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November 20, 2018

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

5:32 a.m.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has a new book out that "chronicles his time in [President] Trump's inner circle, and it's called Let Me Finish," Stephen Colbert noted on Wednesday's Late Show. "And how dare you suggest that the original title was Are You Gonna Finish That?" In the book, he adds, Christie calls Trump's team "a 'revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconnected felons' — yeah, and that's just Don Jr."

Christie recalls that when he first met Trump, at a 2002 dinner, Trump ordered his food, picking items he was allergic to or detested, leading Christie to wonder if "Trump took him to be 'one of his chicks.' Well, check your bank account," Colbert said. "Is there $130,000 in there?" Trump also reportedly told Christie to lose weight and exhorted him to wear a longer tie, saying it would make him look thinner. "Aha! My God, he does it on purpose!" Colbert said, elaborating in his Trump voice and ending with Christie's thoughts on Jared Kushner.

The Late Show also briefly touched on the Brexit mess, imagining how Britain's most famous nanny might react to the potential zombie-filled anarchy in the U.K. in a trailer for Mary Poppins Post-Brexit.

On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon tackled a different Hollywood film, the new Spider-Man, and a different government in chaos, crafting a TSA-themed trailer for Spider-Man: Staying Home. Fallon also touched on other aspects of the shutdown, including Trump's apparent boredom from being cooped up in the White House. He even turned that into a Dr. Seussian story. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:31 a.m.

"This wasn't the argument that I set out to make," that Congress must impeach President Trump, Yoni Appelbaum says at The Atlantic. But after researching the previous three impeachments in U.S. history, it became clear pundits and Democratic leaders "have overlearned the lessons of Bill Clinton's impeachment, which backfired on his accusers" in 1998, "and entirely forgotten the real significance of Andrew Johnson's" in 1868.

By Appelbaum's estimation, Trump's multi-pronged "attack on the very foundations of America's constitutional democracy" already more than qualifies him for impeachment and removal from office, but even if the Senate disagrees and fails to convict, the process is its own remedy "in five distinct forms," he explains in The Atlantic's March cover story, posted online late Wednesday:

In these five ways — shifting the public's attention to the president's debilities, tipping the balance of power away from him, skimming off the froth of conspiratorial thinking, moving the fight to a rule-bound forum, and dealing lasting damage to his political prospects — the impeachment process has succeeded in the past. In fact, it's the very efficacy of these past efforts that should give Congress pause; it's a process that should be triggered only when a president's betrayal of his basic duties requires it. But Trump's conduct clearly meets that threshold. The only question is whether Congress will act. [Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic]

"It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would delineate a mechanism too potent to ever actually be employed," Appelbaum writes. "With a newly seated Democratic majority, the House of Representatives can no longer dodge its constitutional duty. It must immediately open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and bring the debate out of the court of public opinion and into Congress, where it belongs." Read the entire history lesson and argument for impeachment, including where Bill Clinton's accusers went wrong and Hillary Clinton's earlier cameo in impeachment law, at The Atlantic.

2:17 a.m.

On Day 26 of the government shutdown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) made the very "reasonable" request that President Trump reschedule or cancel his State of the Union address, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "I mean, what's he gonna do? 'The state of our union is ... all the Democrats' fault.'" Also, Pelosi is doing this "because she can," Colbert said. "Trump acts like the Big Dog, but she won't let the dog into her House because she knows he's going to poop everywhere." Pelosi knows what she's doing, he added. "Nothing hurts Trump more than when you deny him a TV appearance — they already won't let him host the Oscars."

Pelosi's SOTU move is "such a great burn," Seth Meyers agreed at Late Night, but it's just one of the ways Trump is losing the shutdown fight. Yes, "Trump actually thinks he's winning the argument," mostly because "he watches more Fox News than all the residents of a Texas senior center combined," Meyers said. But "what we're witnessing right now are the desperate gasps of the Trump agenda," not just his wall.

But America and its economy are paying the cost, Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. "You'd think Trump would pay attention to that, because he loves Wall Street. He thinks that's where you get the wall." Still, America's chaos is "nothing compared to what's happening in the U.K.," he said, running through the Brexit mess. "Rght now, America's government is shut down and there's trash on the streets. The U.K.'s government is in turmoil and soon they may not have food. And Africa's watching all of this, like, 'Ha-ha, who's laughing now?'"

Jimmy Kimmel tried to reason with Trump in a language he understands: Golf. "With one crazy zig-zag stroke of your executive Sharpie, you could be back on the greens at Mar-a-Lago faster than you could say Pocahontas," he reasoned. "It's a win-win, for us and for you. The federal employees can go back to work and you can get back to doing what you do best: Cheating at golf." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:53 a.m.

