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Todays Top Stories and Opinions

Dems fume as Trump pushes low-cost, ObamaCare alternative health plans
The Trump administration moved Tuesday to allow health insurers to sell lower-cost, less-comprehensive medical plans as an alternative to those required under ObamaCare – in a plan that drew swift protest from congressional Democrats.

The proposed regulations would allow insurers to sell individual consumers “short-term” policies that can last up to 12 months, have fewer benefits, and come with lower premiums.

The plans also would come with a disclaimer that they don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protection requirements, such as guaranteed coverage. Insurers could also charge consumers more if an individual’s medical history discloses health problems.

But at a time of rising premiums, Trump administration officials touted the option as a boost for those who need coverage but don’t qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies and would otherwise face paying the full premium cost.

“We need to be opening up more affordable alternatives,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters. “It’s one step in the direction of providing Americans with alternatives that are both more affordable and more suited to individual and family circumstances.”

A fair and balanced debate over President Trump’s targeting of the Democrat leader.
Wary of any effort to undermine ObamaCare, however, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill accused the administration of trying to green-light the sale of “junk” policies.

“Since day one, the Trump administration playbook on health care has been to sabotage the marketplaces, jack up costs and premiums for millions of middle-class Americans. Then – as a supposed life-line to a self-inflicted crisis – offering junk insurance that fails to offer protections for those with pre-existing conditions or coverage of essential health benefits and more,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement, “Americans purchasing these shoddy, misleading short-term Trumpcare plans will be one diagnosis away from disaster, discovering they have been paying for coverage that may not cover basic care such as cancer treatment, preventative care or maternity care.”

She claimed the move would, in turn, drive up premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

The proposal comes after congressional Republicans failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, though did repeal the individual requirement to buy health insurance.

Critics of Trump’s approach say that making such short-term policies more attractive to consumers will undermine the health care law’s insurance markets, because healthy customers will have an incentive to stay away from and its state-run counterparts.

Democrats say the solution is to increase government subsidies, so that more middle-class people will be eligible for taxpayer assistance to buy comprehensive coverage. Under Obama, short-term plans were limited to periods of no longer than three months.

Trump administration officials reject the notion that they’re trying to undermine the ACA. One major health insurance company, United Healthcare, is already positioning itself to market short-term plans.

The administration’s proposal will be open for public comment for 60 days. However, for 2018, short-term coverage won’t count as qualifying coverage under the Obama health law, which means consumers with such plans would legally be considered uninsured, putting them at risk of fines.

The repeal of the individual mandate does not take effect until next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump’s lawyer paid $130,000 of own money to porn star
By Sophie Tatum and Chris Cuomo | CNN
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer said Tuesday that he paid $130,000 of his own money to a porn star who allegedly had a sexual encounter with the President before his time in office.

“In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” Michael Cohen said in a statement. “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
Just weeks before the 2016 election, Cohen reportedly created a private LLC to pay Clifford, otherwise known as Stormy Daniels, following an alleged July 2006 encounter with Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported in January.

The New York Times first reported that Cohen had said he made the payment himself.

Following initial reports last month that Cohen had made the payment, he said in a statement that Trump “vehemently denies” any encounter between the two.
In January, the organization Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department, alleging that the reported payment to Clifford constituted a campaign finance violation. But on Tuesday, Cohen’s statement denied that accusation and said the monetary exchange was “lawful” and “not a campaign contribution.”
“The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone,” Cohen said.
Cohen also said he filed a reply with the FEC, but that filing will not be public until the agency has resolved the matter.

When asked why he made the payment, Cohen told CNN: “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”
CNN’s Gloria Borger, Drew Griffin and Eli Watkins contributed to this report.

Donald Trump Jr.’s wife taken to hospital after opening envelope with white powder
By Katherine Lam | Fox News
Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa Trump, was taken to the hospital Monday after receiving a letter containing white powder that was later deemed to be non-hazardous, New York City police told Fox News.

President Trump‘s daughter-in-law opened the letter addressed to Donald Trump Jr. just after 10 a.m. at the couple’s Manhattan apartment. It’s unclear what the “white powder” was, but authorities tested the substance and found it to be “non-hazardous.”

Vanessa Trump was taken to the hospital as a precaution, police said. Two other people who were also exposed to the powder were taken to the hospital.

A hazmat crew was called to the scene and began decontamination procedures shortly after the incident.

Trump Jr. is the eldest son of the president. He married Vanessa in 2005. The couple has five children, though it was not clear if any were home at the time of the incident.

