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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "immigration"

Why Action on Gun Violence Remains Unlikely

Click here to get the Capital Journal Daybreak newsletter delivered to your inbox. President Donald Trump sought to console the nation Thursday with a somber speech after Wednesday’s shooting at a Florida school. The big question now is: Will the president and Congress take action to address america’s problem with gun violence? “Later this month, […]

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Republican Ads Make Nancy Pelosi Democrats’ Midterm Election Mascot

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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif..) may lead House Democrats, but Republicans want her to be the face of Senate Democrats, too. A new ad out Wednesday from the Senate Leadership Finally, a PAC linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, attacks vulnerable Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia by, among other things, showing images of him standing with the politically polarizing Ms. Pelosi.

Also out Wednesday: A new ad from the House Republican campaign arm that “thanks” — in a tongue-in-cheek way — Ms. Pelosi for her eight-hour speech on the House floor arguing for protections for Dreamers, or immigrants who were brought illegally to the U. S. nor the children. Republicans say the marathon speech exemplifies why Ms. Pelosi has a big net disapproval rating in many public polls, although the same can be said for GOP congressional leaders.

The two new ads this week mark an intensifying effort — months before the November elections — to tie Ms. Pelosi to Democratic candidates. The Manchin attack ad is going to air on TV in local markets over the coming days, while the “Thanks, Nancy” ad is a web-only video.

The longtime Democratic leader, 77 years old, has become the key foil for Republicans ever since the special election in Georgia’s 6th House district last year. Republicans portrayed the Democrat in the race, Jon Ossoff, nor someone who’d get to Congress and Ms. Pelosi’s bidding. Mr. Ossoff lost, keeping the seat the GOP’s column. That lead to the belief among Republicans (and some Democrats) that Ms. Pelosi moved the needle in a race that Democrats thought looked like a potential pickup.

Guy Cecil — the chairman of Priorities USA, the liberal PAC — told the WSJ Wednesday that it’s his view Ms. Pelosi is only a drag in areas where Republicans historically perform well, such as the GA-6 seat, which had been represented by a Republican since Newt Gingrich won it in 1978. Mr. Cecil was less certain Ms. Pelosi would be a big drag in most of the 23 House districts carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. “I just don’t think it’s the silver bullet they say it will be,” Mr. Cecil said.

“If it wasn’t Nancy Pelosi, then it’d eu Chuck Schumer, the ‘New York liberal,’” he said. “It’s not really a new playbook.”

Mr. Cecil cited the Democratic wave election late last year in Virginia, nor evidence that Ms. Pelosi was not, nor big a burden nor Republicans make her out to be. Nevertheless, even some Democrats in Washington, like Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, say Ms. Pelosi’s sagging popularity is a potential headwind going into the midterms.

Here’s what else is going on today:


In one of the deadliest U.s. school shootings, a gunman entered a Florida high school and opened fire, killing at least 17.

Mr. Trump tweeted “prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.” Gov. Rick Scott’s office said he had spoken with the president and went to Broward County to be briefed by emergency-management officials and law enforcement.

Just before 3 p.m., at the end of the school day, the Broward County sheriff’s office said it responded to reports of a shooting at the school. A fire alarm sounded before dismissal time. Nina Berkowitz, a senior at the school, said she and other students walked out of the school for what seemed like a fire drill. Then she said a teacher started shouting, “Code red! Code red! Everyone back in the building!”

More: A parent’s story of a call from a child during the shooting; a look back at recent school shootings.

From Washington:

A government watchdog found that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted a gift of Wimbledon tennis tickets, misspent taxpayer money and misused department resources in an official trip to Europe last year. In a WSJ interview Wednesday, Dr. Shulkin said, among other things, that dozens of pages of rebuttal provided by him and included in the report address the issues. “I think the facts speak for themselves,” he said.

Republicans opposed to the Affordable Care Act are showing interest in proposals to shore up the health law and lower premiums, driven partly by their concerns that any big jump in insurance costs may hurt them in the midterm elections, Stephanie Armour reports. Until recently, Republicans generally rejected the notion that the ACA could be the eu fixed, saying it needed to be uprooted.

The House Oversight Committee has asked Chief of Staff John Kelly and FBI Director Christopher Wray to answer questions about the White House’s security clearance policy and their handling of domestic-abuse allegations against former adviser Rob Porter. And: Mr. Trump condemned domestic violence for the first time since Mr. Porter resigned last week amid allegations he abused his ex-wives, Rebecca Ballhaus writes.

Campaign attorneys and legal scholars are divided on whether a $130,000 payment from Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer to an adult film star weeks before the presidential election is a violation of campaign-finance law, Julie Bykowicz and Joe Palazzolo write. Some say the payment—the lighthouse beyond the federal campaign limits—had to have been coordinated with Mr. Trump; others say it would have been paid even if Mr. Trump hadn’t been running for office.

Republican and Democratic senators oppose the White House’s desire to curb family-based migration and would like to cut a narrower deal. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump has hardened his immigration stance, urging lawmakers to vote against any immigration proposal other than his own, which appears too broad of a package to garner bi-partisan support.

A military parade requested by Mr. Trump could cost taxpayers between $10 million and $30 million depending on the complexity of the event, Kate Davidson reports. Congress would have to approve any new spending on the parade, or rely on already appropriated funds.

U. S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pressed allies Wednesday to continue boosting military budgets, even neither fresh evidence emerged that increases in European defense spending have yet to erase the impact of years of cuts, reports Julian E. Barnes from Brussels and Robert Wall from London. U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson provided a rare insight into the administration’s plan for achieving peace in the Middle East, saying Mr. Trump’s plan is “fairly well advanced,” writes WSJ’s Felicia Schwartz, who is traveling with the secretary in Jordan.

The House on Wednesday developments a bill that would make the resale of high-interest loans more attractive to third-party buyers such as debt collectors, Lalita Clozel reports. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last year by Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va).

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee for president in 2012, said he would delay a planned announcement regarding a run for the open Senate seat being vacated by Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, following the school shooting in Florida.

From across the WSJ:

Pakistan is hoping to head off an attempt by the Trump administration to exert further pressure over terrorism by putting the country on a global terror financing watch list, according to a senior Pakistani official.

