Possible Trump interview in Mueller probe

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On the roster: Possible Trump interview in Mueller probe - With shutdown clock ticking, no budget deal in sight - Bannon’s attempted apology isn’t enough - Trump, McConnell share same side for GOP primaries - Snow way out

POSSIBLE TRUMP INTERVIEW IN MUELLER PROBE
Fox News:President Trump’s lawyers are preparing for the possibility that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team will ask to conduct an interview with the president himself as part of the Russia probe, Fox News has learned. There has been no official request by Mueller’s office to interview the president yet, but Trump’s lawyers are anticipating that Mueller may request information from Trump before winding down the investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 election. According to sources, conversations with Mueller’s team about an interview are in the early stage. It is still possible an interview won’t even take place. But the president’s legal team is considering a number of possible options for such an interview, including an in-person interview of Trump, written responses to questions submitted by Mueller’s investigative team or an affidavit signed by the president stating his position on the case. … At Camp David on Saturday, Trump suggested he is willing to speak with Mueller if asked, when asked by a reporter if he’s committed to being interview by the special counsel.”

Is Trump immune to the law? - FiveThirtyEight: “Trump’s lawyers are contending that as president, he’s immune to civil lawsuits in the state courts as well as criminal charges… And they could well be right. The courts have not ruled definitively on either issue… The courts could rule that presidents need to be impeached and removed from office before they can be prosecuted. …  The first [thought] is that impeachment — rather than criminal prosecution — was seen as the appropriate course of action when there was evidence that the president might have broken the law. … Others have argued, however, that indictment wasn’t mentioned because it was obvious to the framers of the Constitution that criminal prosecution and impeachment were remedies for different kinds of misconduct. … The debate over whether the president can be sued in state courts, on the other hand, is already in motion, and here Trump looks more vulnerable.”

THE RULEBOOK: GRASSROOTS
“…a man is more attached to his family than to his neighborhood, to his neighborhood than to the community at large, the people of each State would be apt to feel a stronger bias towards their local governments than towards the government of the Union…” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 17

TIME OUT: A LASTING PRECEDENT
On this day in 1790, President George Washington delivered his first State of the Union address to Congress in New York. History, Art & Archives: “Washington opted to make his address in person during the opening days of the second session of the 1st Congress (1789–1791). Arriving by horse-drawn carriage on a cold January morning, the President spoke in the Senate Chamber of Federal Hall in New York City. Washington commended the work of the 1st Congress. He also made legislative recommendations regarding the administration of the new country… ‘The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed,’ the President observed. ‘And I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you, in the pleasing though arduous task of ensuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect.’ Washington’s address set a precedent, used by subsequent Presidents, to provide an outline of goals and an annual update on the welfare of the nation to the House and Senate.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump net job-approval rating: -20.8 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.6 points

[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]

WITH SHUTDOWN CLOCK TICKING, NO BUDGET DEAL IN SIGHT
Bloomberg: “Republicans and Democrats in Congress are once again far apart on a government spending bill with just days to go… The next deadline is Jan. 19, and after Republican leaders met with President Donald Trump and cabinet officials over the weekend at Camp David there was no indication either side had budged on some of the policy disputes… This week will be crucial in terms of reaching bipartisan deals, with the House and Senate needing the following week to vote whatever bill emerges from negotiations. The government has been running on autopilot since the fiscal year began Oct. 1, relying on a series of short-term measures that have kept the government running at last year’s funding levels. … A key test will be whether Democrats and Republicans can agree to add other items to the new stopgap, including a two-year agreement to raise budget caps, changes to immigration laws, funding for natural disasters, and health-care law revisions.”

