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Past US Headline News January 2019 Page 2

January 2019: Get the latest monthly headline news from multiple news sources and news links. Get real facts, real news from major news originations.  

Mexico’s government said Friday it would not impede U.S. plans to send ­asylum-seeking migrants back across the southern border while they await a hearing in U.S. courts. Mexican authorities made it clear they did not support the Trump administration’s program, but they appeared reluctant to pick a new fight with the White House less than two months into the term of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The decision appeared to clear the way for U.S. agents to begin the new protocols even as many migrants remained bottlenecked in Tijuana — just steps from the border — and officials in the teeming border city said resources were strained to the limit. “We are not saying we will open any kind of refugee camps or something like that,” Roberto Velasco, spokesman for the Mexican Foreign Ministry, told The Washington Post. “We simply do not have the resources for that,” he added. “What we are saying is, we will open the door for the aid to come.”

After a half-century of dirty tricks, there’s finally the case of United States versus Roger Jason Stone, Jr.
The standard FBI booking form filled out after Roger Stone’s arrest included a notation of any “scars, marks, tattoos,” in his case a large portrait of a smiling Richard Nixon etched on his back. The visage between 66-year-old Stone’s shoulder blades attests to his role nearly a half-century ago as a junior participant in the dirty tricks that eventually led to the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation. A description of the tattoo now became part of the official record of his arrest stemming from his alleged role as a senior participant in dirty tricks on behalf of the current president, who increasingly seems to be in serious trouble. “This is definitely getting much closer to home for the president and his people,” said a longtime FBI supervisor who is not involved in the investigation but has been following the developments with an experienced eye.

The 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.

Self-anointed political dirty trickster Roger Stone will have to tread carefully as he prepares to defend against charges of obstructing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and lying about his communications with WikiLeaks. The no-nonsense judge assigned Stone’s case has already demonstrated that she’s got little patience for defendants who misbehave. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a gag order on Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and later revoked his bail and threw him in jail. “This is not middle school,” Jackson told Manafort’s lawyers before ordering him locked up in June for alleged witness tampering. “I can’t take his cellphone.” She also reprimanded Manafort’s lead attorney Kevin Downing for a sidewalk speech he gave after his client’s arraignment and soon after issued a gag order barring parties from discussing the case with the press.

The port of entry that connects Tijuana to San Diego, the country's busiest border crossing, will allow only 20 migrants to claim asylum a day beginning Friday, a Mexican government official said Friday. Prior to the policy change, Customs and Border Patrol officers had processed up to 100 individuals a day. The capacity reduction — known in immigration circles as "metering" — came the same day that the Trump administration implemented its "Migrant Protection Protocol," a sweeping policy change that forces asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while they await their U.S. immigration court hearings. Prior to the policy change, asylum seekers waited in the United States, either behind bars or non-detained but monitored. U.S. government officials have told Mexican officials that they would be processing and transferring back 20 immigrants per day beginning January 25 at the San Ysidro port of entry, a spokesperson for the Mexico Committee on Foreign Relations said during a press conference in Mexico City. They'll join the thousands of others who are waiting in Tijuana just to cross through the port of entry and claim asylum. "Accepting merely 20 people a day through the metering process at the San Ysidro port of entry is a sharp reduction from the past," said Ruby Powers, a Texas-based immigration attorney who volunteers in the border city. "It will continue to exacerbate an already intense backlog of asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico."

(CNN) Pope Francis has taken another shot at wall-building politicians, telling thousands of Catholics in Panama gathered for World Youth Day that "builders of walls sow fear" and "divide people." "We know that the father of lies, the devil, prefers a community divided and bickering," Francis told a crowd of tens of thousands of youth Thursday night at a seaside park in Panama City. "This is the criteria to divide people: The builders of bridges and the builders of walls, those builders of walls sow fear and look to divide people. What do you want to be?" When the crowd replied "builders of bridges," Francis replied, "You learned well. I like that." The Pope's remarks seemed to be a clear reference to President Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for the wall has led to a partial government shutdown for 34 days and counting. On Wednesday, after Trump tweeted a new slogan, "Build a wall and crime will fall," a journalist on the papal plane asked Pope Francis about Trump's proposal. The Pope said such measures are driven by fear. "It is the fear that makes us crazy." It wasn't the first time Trump and Francis have tussled over the proposed border wall. "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," Francis said in 2016. "This is not the gospel." Trump immediately fired back, calling Francis' comments "disgraceful." "No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith," he said in a statement.

