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January 23, 2019

Mother Goose's 2019 edition has arrived.

On Wednesday, President Trump unveiled what he's calling "the new theme" for his continued fight for border wall funding, and it sounds suspiciously like an unfinished nursery rhyme. "BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!," Trump wrote in two back-to-back tweets, hinting at what's sure to become a cumbersome new chant at an upcoming rally and ominously telling readers to "use it and pray."

But a poem can't be left at one line, and both fans and detractors fired off extensions of Trump's new mantra. Unfortunately for Trump, detractors seemed to be in the majority in the online poetry slam, and national security lawyer Bradley Moss took the cake with his full-length, Russia-referencing modification. Kathryn Krawczyk

7:04 p.m.

The National Security Agency has recommended the White House drop the controversial phone surveillance program that was secretly launched during the George W. Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

The program, which collects data on U.S. phone calls and text messages, was started without a court order, and its existence wasn't known until former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked information to journalists about it in 2013. After saying for years that the program is a key tool in finding and thwarting terrorism plots, senior NSA officials now believe its many logistical and legal issues outweigh any intelligence benefits, the Journal reports.

Earlier this year, the NSA had to stop the program due to "frustrations about legal-compliance issues," several people told the Journal. While it is authorized by Congress, the White House ultimately decides whether to press for the program's renewal. If the White House follows the NSA's recommendation, the program's legal authority will expire in December. Catherine Garcia

6:06 p.m.

Rev. Franklin Graham is blasting 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg again in a string of anti-gay tweets.

The pro-Trump preacher said Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana should be "repentant" for being gay instead of being "praised or politicized," he wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. Buttigieg, who is openly gay and Christian, recently said Democrats and Republicans could agree that "God does not have a political party."

"God doesn't have a political party," Graham affirmed. "But God does have commandments, laws & standards," wrote Graham on Twitter. "Mayor Buttigieg says he's a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women."

Earlier this week, Graham, the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association condemned anti-LGBT hecklers at the 2020 candidate's Iowa rallies, but also berated the candidate with Leviticus scriptures, which calls same-sex relationships an "abomination," reports the New York Daily News.

Graham's campaign against the 2020 hopeful comes as his church tries to demote the "success of the gay agenda." Buttigieg's campaign has not responded to Graham's outburst. Tatyana Bellamy-Walker

5:44 p.m.

A little over a month after New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank for records tied to funding for several Trump Organization projects, the bank has started to hand over the documents, CNN reports.

The documents are reportedly related to loans made to President Trump and his company, including ones for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; the Trump National Doral Miami; the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago; and the unsuccessful effort to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills. James issued the subpoenas after Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen publicly testified against the president before Congress in February, saying Trump inflated his assets to secure loans from Deutsche Bank.

Despite reported apprehension by many high-ranking officials at the bank, Trump's businesses have reportedly borrowed $300 million from Deutsche Bank to finance the projects listed above.

A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the situation, CNN reports. Tim O'Donnell

5:30 p.m.

Oh, the wonders of Silicon Valley.

Facebook said on Wednesday that it expects to face a fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly violating a 2011 privacy consent decree. The New York Times reports that the total would be a record penalty for a technology company by the agency. But at the end of the day, it doesn't seem like the social media company will lose much sleep over the amount.

Facebook disclosed the fine in its quarterly financial results, estimating that it would take a one-time charge of $3 billion to $5 billion from the FTC. But even when accounting for the hit, CNBC reports Facebook still exceeded revenue expectations — the company took in $15.08 billion for the quarter and met its target for daily active user growth.

As much criticism as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company have faced recently for playing fast and loose with user data, the ultimate insignificance is a sobering reminder of just how much of a giant Facebook really is. Tim O'Donnell

5:29 p.m.

Scientists have found a creature so strange that "perplexing" is literally part of its name.

The new species Callichimaera perplexa, literally translated to "perplexing beautiful chimaera," is a pretty good description of what this new find is. The aquatic creature is an ancient crab, thought to have lived about 95 million years ago, but its unusual bodily makeup reminded the researchers who discovered it of a chimaera, the Greek mythological creature known for being a mash-up of various different animals.

A team of scientists, led by palaeontologist Javier Luque, made their discovery in Colombia by finding new fossils that have revealed a whole new branch on the evolutionary tree. Callichimaera perplexa has been described as "the strangest crab that has ever lived," but the importance of these findings goes beyond the creature's bizarre looks, the Independent explained.

The fossils were so well-preserved that the scientists were able to see an incredible level of detail, including "paddle-like legs and large eyes." This hints that these ancient crabs lived their lives swimming instead of crawling, and likely developed the ability to hunt for prey at night. Overall, the discovery is making everyone reconsider "what makes a crab a crab," said Luque.

The research, published on Wednesday in Science Advances, offers a look at the fossil specimens that were found, as well as a 3-D model that scientists were able to reconstruct from what they gathered. Learn more at the Independent. Shivani Ishwar

5:25 p.m.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has one big fundraising feat to claim.

Her haul is far from the biggest among Democrats after the first fundraising cycle of the 2020 election — that honor goes to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with $20,724,537 raised, the Center for Responsive Politics notes. But there's one thing Gillibrand has going for her that no other candidate does: More than half of her donors are women.

It's important to note that only donations over $200 are totaled in the Center for Responsive Politics' demographic breakdown. Still, it puts her at a stark contrast to Sanders, who only saw one-third of his individual donations come from women. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) came the closest to matching Gillibrand's record, with 49.3 percent of her donations coming from women.

Most of the Democratic men running in 2020 had gender donation records nearly as disproportionate as Sanders'. But President Trump approached equality, with records showing that 45.4 percent of his donors have been women. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:50 p.m.

It all started with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

During his CNN Town Hall on Tuesday, the top tier 2020 contender made it very clear that he believes every convicted felon should be able to vote from prison — the Boston Marathon bomber included. No other Democrat has come out with support quite as strong as Sanders', though in subsequent town halls and statements, they've started to drift to his side.

After Sanders stole the show at his CNN town hall, it was Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-Calif.) turn. She took a lighter approach, saying she "think[s] we should have that conversation," but later clarified that she "think[s] that people who commit murder, people who are terrorists, should be deprived of their rights." Pete Buttigieg, the rising star mayor of South Bend, Indiana, delivered a resounding "no" on voting from prison, though said that "when you have served your sentence," getting to vote again is "part of being restored to society."

It took a few days, but former Texas congressmember Beto O'Rourke tentatively said he'd back voting rights for "nonviolent offenders" in a statement Wednesday. Still, he strongly hinted he didn't feel the same when it came to "violent criminals." Both Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have publicly touted their commitment to restoring voting rights for convicted felons, but haven't touched on whether that applies to criminals still in prison.

Republicans have quickly and roundly torn Sanders' stance apart, but even left-leaning CNN commentators Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon seemed a little stunned by it. That could be why so far, no other Democrat has gone so far as to match Sanders' very strong feelings. Kathryn Krawczyk

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