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National
Government shutdown: Trump signs bill to temporarily reopen government
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Government shutdown: Trump signs bill to temporarily reopen government

President Trump Announces Deal With Democrats To Reopen Government

Government shutdown: Trump signs bill to temporarily reopen government

After a record-breaking 35-day budget impasse, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a bill that would temporarily open the federal government for three weeks.

Trump signed the measure after the Senate and House each passed it Friday, according to the White House.

>> Read more trending news

Update 11:30 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are being asked to return to work and “reopen offices in a prompt and orderly manner” following the end of a 35-day government shutdown.

The Office of Management and Budget sent a memo late Friday to the heads of shuttered departments and agencies after President Donald Trump signed a bill that temporarily reopens the federal government for three weeks.

The memo says the office appreciates “cooperation and efforts during this difficult period.”

Update 9:30 p.m. EST Jan. 25: President Trump signed the continuing resolution bill ending longest government shutdown in U.S. history. 

Update 8 p.m. EST Jan. 25: President Donald Trump pushed back against criticism of his agreement to reopen the federal government without winning a promise of new funding for a border wall.

With even some conservatives casting the agreement as a retreat by the president, Trump is tweeting that it “was in no way a concession” on his part.

 

 

Update 7 p.m. EST Jan. 25: The House passes bill to end the 35-day government shutdown, sending it to President Trump for his signature.

Update 4:45 p.m. EST Jan. 25: The Senate unanimously approved a short-term spending bill to fund the government until mid-February.

The bill will go to the House for a vote.

Update 3:45 p.m. EST Jan. 25: The president told reporters Friday afternoon that he believes there is a good chance Democrats will agree to fund his border wall after he reached a short-term deal with congressional leaders to re-open the government.

“We’ll work with the Democrats and negotiate and if we can’t do that, then ... obviously we’ll do the emergency because that’s what it is -- it’s a national emergency,” Trump said.

Update 3:40 p.m. EST Jan. 25: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed the media after Trump announced he’d sign a short-term plan to re-open the government.

 

Update 3:10 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Lt. Cmdr. Scott McBride, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, told the Washington Post that he expects employees will receive their back pay within five days after officials approve of an appropriation to end the shutdown.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The New York Times that expects to send a bill to Trump on Friday after the president announced he would be willing to sign a short-term bill to re-open the government.

Update 2:55 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects to send a bill to re-open the partially closed federal government Friday after Trump announced he would be willing to sign a short-term measure to see the government funded until Feb. 15, according to The New York Times.

 

Update 2:45 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Trump agreed Friday to sign legislation to fund and re-open the government for three weeks -- until Feb. 15 -- and to ensure that federal workers who have missed two paychecks during the partial government shutdown get back pay.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump backs down on shutdown, agrees to fund government for 3 weeks

Some 800,000 federal workers have had to work without pay or have been kept from doing their jobs as Trump and congressional Democrats were locked in a stalemate over the billions of dollars that Trump has demanded to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The president said Friday that if no deal on the border wall is reached by Feb. 15, then he will declare a national emergency to move money around in the federal budget and build a wall.

Update 2:25 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Trump said White House and congressional leaders reached a short-term deal Friday to end the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22.

The president said in a speech at the Rose Garden that the deal would re-open the government until February 15 and ensure back pay for federal employees.

     

Update 2:15 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Trump said a deal has been reached 35 days after the partial government shutdown began. 

Update 2:05 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Unidentified sources told The Associated Press that White House and congressional leaders are nearing a short-term deal to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Trump is expected to address the shutdown during a speech in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would deliver remarks at 1:30 p.m., although by 2:05 p.m. the president had yet to speak.

Update 1:10 p.m. EST Jan. 25: White House officials confirmed Friday that Trump will deliver remarks regarding the shutdown at 1:30 p.m. in the Rose Garden.

 

Update 1 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Preparations are being made in the Rose Garden for an announcement, according to White House pool reports, however, it’s not clear what the announcement will be about.

Reports surfaced Friday that Trump planned to address the shutdown from the White House. Officials did not immediately confirm those reports, although ropes and a TelePrompter were placed in the Rose Garden Friday afternoon.

Update 12:20 p.m. EST Jan. 25: Trump is expected to speak Friday afternoon from the White House on the 35th day of the partial government shutdown, according to Politico.

Unidentified sources told CNN that Trump planned to “make an announcement about the border and the government shutdown, sources say.

Update 11:15 a.m. EST Jan. 25: Several airports experienced delays Friday due to Federal Aviation Administration staffing issues as the partial government shutdown dragged into its 35th day.

>> FAA halts incoming flights at LaGuardia

Delays have been reported at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, LaGuardia Airport in New York, Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed the delays on the ongoing shutdown Friday, on the same day hundreds of thousands of federal employees missed their second paychecks.

“The #TrumpShutdown has already pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans to the breaking point,” Pelosi said in a tweet. “Now it's pushing our airspace to the breaking point too.”

 

Update 6 p.m. EST Jan. 24: House speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea of providing “some big down payment” for President Donald Trump’s border wall as part of a solution to the partial government shutdown.

Pelosi spoke after President Trump suggested a “reasonable” installment on such a barrier might be a way to solve the impasse. She suggested the idea was not a serious one.

She told reporters: “I hope that doesn’t mean some big down payment.” She said, “That is not a reasonable agreement between the senators.”

Update 3:45 p.m. EST Jan. 24: The U.S. Senate failed to move ahead with either of a pair of plans put forth to re-open the government more than a month after the partial government shutdown began.

The Senate voted 52-44 to move forward with a Democrat-backed plan, but the measure failed to garner the 60 votes needed.

 

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: GRIDLOCK: Senate blocks shutdown plans from both parties

The measure failed after senators voted 50-47 in favor of a plan put forth by the president that would have traded protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants in exchange for the money to build the wall.

Democrats had earlier called the proposal a “non-starter.”

Update 3:25 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked Trump’s request for $5.7 to build the wall. The partisan 50-47 tally fell well short of the 60 votes required to advance the measure over a Democratic filibuster.

The $350 billion-plus government-wide funding bill represented the first attempt by Republicans controlling the Senate to reopen the government since the shutdown began.

 

Update 10:10 a.m. EST Jan. 24: A poll released Wednesday shows a majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown, dragging his approval rating to its lowest level in more than a year.