Around 800,000 federal employees missed their second payday in a row on Friday as the partial government shutdown entered its 35th day. For most Americans, that would spell disaster. Over half, or 54 percent, of people say they would have trouble paying their bills if they were forced to go without more than two paychecks, according to a new poll of over 1,000 U.S. adults from FOX News. That total includes the one in five Americans who say they couldn’t even go without one paycheck. Other research indicates the situation could be even more dire: 78 percent of American workers say they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a 2017 report by employment website CareerBuilder. The impact of the shutdown: With no end to the shutdown in sight, many government employees have had to get creative to meet their financial responsibilities. Some have opted to cancel autopay on their bills, skip seeing the doctor, or even sell their car. Hundreds are turning to local food pantries and shelters to feed their families. One Chicago-based food pantry told the Chicago Tribune it had helped 130 federal employees since the shutdown started, while a Utah-based organization estimated it had given out supplies to 280 federal employees. That confuses Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, he told CNBC on Thursday. “I don’t really quite understand why because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake – say, borrowing from a bank or credit union – are in effect federally guaranteed.” Workers could be visiting real banks instead, Ross said: “The 30 days of pay that people will be out – there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it, and we’ve seen a number of ads from the financial institutions doing that.”

Two former associates of Roger Stone indicated Friday that they are willing to testify against him in court. Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico, who have appeared before the grand jury impaneled by special counsel Robert Mueller and provided documents contradicting Stone's congressional testimony, signaled they would serve as witnesses if the case goes to trial. Stone, a longtime associate of President Trump who worked briefly on his campaign as an informal adviser, was arrested Friday on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. He is accused of making false statements during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, telling lawmakers he did not discuss his alleged backchannel to WikiLeaks over email or through text messages. Conservative conspiracy theorist Corsi told The Hill on Friday that it would be “very hard” for him to comment on whether Stone lied during congressional testimony, saying Stone “may have different perceptions.” But he said that if Stone’s case goes to trial and he were subpoenaed to appear as a witness, he would likely comply with the order. “I don’t see how I have any choice but to testify, and I would plan to do so,” Corsi said. “And I plan again to tell the truth.” Larry Klayman, Corsi’s attorney, said Friday that he couldn’t comment as to whether his client would testify. Stone has denied the charges against him, saying he will plead not guilty during his arraignment next week in Washington, D.C. Credico, a former New York radio host, declined to comment directly to The Hill, citing the advice of his attorneys. His lawyer, Martin R. Stoler, said that if Stone goes to trial, Credico would testify if called as a witness. Stoler also said the indictment backs up Credico’s statements that he was not Stone’s backchannel to WikiLeaks. “Randy has made a number of public statements in the past, and the indictment has been completely consistent with whatever Randy has said,” Stoler said. Stone for months has insisted that Credico was his backchannel to WikiLeaks. Credico, who had been friends with Stone for more than a decade, told The Hill last year that the friendship has ended. Other testimony and messages provided by both Corsi and Credico to the special counsel’s office indicate Stone sought more information on emails in WikiLeaks's possession, despite Stone telling congressional investigators that he had not.

About 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.

The former Trump adviser and self-described GOP "dirty trickster' was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller. First he was indicted by the special counsel's office — then he was tattooed by the Richard Nixon Foundation. The Nixon Foundation took to Twitter on Friday to distance the disgraced former president from indicted Nixon superfan Roger Stone. As Stone, 66, left court after getting hit by charges from special counsel Robert Mueller, he flashed a Nixon-style double-V for victory to cheers from supporters. Stone started his political career working for Nixon's re-election campaign and calls Nixon one of his political heroes — he even has a tattoo of the 37th president's face on his back. The Nixon Foundation — which helps run his presidential library in Yorba Linda, Calif. — apparently didn't appreciate coverage of the event referring to Stone as a former Nixon aide."This morning's widely-circulated characterization of Roger Stone as a Nixon campaign aide or adviser is a gross misstatement. Mr. Stone was 16 years old during the Nixon presidential campaign of 1968 and 20 years old during the reelection campaign of 1972," the foundation tweeted, saying he was a mere "junior scheduler on the Nixon reelection committee. Mr. Stone was not a campaign aide or adviser."

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.

Mueller says Manafort should get no credit for cooperating - Charlie Gile, Gary Grumbach, Adiel Kaplan
NBC News - Special counsel Robert Mueller's office no longer believes former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort should get any credit for his cooperation when he's sentenced next month, a prosecutor told the judge Friday. But prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said his office isn't planning to pursue additional charges based on Manafort's alleged lies to federal investigators after he agreed to cooperate in the investigation into Russian election interference. Weissmann also said the special counsel does not intend to bring Manafort to trial in the charges that were a part of his plea agreement. The hearing in Washington D.C. followed several competing court motions from the two sides on the issue of Manafort's statements to FBI agents and prosecutors. Manafort's lawyers have argued that he did not intentionally mislead investigators. "We believe that whether there was a breach contends on whether or not he intentionally lied," said defense attorney Richard Westling. "He did not intentionally lie." Mueller's prosecutors said Manafort told "multiple discernible lies" that were not instances of "mere memory lapses."

