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Some missing text messages between FBI employees recovered, DOJ says

Some text messages between a pair of FBI employees, including one who was part of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump, have been recovered, Justice Department officials said in a letter sent Thursday to lawmakers.

>> Read more trending news

In a letter addressed to Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said authorities were able to recover some of the text messages sent between Strzok and Page.

“Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz wrote. “We will provide copies of the text message that we recover from these devices to the department so that the department’s leadership can take any management action it deems appropriate.”

Lawmakers raised questions after learning in a letter dated Jan. 19 that a misconfiguration of software upgrades on FBI-issued cellphones meant that messages between employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page did not get captured for five months, between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017. Strzok and Page were in a romantic relationship, according to CNN.

Both Strzok and Page were part of the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while in office.

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, dated Jan. 20, Johnson wrote that the missing messages were concerning because “it is apparent from other records that Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page communicated frequently about the investigation” into Clinton’s emails.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, called the Justice Department’s explanation for failing to capture messages between Strzok and Page “a ‘my dog ate my homework’-level excuse.”

“Americans deserve to know if there was rampant anti-Trump bias at the FBI, and certainly if there was an effort to cover it up,” he told Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree

In a tweet sent Tuesday, Trump also asked to know what had happened to the missing text messages.

Strzok, who had been assigned to work on Mueller's team, was removed last summer following the discovery of anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with Page. By the time the messages were found, Page had already finished her stint on Mueller’s team, according to CNN.

Read the letter sent by Horowitz on Thursday:

Oprah on 2020 presidential run: 'That's not for me'

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey ended speculation Thursday that she might run for president in 2020, telling InStyle magazine that she isn’t interested in launching a White House bid.

>> Read more trending news

“I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so, it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it,” Winfrey said in an interview published on the magazine’s website Thursday.

“I met with someone the other day who said that they would help with a campaign. That’s not for me.”

Fans called for Winfrey to run for president after she gave a rousing, nearly 10-minute speech at the Golden Globes on Jan. 7. She was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her contributions to the entertainment industry and used her time to address the “#MeToo” movement against sexual harassment and assault.

>> Related: NBC deletes tweet honoring Oprah Winfrey as 'our future president'

Speculation was fueled by comments by Winfrey’s partner, Stedman Graham, who told the Los Angeles Times after the speech that Winfrey “would absolutely do it.” Winfrey’s longtime friend, “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, later said she believed that Graham misunderstood the question and thought he was being asked whether she would make a good president.

>> Related: Oprah 2020? Winfrey 'would absolutely' run for president, partner Stedman Graham says

Unidentified friends of Winfrey’s told CNN earlier this month that she was “actively thinking” about running for president, and King said Winfrey was “intrigued” by the idea, but not “actually considering it.”

>> Related: Oprah 'intrigued' by idea of running for president, friend Gayle King says

“Gayle -- who knows me as well as I know myself, practically -- has been calling me regularly and texting me things, like a woman in the airport saying, ‘When’s Oprah going to run?’” Winfrey told InStyle. “So Gayle sends me these things and then she’ll go, ‘I know, I know, I know! It wouldn’t be good for you -- it would be good for everyone else.’”

Winfrey will appear on the cover of InStyle magazine’s March issue.

Sessions interviewed by Mueller team as part of Russia probe, report says

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign team, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

McConnell rejects Trump's suggestion to use 'nuclear option' to break budget impasse

On day two of the U.S. government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans would not adopt President Donald Trump’s call for a “nuclear option” to pass a budget with a simple majority, The New York Daily News reported Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

“The Republican Conference opposes changing the rules on legislation,” a spokesman for McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement to the Daily News.

The Senate is set to reconvene at 1 p.m. Sunday.

In a tweet Sunday morning Trump had called for the Senate to change the rules on filibusters, which requires a 60 votes to advance a bill. Trump’s “nuclear option” calls for a simple majority of 51 votes.

“Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.'s!” Trump tweeted.

The government officially shut down just after midnight Saturday when the Senate could not muster enough votes to advance a new spending bill. 

Republicans have branded the deadlock the “Schumer Shutdown,” blaming the impasse on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Democrats. meanwhile, have called it the “Trump Shutdown.”

Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down.

>> Click here to watch

“President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now,” the ad said, showing clips of top Democrats. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

>> Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

“President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe,” the ad concluded. The ad was released on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

>> Government shutdown: What closes; will you get your Social Security check; what happens to SNAP, WIC

On Friday, Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to fund the government and keep it from shutting down after Republicans refused to include a provision to protect thousands of immigrants brought here as children.

>> Read more trending news 

President Trump bashed Democrats after the failed vote, saying that they wanted “unchecked illegal immigration.”

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Saturday morning.

Earlier on Saturday, he again bashed Democratstweeting that they were more “concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border.”

(H/t: The Hill)

Deployed troops will be able to watch NFL playoff games

UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will  air the AFC and NFC Championship games.

>> Read more trending news 

The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown. 

ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.

>> Watch the news report here

There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.

Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday

Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue. 

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.

"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.

For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.

"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.

With no one to run it, AFN is off the air. 

>> John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.

"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.

Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.

Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.

However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats. 

Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.

"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.

Read more here.

John Legend blames Trump for government shutdown, calls him racist

Grammy and Oscar-winning singer John Legend is claiming that President Donald Trump and his team’s alleged racism are behind the government shutdown.

>> Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Legend, who has vocally criticized Trump Sr. and Jr. both in the past, tweeted the following just after midnight Saturday:

“The reason the government shutdown is that Trump and his team have an ideological commitment to allowing fewer black and brown people into the country #TrumpShutdown #TrumpIsARacist,” Legend tweeted.

>> Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

Legend has called Trump a racist before.

Most recently, Legend tweeted on Jan. 11 that Trump is “a racist” and “has been for his entire public life.”

That came in response to vulgar remarks Trump allegedly made about immigrants from African countries.

In April, Legend said he thinks that Trump is a “terrible president.”

“He’s manifestly unqualified, not curious, not good at legislating or doing anything that his job requires. He doesn’t have any depth about any subject,” he said. “And he’s also using the office of the presidency as a way to make money for himself with his businesses, so he’s corrupt.”

“I can’t say anything nice about the guy. I think he’s one of the worst people I’ve encountered in public life,” he added.

As early as December 2016 in an interview with Rolling Stone, Legend made the same accusation.

>> Read more trending news 

When asked for his response to a Trump presidency, Legend said: “He’s been consistent about being a racist and about a couple of other things, but he’s also been wildly inconsistent and lied a lot. So we truly don’t know how he’s gonna govern.”

Legend added: “We haven’t seen anyone like him before. It’s a very kind of different world now, knowing that someone’s going to possibly dismantle a lot of what Obama accomplished. I don’t know where we’re going to go.”

Legend went on to say he believes it is his role as an artist to “tell the truth and reflect what’s going on.”

“We just have to be vigilant and get through this, and then hopefully it’ll be over soon,” he said.

Photos: Women's marches 2018

Women's marches, events taking place across nation

A series of women’s marches, protests and voter registration events are taking place across the country this weekend.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew a large crowd that marched in protest of Trump’s election. Women’s marches were held across the country and the world.

For 2018, marches and rallies are being held in cities across the country throughout the weekend. There will be a voter registration drive on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

>> Read more trending news

Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

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