All Major Networks To Air Trump’s Address On The Border WallNick Visser•Trump plans primetime address to nation, visit to Mexico border All the major television networks in America will air President Donald Trump’s address on the border wall live on Tuesday after the White House requested they carve out space in their prime-time lineups.ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC all confirmed Monday they would carry the president’s speech at 9 p.m. Eastern time after Trump said he planned to address the country “on the humanitarian and national security crisis at our southern border.” Some cable networks, including CNN and MSNBC, which cater to smaller audiences, said they plan to air the speech as well. Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border. Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, also said Trump would travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday.Shortly after the network confirmations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement calling for Democrats to be given “equal airtime” to address the country.“Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” the pair said.The networks’ decision is likely to be a costly one, as advertising spots in prime-time hours can cost millions of dollars in total. The New York Times notes that such addresses have grown increasingly rare and are usually reserved for moments of significant national importance, like President Barack Obama’s announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Some requests have been denied, with addresses aired on a tape delay, including a 2014 Obama speech on immigration. Some questioned why major networks wouldn’t use tape delay for Trump’s address in order to counter his persistent falsehoods about the border. CBS, the first network to announce it would air the speech, didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about its plans.The address comes in the midst of an ongoing partial government shutdown, during which Trump and Senate Republicans have refused to pass funding measures that don’t include more than $5.6 billion for the wall. The shutdown has stretched into its third week, with no end in sight.The president has continued to tout his border wall, even as his definition of it has changed. Last weekend, he said he would be happy to build a steel barrier on the border rather than one made out of concrete, saying such a structure would “look beautiful and it’s actually strong.” The White House has also released “Game of Thrones”–style posters featuring a mock-up of the wall with Trump’s image hovering above it.Trump has also lied about support for the structure, falsely claiming that some of his predecessors had told him they supported a border fence. All four living former presidents have denied saying as much.This story has been updated with comment from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Asian shares rally, eye Sino-U.S. trade talksBy Wayne Cole•FILE PHOTO – A man looks at a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toru HanaiBy Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares were set for a rousing start on Monday as a dovish turn by the Federal Reserve and startlingly strong U.S. jobs data soothed some of the market’s worst fears about the global outlook.Investors are keen to see how Chinese markets react to the central bank’s policy easing announced late on Friday, which frees up around $116 billion for new lending.Chinese officials also meet their U.S. counterparts for trade negotiations starting later Monday, the first face-to-face talks of the year.U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the talks were going very well and that weakness in the Chinese economy gave Beijing a reason to work toward a deal.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> added 0.4 percent in early trade, led by a 1.1 percent jump in Australia <.AXJO>.Nikkei futures pointed to opening gains of around 500 points for the cash index <.N225>. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 edged up another 0.14 percent.Risk appetite got a huge boost on Friday when the U.S. payrolls report showed 312,000 net new jobs were created in December, while wages rose at a brisk annual pace of 3.2 percent.Despite the strength, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sought to ease market concerns about the risk of a slowdown, saying the central bank would be patient and flexible in policy decisions this year.Markets had already gone much further to price in a major chance of a cut in rates this year, and some of that exuberance was tempered by Powell’s emphasis on the word „patient” in his speech on Friday.Yet, Fed fund futures still implied a rate of 2.33 percent by December <0#FF:>, compared to the current effective rate of 2.40 percent.Yields on two-year Treasuries rose to 2.49 percent, from a trough of 2.37 percent, but were still below those on one-year paper.Powell has another speech on Thursday to expand on his thinking, while there are at least eight other Fed officials scheduled to speak this week.„EXTREME BEAR” The combination of a strong jobs report and a dovish Fed helped the Dow <.DJI> end Friday with gains of 3.29 percent, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> jumped 3.43 percent and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> 4.26 percent.Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch noted global equity markets had lost $19.9 trillion since January last year, and a record $84 billion had flowed out of stocks in just the past six weeks.With 2,055 of 2,767 U.S. and global companies in a bear market, it might be time to buy.”Our Bull & Bear Indicator has fallen to an ‘extreme bear’ reading, triggering the first ‘buy’ signal for risk assets since June 2016,” they wrote in a note.BofAML saw upside in Chinese and German stocks; U.S. small cap stocks; semi-government debt; energy stocks; U.S. dollar and euro high-yielding bonds and emerging market currencies.The latter had already received a boost from news Sino-U.S. trade talks were back on, as well as a natural bounce from the wild „flash crash” that rocked markets last week.The effect was apparent in the Australian dollar, which is often used as a liquid proxy for emerging markets and China risk. The Aussie was up at $0.7117 on Monday, having briefly dived as deep as $0.6715 last Thursday.The safe-haven yen gave up much of its recent gains to stand at 108.40 per dollar , having gotten as a far as 105.25 last week. The euro was firmer $1.1409 , while the dollar index <.DXY> eased a touch to 96.114.Gold benefited from the diminished risk of U.S. rate hikes and held at $1,284.83 , just off a six-month top.Oil prices started firmer after Brent bounced about 9.3 percent last week, while WTI rose 5.8 percent.The crude benchmark rose 25 cents to $57.31 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures gained 24 cents to $48.20.
