Stories by Zachary Basu

John Kelly and 4 former DHS secretaries urge Trump to end shutdown

John Kelly
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Five former Department of Homeland Security secretaries, including former White House chief of staff John Kelly, wrote a letter to Congress and President Trump Wednesday urging the two sides to restore funding to the agency to ensure that its "critical national security functions continue without compromise."

Why it matters: Kelly was chief of staff when the shutdown began more than a month ago. He and the other secretaries — Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson — join a chorus of other government voices, including the FBI, who have said that the government shutdown poses a genuine threat to national security.

Go deeper: All the ways Americans are feeling the effects of the shutdown

Aviation unions say level of air safety risk is "unprecedented"

Air traffic control tower
Air traffic control tower. Photo: Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The presidents of three aviation unions — the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA — issued a statement Wednesday urging Congress and the White House to fund the government due to increasing risks to the air safety environment.

“We have a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines, and the traveling public due to the government shutdown. This is already the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States and there is no end in sight. In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented."

The big picture: It's Day 33 of the government shutdown, and neither side has offered a realistic path forward. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has asked agency leaders for a list of the "highest-impact programs" that could be affected if the shutdown continues into March and April.

Michael Cohen postpones House testimony, blames Trump "threats"

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez via Getty Images

President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen said that he will postpone his scheduled Feb. 7 testimony before the House Oversight Committee due to "threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. Giuliani," as well as his cooperation in ongoing investigations, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The big picture: House Oversight chair Elijah Cummings and House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff issued a statement Wednesday saying that while they understand Cohen's concerns, "not appearing before Congress was never an option ... We will not let the President's tactics prevent Congress from fulfilling our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities." President Trump, on hearing the news that Cohen was postponing his testimony over threats to his family, told reporters that Cohen is being "threatened by the truth."

More stories loading.