President 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.

The 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.”

An odd, two-tiered narrative has long unfolded around the Russia scandal. In much media commentary, there’s been a deeply baked-in skepticism that the Trump campaign could possibly have conspired with Russian interference in the 2016 election — even as more and more evidence of that “collusion” has surfaced. Media figures sometimes still say “there’s no evidence of collusion,” even though we already know, among other things, that top Trump campaign officials met with Russians in the eager hope of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton gathered by the Russian government. We still don’t know whether the “collusion” being established amounts to criminal conspiracy, but we do know that “collusion” happened. On Friday morning, the “no collusion” narrative took yet another big blow, with the news that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has indicted longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone. Stone has been charged with obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering. I want to focus on one particular nugget in the indictment that may add substantially to our understanding of what this conspiracy might — repeat, might — look like. First, recall that on July 22, 2016, Wikileaks released thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s system.

On January 6, 2017, the U.S. intelligence community issued a report that showed there were two campaigns to elect Donald Trump: one run by Trump and one run by the Russian government. Trump and many of his senior advisors and close associates have repeatedly denied any connections between the two campaigns, despite the fact that they were working towards the same goal, at the same time, and utilizing the same tactics. Yet over the past year, we’ve learned about a series of meetings and contacts between individuals linked to the Russian government and Trump’s campaign and transition team. In total, we have learned of 101 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives, including at least 28 meetings. And we know that at least 28 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisors were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition. None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them. Why were there so many meetings? What was discussed in them? More importantly, why did Trump and his camp lie about them, including to federal law enforcement? What are they hiding? The American people deserve answers. Below is a comprehensive chronological list of the contacts that have been discovered to date and the lies Trump’s campaign, transition, and White House told to hide them. The Trump campaign issued at least 15 blanket denials of contacts with Russia, all of which have been proven false.

The special counsel’s latest indictment is rich with details about the coordination with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.  The indictment of Roger Stone, who was arrested Friday by the FBI and charged with lying to Congress, provides the first detailed evidence that Stone was a go-between for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. In 2016, WikiLeaks had and released a large numbers of emails that had been stolen by Russian intelligence from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Stone’s coordination between the campaign and WikiLeaks is substantive, from what the court filings show. Stone, a Republican political operative and confidant of Trump, got advance notice of WikiLeaks document releases that he passed on to the Trump campaign. That included information about an “October surprise,” which turned out to be the leaking of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. Stone also allegedly sent messages back to Assange, through intermediaries, specifying the precise content of Clinton emails he would like to see leaked. All this appears, according to the indictment, to be supported by documentary evidence in the form of emails. If accurate, it proves a degree of coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks — which was getting its leak material from Russian intelligence. The circle of collusion therefore runs from Russian intelligence to Assange to Stone to the Trump campaign, and back again at least as far as Assange. We already knew that special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Stone’s contacts with Assange through right-wing journalist Jerome Corsi and radio personality Randy Credico, who are identified in Stone’s indictment as Person 1 and Person 2, respectively.

WPBF - The Federal Aviation Administration has halted all flights entering LaGuardia Airport in New York due to staffing issues with the airport’s air traffic controllers. All departing flights are subject to an average ground delay of 40 minutes due to the staffing shortage, according to the FAA's website. The FAA also says air traffic is delayed at Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey due to staffing issues. Departing flights from Philadelphia and Newark are delayed between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes, and LaGuardia departures delayed between 15 and 30 minutes, the FAA said. "We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two air traffic control facilities affecting New York and Florida," the FAA said in a statement to CNN. "As with severe storms, we will adjust operations to a safe rate to match available controller resources."

