December 11, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may have laid down the law during a contentious meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, but the comments she made after the Oval Office sitdown were even more harsh.

Trump, Pelosi, and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sparred Tuesday over border walls and government shutdowns, quickly devolving from a rehearsed press conference into a shouting match. Pelosi, though, later characterized it as a "tirade" that spewed directly from the president, CNN's Manu Raju reports.

During the meeting, Trump interrupted Pelosi no less than 15 times in an attempt to prove he wouldn't sign a spending bill with less than $5 billion allocated for his border wall. Democrats have maintained they won't give up more than $1.6 billion.

After attempting to reason with Trump and shutting down a demeaning comment, Pelosi waltzed out of the Oval Office and into some private meetings. In one, Pelosi suggested Trump's insistence on building a wall is "like a manhood thing for him," a Pelosi aide tells CNN. "As if manhood could ever be associated with him," Pelosi reportedly added. Also in Pelosi-isms:

Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump all tussled over the spending bill set to expire Dec. 21. If a new bill isn't passed by then, the government will shut down. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:54 a.m.

Residents of Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, and Nebraska reported at least 80 tornadoes since Monday, with at least 22 tornado reports by late Wednesday, including a "violent tornado" in Jefferson City, Missouri, that may have caused fatalities. At least seven people have been reported dead from storm-related causes, mostly in Missouri, ABC News reports. And days of heavy rains have caused near-record flooding in the Midwest, especially Oklahoma, where 9 inches of rain have fallen on saturated ground since Sunday.

The Arkansas River is 9 feet above flood stage in parts of Oklahoma, and two barges that broke away in the flood prompted evacuation orders for several small downs on the other side of a dam downstream. The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are at or approaching flood stages from Iowa and Illinois down to Missouri — the Mississippi is expected to crest 12 feet vote flood stage in St. Louis on Monday. And the rain-swollen Cimarron River is eating away its banks toward homes about 34 miles north of Oklahoma City.

In fact, at least one unoccupied house slipped into the Cimarron on Tuesday and floated away. Others are at risk of sliding into the river, too.

The extreme weather is expected to linger in the Plains states Thursday but part of the storm will head east, delivering heavy rain, strong wind gusts, hail, and tornados to parts of the East Coast, from New England to West Virginia. Peter Weber

4:48 a.m.

President Trump said Wednesday he won't work with Democrats on infrastructure or anything else until they end their investigations of him. "You're on the Senate Intelligence Committee," Stephen Colbert reminded Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Wednesday's Late Show. "Are you guys going to end the investigation?" "No," she said. "Let's just talk for a moment about this."

So Trump's "going to hold America's infrastructure hostage over the issue of the investigation," Harris said, connecting some dots. Almost half of American families are about $400 of unexpected expenses away from "complete upheaval," she said. The average set of tires for a car costs $400, she added, and "why do people need new tires? Because the roads are falling apart." Colbert played the devil's advocate, suggesting Democrats "just pause the investigations and get the infrastructure done — he'll still be corrupt later." Harris laughed but said, "No, this is a false choice. We cannot abandon our democracy for the sake of appeasing somebody who is completely focused on his self-interest only."

Harris said it's her "firm belief" that Trump obstructed justice, but impeachment is tricky. She's in favor of starting an impeachment investigation, she said, but "it is also fair that we are realistic that the Senate is not going to impeach this guy." The investigation is still worth pursuing, Harris added. "It's about maintaining the integrity of our democracy and the design of it," three co-equal branches of government with checks and balances. But when the Senate fails to convict, she said, Democrats must be ready to watch Trump "prance around and say, 'See? Witch hunt, witch hunt. They went after me and they didn't get me.'" "I've never imagined him prancing before," Colbert said, "but thank you for that image."

Harris also explained how her equal-pay plan shifts the burden of assuring men and women earn the same money for the same work from individuals to the companies. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:13 a.m.

If you've paid any attention to President Trump, you know he's obsessed with golf and he golfs a lot. HuffPost tried to discern what Trump's roughly 175 president golf trips have cost in added travel and security costs, and on Wednesday they reported their conservative estimate: $102 million. That includes $81 million for his 61 days at his golf courses in Florida, $17 million for his 58 days at his New Jersey resort, $1 million for him to visit his club in Los Angeles, and $3 million to tack a trip to his Scottish golf course onto a visit to London. A planned golf trip to Ireland will cost millions more.

For perspective, HuffPost says, $102 million "represents 255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take," and former President Barack Obama at this point in his presidency had racked up about $30 million in out-of-town golf expenses.

At The Washington Examiner, Tom Rogan scolds HuffPost for "hyperventilating" about Trump's golf expenses, noting, reasonably, that president need vacations and have to travel with large, expensive entourages "Too many conservative commentators unjustly attacked Obama's travel costs," he said, and "liberals are wrong to complain about President Trump's golfing costs."

