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January 13, 2018

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is the third House Democrat to announce her intent to skip President Trump's State of the Union address on Jan. 30.

"Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?" Waters said in an appearance on MSNBC Friday evening. "Someone who lies in the face of facts, someone who can change their tune day in and day out. What does he have to say that I would be interested in?"

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) announced his plan to boycott earlier Friday, citing Trump's reported derogatory comment about Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations; and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said last week he would rather hear from his constituents.

Many congressional Democrats who will attend plan to stage a silent protest in the audience. Members of the Democratic Women's Working Group will wear all black, said chair Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), "to really continue the conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace, about disparity of salaries where people work in the same job, and also getting paid for the value of your work." Bonnie Kristian

8:11 a.m. ET

The Trump administration announced this week that it is capping the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2019 at 30,000, the lowest number since the current U.S. refugee resettlement system was put in place in 1980. It's also a steep drop from the cap of 45,000 refugees set in 2018 — though with only two weeks left in the fiscal year, the U.S. has let in only 20,918 refugees, Axios notes. And the large majority of those refugees shared a certain religion in common.

In fact, fewer than 2,000 Muslim refugees have been admitted to the U.S. this fiscal year, versus more than 9,000 in fiscal 2017 — even though, as Axios notes, 39 percent of the 25 million refugees in the world come from three predominantly Muslim countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Most of the Muslims let in this year came from Myanmar, while the number of Somali refugees dropped sharply due to unexplained objections from the White House. Still, while the share of Christian refugees has grown to 71 percent, the total number of Christians allowed in dropped more than 40 percent from the previous year. You can read more at Axios. Peter Weber

7:46 a.m. ET

Yet another retro video game console will be given a new life this holiday season, though getting your hands on it might be a challenge.

Sony has just announced that the PlayStation Classic, a mini version of the console originally released in 1994, is hitting store shelves this December. It will cost $100 and come with 20 games, including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms, Sony announced Wednesday. The other 15 games haven't been revealed yet.

With this console, Sony is following in the footsteps of Nintendo, which in 2016 released the wildly successful NES Classic Edition, a mini version of the Nintendo Entertainment System that came with 30 games. Despite being a re-release of a 30-year-old system, the NES Classic has been such a hit that in June 2018, it actually outsold the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, per The Verge. Nintendo followed it up with the Super NES Classic Edition, which was so popular that pre-orders sold out minutes after they went live, Business Insider reports.

It remains to be seen whether the PlayStation Classic will be as hard-to-get an item, but you can at least attempt to buy one on Dec. 3. Watch a video of Sony's announcement below. Brendan Morrow

6:47 a.m. ET

When you're giving a speech, a joke can help win over your audience and add leavening to a weighty subject. Sometimes those jokes don't age well, though, like pretty much any joke involving a racial epithet. Or jokes about your high school's lifelong code of omertà when, a few years later, you're a Supreme Court nominee credibly accused of a violent and clumsy attempted rape in high school and your high school friend, the only witness to the alleged incident, says he has no memory of it happening.

On Tuesday, CNN unearthed a video of Judge Brett Kavanaugh making such a joke. "Fortunately we had a good saying we've held firm to to this day," Kavanaugh said in a March 2015 speech at Catholic University of America's Columbus Law School: "What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That's been a good thing for all of us, I think." The joke is in the first part of the clip, and CNN's panel discusses it and the broader Kavanaugh imbroglio for a few minutes after that. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:12 a.m. ET
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive spending bill that funds the Defense Department and the Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services Departments for fiscal 2019 and also keeps the entire government open through Dec. 7, averting a government shutdown before the midterm elections. The House is expected to take up the measure next week, but because it does not include the money President Trump wants for his border wall, it is unclear if Trump will sign it. The government will partially shut down on Oct. 1 if Trump doesn't sign a stopgap spending bill.

