The FBI is reportedly investigating whether the Clintons promised or delivered any political favors in exchange for charitable contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Also: Bitter cold continues to numb the East Coast, with at least seven people dying in weather-related incidents.
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President Trump faces new revelations tonight about whether he tried to obstruct an investigation of alleged Russian ties to his campaign.
Both The New York Times and others report that he had his White House counsel pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to remove himself from overseeing the probe. The attorney general did step aside, after which former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named special counsel for the investigation.
Today, the president ignored shouted questions about the reports as he left the White House. We will look at this in more detail after the news summary.
Also today, Republican senators are asking for a federal investigation of the former British intelligence agent who last year compiled a dossier about President Trump’s ties to Russia. They say that Christopher Steele may have made false statements.
Meanwhile, the FBI has reportedly revived its review of the Clinton Family Foundation. President Trump has pressed for an investigation of whether donations were tied to government actions while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The foundation has denied wrongdoing.
Bone-chilling temperatures as low as minus-30 gripped the East Coast today. The cold wave followed a huge winter storm that brought more than a foot of snow and flooding and disrupted travel. In Philadelphia today, people braved icy arctic conditions with windchills down to minus-25.
Others were still stranded at airports in Newark, New Jersey, and elsewhere.
Well, I have been here since yesterday, and three flights have been canceled. There is nothing I can do. I’m trying to get to London, but no joy. So here we are, trying to get another flight.
I think the snow is not the big deal, but, like, the wind seems to be very violent. So I can understand that can just stress everyone out and just shut down everything.
Overall, at least seven people have died in weather-related accidents. Forecasts predict the coldest conditions to hit over the weekend.
The U.S. economy added more than two million jobs in all of 2017, but ended the year with relatively modest gains. The Labor Department reports that following a surge in November, employers added a net of just 148,000 jobs in December. Still, the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent for the third straight month.
That jobs report kept a New Year’s rally going on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 220 points, nearly 1 percent, to close at 25,295. The Nasdaq rose 58 points, and the S&P 500 added 19.
In Afghanistan, the death toll climbed to 20 in a suicide attack on security officers in Kabul. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Thursday night bombing. Broken glass and branches were strewn across the scene where the attacker blew himself up. Officials say he targeted officers who had gathered to monitor protests by shopkeepers.
North and South Korea have now agreed to hold formal talks on Tuesday, their first in more than two years. The announcement today said the focus will be on the North competing in next month’s Olympic Games in the South and on improving relations.
Reaction in Seoul was cautiously optimistic.
Cho Jeong-Hee (through interpreter):
It’s positive. It will be very good if the relations can improve gradually towards a conciliatory tone. That would help global peace and the local economy, especially from a businessperson’s perspective.
The announcement came hours after the U.S. agreed to postpone military drills with South Korea until after the Olympics.
President Trump will spend this weekend meeting with Republican congressional leaders in an effort, they say, to map out their 2018 agenda. The talks are expected to focus on infrastructure, immigration and the budget, among other issues.
And the world’s largest ice festival has opened in Northeastern China. More than 2,000 huge carved sculptures are on display in Harbin constructed of ice from a nearby river and illuminated with colorful lights. The festival continues through February.