But cost was only part of HuffPost's concerns. All but one of Trump's 175 golf outings have been at Trump-owned courses — the exception was in Japan — and "on top of the publicity value of a presidential visit, each trip also results in many thousands of taxpayer dollars flowing to Trump resorts for hotel rooms, golf carts, and food and drink for Secret Service agents," HuffPost notes. "Because Trump continues to profit from these businesses ... a portion of that taxpayer money ends up in Trump's own pocket." A recent government report found that Trump's Mar-a-Lago earned about $60,000 from just four of Trump's 24 presidential visits. Read more at HuffPost. Peter Weber

1:35 a.m.

"Today, there really is just one big story: America's step-daddy is angry," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Frustrated Democrats are starting to push for impeachment, and after a meeting Wednesday morning to calm down her caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerged and said she believes Trump "is engaged in a cover-up." Colbert laughed: "It's called bronzer, Nancy, and he's not fooling anyone."

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) then went to the White House to meet with Trump for a pre-scheduled meeting on infrastructure, Trump walked in late, walked out, and the meeting was over in three minutes. "According to Stormy Daniels, that's two bonus minutes," Colbert said, naughtily. "Trump walked out the door, straight to the Rose Garden for a nationally televised hissy fit, complete with a podium adorned with a pre-printed sign that said 'No collusion, no obstruction.'"

"So Trump has a clear stance on infrastructure: 'It's my way or no highways,'" Colbert said, paraphrasing Trump's opening message. Trump then claimed Democrats can't investigate him and legislate at the same time, raged about Democrats moving toward "the 'i' word," insisted he's denying Congress its constitutional powers for altruistic reasons, and stood up for his son Don Jr, Colbert recapped. Then Pelosi politely savaged Trump, but couldn't quite articulate "the 'i' word."

The Late Show had no trouble finding (and singing about) "i" words to describe Trump.

"Trump's press conference was predictably off-the-rails," starting with his "obvious lie" that he's a historically transparent president, Seth Meyer said at Late Night. "I mean, we can see right though you, but I don't think that's what you meant." With Trump "now openly defying the law and refusing to work with Congress unless they stop investigating him," he added, "it's worth remembering that Republicans spent years pretending to care about the Constitution, and now Trump is exposing them all as frauds." Well, all except one. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:17 a.m.

Army Spc. Tyler Mosley and Daisy had an instant connection, and he knew their story wouldn't end in Syria.

They met in January while Mosley was serving a five-month deployment. After finding the German shepherd puppy abandoned on the side of the road, a technician brought her to the Army compound. Daisy quickly bonded with Mosley, and when it came time for him to return to the United States, he made a plan to get his new friend out of Syria. "She was in a bad place," Mosley told the Panama City News Herald. "I just wanted her to be here so I could give her the love, the life that she wouldn't have had there."

He contacted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International, and after filling out forms and paying a small fee, Daisy started her trek to the U.S. Following stops in Iraq, Germany, and New York City, she arrived in Florida last month, with a tearful Mosley greeting her at the airport. Daisy now lives with Mosley, his wife Kelsey, and their cat. "I just knew that I would do whatever it takes to get her home," Mosley said. Catherine Garcia

12:19 a.m.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent seven hours on Tuesday speaking with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and told them all about President Trump's shaky 2017 meeting in Hamburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin, committee aides told The Washington Post.

"We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted," one aide said. "There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing." Tillerson said Trump believed it would be a brief meeting, with the men exchanging nothing more than pleasantries, but Putin was ready to discuss major issues, and they were together for two hours. Tillerson also shared that he thinks the U.S. needs to do more to push back against Russia on the global stage, the Post reports.

Tillerson was invited to speak privately to a bipartisan group of lawmakers by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). Tillerson, who was fired in March 2018, was careful not to insult Trump, a committee aide told the Post, but he made it clear that he and the president do not have the same "value system." When asked to describe Trump's values, the aide said Tillerson replied, "'I cannot.' Just as matter of fact, he stated that he couldn't or wouldn't unpack the president's values for us." Catherine Garcia

12:05 a.m.

One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) arguments against opening impeachment proceedings against President Trump is that House Democrats are actually winning their oversight battles with the White House. And in fact, a second federal judge green-lighted congressional subpoenas of Trump's financial records on Wednesday, and two of Trump's lenders — Wells Fargo and TD Bank — have reportedly already handed over some financial records.

On the other hand, Trump's lawyers plan to appeal the rulings on his Deutsche Bank, Capital One, and accounting records, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to hand over Trump's tax returns, despite a law that says he "shall," a subpoena, and a memo from IRS lawyers agreeing he has little choice. New York may have just given House Democrats a workaround on Trump's tax returns, though.

On Wednesday, the New York state Assembly and Senate gave final approval to a law that would allow three congressional committees — House Ways and Means, Senate Banking, and Joint Committee on Taxation — to request the state tax returns of any elected or top appointed official. It covers both business and personal tax returns filed in the state. New York is Trump's home and the headquarters of many of his core businesses, and the information on his state returns should be very similar to what's on his federal returns.

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signs the legislation — a spokesman said he is reviewing it carefully — it will take effect immediately. That would probably provide House Democrats their fastest path to viewing Trump's tax returns — though the law, like all the other avenues, might have to overcome a court challenge first. Peter Weber

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