Jan 6, 2019

Shutdown watch, day 16: Trump steels himself for a fight

On day 16 of the partial government shutdown, President Trump tweeted that Vice President Mike Pence's meeting on Sunday with Democratic congressional representatives had been "productive," announcing that his administration is now "planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete."

The big picture: Trump's tweet echoes a concession first offered by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on NBC's "Meet the Press" — and floated by Trump in another tweet last month. But a Democratic official familiar with the meeting blasted Trump's take, saying that it started 45 minutes late after administration officials were unprepared to justify the $5.7 billion they've requested for the wall, though the Washington Post reported that the White House drafted a letter that more specifically outlined the administration's proposals, including $800 million for "urgent humanitarian needs." The official added that no progress had been made — and no other meetings of the group had been scheduled.

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John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."

Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.