Republican Steve King stripped of assignments amid racism backlash – as it happened

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1.55am GMT

Powering down for the night, thanks for tuning in! Here’s what happened today:

1.35am GMT

According to The Daily Beast, the special counsel and NY federal prosecutors are looking into a meeting Trump had in the days before he was inaugurated, for possible evidence that foreigners and donors sought to purchase influence in the administration.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes — the longtime-ally of the President who was behind a controversial memo, which sought to discredit the special counsel investigation — was also in attendance, along with dozens of foreign diplomats.

Soon after the inauguration breakfast, Nunes began a House intelligence committee investigation, ostensibly aimed at the connections between Trump and Russia, that devolved into a mechanism to defend Trump against those investigating the president. Revelations about Nunes’ cooperation with the White House prompted him to leave the investigation in the hands of his GOP colleagues, but Nunes retained subpoena power. The investigation ended last year after Republicans on the committee said they ‘found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump’s associates and the Kremlin’.”

12.55am GMT

Amidst heavy backlash over the latest racist comments from Rep. Steve King, Republican party leaders will remove him from the high-powered Judiciary Committee and other panel assignments, the New York Times reports.

NEW: Iowa GOP Rep @SteveKingIA has been removed from all committee assignments by GOP Steering Committee per member on committee. He will be on Republican without committees assignment.

‘I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in breaking the deafening silence and letting our resounding condemnation be heard’, Clyburn said on the House floor”.

12.32am GMT

In one of his first oversight moves as House Judiciary Chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler has issued a letter calling for more information on the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of migrant families at the southern border. The Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Justice have until February 8 to turn over related documents.

CNN has reported that the letter released today requests specifically calls for an unredacted copy of the DHS policy memo and specifics on the numbers of children separated or unaccompanied since the policy was reversed in June:

‘The latest tragic deaths in custody of young children underscore the need for oversight of the Administration’s policies,’ the letter says”.

12.07am GMT

In the four weeks since the government shutdown began, the FDA was forced to stop inspections at most food facilities. But on Monday, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that 10% of agency workers would come back to work, unpaid.

According to The Washington Post, 80% of the food supply is checked by the agency and out of the 160 routine inspections done weekly in the US, about a third are considered “high-risk”. Inspectors are charged with checking for insect infestations, food contamination, and unclean conditions that can lead to dangerous foodborne illness outbreaks.

This work is being done by an inspectorate that’s largely going unpaid. These men and women are the tip of the spear in our consumer protection mission. They’re the very front line. And they’re on the job. The entire nation owes them gratitude. I’m inspired by their dedication.

12.02am GMT

At the White House, Trump is showing off a spread of fast food he ordered for a visit of the Clemson Tigers, who recently won the College Football Playoff national championship game.

Here’s a video I shot of President Trump showing off his 300 hamburgers.

POTUS with “great American food” for Clemson Tigers visiting WH.

11.41pm GMT

With no end to the government shutdown in sight, a group of Democrat and Republican senators have started a group to search for solutions, as party leaders continue the fight over funding. According to The Washington Post, it’s unclear how successful the group will be, but signals how ready representatives are to end the impasse, that has caused roughly 800,000 federal employees to go without pay.

Today marks the 24th day our government has been shut down. I’m urging all West Virginians to call the White House and their representatives to tell them to reopen the government immediately.

11.17pm GMT

The New York Times has reported that White House spokesman Raj Shah, who has been with President Trump since the beginning, has left to lead a lobbying firm based in Florida:

Mr. Shah, a former researcher at the Republican National Committee, had been in the administration since Mr. Trump took office. His portfolio recently included helping prepare Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh for his Senate confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court.

His departure comes as the White House press and communications teams have been depleted. Several aides have moved on to roles at government agencies or have left the Trump administration entirely”.

TRUMP SWAMP WATCH: Former WH Deputy Press Sec @RajShah45 joins @BallardFirm, which is headed by top TRUMP fundraiser BRIAN BALLARD, who has been dubbed “The Most Powerful Lobbyist in Trump’s Washington.”

11.11pm GMT

Mitt Romney has called on Iowa congressman Steve King to resign, CNN’s Manu Raju is reporting:

Mitt Romney tells me there’s NO place in the GOP or Congress for Steve King, calling on him to resign. “I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear he has no place there.”

11.07pm GMT

President Trump took to Twitter this afternoon to emphasize his unrelenting position on the border wall, amidst an ongoing impasse with Democrats that has caused the government shutdown to stretch into its forth week. The tweets came shortly after Trump announced to reporters that he rejected a recommendation from Lindsey Graham to reopen the government while negotiations continue.

….I am doing exactly what I pledged to do, and what I was elected to do by the citizens of our great Country. Just as I promised, I am fighting for YOU!

