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10 things you need to know today

1. Trump pitches immigration package to end government shutdown

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President Trump gave a brief live address Saturday proposing a package of immigration policies in a deal to end the partial government shutdown. Trump’s plan includes $800 million for humanitarian aid, $805 million for drug detection technology, 2,750 new border agents, and 75 new immigration judge teams.

It retains his demand of $5.7 billion for border wall construction and offers three years of protection for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS). Trump also pitched a new system for youth asylum applications and “reform to promote family reunification for unaccompanied children” detained by his administration. [The White House, The Week]

2. House Democrats reject Trump’s shutdown deal

President Donald Trump speaks.

The Senate will this coming week consider President Trump’s Saturday proposal for an immigration deal to end the government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday — but the pitch is unlikely to gain much traction with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and congressional Democrats more broadly. In a statement released right before Trump’s remarks began, Pelosi panned his plan as “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she was “skeptical” that the president’s latest approach will break the standstill in Washington on the shutdown’s 29th day.

“If there is something of substance that comes with his wall request, [Democrats] are willing to listen. But you can’t keep the government shut down while we work on it,” she said in an interview earlier Saturday. “The White House figures that the real leverage that they have is the fact that they’re holding the keys to this shutdown. And so if they release that?”

The Senate’s Martin Luther King Day recess next week has been canceled, and senators are on 24-hours notice to return to Washington. The idea to have the Senate move a bill first came from consultations between Vice President Mike Pence, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and McConnell, all of whom met on Thursday.

“When Jared and I went and met with the Senate leadership late Thursday, it was at the president’s direction to explore the interest in the Senate in moving forward on a plan that the president unveiled today,” Pence told reporters at the White House on Saturday after the president’s remarks.

McConnell then committed to hold that vote in the coming week, Pence said.

The White House is couching the president’s proposal not just as a means of ending the shutdown, but as the opening volley in a series of conversations that could potentially result in a comprehensive immigration overhaul — a matter than has been a bipartisan priority since the Gang of Eight bill crumbled in 2013.

“This could be a step towards broader immigration reform,” Kushner told reporters, a position that was reiterated by the vice president.

[Politico, The Week]

3. Report: Mueller’s office was not initially told the scope of the BuzzFeed story

Hasil gambar untuk BuzzFeed: ‘No indication’ Cohen story disputed by Mueller is inaccurate

When BuzzFeed News approached Peter Carr, spokesman for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, for comment on Thursday’s explosive report, Carr was not told the full scope of what BuzzFeed planned to publish, The Washington Post reported Saturday evening.

Emails from BuzzFeedreporters say they have “a story coming stating that Michael Cohen was directed by President Trump himself to lie to Congress about his negotiations related to the Trump Moscow project.” The emails do not mention reporting that Mueller’s office had collected document evidence and a confession from Cohen. BuzzFeed again stood by its reporting in a second statement Saturday. [The Washington Post, The Hill]

4. Trump reports ‘a lot of progress’ at ‘incredible’ North Korea meeting

Donald Trump

“We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned and we are talking about a lot of different things. Things are going very well with North Korea,” President Trump told reporters Saturday of his Friday conversation with North Korean negotiator Kim Yong Chol. “That was an incredible meeting,” Trump said. “We’ve agreed to [anothersummit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un], probably the end of February. We’ve picked a country, but we’ll be announcing it in the future. Kim Jong Un is looking very forward to it and so am I.” the president told reporters Saturday at the White House.

The initial news of a second meeting with the reclusive North Korean leader came after Trump’s 90-minute session Friday in the Oval Office with a North Korean envoy, Kim Yong Chol, who traveled to Washington to discuss denuclearization talks.

“We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned and we’re talking about a lot of different things,” Trump said, adding it’s “not been reported, unfortunately, but it will be. Things are going very with North Korea.”

Mike Pompeo, Kim Yong Chol

In May, North Korea released three American detainees and sent them home with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after his meeting with the North Korean leader in Pyongyang.

The second summit signals stepped-up efforts by both countries to continue talks. Trump has exchanged letters with the North Korean leader amid little tangible progress on the vague denuclearization agreement reached at their first meeting last June in Singapore.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “it’s high time” for serious negotiations between the United States and North Korea to outline a road map for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The U.N. chief said New York on Friday that would allow both sides “to know exactly what the next steps will be, and to have predictability in the way negotiations take place.”

Trump has spoken several times of having a second summit early this year. Vietnam has been considered as a possible summit venue, along with Thailand, Hawaii and Singapore.

