Fox News First: Graham feels 'pretty good' about Syria after lunch with Trump

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Developing now, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters Sunday that he feels "pretty good about where we're headed" in Syria after suggesting that President Trump is "reconsidering" the planned pullout 
  • White House chief of staff John Kelly, who is set to leave the Trump administration within days, flatly asserted in remarks published Sunday that the president's proposed border project "is not a wall"
  • President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested that key evidence of anti-Trump bias has been deleted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe
  • A 17-year-old illegal immigrant -- behind bars on a murder charge -- was released from a local North Carolina jail that just pulled out of an immigration screening program with Immigration Customs and Enforcement

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THE LEAD STORY-- GRAHAM SAYS HE FEELS 'PRETTY GOOD' ABOUT SYRIA AFTER LUNCH WITH TRUMP ON SUNDAY...The South Carolina Republican said the president "told me some things I didn't know that make me feel a lot better about where we're headed in Syria."

"He promised to destroy ISIS. He's going to keep that promise," Graham said of Trump. "We're not there yet. But as I said today, we're inside the 10-yard line and the president understands the need to finish the job."

Earlier Sunday, Graham called on Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a wide-ranging interview. -- Reported by Gregg Re and Samuel Chamberlain

JOHN KELLY CONTRADICTS TRUMP ON BORDER BARRIER: Outgoing White House chief of staff told The Los Angeles Times that "to be honest, it's not a wall." 

"The president still says 'wall' — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it."

Within hours, the White House pushed back on Kelly's comments by highlighting Trump's earlier tweets on the topic. Reported by Gregg Re

GIULIANI SUGGESTS MUELLER COVER-UP, CHARGES that Democrats could have prevented illegal immigrant cop killing. The former New York City mayor suggested that key evidence of anti-Trump bias has been deleted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, and charged that Democrats rejected legislation that would have "absolutely prevented" the murder of California police officer Ronil Singh by an alleged illegal immigrant early Wednesday.

The suspect in the slaying, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, had known gang affiliations as well as two past DUI arrests.

'CLERICAL ERROR' BLAMES FOR NORTH CAROLINA jail's release of illegal immigrant detained on murder charge. Sergio Coello-Perez, a Mexican national, was released from the Mecklenburg County Jail Thursday after seven months in custody with a written promise to appear in court and to wear a 24-hour electronic monitoring bracelet, WBTV reported Friday.

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THIS IS JUST ABOUT POLITICS: "The Democrats have all voted for more funding for the wall before, it’s just about denying the president any kind of accomplishment, and let’s be honest: this is his big campaign promise and they are trying to deny that. But President Trump, like we’re seeing with China-- in his negotiations—is going to out-negotiate the Democrats here if we all stick together, and by all I mean my squishy Republican friends, too.”Rep. Todd Rokita, R- Ind., on “America’s News HQ” WATCH

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On FOX News Radio:

The FOX News Rundown podcast: As we head into the New Year, recent market volatility may remain. FOX’s Kristina Partsinevelos explains what it all means. It looks like there will be a large group of Democrats on the ballot in 2020, but who will they be? Former DNC Chairwoman and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile, discusses her party’s possible presidential candidates. Plus, commentary from FOX News Contributor Doug Schoen.

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#TheFlashback

2017: Mariah Carey famously botched a performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and blamed the show’s producers for the issue. Dick Clark Productions called the claim “absurd.”

1946: President Truman proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1879: Thomas Edison first showed the public his electric incandescent light by illuminating about 40 bulbs in Menlo Park, N.J.

FOX News First is compiled by FOX News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We'll see you in your inbox first thing Wednesday morning.