February 12, 2018

Life is like a box of chocolates, and rebuilding American infrastructure is akin to erecting an ice skating rink. So claimed President Trump on Monday, speaking to reporters on the heels of his administration's unveiling of its long-delayed and much-hyped infrastructure plan.

The 55-page plan calls for a $1.5 trillion investment to improve freeways, bridges, and water resources across the U.S. — just $200 billion of which would come from the federal government. The rest would ostensibly be provided by private or local matches.

Speaking to reporters about the wonders of collaboration, Trump compared the task of improving the country's infrastructure to the time he built an ice skating rink in Central Park. "We're gonna have a lot of great people working. We're gonna also have great companies investing and building, and they'll build for you," Trump said, "because sometimes the states aren't able to [build] like [the federal government] can … or like I used to do it when I did the Wollman Rink."

In the 1980s, Trump helped renovate the Wollman Rink, a process that had been stalled for years before he stepped in. "They couldn't get it built, and I did it in a few months at a much smaller price," he said. Trump said he'd been reminded of the rink "the other day" by someone who "had never forgotten it" and insisted that the rink's expedited construction "remains a big deal." He concluded: "It's really no different with a roadway ... it's no different with a bridge or tunnel or any of the things we'll be fixing."

To the president's credit, he did indeed finish the construction on the Wollman Rink under budget and quicker than expected. Trump came in "about $750,000" under the $3 million budget allotted for the project, The New York Times reported at the time, for a rough total investment of $2,250,000 — or, in other words, significantly less than 1 percent of the budget for Trump's infrastructure plan. Kelly O'Meara Morales

4:03 p.m.

George Papadopoulos doesn't see why being sent to jail for lying to the FBI should get in the way of his plans to run for Congress.

The former foreign policy adviser to President Trump's campaign told The Telegraph on Friday that he will run for Congress in 2020, saying he always intended to use his connection with Trump "as a platform to run for office myself." Papadopoulos said his "end game remains the same," even though "things just took a different direction," by which he means he was convicted for lying to federal investigators and is on supervised release for the next year.

He didn't specify where he's going to run, but it sounds like he's not picky, saying, "I just have to find a little Republican enclave somewhere in this part of the world, in this part of the country I should say, and run there." In fact, he claims he already has "some support."

On Twitter, Papadopoulos doubled down, tweeting a simple message to those who have suggested the best time to launch a congressional bid isn't necessarily seven days after getting out of jail: "It is true," he wrote. "I will be running for Congress in 2020, and I will win. Stay tuned." Brendan Morrow

3:58 p.m.

Time is up on not having enough diversity in the room.

The Time's Up organization, which seeks to combat inequality and improve workplace culture for women, is taking a $500,000 grant received from CBS and putting it toward an initiative to diversify the producer and executive pool in Hollywood, per The Hollywood Reporter.

The initiative, dubbed "Who's in the Room," will try to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity among producers and execs by selecting mentees in entry-level and assistant positions and pairing them with industry mentors. The initiative will also provide instruction and, if needed, financial aid. The first class will have 10 mentees for a duration of nine months, followed by a second class of 50 individuals for two years.

Time's Up, founded by celebrities who were responding to the "#MeToo" movement in Hollywood, is one of 18 advocacy organizations receiving a portion of $20 million from CBS. The media broadcasting company is distributing the money as part of its separation agreement with former CEO Les Moonves, the Reporter writes. Marianne Dodson

3:54 p.m.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he doesn't care about President Trump's alleged crimes. Now, he's taking it back.

Earlier this week, ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for financial crimes, among them campaign finance violations in which he implicated the president while pleading guilty. CNN's Manu Raju stopped Hatch in a Senate hall to ask his thoughts on the sentencing, and Hatch responded by brushing off Trump's alleged crimes. "I don't care, all I can say is he doing a good job as president," Hatch said, adding that he didn't think Trump did anything wrong.

But in a follow-up statement Friday, Hatch called his remarks "irresponsible and a poor reflection" of his "dedication to the rule of law." While Hatch doesn't believe Cohen is a "reliable voice," he does have "confidence" in Special Counsel Robert Mueller and wants him to continue investigating Trump's ties to Russia, he said. As for his previous implication that "you can make anything a crime under the current laws," Hatch explained that America's "criminal code is simply too large" and he'd like to "simplify" it. Read his whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:51 p.m.

