trump Tells Pelosi To Fly Commercial To Afghanistan - Andrea González-RamírezFirst lady Melania Trump jetted off on a military plane for a long weekend getaway Thursday night, just hours after her husband President Donald Trump abruptly banned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from using a military aircraft to visit U.S. troops based in Afghanistan. In a letter, the president told Pelosi that he was canceling her trip, which also included stops in Brussels and Egypt with a congressional delegation, due to the government shutdown. The decision seemed to be retaliation after the Speaker suggested this year's State of the Union be postponed until after the government re-opens.Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, explore our database, and learn more about the project. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, the database will be updated. To help with those updates, get involved by contacting us here. You can also contact us if you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking.Jason Leopold understands why the president wants to shift attention, but why he mentioned Cohen’s father-in-law is a mystery. One of the BuzzFeed journalists behind Thursday’s bombshell report said he understands why Donald Trump would want to shift attention from allegations that he told his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow. However, he said he doesn’t understand why Trump is trying to shift it to Cohen’s father-in-law. Leopold responded to the tweet by simply stating the facts. “I don’t see that there’s any indication from the Southern District of New York that he’s going to receive a reduced sentence, because he’s already been sentenced to three years in prison,” he said. Leopold also pointed out that Cohen has already agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation and that Cohen even tweeted that it “knows all.”US President Donald Trump has hit back over a news report that he directed his then personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. Buzzfeed News said Mr Trump had instructed Cohen to lie about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen was convicted over the case last month. Mr Trump said the lawyer was lying about the Moscow project to "reduce his jail time". Democratic politicians say they will investigate the Buzzfeed allegations. The story alleges Mr Trump received 10 personal updates from Cohen about a plan to build the Moscow tower at a time when Mr Trump denied having any business ties to Russia. Mr Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and son, Donald Jnr, were also updated, the story alleges. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting a federal investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election and whether Trump campaign figures were complicit, has already revealed that Cohen lied about the date the Moscow Trump Tower project ended. - Trump and the white house denied the Stormy Daniels affair and payment that was a lie. Trump and the Trump campaign denied contact with the Russian that that was a lie. Trump and the white house lie to us daily should we believe now when everything they deny turns out to be true.Fact-checking Trump's move against Pelosi's Afghanistan trip - Holmes Lybrand(CNN)Over the past few days, the political gridlock that's led to the longest government shutdown in US history has devolved into a tit-for-tat between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, Pelosi all but disinvited Trump from giving the State of the Union address in the House chamber, initially citing security concerns and suggesting the President wait until the shutdown was over. On Thursday, Trump hit back and canceled Pelosi's undisclosed plan to visit US troops in Afghanistan along with a congressional delegation, effectively blowing the cover for what is normally a secret trip. Here's a look at the factors surrounding Trump's move to keep Pelosi and other lawmakers from using military transport during the shutdown. Does this have anything to do with the shutdown? Not directly. The Department of Defense has been fully funded since September and the trip would not necessarily require furloughed employees affected by the shutdown to come along. In his letter, Trump argued that the trip would prevent Pelosi from entering negotiations to end the shutdown.Nancy Pelosi's very big accusation against the White House - Chris Cillizza(CNN) Speaker Nancy Pelosi canceled a planned trip to visit troops in Afghanistan Friday, after -- her office alleged in a statement -- the White House leaked the details of the congressional delegation's commercial plane travel. "In the middle of the night, the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. "This morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well." Which, to borrow the parlance of the Internet, is VERY big, if true. It's one thing for Trump, as he did on Thursday, to rescind the military plane Pelosi and the rest of her colleagues were planning to fly on as a way of exacting revenge on her for asking the President to delay his planned "State of the Union" speech on January 29. To do so publicly -- White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out the letter Trump sent to Pelosi -- is to raise the stakes. To leak commercial travel plans to make absolutely certain that Pelosi can't go on the trip is a bridge even further.Former Attorney General Eric Holder called for impeachment proceedings to begin if a report from BuzzFeed News saying President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign are true. “If true - and proof must be examined - Congress must begin impeachment proceedings,” Holder tweeted Friday. “[William] Barr must refer, at a minimum, the relevant portions of material discovered by Mueller. This is a potential inflection point,” he added, referring to Trump’s nominee for attorney general. If true - and proof must be examined - Congress must begin impeachment proceedings and Barr must refer, at a minimum, the relevant portions of material discovered by Mueller. This is a potential inflection point. https://t.co/iaZmiHgL7L — Eric Holder (@EricHolder) January 18, 2019.Calls for Trump to leave office grow after report claimed he told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The bombshell report BuzzFeed published on Thursday that said President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress lit up social media.