Former CIA Director John Brennan on Friday predicted that there will be more indictments coming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, including “a significant number of names that will be quite familiar to the average American.” Brennan, who has emerged as a frequent critic of Trump, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” shortly after news broke that longtime Trump associate Roger Stone was indicted and arrested by the FBI. Brennan said he expects there to be a “significant number of indictments” within the next 60 days related to the probe of Russian interference and potential collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Moscow. “I expect there to be a significant number, and a significant number of names that will be quite familiar to the average American,” he added. Brennan said Mueller’s investigation is showing that there was an “extensive effort” to influence the election that involved both Russians and Americans. “That may have gone to the very top of the Trump campaign,” Brennan added. “I think the shows that are yet to drop are going to be the ones that are going to be the most profound and that will hit the people at the top of the organization.” Brennan clarified that may or may not include the president himself or members of his family. “Clearly they have been talked to, they have been interviewed by the FBI. There is a fair amount of vulnerability that they might have on this,” Brennan said. “But, again, I defer to the special counsel’s office to make the determination about whether what they did crossed that threshold from collusion — which I think is quite evident — to criminal conspiracy.” Brennan has a long-running feud with Trump, who revoked the former CIA director's security clearance last year after repeated criticism from Brennan on cable television and Twitter. Stone, who worked as an informal adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, was indicted on seven counts in connection with Mueller's investigation, including one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter. Well, today, it’s Roger Stone’s time in the barrel. The headline this morning is that Stone, the former adviser to President Donald Trump, was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller of obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering — making him the latest Trump associate to get indicted or plead guilty. But inside of Mueller’s indictment is an even bigger story: a list of the times when Stone was communicating with the Trump campaign and its associates about the WikiLeaks email releases that ended up rocking Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the final month of the 2016 presidential election. “During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1” — WikiLeaks — “and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.” (Page 2). “STONE also continued to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign about Organization 1 and its intended future releases.” (Page 2).

Former Vice President Joe Biden took criticism for supporting a Michigan Republican, but dismissed it with a joke saying "bless me father for I have sinned."
 
(CNN Business)Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he doesn't "really quite understand why" federal workers who have missed paychecks due to the partial government shutdown don't just take out loans to cover the gap. When asked in a CNBC interview on Thursday about reports that federal workers are going to homeless shelters or seeking food assistance, the billionaire investor said: "Well, I know they are and I don't really quite understand why, because as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union, are in effect federally guaranteed, so the 30 days of pay that some people will be out is no real reason why they shouldn't be able to get a loan against it." The government has been partially shut down for more than a month, with no apparent end in sight. A food pantry opened by chef Jose Andres in central Washington has been swamped with workers seeking hot meals, while furloughed employees across the country have been visiting food banks and seeking other assistance. The comments from the commerce secretary came after a senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump compared the shutdown to a vacation. White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said earlier this month that furloughed federal workers who are not getting paid during the partial government shutdown are "better off" because they won't be docked vacation days and will eventually get paid anyway. "Huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say between Christmas and New Year's. And then we have a shutdown and so they can't go to work, and so then they have the vacation but they don't have to use their vacation days," Hassett told PBS during an appearance on "NewsHour." He subsequently said he sympathizes with workers and that his comments were taken out of context.

(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.

Michael Cohen subpoenaed by Senate Intelligence committee - Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Jeremy Herb
(CNN) President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was subpoenaed Thursday to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in mid-February, according to a source close to Cohen. It is not clear how Cohen will respond. The source said that Cohen has the same concerns regarding the safety of his family that led him to try to postpone his appearance before a House Oversight Committee hearing.Senate Intelligence traditionally does their interviews behind closed doors, not publicly. A committee spokeswoman declined to comment.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. swept into Benton Harbor, Mich., three weeks before the November elections, in the midst of his quest to reclaim the Midwest for Democrats. He took the stage at Lake Michigan College as Representative Fred Upton, a long-serving Republican from the area, faced the toughest race of his career. But Mr. Biden was not there to denounce Mr. Upton. Instead, he was collecting $200,000 from the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan to address a Republican-leaning audience, according to a speaking contract obtained by The New York Times and interviews with organizers. The group, a business-minded civic organization, is supported in part by an Upton family foundation. Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience. Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer — and “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.” Mr. Biden’s remarks, coming amid a wide-ranging discourse on American politics, quickly appeared in Republican advertising. The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.

House Democratic leaders said on Wednesday that they were prepared to offer President Trump a substantial sum of money for border security — perhaps even the $5.7 billion he has requested — but not for a wall and not until he agreed to reopen the government. “We are going to be talking about substantial sums of money to secure our border,” Representative Steny D. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic leader, told reporters. Representative James E. Clyburn, the No 3. Democrat, told reporters separately that Democrats could back a $5.7 billion funding measure that included drones and refitted ports of entry — but no wall. That is the amount Mr. Trump has demanded for the wall he wants to build on the southwestern border. “Using the figure the president put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security, then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall,” he said. The Democratic-controlled House is poised on Wednesday to pass legislation including an additional $1.5 billion for border security, which would help fund 75 new immigration judges and their staffs, and improvements in infrastructure at ports of entry. But separately, top Democrats are preparing a letter to Mr. Trump that will outline a broader, and more expensive, vision for border security. That letter is expected to be ready in the coming days. And while Mr. Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat, did not say on Wednesday how much money Democrats were willing to spend, Mr. Clyburn proffered the highest Democratic number yet, “so long as it’s done smartly, not just done to fulfill a campaign promise that never should have been made in the first place — unless you’re going to keep the full campaign promise, which is have Mexico pay for it.”

