Day 867: The cleanest climate.
1/ Trump said he believes climate change “goes both ways,” claimed the U.S. has one of “the cleanest climates,” and blamed China, India, and Russia for polluting the environment. Trump’s comments came after a 90-minute meeting with Prince Charles on the subject. While Trump remains unconvinced that the climate is warming, he said he agrees with Charles that he wants the U.S. to have “good climate, as opposed to a disaster.” The United States is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions, which rose an estimated 3.4% in 2018. (BBC / The Guardian / Washington Post)
2/ Trump claimed that he is “making up” for not serving in the Vietnam War by proposing to increase the Pentagon’s budget to around $750 billion in 2020. Despite avoiding service through student deferments and a medical disqualification for bone spurs, Trump claimed he “would have not have minded that at all. I would have been honored” to serve. (Washington Post)
- Trump erroneously claimed that he reinstituted a ban on most transgender people from serving in the military because some of them take prescription medicine. Trump said that when “you’re in the military, you’re not allowed to take any drugs.” The military, however, doesn’t prohibit service members from taking prescription medicines. (Bloomberg / Washington Post)
3/ A bipartisan group of senators will try to block the Trump administration’s use of emergency authority to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Senators will try to force 22 votes aimed at rebuking the Trump administration’s May decision to invoke an emergency provision in the Arms Export Control Act in order to push through $8 billion worth of arms sales to the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Congress had been blocking the sale since last year. (Associated Press / Politico / USA Today / New York Times)
4/ The House passed the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, which would give millions of young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. The measure passed with a vote of 327 to 187, and it now heads to the Senate, where it is unlikely to be considered. The White House has also threatened to veto the measure if it makes it to Trump’s desk. Seven Republicans voted in favor of the measure, and no Democrats voted against it. (CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post)
5/ A 40-year-old migrant woman died while in U.S. Border Patrol custody – the second migrant woman to die within a 36-hour period. Border Patrol agents detained the woman in Eagle Pass, Texas on Monday and she collapsed minutes later. She was transported to a hospital, where she died shortly after arriving. On Saturday, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker from El Salvador died at a hospital in El Paso, Texas. (The Guardian)
6/ Border Patrol agents are boarding buses and trains across the northern U.S. with increasing frequency to ask passengers about their citizenship status, often nowhere near the U.S. border. Newly obtained emails show a Border Patrol official in Maine told agents “Happy hunting!” as they prepared to begin boarding buses. The searches can happen as often as three times per day at some bus stations, even at those with no direct routes to or from the border, causing bus delays and missed connections. (NBC News)
7/ The Trump administration canceled English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in federal migrant shelters. The Office of Refugee Resettlement discontinued funding for the programs, calling them “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation.” (Washington Post / ABC News)
poll/ 54% of Americans say they think Trump will win the 2020 election, compared to 41% who feel he will lose. In December, 51% said they thought Trump would lose his bid for re-election. (CNN)
poll/ 68% of American believe “made-up news” is a “very big problem” in the U.S. By comparison, 46% called climate change a “very big problem,” 40% said the same about racism, and 34% said the same about terrorism. (Pew Research Center / Nieman Lab / Axios)
House Democrats rejected calls to preemptively cancel a House vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, but said they are willing to reopen negotiations with the DOJ over Mueller’s full, un-redacted report. Rep. Jerry Nadler said he was willing to try to find a compromise, but only “without conditions” from the Justice Department. “We urge you not to make the mistake of breaking off accommodations again,” Nadler warned last night. “We are here and ready to negotiate as early as tomorrow morning.” (New York Times / House Judiciary Committee)
A federal judge said the Justice Department does not have to turn over the transcripts of Michael Flynn’s calls with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak as part of Flynn’s sentencing. The DOJ originally failed to turn over the transcripts, saying they did not have any additional documents to share with the court that could help at sentencing. The judge said “the government is not required to file any additional materials or information on the public docket.” (CNN)
The Russian trolling effort on Twitter during the 2016 campaign was larger, more coordinated, and more effective than previously known. The operation by the Internet Research Agency amounted to “a vast, coordinated campaign that was incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages,” according to the cybersecurity firm Symantec. Some of the trolls used their fake accounts to make money on the side, with one potentially generating nearly $1 million. (Politico / NBC News)
The Trump administration sharply reduced federal spending on medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses. The move overrides the advice of scientists, who say the tissue is crucial for studies that benefit millions of patients and have led to life-saving advances, including the development of vaccines for rubella and rabies and drugs to treat the HIV virus. The decision fullfills a top goal by anti-abortion groups that have lobbied hard for it. (New York Times / ABC News)
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