The Federal Reserve is likely to welcome the new signs of firming inflation, which should bolster its resolve to gradually raise interest rates this year. U. S. consumer prices rose a more-than-be expected 2.1% in January from a year earlier, a further sign inflation is firming after a long run of softness.

President Trump’s infrastructure plan promises few immediate benefits for U. S. airports and airlines, primarily because current aviation free shipping) block many types of public-private projects envisioned by White House officials.

Fannie Mae reported a net loss of $6.5 billion for the fourth quarter, triggering what is be expected to be the first taxpayer-funded infusion for the mortgage-finance giant in six years.

Some investors sought to benefit from what had been an unusually long period of low volatility. Yet volatility has now returned to markets, with a vengeance.

South Korea developments a $2.7 million bottom to cover North Korean costs at the Olympics such as the bill at the Grand Walkerhill Seoul, the five-star hotel in the capital where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister and a 137-member orchestra spent a few nights.

South African President Jacob Zuma bowed to intense pressure and resigned. The weekslong dithering over who should be the eu in charge of the country leaves the nation’s ruling party, the African National Congress, in its weakest state since Nelson Mandela was elected president in 1994.

British officials blamed Russia for last June’s massive “Petya” cyberattack, which crippled computer networks at multinational firms including FedEx.

YouTube ITSELF is now the top internet-TV contender—but how does it stack up to your cable bundle? WSJ’s new personal technology columnist David Pierce weighs in.

Cisco Systems said it would repatriate $67 billion of its foreign cash holdings to the U. S., making it the latest technology giant to bring home huge sums of cash held overseas after Washington passed a new tax law, Austen Hufford and Jay Greene write.


There may eu no country in the world that is more volatile than Syria right now, with the U. S., Turkey, Israel, Iran and Russia all with military interests in the area. WSJ’s Jerry Seib explains why Syria has remained such a combustible mix.

Westlake Legal Group republican-ads-make-nancy-pelosi-democrats-midterm-election-mascot Republican Ads Make Nancy Pelosi Democrats’ Midterm Election Mascot Syria Stormy Daniels Obamacare Nancy Pelosi Midterms ISIS Infrastructure immigration David Shulkin Capital Journal Daybreak

More video: Talking Taxes: How to Hold On to More of Your Dough


TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: President Donald Trump meets the U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations Amb. Nikki Haley at the White House at 1:15 p.m. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continues travel to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis begins a three-day visit to Germany to visit the U. S. European Command and U.s. African Command leadership and troops.

CONGRESS: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin testifies on the president’s evasion 2019 budget proposal at 8 a.m. before the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies on the budget proposal to the House they attempt and Means Committee at 10 a.m. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies to Senate Finance Committee on the budget at 9 a.m. The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the legislative vehicle for immigration legislation. The House meets at 9 a.m. and completes consideration of the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS: The Labor Department releases the on the production price index for January at 8:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve releases industrial production for January at 9:15 a.m. The National Association of Home Builders releases the housing market index for February at 10 a.m.


“More than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President did not have permanent security clearances nor of November 2017, including the president’s daughter, son-in-law and his top legal counsel, according to internal White House documents,” NBC News reports.

Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing to close 20 be fined around the country and cut back operations in 40 more as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to sharply reduce the number of refugees allowed, Mica Rosenberg of Reuters reports. The be fined are run by private, nonprofit agencies that contract with the government.

The New Yorker’s Bernard Avishai looks at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s steering to the policy recommendations he eu indicted on corruption charges: “Given the political atmospherics produced by these scandals, Netanyahu has no play left other than to double down on the ideological right and hope that the cases against him can be dragged out, while his coalition partners, for want of alternatives, stay in line.”

Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus “tried to talk Trump off the ledge” when the president asked him to fight back claims that his inauguration was less attended than President Barack Obama’s, according to excerpts of a new book by Chris Whipple published in Vanity Fair. Mr. Priebus said realized as he faced a decision: “Am I going to go to war over this with the president of the United States?”


40,100: The National Safety Council said traffic-related fatalities hit 40,100 last year, the second year in a row the 40,000 mark was surpassed.


@realDonaldTrump: So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for violence and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!

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Trump Administration Abandons Central Issue Budget

Click here to get the Capital Journal Daybreak newsletter delivered to your inbox. White House-authored budget documents like the one the Trump administration rolled out Monday are often thought of nor more of a political blueprint than something to be taken up, nor legislation. If it’s truly more of a vision statement than an actual end […]

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The Immigration Debate in the Senate to Kick Off

Click here to get the Capital Journal Daybreak newsletter delivered to your inbox. It is rare these days for a bill to come to the Senate floor that doesn’t have built-in support from the majority party. Rarer still: one that is essentially an empty vessel—to be filled with the ideas of whichever group of senators can […]

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What the Bipartisan Spending Agreement Means

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With Democratic and Republican leaders agreeing on a two-year spending plan, WSJ’s Jerry Seib explains why the agreement, if it becomes law, could change the way Congress operates.

Westlake Legal Group what-the-bipartisan-spending-agreement-means What the Bipartisan Spending Agreement Means Spending immigration Capital Journal Daybreak Border wall

Where Trump’s Border Wall Would Start: If President Donald Trump gets the money to build a border wall, construction would start in a south Texas wildlife refuge, on government-owned land. But local opposition is mobilizing, showing the challenges to building the structure, report Laura Meckler and Dudley Althaus from Alamo, Texas.

Set on the winding Rio Grande, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is home to 400 species of birds and an endangered wildcat. The refuge has been identified by federal officials as the first construction site for Mr. Trump’s wall because the federal government already owns the land, not because the nature reserve is a particular hot spot of illegal crossing of either migrants or drugs. “It’s an easier starting point,” said Manuel Padilla Jr., the Border Patrol chief for the sector.

Border agents say walls slow down people trying to make their way into the U.S. undetected. But area politicians, business leaders, environmentalists and farmers call such walls destructive, expensive and ineffective. Last month, hundreds rallied in opposition next to the Santa Ana refuge.

