1/ Trump questioned why the US would admit people from “shithole countries” like Haiti or African after lawmakers floated the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, suggesting that the U.S. should instead bring more people from countries like Norway than African or Haiti. The White House didn’t deny Trump that called those countries “shitholes.” In a June meeting on immigration, Trump said Haitians “all have AIDS” and complained that Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” in Africa. (Washington Post / New York Times)
2/ The Trump administration will let states require people to work for Medicaid. Under the new guidance, states can now require Medicaid beneficiaries to work, volunteer or participate in job training. The elderly, disabled, pregnant women, and children are excluded. It’s the first time in the fifty-year history of the program that Medicaid recipients may be required to hold down a job in order to receive benefits. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR)
3/ The House reauthorized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the US intelligence community to collect Americans’ email, text messages, photos, and other electronic communication without a warrant. The legislation, which passed 256 to 164, renews the program for six years and will now head to the Senate. (New York Times)
4/ Trump sent a series of confusing tweets about his position on the bill after a Fox News analyst appealed directly to Trump on-air, urging him to oppose the bill. First, Trump tweeted in apparent opposition to the bill that the “controversial FISA ACT … may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” About 90 minutes later, Trump reversed course, tweeting that “today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!” (CNN / USA Today)
5/ Democrats plan to invite sexual assault victims to Trump’s State of the Union address later this month to highlight the issue of sexual misconduct. The idea of inviting victims of Trump’s alleged harassment to the speech has been scrapped. (NBC News)
6/ Steve Bannon hired a lawyer in preparation for his interview with the House Intelligence Committee next week. Bannon retained Bill Burck, of the firm Quinn Emanuel. (The Daily Beast)
poll/ Trump is losing ground with women, in particular Millennial, white-collar, and blue-collar white women, according to an unpublished SurveyMonkey poll of 605,172 Americans. [Editor’s note: this is a must read] (The Atlantic)
poll/ 79% of Americans say “Dreamers” should be allowed to remain in the US and apply for citizenship. 63% oppose building a wall along the Mexico border. (Quinnipiac)
58% of voters say that marijuana use should be made legal.
70% oppose enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.
47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Jeff Sessions.
52% of voters disapprove of the Republican tax plan.
Joe Arpaio resurrected false claims that Obama was not born in the United States. Arpaio claimed that Obama’s birth certificate is a “forgery document.” He is seeking the Republican nomination in Arizona’s 2018 Senate race. (The Hill)
Republicans have four convicted criminals running for Congress in 2018. Three of the men have suggested that their convictions show they were persecuted by the Obama administration for their political beliefs. (HuffPost)
Trump has not formally proposed any new resources or spending to tackle the opioid epidemic. The 90-day public health emergency declaration ends on January 23rd. (Politico)
The FBI will notify U.S. companies and the public about Russian efforts to manipulate social media and interfere in upcoming elections. The FBI’s “foreign influence” task force, which was created last year, could dramatically reshape the relationship between the government and social media companies. (Bloomberg)
Ryan Zinke announced a massive overhaul of the Interior Department that would move tens of thousands of government employees to new locations across the country and reorganize the management of federal lands. (The Hill)
Kellyanne Conway said Trump “discovered” there doesn’t need to be a “physical wall” along the country’s entire southern border. Trump has said he will not sign an immigration deal that doesn’t include funding for the border wall. (The Hill)
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