Fdd's overnight brief

January 28, 2019

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


A U.S. Navy veteran was arrested last year in Iran after an individual accused him of wrongdoing as Iranian authorities are also investigating possible security-related charges, an Iranian prosecutor said Friday. – Wall Street Journal

An American-born journalist based in Tehran asserted Friday that her arrest without charge by U.S. authorities was related to her work for Iran’s state-funded English-language satellite television channel but declined to comment on the focus of the criminal investigation and what she was asked by a grand jury. – Washington Post

Iran said on Monday it was not holding talks with France over its ballistic missile development, after Paris said it was ready to impose more sanctions if European attempts to address the program in discussions with Tehran made no progress. – Reuters

Iran staged war games on Friday involving newly developed rapid redeployment units focused on fighting enemy aggressors and armed militants, state media reported, amid increased tensions with the United States and following a militant attack. – Reuters

Iraq must wean itself off economic reliance on Iran and become more energy self-sufficient, Britain’s foreign office minister for the Middle East said on Sunday. – Reuters

The Trump administration is closely eyeing efforts in Europe to set up an alternative money payment channel to ease doing business with Iran and avoid running afoul of sanctions the US has levied on the Islamic Republic. – Associated Press

Iran says Arab separatists have killed two policemen who were on patrol in the country’s oil-rich south. – Associated Press

Addressing Friday prayer-goers in Tehran, Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi said the FATF has been created by the think tanks of plundering countries, stressing that the policies invented by such an organization run counter to the Iranian culture. – Tasnim News Agency

Yonah Jeremy Bom writes: Iran’s terrorist attacks on French soil seemed to have convinced France and other EU countries that the Islamic Republic is lying about its ballistic missiles and about promoting instability in Syria. Also, even if the EU believed Iran was lying before, it has acted in a way that could lead to confrontation out of fear of Tehran’s threats to walk out of the nuclear deal. Seeing for nine months that Iran has been bluffing and anger over its terrorism on European soil may have finally pushed the EU to a point where it was ready to risk confrontation. – Jerusalem Post


Israel’s prime minister warned the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah of his army’s “lethal” power on Sunday, in reaction to Hassan Nasrallah cautioning the Jewish state against further strikes in Syria. – Agence France-Presse

Israel took “years” to discover cross-border tunnels from Lebanon, the leader of the Hezbollah movement Hassan Nasrallah said Saturday in a rare television interview. – Agence France-Presse

The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah said on Saturday that two obstacles remain before the formation of a new Lebanese government after months of political jostling, but there is “an extraordinary effort” to resolve them. – Reuters


The Syrian government and its Russian backers have suggested that the recent takeover of the last rebel stronghold in Syria by an Al Qaeda-linked group could threaten a cease-fire that has been in place for several months. – New York Times

A pair of dusty villages in the Syrian desert is all that remains of the vast expanse of territory the Islamic State once called its caliphate, and the complete territorial defeat of the militant group appears to be imminent, according to U.S. and Kurdish officials. – Washington Post

Syria called on Turkey on Saturday to withdraw its troops from Syria’s northern territories and end support for armed opposition groups in order to revive a two-decade-old bilateral security agreement. – Associated Press

Syria state media said Sunday the country’s air defense systems intercepted and destroyed three “hostile” targets over a Russian air base in the country’s coastal region. – Associated Press

Syria’s civil war may be drawing to a close, but the potential for new spasms of violence is bubbling as regional and international actors rethink longstanding strategies. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops has fanned much of the flames. While it would leave the field to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s Russian and Iranian allies, it has also emboldened Israel to advertise that it’s pummeling Iranian positions, practically taunting Tehran to respond. – Bloomberg

Backed by air strikes of the US-led coalition, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are battling to expel IS from a few hamlets in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. But cornered in a final remote pocket of territory near the Iraqi border, the jihadists are staging a fierce fightback, hiding in tunnels and deploying suicide bombers — including women. – Agence France-Presse

