News Roundup

FBI says it has “grave concerns” over the memo

  • Democrat Adam Schiff alleges that the memo has been “materially altered” and that a new vote must be held for it to be released to the public
  • Nunes’ spokesman said that the vote to release the memo was sound, and that to “suggest otherwise is a bizarre distraction from the abuses detailed in the memo, which the public will hopefully soon be able to read for themselves”
  • A senior Democratic committee official disputed this, saying the changes were “not cosmetic and almost all of them are unrelated to concerns about sensitive information. Instead, they try to water down some of the Majority’s assertions”
  • Democrats of the House Intelligence Committee have accused Republicans of not consulting them on investigating the FBI and the DOJ
  • When asked by Rep. Mike Quigley whether Republicans in the committee had “conversations or consultations with anyone in the White House” about the memo, Rep. Devin Nunes said “as far as I know, no”
  • White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said the memo “will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it”

Train carrying Republican Congressman to Republican Congressional retreat ran into a truck

  • No congressmen were injured, although of those in the truck, one was killed and two were injured
  • Several lawmakers aboard the train estimated that more than half of the Republican members of the House and Senate were on board, many with spouses

Pres. Trump will speak at this same Republican Congressional retreat

  • He’ll be joining theming them for a two-hour lunch on Thursday
  • Discussions on infrastructure, investments in workforce development and job training, and how to sell the GOP tax overhaul to voters are all on the agenda
  • The president has the highest approval rating in West Virginia of all US states, last polled at 61 percent

Feds have dropped all charges against Sen. Bob Menendez

  • The Justice Department made the announcement in a filing on Wednesday, a week after U.S. District Judge William Walls threw out seven of the 18 charges against the NJ Democrat
  • Menendez was accused of accepting trips, hotel stays, and campaign money from a friend in exchange for helping with visas for his girlfriends and in a billing dispute with the DHHS

Fighting continues in Syria

  • Turkey has moved within 9 miles of the opposition’s largest stronghold in the country, and are advancing under the cover of heavy airstrikes
  • A U.N. humanitarian official cited reports of 15,000 civilians fleeing the northern town of Afrin, alongside reports that local authorities “have made it hard” for people to leave
  • After France’s president warned Turkey against invading a Kurdish enclave in Syria, the Turkish Foreign Minister called these an “insult” and said they were in no position to “teach a lesson” to Turkey about cross-border offensives after their interventions in Algeria and other parts of Africa
  • Russia’s foreign ministry said hundreds have been killed

28 Russian athletes have had all doping convictions overturned

  • The ruling means the athletes’ 2014 results are reinstated and they can now seek to participate in the Winter Games in Pyeongchang
  • The World Olympic body says that Russian athletes who can prove they are clean will be “invited” to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, although without the use of either the Russian flag or national anthem, in what CNN is calling “the severest punishment ever meted out by the IOC on a participating nation, let alone a powerhouse of the Olympic movement”
  • The International Olympic Committee also ordered Russia’s Olympic Committee to pay $15 million to reimburse the costs of investigating the doping scandal

Fed is leaving interest rates flat for now

  • They left their benchmark overnight lending rate in a 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent range
  • Language in a statement released by the Federal Open Market Committee is leading some to believe that the Fed will pick up the pace of interest-rate increases
  • The Fed is saying that “gains in employment” and how “household spending and business fixed investment have been solid, and the unemployment rate has stayed low” are reasons for raising their rates towards their 2 percent target

Local, State, and Federal Law Enforcement prepping for Sunday’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis

  • More than 80 agents representing 60 law enforcement agencies are sharing an office in an undisclosed location during the event as nearly 67,000 people will fill Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium and a million more are in the city for the festivities
  • The command center has access to a great deal of information: a map of U.S. Bank Stadium with a real-time view of its 400 cameras, of downtown Minneapolis’ 2,000 security cameras, as well as coordinates and real-time views from the smartphones of 3,000 officers on the street
  • “If there is a terrorism event, this command and control would switch over to the FBI,” according to the Minneapolis police commander running the command center, whereas if “it’s a little as ‘hey the cars are backing up and the buses are backing up’ – we’ll work with our Metro Transit folks to deal with that”

San Francisco will reduce or throw out marijuana charges

  • The city is retroactively applying California’s new marijuana legalization, expunging or reducing misdemeanors and felonies stretching back to 1975, according to the district attorney’s office on Wednesday
  • Almost 5,000 felony convictions will be reviewed, recalled, and resentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors sentenced prior to Prop 64’s passage will be dismissed and sealed
  • Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said this move gives “new hope and opportunities to Californians, primarily people of color, whose lives were long ago derailed by a costly, broken and racially discriminatory system of marijuana criminalization”

Kenyan government ends shutdown of three TV networks

  • The country’s High Court has ordered the government to end its shutdown of its top three TV stations after they tried to broadcast images of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s mock inauguration
  • Odinga has accused the government of rigging the election and of electoral reforms in East Africa
  • News anchors and journalists spent the night in their newsroom to avoid arrest after colleagues told them that undercover policemen were waiting in the parking lot outside their office

Top Stories

New York Times: Special Counsel Zeros In on a Trump Tower Cover Story
Washington Post : FBI’s pushback on GOP memo could land its director in Trump’s crosshairs
Drudge Report : Most Wanted: Memo Thursday | FBI Panic
The Daily Caller : Schiff Hits The Fan | Democrat Makes One Last Attempt To Stop The Release Of Nunes Memo
Breitbart News : Trump: Democrats Do Nothing but ‘Resist, Blame, Complain, and Obstruct’ on DACA
Slate : Don’t Give Up on the Small City
HuffPost : Memo Mania!
BuzzFeed : Can’t Win Dem All