The Trump administration is threatening to withhold documents about its efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census until House Democrats stop threatening to hold William Barr and Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress. The Justice Department sent a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings accusing the committee of failing to follow constitutional norms by refusing to negotiate over the scope of the committee's requests. In light of the contempt-vote threat, the letter says, Barr "is now compelled" to ask Trump to "invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials" the committee has requested. (Reuters)
Trump publicly came out against the use of CIA informants to spy on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it would not happen on his watch. Trump's comments came a day after it was reported that Kim's half-brother, who was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017, was a CIA source. "I saw the information about the CIA, with respect to his brother, or half-brother," Trump told reporters. "And I would tell [Kim Jong Un] that would not happen under my auspices, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices." (Reuters)
Trump held up a document in front of reporters which he claimed was a "secret" deal with Mexico to avoid further tariffs, even though Mexican officials had already revealed much of it. Photographs of the document allowed reporters to read portions of it, which includes language about "a regional approach to burden-sharing in relation to the processing of refugee status claims to migrants." The document also refers to a window of "45 days," and says Mexico has committed to examining and changing its laws in order to implement the agreement. Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the Friday agreement with the U.S. gave Mexico 45 days to prove that it could diminish migration without agreeing to a "safe third country" deal, in which Central American migrants would be held in Mexico while their claims are processed. (Washington Post / Reuters / The Guardian)
Mitch McConnell dismissed reports that his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, assigned one of her top staffers to help McConnell steer federal funding to his home state of Kentucky. When asked about the allegations of special treatment, McConnell joked that he was disappointed that Chao wasn't able to steer even more funds his way. "You know, I was complaining to her just last night: 169 projects, and Kentucky got only five," McConnell said. "I hope we’ll do a lot better next year." (Washington Post)
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