The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found 34 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance overall, down from 42 percent a month earlier. The president’s approval among Republicans remains close to 80 percent, but his standing with independents is among its lowest points of his time in office.

“Trump is responsible for this,” said poll respondent Lloyd Rabalais, a federal contractor from Slidell, Louisiana, who’s not affiliated with either political party.

 

Update 11:15 p.m. EST Jan. 23: Late Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump indicated that he would give the State of the Union after partial government shutdown ends: 

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!”

   

Moments following the president’s tweet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied asking for support of a House-passed package expected in the Senate on Thursday:

“Mr. President, I hope by saying “near future” you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences.”

 

Update 4 p.m. EST Jan. 23: After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. House of Representatives would not consider a resolution to allow him to hold his State of the Union address in the House Chamber amid the shutdown, Trump accused her of being “afraid of the truth.”

“We just found out that she's cancelled it and I think that's a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love,” the president told reporters Wednesday. “She doesn't want the American public to hear what's going on and she's afraid of the truth.”

 

Update 2:45 p.m. EST Jan. 23: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday in a letter to Trump that the U.S. House of Representatives will not consider a resolution authorizing him to make his State of the Union address in the House Chamber until after the government shutdown ends.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Pelosi to Trump: No State of the Union until shutdown is over

"When I extended an invitation on January 3rd for you to deliver the State of the Union address, it was on the mutually agreed upon date, January 29th," Pelosi wrote. "At that time, there was no thought that the government would still be shut down."

 

Trump told reporters at the White House that he was “not surprised” by Pelosi’s reaction.

“It’s really a shame, what’s happening with the Democrats,” Trump said.

Update 12:35 p.m. EST Jan. 23: Trump said Wednesday that he plans to deliver his State of the Union address as planned on Jan. 29, despite a request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reschedule the speech as the partial government shutdown continues.

>> State of the Union: White House moves forward with plans for speech next week

Pelosi had invited Trump to deliver the State of the Union in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3, but in a letter sent two weeks later, she rescinded the invitation, citing security concerns.

Trump said he was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service prior to Pelosi's letter and that both agencies have reassured him that "there would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event."

"Accordingly, there are no security concerns regard the State of the Union Address," Trump said. "Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United State of america regarding the State of our Union."

 

Update 7:00 p.m. EST Jan. 22: Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va) has introduced a measure in the Senate to prevent future government shutdowns.

It’s called the Stop Stupidity (Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The Coming Years) Act. It would automatically renew the previous year’s funding, guaranteeing the government would remain open if lawmakers don’t agree on a budget, but it doesn’t include the legislative or executive branches of government.

 

Warner said in a press release that the measure would “protect federal government workers from being used as pawns in policy negotiations,” according to The Hill.

“It is disturbing that the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of workers are at the mercy of dysfunction in Washington,” he said. 

“Workers, business owners and tax payers are currently paying the price of D.C. gridlock and my legislation will put an end to that.”

The shutdown is affecting some 800,000 government workers. 

Update 1:45 p.m. EST Jan. 22: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he expects a vote on Trump’s immigration proposal Thursday. However, it remained unclear whether the proposal would win approval as the shutdown dragged on into its 32nd day.

Democrats have passed several bills in the House aimed at funding the government, though McConnell has declined to hold votes for the measures, citing the president’s unwillingness to sign any budget that excludes money for the wall.

The Senate last voted on a government funding bill on Dec. 19, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

 

Update 11:30 a.m. EST Jan. 21: The partial government shutdown entered its 31st day Monday.

Democrats and Republicans took first steps over the weekend toward reaching a compromise in the ongoing budget battle, however, it remained unclear Monday whether negotiations would prove fruitful.

Trump on Sunday pressed Democrats to accept a deal he offered Saturday, which would give temporary protections to some immigrants in the United States in exchange for $5.7 billion to fund the border wall. The president also pushed back against critics who accused him of offering amnesty for immigrants who came into the U.S. illegally.

 

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump denies offering amnesty, hits Democrats over shutdown, border wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a vote on the president's plan as soon as Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 19: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans Senate action this week on President Donald Trump’s proposal to end the partial government shutdown.

Democrats, who control the House, said they find the president’s offer unacceptable.

The plan faces an uphill path in the Senate and virtually no chance of survival in the Democratic-controlled House, according to The Associated Press.

Update 3 p.m. EST Jan. 19: President Donald Trump announced a proposal for Democrats in a televised speech Saturday afternoon to end the the 29-day partial government shutdown.

In his speech, he said he wants to trade temporary protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants for money to build his wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s proposal as a “nonstarter” moments before for the announcement.

Democrats want the protections to be permanent and want him to reopen government before negotiating on border security.

Update 6 p.m. EST Jan. 18: President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he will make a major announcement on the government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday afternoon from the White House.

 

Saturday will mark the 28th day of the partial government shutdown, the longest in US history.

Update 2:10 p.m. EST Jan. 18: The Office of Management and Budget released a memo Friday barring Congressional delegations from using aircraft paid for with taxpayer money amid the ongoing shutdown.

The memo, from Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought, was released one day after Trump abruptly pulled military air support for a planned Congressional delegation that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff,” Vought said in the memo. “Nor will any funds be appropriated to the Executive Branch be used for any Congressional delegation travel expenses without his express written approval.”

 

Pelosi told reporters Friday that lawmakers had planned to continue their planned trip to Afghanistan after it was scrapped by Trump’s announcement.

"We had the prerogative to travel commercially and we made plans to do that until the administration then leaked that we were traveling commercially and that endangers us,” she said.

 

Update 11:50 a.m. EST Jan. 18: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she canceled plans to travel to Afghanistan after Trump pulled military travel support for the trip one day earlier and shared that she planned to visit a war zone.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said Thursday that the House speaker planned to travel with a Congressional delegation to Belgium and then Afghanistan to visit troops on the front lines. Trump pulled military air support for the trip one day after Pelosi asked him to postponed his State of the Union address, scheduled to take place on Jan. 29, in light of the ongoing shutdown. The president also cited the shutdown and suggested that lawmakers could make the trip on a commercial airline. 

Hammill said Friday that Pelosi and the rest of the delegation were prepared to fly commercially but he said the plan was axed after the Trump administration “leaked the commercial travel plans.” 

“In light of the grave threats caused by the President’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” Hammill said.

Update 10:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: President Donald Trump has canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that out of consideration for the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, the president has nixed his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum. Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown.