Police and Secret Service are investigating the incident.

The U.S. Secret Service said in a statement: “The Secret Service and our law enforcement partners in New York City are investigating a suspicious package addressed to one of our protectees received today in New York, New York. This is an active investigation and we cannot comment any further.”

Trump Jr. ditched his Secret Service detail for a period of time in September, reportedly because he wanted more privacy. But his detail was reactivated about a week later.

White House seeks revisions to Dems’ FISA rebuttal memo, halting release
By Catherine Herridge | Fox News
The White House on Friday told Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to redraft their rebuttal to a controversial GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse during the 2016 campaign, saying sensitive details need to be stripped out before the document can be made public.

The message was sent to the committee on Friday in a letter from White House Counsel Don McGahn.

“Although the president is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time,” McGahn wrote.

“However, given the public interest in transparency in these unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be available to give technical assistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the February 5th Memorandum to mitigate the risks identified by the Department,” McGahn continued. “The President encourages the Committee to undertake these efforts. The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity.”

A letter signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray accompanied McGahn’s response. In that accompanying letter, the two men noted “a version of the document that identifies, in highlighted text, information the release of which would present such concerns in light of longstanding principles regarding the protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations, and other similarly sensitive information.

“We have further identified, in red boxes, the subset of such information for which national security or law enforcement concerns are especially significant. Our determinations have taken into account the information previously declassified by the President as communicated in a letter to HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes dated February 2, 2018.”

Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee approved the release of the Democrats’ memo, giving Trump five days to consider whether he should block publication for national security reasons.

For the moment, the White House letter halts the release.

“The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement after the release of McGahn’s letter. “The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that’s harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: What is he hiding?”

Democrats have been expected to use their memo to try to undermine Republican claims that the FBI and DOJ relied heavily on the anti-Trump dossier to get a warrant to spy on a Trump associate — and omitted key information about the document’s political funding. Democrats claim the GOP memo was misleading.

“We think this will help inform the public of the many distortions and inaccuracies in the majority memo,” California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said Monday.

But it had been expected that the Democrats’ memo might raise red flags during the review period.

A source who read the FISA rebuttal memo told Fox News earlier this week that it is filled with sources and methods taken from the original documents. The source argued that this was done to strategically force the White House to either deny release of the memo or substantially redact it, so that Democrats could accuse the White House of making redactions for political reasons.


South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a GOP member of the committee, said during an interview this week on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” that Democrats “are politically smart enough to put things in the memo” that have to be redacted.

“Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being hidden from the American people,” Gowdy said.

Last Friday, Republicans on the intelligence committee released their much-anticipated memo from Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

It also said the FBI and DOJ “ignored or concealed” dossier author Christopher Steele’s “anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations” when asking the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to eavesdrop on former Trump adviser Carter Page.

Democrats have been pushing back against those claims and accusing Republicans of exaggerations.


Earlier this week, a newly released version of a letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., appeared to support key claims from the GOP memo.

The surveillance applications, they said in a criminal referral for Steele sent in early January to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, “relied heavily on Mr. Steele’s dossier claims.”

Further, they said the application “failed to disclose” funding from the Clinton campaign and DNC.

The referral also helped explain a point of contention in recent days, after Nunes seemed to admit on “Fox & Friends” that the FBI application did include a “footnote” acknowledging some political origins of the dossier. This admission helped fuel Democratic claims that the dossier’s political connection was not concealed from the surveillance court as alleged.

According to Grassley and Graham’s referral, the FBI “noted to a vaguely limited extent the political origins of the dossier” in a footnote that said the information was compiled at the direction of a law firm “who had hired an ‘identified U.S. person’ – now known as Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS.” A subsequent passage in the letter is redacted. But they said the DNC and Clinton campaign were not mentioned.

Republicans have seized on the Nunes document to make the accusation of widespread anti-Trump bias at the top of the FBI and DOJ that sparked inquiries into Trump campaign relations with Russia during the election.

The president has repeatedly said there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia. The White House responded to the Republican memo last week by saying it “raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the government’s most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens.”

Fox News’ Judson Berger and John Roberts contributed to this report.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based corresponden

Pelosi-buster: House Democratic leader speaking non-stop for record 7 hours demanding immigration vote
by Samuel Chamberlain | Fox News
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been holding the floor of the House of Representatives for more than seven hours and counting Wednesday, in a record-breaking marathon speech protesting a budget deal reached by Senate leaders.

In her remarks, Pelosi announced that she and many fellow House Democrats would oppose the package unless House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised to allow a vote on a plan to shield from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally.

