1/ Mitch McConnell blocked two bills that would have ended the government shutdown. The bills had passed the House. McConnell said he will not consider any shutdown-related bills he doesn’t believe Trump would sign. He added: “Political stunts are not going to get us anywhere.” (CNN / The Hill)
2/ The Pentagon has begun preparing options for building a wall along the southern border in the event Trump declares a national emergency. If an agreement can’t be reached, said Trump, “probably I will do it – I would almost say definitely. We have plenty of funds if there’s a national emergency.” (USA Today / Reuters / Washington Post)
3/ Michael Cohen agreed to publicly testify in front of the House Oversight Committee before he goes to prison next month. Trump’s former personal attorney said he appreciates the opportunity “to give a full and credible account” of the time he worked for Trump. Cohen will also answer questions from lawmakers about the Russia investigation during a closed-door session. (Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / ABC News / CNN / The Hill)
4/ Robert Mueller requested information last year from a Trump campaign pollster and colleague of Paul Manafort. Tony Fabrizio was interviewed by Mueller’s team in February 2018; the meeting went unreported until now. The interview is significant in light of recent revelations that Mueller has been investigating Manafort’s sharing of polling data with an associate tied to Russian intelligence. (CNN)
- 📌 Day 719: Paul Manafort gave 2016 polling data to a former employee with ties to Russian intelligence services. The exchange was inadvertently revealed when Manafort’s lawyers failed to fully redact Manafort’s interview with Robert Mueller in a court filing. Manafort’s attorneys meant for Mueller’s line of questioning to remain private, but the text in question was easily readable when opened with a word processor. (Washington Post / CNBC / Daily Beast)
Scientists say the oceans are warming at a much faster rate than previously thought. A new study published in Science found the oceans are heating up 40% faster than estimates a U.N. panel published five years ago. The rising temperatures are killing off marine wildlife, and rising sea levels are making hurricanes more destructive. (New York Times)
Steven Mnuchin delivered a classified briefing to Congress on his decision to lift sanctions on companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The briefing came after the chairs of seven House committees sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary and former Trump campaign finance chair demanding to know more about the decision. (NBC News)
Trump canceled a trip to Davos for the World Economic Forum, blaming “the Democrats [sic] intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation.” (New York Times)
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