There is some optimism about a deal that could reopen the government until Feb. 8, but it’s also possible that this three-day-old shutdown could drag on for a while.
Either way, the impasse foreshadows how little will get done legislatively in the 10 months before the midterm elections.
“Our country was founded by geniuses, but it’s being run by idiots,” Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) told reporters on Friday night.
Republican leaders have already punted many items on their wish list, specifically related to overhauling entitlements — the ultimate third rail in American politics.
Trump still hopes to pass an infrastructure package this year, but the shutdown makes that less likely. Conservatives say that they will only support more spending if environmental and labor regulations are rolled back, which will make it impossible for all but a few Democrats to get on board.
Democrats are going to the mat on this spending fight because they know it is very unlikely House Republicans would ever pass a stand-alone bill to protect the “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children. They are frustrated that they were cut out of negotiations to overhaul the tax code, which passed last month on a party-line vote.
Trump called on Senate Republicans Sunday to go totally “nuclear,” changing the rules so they can pass any legislation with a simple majority of 50 votes, plus Mike Pence’s tiebreaking vote. Hard-liners like Ted Cruz, the architect of the 2013 shutdown, endorsed the idea. But McConnell and other old bulls who have spent decades in the minority continue to resist this push because they understand that, over the long-term, turning the Senate into a majoritarian body like the House would benefit liberals much more than conservatives.
One big exception is judges. McConnell changed the chamber’s rules last year to stop a filibuster of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Republicans continue to break with century-old norms to pack the lower courts, from disregarding blue slips to ignoring the recommendations of bipartisan commissions in the states. They plan to keep advancing judicial nominees during the shutdown.
-- A big reason that the prospects for putting points on the board this year are so poor is that Trump is an unreliable negotiating partner. “Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer complained Saturday. “It’s next to impossible.”
He’s not alone in feeling this way. Republicans were freaked out that Trump would cut a deal with Schumer when the two met alone on Friday. McConnell publicly expressed frustration last week, before the shutdown, that he didn’t know what Trump wanted: “I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign.”
Trump even undercuts his own staff. During a bipartisan meeting at the White House led by the president two weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen passed out a four-page document on the administration’s “must haves” for any immigration bill. The list included $18 billion for a border wall, eliminating the diversity visa lottery program and ending “extended family chain migration.”
“But one person seemed surprised and alarmed by the memo: the president,” Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Ed O’Keefe reported on the Sunday front page. “With Democrats and Republicans still in the room, Trump said that the document didn’t represent all of his positions, that he wasn’t familiar with its contents and that he didn’t appreciate being caught off-guard. He instructed the group to disregard the summary and move on, according to one of the lawmakers in the room … ‘It’s like the wedding where someone actually stands up and objects to the wedding,’ the lawmaker said. ‘It was that moment.’”
The uncertainty that Trump creates makes it hard to hold coalitions together. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) declined to say, for instance, that he would vote for any immigration deal that the president negotiates. “I can’t make that commitment at all,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
-- Trump’s own aides have privately diagnosed the president with “defiance disorder” to describe his apparent compulsion to do whatever it is his advisers are most strongly urging against, forcing them to clean up the chaos he creates. That’s according to a book by Fox News host Howard Kurtz that will come out next week. Two other nuggets from “Media Madness,” via Ashley Parker:
“In late July, the White House had just finished an official policy review on transgender individuals serving in the military and President Trump and his then-chief of staff, Reince Priebus, had agreed to meet in the Oval Office to discuss the four options awaiting the president in a decision memo. But then Trump unexpectedly preempted the conversation and sent his entire administration scrambling, by tweeting out his own decision — that the government would not allow transgender individuals to serve — just moments later. ‘Oh my God, he just tweeted this,’ Priebus said …
Steve Bannon told Trump when he left the White House in August that his main goal back at Breitbart would be “to bring [McConnell] down.” “Trump said that was fine, that Bannon should go ahead,” Kurtz writes.
WHERE NEGOTIATIONS STAND:
-- A proposal from a bipartisan group of moderates to link a three-week extension of government funding to the consideration of an immigration bill in the Senate prompted McConnell to announce that he would be willing to start debating immigration legislation if an agreement was not otherwise reached by early February. "But the pledge came with caveats that led senior Democratic aides to question whether it would ultimately be workable," Robert Costa, Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis and Sean Sullivan report:
“Whether Republicans can find compromise on immigration remained as uncertain as ever Sunday, with no clear backing from House Republican leaders or President Trump, who showed no sign of retreating from his hard line on immigration.
“The White House has said it supports the plan for funding through Feb. 8 but has been wary of making concessions on immigration. While legislation protecting DACA recipients could probably move through the Senate with Democrats and a handful of Republicans supporting it, Trump has rejected proposals along those lines and House GOP leaders are under fierce pressure not to bring up any bill that a majority of Republicans would reject . . .
“Democrats said they made a significant concession over the weekend, agreeing to put major funding behind Trump’s promised border wall … Schumer on Sunday said that in a Friday meeting, Trump ‘picked a number for the wall, and I accepted it.’ … Republicans themselves scoffed at Schumer’s claim that he offered Trump precisely what was demanded. The Democratic offer, they said, fell short of the full, immediate funding the president sought and instead involved yearly installments of funding that could be subject to future shutdown threats.”
-- Trump kept a relatively low profile over the weekend, suppressing his instincts to place himself squarely in the center of the action even as he remained glued to the television. Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker report: “[The president] was buoyed by aides doing a full television blitz — a public strategy partially prepared by West Wing officials who were worried that Trump would be inclined to strike a deal quickly if the media coverage turned poor. [But] as Trump has watched the nonstop television coverage of the shutdown, he has bounced from grousing to aides that he will be blamed for the shutdown, to asking aloud if he should try to end it, to saying Republicans are in a better spot than Democrats and citing polls that show as much...
"He complained about not going to Florida for the weekend ... while also telling advisers his administration was doing better on handling the shutdown than Obama’s did in 2013 … The president has also grown intimately involved in trying to shape the media coverage, commenting on TV appearances, watching hours of footage, and remarking to friends how the shutdown is playing.”
-- The effects of the shutdown over the weekend were relatively limited, but it will become much more visible today with the start of the workweek as hundreds of thousands of federal workers stay home. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday he's working to make this shutdown less noticeable and “dramatic” than the previous one in 2013.
-- Mulvaney’s position represents a complete reversal from 2013, when, as a House Republican, he participated in the conservative rebellion that led to the last shutdown. Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis report: “Mulvaney is the lone senior White House official with significant shutdown experience, but he doesn’t see his role as trying to appease Democrats. Rather, he’s become a central messenger in making it clear that the White House won’t negotiate changes to immigration laws or anything else until Democrats vote to reopen the government. And while the government is shut, he will work to minimize that impact as much as he can.”
-- The shutdown will also have a significant effect on the D.C. region’s workforce. Michael E. Miller and Faiz Siddiqui report: “Up to a quarter of the region’s workforce of 3.2 million people could be affected by the shutdown, according to Stephen S. Fuller, an economist at George Mason University. He noted that 367,000 federal employees and 450,000 federal contractors live in the Washington area. He said 25 percent to 30 percent of the region’s economy is dependent on federal payroll or procurement spending.”
-- U.S. troops were able to watch last night’s NFL games after the Pentagon moved to designate the American Forces Network as “essential.” All active-duty personnel are required to continue their duties, but they will not be paid until after the shutdown ends. (Jacob Bogage and Cindy Boren)
-- Most Washington tourist destinations remained open over the weekend. Peter Jamison reports: Some sites — including open-air parks and Arlington National Cemetery — are expected to be open through the duration of the shutdown, while others — like the National Archives — have already been closed. (Fritz Hahn, Maura Judkis and Stephanie Merry compiled a list of the D.C. museums that will remain open if the shutdown drags on.)
-- State governments are stepping in to keep their own monuments open to the public. Jeff Stein reports: “On Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty would stay open on the state’s dime under an agreement struck with the Interior Department. Arizona has similarly said it will ensure the Grand Canyon remains open — whether the federal government reopens or not. … [But] dozens of other federally managed sites could close in the coming days.”
THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE:
-- Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey profile Stephen Miller, Trump's 32-year-old point man on immigration: “Miller, one of the few remaining original advisers to President Trump, invited a small group of writers and editors from Breitbart News to the White House last fall for a conversation on immigration. The conservative news website — headed at the time by [Steve Bannon] — has been a steadfast cheerleader for Trump and his nationalist anti-immigration agenda. But Miller’s goal on this occasion was to sell the group on a compromise: a possible deal offering protections to the young undocumented immigrants known as ‘dreamers’ in exchange for tougher immigration provisions, such as an end to family-sponsored migration. The discussion quickly turned into a shouting match — an expletive-laden ‘blowup,’ according to one person familiar with the gathering. … The combative conversation illustrates Miller’s influential yet delicate role within the administration — a true believer in restrictionist immigration policies attempting to broker a historic deal on behalf of a president with similarly hawkish, but far more flexible, positions.
“Miller has come to be widely viewed — unfairly, White House officials argue — as something of a puppeteer, helping to shape and scuttle deals for a president who doesn’t understand — or care to understand — the details. … [He] tells others that Trump has two main goals when it comes to immigration policy: to move from a low-skilled or unskilled immigration system to a merit-based, high-skilled one and to ensure that the nation’s immigration laws are enforced.”
-- Trump’s reelection campaign released a web video accusing Democrats of being responsible for “every murder” committed by an undocumented immigrant. It opens with a clip from a courtroom outburst by Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented immigrant accused of killing two California cops four years ago. “Now Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants,” a narrator says. “President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe.” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said the video was made by an outside group when Chuck Todd pressed him about it on “Meet the Press” Sunday, but the video literally ends with the president saying: “I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message.”
-- David Nakamura notes the different terminology deployed by conservatives and liberals in the immigration debate reflects how entrenched each side has become: “On the right, Trump and his allies have warned of the dangers of ‘chain migration,’ railed against ‘amnesty’ for lawbreakers and urged a shift toward a ‘merit-based’ system. … On the left, advocates have defended a tradition of ‘family reunification’ and cast undocumented immigrants who arrived as children as ‘dreamers’ and ‘kids’ in need of special care — even though some are in their mid-30s. … The starkly different terms show why it’s so hard for Washington to agree on major immigration reform. For years, over several administrations, the two sides have accused each other of being unable or unwilling to accurately name the problem with a system they agree is broken.”
-- “That this issue could shutter the government speaks to the powerful hold the immigration issue has on both parties’ most enthusiastic voters — to Democrats’ vision of themselves as a party of inclusion and to Republicans’ vision of themselves as defending the very idea of what it means to be an American,” writes Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur.
-- Amid the charged debate, legal immigrants from Latin American are avoiding public-health services out of fear that their information would be used to deport undocumented relatives. The AP’s Kelli Kennedy reports: “Hispanic immigrants are not only declining to sign up for health insurance under programs that began or expanded under [Obama’s] presidency — they’re also not seeking treatment when they’re sick, [experts] say. ‘One social worker said she had a client who was forgoing chemotherapy because she had a child that was not here legally,’ said Oscar Gomez, chief executive of Health Outreach Partner, a national training and advocacy organization.”
-- Five Senate Democrats, all from states Trump carried, voted to avoid a government shutdown: Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Doug Jones (Ala.). All but Jones are on the ballot this November.
-- Democratic operatives concede the impasse — if it comes to be seen as a fight over immigration — holds risks for vulnerable senators, even if they voted to keep the government open. From David Weigel, Ed O'Keefe and Jenna Portnoy: “A super PAC allied with Senate Democrats commissioned a poll in 12 battleground states in early December 2017, and it found that in more conservative states, blame for a shutdown would be split between Trump and Republicans and Democrats in Congress. But when interviewers asked respondents about a shutdown that might be tied to the legal status of dreamers, Democrats absorbed more blame. The poll was conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group on behalf of the Senate Majority PAC.”
-- But the liberal base is ginned up. Weigel reports from a women’s march in Las Vegas this weekend: “In Democratic thinking, Nevada had become Exhibit A in how the party could overwhelm Republican voters by activating the base. It started with [former senator Harry Reid’s 2010 reelection win], the first time that a Democrat had raised the profile of ‘dreamers[.]’ … The lesson Democrats and activists took from the race was that they could force fights on complicated issues, like immigration and gun violence, if they gave them human faces. … At Sunday’s rally, and around Las Vegas, organizers were working once again to make dreamers famous.”
-- If this shutdown follows the pattern of the past two, neither party will suffer long-term consequences. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten notes: “[After the 1995/1996 shutdown,] Republicans recovered on the generic ballot by February 1996, just a month after the final shutdown of that period ended. And in the elections later that year, they held onto their majorities in both the House and Senate. Clinton, meanwhile, recovered his lost support by March 1996. He would go on to easily win reelection later in 1996. Basically, America put the same people who shut the government down back in office.”
-- House conservatives are happy with how Paul Ryan has held firm. Politico’s Rachael Bade reports: “Rank-and-file Republicans — including some of his fiercest critics on the right flank — are applauding Ryan’s unwavering position[.] … His stance, in a nutshell: As long as the government's closed, there will be no immigration negotiations. Conservatives say he’s stayed true to the conference in refusing to commit the House to voting on a bipartisan Senate immigration deal that might divide their own ranks, as Senate Democrats have demanded.”
-- The president’s son, Eric, said on Fox News that the shutdown is “a good thing for us.” “The only reason [Democrats] want to shut down government is to distract and to stop [the president’s] momentum,” he said. (HuffPost)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Democrats leading the generic ballot question by 12 points, driven by support from women and independents. Scott Clement reports: “By 51 percent to 39 percent, more registered voters say they would support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district over the Republican. Democrats’ 12 percentage-point advantage on this ‘generic ballot’ question is the largest in Post-ABC polling since 2006, although it is slightly larger than other polls this month. … The Post-ABC poll finds Democrats holding a 57 percent to 31 percent advantage among female voters, double the size of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s margin in the 2016 election. … [S]elf-identified political independents favor Democrats by a 16-point margin, 50 percent to 34 percent. The swing group has been decisive in three consecutive midterm election waves[.]” See the whole poll here.
-- The Philadelphia Eagles crushed the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game to advance to the Super Bowl. Kimberley A. Martin reports: “Behind a surgical passing performance by Nick Foles, a masterful defensive effort led by defensive end Chris Long and a pair of touchdown catches by wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, the Eagles cruised to a 38-7 win."
-- The Eagles will face the New England Patriots, who came back in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mark Maske reports: “[Tom] Brady threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Danny Amendola as the Patriots came back to beat the Jaguars, 24-20, in a competitive AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. They will seek a sixth Super Bowl triumph in eight tries with Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick as their coach in two weeks in Minneapolis.”
GET SMART FAST:
- This year’s flu season, which is especially bad and has already caused the deaths of 20 children, is being complicated by the fallout from Hurricane Maria. Nearly half of the IV saline bags used to treat severe cases of the flu in the United States are produced in Puerto Rico, which is still reeling from the disaster. (Morten Wendelbo and Christine Crudo Blackburn)
- After four months of gridlock, Germany appears to be nearing a resolution on a coalition government. The vote by a convention of the center-left Social Democrats cleared a key hurdle in the creation of a governing coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union after inconclusive September elections. (Griff Witte)
- Apple CEO Tim Cook said he wouldn’t want his nephew to use social media. He is the latest in a string of tech leaders to sound the alarm about excessive use of technology and its effects on society, particularly kids. (Business Insider)
- Facebook’s government outreach director acknowledged the platform does not always contribute positively to democracy. “From the Arab Spring to robust elections around the globe, social media seemed like a positive,” Katie Harbath wrote in a blog post. “The last US presidential campaign changed that, with foreign interference that Facebook should have been quicker to identify to the rise of ‘fake news’ and echo chambers.”
- Amazon is opening its first convenience store today in Seattle. The technology-fueled minimart, known as “Amazon Go,” has no cashiers, no registers and no lines — instead, shoppers are charged in real time by “virtual baskets” and exit through a subway-like turnstile gate where their accounts are automatically billed. It’s being dubbed as the “store of the future.” (New York Times)
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg recounted some of her own experiences with sexual harassment during an interview at the Sundance Film Festival. She also said she’d seen SNL’s “Gins-burn” parody. “I liked the actress who portrayed me,” she declared, referring to Kate McKinnon. "And I would like to say, 'Gins-burrrrn.'" (CNN)
- Dan Rather will debut a weekly news program on the Young Turks Network, a progressive online site. The former CBS anchor says the show, which premieres this evening, will focus “on substance” with “no bells and whistles.” (CNN)
- A woman died after falling several decks from the balcony of her cruise ship cabin. The tragedy occurred aboard the ship Carnival Elation during a four-day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville. (Fox News)
- A fifth-grader in New Mexico accidentally offered gummies laced with marijuana to her classmates. The 9-year-old who brought what she thought was candy from home, went to the nurse’s office after eating five of them and feeling dizzy. (Kristine Phillips)
ESCALATION IN AFGHANISTAN:
-- The U.S. Army is readying plans to send as many as 1,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan this spring, adding to the 14,000 forces already in the country. Greg Jaffe and Missy Ryan report: “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not signed off on the proposals for the new forces, which are part of a broader strategy to bolster Afghan forces so that they can pound the Taliban during the upcoming fighting season. The possible increases have the support of the Army’s senior leadership, which has been working to determine the mix of troops required to execute a strategy centered on a new combat formation.”
-- At least 18 people were killed in Kabul after Taliban attackers led an overnight siege at an international hotel overlooking the capital. Sharif Hassan and Pamela Constable report: “Unofficial reports cited by Tolo TV, the country’s most respected news channel, put the death toll as high as 43. The report could not be confirmed. Officials said 160 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel by special police forces. The nationalities of those victims were not immediately known, but a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said most of the foreigners worked for Kam Air, a private Afghan airline, and one was from Ukraine.”
-- H.R. McMaster has tapped Nadia Schadlow, a longtime colleague and member of the National Security Council, to replace Dina Powell as deputy national security adviser. She is a rare academic in Trump’s West Wing, which could leave McMaster even more isolated in his role. (Politico)
-- The Trump administration currently plans to send 15 top-ranking officials to this week's World Economic Forum in Davos. The Finance 202’s Tory Newmyer will be there: “Trump himself is set to cap off the conference with a Friday speech, the first appearance there by a president since Bill Clinton in 2000. … The plethora of Trump attendees could be jarring in a week when their government may still be shut down … But the bigger question is whether the Trump Davos army is coming to promote the president's ‘America First’ agenda, or speak more diplomatically with a world community still trying to grapple with this administration.” Sign up to get the newsletter in your inbox here.
PENCE'S MIDDLE EAST ADVENTURE:
-- The king of Jordan delivered pointed remarks to Vice President Pence about the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Jenna Johnson and Loveday Morris report: “At a meeting at his palace … [King Abdullah II] said that he had been encouraged by [Trump’s] commitment to bringing a solution to decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians — but that Jerusalem is key to achieving peace. ‘I had continuously voiced over the past year, in my meetings with Washington, my concerns regarding the U.S. decision on Jerusalem that does not come as a result of a comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,’ he said[.] … He added that it is ‘very important’ to find a way to move forward with a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state formed on pre-1967 borders, living side by side with a ‘secure and recognized’ Israel. ‘Your visit here, I am sure, is to rebuild the trust and confidence,’ he said.”
Later, Pence visited U.S. troops at a military facility near the Syrian border, where he sought to blame Senate Democrats for the government shutdown. “I’m sure you’re all aware of what’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” Pence said. “Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay. But you deserve better. You and your families shouldn’t have to worry for one minute about whether you’re going to get paid because you serve in the uniform of the United States. So know this: Your president, your vice president and the American people are not going to put up with it.”
“American elected officials typically do not engage in political speech when addressing members of the armed services. When asked about that later by a reporter, Pence paused and then said the troops are ‘Americans who are literally paying the price.’ He added: ‘I wanted these soldiers to know that we are with them’ and that ‘we’re going to work earnestly to move this process forward[.]'”
-- As Pence visits Israel, the New York Times’s Max Fisher writes the administration’s consistently pro-Israel views are rooted in America’s culture wars: “Bitter debates over terrorism and tolerance, polarized along demographic and partisan lines, have primed a faction of Americans to express their identity in part through solidarity with Israelis and opposition to Palestinians. Politicians have long catered to this view, but Mr. Trump is first to make it official policy. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and threatening to close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, though never quite explained in foreign policy terms, resonate domestically.”
-- Turkey has launched a ground offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria. Erin Cunningham and Louisa Loveluck report: “The land operation by Turkish forces, which began Sunday morning, comes as Turkey intensified air and artillery strikes over the weekend on the Syrian Kurdish enclave Afrin.”