Update 3:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17:  An overseas trip that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set leave for on Thursday, before Trump abruptly announced he had pulled military travel support for the trip, was intended to show appreciation for American troops abroad, Pelosi’s spokesman said.

In a letter sent Thursday to Pelosi’s office, the president said a Congressional Delegation, or CODEL, that Pelosi had planned was canceled amid the ongoing government shutdown. Trump said the CODEL intended to make stops in Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said the speaker planned to stop in Brussels, as required to give the pilot time to rest, and meet with top NATO commanders before continuing on to Afghanistan. He said the trip did not include any stops in Egypt.

“The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security briefings from those front lines,” Hammill said. “The president traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL (Congressional Deligation) led by Rep. (Lee) Zeldin.”

 

Update 2:55 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump on Thursday pulled military travel support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of a planned trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Pelosi had planned to leave for a bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip, also known as a CODEL, later Thursday, CNN reported.

According to the news network, Trump has “the authority to direct the Department of Defense to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters.”

However, CNN noted that it was not immediately clear whether the Defense Department was notified of the cancellation ahead of time.

The cancellation came one day after Pelosi asked Trump to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown.

 

Update 2:25 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump said Thursday that he's postponing a trip planned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

>> From Cox Media Group’s National Content Desk: In escalating shutdown fight, Trump cancels plane for Pelosi overseas trip

"It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown," the president said. "Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative."

 

Trump addressed the letter to Pelosi’s office one day after she asked him to postpone his planned State of the Union address in light of the shutdown.

The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed several bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall.

Update 1:35 p.m. EST Jan. 17: The State Department ordered U.S. diplomats in Washington and at embassies around the world to return to work starting next week, saying in a message to employees that they will be paid despite the shutdown.

It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it had taken steps to "make available additional funds to pay the salaries of its employees, including those affected by the current lapse."

“Employees will  be paid for work performed beginning on or after January 20,” the notice, from Deputy Under Secretary for Management Bill Todd, said. “Beyond (that pay period), we will review balances and available legal authorities to try to cover future pay periods.”

Officials noted that employees would not be paid for work done between Dec. 22, when the partial government shutdown started, and Jan. 20 until after the shutdown ends.

Department officials said they were taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming efforts "to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people." 

Officials added that the department's leadership was "deeply concerned" about the financial hardships employees are facing.

Update 12:45 p.m. EST Jan. 17: Trump signed a bill Wednesday that requires the government to compensate federal workers affected by the ongoing shutdown for wages lost, work performed or leave used during the shutdown.

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019 passed in the House last week. It requires that employees be compensated “on the earliest date possible after the lapse ends, regardless of scheduled pay dates.”

 

Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 16: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that despite the partial government shutdown, federal officials are prepared to deal with issues that might arise when Trump delivers his State of the Union address later this month.

“The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen said in a statement posted on Twitter.

 

Her comments came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the president to delay the address, scheduled January 29, due to security concerns as the shutdown dragged into its 26th day.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: TSA: “Financial limitations” causing airport screeners not to show up for work

Update 10:25 a.m. EST Jan. 16: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asked Trump to delay his State of the Union address, which is expected later this month, as the partial government shutdown continues.

>> Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union amid shutdown

“Given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi said in a letter sent Wednesday.

 

Update 1:41 p.m. EST Jan. 15: A federal judge has denied a request from unionized federal employees who filed a lawsuit requiring the government pay air traffic controllers who are working without pay during the shutdown, CNN reported.

 

>> FDA restarts inspections during shutdown, inspectors working without pay

Update 1:45 p.m. EST Jan. 14: A group of federal employees who was ordered to work without pay amid the ongoing shutdown filed suit last week against the government, comparing their situations to involuntary servitude and accusing Trump and other officials of violating the 13th Amendment, according to The Washington Post.

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday by four federal workers from Texas and West Virginia who are employed by the departments of Justice, Agriculture and Transportation, attorneys said the workers could face discipline or removal if they failed to continue working despite the fact that they were not getting paid during the shutdown. The Post reported the lawsuit also accused officials of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

>> Atlanta airport security lines more than an hour long amid federal shutdown

“Our plaintiffs find themselves in the exact same boat as virtually every other furloughed federal employee: bills to pay and no income to pay them,” the workers' attorney, Michael Kator, told the Post. “As this drags on, their situation will become more and more dire.”

The partial government shutdown entered its 24th day Monday, making it the longest in history. The second-longest government shutdown lasted 21 days in the mid-90s, during President Bill Clinton's time in office.

Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 14: Trump railed against Democrats on Monday morning as the partial government shutdown entered its 24th day.

"I've been waiting all weekend," Trump wrote Monday in a tweet. "Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!"

 

The House, which is controlled by Democrats, has passed six bills to re-open government agencies closed by the partial government shutdown, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated earlier this month that he would not bring funding bills passed by the House before the Senate, as the president has signaled several times that he would not sign a spending bill that failed to fund his border wall.

"The package presented yesterday by Democratic leaders can only be seen as a time wasting act," he said on Jan. 3.

 

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump said Friday that it would be easy for him to declare a national emergency to get a wall along the country’s southern border built, but that he has no plans to do so.

“I’m not going to do it so fast,” the president said during a discussion about border security with state, local and community leaders at the White House. “This is something that Congress can do.”

Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck on Friday, and Washington is close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump said Thursday he will not travel later this month to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

The president was scheduled to leave for the trip Jan. 21.

“Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump wrote Thursday afternoon on Twitter. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!” 

 

Last year, a brief government shutdown threatened to derail his trip to Davos, where he asserted that his "America First" agenda can go hand-in-hand with global cooperation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading the U.S. delegation to the annual Davos event, which courts high-profile businesspeople and political figures and other elites. Other members of the Cabinet are scheduled to attend as well as Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Update 9:05 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Trump will travel Thursday to Texas to visit the southern border after negotiations to end the partial government shut down crumbled.

The president walked out of discussions Wednesday with Congressional leaders after Democrats again refused to approve of $5.7 billion of funding for his border wall.

“The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give ‘Trump’ another one of many wins!” Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter.

 

The president is set to travel to McAllen on Thursday, where he plans to visit a border patrol station for a roundtable on immigration and border security.

Update 3:40 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The president walked out of discussions with leaders in the House and Senate on Wednesday amid the ongoing government shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whether she would agree to fund his border wall and that he walked out of the meeting when she answered in the negative.