(CNN) President Donald Trump will NOT be giving his State of the Union speech on the House floor next Tuesday.
That much now seems definite, following an exchange of hugely passive-aggressive letters between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday -- a battle of words that ended with Pelosi informing Trump that she would not be introducing a "concurrent resolution" allowing him to address a bicameral session of Congress on January 29. What it means is that we are now through the looking glass: On the 33rd day of the longest government shutdown in American history, the speaker of the House has disinvited the President of the United States from delivering his annual update to Congress -- a tradition that has been around since George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address at Federal Hall in New York City on January 8, 1790. There are three certain conclusions as a result of Pelosi's response to Trump's letter earlier Wednesday, in which he insisted he was planning to show up to give his speech in the House next Tuesday, despite her previous letter asking him to postpone his speech or deliver it in writing a la Thomas Jefferson. Trump ain't speaking on the House floor next week. Relations between the Democratic House and the Republican President have hit a new low. None of this is even marginally normal. There are a slew of questions that follow from these certainties: Will this cancellation further set back any attempt at compromise on reopening the government? Will Trump give some sort of kind of, sort of State of the Union speech from some other location? If so, where will it be?

Democrats and immigrant rights groups were quick to oppose President Trump's proposal to end the government shutdown over the weekend because it includes $5.7 billion for a border wall. Now that they've seen the full language of the bill, they've found even more reasons not to like it. The proposed bill includes some big changes to U.S. immigration policy that were not included in the president's public announcement — including a provision that would sharply limit asylum applications for children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. "It's a trojan horse filled with many extreme immigration proposals," said Kerri Talbot of the Immigration Hub, an immigrants' rights organization, during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "The bill includes the most extreme proposals on asylum I think that I've ever seen," Talbot said. When he announced his proposal on Saturday, President Trump said it includes "critical measures to protect migrant children from exploitation and abuse," including a new system that would allow Central America minors to apply for asylum in their home countries.
 
Nastya Rybka may not know as much as she claims about a sanctioned Russian oligarch and Paul Manafort. But if not, why did the oligarch try so hard to keep her in prison? Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s nemesis, the 28-year-old Belarusian self-declared “seductress” and “huntress of billionaires” known as Nastya Rybka, just got out of jail in Moscow. And Deripaska must have thought things were going so well. As we now know, he worked hard to keep her locked up in Thailand, or Russia—wherever, as long as she would quit telling her stories and showing her videotapes about him talking American politics, Trump politics, with a deputy prime minister of Russia at the height of the U.S. elections. Whether Rybka’s information sheds light on the Russia collusion investigation or not, the fact that Deripaska used to be a client of jailed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort makes those conversations highly suspicious. Still, Deripaska had reason to be pleased as the annual World Economic Forum readied to open in Davos, Switzerland, this week.

Two years after taking the oath of office, President Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. That includes an astonishing 6,000-plus such claims in the president’s second year. Put another way: The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. But he hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year, almost triple the pace. We started this project as part of our coverage of the president’s first 100 days, largely because we could not possibly keep up with the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements. Readers demanded we keep it going for the rest of Trump’s presidency. Our interactive graphic, managed with the help of Leslie Shapiro of The Washington Post graphics department, displays a running list of every false or misleading statement made by Trump. You can also search for specific claims or obtain monthly or daily totals.

CNN)An attempt before the Supreme Court for a company to dodge a grand jury subpoena related to the Mueller investigation revealed a new twist Tuesday: that the company is wholly owned by a foreign government. In essence, the foreign nation is fighting off the US Justice Department's attempt to collect information as it builds a criminal case. The development comes in a redacted petition the country filed with the Supreme Court that was made public Tuesday. The case concerns an unnamed corporation that is fighting a subpoena request from a DC-based grand jury. Lower courts have ruled that the company must turn over the information and imposed a $50,000 fine for every day it failed to do so following the appeal. CNN previously reported that prosecutors from the special counsel's office were involved in the case at its early stages, suggesting that special counsel Robert Mueller sought the information from the company for grand jury proceedings related to his criminal investigations. The case then continued through the court system with an unusual amount of secrecy around it, so that even the lawyers involved could not be seen at a later hearing. In ruling against the company, the appeals court said the request fell within an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that limits foreign governments from being sued in US courts. The court also held that the company had not shown that its own country's law bar compliance. Overall, the country argues to the Supreme Court that a ruling forcing it to turn over information to the US in a criminal investigation will upset international diplomacy. "The D.C. circuit's parade of horribles finds no support in U.S. history. Since America's founding, foreign states have been immune from American criminal jurisdiction, and yet the United States is not overrun with criminal syndicates backed by foreign states," the attorneys for the foreign country wrote. Regarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines it will have to pay for noncompliance, "The conflict is real and, like the other questions presented, has ramifications for America's relationships with other countries," the filing adds.