The legislation the Senate passed 93 to 7 provides $606.5 billion for the Pentagon and $178 billion for Labor, Education, and HHS. Together, that accounts for more than 60 percent of discretionary spending. If the House approves and Trump signs the bill, Congress can wait to pass the seven remaining spending bills — out of 12 — by Dec. 7. Along with its stopgap spending measure, the Senate's Defense, Labor, Education, and HHS bill reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act until Dec. 7 and orders the Department of Homeland Security to submit a plan to Congress to reunited separated migrant families. Peter Weber

4:57 a.m. ET

In her new book, Stormy Daniels writes about her night with President Trump "in detail," Jimmy Fallon said on Tuesday's Tonight Show, pulling a face, "which explains why every book comes with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and a straw." He came up with creative ways to dance around Daniels' description of the president's "Trump Tower." Because of her comparison of Trump's "Don Jr." to a popular video game character, "in the new Mario Kart, Toad collects gold coins and uses them as hush money," Fallon joked. He spliced together a clip of Trump "setting the record straight" on the matter.

Fallon then involved the studio audience in a game centered around Trump's slurred mispronunciation of certain words, joked about the Emmys proposal and Amazon's big plans for Alexa, and showed a viral video about a gender-reveal ceremony gone awry. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:20 a.m. ET

"While there have been a number of tell-alls about [President] Trump," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live, the new memoir from porn actress Stormy Daniels "is the first one that presents a detailed analysis of the president's genitalia." He read the entire description, which is as safe for work as network TV allows. "And just like that, I will never eat a mushroom or play a video game again," Kimmel joked. Daniels also said that Hillary Clinton called Trump while they were together during the 2008 Democratic primary, and they discussed some mysterious "plan."

Mid-joke, Tracy Morgan came out dressed in a suit and sporting Trump hair, an orange face, and tiny orange hands. He introduced himself as LaDonald Trump. "Tracy, what is this?" Kimmel asked. "What are you doing?" "This is a hilarious new character I created, just go with it," he said. They bantered about LaDonald's wife, first lady Mesothelioma, and his vice president, Mike Pence.

"I have to go, my nipples are getting itchy from the orange paint," Morgan said. "You know, I told you you didn't need to paint your whole body," Kimmel interjected. "I painted my whole body because I care about my craft," Morgan said, taking a little jab at his former 30 Rock co-star, now SNL's Trump impersonator: "Suck it, Alec Baldwin." He ambled over to the curtain hiding Emmy winner Glenn Weiss and his new fiancée, Jan Friedlander Svendsen, and crawled in bed with them.

Earlier in the show, Kimmel had interviewed the happy couple about Weiss' marriage proposal during Monday night's Emmys ceremony. You can watch that below. Peter Weber

3:36 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed a lower-court ruling to take effect that will require nonprofit advocacy groups to disclose the names of political donors at least through the 2018 midterm elections, handing a win to campaign finance reformers and a loss to Crossroads GPS and other nonprofits that specialize in using secret "dark money" donations to influence political campaigns.

Last month, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., had sided with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) against Crossroads GPS, an influential conservative group, and threw out a decades-old Federal Elections Commission (FEC) rule shielding donors to political nonprofits. With the Supreme Court denying Crossroads GPS's request for a stay, "we're about to know a lot more about who is funding our elections," said CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder.

"With less than 50 days before this fall's congressional elections, the ruling has far-reaching consequences that could curtail the ability of major political players to raise money and force the disclosure of some of the country's wealthiest donors," The Washington Post reports. "The change could affect heavyweight groups across the political spectrum, including the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity on the right and the League of Conservation Voters on the left." Conservatives were the ones complaining on Tuesday, characterizing Howell's ruling as an ill-timed incursion on free speech.

Starting Wednesday, the nonprofit advocacy groups will have to release the names of donors who contribute more than $200 annually for the purpose of influencing a federal election. Crossroads GPS will likely appeal the ruling, and the FEC will write a new rule for nonprofits, but neither of those will be in effect before the 2018 elections. The Supreme Court said Chief Justice John Roberts had referred the request for a stay to the court, which is divided 4-4 along ideological lines. The statement did not elaborate. You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

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