Trump’s First Year Ends on Shutdown Crisis Note

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Donald Trump plans to cap his first year in office with a gala at his Mar-a-Lago resort  — if a government shutdown doesn’t get in the way.

With time running short before a funding lapse at midnight, Senate Democrats are poised to block a one-month extension the House passed late yesterday, raising the possibility that the first government shutdown since 2013 coincides with the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

The outcome hangs on Republicans’ efforts to woo enough Democrats to break the impasse and send the measure to Trump’s desk today. That would give negotiators breathing room to craft a longer-term spending bill that might satisfy Democrats' demands to protect young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.

If the government does close, the mandatory furloughs won’t affect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign — and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it.

The White House hasn’t said whether a shutdown would alter the president’s plans to attend tomorrow’s gala, tickets to which start at $100,000 per couple. But the optics of Trump rubbing elbows with wealthy donors while the federal government is shuttered might be bad enough to maroon him in Washington.

Global Headlines

Davos switcheroo | In a role reversal, Chinese President Xi Jinping heads into next week’s World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps as a bigger champion of globalization than the U.S. president. Trump, whose “America First” policy is likely to face a chilly reception, has overseen a historic drop in how the U.S. is viewed overseas, according to a Gallup survey. For other themes sure to define the event click here, and for full coverage follow our special hub page.

European dependents | A day after Emmanuel Macron held the upper hand in talks with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, he’ll find himself in a weaker position as he hosts Angela Merkel. The Chancellor’s buy-in is key to the French president’s goal of winning euro-area reform, but his plans could come to nothing if Germany’s Social Democrats don’t agree to formal coalition negotiations. All Europe is watching the vote this Sunday.

Strongmen thrive on turmoil | It’s been a tough week for some governments in eastern Europe. One is struggling to get off the ground, one is about to have its third prime minister in a year and another faces a parliamentary debate on corruption. As nationalism and Trump-style politics sweep through some of Europe’s youngest democracies, political turmoil is rife. 

Zimbabwe revival? | Free elections and an end isolation from the west are key planks in a plan by Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to revive one of the world’s worst-performing economies. Mnangagwa told Bloomberg in an exclusive interview that while Robert Mugabe, whom he dislodged from almost four decades in power, remains an “icon,” public opinion — which he called “the voice of God” — is demanding radical change. 

Female donors pony up | A record 266 Democratic women so far have reported raising money for U.S. House races as they seek to send Trump a strong rebuke in this year’s midterm elections. The effort — from small grassroots donors to some of the top campaign contributors — could help boost the party’s shot at wresting control of the House from Republicans and provide a potential path to a Senate majority.

Weekend reading | Bookmark this report on what business leaders cozying up to a man who owns a copy of Chairman Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book and lists “fomenting the overthrow of capitalism” as one of his main interests says about the turbulent state of British politics – and this one looking at the tenant troubles stinging Jared Kushner’s Deutsche Bank-backed property.

And finally… When Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand’s prime minister in October, she kept quiet about some other exciting news: her first pregnancy. Ardern, who faced a slew of questions on the campaign trail about when she planned to have children, revealed today that she was expecting her first child. While Ardern may be the world’s youngest female leader, she won’t be the first to give birth while in office. That title goes to Benazir Bhutto, who had a daughter while serving as Pakistan’s prime minister in 1990.

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