Is Mueller almost done? Lawmakers will get to ask his boss
Members of Congress have a lot of questions for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, most notably: Is the investigation of Russian election interference that has shadowed the first two years of President Donald Trump’s administration about to end? Whitaker’s desire to answer questions about his role in overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation appeared in question Thursday, as he had been fighting with lawmakers over whether they could force him to talk about his conversations with the president. But the Justice Department said late Thursday Whitaker would testify before the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning. Whitaker surprised Washington last month when he said the investigation, which he took on when Trump ousted Jeff Sessions in November, was “close to being completed” – the first time anyone familiar with its inner workings had offered any hint of its progress.
Signs of progress seen one week before the next shutdown deadline
With Friday marking one week until the Feb. 15 deadline to avert another government shutdown, signs of a possible agreement were seen Thursday. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, a key senator involved in lawmakers’ negotiations, told reporters fellow Republican President Donald Trump might be willing to compromise over his demand of $5.7 billion for building more walls or barriers along the Mexican border after meeting with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence Thursday. Democrats have balked at adding more walls as Trump intends along the border. “We all know things change, but I think right now we’re on an upward, positive course of discussions,” Shelby said.
Temperatures expected to drop again one day after major winter storm
The bitter cold will return to parts of the country Friday, the National Weather Service predicts. The northern Plains won’t top zero degrees and the upper Midwest and Great Lakes states won’t get above single digits or the teens. Temperatures from Texas to Ohio also will be 25 to 40 degrees lower Friday than Thursday. The cold returns one day after a strong storm thumped the central U.S., bringing a mix of weather ranging from blizzard conditions to flash floods. The steadiest snow Thursday fell from Minnesota through Wisconsin and into Michigan, AccuWeather said. Farther south, rain fell from Arkansas and southern Missouri into Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, prompting flood watches and warnings.
Arizona park to close following the deaths of four dolphins
An Arizona aquatic facility will temporarily close Friday while a panel evaluates the facility following the deaths of four dolphins there. A 22-year-old dolphin named Kai died last week after experiencing difficulty swimming, eating and breathing, according to a statement from Dolphinaris Arizona. Kai was the fourth dolphin to die at the facility since it opened in October 2016 on the Salt River Reservation east of Scottsdale. The panel will include veterinarians, pathologists, water quality experts and animal behavior specialists. Four remaining dolphins that were loaned to Dolphinaris will be transferred to other facilities.
‘Young and the Restless’ to air tribute to Kristoff St. John
CBS’s “Young and the Restless” on Friday will air a tribute to actor Kristoff St. John, who died Sunday at the age of 52. St. John had played the character of Neil Winters since 1991 on the long-running daytime soap opera, earning nearly a dozen Daytime Emmy Award nominations and 10 NAACP Image Awards along the way. The final episode featuring St. John on the show aired Wednesday. Fans and co-stars took to social media to express their sadness about seeing him on “Y&R” for the last time.