Ready for a break from the winter blahs? How about an all-expenses-paid trip to … Buffalo? Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Presidential address
President Trump made the case for a border wall last night during his first Oval Office address. He warned of a “crisis” on the border with Mexico but didn’t declare a “national emergency,” a controversial move that might have led to him bypassing Congress and trying to build the wall with Defense Department funds. The President backed up his crisis claims with lots of misleading statements and fuzzy facts that were almost immediately debunked by reporters and Democrats. You can watch Trump’s full speech here.
None of what the President said seemed to change any minds or get the nation any closer to ending the 19-day-old partial government shutdown, now the second-longest in US history. And the pain’s about to get real for the 800,000 federal workers who won’t get a paycheck Friday. There don’t seem to be any serious negotiations going on between the White House and Democratic leaders. And now, even some Republicans appear to be losing patience for an extended shutdown battle, with GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining a few other Republican senators in calling for the government to be reopened while the battle over the border wall continues.
2. Russia investigation
Special counsel Robert Mueller believes Paul Manafort shared polling data with a Russian closely linked to that country’s military intelligence while he was running Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This bombshell revelation came to light because Manafort’s lawyers screwed up redacting parts of a court filing that was publicly released yesterday. This is a big deal in Mueller’s long-running investigation because it’s the clearest public evidence yet of coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russians.
3. Australian suspicious packages
Suspicious packages were delivered to a dozen consulates and seven embassies in Melbourne and Canberra. The British, American, Croatian, New Zealand and Swiss consulates in Melbourne all got suspicious items in the mail. A Croatian official told CNN that a package containing three little packets arrived at the consulate through the mail. Australian police and fire officials aren’t providing many more details, but they don’t believe the packages “pose an actual threat.”
4. R. Kelly
R&B singer R. Kelly could be under investigation in Georgia. A lawyer for Joycelyn Savage, one of the women featured in the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” said an Atlanta-area district attorney is looking into sex abuse allegations against the singer, though the DA’s spokesman had no comment. The six-part docuseries — which aired last week to much buzz on social media — looked at longstanding claims of abuse and pedophilia against Kelly and featured accounts from his accusers. A lawyer for the singer said the allegations in the documentary are false.
Cancer deaths in the US have been falling steadily for a quarter century, a new study says. The US cancer rate dropped by 27% from 1991 to 2016, according to a study from the American Cancer Society. That means there were about 2.6 million fewer cancer death than there would have been had death rates stayed the same. That’s heartening for sure, but there was still some bad news mixed in. The disparities between rich and poor patients and black and white patients remain, although the racial gap appears to be closing somewhat.
THIS JUST IN …
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will leave the Justice Department in the coming weeks once a new attorney general is confirmed, a source familiar with his thinking told CNN. Rosenstein has been overseeing the Russia investigation.
Federal workers hit by the shutdown have some backup. Restaurants are offering free meals, and Jimmy Kimmel is giving them jobs on his show.
Bigger is never big enough, at least when it comes to TVs. Samsung is showing off a 219-inch (!!) television this week at the CES show in Las Vegas.
Childish Gambino. Phish. Brandi Carlile. Looks like there’s a little something for everybody at Bonnaroo, which just announced this year’s lineup.
Well, that was fast. NASA’s new planet-hunting telescope has only been on the job for three months, and it’s already found three new exoplanets.
Walk right in …
Why create a car that simply rolls down the road when you can make one that “walks?” Hyundai did.
That’s the salary (split between two people) to keep a California lighthouse up and running
Bust a move
This guy is straight getting down while directing the planes at Toronto’s airport. (Click to view.)