Although President Trump said last month that the Islamic State had been defeated and called for the withdrawal of troops in Syria, officials claim that the government’s current draw-down proposal would keep at least some U.S. troops at the remote base known as the al-Tanf garrison, Foreign Policy reports. – Washington Examiner

Michael Rubin writes: To refuse to acknowledge let alone appreciate the evolution of the PKK and to refuse to recognize the achievements and stability of Syrian Kurdish governance against the backdrop of a horrendous civil war not only does an injustice toward the Kurds, but it also signals that in order to achieve their basic human rights, they must fight to the death in Turkey for otherwise, absent that fait accompli , there can be no political or diplomatic solution in Turkey, in Syria, or elsewhere. – The National Interest


The Palestinian Authority (PA) transferred over $135 million to imprisoned terrorists in 2018, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports. Based on open-source information and the PA’s own budget, PMW broke down PA terror payments into various categories. More than $62 million was sent to terrorists while they were in jail, while almost $48 million was paid to released prisoners. Roughly $26 million was used to pay other terrorist-related salaries and additional benefits. – Algemeiner

The U.N.’s Mideast envoy is calling the death of a Palestinian in West Bank clashes with Israeli settlers “shocking and unacceptable.” – Associated Press

The United Nations and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding Sunday night for a one-time grant of $20 million for humanitarian projects in Gaza, which the world body has in the past described as mired in a state of “constant humanitarian crisis.” – Jerusalem Post

Palestinians and IDF forces clashed on the outskirts of the West Bank village of al-Mughayer on Sunday, as Palestinian anger continued to rise over the shooting death of Hamdi Taleb Na’san, 38, the day before. – Jerusalem Post

Israel has cancelled a planned Knesset delegation to the Irish parliament, as a diplomatic row over Ireland’s support for an anti-Israel boycott bill deepens. – Arutz Sheva

Daniel Reynolds writes: The BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement’s efforts to silence Israeli scholars on American campuses, or Poland’s law criminalizing all mentions of collaboration between Poles and Nazis, or Malaysia’s ban on Israeli Paralympic athletes to protest Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, all reflect popular opinion in many parts of the world that Jewish influence needs to be checked, and that the Holocaust is a distraction from current injustices. – Washington Post

Gulf States

Saudi authorities released billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi after nearly 15 months of detention, Ethiopian officials said, the latest in a wave of prominent businesspeople to regain their freedom after being rounded up in November 2017. – Wall Street Journal

Brussels will name Saudi Arabia on a blacklist of countries and jurisdictions that are failing in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, a move that will require European banks to carry out intrusive vetting of customers from the Gulf state. – Financial Times

A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest, evidence of the type of weapons program it has long criticized its archrival Iran for possessing. – Associated Press

The United Nations says shelling of a camp for displaced people in Yemen’s northern Hajjah province has killed eight civilians and wounded 30. – Associated Press

Matthew Hedges writes: The UAE is a serial human-rights abuser, and while I was detained, I regularly heard people being physically tortured in adjacent rooms. […]These kind of actions do not happen in a vacuum. Western governments’ complicity, primarily by way of silence, gives authoritarian rulers confidence in their actions. National leaders, Britain’s included, are reticent to condemn countries they regard as security allies over human-rights violations – The Atlantic

Elana DeLozier writes: The latest UN Panel of Experts report on Yemen raises new red flags about potential threats to near-term conflict resolution and stabilization. In addition to questioning the cohesiveness of government and rebel forces, it anecdotally details the rise of a robust, mafia-like war economy that creates disincentives for peace on both sides. The panel’s conclusions include a new, particularly damning assessment of Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government and its local affiliates, while also reiterating extant concerns about the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels. – Washington Institute

Middle East & North Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron aims to speak out stronger than in the past about human rights issues while in Egypt, where France seeks to reinforce strategic ties with a country he considers a key regional partner, he told reporters on Sunday. – Associated Press

Turkish troops shot and wounded three Iraqi civilians after hundreds of protesters attacked a Turkish military base in northern Iraq on Saturday, according to a senior security official in Duhuk province. – CNN

