On the final half day of Barack Obama's presidency, the S&P 500 stock market index closed up slightly at 2,271.31. Counting from this day in 2009, when that same index closed at 805.22, that marks a total gain of over 282 percent. The NASDAQ is up even more: 386 percent. Though that's without accounting for inflation, it's still the largest gain of any president since Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, as Reuters demonstrates.
Great news for stockholders, though it's worth noting that median wages have not shown nearly the same upward trajectory. Again leaving aside inflation, they only increased by about 14 percent from 2009-2015 (the most recent data that is available). Ryan Cooper
Get ready for another contentious investigation into a government official's email use.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Tuesday called for "some kind of investigative effort" after The Washington Post reported that Ivanka Trump in 2017 used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business. Blumenthal told CNN that either the Office of Government Ethics or Congress itself should conduct an investigation into this matter because Trump "in a sense" has put herself "above the law." He also said "there's no way that she had no knowledge of the rules."
The report on Ivanka Trump's email use naturally drew comparisons to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was hammered during the 2016 election for her use of a private email server while at the State Department. Blumenthal agreed with this comparison and decried "hypocrisy," while Trump's lawyer says her situation is not like Clinton's because she didn't have a private server in her house and didn't send classified material, per CBS News' Mark Knoller.
But Trump's email use, which the Post reports violated federal records rules, is drawing criticism even from some past members of the administration, with former communications director Anthony Scaramucci calling it "hypocritical" and former legislative affairs director Marc Short saying it "certainly looks bad." Watch Blumenthal's comments below. Brendan Morrow
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Ivanka Trump using her personal email account for official White House business: "There should be some kind of investigative effort, whether it's through the Office of Government Ethics or through the Congress" pic.twitter.com/7WAKc6GI46
Some Republicans are beginning to worry they may lose a Senate seat to Democrats — in Mississippi.
Voters in the state are set to participate in a runoff election on Nov. 27, as neither Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith nor Democratic challenger Mike Espy captured a majority in the midterm election. But Hyde-Smith has been mired in controversy in recent weeks, first for a remark about a "public hanging" and then for saying that making it difficult for liberals to vote sounded like a "great idea." Her campaign dismissed the former comment as an exaggeration and the latter as a joke.
After these gaffes, Republicans are reportedly "nervous" that Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to her seat earlier this year and is now running for a full term, could cost them a Senate seat, with one top party member in the state telling Talking Points Memo that the race "is definitely tighter than what it should be." Talking Points Memo also reports that some private polls show the race has tightened and Hyde-Smith is only up by a few points.
Democrats are engaging in a last-minute push to get out the vote, Politico reports, hoping to increase turnout, specifically among black voters. President Trump appears not to be taking Hyde-Smith's win for granted, as he plans to travel to the state for two rallies on Monday. Trump won Mississippi by 17 points in 2016.
If Espy, the former agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration, were to actually defeat Hyde-Smith, he would be the first Democratic senator to represent the state in nearly three decades, and the first black senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction. The candidates will square off in a debate Tuesday night. One Republican told Talking Points Memo, "It's all about whether we can get through the debate without saying anything that makes it worse." Brendan Morrow
The main U.S. stock indexes plunged on Monday, weighed down by negative news about Apple and Facebook.
Facebook shares fell by nearly 6 percent in continued fallout from a New York Timesreport on the social network's aggressive response to criticism over its handling of fake news and other efforts to influence public opinion. Apple shares fell by 5 percent after a Wall Street Journalreport that disappointing sales had prompted the company to cut orders for its latest iPhones. Shares of Google-parent Alphabet also fell by 4 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down by 1.6 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 3 percent and the S&P 500 dropped by 1.7 percent. Stock futures fell further early Tuesday, Fox Business reports, suggesting more tech-fueled selling. Harold Maass
President Trump's immigration agenda has just suffered a major legal setback — again.
Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco late Monday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from denying the asylum claims of immigrants who cross the U.S. border with Mexico illegally, The Washington Post reports. Trump had rolled out his plan days after the midterms in response to the caravan of migrants making their way to the United States from Central America.
The judge said Monday that Trump does not have the authority to "rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden." Whether a person arrives at a legal point of entry "should bear little, if any, weight in the asylum process," he said, as is reflected under current law. Additionally, the judge said the immigrants would be put at "increased risk of violence and other harms at the border" if Trump's ban went into effect, CNN reports.
This is just the latest legal setback the Trump administration has faced when it comes to immigration; an appeals court earlier this month also blocked Trump from ending DACA, the program that gives protections to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
Judge Tigar's temporary restraining order will expire on Dec. 19, at which point another hearing will take place and a permanent order could be issued. Brendan Morrow
In September, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and two other GOP senators sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a letter stating that Venezuela has ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, but did not offer any concrete evidence. They asked for Venezuela to be added to the list, which has four countries on it: North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Sudan.
A U.S. official told Reuters those countries have "repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism," and for Venezuela to be added to the list, there has to be sufficient proof. Venezuela is experiencing food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation, and if the country ends up on the list, it could limit economic assistance from the United States. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said he is the victim of an "economic war" with the U.S. Catherine Garcia
There are lots of words you could use to describe President Trump, but Seth Meyers thinks there's one that everyone can admit fits him best: weird.
"He is a weird man," Meyers said on Monday's Late Night. "Just a flag hugging, umbrella ditching, can't do a normal handshake kind of weirdo." One of the more bizarre things Trump does is make up an outlandish lie about another country, which can easily be fact checked and proven untrue. In February 2017, for example, Trump claimed there was an attack in Sweden, when there was not. The "deeply weird president" was at it again on Saturday in California, when he started talking about taking care of the "floors of the forest" like they do in Finland.
Trump declared that the president of Finland told him in his "forest nation" they "spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning" and in turn, they don't deal with things like devastating fires. The president of Finland later clarified he did not say that people in his country are going around raking 24/7, and Meyers is certain that "we're a week away from the president of Romania calling a press conference to say, 'I did not tell President Trump that vampires are real.'" Trump, Meyers concludes, has to "concoct fantastical lies" because they "reinforce his deluded worldview, and they're easier to swallow than reality." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
On Monday, the White House announced it had restored CNN reporter Jim Acosta's hard press pass, following a legal battle.
At the same time, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine announced new guidelines for journalists covering press conferences. They are only allowed to ask one question, with any follow-ups answered at the discretion of President Trump or the White House official holding the press conference. When a journalist is done asking their question, they must also hand over the microphone. Anyone violating those rules could have their press pass suspended or revoked.