1 Partial Government Shutdown Enters 26th Day
No Democrats took part in White House talks aimed at ending the government shutdown yesterday. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the President offered both Democrats and Republicans the chance to meet for lunch – that included several moderate House Democrats, but the group rejected the invitation. The partial government shutdown is now in its record-setting 26th day as the standoff over funding for a southern border wall continues. In case you’re wondering, most members of Congress are still picking up paychecks as the partial government shutdown continues. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain furloughed or are working without pay. But lawmakers are still receiving at least 174-thousand dollars a year, plus full healthcare and retirement benefits.
2 Trump’s AG Pick Gets Grilled In His First Hearing
Attorney General-nominee William Barr will face more questions today after spending yesterday on Capitol Hill during the opening round of his confirmation hearing. As expected, he faced a lot of questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller. On that note, Barr said he would refuse a presidential directive to fire Mueller without good cause – and said it’s "vitally important" that Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation. Barr also disagreed with President Trump's claim that the Russia investigation is a "witch hunt" and he said he would not be bullied into making any decisions. Similarly, Barr said the U.S. needs a credible resolution of issues related to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Meantime, Barr said he would not go after marijuana companies in states where pot is legal. Thing is? Barr also noted that federal law still prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. He called the current situation untenable and said Congress should fix it.
3 American Killed In Nairobi Hotel Attack
At least one American is among over a dozen believed killed in a terror attack on an upscale hotel compound in Kenya. A U.S. State Department official has confirmed that a U.S. citizen was killed, but gave no further details. Kenyan police say several gunmen opened fire in an assault on Nairobi's 14 Riverside Drive complex, which includes a hotel – there were also a number of explosions. And while officials haven’t officially confirmed it, it’s been reported that 15 bodies were taken to a local mortuary. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group, Al-Shabab, based in Somalia, has claimed responsibility for the attack, which appeared to target foreigners and wealthy residents. If this all sounds familiar, it should – Al-Shabab is the same group that attacked Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013, where 67 people were killed.