10.45pm GMT

This is Gabrielle Canon taking over from the west coast for Jamiles Lartey and Erin Durkin.

With little time to spare, a Pennsylvania district court judge stepped in this afternoon to stop a soon-to-be-rolled-out Trump administration policy that would enable employers to deny women birth control coverage on moral grounds. The injunction came less than 24 hours after a California judge issued a stay limiting the new rules in 13 states and DC where challenges are still being argued.

9.54pm GMT

In a statement to the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms.”

Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.”

9.48pm GMT

In an email to supporters this afternoon, Trump is asking totally reasonable and not at all loaded survey questions like this one:

Which group should our government put first?

Nancy and Chuck have made it clear that they don’t want to know your opinions on how to keep America safe. They don’t want to know why you want the wall. But I do, Friend.

As one of our top supporters, I need your IMMEDIATE input on our Official Secure The Border Survey.

9.41pm GMT

Politico is reporting that White House officials, “increasingly desperate to find a path out of a shutdown they’re seen as losing, are considering a last-ditch effort to woo moderate Democrats with a border security deal reopening the government, according to people familiar with the plans.”

Democrats have little reason at this point to consider breaking from the party leadership.

9.32pm GMT

Updating reports that a bipartisan group of senators is holding their own talks on how to resolve the government shutdown.

Texas Senator John Cornyn says he’s involved but not “an official gang member.”

Cornyn, asked by @WaPoSean if he’s a member of the new Senate shutdown gang: “I’ve had some informal conversations. I’m not an official gang member. … I haven’t learned the secret handshake.” #shutdowngang

9.22pm GMT

This is Jamiles Lartey taking over for Erin briefly before we hand our coverage over to the west coast for the rest of the evening.

James Clyburn, the number 3 ranking member of the House told reporters a short time ago that he supports a reprimand or formal disapproval of Congressman Steve King’s racist remarks last week, but does not support censure.

8.57pm GMT

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is expected to form an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign in the coming days, per AP.

WASHINGTON (AP) – AP sources: NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to move toward presidential bid in coming days, will form exploratory committee.

8.51pm GMT

In his speech this afternoon to the American Farm Bureau Federation in New Orleans, Donald Trump took credit for the low price of gas and fit in a swipe at Hillary Clinton.

“I’m riding in this incredible car, and I’m driving and I’m looking at gas stations to see how much is the gas,” Trump said in his remarks, according to the Hill. “You think Hillary Clinton would’ve done that? I don’t think so.”

8.36pm GMT

A House Democrat is introducing a formal censure motion Monday against Rep. Steve King over his white supremacy comments.

Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he would be filing the motion, Politico reported.

Here’s the text to the resolution, and it’s pretty narrow! It focuses only on the NYT interview, and as you all know, Steve King has a ~larger scope~ of controversial remarks.

8.15pm GMT

A bipartisan group of senators is holding their own talks on how to resolve the government shutdown, with negotiations between Donald Trump and Congressional leaders at a standstill.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, is one member of the group, the Washington Post reported.

8.12pm GMT

The White House is denying reports that Ivanka Trump is under consideration to become president of the World Bank.

The Financial Times reported that the first daughter’s name was “floating around Washington” as one possible choice for the World Bank post.

8.07pm GMT

Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, is wondering when Donald Trump is “going to help us open the government.”

Asked about Trump’s rejection of a proposal to let government reopen for three weeks while border wall negotiations continue, she said, “Well, then Mr. President when are you going to help us open the government?” according to CNN.

Just asked Lisa Murkowski about Trump rejecting a three-week bill to open govt, and she said: “Well, then Mr President when are you going to help us open the government?” She raised concerns about the “indefinite state of impasse.” She said: “It’s just not good for any of us.”

8.03pm GMT

Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings is being treated for pancreatic cancer.

Hastings, a Democrat, plans to remain in Congress during the treatment, saying that “this is a battle worth fighting,” according to CNN.

8.01pm GMT

Senator Bernie Sanders will meet this week with women who say they experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while working on his presidential campaign, BuzzFeed reported.

Sanders has been hit in recent weeks with complaints about mistreatment of female staffers during his 2016 primary campaign. He is considering another bid in 2020.

7.58pm GMT

Twice as many TSA agents were absent today compared to a year ago, an agency spokesman said.

Agents have been calling in sick as they are required to work without pay during the government shutdown.

This morning, TSA experienced a national rate of 7.6 percent unscheduled absences compared to a 3.2 percent rate one year ago, Monday, January 15, 2018. Most importantly, security standards remain uncompromised at our nation’s airports.

Currently, Miami International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Washington-Dulles International Airport are exercising their contingency plans to uphold aviation security standards.