Angry protesters stormed a Turkish military base in northern Iraq on Saturday, burning Turkish military vehicles and leading to a confrontation that left one teenager killed and 10 injured, according to officials in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. – Associated Press

UN investigators carrying out the probe of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi arrive in Istanbul on Monday and will seek to enter Saudi Arabia’s consulate where he was dismembered by a “kill team”. – Al Jazeera

Hassan Mneimneh writes: A duality of public embrace and silent skepticism from Middle Eastern governments will wear on the sustainability of their ties with the United States, especially as they welcome renewed engagement with China and Russia. […]The current US administration has the right to distinguish itself from the policies of its predecessors. But it is better served when its rhetoric suggests to both political classes and general audiences in the Middle East that changes in U.S. policy reflect orderly re-assessments within a single coherent system rather than an unreliable and unpredictable series of policy reversals. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

Japan and South Korea are engaged in a heated military dispute that analysts say could damage the already tenuous geopolitical situation in northeast Asia if the two sides do not reach a resolution. – CNN

The North Korean authorities have reportedly reminded citizens that they could face execution if they indulge in watching South Korean television shows. – Telegraph

Japan’s prime minister says he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un face-to-face and restore diplomatic relations between the two long-time foes. – Al Jazeera

Tom Rogan writes: President Trump’s overt shutdown submission to Democrats, agreeing to open the government in return for a simple bipartisan border conference in Congress, will meet warm favor in China and North Korea. […]The perception of Trump’s negotiating prowess is what matters if China and North Korea are to make concessions. But now those nations have reason to believe Trump is mostly talk: that when push comes to shove, Trump falls off his parapet and relinquishes the walls of his power. – Washington Examiner

Sam Yoon writes: I am not sure if a 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico wall will ever get built. But I see a future in which the 160-mile DMZ lives up to its name and actually becomes de-militarized, and a peace regime take hold of the Korean peninsula. But only if American policy understands better what it’s like for those living on the other side of the border. – The Hill


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired the country’s ambassador to China after he sparked an uproar by saying a senior Huawei Technologies Co. executive arrested at U.S. request had a good case to fight extradition. – Wall Street Journal

A Chinese court found a combative civil-rights lawyer guilty of subversion and sentenced him to 4½ years in prison, the final prosecution from a sweeping government crackdown against legal activists. – Wall Street Journal

Britain is not the only American ally feeling the heat. In Poland, officials are also under pressure from the United States to bar Huawei from building its fifth generation, or 5G, network. Trump officials suggested that future deployments of American troops — including the prospect of a permanent base labeled “Fort Trump” — could hinge on Poland’s decision. – New York Times

Tensions between the U.S. and China are about to get more complicated, with the World Trade Organization poised to begin an investigation into President Donald Trump’s tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods. – Bloomberg

Beijing’s envoy to the EU has launched a blistering attack on the “slander” and “discrimination” faced by Huawei and other Chinese companies in Europe, warning that efforts to exclude China from 5G mobile projects would be self-defeating. – Financial Times

Innovation leaders from the Pentagon and Silicon Valley spoke about that strategy to hold back China from military technology domination during a roundtable hosted by Defense News just outside of Simi Valley, Calif. All participants emphasized the need for thoughtful tactics to lure support from the most advanced minds. – C4ISRNET

Adam Taylor writes: But there was one prominent voice who pushed back on Beijing’s dominance of the event. And it wasn’t a U.S. official or a conservative ally of the Trump administration — it was billionaire George Soros. Indeed, though Trump and Soros are diametrically opposed in most aspects of their worldviews, when the liberal financier and philanthropist offered a lengthy criticism of China at a private dinner on Thursday, there were points where his criticism of China was not so far from that of Trump and his allies. – Washington Post


Horror stories at the hands of enforcers from the Taliban’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice are a staple for any educated Afghan woman over age 25 or so. Now those women have a new horror story: the possibility that American troops will leave Afghanistan as part of a peace deal with the Taliban. – New York Times

U.S. and Taliban negotiators expressed optimism about the prospects for a negotiated settlement of the 17-year Afghan war after six days of face-to-face talks in Qatar, but they cautioned about the challenges that lay ahead. – Wall Street Journal

Afghans harboured tentative hopes Sunday that talks between the US and Taliban leaders could end decades of conflict, despite fears an American withdrawal might unleash even more violence. – Agence France-Presse


Twin explosions at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines killed at least 20 people in a bloody demonstration of remaining extremist threats in a Muslim-majority region where voters last week overwhelmingly backed self-rule and ratified a peace deal between the government and mainstream separatists. – Wall Street Journal

Malaysia will terminate a $20 billion rail project with contractor China Communications Construction Co., Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said. The Cabinet decided the East Coast Rail Link project was “beyond the government’s financial capability,” he told reporters on Saturday. Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng wouldn’t corroborate Azmin’s comments, saying an official announcement would be issued if necessary by next week on the instructions of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. – Bloomberg

William Lloyd Stearman writes: It is widely believed that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. But a 2004 History Chanel documentary featured interviews with knowledgeable North Vietnamese who thought otherwise. […]The U.S. intervention in Vietnam achieved a strategic victory by saving Southeast Asia—albeit not Vietnam itself—from communism. – Wall Street Journal

Erin Dunne writes: Although the silhouette of warships passing through the narrow waterway or Chinese air patrols is alarming, as long as those routine displays of force keep apace without incident or further escalation, both parties can keep up the necessary appearances. Washington keeps supporting Taiwan, and Beijing keeps posturing for control of the disputed island. There are, of course, risks in this militarized dance. Should an too-close encounter result in a deadly clash, for example, it’s unclear if a diplomatic solution would be possible. – Washington Examiner


The Treasury Department on Sunday removed Russian aluminum company Rusal from its sanctions list after a blacklisted billionaire and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Oleg Deripaska, delivered on a promised plan to divest his majority ownership stake, the office said. – Wall Street Journal

Military authorities say U.S. Air Force and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to escort two Russian bombers that were traveling in the Arctic region near the North American coastline. – Associated Press

David Axe writes: Russia is developing a stealthy, jet-powered robot warplane. And it’s possible, though not certain, that the United States has nothing to match it. – The Daily Beast


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has told U.S. diplomats that he wants his country to be “neutral, like Austria” as Washington pushes for a tougher line on Russia and China, deepening fears that a longtime American ally is drifting from its orbit. – Wall Street Journal

Greece ratified a U.S.-backed deal with Macedonia that aims to help stabilize the Balkan region, but which is roiling Greece’s society and polarizing its political scene. – Wall Street Journal

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that he does not expect the U.S. to withdraw from the alliance it helped create and praised President Donald Trump for pushing members to spend more on their armed forces. – Politico

Kamel Daoud writes: In an attempt to overcome these paradoxes, President Emmanuel Macron recently convened at the Élysée Palace the country’s various Muslim leaders and then representatives from all religions. The order of the day for the broader meeting, held on Jan. 10, was old emergencies: how to punish radicalism, control the financing of mosques and make Muslim authorities accountable. – New York Times

Ivan Krastev writes: Watching Mr. Putin’s visit to Belgrade and listening to his rhetoric, one couldn’t help but conclude that the confrontation in the Balkans between the West and Russia is changing both in nature and intensity. In the last decade, Russia was actively defending its economic and cultural presence in the region, but it never openly challenged NATO or European Union hegemony. Not anymore. – New York Times

Clive Crook writes: It’s hard to say how the Brexit mess will end, but safe to predict it won’t be like this. The outcome I’ve described is the one Europe should want, and one it could strive for, given the will — but Europe’s leaders aren’t even asking the question. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: Where Russia makes moves to assert greater confidence in one area of warfighting, NATO must counter that challenge in turn. On this issue, and others, the alliance is doing so. – Washington Examiner

Yasmeen Serhan writes: Indeed, in the two and a half years since Britons made the consequential decision to leave the EU, the process of their departure has been defined by political chaos. In 2017, it was the snap election in which May lost her party’s governing majority after gambling with the hope that she could expand it. The year that followed was one of a near-constant stream of negotiation deadlocks, cabinet resignations, and no-confidence letters. And though 2019 has only just begun, it appears to promise more of the same. – The Atlantic

Michelle Shevin-Coetzee writes: Announced in June 2014, the EDI, or the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) as it was known until early 2018, was designed as a rapid response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and Eastern  Ukraine. […]The U.S. European Deterrence Initiative is a crucial effort to strengthen European security. Despite its important work and the funding it currently enjoys, the United States cannot ignore the significant budgetary challenges to its implementation and sustainment.  – Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments


The United States, Britain and the European Union expressed concern on Saturday after Nigeria’s president suspended the country’s chief justice three weeks before the presidential election, with the U.S. warning it could “cast a pall” over the vote in Africa’s most populous nation. – Associated Press

Tracing his fingers over the metal fencing at a United Nations protected site in South Sudan’s capital, Nhial Nyuot Nhial hung his head as he contemplated going home after years of civil war. “At the moment it’s impossible for someone to leave,” he said. The 33-year-old is among tens of thousands of people who are still sheltering in such camps across the country, the legacy of an unprecedented decision by a U.N. peacekeeping mission to throw open its doors to people fleeing war. – Associated Press

Those who take part in election violence and rigging in the upcoming Nigerian elections will be denied visas, the United Kingdom and the United States have said in a joint statement. – CNN


President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela on Saturday backed down from demanding that all American diplomats leave the country this weekend, even as the United States and allied nations continued to press for regime change in the South American nation. – New York Times

Diplomats clashed over the crisis in Venezuela during an emergency meeting Saturday of the United Nations Security Council, exchanging accusations and warnings over the country’s political and economic disintegration. – Wall Street Journal

Venezuela’s deepening political crisis is threatening to upend the nation’s critical oil industry and further damage an economy that has already undergone one of the biggest collapses in modern times. – Wall Street Journal

President Nicolás Maduro demanded the loyalty of Venezuelan soldiers a day after the military’s attaché in the U.S. broke with the authoritarian regime and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate head of state. – Wall Street Journal

Elliott Abrams, a controversial neoconservative figure who was entangled in the Iran-Contra affair, has been named as a Trump administration special envoy overseeing policy toward Venezuela, which has been rocked by a leadership crisis. – Politico

Israel on Sunday officially recognised Venezuela’s National Assembly chief Juan Guaido as president, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, following close ally Washington in endorsing the opposition leader. – Agence France-Presse

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes:  The latest Venezuelan effort to topple dictator Nicolás Maduro is a pivotal moment in Latin American history, as the international community is acknowledging. […]Not since the fall of the Soviet empire has a nation risen with such fury and determination to throw off the yoke of socialism. And not since then has Marxist misery been so clear for all the world to see. Venezuelans are experiencing what millions of Russians, Chinese, Cubans and countless others have suffered. Destitute and angry, they want it to end. – Wall Street Journal

Ishaan Tharoor writes: The move, according to the White House, is neither a prelude to a coup nor an imposition of Washington’s will on a foreign country. But to Trump’s critics and its opponents, that’s exactly what seems to be happening. […]Trump’s Venezuela strategy appears to be driven by hard-line hawks in his administration; national security adviser John Bolton, for one, seems to see a confrontation with Venezuela (and its close ally, Cuba) as part of the unfinished business of the Cold War. – Washington Post

Cyber Security

The U.S. military’s cybersecurity capabilities aren’t advancing fast enough to stay ahead of the “onslaught of multipronged” attacks envisioned by adversaries, the Pentagon’s combat testing office is warning. – Bloomberg

Andy Kessler writes: The U.S. really needs a second-strike cyberweapons program. […]We need to develop an offensive deterrent. An I-hack for an I-hack. Maybe America has all these capabilities already. And of course, secrecy is important lest the other side patch its vulnerabilities. But as Dr. Strangelove lamented, “Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, eh?” The hack-a-week has got to stop. – Wall Street Journal