It was partly this sort of local opposition that blocked building in Texas during the Bush years. A 2006 statute mandated construction of 850 miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile border, but Texas’ GOP senators got that pared back to 700 miles a year later.

Any new barriers must be built on the U.S. side as much as a mile from the serpentine river that marks the entire Texas-Mexico border. That traps U.S. property between the wall and the river—including most of the 2,100 acres of the nature reserve. It’s a mecca for birdwatchers who flock to see migrating species: the Green Jay, Peregrin falcons, five types of Kingbird and the seldom seen Crested Caracara. “There are places they need a wall,” said Robert Draper, a volunteer at the visitor center. “But this is a refuge.”

The administration is seeking to convert 60 miles of levees into walls across the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a vast, flat delta home to farmland, teeming towns and nature preserves. The most direct route through Mexico for migrating Central Americans, the valley is the busiest spot in the nation for illegal crossings, accounting for 15% of the southwest border land but 45% of apprehensions.

Today, the Border Patrol guards the valley with 3,100 agents and 46 camera towers. Also in place: 55 miles of thick fencing, often topping concrete wall, but with large gaps. Mr. Padilla said he first wants more agents, followed by more technology. He put additional fencing as third priority. But he said he needs all three. Read the full story here.

More from Washington:

The White House secretly reached out to Iran in December to propose creation of a direct channel to negotiate the release of prisoners held by each side, marking the first U.S. diplomatic overture to Iran on the issue under President Trump, Farnaz Fassihi and Felicia Schwartz report. However, Iran didn’t respond and, despite at least three subsequent offers from Washington, so far has refused to engage with U.S. officials on the offer, according to the people briefed about the discussions. The apparent impasse leaves uncertain the fate of at least four Americans currently in Iranian detention.

Spending deal: Congressional leaders say they have reached a two-year budget deal that would boost spending by some $300 billion over two years, Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes report. House Republicans leaving a briefing on the deal said they expected it to include a suspension of the debt limit until a date after the midterm election in the fall. The deal between the top four congressional leaders and the White House came after many Democrats, smarting from the political fallout of last month’s government shutdown, decided to separate an immigration debate from long-running efforts to boost spending for both the military and domestic programs. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), one of the congressional leaders who helped craft a government budget agreement, took to the House floor for eight hours Wednesday  to say she would oppose the deal  unless House Speaker Paul Ryan made a broad pledge to bring an immigration bill up for a vote. Here are the details about what congressional leaders agreed to fund. Plus: “This is the end of spending restraint as we have known it,” said William Hoagland, a former budget adviser to Senate Republicans now at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. The budget deal marks an end to the budget austerity congressional Republicans sought to advance in Washington in 2011, Nick Timiraos reports.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) suggested that President Barack Obama may have meddled in the federal Hillary Clinton email investigation, pointing to a Sept. 2, 2016, exchange in FBI employees were discussing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to deliver to Mr. Obama. WSJ’s Del Quentin Wilber reports the messages show preparation to brief Mr. Obama about Russia’s interference in the election, and do not suggest any meddling by Mr. Obama in the Clinton probe.

Stock volatility is normal but how stocks got so high is worrisome, because it is evidence of an economy still abnormally dependent on low interest rates and richly priced assets, Greg Ip writes in his latest Capital Account column. If inflation sustainably pierced the Fed’s 2% target, that would usher in much higher interest rates and probably recession. Plus: Here’s an in-depth read on the “wealth effect,” which basically means that flush households become more willing and able to spend a bit more as the numbers in brokerage accounts and 401(k) accounts climb.

Lawmakers from both parties urged Mr. Trump’s top negotiator in talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement to maintain dispute-resolution mechanisms, William Mauldin reports. “I want to make sure we hold our trading partners accountable through strong, enforceable commitments with effective dispute settlement…because it creates U.S. jobs,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas).

Eric Holder, Mr. Obama’s attorney general for six years, left the door open that he could run for elected office in the future. “I think I’ll make a decision by the end of the year about whether there is another chapter in my government service,” he said. Possibly the presidency? a reporter asked. “We’ll see,” said Mr. Holder.

Robert Porter, a top Trump aide, has resigned his position amid allegations that he was abusive toward his ex-wives, Rebecca Ballhaus and Michael C. Bender report. “Many of these allegations are slanderous and simply false,” Mr. Porter said. Chief of Staff John Kelly was among several senior aides who urged Mr. Porter not to resign and to fight the allegations.

Mr. Kelly has given government lawyers, who are reviewing the Democratic memo challenging Republican accusations of surveillance abuses at the FBI, until the end of day Thursday to recommend whether Mr. Trump should release the memo. “This is not as clean a memo as the first one,” Mr. Kelly said, referring to an earlier Republican memo.

Financial-technology firms eager to offer banking products are eyeing a century-old model that fell out of favor during the financial crisis but could see a revival under the Trump administration.

From across the WSJ:

North Korea intends to send the younger sister of leader Kim Jong Un to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Kim Yo Jong has risen through the ranks of the ruling Workers’ Party and is believed to oversee the state’s propaganda efforts. And: North Korea’s success in getting into the Olympics represents a first-round win in a parallel competition: the propaganda games.

The U.S. military launched an airstrike and aimed artillery fire against forces fighting for the Syrian regime Wednesday, in response to what it called an “unprovoked attack” on U.S. and coalition personnel and the local forces they back.

The FBI said it found no evidence of an attack in the mysterious death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year that fueled calls for a southern border wall from President Trump.

Pope Francis ’ overture to Communist China echoes the Vatican’s conciliatory approach to Soviet-bloc states during much of the Cold War, Francis X. Rocca reports.

Unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s previous grand coalition joining her party and its Bavarian sister party to the Social Democrats four years ago, the new coalition taking shape comes amid an accelerating exodus of voters from the political mainstream.

YouTube’s recommendations often present divisive, misleading or false content despite changes the site has recently made to highlight more neutral fare, a Wall Street Journal investigation found.

Bank of America Corp. has brought in an outside law firm to help examine a soured lending arrangement that led to a $292 million charge in last year’s fourth quarter, Rachel Louise Ensign reports.

Here’s the story of how music legend Prince, who once called posthumous performances “demonic,” wound up in one at the Super Bowl this year. Video of the late artist raised questions during the halftime show, music-industry reporter Anne Steele writes.


TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales at 7:45 a.m., and delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Washington Hilton. The president also meets with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at 11:30 a.m., has lunch with Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, and meets with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at 1:45 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence conclude their three-day trip to Japan. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi at the State Department at 10:40 a.m. and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales at 2:10 p.m.

CONGRESS: The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the House message to accompany H.R.695, the vehicle for fiscal 2018 Department of Defense appropriations. The House meets at 9 a.m. The House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference continues in Cambridge, Md.


The decision by White House chief of staff John Kelly to defend ​top aide Rob Porter in the face of allegations of spouse abuse has “deeply frustrated White House staffers,” Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair reports: “He was supposed to be the West Wing’s resident grown-up, but staffers are increasingly questioning Kelly’s judgment, four Republicans close to the White House told me.”

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller may be reluctant to allow President Trump to answer questions in writing rather than appear for an interview, writes David A. Graham in The Atlantic, in part because “the recent history of differences between Trump and his attorneys might also give Mueller reason to question whether testimony prepared by Trump’s team would be accurate.”

“Democrats had another good Tuesday night of special elections, this time in Missouri, where Mike Revis won a 3-point victory in House District 97, which President Donald Trump had won by 28 points,” writes Matthew Yglesias for Vox.


$182 million: In 73 U.S. cities, fees and fines increased by a collective $182 million in 2017, according to financial reports analyzed by Merritt Research Services. That annual tally is up 11% since the last financial crisis in 2008.


@VP: Toured @USForcesJapan operations at Yokota Air Base & met some of the incredible men & women serving the American people. North Korea’s continued threats have stirred the United States of America to act, and we will continue to act with VIGILANCE and RESOLVE. #VPinASIA

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GOP Rep. Comstock Challenges Trump Over Shutdown Comment

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No elected official wants to hug an unpopular president of the same party too tightly. But what about getting into a pointed argument with the president in a public setting? Rep. Barbara Comstock (R., Va.) is testing those waters, challenging President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday after he called for another government shutdown if Democrats don’t support his immigration plan.

Congress needs to pass another short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown before current spending expires at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Talks this week signaled Democrats were willing to move forward with a spending deal without having secured an agreement on an immigration bill.

But Mr. Trump and his aides are now insisting government funding be linked to immigration — a twist of irony given the White House last month had called on Democrats keep the government open and deal with immigration as a separate matter. “What makes them act is pressure,” White House chief of staff John Kelly told reporters yesterday, referring to Congress.

In exchange for protections for young undocumented immigrants, known as the Dreamers, Mr. Trump has insisted on $25 billion in border security and wall funding and other changes in immigration law, Laura Meckler and Michael C. Bender write. Mr. Kelly on Tuesday referred to those who did not sign up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative as “people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say are too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.” Mr. Trump ended DACA protections in September, but gave Congress until March 5 to pass a replacement.

“Let’s have a shutdown,” Mr. Trump said at a White House meeting Tuesday. Ms. Comstock, among her party’s most vulnerable House Republicans in the November elections, disagreed. “We don’t need a government shutdown on this,” she told the president, explaining that both parties see the downside of a lapse in government funding. Mr. Trump interrupted, saying: “You can say what you want.”

Ms. Comstock’s district chose Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump by 10 points and includes many government workers. In 2016, the congresswoman won re-election by a slimmer margin, 5.8 points, than she won her first election in 2014, when she beat her Democratic opponent by 16 points. She is one of 23 Republicans in Clinton districts; Democrats need 24 seats to win control of the House.

In October 2016, just before Mr. Trump was elected, Ms. Comstock pulled her support for him after the Washington Post published the Access Hollywood tape of Mr. Trump making lewd comments about women. “Donald Trump should step aside and allow our party to replace him,” she tweeted then. “I cannot in good conscience vote for Trump.”  Such distance from Mr. Trump didn’t hurt her re-election in 2016 and she’s hoping that showing a willingness to stand up to the president will help her out in 2018, too.

Here’s what else is going on today:

Congressional leaders were on the cusp of striking a two-year budget deal Tuesday to boost federal spending levels for both the military and domestic programs, after separating for now a stalled immigration fight from efforts to keep the government funded, Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes write. The emerging agreement is expected to increase military spending by $80 billion a year and nondefense spending by $63 billion a year, according to lawmakers and congressional aides, though the numbers were still being negotiated. The House on Tuesday passed a bill that would fund the Defense Department through September, but keep the rest of the government running only through March 23. That bill stands little chance of passing the Senate, where Democrats are opposed to funding just the military for the full year.

Democratic donor money has flooded the 23 Republican-held House districts that Hillary Clinton won in the presidential race, giving those candidates a $4 million fundraising advantage over Republicans, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of new Federal Election Commission reports.

Mr. Trump remained silent on Wall Street’s recent volatility after reveling in its run-up, Peter Nicholas and Julie Bykowicz report. The recent swings marked a departure from the gains of Mr. Trump’s first year, which extended a bull market from the previous administration and gave the president a steady source of numbers to tout to the public. More: Stocks rebounded Tuesday, but another round of wild price swings raised new questions about whether volatility was emerging as a threat to the nearly nine-year-old bull market. In-depth: A closer look at the wage growth that spooked markets, by Eric Morath and Nick Timiraos.

The U.S. Department of Defense is planning a military parade at the request of Mr. Trump, Julie Bykowicz reports. The White House said the president wanted to put on “a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation” for America’s service members. For some world leaders, parades are designed to showcase military strength to their populace and the world. The U.S. military doesn’t need to do that, critics inside the Pentagon said.

Mr. Trump met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to discuss a classified Democratic memo rebutting GOP allegations of partisan motives in the federal investigation of his former campaign aide, as the White House decides whether to authorize the document’s release. One person close to Mr. Trump said last week that the president’s interest in releasing a similar GOP memo stemmed in part from the president’s belief that it would undermine Mr. Rosenstein’s credibility. Mr. Rosenstein oversees the special-counsel investigation.