Since the Singapore talks, several private analysts have published reports detailing continuing North Korean development of nuclear and missile technology. A planned meeting between Pompeo and the envoy, who is North Korea’s former spy chief, in New York last November was abruptly canceled. U.S. officials said at the time that North Korea had called off the session.

The special U.S. envoy for North Korea negotiations, Steve Biegun, planned to travel to Sweden for further talks over the weekend.

The talks have stalled over North Korea’s refusal to provide a detailed accounting of its nuclear and missile facilities that would be used by inspectors to verify any deal to dismantle them. The North also has demanded that the U.S. end harsh economic penalties and provide security guarantees before it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile tests.

Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for National Interest, said any talks between the two nations are a positive development, but the hard work of negotiating an agreement has only begun.

As a possible first step, Kazianis said, North Korea could agree to close its nuclear centrifuge facility at Yongbyon in exchange for some relief from U.S. sanctions or a peace declaration ending the Korean War. The three-year war between North and South Korea ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

South Korea said it expects the second summit between Trump and Kim to be “a turning point in firmly establishing a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Kim expressed frustration in an annual New Year’s address over the lack of progress in negotiations. But on a visit to Beijing last week, he said North Korea would pursue a second summit “to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Kim’s latest trip to China, his fourth since last year, came as the North’s strongest ally has encouraged negotiations with the U.S. while at the same time arguing in favor of an immediate easing of sanctions.

The U.S. and North Korea seemed close to war at points during 2017. The North staged a series of weapons tests that brought it closer to its nuclear goal of one day being able to target anywhere on the U.S. mainland. The two sides then turned to insulting each other: Trump called Kim “Little Rocket Man” and North Korea said Trump was a “dotard.”

[Reuters, The Associated Press]

5. Smaller crowds turn out for 3rd Women’s March

An estimated 100,000 people turned out for the third annual Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, substantially lower than the 500,000 organizers estimated on their permit application. “I came two years ago. It’s definitely smaller, but the spirit is very much alive,” said Rachel Stucky, a demonstrator from Oregon who rallied in Washington. “The experience I had two years ago was indescribable.” Smaller marches also assembled in cities around the country, though some protesters said they were hesitant to attend because of allegations of anti-Semitism among several national leaders of the movement.

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The accusation was leveled at two primary leaders: Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American who has frequently criticized Israeli policies, and Tamika Mallory, who has maintained a public association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Shook, a retired lawyer from Hawaii, has been credited with sparking the movement by creating a Facebook event that went viral and snowballed into the massive protest on Jan. 21, 2017. In a recent Facebook post, she claimed Sarsour and Mallory, along with fellow organizers Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, had “steered the Movement away from its true course” and called for all four to step down.

The four march organizers have denied the charge, but Sarsour has publicly expressed regret that they were not “faster and clearer in helping people understand our values.”

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Despite pleas for unity, the internal tensions were most keenly felt in New York. An alternate women’s march organization held a parallel rally a few miles away from the official New York Women’s March protest, and one activist actually disrupted the main protest.

As New York march director Agunda Okeyo was making her opening remarks, an activist named Laura Loomer came on stage and shouted that the march “does not represent Jewish people” and called it “the real Nazi march.”

Loomer is a longtime political provocateur whose previous protests have included handcuffing herself to a Twitter office after the service banned her and jumping a fence at a home owned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

[The Associated Press, The New York Times]

6. Students in Trump hats confront Native Americans

High school boys wearing President Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” caps were filmed staring down and jeering at a group of Native Americans, including an elderly activist named Nathan Phillips, in Washington on Friday. The teenagers are students at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, and were attending the annual March for Life, which coincided with the Indigenous Peoples March. “We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips,” said a statement from the school and its diocese Saturday, indicating the students involved will be disciplined for their behavior, “up to and including expulsion.”

“We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips,” the statement read. “This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

According to the “Indian Country Today” website, Phillips is an Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran who holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee and Seminole tribes who is also known as Chief Quese Imc, said he had been a part of the march and was among a small group of people remaining after the rally when the boisterous students began chanting slogans such as “Make America great” and then began doing the haka, a traditional Maori dance.

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting before Phillips and Frejo approached them. The footage doesn’t show any black person being being heckled, but one black man with a camera smiles as he shoots footage of the group.

State Rep. Ruth Buffalo, a North Dakota state lawmaker and member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, said she was saddened to see students showing disrespect to an elder who is also a U.S. military veteran at what was supposed to be a celebration of all cultures.

“The behavior shown in that video is just a snapshot of what indigenous people have faced and are continuing to face,” Buffalo said.

She said she hoped it would lead to some kind of meeting with the students to provide education on issues facing Native Americans.

