The border, the wall,
our government shutdown
Trip Gabriel’s story at the New York Times reminds us that before Trump, it was Steve King Who Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics. Gabriel tweeted this quote from King, which the representative said at last week’s swearing-in: “You could look over there and think the Democratic Party is no country for white men.”
Yesterday brought news that a test of the steel prototype for Trump’s proposed border wall showed that it could be sawed through, based on reporting from Julia Edwards Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff at NBC News. Soboroff even pointed out they had “obtained a never-before-seen photo.”
As the government shutdown continues, we got news that the “Army Corps of Engineers has been given orders to begin preparation for a border wall construction as part of a national disaster declaration, and Trump is looking at money from a disaster spending bill to pay for it,” per Josh Dawsey. Indeed, the Trump administration is actively laying the groundwork to declare a national emergency and build the wall. The Washington Post’s Erica Werner and Dawsey worked together on that piece.
Also, Trump could take billions from disaster areas to fund the wall, Julia Edwards Ainsley and Courtney Kube wrote at NBC News. Lorraine Woellert had an expected reaction when she tweeted, “WTH??”
Meanwhile, air traffic controllers got their first shutdown pay stub and the amount, according to Michael Laris at the Washington Post, was $0.00.
“Federal workers are selling beloved items on Craigslist to survive,” Jeff Stein tweeted. Indeed, as Taylor Telford reported in the Washington Post, household items are winding up on Craigslist and Facebook from furloughed workers trying to make ends meet.
Another unfortunate side effect of this political crisis is that Miami airport will temporarily close one terminal early each day due to TSA absences, according to Hollie Silverman at CNN.
Other happenings in our government
Yes, American troops have started leaving Syria, Vivian Yee tweeted. The news–from Ben Hubbard at the New York Times–comes “after Bolton and Pompeo spent all week in the Middle East variously saying that 1. America wouldn't leave or 2. would leave while also defeating ISIS while also being a ‘force for good.’”
For your Friday lols, read Niall Stanage’s exclusive in The Hill where Giuliani said the Trump team should be allowed to “correct” the final Mueller report.
“SO IT BEGINS,” Nicholas Fandos shouted in the void that is Twitter. The “it” in this case is Michael Cohen Agreeing to Testify to Congress, which New York Times’ Maggie Haberman (along with Fandos) wrote will happen and focus on Cohen’s work for Trump.
Exasperated Democrats try to rein in Ocasio-Cortez, read a headline by Rachael Bade and Heather Caygle in Politico. “Part carrot, part stick: How House Dems are trying to rein in freshman liberal superstar @AOC, who has been making waves her first week on the job,” Melanie Zanona added.
Who’s running for president today?
New York's Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hired a new aide, which the New York Times’ Alexander Burns wrote, is Signaling [that a] Presidential Run Is Imminent.
Additionally, Senator Sherrod Brown has planned an Iowa trip as his top aide accelerates 2020 prep, we heard via Daniel Strauss at Politico. "For us, because we're less than a year out from the Iowa caucuses and when Iowa starts their early vote, I see my responsibility as helping to get an infrastructure ready should he decide that he wants to run," Michael Kruse tweeted a quote from Sarah Benzing.
Good stories about bad things
Alarmingly, Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, Kendra Pierre-Louis reported in the New York Times citing new research. Read on for the devastating implications this is expected to have for hurricane season.
Sam Biddle warns in The Intercept that For Owners of Amazon’s Ring Security Cameras, Strangers May Have Been Watching Too. Sources tell Biddle that Amazon made its entire catalog of user videos available to a huge group of employees who did not need access. “If you or anyone you know has a Ring security camera, you'll want to read this,” Biddle encouraged.
Rebecca Smith and Rob Barry at the Wall Street Journal informed us that America’s Electric Grid Has a Vulnerable Back Door-and Russia Walked Through It. According to what Barry tweeted, the Russians’ plan included, “Strange emails from an Oregon construction company. Fake resumes with tainted attachments.” Tim Hanrahan added, “To break into the U.S. power grid, Russian hackers started small— with contractors for big utilities—and worked their way up the chain.”
Prosecutors are Examining the Ukrainians Who Flocked to Trump Inaugural, New York Times’ Kenneth Vogel, Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti, and Iuliia Mendel worked together to publish.
The AP reported that thousands of child bride requests were approved by the government in the past decade. And while Alessandra Bonomolo admitted, “This is a good story,” you might still be alarmed when you read it.
Other Friday reads
- Jayme Closs, 13-year-old girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed, was found alive Thursday. Authorities also said they have a suspect in custody, the AP reported.
- In Milwaukee, a bus driver rescued a barefoot baby who was wandering outside in freezing temperatures. Christina Zdanowicz at CNN got the driver, Irena Ivic, on the record saying, "I'm just grateful I was in the right place at the right time."
- Reuters shared that a Myanmar court rejected the appeal for their reporters’ trial. For reference, back in 2018, two Reuters reporters were sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act.
- A Chinese Huawei Executive Was Charged With Espionage in Poland, per the Wall Street Journal’s Drew Hinshaw. “Oh oh - this isn’t going to go down well either,” George Magnus wrote.
- And we end today with the sad news that BBC presenter Dianne Oxberry died at age 51 “following a short illness.” Oxberry had been BBC North West Tonight's weather presenter for more than 20 years. Ian Youngs remembered Oxberry as “A ray of sunshine on tv and in the office.” Eleanor Moritz was, “Devastated by the tragic loss of my beautiful colleague, Dianne Oxberry. She filled our lives with her shining light, grace, dignity, and wit. We will miss her terribly. My thoughts are with her family.”