“He said, ‘If I open up the government, you won’t do what I want,’” Schumer said.

The president wrote on Twitter that the meeting was “a total waste of time.”

“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier?” he wrote. “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”

 

Update 2:35 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are standing beside the president Wednesday as the debate over border wall funding continues.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Republicans for their party lunch Wednesday afternoon.

“The Republicans are unified,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “We want border security. We want safety for our country.”

The president accused Democrats of blocking funding for the wall, “because I won the presidency and they think they can try and hurt us.” Democrats have called the proposed wall costly, ineffective and "immoral" and say Trump's "manufacturing a crisis."

Trump and Pence are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House.

Update 1:30 p.m. EST Jan. 9: Trump said Wednesday that his border wall has "tremendous Republican support” ahead of a meeting with GOP lawmakers as the shutdown drags into its 19th day.

"I think we're going to win,” Trump said. “We need border security, very simple.”

In response to a reporter’s question about how long the president would be willing to let the shutdown last in order to secure funding for the wall, Trump said, “whatever it takes.”

 

Update 12:50 p.m. EST Jan. 9: During a bill signing at the White House on Wednesday, the president pushed again for funding of his border wall, arguing that human trafficking can’t be stopped without it.

"As long as we have a border that is not secure, we're going to suffer the consequences of that," Trump said.

 

The president brushed off critics who have said a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be ineffective to address immigration issues.

“They say a wall is a medieval solution, that’s true,” Trump said. “It worked then, it works even better now”

 

Democrats have called Trump's promised wall costly, ineffective and "immoral" and say he's "manufacturing a crisis."

The bill Trump signed is designed to enhance an annual State Department report that measures global efforts to eliminate human trafficking.

Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan. 9: Officials will hold a series of meetings Wednesday in an attempt to end the government shutdown that began 19 days ago, according to Politico.

The president, Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will meet Wednesday afternoon with Senate Republicans for their party lunch, the news site reported. Then, at 3 p.m., the president will meet with House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House, Poliltico reported, noting it will mark “the third such bipartisan meeting in a week’s time.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning that Trump is still considering the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built.

"(It's) something we're still looking at, something that's certainly still on the table," she said, according to Bloomberg News. "The best solution is to be able to work with Congress to get this done."

 

The president did not mention the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get the wall built Tuesday night, during his first address from the Oval Office. He wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter, “we MUST fix our Southern Border!”

 

Trump is scheduled to visit the border Thursday.

Update 10:50 p.m. EST Jan. 8: In his first ever televised Oval Office address, President Donald Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his border wall Tuesday night, blaming illegal immigration for the scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S. 

 

Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to “fear, not facts” and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain.

He argued for spending some $5.7 billion for a border wall on both security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid the extended shutdown.

He will visit the Mexican border in person on Thursday.

Update 8:07 p.m. EST Jan. 8: The New York Times is reporting that Trump will not declare a national emergency this evening in order to circumvent Congress to get funds to build the wall. According to the times, “administration officials who had seen a draft copy of his speech said the president was not preparing to do so.”

Update 10:45 a.m. EST Jan. 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will deliver the Democratic response to Trump's planned prime time address, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

 

Update 1:50 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump said he plans to address the nation Tuesday night as Democrats continue to stand firm on their refusal to fund the president’s border wall.

“I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security  crisis on our Southern Border Tuesday night at 9 P.M. Eastern,” Trump said Monday afternoon in a tweet.

 

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Trump to visit Mexican border as White House pushes for security funding

The announcement came after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump plans to visit the southern border on Thursday.

Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Trump on Thursday will visit the southern border amid the ongoing shutdown impasse, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

 

Update 9:10 a.m. EST Jan. 7: The partial government shutdown entered its 17th day Monday with no end in sight despite meetings over the weekend meant to help bring the shutdown to a close, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Update 3:30 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump said Friday that he’s considering using his executive authority to get a wall built on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely,” Trump said. “I haven’t done it. I may do it.”

 

The president spoke with reporters Friday after meeting with congressional leaders amid the ongoing budget impasse. He said he’s designated a team to meet over the weekend with lawmakers to resolve the standoff. 

Update 2:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: At a news conference Friday, Trump confirmed he told congressional leaders that he would be willing to allow the government shut down to continue for months or years if Democrats refuse to fund his border wall.

“I don’t think (the government will remain closed that long) but I am prepared,” Trump said. “I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days.”

 

Trump met with top leaders from the House and Senate on Friday morning to discuss the ongoing partial government shutdown and his demand for $5.6 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump: Shutdown could go ‘months or even years’ in border wall dispute

The president said Friday’s meeting was “very, very productive,” though top Democrats told reporters after the meeting that little was accomplished.

“How do you define progress in a meeting?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked reporters after the meeting. “When you have a better understanding of each other’s position? When you eliminate some possibilities? If that’s the judgement, we made some progress.”

Update 1:40 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Top Democrats said a meeting with Trump aimed at bringing the ongoing partial government shutdown to an end was contentious on Friday, with neither side willing to budge in the ongoing battle over funding for a border wall.

“We told the president we needed the government open," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the meeting. "He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time -- months or even years."

 

Update 9:20 a.m. EST Jan. 4: Trump is set to meet Friday morning with congressional leaders, though it was not clear whether the meeting would help bring to an end the partial government shutdown that began nearly two weeks ago.

The meeting, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m., will include newly sworn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top leaders from the House and Senate, NPR reported

House Democrats approved of a spending bill Thursday to re-open the government, prompting a veto threat from Trump.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump threatens vetoes as House passes bills to end partial shutdown

“If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said in a veto threat against the plans passed by House Democrats in the opening hours of the 116th Congress, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.

Update 11:45 p.m. EST Jan. 3: House Democrats have approved a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. 

The largely party-line votes by the new Democratic majority came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room to pledge a continued fight for his signature campaign promise. 

The Democratic package to end the shutdown includes a bill to temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Feb. 8 as bipartisan talks continue. 

It was approved, 239-192.

Update 11:15 p.m. EST Jan. 2: President Donald Trump said he remains “ready and willing” to work with Democrats to pass a government spending bill even as he refuses to budge over funding for his long-promised border wall. 

Trump tweeted “Let’s get it done!” as the partial government shutdown continues with no end in sight.

   

Trump has invited the group back for a follow-up session Friday, the day after Nancy Pelosi is expected to become speaker of the House.

