Only in America
■ A man who tried to rob a California Starbucks is suing the customer who stopped him for using “excessive force.” Ryan Flores was threatening the cashier with a knife and fake gun when customer Cregg Jerri hit him with a chair. Flores then stabbed Jerri in the neck, but Jerri seized the knife and stabbed Flores repeatedly. “The guy, in my opinion, went from a Good Samaritan to a vigilante,” said Flores’ mother.
■ A Texas judge instructed a jury that God had advised him that a defendant was not guilty. State District Judge Jack Robison called jurors out of deliberation to tell them of his revelation. The jury convicted the defendant anyway, but Robison said he has no regrets. “When God tells me to do something,” he said, “I gotta do it.”
Boring but important
Spending bill gives Trump new intel powers
The White House can now direct U.S. intelligence agencies to spend money and launch covert actions without congressional oversight, thanks to a provision in the stopgap spending bill that ended the government shutdown this week. The last-minute provision exempts intelligence agencies from a decades-old law requiring them to inform congressional committees if they spend money on activities not expressly authorized by lawmakers. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to strip the provision out of the spending bill, but was blocked. Burr and committee vice chair Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said they would fight to remove the provision when the spending bill expires on Feb. 8.