In front of the cameras, President Trump is adamant about standing firm and not bending to Democrats in order to end the government shutdown, but behind the scenes, he's not so steadfast, The New York Times reports.

While watching news coverage of the shutdown recently, Trump turned to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, clearly heated. A person with knowledge of the conversation told the Times that Trump said: "We are getting crushed! Why can't we get a deal?" Trump has been telling aides that he thinks Americans are going to forget all about the shutdown — entering its 27th day on Thursday, it's the longest in U.S. history — and will instead remember that he demanded money for a southern border wall.

As Trump deals with the shutdown — his poll numbers dropping, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asking him to reschedule or drop the State of the Union address, and other debacles — Mulvaney is figuring out his new role in the White House. Before becoming acting chief of staff on Jan. 3, Mulvaney led the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. So far, he's taking a less rigid approach than his predecessor, John Kelly. He's not limiting access to Trump or demanding he sign off on everything, the Times reports, telling staffers during a meeting, "You're all adults." Read more about how Mulvaney is tackling his new role, and how he's dealing with an ever-present Jared Kushner, at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

12:19 a.m.

Oh, that collusion.

On CNN Wednesday night, Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to President Trump, acknowledged that maybe Trump's campaign did collude with Russia. When Chris Cuomo reminded Giuliani that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort recently (and accidentally) revealed some very collusion-y activity, Giuliani didn't disagree. "I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign," he claimed. "I have not! I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here: Conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC."

Giuliani has a long history of contradicting himself on TV and shifting the collusion discussion, from claiming that "Russian collusion is a total fake news," to noting that that technically, "collusion is not a crime," then that attempted collusion isn't a crime. Also, this:

Wednesday's iteration could be paraphrased: Maybe Trump's campaign colluded but Trump didn't know, and only colluding with Russia to hack Democratic National Committee emails would actually be a crime.

Giuliani agreed he can't change Special Counsel Mueller's report, but also seemed to claim Mueller is already done. "I mean, this whole idea of obstruction is really stupid because the investigation has come to an end and nobody's obstructed it," Giuliani said. "I don't think the investigation has come to an end," Cuomo said. "Okay, if it hasn't come to an end, it has certainly come to an end on collusion — they either have it or they don't have it," Giuliani replied. "How do you know?" Cuomo asked, noting that new "Manafort stuff" is "the most damning stuff to date." "Well, that's not collusion and hacking the DNC," Giuliani said, and Cuomo pushed back on Giuliani's low bar. Peter Weber

January 16, 2019

A new study shows that stem cell transplants could stop symptoms in some people with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects 2.3 million patients worldwide.

MS targets the central nervous system, with the immune system attacking the protective sheath covering nerves. During the clinical trial, patients were admitted to the hospital for two weeks, and they had their own stem cells collected and stored. They received high-dose chemotherapy treatments, which wiped out their immune systems. Their stem cells were then infused back into their bodies, giving their immune systems a reboot. Fewer than 10 percent of participants subsequently reported that their condition got worse, versus more than 75 percent of patients whose disease got worse after taking medications for MS over a five-year period.

Dr. Richard Burt, who led the trial at Northwestern School of Medicine, told CBS News: "Transplants ended up being markedly superior in all the perimeters we looked at. You have to select the right group of patients ... there's these really aggressive ones that are very relapsing and inflammatory that it works extremely well in." One of the patients who participated in the trial, Amanda Loy of Alaska, said before the transplant, her arms were numb, she had bladder issues, and her balance was off. Loy has relapsing-remitting MS, and said she can now run, something she couldn't do easily before, and plans on participating in the Chicago Marathon. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

In response to the housing crisis in Seattle, Microsoft announced late Wednesday it is pledging $500 million to build affordable housing in the region.

Microsoft is based in the suburb of Redmond, and in many areas where tech giants have their headquarters, low-and middle-income homeowners are being priced out. During a meeting attended by New York Times reporters earlier this week, Microsoft President Brad Smith and CEO Satya Nadella said they were worried about their employees being able to afford housing in an area where prices are skyrocketing. "We are going to invest quite a bit," Nadella said. "Of course, we have lots of software engineers, but the reality is that a lot of people work for Microsoft. Cafeteria workers, shuttle drivers. We have a real challenge. We don't have enough affordable housing units."

In December, the government published a report that found the Seattle region needs 156,000 more affordable housing units, and if the area continues to grow at its current rate, an additional 88,000 units are needed by 2040. Catherine Garcia

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