Things might get just a little bit higher in the Mile High City. That’s because Denver could become the first city in the nation to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Government shutdown
President Trump heads to Texas today to visit the border with Mexico. This comes as the partial government shutdown rolls into its 20th day, as negotiations with Democrats over funding for his proposed border wall remain at a standstill. And they might stay that way for awhile. Trump stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — after just 15 minutes — because neither side would give an inch in this drama. Trump called the meeting “a total waste of time,” while Schumer said the President had “a temper tantrum.”
Now, some GOP senators are trying to put together a deal to end the shutdown and secure money for Trump’s border wall by offering Democrats help for DACA recipients, among other things. But it’s too early to tell if the Dems or Trump would even go for that. And the pressure to end the shutdown will only increase tomorrow: That’s when thousands of federal employees will miss paychecks because of the shutdown.
2. Russia investigation
The polling data that Paul Manafort is said to have shared with a Russian during the 2016 presidential campaign was intended for two Ukrainian oligarchs who owed him millions. Manafort earned good money for years doing political work in Ukraine. In November 2016, he was expecting a payment of $2.4 million for some of that work. A spokesman for Manafort said the money was meant to reimburse debts that predated the Trump campaign and was not a quid pro quo for the polling data. All this is of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller because it shows Manafort had a stake in getting money from a foreign country when he led Donald Trump’s campaign.
3. Vegetative state birth
Investigators in Phoenix are gathering DNA from male employees at a care facility where a woman in a vegetative state gave birth. Police have also served a search warrant as part of the sexual assault investigation, and the care facility’s CEO has resigned. The woman, who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years, gave birth to a boy on December 29. The woman’s family is “outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse,” their attorney said. The baby is being cared for by the woman’s family.
4. Saudi teen
A Saudi teen who fled to Thailand to escape her family has been declared a refugee by the United Nations. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun said she feared her family would kill her because she had renounced Islam. Qunun wanted to fly to Australia but ended up barricading herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room. She then whipped up support for her cause on social media. Australia is now doing health, security and other background checks on Qunun ahead of her possible resettlement there.
5. Congo elections
Congo’s presidential election has a surprise winner. Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi beat out two rivals in the often-delayed vote. But one defeated candidate is already questioning the result. If Tshisekedi’s win holds, it’ll be the first democratic transition of power since the Central African country gained independence more than 50 years ago. The election came after violent protests broke out after voters in three cities affected by an Ebola outbreak were told they couldn’t cast their ballots until March. It’s not clear how these votes will affect the result.
Should have swiped left
She bragged online to her prospective beau about killing a deer. Too bad he was a game warden.
Can you hear me now?
Something is causing repeating short bursts of radio waves to be released into space. And it’s not the first time.
Maybe it’s time to look around the house for spare change. An old penny a man kept in a safe for decades could fetch $170,000 at an auction.
If you’ve been dying to dine — nude — at a restaurant in Paris, you better make reservations quick. O’Naturel is closing next month.
Fiat Chrysler, in a deal to be announced later this morning, will pay about $800 million in fines and penalties to settle charges its diesel vehicles violated US emissions standards.
That’s the reward for information about an armored truck driver in Kentucky who’s accused of taking a “large amount of money” before vanishing from work last month.
“I … will not be working with him again.”
Singer Lady Gaga, apologizing for recording the controversial song, “Do What U Want (With My Body),” with R. Kelly in 2013. Gaga said she wants the tune pulled off iTunes and streaming platforms. R Kelly has come under increased fire after a Lifetime documentary last week reviewed sex abuse allegations against him. He has strongly denied the claims.
Welcome to Grasse, France, which just might be the best-smelling town in the world. (Click to view.)