7 Things: Shutdown day 34 could see two long-shot votes, Pelosi and Trump officially cancel SOTU, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he may run for office again and more …
7. Now Michael Cohen won’t testify because he thinks the president of the United States is threatening him
— The former lawyer and “fixer” of now-President Donald Trump announced that he will not be testifying in front of Congress because of threats. Democratic members of Congress said this is unacceptable, arguing, “Efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are textbook mob tactics that we condemn in the strongest terms.”
— The president says that Cohen has nothing to fear from him. Instead, he believes Cohen has “only been threatened by the truth.”
6. Decatur has banned e-cigarettes for some reason
— The Decatur City Council voted 4-1 to add electronic cigarettes to the city’s ban on smoking in “public places” such as restaurants and bars.
— The bans are becoming more common in Alabama, as well as in the United States, with at least 12 cities banning the practice in public.
— U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the “president-in-charge” and other also nations recognized him as such, which all but guarantees the nation will see Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s reign end.
— In response to the recognition of his opposition, Maduro gave U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country after ending diplomatic and political relations. The State Department is also planning on leaving.
— The Russia investigation and the government shutdown are dragging Trump’s numbers into the upper 30s with 57 percent disapproving of the job the president is doing, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.
— Another poll by Public Policy Polling shows Trump trailing multiple candidates by large margins. He trails former VP Joe Biden 53-41, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 51-41, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) 48-41, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) 47-41, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 48-42 and Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) each 47-42.
3. Former Chief Justice Roy Moore is not ruling out a run for office again
— In a radio interview, Moore did not rule of a run for office in the future for the 71-year-old. He said, ” I haven’t ruled it out, and I haven’t made plans yet.”
— Moore’s unpopularity among independents and ability to turn out Democrats makes for a rematch Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) should want to see.
2. State of the Union officially postponed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump
— After a back-and-forth between the House Speaker and the president, Speaker Pelosi officially announced she will not be holding a vote required to host the State of the Union while the government is in a partial shutdown and President Donald Trump agreed after an initial push-back.
— Trump’s decision was a surprise to most, as Republicans across the country suggested additional venues for the speech, including Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Auditor Jim Zeigler who suggested the border and the Flora-Bama respectively.
1. As we enter into day 34 of the partial government shutdown, Democrat cracks are becoming more clear
— Democrats, who saw their leader reject the president’s latest offer before he made it are now proposing a bill that includes what some are calling a smart wall with drones and upgrades at ports of entry. Jared Kushner has a plan, too.
— While the president has not responded to that specific Democratic offer of $5.7 billion for border security, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will move forward with dueling votes on bills to open the government.