1/ Robert Mueller’s office recommended that Michael Flynn serve no jail time because he provided “substantial assistance” with the Russian probe. A court filing submitted by the special counsel’s office says Flynn provided “firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials.” Flynn gave 19 interviews to Mueller’s team and other investigators and, as a result, Mueller asked a federal judge not to sentence Flynn to prison. Flynn also provided details about other criminal investigations, but those details were heavily redacted from the court filing in order to keep information about ongoing probes secret. The redactions suggest there is more to come in the probe into Russian election interference. (Reuters / New York Times / CNN / Axios / NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC)

  • Mueller’s team also disclosed details about Flynn’s efforts to cover up his ties to Turkey while he was Trump’s national security adviser. A central part of Flynn’s involvement with the Turkish government was his attempts to kidnap a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania and return him to Turkey to face punishment for allegedly orchestrating a failed coup attempt against Turkish President Erdogan. Flynn’s decision to hide the fact that he was working for Turkey “impeded the ability of the public to learn about the Republic of Turkey’s efforts to influence public opinion about the failed coup, including its efforts to effectuate the removal of a person legally residing in the United States.” (NBC News)

  • Prosecutors in Manhattan are ramping up their investigation into foreign lobbying by two firms that did work for Paul Manafort. Mueller referred the case to authorities because it fell outside his mandate of determining whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia. (Associated Press)

2/ Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record. Global emissions grew 1.6% in 2017 with 2018 expected to increase 2.7%. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon emissions, but that hasn’t stopped the Trump administration from moving to roll back regulations designed to limit those emissions from vehicle tailpipes and power-plant smokestacks. As United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference: “We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change.” (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • 📌 The Re-up: Day 678. Trump – again – dismissed his own government’s report on the devastating impacts of climate change and global warming, saying he doesn’t see climate change as a man-made issue and that he doesn’t believe the scientific consensus. “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself,” Trump said, “we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers.” He continued: “You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.” (Washington Post)

  • 📌Day 676. The National Climate Assessment concludes that global warming is already “transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us.” The findings from the landmark scientific report, issued by 13 federal agencies, are at odds with the Trump administration’s environmental deregulation agenda, which Trump claims will lead to economic growth, and its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The report predicts that the effects of global warming could eliminate as much as 10% of the U.S. economy by the end of the century, and warns that humans must act aggressively now “to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.” The first report, released in November 2017, concluded that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for the changing climate other than “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases.” Trump recently questioned the science of climate change, saying that “I don’t know that it’s man-made” and that the warming trend “could very well go back.” (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN)

  • 📌Day 627. A U.N. report on the effects of climate change predicts a strong risk of an environmental crisis much sooner than expected. The report finds that the atmosphere could warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, which would cause sea levels to rise, intensify droughts, wildfires, and poverty, and cause a mass die-off of coral reefs. To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and fully eliminated by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40% today to between 1% and 7% by 2050. Renewable energy would have to increase to about 67%. Trump has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, vowing to increase the burning of coal, and he intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement. The world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark and “there is no documented historic precedent” for the scale of changes required, the report said. (New York Times / Washington Post)

3/ Trump joined the three living former presidents and first ladies for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush. Trump shook hands with the Obamas but didn’t seem to acknowledge the Clintons or Carters. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, stared straight ahead. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace noted that “a chill had descended” on the front row when Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived. Despite earning about 80% of the evangelical vote in 2016’s presidential election, the Trumps did not participate in the Apostles’ Creed or sing the hymns during the funeral. (BuzzFeed News / The Hill / Newsweek)

4/ Trump traveled 250 yards in a limo as part of an eight-vehicle motorcade to visit with George W. Bush for 23 minutes across the street. The weather was overcast and cold, but there was no rain. The cost of the trip is unknown. (Washington Post)


  1. New satellite images reveal North Korea has expanded a key long-range missile base. Despite five months of denuclearization, the Yeongjeo-dong missile base and a previously unreported site remain active and have been continuously upgraded. (CNN)

  2. Istanbul’s chief prosecutor filed warrants for the arrest Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s top aide and the deputy head of its foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. (Reuters)

  3. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were accused of misleading senators on the murder of Khashoggi. Last week, Pompeo said there was no definitive proof that the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder, while Mattis said that there was “no smoking gun.” The CIA, however, determined with “high confidence” that the crown prince ordered the killing. (Politico)

  4. Saudi-funded lobbyists booked 500 nights at Trump’s D.C. hotel shortly after his 2016 election, sending military veterans to Washington and have them lobby against a law the Saudis opposed. The lobbyists spent more $270,000 on six groups of visiting veterans at the Trump hotel, which Trump still owns. (Washington Post)

  5. A Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee called for an emergency hearing to examine allegations of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District. Last week the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics voted against certifying Republican Mark Harris’ 905 vote win over Democrat Dan McCready in the state’s 9th Congressional District. State election officials are now investigating charges that a political operative working for the Harris campaign oversaw workers illegally collect mail-in absentee ballots from voters. (Washington Post / CNN)

  6. Giuliani tried to blame his typo on Twitter “invading my text with a disgusting anti-President message” after he accidentally created a link to G-20.In in one of his tweets. A Twitter user noticed that the domain was unclaimed, so they bought it and created a website with the simple message: “Donald J. Trump is a traitor to our country,” allowing anyone who clicked on the link in Giuliani’s tweet to view the website. Giuliani suggested that the incident was proof that Twitter employees are “committed cardcarrying anti-Trumpers.” Giuliani ended his tweet with a call for “FAIRNESS PLEASE.” (New York Times)

  7. Jeff Sessions might be done with politics, saying he doesn’t miss being a senator and won’t be deciding anytime soon about running. [Editor’s note: Good riddance.] (Politico)

  8. Trump isn’t worried about the national debt, because “I won’t be here” when America has to pay its creditors back. The U.S. owes roughly $21 trillion in debt, but Trump has repeatedly shrugged those financial obligations off during meetings about the national debt. “Yeah,” Trump told his aides, “but I won’t be here.” (Daily Beast)