“Let Congress work its will,” said Pelosi, who noted that Senate Republicans have slated a debate on the politically freighted subject starting next week. “What are you afraid of?”

According to the House historian’s office, Pelosi appeared to have set a record for the longest continuous speech in the chamber’s history. The previous record, of five hours and 15 minutes, was set by Rep. Champ Clark, D-Mo., in 1909.

Show MoreHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., is shown on television as she speaks from the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, as a news conference that she was supposed to attend goes on in the background. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
TV monitors play Pelosi’s speech on the House floor while a news conference that she was scheduled to attend goes on in the background. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Still, at the moment, Pelosi’s speech has not come close to the length of the 10 longest filibusters in Senate history. The most recent notable filibuster came in April 2017, when Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., spoke for 15 hours and 28 minutes in opposition to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

In 2013, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, delivered the longest filibuster in 60 years when he spoke for 21 hours and 18 minutes against a bill to end the 2013 government shutdown in an effort to defund ObamaCare.

Pelosi’s speech is not considered a filibuster, which can take place only in the Senate. However, House leaders are often granted extra time to speak on the floor, a privilege known as the “magic minute.” For example, then-Minority Leader John Boehner spoke for more than an hour against a cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in 2009.

President Trump moved to end former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last year, giving Congress a March 5 deadline to pass legislation to replace it. However, a federal judge has indefinitely blocked Trump from terminating the program’s protections, blunting the deadline’s immediate impact.

Even as Pelosi announced that the agreement “does not have my support, nor does it have the support of a large number of members of our caucus,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the agreement the “best thing” lawmakers could have done for the middle class.

“The budget deal doesn’t have everything Democrats want, it doesn’t have everything the Republicans want, but it has a great deal of what the American people want,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, later adding, “And now we must finish the job. Later this week, let’s pass this budget into law alongside an extension of government funding. I hope the House will follow suit and President Trump will sign it.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dow plunges 1,175 — worst point decline in history
by Matt Egan | CNN
It was the scariest day on Wall Street in years.
Stocks went into free fall on Monday, and the Dow plunged almost 1,600 points — easily the biggest point decline in history during a trading day.
Buyers charged back in and limited the damage, but at the closing bell the Dow was still down 1,175 points, by far its worst closing point decline on record.
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The drop amounted to 4.6% — nowhere close to the destruction on Black Monday in 1987 or the financial crisis of 2008. But for investors lulled to sleep by the steady upward climb since Election Day, it was alarming.

The White House said through a spokesman that “markets do fluctuate in the short term,” but it stressed that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.
The trouble in the market began early last week, when investors focused on a number of lingering concerns.
If the economy gets much stronger, it could touch off inflation, which has been mysteriously missing for the nine years of the post-crisis recovery. That could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than planned.
“People are dealing with the shock of seeing real inflation for the first time in a while,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.

Related: Market mayhem puts Trump in a tough spot
Investors have also been nervously watching the bond market, where yields have been creeping higher. As yields rise, bonds offer better returns, which makes them more attractive to investors compared with risky stocks.
Stocks sank throughout the day, then went off a cliff in the final hour of trading. The Dow was down 800 points at 3 p.m. Within minutes, it was down 900, 1,000 — and then 1,500 points. At its low, the Dow was down 1,597 points, before buyers rushed in and limited the decline.
The Nasdaq slumped more than 2%, quickly turned positive, then sank again. It finished down almost 4%. The S&P 500, a broader gauge of the market than the Dow, declined more than 4%.

The plunge pushed stocks closer to what’s called a correction, or a 10% decline from their most recent high point. The S&P 500 is down almost 8% from its all-time high.
“The stock market is throwing a tantrum,” said Andres Garcia-Amaya, CEO of wealth management firm Zoe Financial.
“Take a deep breath,” said Garcia-Amaya. “I know it’s been a while since we had a day like today, but nothing has really changed from a fundamental standpoint.”
The market started 2018 with a bang, but last week was the worst on Wall Street in two years. The selling gathered steam on Friday when the Dow plunged 666 points, or 2.5%, its worst day since the Brexit mayhem of June 2016. Nearly $1 trillion of market value was erased from the S&P 500 last week.
“You had a market that was overbought and ripe for something to undermine its tranquility,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Capital.

CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index is flashing “fear,” underlining a major shift in market sentiment from a week ago when it was sitting in “extreme greed.” The VIX volatility index surged 47% on Monday after spiking 50% last week.
The Russell 2000, an index of smaller stocks that have heavy exposure to the U.S. economy, turned negative for 2018 for the first time.
“Valuations got stretched and that led to a cascading effect today,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. “The market has to correct itself — a resetting of the dials — before this bull market can continue.”
Related: Good news for Main Street is freaking out Wall Street
Investors’ main concern is the sell-off in the bond market. The 10-year Treasury yield, which moves opposite price, spiked to a four-year high of 2.85% on Friday. It’s a dramatic swing from 2.4% at the start of 2018. Higher yields could make normally boring bonds look more attractive when compared with risky stocks.
The U.S. economy is healthy. Friday’s jobs report showed that wages grew at the fastest pace since 2009. That’s a welcome shift by workers who have been dealing with anemic raises for years.
Has your paycheck gotten bigger thanks to the new tax bill? Will it make a difference? If so, what will you do with the extra money? Tell us about it here.
However, Wall Street is starting to get worried that the “goldilocks” environment of slow growth and mysteriously low inflation may be ending. Besides the fear of faster inflation and interest-rate increases, more robust wage gains could eat into record-high corporate profits.

No matter the cause, the stock market was long overdue to take a breather. Before Friday, the S&P 500 had gone the longest stretch ever without a 3% pullback. Now the S&P 500’s record-long period without a 5% retreat is in jeopardy.

Related: This is why the Dow is plunging
While they can be scary, market pullbacks prevent stocks from overheating and give investors who were stuck on the sideline a chance to get in. Janet Yellen, who just stepped down as Fed chief, told PBS on Friday that she still believes “asset valuations generally are elevated.”
Despite the recent turmoil, the Dow remains up almost 40% since President Trump’s election. The robust performance has been driven by strong corporate profits, healthy economic growth and excitement about the Republican tax cut for businesses.

Analysts at Bespoke Investment Group urged calm.

“Take a deep breath,” the firm wrote in a research note on Friday. “For those investors that may have forgotten, this is what a market decline feels like.”
The question is whether the market retreat deepens or whether investors buy at the dip, a mentality that has supported stocks for months.
“The fundamentals of the economy remain quite strong,” said Janney’s Luchini. “It’s hard to make the case for why we should be down more than 10% — unless we encounter negative economic news.”
Key Bank’s McCain agrees. “We believe this is not the beginning of the end and a tilt towards a bear market. It’s premature for that,” he said.
Wells Fargo suffered some of the worst of the selling on Monday. The No. 2 U.S. bank plunged 9% after unprecedented sanctions were handed down by the Fed late Friday.

Trump to declassify surveillance memo, sources say – as Pelosi seeks Nunes ouster

President Trump is expected to swiftly declassify a controversial memo on purported surveillance abuses, sources tell Fox News, even as Democrats raise objections that edits were made to the document since it was approved for release by a key committee.

Those objections fueled a new round of partisan recriminations on Thursday, with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi firing off a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan demanding the chairman of that committee, Republican Devin Nunes, be removed.

“Chairman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be immediately removed from this position,” she wrote.

But the objections don’t appear to be halting the publication plans.

The release is likely to come Friday morning, Fox News is told.

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State of the Union: Trump extends ‘open hand’ to Dems on immigration, touts tax cuts, warns N. Korea

President Trump appealed for common ground in the immigration debate at his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, while holding firm on his demands for border security and using the grand setting to tout his economic accomplishments and declare a “new American moment.”

At a critical time when the political divide over immigration has held up essential government funding, the president called to put politics aside and “get the job done.”

“Tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed,” he said.

It remains unclear whether Democrats are ready to deal on immigration, but the issue could hang over a looming Feb. 8 deadline to pass a new spending bill. With that in mind, Trump used his hour and 20-minute speech to signal a willingness to make bipartisan deals on second-year-agenda priorities like immigration as well as infrastructure.

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Gowdy: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down from the bureau, Fox News has learned by:Judson Berger | Fox News

Top FBI official Andrew McCabe is stepping down from his post as deputy director, leaving the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans including President Trump.

A source confirmed to Fox News that McCabe is taking “terminal leave” – effectively taking vacation until he reaches his planned retirement in a matter of weeks. As such, he will not be reporting to work at the FBI anymore.

The move was first reported by NBC News.

McCabe has long been a controversial figure at the bureau.

Republicans have questioned McCabe’s ties to the Democratic Party, considering his wife ran as a Democrat for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015 and got financial help from a group tied to Clinton family ally Terry McAuliffe.

Trump himself tweeted in December: “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?”

