Scoop: The Trump administration has frozen $125 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, according to Axios contributor Barak Ravid. The UNRWA provides aid to Palestinian refugees.
1 big thing: 2018 has 2016 deja vu
As we head into the first weekend of 2018, consider this series of story lines from the N.Y. Times homepage:
- "F.B.I. agents have renewed asking questions about the dealings of the Clinton Foundation," Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo report.
- "[T]wo influential Republicans on Friday made the first known congressional criminal referral in connection with [Russian election meddling] — against one of the people who sought to expose it," Nicholas Fandos and Matthew Rosenberg report.
- "Legal experts said that of the two primary issues [Robert] Mueller appears to be investigating — whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice while in office and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — there is currently a larger body of public evidence tying the president to a possible crime of obstruction," Michael S. Schmidt reports.
Axios' Jonathan Swan emails with the big picture:
"At the center of all this is Jeff Sessions: a man in an untenable position, working for a president who wants him to behave as his personal lawyer, his modern day Roy Cohn. Sessions has achieved many of his lifelong dreams; he's remolded the Justice Department in his law-and-order image, unwound progress in criminal justice reform and reignited the war on drugs. But no policy announcement will be enough to please Trump, who has wanted Sessions gone ever since he recused himself. Republican House members are now calling for Sessions' head. It's only by turning his department in partisan directions — a more intense focus on the Clintons perhaps — that Sessions can appease the president. And that's no place for an Attorney General.
2. What you missed
- Steve Bannon was warned for weeks to lay off Jared Kushner — telling him that President Trump would turn against him if he kept publicly attacking the son-in-law. What we're hearing.
- The U.S. economy added 148,000 new jobs in December, while the unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1%, the Labor Department said today. Chart.
- The FBI is renewing an examination into the Clinton Foundation and its activities. More.
- The Department of Homeland Security may end a practice that allows H-1B visas to be extended while the holder's green card is pending. Details.
- Amazon is considering acquiring the right to stream English soccer. The report.
3. 1 fun thing
Former president Barack Obama will be the first guest on David Letterman's new six-part Netflix series which airs on January 12, the network announced today. [Watch the trailer.]
The other five guests: George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern.