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January 2, 2019

President Trump has taken a controversial walk down memory lane.

In a broad attempt to justify withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump ended up saying the Soviet Union was "right" to invade Afghanistan in 1979. According to the president's version of history, the Soviet Union turned into Russia because it "went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan." But the Soviets only invaded at all "because terrorists were going into Russia," Trump falsely said. ("He's confusing it with Chechnya," conservative critic Max Boot pointed out.) "They were right to be there," Trump said of the Soviet invaders, countering the views of the U.S. and its allies at the time.

As a whole lot of people on Twitter and in the administration said when Trump shared his interpretation of history, that's not exactly what happened. The 1979 invasion "began a brutal, decade-long attempt by Moscow to subdue the Afghan civil war and maintain a friendly and socialist government on its border," President Trump's State Department says. The State Department also credits the invasion for creating a "shattered country" that allowed Osama bin Laden "to launch terrorist operations worldwide." Kathryn Krawczyk

11:07 a.m.

About 170 migrants are missing and feared dead after two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean this week.

Three survivors of one wreck rescued by an Italian naval helicopter on Friday said they'd been on a ship with about 120 people which began sinking after leaving Libya Thursday. A 2-month-old baby was among the passengers. Another 53 people who sailed from Morocco are also missing, though at least one person from that boat was rescued.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe's doorstep," said a statement from the United Nations' refugee agency. "No effort should be spared, or prevented, from saving lives in distress at sea." Bonnie Kristian

10:56 a.m.

Local authorities by Saturday evening had revised their estimate of deaths in a Friday explosion at a Mexican fuel pipeline to 73, with another 74 people injured in the blast and more still missing.

The death toll was initially put at 21 but quickly rose. Casualties are high because a crowd of hundreds of villagers had gathered in hopes of collecting free gasoline after the pipeline was punctured by fuel thieves. Gas stations in the area have been rationing gasoline because of fuel shortages, and word of the spill from the pipeline spread quickly.

"I trust in the people, and I know that with these painful, regrettable lessons, the people will also distance themselves from these practices" of fuel theft, said Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who visited the site of the tragedy Saturday. Bonnie Kristian

10:35 a.m.

A dangerous winter storm that brought extreme cold and heavy snow to much of the Midwest on Friday and Saturday moved east to New England Sunday. States of emergency have been declared in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and widespread travel delays are anticipated.

"Feet of snow, blizzard conditions, a significant build-up of ice, tree-breaking winds, and plunging temperatures will close roads, cause flight cancellations, and disrupt daily activities over a large part of the northeastern United States this weekend," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"Be careful and try staying in your house," President Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "Large parts of the Country are suffering from tremendous amounts of snow and near record setting cold. Amazing how big this system is." Bonnie Kristian

8:26 a.m.

Saturday Night Live returned from a holiday hiatus with Alec Baldwin as President Trump playing Deal or No Deal to end the partial government shutdown, as "a TV game show with women holding briefcases" is the "only format [he] can understand."

SNL's Trump gives an overview of the plan the real president proposed earlier Saturday, but host Steve Harvey (Kenan Thompson) has an array of alternative deals from congressional leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Kate McKinnon) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat). Trump cannot be tempted by their pitches, but when a Clemson University football player shows up with some "hamberders," he's ready to talk.

Watch the full sketch below. Bonnie Kristian

8:09 a.m.

When BuzzFeed News approached Peter Carr, spokesman for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, for comment on Thursday's explosive report, Carr was not told the full scope of what BuzzFeed planned to publish, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Emails from BuzzFeed reporters say they have "a story coming stating that Michael Cohen was directed by President Trump himself to lie to Congress about his negotiations related to the Trump Moscow project." The emails do not mention reporting that Mueller's office had collected document evidence and a confession from Cohen. Carr's denial of the BuzzFeed story the next day was delayed by the special counsel's office's efforts to independently verify BuzzFeed's claims, the Post reports.

BuzzFeed again stood by its reporting in a second statement Saturday. "As we've re-confirmed our reporting, we've seen no indication that any specific aspect of our story is inaccurate," the statement said. "We remain confident in what we've reported, and will share more as we are able."

Read the full Washington Post story here. Bonnie Kristian

January 19, 2019

The Senate will this coming week consider President Trump's Saturday proposal for an immigration deal to end the government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday — but the pitch is unlikely to gain much traction with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and congressional Democrats more broadly.

"Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-need discussion to protect the border," Pelosi said in a statement released right before Trump's remarks began. "Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives.“

Trump's plan offers three years of relief, including from deportation, for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS), but Pelosi's statement demands a "permanent solution." She also asks for increased port of entry infrastructure and more customs agents, which Trump did not mention.

However, there is some overlap between the two lists. Both Pelosi and Trump call for more immigration judges and border patrol agents as well as, in Trump's words, "drug detection technology to help secure our ports of entry."

Pelosi's statement concludes with a request that Trump re-open the government so comprehensive immigration policy negotiations can proceed. Trump's speech ended by urging Congress to agree to his deal to re-open the government so "weekly bipartisan meetings at the White House" can be scheduled for immigration policy reform. Bonnie Kristian

January 19, 2019

President Trump began his address on border security and the partial government shutdown Saturday with a grim description of the "humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border." He highlighted the dangers of migrants' journeys to the United States, especially sexual assault, and argued stricter border control would reduce crime and drug trafficking.

"As I candidate for president, I promised I would fix this crisis, and I intend to keep that promise one way or the other," Trump said. "I am here today to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border."

That path, as Trump explained it, includes "$800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance, $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure our ports of entry, an additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals, [and] 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the backlog of — believe it or not — almost 900,000 cases."

The proposal retains Trump's longstanding demand of $5.7 billion for construction of "powerful and fully designed, see-through steel barrier[s]" in "high-priority locations." It offers "three years of legislative relief for 700,000 [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)] recipients brought here unlawfully by their parents at a young age," as well as a "three-year extension of temporary protected status (TPS)" for "300,000 immigrants whose protective status is facing expiration" while further immigration reform is negotiated.

Trump also listed two "measures to protect migrant children from exploitation and abuse," a "new system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries and reform to promote family reunification for unaccompanied children" detained away from their families in the United States.

"That is our plan: border security, DACA, TPS, and many other things," Trump concluded. "This plan solves the immediate crisis ... and immediately re-opens our federal government." Watch the full live stream below. Bonnie Kristian

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