Situational awareness: The WSJ is reporting that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen arranged a payment to former adult film star Stephanie Clifford in 2016 to remain silent about an alleged sexual encounter with President Trump in 2006.
The government is seven days away from shutting down over an impasse on immigration. This week of talks with the White House and Congress made have only made things worse, Axios' Jonathan Swan, Caitlin Owens and Alexi McCammond report.
What one senior GOP aide told us today:
"Everybody hates each other right now."
Between the lines: This will not be solved by the so-called "Gang of Six" group of senators looking for a big immigration deal — what they're pursuing is miles away from what President Trump or the GOP House will agree to. In fact Republican leaders don't even see the Jan. 19 spending deadline as a deadline for Dreamers at all.
But, but, but... It's worth noting that this kind of brinkmanship is fairly typical until practically the day before a government shutdown. If by next Wednesday or Thursday there's still no agreement, a bunch of angry members of Congress will have to decide whether whatever they're angry about is worth closing the government over.
Donald Trump receives applause after signing a proclamation to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images
"Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks," Sam Anderson writes for the N.Y. Times: