Dec 20, 2018

Trump wavers on signing spending bill on eve of government shutdown

Photo: Jabin Botsford/Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump appears to be wavering on signing a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, with the White House saying Thursday that Trump "does not want to go further without border security."

The state of play: House Republican leaders are meeting with Trump at the White House this afternoon. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, are part of that group and have urged Trump not to back down on his demands for wall funding. The Senate passed a bill Wednesday night that did not include the full $5 billion Trump wants for border security.

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WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

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Democrats demand new Russia sanctions over 2020 election interference

Putin and Trump. Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Senate Democratic leaders will send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday afternoon demanding they sanction Russia — and potentially Russian President Vladimir Putin himself — for attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The letter follows reports that a senior intelligence official briefed Congress that Russia is again interfering in the November election to help Trump. White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected that assessment on Sunday, and CNN later reported that the briefer may have overstated the intelligence community's evidence about Russia's goals.