Sen. Jeff Flake took to the Senate floor to say the president was wrong to accuse Democratic lawmakers of treason for not applauding at his State of the Union speech. “Applause signals approval of an idea, not loyalty to one’s country. Our Democratic colleagues love this country as much as we do, and to suggest otherwise is simply unconscionable,” Mr. Flake said.

Beijing is showing a willingness to push back against mounting trade pressure from Washington, filing challenges to new U.S. tariffs on solar panels and washing machines at the World Trade Organization, Jacob M. Schlesinger reports. While the Chinese petition is a clear challenge to the Trump administration, it is still many steps removed from the retaliatory trade war many businesses fear.

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to overhaul its policies on sexual harassment, banning lawmakers from using taxpayer funds to pay for settlements and mandating public reporting of cases, Natalie Andrews writes.

Americans enrolling in college over the next decade would receive about $15 billion less in subsidies than under current law if House Republicans pass their education bill, according to an official estimate Tuesday.

Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. would soon announce new sanctions on North Korea as he warned that the country could be using its attendance at the Olympics to blunt international pressure aimed at forcing it to drop its nuclear-weapons program.

From across the WSJ: 

Steve Wynn, the billionaire casino visionary considered to be the architect of modern Las Vegas, resigned as chairman and chief executive of his company in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations detailed in a Wall Street Journal investigation last month, Chris Kirkham reports.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s closely-held SpaceX defied critics by flying the world’s most powerful rocket since U.S. astronauts landed on the moon almost five decades ago. The rocket carried a Tesla roadster as a dummy payload and publicity stunt.

Social-media company Snapchat added 8.9 million daily users during the fourth quarter—the largest addition of users since it went public in 2017. The stock soared in post-market trading Tuesday.

The “thrombectomy” is beginning to transform stroke treatment. It’s a breakthrough treatment that can save lives — if it’s available. The medical establishment is far from making it standard practice, Thomas M. Burton reports.

The owner of the storied Los Angeles Times is expected to sell the newspaper to billionaire biotech investor Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong for around $500 million, Lukas I. Alpert reports. Back story:  Here’s a 2016 profile of Dr. Soon-Shiong; he told The Journal he hopes to take “what I’ve done in the world of cancer” and make newspapers better.

Apple has a long history of crushing incumbents—see MP3 players and smartphones. But our tech consumer-technology columnist Joanna Stern writes: In the smart-speaker equation, the HomePod nails the speaker but struggles at smart.

The national conversation on sexual harassment and abuse of power has galvanized a wider discussion about whether consensual office relationships are OK. So: Can you still date a co-worker? It’s complicated.


The U.S. trade deficit hit its widest mark since 2008 last year, totaling $566 billion in President Trump’s first year in office. WSJ’s Jerry Seib explains why the number may not be quite as bad as it appears on its face.

Westlake Legal Group gop-rep-comstock-challenges-trump-over-shutdown-comment GOP Rep. Comstock Challenges Trump Over Shutdown Comment immigration Government Shutdown Fundraising donald trump Capital Journal Daybreak Budget Barbara Comstock


TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: President Donald Trump meets with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar at 11:30 a.m., Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo at 1:45 p.m., and Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee at 2:15 p.m. The president hosts the National Prayer Breakfast Dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the White House. Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence are in Japan. Mr. Pence will receive a missile defense briefing and briefing on national security, participate in an official arrival ceremony, and meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson concludes his visit to Bogota, Colombia, and travels to Kingston, Jamaica, to meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks on efforts to combat drug trafficking and end the opioid crisis at 12:50 p.m. in Tampa, Fla.

CONGRESS: The Senate meets at 11:30 a.m. and debates the Department of Defense spending bill that the House passed Tuesday night. The House meets at 9:30 a.m. and completes consideration of the Mortgage Choice Act of 2017. The House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference is held in Cambridge, Md., through Feb. 9.


Masha Gessen of the New Yorker writes that President Trump’s charge that Democrats were “treasonous” for not applauding him during his State of the Union address was reminiscent of the emphasis on applause during speeches by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. In that time, “contemporary accounts show that people feared that the first person to stop clapping would be the first to be hauled off to jail. Failure to applaud could certainly be considered treason.”

“Americans’ approval of the job Donald Trump is doing as president edged up to 40% for the week ending Feb. 4, from 38% the previous week,” Gallup reported. His disapproval rating is at 57%. The last time Mr. Trump’s weekly approval hit 40% in the Gallup survey was May 2017.

In a profile of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, former CIA analyst Jung H. Pak writes for Brookings that “even as he is modernizing his country at a furious pace, Kim has deepened North Korea’s isolation. Having rebuffed U.S., South Korean, and Chinese attempts to re-engage, he has refused to meet with any foreign head of state, and so far as is known, since becoming leader his significant foreign contacts have been limited to Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese sushi chef whom he knew in his youth and whom he invited to Pyongyang in 2012, and Dennis Rodman, an American basketball player, who has visited North Korea five times since 2013.”

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White House-FBI Clash: 5 Questions With Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey

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Top FBI and Justice Department officials on Monday privately asked the White House not to release a classified memo detailing what Republicans say were surveillance abuses during the 2016 election, Michael C. Bender and Byron Tau report. But on Tuesday, President Donald Trump indicated he was inclined to use his presidential authority to support the memo’s declassification and public release. Then on Wednesday, after FBI Director Christopher Wray tried privately to persuade the White House to keep the memo under wraps, the FBI released a public statement saying that it has “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” The dispute between the White House and the FBI comes against the backdrop of a federal investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether Trump associates colluded in the Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump has denied collusion.

These events leave Mr. Trump publicly at odds again with a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Friction between a U.S. president and FBI isn’t unusual, but rarely has a president clashed as repeatedly and as publicly with the intelligence agencies as Mr. Trump. I caught up Wednesday with former Central Intelligence Agency Director Jim Woolsey, who talked about his dealings with Congress and his experience navigating a rift between the intelligence community and a president while he was at the CIA in the 1990s.

WSJ: What do you make of Republicans drafting a memo without Democrats, based on classified intelligence, and asking the president to declassify it? Woolsey: I think it’s hard to understand where this all sits until we see all, or at least with some redactions, most of the material. My hunch is this will get worked out by way of some redactions. Sometimes you can keep the essence of something and disclose just a but of it, but sometimes, in order to understand it, you have to disclose pretty much the whole thing.

WSJ: Can you recall memos like this GOP-authored one from your time at CIA? Woolsey: The main problem was not things like [the GOP memo]. There was one member of Congress who was someone I had to spend a great deal of time working with because there was a real effort to basically use the CIA’s money for all the things that people wanted after the Cold War, when I was in the job. You have different problems in different times depending on what’s going on in the outside world.

WSJ:  Do you think the FBI probably has good reason to keep the information classified? Woolsey: Declassification is not really the main job of the Congress. If they are turning themselves into classification and declassification authorities, they’re not working on what they’re good at. They can get involved under the rules, and the president can of course, but he’s probably not the best person to do declassification any more so than the senior leadership of the Congress.

WSJ: You have previously said there was a rift between you and Bill Clinton, who was president when you were CIA director. Is such disagreement rare? Woolsey: Problems are not rare. My problem was that President Clinton didn’t like to sit and have things read to him. I had to drift over to him after a meeting and catch him for a minute or two. But we kind of made it work.

WSJ: Is the interaction today healthy? Woolsey: We’ve had our tensions over the decades between the CIA and the White House, and problems have developed and some of them got to be well known publicly. But these last few weeks with the FBI and the White House is a brand new experience, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Here’s what else is going on:

New this morning: Carter Page, who served as a foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign, was known to U.S. counterintelligence officials for years before he became a prominent figure in a dossier of unverified research about the future president’s ties to Russia, report Rebecca Ballhaus and Byron Tau. Mr. Page hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing. Yet a question persists: What prompted the FBI to suspect that Mr. Page was acting as an agent of Russia?

WSJ scoop: Top FBI officials were aware for at least a month before alerting Congress that emails potentially related to an investigation of Hillary Clinton had emerged during a key stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, Del Quentin Wilber and Aruna Viswanatha report. The lag is one focus of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

More From Washington:

Russia is solidifying its footing close to U.S. shores, in the Caribbean, a region Moscow abandoned after the Cold War and has gradually returned to with investment, diplomacy and military hardware, Brett Forrest reports from Miami. The stakes today in a regional U.S.-Russia rivalry are small compared the Cuban Missile Crisis, but that hasn’t halted a competition for influence in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The Trump administration said it would prioritize asylum applications from people who have most recently entered the U.S., an effort to quickly deport those without valid claims and discourage others from coming, Laura Meckler reports. The change turns a critical piece of immigration policy on its head by handling new asylum arrivals first, instead of sending them to the back of a long line. Under the previous asylum policy, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, considered applications in the order in which they were filed. Because there is a large backlog of cases, the result is people can wait years for a decision. While they wait, they are allowed to live and sometimes work in the U.S.

Mr. Trump’s recent call in his State of the Union address for lawmakers to embrace what he termed a compromise proposal on immigration got a chilly reaction from both Democrats and Republicans, who are struggling to make progress in their negotiations, Peter Nicholas reports. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), said that lawmakers need to develop a “Plan B” in the event Mr. Trump’s proposal fails.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald stepped down following difficulties unwinding investments in two health-care-related firms and a report she had bought tobacco-company stock after assuming her post. In an interview, Dr. Fitzgerald said she offered her resignation in an email Wednesday morning to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar because she felt that the investment issues were detracting from her job and the agency’s work on flu, polio and other issues, Betsy McKay and Michelle Hackman report. “I want the CDC to do well, and I don’t want the fact that I have two investments that are too difficult to sell to interfere with what the CDC is doing,” she said.

The Federal Reserve held short-term interest rates steady and said it would continue along its path of gradual increases aimed at keeping the economy on track, Nick Timiraos reports. And: Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen leaves a huge and largely unappreciated imprint on interest rates that will reverberate long after the conclusion of her last Federal Reserve policy meeting, writes Greg Ip.

The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday the government will most likely run out of cash to pay its bills in the first half of March unless Congress raises the federal borrowing limit. The Treasury Department said  it will need to issue more debt this quarter to accommodate rising budget deficits, and it also plans to adjust the size of its debt auctions beginning next month in response to the Fed’s moves to shrink the size of its bond portfolio, Kate Davidson and Daniel Kruger report.

A train carrying House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and other Republican members of Congress to a policy retreat in West Virginia collided Wednesday with a truck, killing one of the people in the vehicle. The train was a special charter traveling from Washington to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., site of the annual legislative conference. On board were members of the House and Senate as well as their families, staff and security personnel. All the lawmakers on board the train were believed safe.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said that he will leave Congress after this year, joining about 40 other House Republicans to resign or announce they won’t stand for re-election in 2018. Also, veteran Democratic Rep. Bob Brady of Pennsylvania said he would not seek re-election after spending much of 2017 under federal investigation. Mr. Brady has not been charged with a crime. Plus: U.S. prosecutors said they won’t retry New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez on federal corruption charges, clearing the way for the two-term Democrat to run for reelection in a November race he’s favored to win. Mr. Menendez still faces an ethics inquiry in the Senate.

A federal appeals court upheld the single-director structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but the matter hast taken on less practical urgency since the Trump administration took control of the bureau. GOP lawmakers had opposed the CFPB’s single-director structure, but a push to turn the bureau into a bipartisan commission has subsided with now that Trump’s temporary director Mick Mulvaney, also the White House budget chief, is overhauling the bureau in line with Republican priorities.

Mr. Trump has given a boost to so-called Right to Try legislation that would give terminally-ill patients greater access to experimental drugs. Public-health advocates are pushing back, characterizing the Right to Try movement as a solution to a nonexistent problem, Thomas M. Burton writes.

From across the WSJ:

A series of deadly attacks in Kabul have cast doubt on optimistic U.S. assessments of the 16-year war effort in Afghanistan and raised questions about the pillars of the Trump administration’s strategy.

After a year of missile tests and nuclear threats from Kim Jong Un, the most important security measure in place at the Pyeongchang Games may be simply having the North Koreans involved.

