In naming Special Counsel Robert Mueller “Distinguished Person of 2018,” conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin lauds him for “performing his duties with…professionalism and ruthless efficiency,” and acknowledges that “his prosecutorial team and the courts prove week after week that the rule of law, while battered, hasn’t been demolished under Trump.”
New Year’s Eve saw the stock market score some solid gains, but not enough to undo the volatility of the past several months. Wall Street posted its worst year since the financial crisis, as the S&P 500 fell more than 6% in 2018.
Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum’s hope for 2019 is that we’ll see less of the “America First” patriotism pushed by Donald Trump and his fellow nationalists, and more of the patriotism linked to bigger ideals about democracy and the common good.
House Democrats passed a plan on Monday to end the government shutdown as soon as they take control of the chamber on Thursday. The plan would give Donald Trump and Congress more time to negotiate a deal over border funding. Whether it passes the Senate, however, remains to be seen.
There was a time when a core tenet of conservatism was fiscal restraint — the only principle that might prompt Republicans to shut down the government. According to conservative commentator Charlie Sykes, the border wall boondoggle proves that GOP concern over profligate spending is “so last president,” to everyone’s detriment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren made her White House aspirations official by launching a presidential exploratory committee.
A computer virus disrupted production of the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune Publishing newspapers across the country this weekend. Some newspapers were published without features such as death notices and classified ads, while others were delivered a day late. The malware did not affect Tribune Publishing’s news websites.
Sen. Lindsey Graham says he convinced Trump to ‘pause’ on Syria while at lunch with the president on Sunday. After the obligatory ego-stroking, Graham gingerly explained why the U.S. mission in Syria should continue. He thinks he made progress: “He has not reversed his decision,” Graham said, but “the pause is to assess the effects of the conditions on the ground.”
Veteran Republican strategist argues that avoiding compromise on the funding bill is a mistake on both sides, and will certainly be a political liability for anyone currently in office.
In an interview with journalist Martha Raddatz, the former top commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, retired general Stanley McChrystal, criticized Donald Trump’s behavior and handling of the presidency, and said he would not take a job in the administration. “I think it’s important for me to work for people who I think are basically honest.”
In his characteristic no-holds-barred style, Republican strategist Rick Wilson breaks down the chief failures of the Trump presidency in 2018, and predicts they may be just a preview for an even rougher road ahead in 2019.
Democrats will take control of the House in a few days, and a number of prominent Democrats are considering 2020 presidential runs, but opposition to Donald Trump might be the only issue that unifies them. Major disagreements on trade, Middle East policy, raising the minimum wage, and expanding access to health care may threaten the party’s legislative agenda.
In an interview to the LA Times the outgoing White House chief of staff gave an inside look into how the meaning of ‘wall’ changed over time: “The president still says ‘wall’,” he said. “Oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”
At least six people were injured after a jetway failed at Baltimore Washington International airport on Saturday evening.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership goes into effect on Sunday, reshaping trade rules among 11 countries, including economic powerhouses like Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Australia — with the U.S. conspicuously absent. “Our competitors in Australia and Canada will now benefit from those provisions, as U.S. farmers watch helplessly.”
Leon Panetta, who served as budget director and White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, reflects on the government shutdown that occurred during the holiday season in 1995. He explains why it was a bad idea then — and a bad one now.
A U.S. sanctions list released on Dec. 19 named Victor Boyarkin, a low-profile former Russian intelligence officer accused of working for a Russian oligarch. Turns out, he was a key link between Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a powerful ally of Vladimir Putin. “He owed us a lot of money,” Boyarkin says of Manafort. “And he was offering ways to pay it back.”
On one of his frequent weekend Twitter tears on Saturday, Donald Trump placed blame for the recent deaths of migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border squarely on Democrats and their “pathetic immigration policies.” The tweet represented Trump’s first public acknowledgment of the children’s deaths, which he attempted to twist into a rationalization for the border wall.
On his way out of office, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed controversial legislation on Friday that makes it more difficult for citizens to drive the state’s legislative agenda through ballot drives. Opponents say it limits citizens’ ability to gain required signatures in densely populated urban districts, and may violate the people’s constitutional right to petition the government.
According to the New York Daily News, New Jersey prosecutors have collected evidence that supervisors at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster may have committed federal immigration crimes. Club managers allegedly procured fraudulent green cards and Social Security numbers and gave them to illegal immigrants who were employed by the club.
Mark Harris, the unofficial winner of North Carolina’s 9th district, will not be seated in January, according to incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Last week, the North Carolina Elections Board dissolved without certifying the results of the election, leaving the final outcome in doubt.
The government says it’s a safety measure to block propaganda and misinformation, but mass arrests and military violence against opposition leaders look more like an effort to rig the election.
The Saudi government confirmed that Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, a Saudi national awaiting trial for murder of a 15-year-old girl, had made it back to Saudi Arabia despite having no passport, and no apparent means of doing so. The Oregon prosecutor in charge of the case believes the only way Noorah could have fled had to include considerable help from a powerful state actor.
“Time and again, Trump has paid lip service to these issues that Republicans consider wins and instead has focused on his demands for a border wall. Early this year, after the tax cuts took effect, GOP leaders winced as Trump focused on other issues and saw public approval for the legislation fade away.”
The retiring Republican senator from Arizona has been outspoken in his opposition to Donald Trump for the better part of his presidency. Once again, he has called for his GOP colleagues to follow suit and do more to stand up to Trump.
Will Donald Trump celebrate the new year by mingling with Mar-a-Lago members who will pay over $1,000 dollars for a chance to rub shoulders with the president, all while federal employees are furloughed? This isn’t the first time Trump has had to deal with impasses like this one, but the backdrop of a government shutdown is making the ultimate choice even more difficult for the president.
A closer look into the devastation caused by the conflict in the region, and the toll it has on some of the youngest members of Sudanese society who are caught in the crossfire. Most of the fighters have to make the difficult choice between starving and fighting for a cause they don’t truly believe in.
The national security advisor will be traveling to Israel next week for talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu. They are expected to discuss Donald Trump’s sudden decision to pull American troops out of Syria, and the ramifications it will have on the region.
Donald Trump signed an executive order that will freeze pay for federal workers in 2019. The optics of the decision are not good, especially coming a week into a government shutdown that, so far, has no end in sight.
The mystery foreign company asked the Supreme Court to intervene after a federal appeals court ordered the company to comply with a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, which required it to turn over “information” about its commercial activity in a criminal investigation.
House Republicans have sent a summary of findings of their investigation into the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email server and the probe into alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. They recommended further investigation of bias, but also defended the Mueller investigation and offered no additional evidence to justify charging Clinton.
The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into CenturyLink, the telecommunications company at the center of a phone and internet outage that disrupted 911 services across the country on Thursday and Friday. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai described the outage as “completely unacceptable.”
The government shutdown is expected to last for an indeterminate amount of time, so as it lumbers on, more and more will be affected by it. Initially, about a quarter of the government was impacted, with pay delayed to about 420,000 federal employees. However, thousands of others forced to stay home will likely never see any compensation for having to take off.