(CNN) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks after President Donald Trump halted her trip hours before she was to jet off to Afghanistan on a government aircraft.A former White House aide revealed he was summoned by President Trump in 2017 to try to find out which staffers were leaking to the media, creating lists of officials he thought he could and could not trust. “Only in retrospect did I see how remarkable this was,” Cliff Sims, a former Trump campaign aide who joined the White House communications staff last January only to leave in May, writes in his upcoming memoir, “Team of Vipers” which was obtained by Axios. “I was sitting there with the President of the United States basically compiling an enemies list — but these enemies were within his own administration. If it had been a horror movie, this would have been the moment when everyone suddenly realizes the call is coming from inside the house.” In the memoir due out Jan. 29, Sims recounts the president as saying, “I want these people out of here. I’m going to take care of this. We’re going to get rid of all the snakes, even the bottom-feeders.” Trump reportedly proceeded to make a list of 10 staffers he believed he could not trust, while five who he believed were not “leakers.” The aides deemed trustworthy were alumni of his campaign or family members. The Trump administration is notoriously filled with staffers who speak anonymously with the press.Dems express alarm at Trump missile defense plans - Ellen MitchellThe top Democrats from the House and Senate Armed Services committees on Thursday indicated they were alarmed by the Trump administration’s new missile defense plans, and urged the president to avoid policies that could spur another Cold War and waste critical resources. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House panel, called on the administration to “avoid missile defense policies that will fuel a nuclear arms race,” following President Trump’s unveiling of the Missile Defense Review. The document highlights new ways of deterring weapons from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea including building up the U.S. missile stockpile and introducing new technologies. “Strategic stability is an essential component of U.S. national security, and it does not serve our long-term interest to take steps that incentivize Russia and China to increase the number and capability of their nuclear weapons,” Smith said in a statement. Trump in his speech seemed to allude to the administration’s decision in October to pull the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.Donald Trump Has to Rig Every Game He Plays, President's Biographer Tells CNN's Don Lemon - David BrennanOne of Donald Trump’s biographers has said he is not surprised the president has been implicated in opinion poll tampering, suggesting Trump cheats at every available opportunity. According to a Wall Street Journal report Thursday, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said he paid an IT worker to rig CNBC and Drudge Report opinion polls ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign to benefit then-candidate Trump. Cohen—who has already been sentenced to three years in prison for lying to investigators and a series of fraud and campaign finance crimes—confirmed the report on Twitter. “What I did was at the direction of and for the sole benefit of @readlDonaldTrump @POUTS,” Cohen wrote. “I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.” Speaking with CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday, Michael D’Antonio—author of “The Truth About Trump” biography—said the accusations did not surprise him. “Donald Trump believes either you’re a sucker or you’re taking advantage of the suckers,” he explained. “So we were the suckers. They took advantage of us.” “But there’s also I think something consistent with Donald Trump’s entire life going on here. This is a man who thinks that he cannot win a straight-up competition. He has to somehow rig whatever game he’s playing.” D’Antonio—who interviewed Trump extensively before he wrote his book—also suggested the president is regularly guilty of projection, signalling what he is doing by accusing others of the same thing. “Whatever he accuses others of doing is the thing that he’s doing himself. Right? So who imagines that the polls are rigged? The guy who’s rigging the polls,” he explained.President Trump Directed His Attorney To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project - Jason Leopold - Anthony CormierTrump received 10 personal updates from Michael Cohen and encouraged a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin. President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen. And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project. Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen’s false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” — widely understood to be Trump — “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.” Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement. The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office. This revelation is not the first evidence to suggest the president may have attempted to obstruct the FBI and special counsel investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But Cohen's testimony marks a significant new frontier: It is the first known example of Trump explicitly telling a subordinate to lie directly about his own dealings with Russia. - "If a a President knowingly...suborns perjury, or induces a witness to change testimony...then he, like anyone else, commits the crime of obstruction." - Bill BarrWatchdog: Federal property managers ignored whether Trump hotel lease violated Constitution - Bart Jansen, USA TODAYFederal officials who leased the Old Post Office Building to President Donald Trump were aware of constitutional provisions that could breach the lease, but “decided not to address those issues,” according to a government watchdog report Wednesday. The lease for the Trump International Hotel a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House remains contentious both because foreigners stay at the hotel, which enriches the president, and because Trump oversees the agency that holds his lease. A 47-page report released Wednesday by Inspector General Carol Ochoa found "serious shortcomings" at the General Services Administration, which manages federal property, for not asking the Office of Legal Counsel to study constitutional issues related to the lease. GSA selected Trump to convert the 1890s building into a 260-room hotel in February 2012. The lease calls for at least $3 million in rent per year. The Trump International Hotel officially opened Oct. 26, 2016 – days before he was elected president. The crux of the problem outlined by the inspector general for GSA is a set of provisions in the Constitution called emoluments clauses, which basically prohibit the president from profiting from foreigners or from getting additional compensation during his term in office.President Trump went to 'extraordinary lengths' to hide details of Putin meetings, report says - William Cummings, USA TODAYPresident Donald Trump went to "extraordinary lengths" to keep details from his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin secret – even from