Jennifer McArdle  writes: Today’s U.S. military is an information-dependent force, one that is wholly reliant on information communication technology (ICT) for current and future military operations. The adaptation and integration of ICTs into weapons platforms, military systems, and in concepts of operation has put the battle for information control at the heart of great power competition. While the use of ICTs exponentially increases the U.S. military’s lethality, the dependence on these technologies is, in many ways, also a vulnerability. – Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments


Financial compensation is coming soon to the U.S. Coast Guard active duty and civilian personnel who for weeks either worked without pay or were furloughed during the partial government shutdown. Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced he and Congress agreed to enact a temporary spending measure to reopen federal agencies shuttered since funding expired on Dec. 21. – USNI News

A key House Democrat is targeting legislative fixes to the Feres Doctrine as a top priority this session, taking aim at the legal precedent critics say unfairly blocks troops from suing the military for medical malpractice, supervisor negligence and a host of other on-duty mistakes. – Military Times

The House Armed Services Committee will open its 2019 hearings schedule with a closer look at the ongoing deployment of active-duty troops to the southern U.S. border, and the concerns many lawmakers have with the operation. – Military Times

When the Missile Defense Review was rolled out Jan. 17, it represented the culmination of almost two years’ worth of work. So some experts were left scratching their head when they opened up the document and found a significant number of items that still need reviewed or hashed out, the majority of which involve a six-month study period. – Defense News

Robert J. Samuelson writes: Whenever I or someone else suggest that we need higher defense spending, there is an incredulous response from critics: U.S. military spending equals the outlays of the next eight countries combined . How can we possibly be spending too little when we spend so much more than any conceivable adversary? The answer is that, while technically accurate, this argument is so distorted that it becomes a fiction. – Washington Post

Rick Berger writes: The core takeaway is that the nuclear modernization spending spike is large, and it hits hard in the late-2020s. Average annual nuke spending skyrockets from $34 billion this year to $63 billion in 2028. In and of itself, this isn’t a problem. But the nuclear weapons spending spike will hit at the same time as massive spikes in conventional weapons spending in the late 2020s. […]policymakers and lawmakers must act sooner rather than later. Muddling through, as they’ve done for decades, will simply end with the military buying fewer weapons at a higher cost. – American Enterprise Institute

Long War

Three men who were convicted of plotting to blow up a Kansas apartment complex where Somali refugees lived have each been sentenced to at least 25 years in prison, the Justice Department said on Friday. – New York Times

A youth was charged on Friday with “facilitating a terrorist activity” in eastern Ontario and trying to persuade a friend, who is a Syrian refugee, to plant a bomb in a public place. The refugee was released from custody although the possibility of charges against him remain. – New York Times

A former substitute teacher from Texas has been indicted on federal charges alleging he tried to provide material support to the Islamic State, the Justice Department said Friday. – Associated Press

David Inserra writes: On Jan. 7, Ismail Hamed brandished a knife against an Arizona police officer and was shot after refusing to comply with orders to drop the weapon. On Jan. 16, Hasher Jallal Taheb was arrested in Georgia by the FBI for planning an attack against various sites in Washington, D.C., specifically targeting the White House. […The U.S. cannot allow terrorists to enjoy safe havens. Defeating these groups abroad is an important part of keeping the U.S. safe at home. – Heritage Foundation

Trump Administration

President Trump said Sunday he doesn’t believe congressional negotiators will strike a deal over border-wall funding that he could accept and vowed that he would build a wall anyway, using emergency powers if need be. – Wall Street Journal

Roger Stone, a longtime aide and confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested early Friday morning by the FBI after being indicted on charges he lied to Congress and obstructed the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. – Politico

Despite President Donald Trump ending the government shutdown, his State of the Union address is still up in the air. One thing is for sure, however: It’s not going to take place on Tuesday as originally planned. – USA Today

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said Saturday that if President Barack Obama could send money to Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, President Trump should be able to find money to build the wall along the southern border without being blocked by the courts. – Washington Examiner