All 4 Living Former Presidents Contradict Trump’s Claim That They Support Border WallMarina Fang•All four living former presidents deny telling Donald Trump that they supportAll four living former presidents deny telling Donald Trump that they support his long-promised border wall, contradicting the president’s false claim that his predecessors “told me that we should have” built the wall.“This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me, and they all know it,” Trump said during a news conference on Friday. “Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”On Monday, former President Jimmy Carter joined the three other living former presidents in confirming that Trump lied about the claim.“I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump, and do not support him on the issue,” Carter said in a statement through his presidential center.Related Video: Spokesmen for former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush told PoliticoFriday that neither of them had discussed the border wall with Trump. Former President Barack Obama’s spokesman declined to comment.Aside from a brief interaction at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral last month, Obama has not spoken to Trump since leaving office in 2017, Politico reported.However, Obama has repeatedly railed against Trump’s proposal for a border wall.“We can’t just put walls up all around America. Walls don’t keep out threats like terrorism or disease ― and that’s why we propose leading our alliances and helping other countries develop, and pushing back against tyrants,” Obama said in a speech in September.During Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, Obama called the wall “impractical” and quipped: “Good luck with that.”
By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a whistleblower’s bid to revive a $663.4 million judgment against Trinity Industries Inc in a lawsuit accusing the company of failing to tell a federal agency about changes made to a guardrail system that raised safety concerns.
The justices left in place a 2017 decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a 2014 verdict by a federal jury in Texas that found Trinity had defrauded the government.
Joshua Harman, a competitor of Dallas-based Trinity, filed the lawsuit in 2012 under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to sue companies on the government’s behalf to recover fraudulently paid-out taxpayer money.
„We are disappointed, but believe the true objective of the case has been achieved. Because of Joshua Harman’s efforts, there is more federal and state scrutiny than ever before to ensure the safety of our nation’s roads and highways,” said Nicholas Gravante, one of Harman’s lawyers.
Harman had argued that the case presented an opportunity for the top court to clarify to what extent the government’s decision to keep paying a company suspected of fraud meant any wrongdoing was immaterial to its payment decisions.
The Supreme Court’s action „confirms the company’s long-standing belief that no fraud was committed,” Trinity said in a statement.
In his lawsuit, Harman alleged that Trinity failed to tell the government about a design change it made in 2005 to its ET-Plus guardrails that could cause vehicles to be speared when struck, potentially causing severe injury or death to occupants.
Jurors had found Trinity liable for defrauding the Federal Highway Administration, which reimburses states for installing guardrails meeting its standards, and awarded $175 million, which was tripled to $525 million under the False Claims Act.
In 2015, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap in Marshall, Texas added $138.4 million in civil penalties, or $8,250 for each of 16,771 alleged false certifications to obtain payments.
Harman was awarded $199 million, or 30 percent, of the total judgment. The judge also awarded $19 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.
