Former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele says that the GOP is to blame for the government shutdown after lawmakers missed the deadline to pass a funding bill late Friday. "Despite the rhetorical effort to paste Democrats with 'Schumer's Shutdown' and to redefine what constitutes majority control of the Senate ('60'? Really?), the fact remains that this shutdown rests at the feet of the GOP and it appears a majority of Americans agree," Steele told Politico. Steele, who chaired the RNC from 2009-2011, before former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, called the shutdown "pitiful" and said it "certainly could have been avoided."
The Air Force Academy has canceled all athletic events due to a federal government shutdown that began overnight. "Due to the government shutdown, all Air Force Academy home and away intercollegiate athletic events have been cancelled until further notice," the academy said in a statement. "In the event a solution is reached, the Academy will work to reschedule as many missed events as possible." Among the events scheduled for Saturday were men's and women's basketball games against Fresno State. The Falcons also had been set for competition in men's swimming, women's swimming, men's ice hockey, men's gymnastics and rifle.
Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), a member of the House Ethics Committee who has positioned himself as a leader in fighting sexual harassment, used taxpayer money to settle his own sexual misconduct case, according to a report in the New York Times on Saturday. Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican, used thousands of dollars from an office account to settle a complaint from a former aide who said he made unwanted romantic overtures to her. The aide, who was decades younger than the now 62-year-old Meehan, said that he professed his romantic desires for her in person and in a letter; when she did not reciprocate, he grew hostile. Meehan, who is married and a father of three, is currently serving his third term in Congress and is a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ethics Committee.
Wealthy Russian political and business leaders flocked to Washington, DC -- and the lobby of Trump International Hotel -- during last year's inauguration festivities, The Washington Post reported Saturday. "As questions about Russia's interference in the 2016 election were beginning to percolate publicly, prominent business leaders and activists from that country attended inaugural festivities, mingling at balls and receptions -- at times in proximity to key American political officials," The Post reported. "Their presence caught the attention of counterintelligence officials at the FBI, according to former U.S. officials, although it is not clear which attendees drew U.S. government interest," The Post continued. "FBI officials were concerned at the time because some of the figures had surfaced in the agency's investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, the officials said."
A Republican member of Congress on Thursday night claimed the Islamic State terror group was behind the Las Vegas massacre of 58 people in October. Claiming to have what he "believes" is "credible evidence," Perry cast doubt on investigators' assertions that Stephen Paddock was the lone gunman in the attack and suggested a "terrorist nexus" was involved. He claimed to personally have information about "terrorist infiltration through the southern border." "Let's face it, ISIS, twice before the attack, warned the U.S. they would attack Las Vegas ... and then after the attack claimed responsibility four times. Meanwhile, the local law-enforcement investigative services are telling us there is no terrorist connection." When pressed to provide more details on what "evidence" he has to support this theory, Perry said he was "not able" to reveal anything.