TSA Federal Security Directors, in concert with the airport & servicing airlines will announce when lane closures occur so passengers can plan accordingly. @TSA will reallocate screening officers on a national basis to meet staffing shortages that cannot be addressed locally.

7.50pm GMT

The government shutdown has already caused the cancellation of 42,726 immigration hearings, according to data compiled by Syracuse University, per a New York Daily News reporter.

Government shutdown has resulted in 42,726 canceled immigration court hearings as of Jan. 11, per stats compiled by Syracuse U. About 20,000 hearings canceled each week.
If the shutdown continues to end of the month, likely 100,000 people will be impacted.

7.34pm GMT

Another poll finds voters are not behind Donald Trump’s refusal to fund the government unless he gets money for a border wall, and hold Republicans responsible for the government shutdown.

In the Quinnipiac University poll released today, 63% of voters say they oppose shutting down the government to force funding for the wall. 56% say Trump and Congressional Republicans are responsible for the shutdown, while 36% say Democrats are responsible. Voters support, by a 63%-30% margin, reopening parts of the government that aren’t related to border security while negotiating on wall funding.

7.21pm GMT

Donald Trump is appearing this afternoon at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in New Orleans.

It’s typically a friendly audience for him, but the government shutdown has shuttered local Farm Service Agency offices, blocking farmers from getting loans and other assistance, Politico reports.

7.01pm GMT

Stormy Daniels has filed a civil rights lawsuit over her arrest last summer while performing at an Ohio strip club.

A statement relating to the civil rights lawsuit we filed moments ago on behalf of @stormydaniels, together with a link to the Complaint, is below. #Basta

6.35pm GMT

Donald Trump spoke by phone Monday with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, per CNN.

Trump stressed “the importance to the United States that Turkey does not mistreat the Kurds and other Syrian Democratic Forces with whom we have fought to defeat ISIS,” according to a White House summary of the call.

Read out of President Trump’s call with Turkish President Erdogan

6.14pm GMT

Neomi Rao, Donald Trump’s nominee to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote a string of op-eds in and after college where she used inflammatory language to discuss race and gay rights, BuzzFeed reports.

Rao described race as a “hot, money-making issue,” affirmative action as the “anointed dragon of liberal excess,” and said welfare was for “for the indigent and lazy.”

6.05pm GMT

Anthony Scaramucci, briefly Donald Trump’s White House communications director, will be a contestant on the next series of Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.

He will be joined by Lindsay Lohan’s mother, wrestler Eva Marie and Kato Kaelin, whose fame is almost entirely derived from being a key witness in the OJ Simpson trial.

6.01pm GMT

John Kasich has signed with a top talent agency as he leaves office as Ohio governor.

United Talent Agency announced Kasich as a client Monday, according to Politico.

5.22pm GMT

The House Oversight Committee is launching an investigation into prescription drug pricing, under its new Democratic chairman Elijah Cummings.

Cummings sent letters to a dozen drug companies seeking details on how they determine prices for their drugs, the Hill reported.

5.01pm GMT

Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce a bill this week to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, he said Monday. The current federal minimum is $7.25.

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is a starvation wage. That is why I, along with many other members of Congress, will introduce legislation this week to raise that wage to $15 an hour. If you work 40 hours a week, you should not live in poverty.

4.45pm GMT

Washington Dulles Airport on Monday closed screening lanes because of a shortage of TSA agents, some of whom are calling in sick while not being paid during the government shutdown, Politico reported.

Security lines at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest in the world, were more than an hour long Monday morning after at least six security lanes were closed, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

So I’m at @ATLairport and this may be the longest security line I have ever seen. Even growing up here, and even for a Monday morning. One passenger told me he’d been waiting over an hour and still had about 30 minutes to go.

4.36pm GMT

Hillary Clinton shared a clip from a 2016 debate where she said that Donald Trump would be a “puppet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Like I said: A puppet,” she wrote Monday.

Like I said: A puppet.

4.31pm GMT

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is expressing regret for once working for her father’s anti-gay group, which opposed same sex marriage and promoted gay conversion therapy.

Tulsi Gabbard’s statement to CNN: “I regret the positions I took in the past, and the things I said. I’m grateful for those in the LGBTQ+ community who have shared their aloha with me throughout my personal journey.”

4.11pm GMT

The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a challenge to Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general.

The court turned away the case without comment, the Washington Post reported.

4.08pm GMT

Donald Trump is rejecting a proposal from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to allow the government to temporarily reopen while negotiating with Congress over a border wall, the Washington Post reports.

“I did reject it,” Trump said Monday. “I want to get it solved. I don’t want to just delay it.”

4.00pm GMT

Here are fuller remarks that Attorney general nominee William Barr plans to give at his Senate confirmation hearing addressing the Mueller probe, per Huffington Post.

William Barr’s prepared remarks on special counsel investigation

3.46pm GMT

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said Monday that Donald Trump failed in responding to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

“Unfortunately, as all of us witnessed, the Trump administration failed the people of Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit,” Castro said in San Juan, the Hill reported.

3.38pm GMT

Donald Trump responded dismissively when asked about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying that he is a racist. “Who cares?” he said in remarks to reporters outside the White House.

The new New York Congresswoman says she can tell she’s getting under his skin.

I bartended for *years* in New York City. I understand guys like this like the back of my hand.

We got under his skin ⬇️

3.36pm GMT

Donald Trump declined to condemn Steve King’s remarks about white supremacy, saying when asked by a reporter today: “I haven’t been following it.”

King, an Iowa Republican, is under fire after saying to the New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization – how did that language become offensive?” He’s set to meet today with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who vowed to take action over the comments.

3.29pm GMT

Attorney general nominee William Barr will say it’s “vitally important” for special counsel Robert Mueller to be able to complete his Russia investigation, according to testimony prepared for his confirmation hearing and obtained by the Associated Press.

“I believe it is in the best interest of everyone — the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people – that this matter be resolved by allowing the Special Counsel to complete his work,” Barr will say.

3.24pm GMT

Donald Trump will meet with Clemson’s national champion football team at the White House after returning from a trip to New Orleans, and had some thoughts on their culinary preferences before he took off.

“They’ll be coming tonight, and I think we’ll serve McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King with some pizza,” Trump said. “I would think that’s their favorite food.”

TRUMP says he plans to serve the Clemson national championship football team “McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King with some pizza” when they visit the White House tonight.

“I would think that’s their favorite food,” he says, earnestly.

3.11pm GMT

Donald Trump in remarks outside the White House claimed that some Democrats are “breaking” in the government shutdown fight while Republicans are “rock solid.”

Trump is refusing to sign off on government funding unless he gets money for a wall on the US-Mexico border, leading to a partial shutdown of the government.

3.02pm GMT

Donald Trump called the FBI officials who started an investigation into whether he had worked on Russia’s behest “known scoundrels. I guess you could say they’re dirty cops.”

“I never worked for Russia. And you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax. It’s just a hoax,” Trump said.

President Trump: “I never worked for Russia. And you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax. It’s just a hoax.”

2.48pm GMT

Donald Trump is explicitly denying he ever worked for Russia.

“I never worked for Russia,” he told reporters outside the White House, per AP.

Trump to reporters on White House South Lawn: “I never worked for Russia”

2.18pm GMT

Here’s some new advice from Donald Trump to members of the press: Take a nice long vacation. “Chill!” he added in a tweet that also repeated his attacks on “Fake News” and claimed journalists have “gone MAD!”

The Fake News gets crazier and more dishonest every single day. Amazing to watch as certain people covering me, and the tremendous success of this administration, have truly gone MAD! Their Fake reporting creates anger and disunity. Take two weeks off and come back rested. Chill!

2.10pm GMT

A New York immigration group is launching a $1 million campaign to get the state to grant drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, the Daily News reports.

Issuing the drivers licenses has become a real possibility, along with a slew of other progressive measures, since Democrats took over the state Senate in New York, which had been the last bastion of Republican control in the state.

1.55pm GMT

There are dozens of out of work former members of Congress, many of them looking for lobbying gigs and not all of them likely to get one, Politico reports this morning.

“Former Republican congressmen are a dime a dozen right now,” former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), now a lobbyist for Holland & Knight, told Politico. “I think there are still a lot of people who are scrambling and looking.”

1.49pm GMT

CBS News has announced its roster of 2020 campaign reporters, and it’s drawing some criticism for not including any black journalists.

It’s Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled!

1.42pm GMT

Donald Trump on Dec. 11 said of the possibility of a government shutdown: “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.” If that left any doubt, he said: “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

This morning, on the 24th day of the partial shutdown, he said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer: “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!”

Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!

I’ve been waiting all weekend. Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!

“Dems in Puerto Rico as Shutdown hits day 24.” @foxandfriends

1.37pm GMT

Donald Trump invoked one of the worst massacres against Native Americans in US history late last night as a way to continue mocking Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren over her claims of Native American heritage.

“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!” he wrote.

+300 of my people were massacred at Wounded Knee. Most were women and children. This isn’t funny, it’s cold, callous, and just plain racist.

1.27pm GMT

Senior FBI officials met soon after Donald Trump fired James Comey as FBI director to discuss launching an investigation into whether the president had been acting on behalf of Russia, according to transcripts of congressional testimony obtained by CNN.

The group debated a range of possibilities: at one extreme, the possibility that Trump fired Comey on direct instructions from Russia. At the other end, that he had done nothing wrong and was appropriately exercising his executive power.

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Link : Republican Steve King stripped of assignments amid racism backlash – as it happened


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