The videos prompted a torrent of outrage online. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted that the footage “brought me to tears,” while actor Chris Evans tweeted that the students’ actions were “appalling” and “shameful.”

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and had been at the rally earlier in the day, used Twitter to sharply criticize what she called a “heartbreaking” display of “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”

Haaland, who is also Catholic, told AP she was particularly saddened to see the boys mocking an elder, who is revered in Native American culture. She placed some of the blame on President Donald Trump, who has used Indian names like Pocahontas as an insult.

“It is sad that we have a president who uses Native American women’s names as racial slurs, and that’s an example that these kids are clearly following considering the fact that they had their ‘Make America Great Again’ hats on,” Haaland said. “He’s really brought out the worst in people.”

[The Associated Press, Reuters]

7. Mexican pipeline explosion death toll climbs to 73

Local authorities by Saturday evening had revised their estimate of deaths in a Friday explosion at a Mexican fuel pipeline to 73, with another 74 people injured in the blast and more still missing. The casualties are high because a crowd of hundreds of villagers had gathered in hopes of collecting free gasoline after the pipeline was punctured by fuel thieves. “I trust in the people, and I know that with these painful, regrettable lessons, the people will also distance themselves from these practices” of fuel theft, said Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who visited the site of the tragedy Saturday.

Lopez Obrador vowed on Sunday to continue the fight against a practice that results in about $3 billion per year in stolen fuel. Legally, that fuel belongs to the Mexican people, with state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, acting as custodian.

But Pemex has long been plagued by corruption. Lopez Obrador described the company on Sunday as “at the service of people without scruples,” saying Pemex had been kidnapped by “a gang of ruffians,” referring to crooked government officials and executives within the company.

Lopez Obrador faces an uphill fight against a practice that has become an economic salve for poor rural areas where pipelines pass, covered by only a foot or two of dirt. Gangs recruit locals who then rally support from the community via gifts or threats of violence.

Storage sheds and warehouses dot the region, with landowners earning extra income from the rent or gifts of fuel.

The president plans a tour next week to several towns outside Mexico City where fuel theft has become entrenched in the local economy. He promises jobs and financial aid as an alternative for communities along pipelines that are somewhat dependent on income from fuel theft rings.

“Mexico needs to end corruption,” Lopez Obrador said Sunday. “This is not negotiable.”

Lopez Obrador launched the offensive against illegal taps soon after taking office Dec. 1, deploying 3,200 marines to guard pipelines and refineries. His administration also shut down pipelines to detect and deter illegal taps, relying more on delivering fuel by tanker truck.

Another pipeline burst into flames Friday in the neighboring state of Queretaro as a result of another illegal tap. But there were no reported casualties.

In December 2010, authorities blamed thieves for a pipeline explosion in the central Mexico state of Puebla, not far from the capital, that killed 28 people, including 13 children.

[The New York Times, The Associated Press]

8. Mediterranean shipwrecks leave 170 migrants missing, feared dead

Migrants arriving in Spain

About 170 migrants are missing and feared dead after two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean this week. Three survivors of one wreck rescued by an Italian naval helicopter on Friday said they’d been on a ship with about 120 people which began sinking after leaving Libya Thursday. A 2-month-old baby was among the passengers. Another 53 people who sailed from Morocco are also missing.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe’s doorstep,” said a statement from the United Nations’ refugee agency. “No effort should be spared, or prevented, from saving lives in distress at sea.” [Reuters, BBC News]

9. Winter storm moves east after slamming Midwest

A dangerous winter storm that brought extreme cold and heavy snow to much of the Midwest on Friday and Saturday moved east to New England Sunday. States of emergency have been declared in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and widespread travel delays are anticipated.

“Feet of snow, blizzard conditions, a significant build-up of ice, tree-breaking winds, and plunging temperatures will close roads, cause flight cancellations, and disrupt daily activities over a large part of the northeastern United States this weekend,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. [CBS News, AccuWeather]

10. SNL has Trump play Deal or No Deal to end the shutdown

Kenan Thompson as Steve Harvey, Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, and Pete Davidson as a Clemson student on SNL's "Deal or No Deal Cold Open" sketch

Saturday Night Live returned from a holiday hiatus with Alec Baldwin as President Trump playing Deal or No Deal to end the partial government shutdown, as “a TV game show with women holding briefcases” is the “only format [he] can understand.

” SNL‘s Trump gives an overview of the plan the real president proposed earlier Saturday, but host Steve Harvey (Kenan Thompson) has an array of alternative deals from congressional leaders. Trump cannot be tempted by their pitches, but when a Clemson University football player shows up with some “hamberders,” he’s ready to talk. [NBC News, CNN]

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