But in 2017, the 5th Circuit said because the agency continued reimbursements for the ET-Plus with „full knowledge” of Harman’s claims, he could not show any misstatements by Trinity materially affected the government’s payment decisions.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond and Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)
Maduro won Venezuela’s May 2018 election, which was called by the regime-backed Constituent Assembly, a new super-body intended to rewrite the country’s constitution. Most leading opposition figures boycotted the poll or were disqualified from contesting it, and a consortium of regional countries warned was ‘illegitimate and lacking in credibility.”On Jan. 4, the Lima Group, a consortium of 12 Latin American countries, as well as Canada urged Maduro not to take office this week. Venezuela charged the group with “encouraging a coup d’etat” backed by Washington, AFP reports.Read more: It’s Time to Plan for Civil War In VenezuelaMaduro has become increasingly unpopular as a spiraling economic crisis and hyperinflation is driving desperate Venezuelans to emigrate. Last year, Caracas was roiled by months of violent protests in opposition to the Constituent Assembly, and in September, the U.S. imposed sanctions on several members of Maduro’s “inner circle.”
AP source: LaFleur accepts offer to become Packers coach TERESA M. WALKER (AP Sports Writer)•FILE – In this Aug. 30, 2018, file photo, Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) talks with offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur before a preseason NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in Nashville, Tenn. A person familiar with the decision says LaFleur has accepted Green Bays offer to become the next head coach of the Packers. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers are turning to fast-rising offensive whiz Matt LaFleur to aid Aaron Rodgers and end a two-year absence from the postseason.LaFleur accepted an offer Monday to become the next head coach of the Packers, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the Packers nor the Titans had announced the decision.The 39-year-old LaFleur spent this season as offensive coordinator for the Titans, his first calling plays in the NFL. He takes over for Mike McCarthy, who was fired during the season following a stunning home loss to Arizona on Dec. 2. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin went 2-2 to close out the season as the Packers failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year with a 6-9-1 record that was the second straight under .500 for the storied franchise.He was offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, leading a group that paced the NFL in scoring and was 10th in total offense under coach Sean McVay, who called the plays on offense. LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach in Atlanta for two seasons, including when Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was the NFL MVP in 2016. LaFleur also has coached with Washington and Houston, and was the quarterbacks coach for Notre Dame in 2014.He will be charged with returning the Packers to the playoffs on a regular basis. McCarthy’s tenure of 12-plus seasons was by and large successful, highlighted by the 2010 Super Bowl season and nine playoff appearances.Still, the once potent offense that could make up for other deficiencies slowed in 2018, a tumultuous year that began with Rodgers leading a stirring comeback victory in the opener over the Bears. The two-time NFL MVP returned after halftime from a left knee injury that nagged him the rest of the season.Rodgers’ 62.3 percent completion rate was his lowest since 2015 (60.7) and his 25 touchdown passes were a low for a season in which he played at least 15 games, though so were his two interceptions. Injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison forced the Packers to turn to rookies perhaps earlier than expected, though Davante Adams emerged as an elite receiver.The relationship between LaFleur and Rodgers will be closely watched after the sometimes tenuous moments between the star QB and McCarthy. They characterized their relationship as close, but with ups and downs that come with two headstrong competitors who had worked together for more than a dozen years.The Packers reportedly interviewed several candidates with head-coaching experience, including Philbin, Chuck Pagano, Adam Gase and Jim Caldwell. The instead opted for LaFleur, who had never called plays before this season and until now has never been in charge of an entire roster.It is just one element of an offseason of change ahead in Green Bay.Clay Matthews, one of the last remaining links to Green Bay’s Super Bowl-winning season, is a free agent after finishing with a career-low 3+ sacks in his 10th season with the Packers but the first under the tweaked 3-4 scheme installed by first-year coordinator Mike Pettine.Cobb is also a prominent free agent for Green Bay, and a steady, experienced target for Rodgers – if he returns.The running game could be a strength next season behind Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, who led the NFL in yards per carry before suffering a knee injury in mid-December. The coordinator’s job could be in flux, too. Philbin is well-liked by Rodgers and the 16-year NFL coaching veteran and he won respect from players for his even-keeled and straightforward demeanor in the transition following McCarthy’s firing.Pettine’s defense showed flashes in his first year on the job. First-round draft pick Jaire Alexander displayed the potential of playing like the top cornerback the Packers desperately need. Injuries struck the defensive line, which was one of the team’s strengths coming into the season, and the Packers lacked a consistent rush at outside linebacker outside of surprise sacks leader Kyler Fackrell (10+).Tennessee has changes coming, too. The Titans went 9-7 and missed the playoffs, ending the season ranked 27th in scoring and 25th in total offense while injuries took a toll. Quarterback Marcus Mariota will soon be working with his fourth offensive coordinator in five seasons.—More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL