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At the White House

BORDERS, CLIMATE CHANGE AND MISSISSIPPI -- OH MY: While you were deep in a tryptophan coma over the past few days, a few things happened. 

Some members of the caravan are in Tijuana: Officials closed down the busiest border crossing between the United States and Mexico after a small number of Central American migrants tried to jump the fencing between the two countries, prompting Border Patrol officials in San Diego to fire tear gas at them. The port of entry reopened by 9 p.m. Eastern time, according to the Customs and Border Patrol Agency. From our Sarah Kinosian and Joshua Partlow

  • Tic toc: “What had begun Sunday morning as a migrant protest of the slow pace of the U.S. asylum claims process devolved into a chaotic scramble in which hundreds made their way to the border hoping to cross onto U.S. soil. To block that from happening, and as some threw rocks and bottles, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers took the rare step of firing tear gas into Mexico as well as closing all legal vehicle and foot traffic to the San Ysidro border crossing, which U.S. officials say normally has about 100,000 visitors per day.”
  • From CBP, per Kinosian and Partlow: “There were 'multiple instances of persons throwing projectiles at CBP personnel' and 'multiple confirmed apprehensions' of those who tried to enter the U.S. illegally, as well as 'many additional attempts to cross the border illegally' . . . 'There were also assaults against CBP personnel, with multiple U.S. Border Patrol agents hit by rocks.'" 
  • The violent escalation occurred after The Post broke the news that the Trump administration plans to require asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims move through U.S. courts. Mexico's incoming government (President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador) supports the agreement, Josh Partlow and Nick Miroff reported. 
  • Sunday's series of events were teased by Trump himself on Saturday evening when he tweeted: “If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border.”
  • Consequences: The clashes are likely to affect the debate over including the president's funding for a border wall in a must-pass spending bill whose deadline is Dec. 7. They may also influence whether Trump acts on his desire to oust Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen now, later or never.

Black Friday news dump: The National Climate Assessment was released. It's a 1,656 page document outlining the increasingly damaging impact climate change will have on everything from the environment, to infrastructure to the economy.

  • “Worsening”: The Trump administration released a congressionally mandated report on climate change that they probably would have preferred you not notice — one that sends an “unmistakable message,” per Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney, “The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening.”
  • The National Climate Assessment, produced by 13 federal agencies and departments, draws some conclusions that directly contradict the rhetoric coming from Trump, the White House and a majority of the Republicans. The report concludes the government “must act aggressively to adapt to current impacts and mitigate future catastrophes “to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”
  • Trump on climate change on CBS's '60 Minutes' last month: “I don’t know that it’s man-made”; the warming trend “could very well go back.” Just this week, Trump tweeted: "Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?"
  • Key quote from the New York Times's Coral Davenport: “In light of Friday’s report, Mr. [Doug] Brinkley drew a parallel between Mr. Trump’s statements on climate science and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s false statements to the American public a half-century ago about the Vietnam War. “Johnson used to tell people everything was going well in Vietnam, and then you’d turn on the news and see the mayhem,” he said. “It was this giant disconnect.”

“President T” — in between rounds of golf at his Palm Beach course — tweeted his continued support of Cindy Hyde-Smith -- the senator from Mississippi who's running to permanently replace Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a Nov. 27 runoff with former congressman Mike Espy (D). On Monday, Trump will rally for Hyde-Smith, despite her racially charged statement, first aired by the Bayou Brief, saying that if a supporter "invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row."

  • Hyde-Smith, who partially apologized for the remark last week, initially defended her words as an “exaggerated expression” of friendship while others have said her comment is a clear allusion to lynching. (More on her below). 
  • Trump will hold two rallies for Hyde-Smith in Tupelo and Biloxi along with a roundtable on the criminal justice reform bill Trump is trying to push through Congress. 

Also on the president's docket: Trump will head to the G-20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of the week where he'll be expected to participate in crafting communiques on two rather thorny issues: trade and climate change.

Keeping tabs on Trump: The president, who has yet to visit troops in an active military zone, declared last week that he was “going to a war zone.” He didn't visit during the holiday, however. 

 

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On The Hill

ABOUT THIS MISSISSIPPI SENATE RACE: Trump will attempt to put Hyde-Smith over the finish line against Espy, a former congressman seeking to become the first African American senator from the state since the end of the Civil War.  Race has become a flash point in the runoff, which is happening tomorrow.

  • A pattern: The Post's Matt Viser reports that Hyde-Smith has a history of embracing “a pride in the Confederacy.”
  • One example: “In 2014, [Hyde-Smith] donned a Confederate hat and posed with a rifle, writing on her Facebook page that the Jefferson Davis homestead in Biloxi is a “must see,” Viser writes. 
  • Ashton Pittman of the Jackson Press broke the story over the weekend that Hyde-Smith attended a “segregation academy,” that was “set up so that white parents could avoid having to send their children to schools with black students, a yearbook reveals.”
  • Hyde-Smith sent her daughter to a similar school: “Even to this day, Brookhaven Academy, from which Hyde-Smith’s daughter graduated in 2017, is almost all-white. In the 2015-2016 school year, Brookhaven Academy enrolled 386 white children, five Asian children, and just one black child, the National Center for Education Statistics shows. That’s despite the fact that Census statistics show Brookhaven is 55 percent black and 43 percent white, per 2016 Census estimates,” Pittman reports. 
  • Refund, please: While Trump may have called Hyde-Smith “an outstanding person” on Twitter, some of her big name donors don't appear to agree. Major League Baseball is the most recent organization to request a return of their $5,000 donation to Hyde-Smith's campaign, per Felicia Sonmez. Walmart, AT&T, Leidos, Union Pacific, and Boston Scientific have also asked for their money back, according to CNBC. Judd Legum has also been tracking the companies that have asked Hyde-Smith to return their contributions — and which ones haven't. (Google.) 
  • Meanwhile, Hyde-Smith is avoiding answering questions. NBC's Vaughn Hillyard tweeted a video of Hyde-Smith sneaking out the back door after an event on Sunday. 

Background: A bit on the race's dynamics, according to Debra Cleaver, CEO of the nonpartisan Vote.org, whose team is feverishly working to turn out voters tomorrow. 

  • Turnout: “Mississippi has exceptionally low turnout. Even though the state is diverse — about 42 percent of people in Mississippi are people of color — the electorate is overwhelmingly white,” Cleaver told Power Up last week.
  • 'Vote again': That's the catchphrase scrawled on nearly 200 billboards across the state, urging residents to return to the polls after the midterms earlier this month. Vote.org is  sending text messages to registered voters,  concentrating on turning out black voters.
  • Making history: The last time the same Mississippi seat was held by an African American was in 1870 (!) -- the first to ever serve in the U.S. Senate, The Post's Steve Hendrix reports. “Hiram Rhodes Revels, a onetime barber and former Union Army chaplain, came to Washington in 1870, at the start of a remarkable (albeit short-lived) period of what historians call 'biracial democracy; in the Reconstruction-era Deep South," Hendrix reports. 

Also brewing on the Hill this week: if Trump won't punish MBS, will Congress? In an extraordinary statement released last week, peppered with exclamation points, Trump ignored the CIA's assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly connected to the killing Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But a handful of Republican senators -- Mike Lee (Utah), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Susan Collins  (Maine) -- are requesting a briefing by the CIA to  make a decision themselves. 

  • “Don't think Congress is going to look away if he's (bin Salman) making the world a more dangerous place. We are not going to give an autocratic leader a pass,” Graham told CNN. 

  • “I disagree with the president’s assessment,” Lee said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s inconsistent with the intelligence I’ve seen . . . The intelligence I’ve seen suggests that this was ordered by the crown prince.”

 

 

Global Power

CLINTON'S COMMENTS ON MIGRATION SPARK AN UNUSUAL REACTION ON THE FAR RIGHT: AGREEMENT. In a recently published interview with The Guardian, Hillary Clinton suggested that “Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” referring to the rise of right-wing populists on the continent and in the United States. An international coalition of far-right politicians and pundits have since responded with curled-lip concurrence, noting that — for once — they agree with the Democrat. Here are a few of the reactions to Clinton's comments, which she later sought to clarify:

  • In Italy: “Maybe Hillary has understood the lesson,” Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, told the New York Times. Meloni's group has promoted an “Italians First” policy and recently hosted Steve Bannon at a party conference in Rome.
  • In the United States: On Twitter, conservative commentator Ann Coulter quipped, “Maybe we should have voted for her.”
  • In GermanyIn a tweet flagged and translated by journalist Emily Schultheis, a spokesman for German far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) repackaged Clinton's comments to promote his party's anti-immigration message, writing “Hillary Clinton herself recognizes Europe must close its borders.” 
  • Hang on: Clinton, who has stridently criticized Trump's immigration policies, offered clarification of her comments to The Guardian, tweeting she has “always been and remain a staunch advocate of comprehensive immigration reform that’s true to our values and treats every person with dignity, provides a pathway to full and equal citizenship.”
  • Meh, in Hungary: “It doesn’t make much difference,” said Gyorgy Schopflin, a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party in Hungary, in an interview with The Times. “Whether her conversion is sincere or tactical, I don’t know. I’m skeptical.”

In the Media