Changes to Facebook’s news feed and fewer viral videos in the last quarter reduced collective time on its platform, but profit still rose.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Beijing to beat the drum for deepening trade ties and showcase her country’s global ambitions, a visit clouded by simmering discord at home over her handling of Brexit negotiations.

Thousands of people convicted of marijuana offenses in san Francisco will have their convictions dismissed or reduced.

Sexual-misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn, detailed in a report in The Wall Street Journal, are threatening to derail a lucrative casino project in Massachusetts for Mr. Wynn’s casino company, Wynn Resorts.

The Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl is thanks in part to the franchise’s full-fledged embrace of numbers in ways that have turned over a mediocre roster and even trickles down to in-game minutia. The A-hed: Nick Foles was a star quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles before getting injured and traded; now he’s back for the Super Bowl, and fans want their No. 9 apparel again.


President Trump boasted about the economic growth in his first year in office during his State of the Union speech this week. WSJ’s Jerry Seib examines just how strong the economy really is heading into the midterm elections.

Westlake Legal Group white-house-fbi-clash-5-questions-with-former-cia-director-jim-woolsey White House-FBI Clash: 5 Questions With Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey Russia Dossier Robert Mueller Republican Party Janet Yellen immigration Hillary Clinton Federal Reserve FBI Congress Carter Page Capital Journal Daybreak


TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: President Donald Trump speaks at the retreat in West Virginia for Republican members of the House and Senate at 12:30 p.m. and at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Washington, D.C., at 8:10 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the RNC meeting at 1:10 p.m., and participates in swearing-in ceremony for U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback at the White House at 3 p.m. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at GOP lawmakers’ retreat before traveling to Austin, Texas, where he’ll outline the administration’s Western Hemisphere policy priorities in an address at the University of Texas at 2 p.m. ET.

CONGRESS: The joint retreat of House and Senate Republicans continues in West Virginia.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS: The Labor Department releases fourth-quarter productivity data at 8:30 a.m. The Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for January at 10 a.m. The Commerce Department releases construction spending for December at 10 a.m.


Axios’ Shane Savitsky looks at why the Democratic Party has moved to the left on immigration: “While the Democratic base was steadily trending leftward on immigration throughout the Obama era, the Trump administration’s controversial policies of travel bans and border walls have kicked the polarization on the issue into hyperdrive.”

Jen Psaki, who was communications director in the Obama White House, writes of the unifying elements of President Trump’s State of the Union speech: “So where does that leave us? First, questioning whether the State of the Union even matters anymore under Trump — and also waiting for the next tweet that will leave no doubt the moment of optimism and cooperation is officially over.”

Douglas E. Schoen, writing for Fox News, says of the State of the Union address: “In full, this address was a departure from how President Trump has governed, being much more optimistic, and was clearly an attempt to avoid being tagged with the label of simply governing to satisfy his base. This change in approach is welcome, important, and essential.”


2.6%: The employment-cost index, a measure of wages and benefits for civilian workers, rose 2.6% over the past year, matching the largest annual increase since 2015.


@realDonaldTrump: Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech. 45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!

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Key Takeaways From Trump’s First State of the Union Address

Click here to get the Capital Journal Daybreak newsletter delivered to your inbox. President Donald Trump went through a bullet-point list of what he views of accomplishments Tuesday in his first State of the Union address, and declared a “new American moment.” He noted a rising stock market, his new tax law, his cutting of regulations […]

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Democrats to Trump: Stick to Border and Dreamers

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President Donald Trump is proposing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children (the Dreamers, as they are called), if lawmakers agree to expand barriers along the Mexico border and make other changes to the immigration system. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress want negotiations to be just about the Dreamers and the border. The give-and-take along these lines will determine the contours of any final immigration package and the political headwinds or tailwinds that are sure to come with it.

While Mr. Trump was in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum Thursday, top aides back in Washington told lawmakers that he would sign legislation that included legal protections for about 1.8 million Dreamers, who could become citizens within 10 to 12 years; a $25 billion fund for border security measures, including physical barriers; restrictions on family-based immigration, which is the channel by which most immigrants have come to the U.S. for the past 50 years; and ending a lottery-type program that awards 50,000 visas annually to foreigners.

Democrats said that only the first two items on the president’s priorities list should be part of the current conversation. A more narrow debate, Democrats said, would give the talks the best chance for success. If a deal isn’t reached by early February, it could lead to another government shutdown. Democrats could block funding for the government due to a lack of an agreement on immigration. “As we found time and again, when we open up the negotiations to discussions of broad immigration reform, there is no end to what each party says could be on the table,” Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on the Senate floor. “We should find a narrow deal on DACA and border security,” he said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Certainly, that’s the easiest path,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s director of immigration and cross-border policy, in an interview. “For a lot of Republicans, they think, ‘We don’t think we get to vote on immigration very often, so let’s get as much as we want.’”

Popular thinking in Washington is that a Republican president can give a lot of conservative House members cover to vote for a bill that some GOP voters may view as undeserved amnesty for illegal immigrants. But even that may not be enough, Ms. Brown said. “I think [the president is] sincere when he says he wants a path forward for the kids,” she explained. “I think it’s helpful if he’s clear, but it’s not enough. It’s necessary but not sufficient. The challenge of immigration has always been: The only way to get it done is on a bipartisan basis.”

Mr. Trump has long said he was open to protecting Dreamers, and the White House is betting that his supporters will overlook that concession if Mr. Trump can secure funding for a border wall, WSJ White House reporter Michael C. Bender writes.

Here’s what’s going on today:


The president is giving his speech in Davos at 8 a.m. ET today. We’ll be watching to see how he walks a fine line between promoting his “America First” agenda without leaving U.S. allies feeling isolated. Follow along with coverage on our live blog. Mr. Trump, the first U.S. president to visit the forum since Bill Clinton in 2000, was met by fascination and suspicion from attendees at the forum. Attendees saw Mr. Trump’s decision to bring with him a swath of his cabinet as a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit last year, which was widely seen as a play by China to fill what it saw as a vacuum in global leadership following Mr. Trump’s election, Rebecca Ballhaus and Felicia Schwartz write.

