FOX NEWS FIRST: Susan Rice's 'unusual' email about Russia under scrutiny; Senate opens immigration debate

Welcome to Fox News First. Not signed up yet? Click here.

Developing now, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

  • Senators flag an 'unusual' email former National Security Adviser Susan Rice sent to herself on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray and other top intelligence officials are scheduled to appear before the Senate Intel Committee on Tuesday
  • President Trump unveils his $4 trillion-plus budget plan that includes investing $1.5 trillion into fixing America's infrastructure. However, the pricey deal has some fiscal conservatives up in arms
  • The Senate votes to begin an 'opened-ended' debate on immigration reform, but leaders concede reaching an agreement will be challenging
  • A longtime Clinton loyalist emerges as a possible key figure in the Trump-Russia collusion controversy

THE LEAD STORY - SUSAN RICE'S GHOST OF EMAILS PAST: Ex-national security adviser Susan Rice sent an “unusual email” to herself the day President Trump was sworn into office documenting former President Barack Obama's guidance at a high-level meeting about how law enforcement should investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, two Republican senators said Monday ... According to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, the partially unclassified email was sent by Rice on Jan. 20, 2017 -- and appears to document a Jan. 5 meeting that included Obama, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, then-Vice President Joe Biden and Rice. In the email, Obama's national security adviser wrote: “President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.'"

FBI DIRECTOR ON THE HOT SEAT: FBI Director Christopher Wray and top intel officials are scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday on a hearing about global threats facing the U.S. Though the hearing has been described as "routine," it may be anything but .... Tuesday's hearing is drawing attention for two reasons: The battle over dueling memos from the Republicans and Democrats on alleged government surveillance abuses and concerns about suspected political bias in the FBI. Wray will be joined by the following officials: Director Mike Pompeo, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo.

TRUMP SEEKS TO 'DRAIN THE SWAMP' AND BUILD AMERICA AGAIN – AT A PRICE: President Trump is calling to pump $1.5 trillion into fixing America's infrastructure while streamlining the often-cumbersome permitting process, as part of a $4 trillion-plus budget plan unveiled Monday ... “Washington will no longer be a roadblock to progress. Washington will now be your partner,” Trump said at a meeting with state and local officials at the White House. However, as part of his budget plan, Trump put underperforming  federal workers on notice with a major overhaul for how hiring and firing is done in the D.C. bureaucracy. Following on his campaign promise to "drain the swamp," the plan calls for ending automatic pay hikes that kick in "irrespective of performance," changing retirement benefits and making it easier to fire bad employees and reward good ones.

Still, Trump's recent budget moves have been unsettling to some fiscal conservatives. The two-year budget deal he signed last week raises the cap on military spending by roughly $160 billion. It also lifts the cap on domestic spending by about $128 billion and is projected to increase the federal deficit to roughly $1.2 trillion by fiscal year 2019. This has roiled Freedom Caucus members and closely aligned groups. including Tea Party activists and donors.

IMMIGRATION REFORM - ONLY THE DEBATE IS GUARANTEED: The Senate's two top leaders put on a show of comradery as their chamber launched its open-ended immigration debate, but also laid down markers underscoring how hard it will be to reach a deal that can move through Congress ...  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his support for a wide-ranging proposal by President Trump that the Senate is expected to vote on this week. It would pave a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million young Dreamers in the U.S. illegally, a lure for Democrats that many Republicans oppose.

However, Trump also wants $25 billion for a border wall and other security measures, as well as curbs on legal immigration — a must for many Republicans. Many Democrats consider some of the proposals, including limiting the relatives that legal immigrants can bring to the U.S., to be non-starters. But a DACA deal remains a priority for Democrats as Trump has said he'll end that program March 5.

THE CLINTONS' 'SID VICIOUS' BEHIND THE TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION STORY?: A name long associated with the Clinton machine has surfaced as a behind-the-scenes figure in the Trump-Russia collusion story, prompting some to speculate that the investigation began, at least partly, as a dirty tricks operation ... Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton loyalist from the days of Bill Clinton’s presidency, was identified by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., as a source of anti-Trump information passed to the FBI through the State Department. The information is believed to have played a role in the FBI’s launching of the collusion probe that is now in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Blumenthal has long been known as an attack dog for the Clintons, so ferocious a defender that he earned the nickname "Sid Vicious."