(CNN) Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has expressed interest in the Trump campaign's relationship with the National Rifle Association during the 2016 campaign. "When I was interviewed by the special counsel's office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA," Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, told CNN. The special counsel's team was curious to learn more about how Donald Trump and his operatives first formed a relationship with the NRA and how Trump wound up speaking at the group's annual meeting in 2015, just months before announcing his presidential bid, Nunberg said. Nunberg's interview with Mueller's team in February 2018 offers the first indication that the special counsel has been probing the Trump campaign's ties to the powerful gun-rights group. As recently as about a month ago, Mueller's investigators were still raising questions about the relationship between the campaign and the gun group, CNN has learned. A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment. The NRA did not respond to a request for comment. President Trump was not asked about his connection with the NRA in the written questions Mueller posed to him, according to a source familiar with the questions. The NRA had already come under scrutiny from lawmakers for its massive spending in support of Trump in 2016 and its ties to Russian nationals. Maria Butina, a Russian national, pleaded guilty in DC federal court in December to engaging in a conspiracy against the US. As part of her plea, she acknowledged that she attempted to infiltrate GOP political circles and influence US relations with Russia, in part by building ties with prominent members of the NRA.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared President Donald Trump’s administration to start barring most transgender people from serving in the armed forces. The justices, voting 5-4, put on hold lower court decisions that had blocked the administration’s planned ban from taking effect. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. The court stopped short of agreeing to hear arguments on an expedited basis, as the administration sought. But by letting the ban take effect, the court gave the administration a major victory and hinted the justices ultimately will uphold the restrictions. Transgender troops have been serving openly since June 2016, when President Barack Obama’s administration began lifting a longstanding prohibition. Opponents of the ban say reinstating it would violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause. “This case is about whether men and women who want to serve in the United States Armed Forces to protect their country and who are able and otherwise qualified to do so should be barred from military service because they are transgender,” according to court filings on behalf of current and prospective military members.

King’s youngest daughter, Bernice, slammed the “regrettable” tweet and invited the gun group to study her father “and his nonviolent philosophy.” The National Rifle Association has been slammed by people on Twitter for referring to Martin Luther King Jr.’s application for a gun permit in a MLK Day tweet. “Today, the men and women of the NRA honor the profound life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” the pro-gun advocacy group tweeted Monday. “Dr. King applied for a concealed carry permit in a “may issue” state and was denied. We will never stop fighting for every law-abiding citizen’s right to self-defense.” King did apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in 1956, after his house was bombed. UCLA law professor Adam Winkler noted that after the denial, King “gave up any hope of armed self-defense and embraced nonviolence more completely.” The slain civil rights leader was himself a victim of gun violence ― which many people on Twitter were quick to point out as they criticized the NRA for the “tone deaf” tribute. Even King’s youngest daughter, Bernice, encouraged the gun group to study her father “and his nonviolent philosophy.”

During a speech commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Columbus, South Carolina, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called President Trump “a racist.” To cheers from the crowd, Sanders went on to call out Trump for his policy decisions and rhetoric, saying that they have divided the country along lines of race, gender, and country of origin.

Investigations 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.

A Russian popstar who worked with Donald Trump Jr. to set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, says he is now canceling a trip to the United States because he is afraid of Bob Mueller. Pop star Emin Agalarov’s lawyer tells NBC News the cancellation is “most definitely” linked to the Russia probe. Giuliani is doing damage control, trying to backpedal from his comments suggesting Trump was involved in talks for a Trump Tower Moscow deal up until the 2016 election. Attorney Maya Wiley tells Ari Melber Giuliani has “essentially made himself a fact witness” in the Mueller probe.

