Dec 18, 2018

White House asks federal agencies to contribute to border wall funding

Sarah Sanders. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump has asked every federal agency to contribute to the $5 billion in border wall funding he has demanded from Congress to avoid shutting the government down, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday.

The big picture: Last week, Trump said he'd be "proud" to shut down the government over funding for the border wall. But Sanders said the administration is now hoping they can prevent a shutdown by securing funding from elsewhere. Lawmakers have until Friday to pass a funding bill that will keep the government open.

  • Sanders added that Trump is "disappointed" in Congress for failing to come up with a spending deal to keep the government open. Last week, both House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Trump at the White House to hash out a deal. It went nowhere.

Other highlights:

  • Addressing Michael Flynn's sentencing hearing, Sanders doubled down on her claim from earlier in the day that Flynn was "ambushed" by FBI investigators — despite Flynn reaffirming in court that he knew it was illegal to lie to the FBI. She also claimed that actions Flynn engaged in don't "have anything to do with the president directly," and that she was unaware of any actions he took that would indicate treason.
  • Sanders said Trump would "take a look" at extraditing Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania who the Turkish government has accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016. Flynn has admitted to failing to register as a foreign agent of Turkey while lobbying to have Gulen extradited, work for which two of his business associates have been indicted.
  • Sanders also announced Trump would attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, next month.

Go deeper: White House looking at “other ways” to get $5 billion for border wall

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America's funeral homes buckle under the coronavirus

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Morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries in hot spots across America cannot keep up with the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen more than 10,000 deaths from the virus, and at least tens of thousands more lives are projected to be lost. The numbers are creating unprecedented bottlenecks in the funeral industry — and social distancing is changing the way the families say goodbye to their loved ones.

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Navarro memos warning of mass coronavirus death circulated in January

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In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

The state of play: By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to two million Americans could die of the virus.

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Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: The virus hits home

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The share of Americans who know someone who's tested positive has more than tripled in just a few weeks, to 14%, according to the latest installment of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • It's still highest in the Northeast, but last week alone it doubled in the South — and it's becoming most pronounced among people who still must leave home to work.