Shutdown Grows More Likely

“With less than 36 hours to avoid shutdown of nonessential government services and no solution in sight, congressional leaders spent Thursday offering their spin on who will be to blame if a deal cannot be struck,” Roll Call reports.

“Notably missing amid the rhetoric — Republicans pointing to Democrats as the issue and the minority saying the majority is at fault — were predictions leaders had made in recent weeks that there would be no government shutdown.”

TPM: “The threat of a government shutdown seems to be growing by the minute as a raft of Senate Democrats announced they won’t back a one-month extension of government spending on Thursday, while House Speaker Paul Ryan’s promise he can pass the plan in his chamber looks increasingly uncertain.”

No One Will Say Where Trump Inaugural Funds Went

“Nearly a year after President Trump’s inauguration, the committee that raised a record $106.7 million for the event has not disclosed how much surplus money it still has or provided a final accounting of its finances,” USA Today reports.

“While the committee must report names of donors who give at least $200, election law does not require an accounting of the spending. And there are few restrictions on how leftover funds are used.”

Trump Ordered Bannon to Limit Testimony

President Trump “personally made the decision to curtail the testimony of former chief White House political strategist Steve Bannon before the House Intelligence Committee,” Foreign Policy reports.

“Trump acted to limit Bannon’s testimony based on legal advice provided by Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, who concluded that the administration might have legitimate executive privilege claims to restrict testimony by Bannon and other current and former aides to the president.”

“But Dhillon has also concluded that Bannon and other current and former Trump administration officials do not have legitimate claims to executive privilege when it comes to providing information or testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller.”

Trump Said to Be ‘Furious’ with His Chief of Staff

Trump associates said the president “was furious” with White House chief of Staff John Kelly “both for what he said and for the tone he used” in describing some of his campaign proposals as “uninformed,” which Trump thought “made it appear he was a child who had to be managed,” according to the Washington Post.

“One Trump associate who spoke to the president Wednesday night said Trump thought Kelly’s comments made him look bad and that he was giving in to Democrats.”

“The president, this person said, particularly disliked the word ‘uninformed’ which appeared in news reports and has chafed for weeks at the characterization of him as not intelligent and flighty in the best-selling book about his presidency by author Michael Wolff.”

Ryan Says Trump Supports Short Term Funding Bill

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) “sought to calm Republicans frustrated by President Trump’s confusing tweets on children’s health insurance, saying the White House supports a short-term bill to avert a government shutdown,” the Washington Post reports.

Ryan, who spoke to Trump this morning, said the president “fully supports passing this legislation.”

Axios: Here’s why the government could shut down.

GOP Bill Would Actually Cut Highly-Skilled Immigrants

President Trump and his Senate allies “are now presenting their goal for immigration reform as increasing the number of high-skilled immigrants allowed into the United States,” The Atlantic reports.

“But the immigration legislation from Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia that Trump has endorsed would almost certainly reduce the total number of high-skilled immigrants… But by trumpeting high-skilled immigration, Trump, Cotton, and Perdue are also obscuring the most significant impact of their proposal: a 50 percent cut in legal immigration.”

Trump Upsets Republican Strategy to Avoid Shutdown

“President Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House,” the New York Times reports.

“Republican leaders have spent the week pressuring Democrats to vote for the spending bill, arguing that opposing it would effectively block a six-year extension of the children’s health program, attached to the spending bill as a sweetener for lawmakers in both parties.”

Washington Post: “With less than 48 hours before a possible shutdown, Trump on Twitter seemed to directly contradict the legislative strategy of congressional Republicans by calling for the separation of a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from a short-term spending bill to keep the government open through mid-February.”

First They Marched, Now They’re Running

Time: “At least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018, potentially doubling a record for female candidates set in 1994…. The number of Democratic women likely challenging incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives is up nearly 350% from 41 women in 2016. Roughly 900 women contacted Emily’s List, which recruits and trains pro-choice Democratic women, about running for office from 2015 to 2016; since President Trump’s election, more than 26,000 women have reached out about launching a campaign.”

“It’s not just candidates. Experienced female political operatives are striking out on their own, creating new organizations independent from the party apparatus to raise money, marshal volunteers and assist candidates with everything from fundraising to figuring out how to balance child care with campaigns.”

Will There Be Too Many Democrats Running In 2020?

Matt Bai: “If half the untested politicians and zillionaires who’ve signaled some interest in the Democratic nomination actually follow through, we’ll have to turn around the debating halls so it’s the moderators who sit on the dais and the candidates who pack the house.”

“All of which might be good for Democrats, whose public brand could certainly use a little reimagining. But I see a very real danger here for them, which is that if no one in the upper echelons of the party starts thinking about how to contain this field, they might be setting themselves up to relive the Republican experience of 2016.”

Mulvaney Wants No Funding for Consumer Bureau

Politico: “Every quarter, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau formally requests its operating funds from the Federal Reserve. Last quarter, former director Richard Cordray asked for $217.1 million. Cordray, an appointee of President Barack Obama, needed just $86.6 million the quarter before that. And yesterday, President Donald Trump’s acting CFPB director, Mick Mulvaney, sent his first request to the Fed.”

“He requested zero.”

Kelly Has a Steve Bannon Moment

Jonathan Swan: “Late last night, a few hours after Fox News aired Bret Baier’s interview with John Kelly, a source close to the president told me Trump would explode when he saw what his chief of staff said. The source — who has spent a lot of time with Trump — predicted the president would hate the interview because Kelly came off as the mature professional who patiently educated an uninformed Trump, and helped him see the light and evolve on The Wall.”

“Sure enough, a few hours later Trump tweets his displeasure.”

Said the source: “Kelly has finally ventured into Steve Bannon territory when it comes to trying to create the perception that he’s the ‘great manipulator,’ saving the country from Trump’s ignorance. The difference is, Steve tried to develop that reputation in off-the-record conversations with reporters. Kelly did it openly on the country’s most-watched cable network. It’s the subtle difference between hubris and arrogance.”