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Vox Sentences: A Congress walled against itself cannot stand

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Trump gives a big speech on the wall; Kim Jong Un goes to China.

Tonight’s Sentences was written by Nicole Fallert.

Shutdown showdown, day 18

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • President Trump will make a speech from the Oval Office at 9 pm EST to address the 18-day government shutdown and reiterate his demand for funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border. [Washington Post / Felicia Sonmez, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Farhi]
  • Trump was reportedly considering declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress if it wouldn’t approve the $5 billion he demands for the wall’s construction. The latest reports now suggest he’s backing away from that plan, but who knows what will happen once the cameras start rolling. [WSJ / Michael C. Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus]
  • The federal government has now been shut down for 18 days, and 800,000 federal workers are about to go without their first paycheck. [NYT / Jim Tankersley, Matthew Goldstein, and Glenn Thrush]
  • The Trump administration’s offer on the negotiating table includes the wall funding as well as $800,000 to address the “humanitarian crisis” at the border. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • In the speech, the president will make his case to the public for the wall — which might include some dubious or factually wrong claims he’s made in the past. [Washington Post / Salvador Rizzo, Glenn Kessler, and Meg Kelly]
  • Major networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and Fox, as well as cable networks CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, will air the speech, even though they refused to air a 2014 speech on immigration by President Obama. [NYT / Michael Grynbaum]

Kim Jong Un goes to China

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled by train to China for a four-day visit with President Xi Jinping. The goal of the meeting was not announced by either country’s state media, but Kim might be coordinating a strategy for a possible upcoming summit with President Trump. [NPR / Matthew S. Schwartz]
  • The visit is supposedly unconnected to the US-China trade war. But it could serve as a reminder to the US that China has the power to undermine other American priorities in Asia. [NYT / Keith Bradsher and Choe Sang-Hun]
  • The meeting could also send a message to Trump that even if the summit goes badly, North Korea has ways to improve its diplomatic position without US support. [Washington Post / Anna Fifield]


  • What would have to happen for Trump to face a primary challenge? There are two paths that could weaken his support. [FiveThirtyEight / Perry Bacon Jr.]
  • Does CBD cause munchies? Experts say no, but it could still make you hungrier. [Washington Post / Cara Rosenbloom]
  • Inmates in the Manila City Jail are suffering overcrowded conditions since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has increased drug arrests. Guards are outnumbered, leaving gang members to keep the peace. [NYT / Aurora Almendral]
  • A storied French art burglar nicknamed “Spider-Man” reveals how he made a lifestyle of impulsion and imagination. [New Yorker / Jake Halpern]


“What we have at CBS is a legacy and history. The mission never changes. It deepens. It widens.” [Incoming CBS News chief Susan Zirinsky to NBC / Claire Atkinson]

Watch this: How the US outsourced border security to Mexico

In 2017, Johnny Harris traveled to Mexico to investigate the developing border crisis for the international series Vox Borders. [YouTube / Johnny Harris]

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