Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries
The president, having grown frustrated during a meeting, lashed out after lawmakers proposed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to two people briefed on the meeting. The comments left lawmakers taken aback, according to people familiar with their reactions.
By Josh Dawsey  •  Read more »
No deal yet on immigration, Sanders says, adding ‘we still think we can get there’
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there was no deal yet on immigration despite the statement from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that senators working on the contentious issue have “an agreement in principle.”
By Ed O’Keefe and Erica Werner  •   Read more »
Workers must use IRS tool to ensure paychecks’ accuracy under new tax rules
In the rush for Americans to see bigger paychecks, the Treasury Department is asking companies to rely on outdated forms to determine withholdings. That could put millions of workers at risk of overpaying or underpaying their taxes unless they double-check their paychecks using a new Internal Revenue Service tool.
By Damian Paletta  •   Read more »
Congress advances bill to renew NSA surveillance program after Trump briefly upstages key vote
The measure, which overcame opposition from privacy advocates, would extend the government’s ability to collect from U.S. companies the emails and other communications of foreign targets located outside the United States.
By Karoun Demirjian and Josh Dawsey  •   Read more »
How robo-call moguls outwitted the government and wrecked the Do Not Call list
There is a battle being waged over the inviolability of our phone numbers. On one side there are the moguls and their robot armies. On the other side there is the federal government and the National Do Not Call Registry. It is clear who’s winning. But why?
By Simon van Zuylen-Wood  •   Read more »
Sessions is trying to find his way back into Trump’s good graces. It hasn’t worked.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has, by all accounts, been unable to repair his relationship with President Trump after recusing himself from the Russia probe.
By Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky  •   Read more »
Republican senators use rising stock market to try to dissuade Trump from withdrawing from NAFTA
When President Trump met with six GOP senators recently to talk about trade, the lawmakers issued a stark warning: Implementing an unrestrained “America first” agenda — such as withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement — would endanger stock prices that have soared since his election.
By David J. Lynch and Damian Paletta  •   Read more »
Ecuador grants citizenship to Julian Assange in bid to end London embassy standoff
But the WikiLeaks founder remained in Ecuador’s embassy, where he sought refuge five years ago, because he is still wanted by British authorities.
By William Branigin, Simeon Tegel and Karla Adam  •   Read more »
States may impose work requirements for Medicaid, Trump administration says
The guidance opens the door for states to deny Medicaid benefits to people unless they have jobs or participate in work-related activities or “community engagement.” The policy comes as 10 states are waiting for federal permission to add work requirements for the program.
By Amy Goldstein  •   Read more »
Capital Weather Gang
How California’s harrowing wildfires planted the seed for deadly mudslides
It’s one of nature’s more tragic paradoxes: a terrible wildfire season often leads to terrible mudslides. But it’s probably not for the reason you suspect.
By Angela Fritz  •   Capital Weather Gang   •   Read more »
Walmart cites tax plan as it raises starting hourly wage to $11, expands parental leave and promises bonuses for some workers
The country’s largest employer, which has more than 1 million hourly workers, says the changes would take place beginning in February. The pay hikes will apply to all of the retailer’s hourly workers in the United States, including those at Sam’s Club stores.
By Abha Bhattarai  •   Read more »
Reporter to Trump ambassador: ‘This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions’
Dutch journalists questioned Peter Hoekstra about anti-Muslim remarks he made in 2015. The comments have widely been described as inaccurate, and reflect certain conspiracies about sharia law that crop up in some circles of the far right in the West.
By Eli Rosenberg and Amar Nadhir  •   Read more »
James Franco accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by more women, including students
The wave of controversy that has engulfed the actor started the night of the Golden Globes, when Franco won best actor in a comedy or musical for “The Disaster Artist.”
By Sonia Rao  •   Read more »