1/ Nancy Pelosi declared that House Democrats would not be intimidated by Trump’s “all-out threat” during his State of the Union to stop investigating his administration. Pelosi called it Democrats’ “congressional responsibility” to investigate Trump, “and if we didn’t do it, we would be delinquent in that.” During his address, Trump claimed that “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.” He added: “It just doesn’t work that way!” Pelosi called Trump’s rhetoric a false choice. (New York Times)

  • 🔥 State of the Union Hot Takes.

  • Trump gave his second State of the Union speech last night. He started by calling for unity and bipartisanship, before launching into attacks on Robert Mueller’s investigation, calls for Congress to fund his border wall, and plans to enact a new ban on abortion. Democrats responded by calling the speech “sickening,” “shameful,” and “inappropriate.” Sen. Mazie Hirono simply replied, “WTF.” Republicans, meanwhile, erupted into chants of “USA! USA! USA!” during the speech and largely curbed whatever criticisms they had in once it was over. (Politico)

  • The audience for the SOTU address was deeply Republican, the most partisan audience since 2001. The slant in the audience led to largely positive reviews from those who watched – about 6 in 10 viewers had a positive reaction to the speech. The positive remarks were cut down party and demographic lines. (CNN)

  • On Trump’s big applause line, the sound of silence was stunning (NBC News)

  • Trump presented a false choice between investigations and prosperity, warning House Democrats that “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. … We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction.” (Washington Post)

  • “They know it’s his party”: Despite tensions with Trump, GOP lawmakers roar with approval for their president (Washington Post)

  • Why Trump’s zigzagging speech made perfect sense (Politico)

  • Trump Asks for Unity, but Presses Hard Line on Immigration (New York Times)

  • State of the Union Fact Check: What Trump Got Right and Wrong (New York Times)

  • In dissonant State of the Union speech, Trump seeks unity while depicting ruin (Washington Post)

2/ The House Intelligence Committee voted to send more than 50 witness interview transcripts from its Russia investigation to Robert Mueller, who could use them to then prosecute potential perjury or obstruction of justice by Trump associates. Among the transcripts are testimonies by Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner. Mueller has already prosecuted Michael Flynn for lying to both the House and Senate intelligence panels about the failed Trump Tower Moscow project. Mueller has also charged Roger Stone with lying to the House Intelligence Committee. (Politico / ABC News)

  • Mueller referred to “uncharged individuals” in recent court filings aimed at restricting some evidence from defendants in Russia. Legal analysts believe the language indicates federal prosecutors are investigating additional subjects linked to the Russian troll farm and the Paul Manafort cases and more people could be indicted as part of the special counsel investigation. (The Hill)

3/ The House Intelligence Committee will also “investigate any credible allegation” into whether Trump’s financial interests are driving his decision-making process. Chairman Adam Schiff announced that the committee would look “beyond Russia” and will examine “whether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business, or his associates.” (CNN)

4/ Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee has been delayed “in the interests of the investigation.” It’s the second time Cohen’s planned testimony has been rescheduled. Cohen canceled his scheduled appearance before Oversight and Government Reform citing threats Trump made to his family. The Senate Intelligence Committee has also issued Cohen a subpoena to compel his testimony on Feb. 12, while the House Oversight Committee is still negotiating about a public appearance before that panel. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

5/ Global temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest on record, according to scientists at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The 2018 average global temperature was 1.5F warmer than average, placing it behind 2016, 2017 and 2015. Collectively, the last five years have been the five warmest years since modern measurements began. “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future. It’s here. It’s now.” (New York Times / The Guardian / Politico)

  • Climate change and natural disasters killed at least 247 people and cost the U.S. an estimated $91 billion in 2018. Since 1980, the U.S. has experienced 241 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage reached or exceeded $1 billion. (Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 733: 73% of Americans believe that climate change is real– a jump of 10 percentage points from 2015, and three points since last March. 72% also said that global warming is personally important to them. (New York Times)

  • 📌 Day 685: 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)

  • 📌 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)


  1. Trump has attended 17 intelligence briefings over the last 85 days and does not regularly read the Presidential Daily Brief prepared for him. From Nov. 7, 2018 to Feb. 1, 2019, Trump announced his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and quit a nuclear arms treaty with Russia. (NBC News)

  2. Russia is developing new hypersonic missiles that travel at more than five times the speed of sound and will be “invincible” in response to Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear arms treaty. The new hypersonic missile is expected to be ready by 2021. (New York Times / NPR)

  3. During a private lunch with TV news anchors, Trump attacked prominent Democrats, calling Joe Biden “dumb,” Chuck Schumer a “nasty son of a bitch,” and saying that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam “choked like a dog” when he tried to explain the racist photo in his medical school yearbook. Trump also repeated his slur against Elizabeth Warren: “I hope I haven’t wounded Pocahontas too badly,” Trump said. “I’d like to run against her.” (New York Times)

  4. Trump nominated a critic of the World Bank to be the next president of the World Bank. David Malpass, the Treasury under secretary for international affairs, has made past statements critical of the World Bank and multilateral institutions broadly. In 2007, Malpass wrote that the U.S. economy was “sturdy and will grow solidly in coming months, and perhaps years.” Malpass worked at Bear Stearns as its chief economist at the time. (ABC News / NPR)

  5. Archival footage shows Trump meeting with officials in Russia in the 1990s to discuss a potential building project in Russia. The video was allegedly aired by Russian state TV in 1995, and shows Trump meeting with members of the former mayor of Moscow’s administration. “He had contacts,” former mayor Yury Luzhkov said, “on matters related to the construction of the Okhotny Ryad underground mall on Manezh Square.” The video was apparently discovered by someone who had been “going through the Russian TV archives.” Trump has said on multiple occasions that “I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia.” (The Independent)

  6. Trump wanted $20 million up front for the right to use the Trump name on a Moscow development in 2006. Trump was willing to accept a $4 million upfront branding fee and a cut of profits in his 2015 and 2016 efforts to build a Moscow tower. (Bloomberg)