The Washington Post last week reported that Trump, during an Oval Office meeting last spring, pressed McCabe, who was then acting FBI director, about whom he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe, according to the outlet, told the president he didn’t vote.

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Why Tom Brady, not Colin Kaepernick, has ruined football by: Mike Sullivan | Radio Haven

A long time ago, a backup QB entered into a game following an injury to the starter. He played with poise, awareness, and hit every wide out with confidence. It was then, God had decided it was time, and thus began the end for football as we know it.

That season, we saw the dawning of a new dynasty spawned from an unholy matrimony between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick that continues to this day. From scandals to cheating, the two have endured a relationship that has brought five SB to New England, but what happens if they win a sixth? It will spell the end to the NFL everywhere if they win against the Eagles.

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Gowdy: FBI’s Strzok, Page should testify to answer allegations, questions about ‘secret society’ by:Joseph Weber | Fox News

The House Republicans’ top investigator, Rep. Trey Gowdy, said Sunday that text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show they “hated” then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, but the South Carolina lawmaker suggested the two testify to settle concerns on whether they were powerful enough to take down Trump or protect Democratic rival Hillary Clinton from criminal charges over her emails.

“I can’t prove that they were the final decision makers,” Gowdy, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs, told “Fox News Sunday.” “But I don’t have to. Two really important people hated (Trump); would have done anything to protect” Clinton.

Gowdy pointed out that Strzok interviewed Clinton about her use, as secretary of state, of private servers on which emails with classified information were discovered. And Strzok scrubbed language about Clinton’s “grossly negligent” behavior from the final FBI report on the server-email investigation, he said.

“Did they have the power to protect her?” Gowdy asked. “The decision not to charge (Clinton) was made even before they interviewed her. How would you like that deal?”

Gowdy also pointed out that Strzok and Page, who were allegedly having an affair at the time, were removed from the Justice Department’s Russia-collusion investigation when special counsel Robert Mueller, he said, learned of their “insidious” political bias.

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New texts show ‘fix was in’ for Clinton email probe, GOP lawmakers say by: Brooke Singman | Fox News

Newly revealed texts between Trump-bashing FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show the “fix was in” during Hillary Clinton’s email probe in 2016, Republican lawmakers say.

The latest batch of text messages between Strzok and Page, who were involved romantically, revealed their private conversations regarding Clinton — and their concern about being too tough on her during the investigation into her private email system use. The text messages indicate they were wary of a backlash from Clinton if she were to win the presidential election.

“It doesn’t appear anyone wanted her charged,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
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 Judiciary chairman plans to release Donald Trump Jr. transcript by: By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb | CNN

(CNN)Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said Thursday he wants to release the transcript of the committee’s closed-door interview with Donald Trump Jr., joining Democrats on the committee who have pressed to make it public.

Grassley said he will now move to release all of the panel’s interviews involving the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Trump Jr., the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
“Let the public have access to it,” he said of the transcripts.
But Grassley also said the committee has given up in its efforts to speak with Kushner, saying that he would not be testifying before the panel.
Grassley blamed the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, saying her decision to unilaterally release the interview transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson had “spooked” any additional witnesses.
“He’s spooked by the release, the unilateral release by other people of what transcripts are out there,” Grassley said.
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Larry Nassar sentenced to 40 to 175 years in gymnastics molestation case by: Lucia Suarez Sang | Fox News

Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting young female athletes, was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison.

“I just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said after she announced the sentencing, which comes after more than 150 victims gave impact statements detailing the abuse they endured at the hands of the former team doctor and Michigan State trainer. “You don’t deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again.”

Nassar pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing, Mich., area between 1998 and 2015.
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Trump fires back at Schumer: ‘If there is no Wall, there is no DACA’ by: Alex Pappas | Fox News

President Trump fired back Tuesday night at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for offering, then rescinding, a deal to support border wall funding in return for an immigration package that protects illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA,” the president tweeted around 11 p.m. ET. “We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!”
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Day of bombshells takes Mueller probe to critical point
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 8:12 AM ET, Wed January 24, 2018
(CNN)Finally, inexorably, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has clawed all the way up to Donald Trump himself.

Now a foreboding moment looms for his presidency and for the nation.

A stunning barrage of revelations on Tuesday suggested that at least one strand of Mueller’s Russia probe is racing toward its end game, emphasizing the gravity of the situation facing the White House and the potential vulnerability of the President.
Mueller’s request to question Trump, and news that his team has already interviewed fired FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, indicate that the special counsel has a clear picture of where he is headed in what could turn into an obstruction of justice case, legal experts said.
Read the story at CNN

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