THE #METOO MOMENT:
-- A member of the House Ethics Committee, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), settled his own sexual misconduct case with public funds, the New York Times’s Katie Rogers and Kenneth P. Vogel report: “A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of [a former aide], who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there. But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate, the people familiar with her time in the office said. Life in the office became untenable, so she initiated the complaint process, started working from home and ultimately left the job.”
-- Meehan has been removed from the ethics committee, where he said he wanted to combat sexual harassment in Congress. Elise Viebeck reports: “[He] now faces an investigation by the ethics panel, according to a spokeswoman for [Paul Ryan] . . . ‘Speaker Ryan takes the allegations against Mr. Meehan very seriously,’ AshLee Strong said in an emailed statement. ‘The speaker is committed to rooting out sexual misconduct in the House and providing victims the resources they need.’”
WE'RE LIVING IN A REALITY TELEVISION SHOW:
-- “Year 2 of the Trump presidency began here overnight much like Year 1 had ended: with his alleged ex-mistress smashing people’s faces into her bare chest at a strip club between an airport and a cemetery,” Dan Zak reports from Greenville, S.C. on Stormy Daniels's weekend performances. “‘HE SAW HER LIVE,’ the Trophy Club’s flier said. ‘YOU CAN TOO!’ … A normal Saturday at the Trophy Club brings in 100 to 150 people — and for a while on Saturday it seemed at least double that. ‘Making America Horny Again,’ said a big sign outside, a play on Trump’s campaign slogan. Inside there was patriotic bunting on the brass railings. Red, white and blue balloons floated above each sticky table. … Daniels spread out a taupe fleece blanket onstage, dropped to her knees, arched her back and began to squirt a bottle of lotion onto her chest to the sound of ‘Animal’ by Def Leppard, as the president’s face flashed on video screens behind her.”
-- “The music came on. The clothes came off. And an airport strip club claimed its piece of the American presidency,” adds the New York Times’s Matt Flegenheimer. “Dancers pawed playfully at their prey, flipping their hair at patrons like a fishing line. ‘All right — one,’ a member of the news media relented eventually, disappearing for a few minutes as a dancer led him to a back room. She returned a short while later to flip her hair at the other scribes. Other requests were less typical of the place. Suzanne Coe, 52, a local pub owner, hoped Ms. Clifford might sign her copy of ‘Fire and Fury,’ by Michael Wolff[.]”
THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- The FBI says it has not even seen the so-called "memo" that allegedly details abuses by the intelligence community. House Republicans have been demanding that the document, which they created to score political points, be "released" to the public. The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reports: “‘The FBI has requested to receive a copy of the memo in order to evaluate the information and take appropriate steps if necessary. To date, the request has been declined,’ said Andrew Ames, a spokesperson for the FBI. … The fact that Republicans refuse to show the memo to FBI, which characterizes the intelligence they shared with Nunes, has Democrats concerned. One aide [said] it means Nunes’ efforts are just politics.”
-- The FBI also said it did not retain messages exchanged between two senior officials involved in the probes of Hillary Clinton and Trump for a period that spanned five months — and ended the day Robert Mueller was tapped to take over the Russia investigation. Devlin Barrett reports: “The letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray indicates the Justice Department has turned over to lawmakers a new batch of texts from senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The messages have not been made public. … The lawmaker is asking the FBI to explain in more detail why it ‘did not preserve text messages between Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok between approximately December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.’” Both Strzok and Page have been accused of political bias by Republicans in their investigations of Clinton and Trump.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
A Senate Democrat sought to offer a preemptive defense for today's shutdown vote:
From Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.):
A House Republican who is running for Senate in Arizona requested to have her salary withheld during the shutdown:
The conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol, criticized the vice president for making partisan remarks while addressing troops abroad:
From Joe Biden's former chief of staff:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) tried to make sure death benefits would be delivered to military families during a shutdown, but McConnell blocked her proposal:
Crowds gathered across the country to mark the anniversary of the Women's March:
From a reporter in Denver:
From a Yahoo News reporter:
From actress Alyssa Milano:
From Politico's media reporter:
From the New York Times columnist:
More gymnasts testified in the sentencing hearing for sports doctor Larry Nassar. From the executive editor of the Lansing State Journal:
A quote from Aly Raisman's testimony against Nassar was later seen on a sign at Indianapolis's Women's March:
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) criticized the FBI for not retaining communications between two officials formerly involved with the Mueller probe who have been accused of partisan bias:
A member of the House Freedom Caucus called for a second special counsel:
A Politico reporter shared this anecdote about the commerce secretary:
And a Post columnist tweeted a photo of this headline:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- Boston Globe, “Elizabeth Warren’s Native American problem goes beyond politics,” by Annie Linskey: “Warren says now, as she has from the first days of her public life, that she based her assertions on family lore, on her reasonable trust in what she was told about her ancestry as a child. ‘I know who I am,’ she said in a recent interview with the Globe. But that self-awareness may not be enough, as her political ambitions blossom. She’s taken flak from the right for years as a ‘fake Indian,’ including taunts from President Trump, who derisively calls her ‘Pocahontas.’ That clamor from the right will only grow with her increasing prominence. And, more telling, there’s also discomfort on the left and among some tribal leaders and activists that Warren has a political blind spot when it comes to the murkiness surrounding her story of her heritage[.]”
