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Trump to speak from the Rose Garden about border security; expected to sign budget bill, then declare national emergency

“Trump will speak Friday morning in the Rose Garden about border security, the White House said” writes Catherine Lucey for sun-sentinel.com. In a surprising development, McConnell said he would support Trump’s emergency declaration, a turnabout for the Kentucky Republican, who like many lawmakers had opposed such action. Source: sun-sentinel.com

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Senate passes spending and border security bill

“The Senate on Thursday passed a broad spending and border security bill that will end a funding stalemate that has dragged on for nearly two months and caused the longest government shutdown in history” reports washingtonexaminer.com. The bill provides more than $22 billion for border security initiatives, such as technology at ports of entry, new customs officers, and humanitarian help for illegal immigrants picked up while crossing into the United States from Mexico. Source: washingtonexaminer.com

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‘Like a guy shooting craps down to his last chip’: Paul Manafort just made his riskiest gamble yet

“US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson nullified Manafort’s plea deal as a result and released Mueller from any obligations he had to show Manafort leniency” writes Sonam Sheth for businessinsider.com. Giuliani also told INSIDER last year that even though Manafort had struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors, his joint defense agreement with Trump was still in effect.Now that his plea deal has fallen apart, Justice Department veterans say Manafort’s freedom depends on Trump. Source: businessinsider.com

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Court allows House Democrats to join Obamacare’s defense

“A federal appeals court is allowing House Democrats to defend Obamacare in a lawsuit threatening the future of the health care law” writes Alice Miranda Ollstein for politico.com. The court will review a federal judge’s December ruling that the entire health care law is invalid after Congress eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance.The 5th Circuit today approved requests from four states to join Obamacare’s defense: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and Nevada. Source: politico.com

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Firearm stocks shrug off gun-control momentum among House Democrats

“A push by Democratic lawmakers to tighten regulations on firearms sales, which gained momentum when a House committee backed a bill requiring background checks for all buyers, wasn’t enough to buoy stock in the two biggest U.S. gunmakers” reports washingtonexaminer.com. “Both of the bills passed out of the committee today tackle real problems within our current system,” said Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who criticized what he said were efforts by some Republican committee members to obstruct the measures. Source: washingtonexaminer.com

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The White House has granted about one out of every four requests made for an exception to it’s steel tariffs, granting relief to companies that say they can’t find comparable products made inside the U.S.

“The White House has granted about one out of every four requests made for an exception to it’s steel tariffs, granting relief to companies that say they can’t find comparable products made inside the U.S. “As of February 11th, 66,001 steel and 9,548 aluminum exclusion requests have been filed” reports washingtonexaminer.com. The administration has also granted 2,824 exclusions for its aluminum tariffs.The administration officially instituted 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March, citing Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. Source: washingtonexaminer.com

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No decision yet on whether to push back China trade deadline: Trump adviser

“White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks at the White House in Washington Thomson Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has not yet made a decision on whether to extend a March 1 deadline for a trade deal with China, a top White House economic adviser said on Thursday” reports businessinsider.com. No such decision has been made so far,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told Fox News Channel when asked if there would be a 60-day extension.In the interview, Kudlow gave an upbeat assessment on high-level trade talks…

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US Congress Advances Border Security Bill Without Trump Border Wall

“It is the same level of funding Congress appropriated for border security measures last year, including barriers but not concrete walls” writes Min Read for reuters.com. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress on Thursday aimed to end a dispute over border security with legislation that would ignore President Donald Trump’s request for $5.7 billion (£4.45 billion) to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border but avoid a partial government shutdown. Source: reuters.com

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Rule change sharpens Dem investigations…

“As part of the investigation, Cummings requested sit-down, transcribed interviews with all employees in the White House personnel security office” reports thehill.com. The investigations threaten to dog the White House well into the 2020 campaign.Now, Democrats are preparing expansive investigations into the Trump administration on everything from Russia’s election interference to the White House security clearance process to Trump’s own financial dealings. Source: thehill.com

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