Earlier, they met Trump at the White House Wednesday for a briefing on border security.

The session did not yield any breakthroughs according to The Associated Press, and Democrats said they remained committed to introducing the legislation Thursday. The administration has so far rejected the plan, which does not include funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Schumer said Trump could not provide a “good answer” for opposing the bills. He added that Trump and Republicans “are now feeling the heat.”

Update 9:30 a.m. EST Jan. 2: Congressional leaders are expected to attend a briefing on border security Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown continues, The Associated Press reported.

Among the lawmakers expected to attend the meeting are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to the AP. Top incoming House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, are also expected to attend.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m., The Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper noted that few, if any, compromises are likely to be offered at the session, which comes one day before Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 1: Trump has invited congressional leaders to a border security briefing scheduled for Wednesday. The Associated Press reported the top two Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate have been invited. Other possible attendees and agenda have not been released.

The White House has not commented on the apparent invitations, the AP reported.

Update 12:35 p.m. EST Dec. 28: Trump threatened Friday to close the southern U.S. border if Democrats continued to refuse to fund his border wall.

“We build a Wall or we close the Southern Border,” he said in a series of tweets Friday morning.

       

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Friday that Trump had canceled his plans for New Year’s Eve in light of the ongoing shutdown. Still, Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, told The Associated Press on Friday that Democrats won’t fund the president’s “immoral, ineffective expensive wall.”

“While we await the President’s public proposal, Democrats have made it clear that, under a House Democratic Majority, we will vote swiftly to re-open government on Day One,” Hammill said.

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 27: The partial government shutdown that started Saturday is expected to last into the new year. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement obtained Thursday by C-SPAN that no votes were expected in the U.S. House of Representatives this week as the shutdown continues.

 

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday showed 47 percent of Americans hold Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown, despite the president’s assertion that Democrats are at fault.

The poll found 33 percent of adults blame Democrats in Congress.

In a pair of tweet Thursday, the president accused Democrats of “obstruction of the needed Wall.”

   

Update: 3:35 p.m. EST Dec. 25: President Trump spoke to members of the five branches of the U.S. military via video conference Tuesday, sending them his well-wishes before discussing the partial government shutdown and the country's need for a wall: 

“I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it."

Update 3:50 p.m. EST Dec. 23: Incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that the shutdown could continue into the next year.

“It is very possible that the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney said.

Update 3:55 p.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate does not estimate a vote on a deal to end the partial government shutdown until next Thursday at the earliest, tweeted Jamie Dupree, Cox Media Group Washington correspondent.

The Senate Cloakroom, a Twitter account for the Republican side of the Senate floor, tweeted the following schedule for the Senate: “Following today’s session, the Senate will convene on Monday, December 24th at 11:00 am for a Pro Forma Session. Following the Pro Forma Session, we will next convene at 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 27th and consider business if a deal has been reached on government funding”

 

President Trump has been active on Twitter today, saying he’s in the White House today “working hard,” and reaffirming his support for tough border security.

“I won an election, said to be one of the greatest of all time, based on getting out of endless & costly foreign wars & also based on Strong Borders which will keep our Country safe. We fight for the borders of other countries, but we won’t fight for the borders of our own!” the President tweeted.

Update 3:00 p.m. EST Dec. 22: White House officials are warning that the government shutdown will last through the holidays, as Trump is not relenting on his demand, tweeted New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers. "We have continued to put forth what we think is an important expectation ... which is $5 billion in border security," a senior White House official told reporters, according to Rogers’ tweet.

Update 12:30 p.m. EST Dec. 22: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an update on government funding negotiations. He said a procedural agreement was made to “create space” to allow discussions between Senate Democrats and White House. There will be no votes until Trump and Senate Democrats reach an agreement.

Update 9:06 a.m. EST Dec. 22: The Senate is expected to meet today at noon to see if they can hammer out an agreement that President Trump will sign.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told press Friday night that “constructive talks are underway," for such an agreement, reported CNN.

If any new deal is announced, lawmakers would be given 24 hours notice to return to Washington for a vote.

Update 1:31 a.m. EST Dec. 22: In a joint statement released shortly after the partial government shutdown went into effect, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y,) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were critical of President Donald Trump and called the government closures the “Trump shutdown.”

"President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted," Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement. “Democrats have offered Republicans multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that already passed the Senate unanimously, and all of which include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security -- not the president’s ineffective and expensive wall.

“If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January.”

 

Update 10:45 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With a partial government shutdown expected at midnight, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney instructed agencies to plan for a shutdown.

Mulvaney says in a memo for government executives that “we are hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration” but that employees should report to work when scheduled to “undertake orderly shutdown activities.”

Update 8:19 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The Senate adjourned without a deal on spending, just after 8 p.m. Friday evening ensuring a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday.

Senators expect to return at noon Saturday as talks continue.

Update 7:09 p.m. EST Dec. 21: The House adjourned Friday evening and will return Saturday at noon which will likely trigger a partial shutdown.

Update 5:55 p.m. EST Dec. 21: With just over 6 hours left until the midnight deadline, Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote advanced the 47-47 tally after a marathon, five-hour voting session in the Senate that dragged on as senators rushed back to Washington.

The move doesn’t immediately end the threat of a partial federal shutdown, but it kick-starts negotiations as Congress tries to find a resolution to Trump’s demand for the wall.

Senators say they won’t vote on a final bill to fund the government until Trump and congressional leaders all agree to a deal.

 

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Dec. 21: Trump spoke with reporters before signing a criminal justice reform bill Friday. 

"It's possible that we'll have a shutdown,” the president said. “I think the chances are probably very good because I don't think Democrats care so much about maybe this issue, but this is a very big issue”

 

The Republican-led House approved funding Thursday for Trump's border wall and sent the bill to the Senate.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: With impasse over wall funding, federal workers gear up for shutdown

Senators are holding a procedural vote Thursday afternoon to determine whether to move forward with the bill.

 

During a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer last week, Trump said he’d shut down the government if lawmakers failed to secure $5 billion in funding for a wall to span the U.S.-Mexico border.

“If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government,” Trump said. “I’m going to shut it down for border security.”

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown

Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 21: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the officials plan to discuss “the funding bill and the importance of border security” at 10:30 a.m.