-- The Guardian, “Why has Britain given such a warm welcome to this shadowy professor?” by Nick Cohen: “He seems to be a spy, but Joseph Mifsud meets ministers and lands university posts.”
-- BuzzFeed News, “Chief Justice John Roberts Has Changed A Little Bit. And That Could Be A Big Deal,” by Chris Geidner: “Roberts joined the Supreme Court in 2005, seen as a staunch, across-the-board conservative. In recent years, though, he’s appeared to moderate some of his positions, in specific instances and sometimes in very nuanced ways. That kind of shift could have significant effects on how the current court decides major issues and — if it represents a permanent change — on how Roberts leads the court into the next decade.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
“A ‘pro-white’ town manager wants races to separate, rails against Islam — and refuses to quit,” from Kristine Phillips: “Tom Kawczynski told the Bangor paper that he’s against bringing people from other countries and cultures to the United States. ... After he moved to Maine a year ago, he started a group called New Albion, which, according to its website, promotes ‘traditional western values emphasizing the positive aspects of our European heritage and uniquely American identity.’ … [I]n posts on his website and on Gab, a social media network that is used by right-wing figures, he defended his views and free-speech rights. He railed against political correctness and the media, which he accused of publishing skewed versions of his views and falsely painting him as a racist and a bigot.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“NYC alt-right bash turns violent after protester slugs partygoer,” from the New York Daily News: “Violence erupted outside an alt-right gala in Midtown Saturday when a black-clad protester punched and choked a partygoer, cops said. Far-right provocateur Mike Cernovich was inside the event at the FREQNYC nightclub on W. 50th St. when the fisticuffs broke out about 10:30 p.m. ‘I saw him hit the old man,’ said witness Ali Thomas, 24. ‘One hit. He swung hard. He hit him hard. The old man's head hit the curb.’ The 911 caller said initially that the 56-year-old was in cardiac arrest after the fight, according to fire officials. Cernovich later emerged from the event and confronted a group of demonstrators.” “These guys are f-----g terrorists,” Cernovich said.
Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both of her legs in Iraq, blasted Trump for accusing Democrats of being apathetic toward the military amid the shutdown: “I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do — and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.” (Amy B Wang)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Temperatures in D.C. could reach the 60s today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “A springlike beginning to our week. After 40s when we get up and head out, many of us will see highs eclipse 60 degrees this afternoon, with partial sunshine. If we go mostly sunny, mid-60s are possible. Light winds from the south.”
-- The Capitals lost to the Flyers 2-1. (Jesse Dougherty)
-- A federal appeals court will decide the case between the Federal Aviation Administration and Washingtonians complaining about noise from flights into Reagan National Airport. Lori Aratani reports: “The two sides presented their case to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week. A ruling, which could take several months, will be closely watched by communities across the country grappling with similar issues tied to the FAA’s efforts to modernize the nation’s air traffic system.”
-- A Prince George’s County police officer attempted to rescue three people who had fallen through ice on a pond and ended up falling in, too. All four victims were later rescued. (Martin Weil)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
The Post fact-checked a recent terrorism report touted by Trump on Twitter: