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Inside Trump (Feb 8th, 2018)

Conservative opposition to the House's current spending deal, which could avert a looming government shutdown, means Republicans will need to rely on support from some Democrats. The government's current funding expires at midnight on Thursday evening. The 650-page spending bill - which raises caps on both military and non-military spending - would keep the government funded for an additional six weeks, averting a shutdown. Though the bill includes a number of priorities for Republicans - including military funding, the winding down of more Obamacare-related programs and disaster aid - it's nonetheless opposed by the strongly conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus. This means House Speaker Paul Ryan will have to rely on some votes from Democratic members, who are pushing for legal protections for the 700,000 Dreamers living in the US. (Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California held the floor for 8 hours on Wednesday - setting a new record - to advocate for the Dreamers.) On Thursday morning, Rep. Ryan told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he believes he has enough support to pass the bill in the House. The Senate version is expected to pass easily. The bill has the support of President Trump, who called it "so important for our great Military." – THEHILL

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A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told NBC News that Russian hackers accessed voter registration rolls in several US states during the 2016 presidential election. Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at DHS, told NBC that hackers attempted to penetrate voter rolls in 26 states, and succeeded in a small number of them. So far, there is no evidence that the voter registration rolls were altered or tampered with in 2016. Former DHS secretary Jeh Johnson called the revelation "a wake-up call," but alleged that a number of states have continued to not take election system security seriously. Before leaving his post, Johnson declared election systems part of the country's "critical infrastructure," which places it under DHS authority. – NBCNEWS

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CNN reported that White House officials knew about domestic violence allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter and did not act on them. Porter resigned on Wednesday following a Daily Mail article in which two former wives accused him of physical abuse. Porter has denied the allegations, though his ex-wife Colbie Holderness has posted a photo of her bruised face as evidence. Prior to Porter's resignation on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly released a statement calling Porter "a man of true integrity and honor." Kelly later released a follow-up statement, noting that he had accepted Porter's resignation, but stood by his prior comments about the man's character. (White House communications director Hope Hicks apparently worked on Kelly's statement, and is currently in a romantic relationship with Porter.) On Thursday, CNN reported that senior White House staffers had been aware of the Porter allegations for months, and that President Trump first learned about them last week. – CNN

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On Thursday morning, President Trump spoke at the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast, calling America "a nation of believers." Trump also expressed his belief that the nation is "strengthened by the power of prayer." He took some time to highlight the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic and to praise the US-led coalition efforts against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, telling the crowd that the military "has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers." Trump also spoke at the Prayer Breakfast last year, and was criticized for bringing up the ratings of his former reality TV series, "The Apprentice." House Majority Whip Steve Scalise also spoke this year, discussing the key role of prayer in his recovery from multiple gunshot wounds suffered during a charity softball practice game last summer. The Breakfast is organized by an ecumenical group of Christians, and has been attended by every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. – WAPO

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CNN reported that President Trump is likely to release the Democratic memo responding to allegations of improper surveillance by the FBI and Justice Department of Trump campaign staffer Carter Page. Unnamed White House officials told CNN that, unless they discover the memo's release would be a "grave threat to national security," the President will declassify it by Friday. The President received the 10-page memo, which outlines flaws and disputes allegations made in a Republican memo that was released last week, on Monday. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told reporters that he has asked all parties involved - including the FBI and Justice Department - to make recommendations about the memo's release by Thursday. Rep. Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and the primary person responsible for the memo, has cautioned the President against redacting information over political, rather than national security, concerns. CBS has reported that, in a show of the deep division within the group, Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee plan to build a physical partition to separate their staffers from Democratic staffers. – CNN

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Following a request by President Trump, officials from the White House and Pentagon have started to plan a military parade through Washington. The President has apparently wanted to hold a military parade since attending the 2017 Bastille Day commemoration in Paris as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron. But following a January 18 meeting at the Pentagon with top military officials, these abstract plans solidified into a specific directive. One anonymous military official told the Washington Post "The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France." Many Congressional Democrats have come out against the idea, and a few Republicans have also expressed reservations. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said such a display is "not typical of our tradition," but that she can "see some justification," while Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said "if it would save money not to do it, we probably ought to look at that." Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California said she was "stunned" by the request, and compared Trump to "a Napoleon in the making." Democratic DC mayor Muriel Bowser's office released a statement saying it has not started making parade preparations, but "just like the wall, Trump will have to pay for it." NBC points out that, in the past, US military parades have traditionally followed wartime victories; a military parade was held in honor of President Franklin Roosevelt following his inauguration for a third term in office. – WAPO

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In a push back against the Trump administration's plan to expand offshore drilling, California plans to deny pipeline permits that would allow transportation of crude oil across the state. State officials from a number of impacted areas - including Florida, North and South Carolina, Delaware and Washington - have spoken out against the plan, but according to Reuters, California's response is the most aggressive thus far. California's State Lands Commission also sent a formal letter to the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, asking them to rescind the policy until the public has opportunity to provide more input. The office of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has insisted that the offshore drilling plans have been “a very open and public process.” – REUTERS

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