The wall and DREAMers are at the top of the to do list - WaPo: “Over the weekend, President Trump reiterated his campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, warning that any plan to address the fate of immigrant ‘dreamers’ won’t happen without it. Democrats once again balked at such demands, but the party is split over whether to force a government shutdown to get its way. A bipartisan meeting on immigration policy at the White House on Tuesday is designed to bring the sides together. If Trump and lawmakers can strike an immigration deal, negotiators on both sides think that other issues, including how to fund a children’s health insurance program and a roughly $80 billion package to pay for disaster relief, could be resolved. Ahead of the meeting, the Trump administration released to lawmakers a request to pay $18 billion over 10 years for a mix of walls, fencing and other security technology.”

Trump admin ends immigration protection of Salvadorans - The Hill: “The Trump administration on Monday ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 262,500 immigrants from El Salvador. The move will force the Salvadorans, who’ve been in the United States since at least 2001, to either obtain a different legal status in the United States or leave the country by Sept. 9, 2019. TPS status was awarded to El Salvador in 2001 after two devastating earthquakes ravaged the country. The status allowed for hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran civil war refugees who were in the United States legally or illegally to remain and work stateside. Decision about whether to renew or cancel TPS designations are made by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, with input from the State Department.”

Dems shift focus on health care fight - AP: “Democrats are shifting to offense on health care, emboldened by successes in defending the Affordable Care Act. They say their ultimate goal is a government guarantee of affordable coverage for all. With Republicans unable to agree on a vision for health care, Democrats are debating ideas that range from single-payer, government-run care for all, to new insurance options anchored in popular programs like Medicare or Medicaid. There’s also widespread support for authorizing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, an idea once advocated by candidate Donald Trump, which has languished since he was elected president. Democrats are hoping to winnow down the options during the 2018 campaign season, providing clarity for their 2020 presidential candidate. In polls, health care remains a top priority for the public, particularly for Democrats and independents.”

Fed Reserve views tax plan as only a short-term solution - Reuters: “U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers have come to view Donald Trump’s tax overhaul as a short-term economic boost that will neither permanently supercharge the economy, as the president says, or cause an immediate disruption that would require a central bank response, as some analysts have warned. … But all four of those interviewed by Reuters shared a common conclusion that the law would provide some short-term benefit without raising any near-term risks. They predict that the combination of corporate and household tax cuts will raise growth by up to half a percentage point annually for the next couple of years, and help keep unemployment at near record lows and thus perhaps raise wages. In addition, depending on how companies respond in terms of increased investment, the plan might raise long-run potential growth by a small amount.”

Uncertainty surrounds infrastructure plan - WaPo: “President Trump expressed misgivings about his administration’s infrastructure plan Friday at Camp David, telling Republican leaders that building projects through public-private partnerships is unlikely to work… Then on Saturday morning, Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser, delivered a detailed proposal on infrastructure and public-private partnerships that seemed to contradict the president. … Cohn seemed to present the plan as the administration’s approach, although the president had suggested such an approach might not work. The seemingly contradictory statements, made within 24 hours of each other, show the uncertainty of the administration’s approach to its top legislative priority in 2018: building roads, bridges and highways.”

Trump to talk about rural prosperity in Nashville - Tennessean: “In what the White House is calling his ‘first major policy address’ since passage of the Republican tax plan, President Donald Trump is expected use his speech to farmers in Nashville to outline efforts to boost agriculture and rural prosperity. Trump’s remarks to the American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday will cover a wide array of topics, including the expiring farm bill, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the roll out of recommendations from a task force charged with working on agriculture and rural issues. Trump’s return to Music City — his second since entering office — will coincide with the release of recommendations from the task force established in April 2017.”

BANNON’S ATTEMPTED APOLOGY ISN’T ENOUGH
Politico:Steve Bannon, like his onetime brother-in-arms President Donald Trump, is known as someone whose instinct is to double down, not kiss up. That made his belated attempt on Sunday to de-escalate mounting tension with the commander-in-chief — who has been publicly and privately raging about his former chief strategist all week — notable to many of his allies, one of whom called it a ‘huge step for Steve, one of the most stubborn people on Earth.’ But inside the White House, Bannon’s 297-word statement of contrition about comments he made in Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’ was seen as too little, too late… It did nothing to quell Trump’s rage at his former chief strategist or the anger of Bannon’s former West Wing colleagues, according to multiple administration officials… Asked whether there is anything Bannon can do at this point to get back in the president’s good graces, one White House official said curtly, ‘Unlikely.’”

