1/ The Supreme Court granted the Trump administration's request to enforce its ban on transgender people serving in the military while the legal challenges continue in the lower courts. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court's five conservative members in the majority and its four liberal members in dissent. More than 15,000 transgender Americans are currently serving in the U.S. military and that more than 134,000 are veterans. (New York Times / ABC News / Washington Post)

2/ Rudy Giuliani walked back his comments about Trump's involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project, calling the statements "hypothetical" and "not based on conversations" he had with Trump. Giuliani originally said that negotiations over the project continued up until the day Trump won, and that Trump remembered having "fleeting conversations" about the deal after the Trump Organization signed a letter of intent. At question is whether or not Trump was engaged in ongoing negotiations with an American adversary while seeking the presidency and advocating that Obama lift sanctions against Russia. (New York Times / ABC News)

  • πŸ“Œ Day 732: Trump was involved in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow throughout the entire 2016 presidential campaign – several months longer than any administration official or Trump associate has previously admitted. Rudy Giuliani said conversations between Trump and Michael Cohen about building a Trump Tower in Moscow "went on throughout 2016 […] probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November." Giuliani later clarified, quoting Trump that the discussions were "going on from the day I announced to the day I won." The new timetable means that Trump, who repeatedly claimed during the campaign that he had "no business" in Russia, was in fact seeking a deal in Russia when he said in July 2016 that he had "nothing to do with Russia." The timeline also conflicts with Cohen's 2017 testimony that the Moscow project ended in January 2016 – before the Republican primaries began. Cohen later pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the deal, saying efforts continued through June 2016 before it fell apart – a month after Trump had secured the Republican Party's presidential nomination. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNN / Bloomberg)

3/ Giuliani also claimed that it didn't matter if Trump engaged in conversations with Russia about the Moscow deal, because it's not a crime. He went on to say that "there are no tapes, there are no texts, there is no corroboration," because he's personally "been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed." A few moments later, Giuliani tried to clarify: "I shouldn't have said tapes." Moments after that, Giuliani added: "Well, I have listened to tapes." Giuliani also tried to revise his previous statement that Trump told him the Trump Tower Moscow "discussions were going on from the day I announced to the day I won," saying simply: "He didn't have the conversations." [Editor's note: This is a wild interview. Worth the read.] (New Yorker)

  • Trump's aides have grown "exasperated" by Giuliani's public statements, expressing concern that he's incorrectly representing the Trump Tower project in Moscow and angering Mueller. (New York Times)

4/ Trump Jr. blamed Michael Cohen for the Trump Tower Moscow project, claiming the family "[doesn't] know anything about it." Trump Jr. also claimed that there was never a deal, contradicting the fact that Trump signed a letter of intent in October 2015 and the team of developers were revealed in 2017. (Axios)

  • πŸ“ŒDay 221. Four months into the presidential campaign, Trump signed a "letter of intent" to pursue building a Trump Tower in Moscow. The involvement of then-candidate Trump in a proposed Russian development deal contradicts his repeated claims that his business had "no relationship to Russia whatsoever." The Trump Organization signed a non-binding letter of intent in October 2015. (ABC News)

poll/ 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)

  • πŸ“Œ 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 AntΓ³nio 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)

  • πŸ“Œ 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 scientificreport, 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)

  • πŸ“Œ 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)


Notables.

  1. The White House has not held an on-camera press briefing in more than 35 days – a new record for the Trump administration. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has also surpassed the all-time record for time with no on-camera briefings since they began during the Clinton administration. (ABC News)

  2. Trump directed Sanders "not to bother" with press briefings because "certain members of the press" cover her "rudely" and "inaccurately." (Axios / Politico)

  3. Mitch McConnell will introduce two bills to end the government shutdown on Thursday. One bill follows Trump's plan to trade protections for DACA recipients for $5.7 billion in wall funding, which Democrats have already rejected. The other would extend funding for closed agencies through Feb. 8. (ABC News / New York Times)

  4. The Supreme Court took no action on the Trump administration's request to review the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump wanted the Supreme Court to take up the case to determine if he had the authority to end the program that has protected nearly 700,000 people brought to the country as children, known as "dreamers." (Washington Post / New York Times)

  5. A U.S. banker with ties to the Kremlin tried to schedule a meeting with Trump nine days after he won the presidency in the hopes of securing a role in the Trump administration. A producer from "The Apprentice" contacted one of Trump's closest advisers to set up a meeting with Robert Foresman, who is now chairman of the Swiss bank UBS's investment arm. Foresman lived in Moscow for years and led a $3 billion Russian investment firm and was touted as someone with connections to Putin's inner circle. Foresman did not end up getting a seat in Trump's administration, but did secure a sit-down meeting with Tom Barrack, then-chair of Trump's $100 million inaugural fund. (ABC News)

  6. A Russian singer linked to the Trump Tower meeting canceled an upcoming tour of North America over concerns about Mueller's Russia probe. Emin Agalarov is said to have helped to arrange the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the campaign. Agalarov's attorney confirmed that the cancellation is "most definitely" linked to Mueller's probe, saying "we don't want him to be subpoenaed or held under a material witness warrant or anything else." (NBC News)

  7. The Supreme Court will allow a mysterious foreign-owned company file sealed court documents in an investigation that is believed to be led by Mueller. The court did not rule on the merits of the company's argument. (CNBC)

  8. The top diplomat in charge of European affairs at the State Department resigned, citing personal and professional reasons. A. Wess Mitchell's last day as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs is Feb. 15. (Washington Post)

  9. Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts have been posting altered photos that make him look thinner and his hands bigger. At least three different photos appear to have been doctored to make Trump look more fit. Trump's hair and shoulders have been touched up, as well as his fingers, which were made slightly longer. (Gizmodo)

  10. Trump is preparing two different State of the Union speeches – one to be delivered to Congress in the House chamber where he's been disinvited by Nancy Pelosi, and another for a political rally outside of Washington, D.C. (ABC News / Washington Post)


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