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to block the Trump administration from lifting sanctions on a Russian oligarch with deep ties to Vladimir Putin. The effort, a joint resolution of disapproval, would overturn the Treasury Department’s December decision to ease sanctions on companies tied to Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned last year as part of a broader congressional push to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. A similar Senate effort failed Wednesday, ensuring that the resolution will not advance to President Donald Trump’s desk. But the 362-53 House vote on Thursday represented yet another bipartisan rebuke of the Trump administration’s policies toward the Kremlin and further exposed GOP discontent with the president’s foreign policy goals. Because we cannot be sure that we have removed the heavy hand of this Russian oligarch, I cannot support the delisting of these sanctioned entities at this point in time,” said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

A Russian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin along with his allies will maintain a majority ownership in an energy company under a Treasury Department plan to lift sanctions against the business, according to The New York Times. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in a letter to Congress last month, said that the agreement to lift the sanctions will reduce Oleg Deripaska's "direct and indirect shareholding stake in those entities"— Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo—"to below 50 percent." But, according to documents obtained by the Times, Deripaska and his allies would own approximately 57 percent of EN+ under the Treasury Department plan. Under the Treasury Department agreement, Deripaska will also be freed from debt he owes to VTB, a Russian government-owned bank, in exchange for transferring shares worth roughly $800 million to the financial institution. The Treasury Department, in a statement to The New York Times, stressed that Deripaska's control over the three companies is "severed by this delisting" and that the deal prevents him from using the companies "to carry out illicit activities on behalf of the Kremlin." The administration is expected to lift sanctions against EN+, as well as Rusal and EuroSibEnergo, after Congress failed to block the administration from moving forward with its plan. More than 130 Republicans broke with Trump to back the measure in the House, marking a significant rebuke of the administration's plan. But Senate Republicans were able to defeat the measure, where it fell three votes short of the 60 needed to defeat a filibuster.

House GOP revives long-shot FBI probe - Sarah Ferris, Andrew Desiderio
Republicans, however, are severely hindered since they're in the minority. House Republicans were sent into the purgatory of the minority after their midterm drubbing. But they are still pressing ahead with longstanding probes into the FBI and DOJ — even though they lack much power to do anything about it. Barely three weeks into the minority, a band of Trump loyalists says they want to revive the remnants of an investigation that formally concluded last year, which they believe shows that federal law enforcement officials weaponized their biases against President Donald Trump in 2016 while he was a candidate for president. Yet the group, led by Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), won’t have a single tool at their disposal to compel testimony or demand documents, and not nearly enough manpower to keep up with the work. “We’ve got to keep digging for the truth no matter what,” Jordan said, confirming that he is working with a handful of Republicans to continue the work of a joint effort with the Judiciary Committee that former chairmen Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte pursued last year. - Republicans want to protect Trump by investigating the FBI and DOJ, however will not investigate Trump who may be a Russian mole.

Senate Republicans are mulling using the "nuclear option" to change rules in an effort to speed up consideration of President Trump's nominees as soon as next week. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday that the Senate could turn to the proposed rules change after they try to take up Trump's proposal to reopen the federal government, which is likely to be blocked by Democrats. "I support the move, because Democrats have been in an ahistorical fashion violating precedence about the number of hours in which one debates non-controversial nominees that have been reported out of different committees of jurisdiction," Young said, when asked about using the "nuclear option."

"One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was 'Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy," the vice president said. Vice President Mike Pence was harshly criticized on Sunday for quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his most famous speech in defending President Donald Trump's efforts to persuade Congress to fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday — a day before the federal holiday honoring King — Pence quoted a passage from King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Aug. 28, 1963: "One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was 'Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.'" Speaking of King, the vice president went on: "You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union. "That's exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do — come to the table in the spirit of good faith," Pence said. "We'll secure our border. We'll reopen the government, and we'll move our nation forward, as the president said yesterday, to even a broader discussion about immigration reform in the months ahead."

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.

Belen Sisa warned politicians it’s the wrong move. President Donald Trump is offering a three-year extension to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but one of its recipients is urging Democrats to reject the deal. Trump is placing the proposal on the table as a bargaining chip to end the partial federal government shutdown, which was caused in part by his demands for more than $5 billion to build a border wall. But Belen Sisa, a Dreamer who spoke with CNN on Sunday, said it was the wrong solution. “I think they should absolutely not take this deal and the reason why is because right now DACA is still in place,” she told the network’s Ana Cabrera. “Courts are upholding and protecting the program that President Obama passed and we will continue to fight but we will not do it at the expense of others.”

“I don’t think he understands anything that he’s saying half the time at this point.” After yet another day of jaw-dropping statements showcased on national television by Rudy Giuliani, a merciless MSNBC panel roasted President Donald Trump’s lawyer as the worst the legal profession has to offer. The Sunday discussion on Joy Reid’s program followed Giuliani’s “Meet the Press” appearance in which he revealed that Trump may have been engaged in talks to build one of his namesake towers in Moscow as recently as November 2016. The president’s former fixer Michael Cohen has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline, having falsely claimed the negotiations ended nearly a year before. Still, in his interview, Giuliani suggested Cohen’s entire testimony may not have been untruthful. Former House GOP staffer Kurt Bardella found the remarks baffling. “I don’t think he understands anything that he’s saying half the time at this point,” Bardella said. “It’s almost like does Rudy even talk to Donald Trump at all? This has got to be the worst lawyer in the history of mankind. He should be disbarred for being such a terrible lawyer.” Also in his statements to “Meet the Press,” Giuliani floated the possibility that Trump might have just forgotten about the so-called Moscow project.

Mitch McConnell has agreed to bring President Trump's immigration proposal to the floor for a vote this week. The Senate Majority Leader has long tried to avoid votes on legislation that is unlikely to become law. Trump has offered to temporarily extend protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children in exchange border wall funding. It came as the partial government shutdown entered its 30th day and Democrats and Republicans appeared no closer to ending the impasse than when it began

Conway calls it “perfectly criminal,” not “perfectly normal,” as Rudy Giuliani insists. Critics erupted Sunday after Rudy Giuliani insisted that any discussion that may have occurred between President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen concerning Cohen’s testimony before Congress would be “perfectly normal.” George Conway, the husband of top White House aide Kellyanne Conway, blasted it as “perfectly insane” for the potential target of an investigation to be talking about testimony with a witness. “Perfectly normal?” It’s perfectly insane for witnesses in or subjects of a criminal investigation to be discussing testimony. https://t.co/FlNP2GC2TZ — George Conway (@gtconway3d) January 20, 2019. Conway then wrote that he was “trying to imagine what the reaction of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1988 would have been to this ‘perfectly normal’ assertion — and just can’t.” Giuliani was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1988.

President 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.

History gives us clear examples of when it’s time to remove a president from power. Impeachment is back on the table. Leading up to the fall midterms, Democrats studiously shunned talk of removing President Donald Trump from office, knowing that while it might inspire their fervent partisans, it would also do the same for his. But lately the case for impeachment has been made soberly by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt and more pithily by newly elected congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Impeachment enthusiast Tom Steyer just decided not to run for president but to push his pet cause instead. Talk of impeaching Trump has become so common, in fact, that it’s easy to forget just how exotic a constitutional mechanism it has traditionally been. Congress has undertaken impeachment proceedings against only three presidents—Richard Nixon, who resigned; and Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were acquitted. Those facts alone should sound a note of caution. And while it’s always risky to form judgments based on just three episodes—one of them 150 years ago—the stories of those three proceedings also suggest the hazards of an impeachment drive without broad-based support. Today, with Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives, this history deserves attention.

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.

(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.

Trump’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.”

Responding 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.

Parent claims musician ‘drummed in his face’ while ‘black Muslims yelled profanities’. The mother of a boy filmed harassing a Native American man along with his friends at a rally in Washington DC has blamed “black Muslims” for the confrontation, without providing any evidence for the claim. The teenager was among a group of students wearing Make America Great Again (Maga) hats who were criticised for taunting the musician Nathan Phillips, surrounding him and jeering and chanting “build the wall, build the wall”. But his mother claimed “black Muslims” had been harassing the group of Donald Trump supporters from the private, all-male Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. In an email to the news website heavy.com, she wrote: “Did you hear the names of the people were calling these boys? It was shameful. Did you witness the black Muslims yelling profanities and video taping to get something to further your narrative of hatred?? “Did you know that this ‘man’ came up to this one boy and drummed in his face?”

(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."

It’s been an infuriating week on the opioid news front. Just days ago, the New York Times reported on court documents revealing how the Sackler family, which owns the company that makes OxyContin, pushed doctors to prescribe more and more dangerous opioids, urging “that sales representatives advise doctors to prescribe the highest dosage of the powerful opioid painkiller because it was the most profitable.” Today, a study published in JAMA Network Open reveals exactly how that kind of pressure works—and how well it works. As the New York Times’ reported, the study found that “for every three additional payments that companies made to doctors per 100,000 people in a county, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids there a year later were 18 percent higher.” Over two years, the study said, “$39.7 million in opioid marketing was targeted to 67 507 physicians across 2208 US counties,” with 434,754 total payments made. One of the counties with high levels of physician payments and opioid deaths was Cabell County, West Virginia, which the Times said has “one of the highest overdose death rates in the nation,” though its overdose totals dropped 40 percent in 2018, according to the Herald-Dispatch. Still, the 95,000-person county was seeing “an average of three emergency calls a day” for overdoses, the paper reported.

When 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.”

Arkansas landlord Annette Cowen informed tenants at her rental properties they could face eviction if they failed to pay rent as a result of lacking the income provided by government housing subsidy programs.

President 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.

(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.

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.”

First 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.

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.

(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.

(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.

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.

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