Daily Bradlo 1/31/2019

Good Morning!

Here are the top four stories to start your day:

1: Negotiations on Border Security and Government Funding Begin and End With No Signs of Compromise

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Lawmakers met on Wednesday to negotiate a deal to fund the government and increase border security but left with no signs of compromise.

The meeting lasted just over an hour with neither side making major concessions on border security. House members left for a five day break with no further meetings scheduled even as funding for the government is set to expire in 16 days. However, Congressional aides told ABC News that negotiations will continue behind the scenes.

While Republicans pushed for a border wall or some kind of physical barrier on the border, Democrats argued for what they called “smart border security.” House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) said in a news conference that President Trump has not made the case for a physical barrier:

“Smart border security is not overly reliant on physical barriers, which the Trump administration has failed to demonstrate are cost effective compared to better technology and more personnel.”

Trump weighed in on the negotiations on Twitter:

2: Fed Indicates It Will Slow Rate Hikes

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The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it will not raise interest rates this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy is still strong, but admitted that “the case for raising rates has weakened somewhat.”

Powell said that the Fed expects the economy to continue to grow but add that it has “the luxury of patience” in considering whether to raise interest rates.

While he said the U.S. economy remains strong, Powell cited concerns about the economies of China and European nations.

Powell added that the main goal of the Federal Reserve is to help keep the economy growing.

3: Mueller Says Hackers Stole Private Case Information to Use in Disinformation Campaign

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a filing on Wednesday that case information regarding an investigation to a Russian troll farm was released and used in a “disinformation campaign” to discredit the Russia probe. In the filing, Mueller’s team described the information as “non-sensitive discovery materials“:

“Certain non-sensitive discovery materials in the defense’s possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system.”

The information released was in relation to Russian firm Concord Management and Consulting which was one of the organizations indicted in Mueller’s probe. Russian officials had requested that Mueller’s team send discovery information to Russia for Concord’s employees to view outside of the United States.

However, Mueller’s prosecutors said Concord employees could view the information in their defense attorneys’ offices.

4: Senate Republicans Seek To Have More Influence In Foreign Policy

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Senate Republicans plan to vote on an amendment warning President Trump of the dangers of withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

The amendment, which is supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), warns that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda pose a “continuing threat to the homeland and our allies” and the United States’ “ability to operate in Syria and Afghanistan.”

McConnell said the amendment, “simply re-emphasizes the expertise and counsel offered by experts who have served presidents of both parties.”

The vote comes after Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence agencies Twitter following a hearing on world wide threats. Senator John Thune (R-ND) said he would prefer if Trump did not tweet:

“I don’t know how many times you can say this, but I would prefer that the president stay off Twitter, particularly with regard to these important national security issues where you’ve got people who are experts and have the background and are professionals. In most cases I think he ought to, when it comes to their judgment, take it into consideration.”