President Trump's organization reportedly received money from the Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2017, with at least one organizer expressing concern that they were being overcharged.

ProPublica reported Friday that the inaugural committee paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals, and event space at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and Ivanka Trump herself was involved in working out the price. While it's unclear what price was ultimately settled upon, ProPublica published copies of emails between one lead planner, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, and inauguration chairman Rick Gates.

"I wanted to follow up on our conversation and express my concern," Wolkoff writes to Gates, going on to remind him that "when this is audited it will become public knowledge." The committee had been offered a price of $700,000 to use the hotel for four days.

The report notes that if the Trump Organization overcharged the inaugural committee, that could be a tax law violation, as this would be an example of a person with influence over a non-profit charging it above market rates. A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump told ProPublica that she recommended charging a "fair market rate."

Federal prosecutors are reportedly already investigating whether the inaugural committee misspent money and whether foreign entities may have donated to the committee in an attempt to buy access to the administration. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that the committee "doesn't have anything to do with the president or the first lady." Read more at ProPublica. Brendan Morrow

2:56 p.m.

Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed legislation Friday limiting the power that newly-elected Democrats will have when they take office.

Dubbed a "power grab" by many, the bill was signed with no changes after Walker previously stated he was considering partial vetoes, Politico reports. The bill has been met with criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, with governor-elect Tony Evers (D) and former Republican Gov. Scott McCallum both urging Walker to veto the bill.

The bills will limit the governor's oversight on previously approved laws and give the state legislature control over a state economic development agency, per The Huffington Post. The legislation also reduces the amount of time for early voting, capping it at two weeks statewide. A flood of early voters were reportedly influential in toppling Walker in favor of Evers in the midterm elections.

Walker fought back against critics before signing the bill, saying that the issue has been sensationalized.

"There's a lot of hype and hysteria, particularly in the national media, implying this is a power shift," Walker said. "It's not."

Evers criticized Walker's decision to "ignore and override the will of the people of Wisconsin," and said the controversial decision will be Walker's legacy. Marianne Dodson

2:54 p.m.

There's rarely been so much skepticism and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. immigration system. So after 31 people were sworn in as U.S. citizens, "a daughter and granddaughter of immigrants" decided to give them some reassurance.

On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her first public speech after a fall last month to tell a group of new Americans what it meant to "join more than 20 million other citizens born in other lands." Ginsburg affirmed to the new citizens that "stains remain" on American livelihood, but used her own family history to show how they could improve the country, reports ABC News.

Friday marks the 227th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and Ginsburg's remarks at the citizenship ceremony took place in the National Archives, where the original document is stored. Ginsburg brought up how the newly naturalized citizens had to defend those rights, "first and foremost [by] voting in elections," per CNN.

Ginsburg told the group how her father "arrived in this land at age 13 with no fortune and speaking no English." Her mother was born four months after her parents immigrated to America, and ended up working as a bookkeeper in New York City, Ginsburg said. But in "one generation," Ginsburg says she was able to achieve "the American dream" and become "a Supreme Court Justice." Watch more of Ginsburg's remarks below. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:21 p.m.

For those who say the midterms just ended and 2020 talk is too early: We hear you. Nevertheless, a CNN/SRSS poll is here, and we must listen.

A Democratic primary poll released Friday puts former Vice President Joe Biden on top of the list of potential Democratic candidates, with a convincing 30 percent of voters supporting him. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) comes behind him with 14 percent, and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) is next in line with 9 percent.

Of course, none of these top candidates have fully committed to running for president. And in December 2014 — a little less than 2 years ahead of 2016's election — that race's winner hadn't announced his candidacy either. In fact, a CNN poll from four years ago predicted we'd see some now-forgotten faces on top of a GOP primary.

That's right, remember Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Ben Carson? Since topping this poll, they've most recently gained attention for doing nothing, turning down White House jobs, and purchasing a very expensive table, respectively. Eventual President Trump doesn't even appear on the list, suggesting Democrats' next leader could still be yet to come.

CNN's most recent poll surveyed 1,015 people — 463 of whom were Democrats — from Dec. 6-9 via landline and cell phone, with a 3.8 percent margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk

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