TRUMP, MCCONNELL SHARE SAME SIDE FOR GOP PRIMARIES
Roll Call: “President Donald Trump appears to have adopted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s view about Republican primaries. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, often says that, ‘there’s no education in the second kick of a mule.’ Trump, appearing with Republican congressional leaders and members of his administration Saturday at Camp David in Maryland, apparently got the message after the Republicans managed to lose the special election for the Senate seat in Alabama to Democrat Doug Jones. ‘We’re going to be very involved, in fact not only with the Senate but also with the House,’ Trump said of his plans for primaries in 2018. ‘Protecting incumbents and whoever I have to protect.’ ‘I will be actually working for incumbents and anybody else that has my kind of thinking,’ Trump said.”

Mandel drops out of Ohio Senate race -
Politico: “Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is dropping out of the state’s U.S. Senate race because of a family health issue, leaving Republicans without a top-tier contender against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in a state President Donald Trump won easily in 2016. ‘We recently learned that my wife has a health issue that will require my time, attention and presence. In other words, I need to be there,’ Mandel wrote in an email to supporters. … The only Republican competition for Brown, who is running for a third term in the Senate, is Mike Gibbons, a self-funding businessman who has never previously run for office. Mandel had previously run against Brown in 2012, losing by 6 percentage points.”

Steyer will not run for office in 2018 - WashEx: “Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer will not run for office in 2018, but plans to funnel $30 million into congressional races as he attempts to flip Republican seats in Congress to the Democrats. Steyer’s name had been floated as a Senate or gubernatorial candidate in California in 2018. The Democratic megadonor has other plans, announcing Monday in Washington, D.C., that he’ll be targeting 24 Republican-held districts and swing seats Democrats are defending in 10 states. … The environmentalist has spent more than $100 million on races since 2016 and launched a national campaign pressuring lawmakers to impeach President Trump. On Monday, Steyer said his action group will be ‘redoubling’ the impeachment campaign, including adding an ‘engagement’ effort.”

Internal race for House Budget chairman continues - Roll Call: “Three Republican congressman elected in 2010 who want Congress to overhaul mandatory spending programs and believe they have the consensus-building skills to make it happen are all competing to be the next House Budget chairman. The three-way race between Reps. Rob Woodall of Georgia, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Bill Johnson of Ohio has largely been conducted behind the scenes as the candidates have reached out to colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee. The 32-member panel charged with making recommendations on committee assignments will meet Tuesday evening to hear the candidates’ formal pitches and vote on its choice. The House Republican Conference must ratify the choice, but that is routinely done without objection.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump delays ‘fake news’ awards - Fox News

NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers to retire this spring - Politico

Pence reschedules delayed Middle East trip - CBS News

AUDIBLE: HMMMM…
“It’s incredibly frustrating to think to yourself, ‘Wow, if this guy were not in the race, we’d win this thing.’ And I absolutely believe if Trump had not gotten into the race I think we would have won.” – Gov. Chris Christie reflecting on the 2016 election during an interview with NJ.com. 

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SNOW WAY OUT
AP: “Authorities say a North Dakota man who wheeled a shopping cart with stolen merchandise out of a Hobby Lobby craft store was stopped by snow. Police say 22-year-old Dustin Johnson filled up a cart with about $4,000 in products at a Hobby Lobby store in Minot [North Dakota]… After the cart got stuck in the snow in the parking lot and tipped over, Johnson allegedly ran off. Police say that along with the merchandise, Johnson left behind his wallet -- which contained identification with his address. Johnson is charged in Ward County with theft of property.”

Brianna McClelland
contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

This article was written by Fox News staff.