Trump signs bill to avert shutdown

The federal government avoids another shutdown–at least until December 20.

A funding bill to keep the federal government open until December 20 received President Trump’s signature Thursday, averting partial government shutdowns that would have gone into effect Friday had the bill not cleared his desk. Congress will continue negotiations in the coming weeks over how to divvy up the funds among all federal agencies and keep the government funded from December 20 until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2020.

The bill had passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 231-92 and cleared the Senate earlier by 74-20.

The next round of Congressional funding negotiations coincides with Congressional impeachment inquiries into Trump’s purported attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son.

Trump’s demand that Congress provide funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border also remains a major sticking point. One of the funding bills that is still under debate in Congress, a Homeland Security bill, includes $5 billion for border-wall construction. Democrats oppose the wall funding and are also seeking to block Trump from using “emergency powers” to allocate military funds toward the wall.

Democrats have insisted that none of the funding bills be finalized until there is agreement on all of them. But some Democrats have stated willingness in recent days to consider a “cromnibus” that combines new funding for most of the government along with continuing resolutions for the more controversial bills, such as Homeland Security.

“The wall I think is the major impediment. But that’s only one bill: the Department of Homeland Security,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said earlier in the week. “But it ought not to adversely affect the other 11 bills. They’re being held hostage, essentially.”

Trump calls for whistlerblower’s identity to be exposed

Trump launches an attack against the whistleblower.

Trump’s “calls to the public to identify my client by name and his suggestion that he would support acts of violence against my client are, candidly, some of the most dangerous and reckless things a President of the United States can say,” wrote attorney Andrew Bakaj.

“Let me be clear: should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client. As a direct consequence of the President’s irresponsible rhetoric and behavior, my client’s physical safety became a significant concern, prompting us to instead state our willingness to only answer written interrogatories,” Bakaj wrote in his letter.

The whistleblower is a disgrace to our country. A disgrace. And the whistleblower, because of that, should be revealed,” Trump told reporters, adding that the lawyer should be sued “for treason.”

“Why isn’t the first whistleblower going to testify anymore?” Trump asked, referencing reports that the whistleblower won’t speak to House investigators. “Because everything he wrote in that report almost was a lie.”

The House is set to air deposition this week from a number of Trump associates, regarding the investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.