officials within his own administration, The Washington Post reported this weekend, citing unnamed sources. After meeting with Putin at the 2017 Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump took his interpreter's notes and told him not to discuss the meeting with anyone, including other U.S. officials, the Post reported. The paper said Trump's handling of the Hamburg meeting was "part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries." No detailed record exists from five of Trump's interactions with the Russian leader since taking office, the Post reported. It was unclear if that was the only time Trump took his interpreters' notes, but the paper said several administration officials have been unable to obtain a readout from his meeting last year with Putin in Helsinki.The Trump administration is taking thousands more government workers off furlough and making them work without pay by Z. Byron Wolf(CNN) One of the notable recent elements of this partial government shutdown -- the longest in history -- is that the Trump administration keeps designating more and more of the federal government essential, or excepted from the furlough, ordering many thousands of workers back to the office to process tax returns, perform safety inspections and more -- all without pay. The practical effect is that more government workers will be doing their jobs without their paychecks, but it will also work to mute the impact of the shutdown in the everyday lives of Americans who aren't directly touched by the shutdown. Only about 25% of the government was affected by the shutdown to begin with since Congress had already funded the Pentagon and other agencies. But there are a growing number of essential tasks performed by that quarter, which includes the Department of Justice, the Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. All have been working without pay. That includes members of the Coast Guard, who had been working throughout the shutdown, but on Tuesday became the first US service members to not be paid because of a shutdown when their paychecks came through empty, Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz said. Today you will not be receiving your regularly scheduled paycheck. To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation's history that servicemembers in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in appropriations. Read more: https://t.co/5tLzGhK2nt pic.twitter.com/J2o00zWm0k — Admiral Karl Schultz (@ComdtUSCG) January 15, 2019.The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the United States economy than previously estimated, the White House acknowledged on Tuesday, as President Trump’s economists doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week the standoff with Democrats continues. The revised estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers show that the shutdown, now in its fourth week, is beginning to have real economic consequences. The analysis, and other projections from outside the White House, suggests that the shutdown has already weighed significantly on growth and could ultimately push the United States economy into a contraction. While Vice President Mike Pence previously played down the shutdown’s effects amid a “roaring” economy, White House officials are now cautioning Mr. Trump about the toll it could take on a sustained economic expansion. Mr. Trump, who has hitched his political success to the economy, also faces other economic headwinds, including slowing global growth, a trade war with China and the waning effects of a $1.5 trillion tax cut. To blunt the shutdown’s effects, the administration on Tuesday called tens of thousands of employees back to work, without pay, to process tax returns, ensure flight safety and inspect food and drugs.Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. From NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia - Julian E. Barnes and Helene CooperThere are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years. Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States. Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set. In the days around a tumultuous NATO summit meeting last summer, they said, Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States. At the time, Mr. Trump’s national security team, including Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, scrambled to keep American strategy on track without mention of a withdrawal that would drastically reduce Washington’s influence in Europe and could embolden Russia for decades. Now, the president’s repeatedly stated desire to withdraw from NATO is raising new worries among national security officials amid growing concern about Mr. Trump’s efforts to keep his meetings with Mr. Putin secret from even his own aides, and an F.B.I. investigation into the administration’s Russia ties.Trump lashes out everywhere amid Russia scrutiny - Kevin Liptak(CNN)President Donald Trump emerged into the frigid air on Monday after a snowy weekend spent indoors and unleashed on the FBI and Democrats after a slew of new reporting on his relationship with Russia. He angrily denied ever working for Moscow, his first definitive rebuttal of acting on Russia's behalf that came after a non-denial over the weekend. And he demanded Democrats return to the negotiating table to end a partial government shutdown, though did not offer new incentives after talks crumbled last week. For Trump, it was an extension of a weekend spent tweeting from his third-floor White House residence, where he's mostly remained throughout the shutdown, much to his own self-regard.A federal judge in New York has ruled against the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count "without curing the legal defects" the judge identified in his opinion released on Tuesday.Repeatedly Trump has praised Putin and put Russian interest above American interest. Trump has been more of a Russian asset than he is an American president.Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was 'following directions' of Russia - Jeremy Herb, Pamela Brown and Laura Jarrett(CNN) In the chaotic aftermath at the FBI following Director James Comey's firing, a half-dozen senior FBI officials huddled to set in motion the momentous move to open an investigation into President Donald Trump that included trying to understand why he was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russia. They debated a range of possibilities, according to portions of transcripts of two FBI officials' closed-door congressional interviews obtained by CNN. On one end was the idea that Trump fired Comey at the behest of Russia. On the other was the possibility that Trump didn't have an improper relationship with the Kremlin and was acting within the bounds of his executive authority, the transcripts show. James Baker, then-FBI general counsel, said the FBI officials were contemplating with regard to Russia whether Trump was "acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will." "That was one extreme. The other extreme is that the President is completely innocent, and we discussed that too," Baker told House investigators last year. "There's a range of things this could possibly be. We need to investigate, because we don't know whether, you know, the worst-case scenario is possibly true or the President is totally innocent and we need to get this thing over with — and so he can move forward with his agenda."CNN's John Avlon examines Trump's claim that he's tougher on Russia than any other presidentAvlon on Trump's Russia claim: Not trueState and Pentagon officials were rattled by the request. On a warm night in early September, militants fired three mortars into Baghdad’s sprawling diplomatic quarter, home to the U.S. Embassy. The shells—launched by a group aligned with Iran—landed in an open lot, harming no one. But they triggered unusual alarm in Washington, where President Trump’s national security team conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response. As part of the talks, Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, led by John Bolton, asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran. The request, which hasn’t been previously reported, generated concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former U.S. officials say. “It definitely rattled people,” said one former senior U.S. administration official. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia - Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas FandosIn the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation. The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence. The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice. Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.29 outrageous lines from Donald Trump's wild, impromptu, news conference on the White House lawn - Chris CillizzaBefore embarking on a trip to the southern border that he has already derided as pointless, President Donald Trump stopped to chat with reporters about the ongoing government shutdown, whether he will declare a national emergency to ensure the wall on America's southern border gets built and, yes, his thoughts on the announcement that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife are getting a divorce. It was a tour de, um, something. Below I've picked out the most notable lines from Trump -- and added some context and fact checking.It came after he met senior Democrats, who refused his requests for funding. The stand-off has seen Mr Trump withhold support for a bill to fully fund the government until he gets money for the border wall. He said he was prepared for the partial government shutdown - now in its third week - to last years. Around 800,000 federal workers have been without pay since 22 December.The Trump administration proposed on Friday major changes to the way the federal government calculates the benefits, in human health and safety, of restricting mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants. In the proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a finding declaring that federal rules imposed on mercury by the Obama administration are too costly to justify. It drastically changed the formula the government uses in its required cost-benefit analysis of the regulation by taking into account only certain effects that can be measured in dollars, while ignoring or playing down other health benefits. The result could set a precedent reaching far beyond mercury rules. “It will make it much more difficult for the government to justify environmental regulations in many cases,” said Robert N. Stavins, a professor of environmental economics at Harvard University. - Trump and the Republicans do not care about America and Americans they only care making money for the rich, not the air we breathe or the water we drink. How many Americans will die due to bad air and bad water? If Trump and the Republicans really care about America and Americans, they would protect our lands, our waters and the air we breathe.Trump threatens to close the border over a new caravan forming in Honduras that reportedly isn't even headed for the USIn tweets on Friday morning, President Donald Trump warned of a new migrant caravan forming in Honduras and vowed to close the US-Mexico border and withhold aid to Central American governments. But the new caravan isn't heading to the US, according to immigration advocates and news reports. The caravan is estimated to have roughly 15,000 members, most of whom are traveling to Mexico's southern states to find work. Mexico's president has promised to grant work visas to Central American migrants. President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to close the US-Mexico border and cut off aid to Central American countries, citing a new caravan forming in Honduras — which reportedly isn't even heading to the US.President Trump on Friday threatened to cut foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, accusing the Central American countries of "doing nothing for the United States but taking our money." "Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money," Trump tweeted. "Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries - taking advantage of U.S. for years!"Nearly 60 percent of U.S. voters surveyed say President Trump should be either impeached and removed from office or formally censured, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill. The poll shows that a majority of voters polled think some kind of action should be taken against Trump, though they are divided on how far lawmakers should go as Democrats prepare to take over the House majority. Asked whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office for his actions, censured by Congress or whether Congress should take no action, 39 percent of respondents said Trump should be impeached and removed from office.The CNN host aired a Fox clip from 2013 where Trump said that the person to be fired “always has to be at the top.” CNN’s Don Lemon showed his viewers 2013 footage of Donald Trump saying then-President Barack Obama should be fired over a government shutdown. “If you say, ‘Who gets fired?’ it always has to be the top,” Trump said on an episode of “Fox & Friends” that aired in September 2013. “I mean, problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top. The president’s the leader. He’s to get everyone in a room and he’s got to lead,” Trump said in the clip. Lemon aired the clip on Thursday night and deadpanned, “Starts from the top. If anyone should get fired, the president. Hm.” “Donald Trump suggesting that President Barack Obama should have been fired for a government shutdown. Priceless,” Lemon added before the end of the segment.
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