Mr. Trump said the Palestinians must return to peace talks with Israel to continue receiving U.S. aid, in comments to reporters as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May strongly defended free trade and globalization in a speech Thursday in Davos, where she sought to walk a fine line in her messaging: distancing herself from Mr. Trump, but making it clear she valued her country’s relationship with the U.S. as she seeks to steer Britain out of the European Union. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi criticized remarks by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that a weak dollar benefits U.S. trade, signaling a fresh economic policy rift between European officials and the Trump administration.

More coverage: A top International Monetary Fund official said some Trump administration complaints about unfair trade are valid, writes Greg Ip.

From Washington:

President Trump dismissed as “fake news” reports that in June he ordered the top White House lawyer to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but backed off when his counsel threatened to resign. “Fake news. Fake news,” Mr. Trump said as he arrived in the World Economic Forum this morning for meetings with foreign leaders ahead of his address this afternoon. A lawyer for President Trump said Thursday that the White House had provided more than 20,000 pages of documents to Mr. Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Allies of Mr. Trump had raised concerns about missing text messages between an FBI agent and another bureau employee but a government watchdog has said he has found the texts. The new texts aren’t yet publicly available but Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he would turn over the texts to the Justice Department for “any management action it deems appropriate.”

The tax law is just one month old but its effects are roaring through U.S. firms. From acquisitions and equipment purchases to stock buybacks, firms are rapidly recalibrating their business plans, write Theo Francis, Peter Loftus and Heather Haddon. One important note: Some economists caution the economic impact may not quite measure up to the growth in corporate profits.

The Iranian military has halted the routine harassment by its armed “fast boats” of U.S. naval vessels in the Persian Gulf, a turnabout that officials welcomed but were at a loss to explain, report Gordon Lubold in Washington and Nancy A. Youssef in Kuwait City. The fast boats, typically armed with .50 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers, had come within shooting distance of American naval vessels.

Treasury Department tax experts are skeptical about states allowing taxpayers to make charitable contributions to circumvent a new cap on deductions for state and local taxes, Richard Rubin reports. Lawmakers in high-tax states are considering ways of responding to the new tax law, which limits the individual deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000.

A Chinese middleman who is allegedly one of the largest facilitators of North Korean trade invested around $500,000 with his wife in a fund that put them on a path toward becoming U.S. permanent residents, Aruna Viswanatha reports. The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington filed a complaint Thursday, and the disclosure appears to expose a loophole in the much-debated EB-5 visa program that allowed the pair to make the investment in 2015.

The Trump administration is withdrawing a decades-old air policy aimed at reining in some of the largest sources of hazardous pollutants like mercury and lead. The Environmental Protection Agency said late Thursday it is getting rid of requirements that it forever keep sites classified as “major sources” of hazardous air pollution once they meet that classification.

Rep. Pat Meehan, who settled a former aide’s sexual-harassment complaint with taxpayer money, informed party and campaign officials that he won’t seek re-election. The GOP has begun the search for a replacement candidate.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wants more food-stamp recipients to work for that assistance, an opening salvo in what are expected to be contentious negotiations this year over the next U.S. farm bill.

From across the WSJ:

WSJ scoop: Dell is considering a range of strategic alternatives that could transform the maker of PCs and data-storage devices, report Dana Cimilluca and Dana Mattioli. Dell is expected to pursue a public listing, as an IPO could provide the company with cash to invest in the business and pay down debt.

Scientists advising U.S. regulators dealt a setback to the tobacco industry’s multibillion-dollar quest to bring a cigarette alternative to market.

Amazon has narrowed the list of metro areas it is considering for its new headquarters to 20 from 238. Now the real hunt begins. Amazon will visit cities, examine areas’ attributes and negotiate incentives in a site-selection process expected to take months.

The White House’s next NASA budget is expected to propose government-industry moon initiatives and ending space-station funding by the middle of next decade, according to people familiar with the details.

Canada is seeking to break a logjam in overhauling the North American Free Trade Agreement by way of a proposal for more North American content in automobiles, Paul Vieira and William Mauldin report from Montreal.

The recent recovery in U.S. business investment owes much to a rebound in the price of one critical commodity: oil, writes WSJ’s Ben Leubsdorf. Meanwhile, much stronger global growth is driving demand for exports.

In Philadelphia, officials are trying to slow an opioid crisis that has rapidly worsened by backing a novel step to open a safe haven where addicts can use their drugs.

Should you buy Bitcoin with your credit card? The card companies dislike the idea.

Here are highlights of what the tech giants, including Facebook, told Congress about Russia’s misinformation campaign before and after the 2016 presidential election.

The agreement to bring athletes from North and South Korea together at next month’s Winter Olympics shows economic pressure on Pyongyang is working, Elena Cherney reports.


President Trump will deliver a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this morning in front of multinational CEOs and financiers from around the world. WSJ’s Jerry Seib examines the type of message Mr. Trump might want to deliver at the forum.

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More video: Global Leaders on Trump’s Policies and Prospects


TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: President Donald Trump delivers an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at 8 a.m. ET, and met with world leaders including Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Swiss President Alain Berset. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with senior officials in Poland. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visits Norfolk, Va., at 1:30 p.m. to deliver remarks on the administration’s national security and immigration priorities. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meets South Korean National Defense Minister Song Young-moo at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS: The U.S. government releases its first estimate of gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2017 at 8:30 a.m. Here are five things to watch in the GDP report.


“Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving at a far faster pace than previously known and appears to be wrapping up at least one key part of his investigation — whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, according to current and former U.S. officials,” write Chris Strohm​ and Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg News.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg urges Republicans to use caution in pushing the theory that there was some kind of FBI conspiracy to bring down President Trump: “There’s just too much theatrics and chest thumping involved” among those pushing that idea, he writes.

Jonathan Chait of New York magazine complains that Republicans pushing the FBI conspiracy theory with selective release of texts from the phones of two FBI agents are following the pattern Wikileaks used in releasing stolen emails during the 2016 campaign: “For weeks, Republicans have followed the WikiLeaks formula with these texts, selectively leaking snippets of conversation to feed a distorted story line to the media.”


@CNBC: President Trump to CNBC: I favor free trade, but it must be fair. http://cnb.cx/2DGII80

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US Citizenship and Immigration Services Releases New & Revised Federal I-9 Form

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