 

The president insisted on Twitter Friday morning that, “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”

 

Ten days earlier, Trump said during a meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: VIDEO: Trump and top Democrats spar in Oval Office showdown

Original report: A potential government shutdown looms and President Donald Trump is tweeting, saying that if a spending plan isn’t passed and signed by midnight, it will be the Democrats fault when the government closes.

 

On Thursday night, after a meeting between House Republicans and the president, the House passed a spending bill that included $5 billion for Trump’s border wall. 

>>From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: With Friday night deadline, funding fight shifts to Senate

 

The vote was 217-185, CNN reported.

The bill is in the hands of the Senate whose members have to act on it before the midnight deadline or the government closes. 

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Shutdown chances jump as Trump demands money for his border wall

Washington watchers believe the bill will not pass because of the money earmarked for the wall, CNN reported

Democrats have said they will not support the money for the border and both sides of the Senate aisle are needed if the spending plan is to pass.

>> Government shutdown: What will close; will you get your Social Security check, SNAP, WIC?

In a series of morning tweets by the President, he placed the blame on Democrats if the government shuts down.

         

The president said he would not sign the Senate-backed spending bill that does not include money for the border wall. The Senate plan would grant funding to keep the government operating until Feb. 8, The Washington Post reported

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The United States Capitol grounds on December 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.
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Trump tweets as government shutdown looms

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The United States Capitol grounds on December 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.

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  • A 93-year-old woman in the United Kingdom was “arrested” Saturday after police in Greater Manchester found out that it was one of her wishes as her health begins to fade.  The Guardian reported that the gesture from police officers came to light after Josie Birds’ granddaughter, Pam Smith, tweeted a thank-you to the officers involved.  “A big thank you to @gmpolice for ‘arresting’ my Gran Josie today,” Smith tweeted. “She is 93 years old and her health is failing, and she wanted to be arrested for something before it’s too late.” Photos accompanying the tweet show an obviously delighted Birds being handcuffed and transported to the station in the back of a vehicle. Another photo shows her sitting at a table in what looks like an interrogation room.  >> Read more trending news Smith later tweeted that her grandmother had never done anything bad.  “She thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and they even gave her tea and cake afterwards,” she wrote.  Smith’s initial tweet was retweeted hundreds of times as of Tuesday afternoon, and thousands of people liked it. A representative of the Greater Manchester police force also responded to Smith’s message.  “I’m glad our officers could help out. (It) looks like she got the full experience!” the response read. “Give our best to Josie and I’ll try and pass your message back to the officers who kindly helped out.” Smith wrote in the thread of comments that followed the tweet that her grandmother is well-known in her community, many members of which were on hand with their cellphones to grab shots of the elderly woman in cuffs. “(She) has never put a foot wrong all her life,” Smith wrote. “She is quite poorly now and wanted to do something ‘naughty’ while she still has the strength to enjoy it. This has definitely put a (big) smile on her face.” The commenters on Smith’s tweet enjoyed the photos nearly as much as Birds’ family did. One person wrote that he was “glad to see this menace taken off the streets,” before sending his love to Birds and her family. One woman wrote, “Kinda wish she’d actually gone out and done something illegal.” Another woman tagged a loved one and told them, “This is what I want for my birthday.” A man wrote that the photo of Birds being taken into custody was “brilliant” because it looked “like she is going down for something big.” “Bloody nonagenarians causing trouble,” another man wrote. “Bring back national service.” “Can’t believe she’s never been arrested before,” another Twitter user wrote. “She looks like a wrong ‘un.” Smith wrote that she was “gobsmacked” over the international attention her grandmother is receiving. “I’ve been passing on everyone’s good wishes to her, and she is thrilled,” Smith wrote. “She didn’t expect this level of response and, to be honest, neither did I!”
  • About a week after Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ resignation, first lady Melania Trump has announced that her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, will be the White House press secretary. In her announcement of the news on Twitter, Trump also said that Grisham will also take an additional role as White House communications director. The New York Times reported that that position has been vacant since Bill Shrine left the post in March. CNBC reported that it is not clear if she will be leading communications for President Donald Trump and Melania Trump at once. >> Read more trending news  Here are three things to know about Grisham: She’s been with Trump’s team the longest of most in the White House Along with Trump’s social media director and assistant Dan Scavino, Grisham has been with the Trumps since the 2015 campaign. Her first official press secretary duties will start with a trip with the president to  the G20 in Osaka, Japan, then to Seoul. She’s critical of the media for its coverage of Melania Trump’s fashion instead of her work In 2018, Grisham wrote an op-ed on CNN in which she criticized the network’s coverage of the first lady. Much of her issue was with the focus of the media, like The New York Times and Vanity Fair. “Reports focus on the trivial and superficial, rather than the deeper issues facing our country that the she has tirelessly worked to address,” she wrote. “Last year, when Mrs. Trump traveled to Texas to comfort and support the people affected by hurricanes, the media focused on the pair of heels she wore to board Air Force One.” Related: Stephanie Grisham named White House press secretary Days before publishing the op-ed, Grisham addressed Trump’s controversial “I really don’t care. Do u?” coat, which she wore June 21, 2018, while visiting migrant children in Texas. “Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted FLOTUS greatly,” Grisham tweeted. “If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids - rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe - we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children.” Although Grisham also said there was “no hidden message” in the jacket, Melania Trump said in an October 2018 ABC News interview that the coat was meant as a statement to the left-wing media that criticized her. She’s defended Melania Trump against Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump When Ivana Trump, Donald Trump’s first wife, referred to herself as the first lady and said she has a “direct number” to the White House while promoting her memoir, “Raising Trump,” Grisham issued a statement calling her remarks “noise.” “Mrs. Trump has made the White House a home for Barron and the President. She loves living in Washington, DC, and is honored by her role as first lady of the United States,” Grisham said in the statement. “She plans to use her title and role to help children, not sell books. There is clearly no substance to this statement from an ex, this is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise.”
  • A month after Connecticut mother of five Jennifer Dulos vanished from her home, her estranged husband’s lawyer is presenting a novel theory about her disappearance.  Defense attorney Norm Pattis has released a statement in which he suggested Dulos, 50, of New Canaan, may have staged her death in an attempt to frame her husband for murder, as the supposed victim did in the best-selling Gillian Flynn novel “Gone Girl.” The 2014 movie based on the book, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, earned more than $368 million worldwide.  >> Read more trending news Monday marked a month since Jennifer Dulos was last seen alive. Fotis Dulos, 51, and his girlfriend, Michelle Trononis, 44, both of Farmington, have been charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. Both are free on bail of $500,000 each.  The pair are accused of getting rid of several items, including clothing and cleaning supplies, stained with Jennifer Dulos’ blood. According to the Hartford Courant, a mixture of blood from both Jennifer and Fotis Dulos was also found on Jennifer Dulos’ kitchen faucet.  Jennifer Dulos, who filed for divorce in 2017, and her estranged husband were in the middle of a contentious custody battle over the couple’s children, who range in age from 8 to 13. Jennifer Dulos claimed in family court documents that Fotis Dulos was verbally abusive, and she said she feared he might try to abscond with the children to his native Greece.  >> Related story: Bloody clothes, camera footage leave trail of evidence in case of missing mom of 5 NBC Connecticut reported that Pattis’ statement brought to light a novel Jennifer Dulos wrote years ago. Her family pointed out Monday, however, that the novel’s manuscript was completed in 2002, before Jennifer and Fotis Dulos met.  “Gone Girl” was published a decade later, in 2012.  “We have been provided a very dark 500-plus page novel Jennifer wrote. We are reviewing it now,” Pattis said in his statement. “We are also investigating new information regarding $14,000 worth of medical bills re tests just before she disappeared. We don’t know what had become of Jennifer, but the ‘Gone Girl’ hypothesis is very much on our mind.” Pattis, who also represents conspiracy theorist and “Infowars” host Alex Jones, admitted to the New York Post over the weekend that he had yet to read the manuscript himself. He also alleged -- without providing documentation or other evidence to the Post -- that Jennifer Dulos had a “troubled past” in which she struggled with drug addiction.  “From our perspective, this is a perfect storm: a mysterious illness we don’t know about, a history of substance abuse and a history of having disappeared,” Pattis told the Post.  A spokesperson for Jennifer Dulos’ family, who the Post said laughed off Pattis’ allegations about drug use, on Monday released the family’s response to Pattis’ hypothesis on the missing woman’s fate, the NBC affiliate reported.  “Trying to tie Jennifer’s absence to a book she wrote more than 17 years ago makes no sense. Evidence shows that Jennifer was the victim of a violent attack in her New Canaan home,” Monday’s statement through family spokeswoman Carrie Luft read.  Luft said she read Jennifer Dulos’ book in installments as she wrote it, and that the novel had nothing in common with Flynn’s psychological thriller. She said her friend’s book was a story that followed its protagonist through relationships and self-discovery.  “Like all of Jennifer’s writing, it expresses a deep longing for human connection and the need to be accepted as one’s true self,” the statement read.  Luft said the “false and irresponsible allegations” about Jennifer Dulos harm the missing woman’s loved ones, particularly her children. “As of today, she has been missing for a month,” she wrote. “This is not fiction or a movie. This is real life, as experienced every single day by Jennifer’s five young children, her family and her friends.” Missed appointments and a blood-stained garage Jennifer Dulos, who was last seen alive when she dropped her children off at school the morning of May 24, was reported missing by friends after she failed to turn up for several doctors’ appointments that day in New York City.  New Canaan police officers went to her home, located on a cul-de-sac in the affluent town of New Canaan, about 15 miles outside of Greenwich, around 7 p.m. that night but found no one there. A state police detective wrote in arrest warrants for Fotis Dulos and Troconis that the family’s nanny let officers into the house. Investigators found stains consistent with blood on the floor of the garage and on a vehicle parked in the space. Suspected blood spatter was found inside the house, the warrants say.  A search was launched around Jennifer Dulos’ home on Welles Lane and, a short time later, her Chevy Suburban was found parked along Merritt Parkway, on the perimeter of nearby Wavenly Park.  “A check of the vehicle and subsequent exhaustive searches of Wavenly Park using (New Canaan Police Department) and Connecticut State Police personnel and canines did not locate Jennifer,” the arrest warrant for her husband states.  Meanwhile at Jennifer Dulos’ home, investigators found evidence that someone tried to clean up the blood at the scene, the warrant states.  “Based upon the crime scene processing, investigators came to the consensus that a serious physical assault had occurred at the scene and Jennifer Dulos was the suspected victim,” the document says.  A search of vehicle records showed multiple vehicles registered to the Fore Group LLC, a company owned by Fotis Dulos. One such vehicle was a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor pickup truck.  Fotis Dulos, with whom Jennifer Dulos has been embroiled in a divorce and custody battle, lives with Troconis in Farmington, the warrant states. Both have been uncooperative with the investigation into Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance, investigators said.  New Canaan investigators met briefly with Fotis Dulos the day after his estranged wife vanished. At that time, they seized his iPhone, for which they had obtained a warrant to conduct a forensic search.  Fotis Dulos’ cellphone records showed that around 1:30 p.m. the day Jennifer Dulos disappeared, her estranged husband left his home and drove about 2 miles to a Farmington property belonging to his company. After a couple of hours, his cellphone showed he returned home.  Fotis Dulos returned to the company property around 5:20 p.m., about 90 minutes before officers first showed up at Jennifer Dulos’ home. The cellphone returned to his and Troconis’ home a few minutes later, and then records show it traveled to the area of Albany Avenue in Hartford, where most of the evidence against the couple was found.  Troconis’ cellphone also traveled to Hartford, the arrest warrants state.  “Investigators obtained surveillance footage from the Hartford Police Department Capital City Command Center (C4), which operates surveillance cameras at various Hartford locations, including the Albany Avenue area,” one of the warrants states. “C4 documented a black Ford Raptor pickup truck stopping at over 30 locations along a more than 4 mile stretch of Albany Avenue between Biltmore and Edward streets.” Still images from the surveillance footage showed the Raptor truck matched the one belonging to Fotis Dulos, including a sticker on the rear window and a light-colored mark on the black truck’s front bumper. The front license plate of the vehicle also matched that of his truck. A man matching Fotis Dulos’ description was seen getting out of the truck and dumping multiple trash bags into trash bins along the route, as well as tossing something into a storm drain.  “In some cases, the C4 video showed items being discarded which appeared to be stained with a substance consistent with the appearance of blood,” the arrest warrant states.  A woman matching Troconis’ description was seen leaning out of the passenger seat of the truck in one video clip, the document says.  When investigators checked the storm drain, they found a FedEx box containing license plates that were traced back to a 2007 Suburban belonging to Fotis Dulos, the warrant states. The plates had been altered to change the tag number, authorities said.  Inside the trash bins where the driver of the Raptor discarded the bags, detectives found clothing and at least one kitchen sponge, among other items, that were stained with blood.  “On (Saturday), items submitted to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Laboratory were tested and found to contain Jennifer Dulos’ blood,” the arrest warrant says.  Fotis Dulos’ cellphone records indicated he left the Hartford area around 7:40 p.m. the night his wife was reported missing and returned to his home in Farmington, the document states. In surveillance footage from outside his neighbors’ homes, he is seen checking his mail as he arrived.  He was wearing clothing similar to that seen on the man who dumped the evidence in Hartford, the document says.  Fotis Dulos and Troconis were arrested June 1 at a hotel in Avon, the New York Times reported.  The Courant reported earlier this month that investigators do not believe Troconis was in New Canaan the day Jennifer Dulos vanished. Pattis said during a court appearance that Fotis Dulos could account for his whereabouts during the time frame in which investigators believe Jennifer Dulos was attacked in her home.  She dropped her children off at school around 8 a.m. the morning of May 24, the newspaper reported. A cleaning woman who entered the home around noon that day found no one there.  Jennifer Dulos missed appointments at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., the paper reported. Her cellphone and credit cards have not been used since she vanished.  Authorities are also looking into details involving an employee of Fotis Dulos’ Fore Group who was in New Canaan on May 24 -- and was driving the black Ford Raptor belonging to the company, the newspaper said.  Though the man is reported to have been driving the Raptor when Jennifer Dulos vanished, he returned the vehicle to Fotis Dulos sometime between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., in time for Dulos to have been driving the truck when the evidence in the case was discarded in Hartford, the newspaper reported.  Investigators have seized the employee’s truck, computer and cellphone as part of the probe into Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance. His attorney told the Courant her client is not a suspect and is cooperating fully with detectives in the case.  No trace of Jennifer Dulos has been found, despite a search that has spanned two states and four separate communities, the newspaper reported. Investigators have also searched a Hartford trash facility for any evidence related to the woman’s disappearance. 
  • First lady Melania Trump announced Tuesday that her director of communications, Stephanie Grisham, has been named as the new White House press secretary. >> Read more trending news  'I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country,' Trump said in a statement posted on Twitter. The first lady said Grisham will also serve as White House director of communications, a position that's been vacant since former Fox News executive Bill Shine left the role in March. Grisham will replace the current press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. President Donald Trump announced two weeks ago that Sanders, plans to step down at the end of June. '(Grisham) will be an incredible asset to the President and the country,' Sanders said in a statement posted on Twitter. 'I’m sad to leave the WH, but so happy our team will be in such great hands. Stephanie will do a phenomenal job.' Axios reported President Trump wanted Grisham in the position and that he's said he likes and trusts her. The news site noted she's one of the few officials who has been with President Trump since his campaign. She will continue to serve as the first lady's spokeswoman as well, CNN reported. Grisham will become the fourth woman to serve as White House press secretary. Before serving as the first lady's spokeswoman, Grisham worked under Trump's first press secretary, Sean Spicer, The Washington Post reported. She also previously worked on Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, according to the newspaper. “During the campaign, she developed a good relationship with the president, and that’s carried through,” Sanders said of Grisham in an interview late last year, according to the Post. “She has developed a great amount of trust from both the president and the first lady, which is a pretty high commodity here. There aren’t a lot of people who have a lot of regular interaction with both of them.”
  • A death investigation is underway in Seminole County after deputies said a man's body was found in a pond in front of the county’s courthouse Tuesday morning. Deputies said the pond is along U.S. Highway 17-92 in front of the Seminole County courthouse. The department tweeted about the incident just before 10:30 a.m. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said daily courthouse operations are not being impacted as the investigation continues.