INGRAHAM CALLS OUT GILLIBRAND: "[Sen. Kirsten] Gillibrand has fully weaponized the #MeToo hashtag movement... with the intention of driving the female vote in the midterms, and ultimately sweeping herself into the Oval Office [in 2020]." – Laura Ingraham, on "The Ingraham Angle," accusing New York junior Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hijacking the #MeToo movement in order to swing more female votes to her and the Democrats. WATCH

DREAMER FOR TRUMP: "As far as the Democrats, I’m a little confused as to what their message is. I'm a little confused as to what they believe in." – Mexican national Hilario "Eli" Yanez, on "Fox & Friends," calling on Democrats to get over Trump's election victory and work with him on important legislation like immigration reform. WATCH


Donald Trump Jr.'s wife not injured in envelope white powder scare.

Portraits of former President Obama, first lady Michelle get mixed reviews.

Baltimore's 11-day murder-free streak longest since 2015.


Team USA's Chloe Kim becomes youngest woman to win snowboarding medal | List of medal winners.

NBC's Katie Couric mocked for comments about Dutch speed skating team.

Olympic swimmer says she wants to save others from sex abuse.

Full Coverage: 2018 Winter Olympics


Stocks may take a breather after two days of huge gains.

Amazon is laying off hundreds of corporate employees.

Icahn, Deason urge Xerox shareholders to oppose Fujifilm deal.


Lent: What is it, who's it for and how do you do it?

Trump administration's North Korea trap is set.

Sen. Deb Fischer: U.S. nuclear review is a prudent response to an increasingly dangerous world.


Omarosa trashes 'scary' Mike Pence, mocks his Christian faith on 'Celebrity Big Brother.'

Andy Cohen on 'Sex and the City' feud: 'I thought it was fake.'

Chelsea Handler slammed by Jenna Jameson for tweet equating adult film stars to child molesters.


Marriage license kiosk opens up at Vegas airport in time for Valentine's Day.

Mystery of 'screaming Egyptian mummy' which has baffled archaeologists for years finally resolved.
Recreated face of Queen Nefertiti sparks 'whitewashing' race row.


On Fox News:

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: The son of a man imprisoned in North Korea blasts the mainstream media's positive coverage of North Korea at the Olympics; Principal White House Deputy press secretary Raj Sha on Trump's budget plan and more; Sheriff Grady Judd previews his meeting with President Trump. Plus, a veteran-owned business has a Valentine's Day gift for a good cause and performance from "Sesame Street Live!"

Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8 p.m. ET: Piers Morgan sounds off on the latest in the immigration debate in Congress.

Hannity, 9 p.m. ET: Newt Gingrich sounds off on the hit topics of the day.

The Ingraham Angle, 10 p.m. ET: Laura has all the fallout from FBI Director Christopher Wray's testimony on Capitol Hill.

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: House Speaker Paul Ryan; James Naughton, Tony-winning actor and director; Sen. Mike Rounds; Petra Nemcova, supermodel and co-founder of All Hands And Hearts-Smart Response; Andy Puzder, former CKE Restaurants CEO.

Varney & Company, 9 a.m. ET: Dick Sullivan, PGA SuperStore CEO; Sen. Thom Tillis.

Cavuto: Coast to Coast, Noon ET: Alice Rivlin, former Office of Management and Budget director; Sen. Jim Inhofe.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcastPresident Trump has announced a budget plan encouraging local leaders to fix America's crumbling infrastructure. Fox Business correspondent Connell McShane weighs in. The men’s Olympic hockey tournament begins Tuesday with Team USA facing off against Slovenia. Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 men's U.S. Olympic hockey team, weighs in and takes a look back at one of the most famous games in Olympic history. Plus, commentary by Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Rep. Bill Huizenga on the Trump economy and Wall Street's recent volatility; Rep. John Ratcliffe on battle over the FISA memos and the latest in the Russia probe; Marie Harf on the new Susan Rice email revelations

The Tom Shillue Show, 3 p.m. ET: Michael Malice, author of "Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il," on the mainstream media's disgraceful fawning coverage of North Korea at the Olympics.


2017: President Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigns following reports he had misled Vice President Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia.

1943: During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve is officially established.

1935: A jury in Flemington, N.J., finds Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-slaying of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was later executed.)

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