Yemeni officials insist President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is safe

Per James Rosen

Yemeni officials concede that the Shi’ite Houthi rebels are now “the dominant force” across the northern provinces of the country, and in the capital, Sana’a, but they insist President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is safe, remains the head of state, and is not, contrary to widespread reporting, being kept captive by rebel fighters.

“No one has called for the Cabinet or the state to dissolve,” a senior Yemeni official told Fox News. “We are working out a political resolution and expect a breakthrough soon – maybe tonight or tomorrow. We are not headed towards armed conflict, as we might have been two days ago.”

Speaking on background due to the sensitivity of the situation, the official said Houthi fighters are now standing “side to side” with the president’s own corps of guards, many of whom fled last night, and are “protecting him,” not menacing him. “He is not detained,” the source said of Hadi. “If he needs to attend meetings in the palace or the presidential areas, he can move freely.”

The official also insisted that Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, reported to have fled his house for a “safe place,” also remains in his post.

Sources said the demands being pressed by the Houthis do not include, as has been widely reported, the right to choose the country’s vice president. Rather, the rebel group – which enjoys a measure of support from Iran – is making four core demands, all in line with the Peace and Political Participation Agreement that the state and the rebels finalized back in September.

These demands include reform of the National Authority, the body responsible for the drafting of the country’s constitution; the right to make edits to the constitution; a swift resolution to tensions in the eastern, oil-producing provinces; and full political participation in government agencies.

More on this story tonight on Special Report--

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Factoids about State of the Union

· There are 449 permanent seats on the floor of the House of Representatives, not nearly enough to seat all members from both bodies, the diplomatic corps, the cabinet, Joint Chiefs, the Supreme Court, et al. They had a sprinkling of those seats on the floor. Some lawmakers wind up standing toward the back. And not all lawmakers go or stay the entire time. We always see a few stragglers skipping out early through Statuary Hall.

·  Technically, lawmakers are not supposed to “save” seats along the aisle so they can greet the president and get to shake his hand on national television when enters the chamber. But a visit to the chamber a few moments ago reveals that several members have left bags, purses, hats and scarves on prized aisle seats to try to get a shot with Mr. Obama. Already lingering in the chamber are Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

·  The House will again welcome the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to the speech. That’s the longest-tenured diplomat in Washington. This is Roble Olhaye, who is the Ambassador to Washington fro Djibouti . Olhaye has served as Djibouti’s Ambassador to the US since 1988. He was away and missed last year’s State of the Union message.

·  Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires that the president brief Congress “from time to time” on the “state of the Union.” President George Washington did it in person for a while. Thomas Jefferson disbanded the practice, arguing it seemed too much like a “speech from the throne.” A written report served as the official briefing to Congress until President Woodrow Wilson delivered a formal address to Congress in 1913. President Jimmy Carter did not give a State of the Union speech to Congress in January, 1981 during his last days in office. But he did submit a written report. Carter is the last to do so.

And be sure to join me tonight at 11pmET for a Facebook Q&A following the State of the Union coverage on Fox!


2016 Contenders: Governor Rick Perry

Republicans clear first hurdle in stopping President Obama's executive move on immigration

Republicans cleared the first and easiest hurdle in stopping President Obama's executive move on immigration.
Lawmakers are heavily divided on whether or not President Obama should veto the bill if it reaches his desk, but everyone seems to think their opponent's position would jeopardize American safety.
This as brand new Fox polls show how voters see it all playing out.
Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel with the story from Capitol Hill.

Furniture store out $1.5 million over OSU win

Ashley Furniture may want to think twice before placing any big bets in the future. The franchise could owe customers as much as $1.5 million worth of refunds following a promotion at its Morris-owned stores in Ohio and Kentucky. 

The short of it is a store promotion promised refunds to customers who purchased at least $1,999 worth of furniture at select locatoins between December 17th -January 1st if Ohio State University won the College Football Playoff National Championship by at least seven points.

The Univeristy of Oregon was favored to win by a comfortable no doubt Ashley Furniture stores thought betting on the ducks was a sure thing. Of course, OSU defeated Oregon 42-20 and now the chain is out some big buck(eye)s. ((pun intentended))

The good news for the furniture store--they aren't solely responsible for the loss. They had an underwriter who will take on a large part of the finances involved in paying back the customers.

A company executive admits it was an expensive promotion, but was still excited for an OSU win. 

Shoppers who took part in the promotion have until February 1st to fill out a form in one of the participating stores to collect their winnings. 

Special Report Grapevine: Frosty fatwa?

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

Special Report Grapevine: Groundhog Day

Senator Richard Burr on deadly terror attack

Bret  sits down with incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee-- North Carolina Senator Richard Burr about the deadly terror attack at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to electing a Speaker of the House

By Chad Pergram-Capitol Hill

-Reps. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) have offered up their names as alternatives to Boehner. We don’t know if they will officially be nominated or simply receive votes from the rank-and-file. There could be votes for other candidates as well.

-Keep in mind that the Speaker of the House DOES NOT need to be a member of the body..although that has never happened. However last year, non-members such as former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), former Comptroller General David Walker and retired Gen. Colin Powell received votes.

-The Speaker must receive an “outright majority” of the House in order to win. That means, it isn’t enough just to have a plurality or “greater number.” The winner must have more than half of all votes cast.

-The entire House votes for Speaker.

-House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will formally place the name of Boehner in nomination as its candidate. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) will formally place the name of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) into nomination.

-Additional names, and we’re hearing chatter there could be more, can be made at any time.

-In the 2013 election for Speaker, Boehner secured 220 votes, six more than were necessary to win. If no candidate secures the outright majority, the House votes again. And again. And again. Until there is finally a winner.

-The House hasn’t gone to a second ballot for Speaker since 1923. House Speaker Frederick Gillett (R-MA, juh-LETT) eventually recaptured the gavel in a crowded field on the ninth ballot over a period of three days. The House took 133 ballots and two months to select a Speaker in 1856.

-Pushing the vote for Speaker to a second ballot would be the “victory” Boehner adversaries are looking for. But still, that is a very high bar.

-The House starts with 434 members and one vacancy. The House is expected to declare the seat of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) vacant after his resignation. The breakdown in the House will be 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats. So the magic number for an outright majority is still 218. Inevitably, the number will probably be a bit lower as there are always a few absences or two. 

-The House will come to order at noon et. And then, for the next couple of hours, Karen Haas (HAHS), the Clerk of the House, becomes the one of the most-powerful persons in Washington. Haas will be the de facto Speaker until one is selected. She will preside over the body as they announce the “certificates of election” for the members and also note the vacancy of Grimm.



Coming Up

Our Presidential Contenders 2016 series continues with a look at a very vocal critic of President Obama: Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich.

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