Washington Insider

  • Pressing ahead with work on government funding bills for 2020, Democrats in the House approved a package of five measures worth $383.3 billion on Tuesday, funding an array of programs from the Justice Department to NASA, military construction projects and the VA, while also including a series of policy riders designed to rein in efforts by the Trump Administration to expand offshore oil and gas exploration. 'Offshore drilling anywhere near Florida represents an existential threat to our economy that we cannot risk taking,' said Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), as all but one Republican from the Sunshine State supported an amendment to block new oil and gas leasing off Florida, especially in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. 'I saw the tar balls wash up on Florida beaches,' said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), and he invoked the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when he was Governor of Florida in 2010. 'I hope to never see that again.' But it wasn't only Florida lawmakers of both parties making the case against expanded drilling, as the bill also added amendments to block seismic blasting to check for oil and gas deposits in offshore waters along the entire Atlantic coast, along with a full moratorium on new oil and gas exploration on the Eastern seaboard, plus a plan to block any new oil and gas leasing off the Pacific Coast of the United States. 'The Central Coast has endured the devastating impacts of oil spills,' said California Democrat Salud Carbajal. 'I'll do everything in my power to make sure our community doesn't go through that again.' Supporters of expanded offshore oil and gas exploration accused opponents of using 'fear tactics.' 'I believe the ones who don’t want to see the areas mentioned in this amendment opened up for offshore leasing really just don’t want fossil fuel development,' said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC). But Duncan's home state colleague - from the Atlantic coast - had a much different view. 'Far too much is at stake in our State,' said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), who argued for plans to squelch new offshore exploration. 'South Carolina’s tourism economy is worth $22.6 billion a year, and two-thirds of that comes from the coast.' 'This is an issue that has been supported by Republican Governor (Henry) McMaster, who has made it clear that he opposes offshore drilling,' Cunningham added. The approval of the underlying 'minibus' funding package means that nine of the twelve yearly funding bills have made it through the House of Representatives; one more could be voted on this week before lawmakers leave for a scheduled break. Those spending bills are supposed to be done by October 1 - but the House only has 25 scheduled work days between the July Fourth break and the end of the fiscal year. The Senate has one more week of work scheduled than the House - but there is little reason to think that Congress will finish its on time - by September 30 - for the first time since 1996. 'The current funding process is designed to fail. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked. It will never work,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who has been pressing for a full overhaul of the budget process.  'Since the Budget Act of 1974 was put in place, Congress has only funded the federal government on time four times, and the last time was 23 years ago,' Perdue added. The three funding bills not yet voted on by the House include the spending measure for Congress and the Legislative Branch, a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, and a measure funding federal financial agencies. The Senate has yet to bring any of the 2020 funding bills to the floor for action.