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First Read's Morning Clips: Silenced

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Senate confirmation hearings for US President-elect Donald Trump's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, 2017.Erik Lesser / EPA

TRUMP AGENDA: 9th Circuit ruling to come later this week “Three federal appeals court judges heard arguments Tuesday over President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring entry to the United States of refugees and those from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco did not immediately make a decision in the controversial executive action but a ruling will probably come down this week, the court said.”

The New York Times: “A Justice Department lawyer on Tuesday said courts should not second-guess President Trump’s targeted travel ban, drawing skepticism from a three-judge federal appeals panel weighing the limits of executive authority in cases of national security…. No matter how the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules — in a decision that is expected within days — an appeal to the United States Supreme Court is likely. That court remains short-handed and could deadlock. A 4-to-4 tie in the Supreme Court would leave the appeals court’s ruling in place.”

And from the Wall Street Journal: “At times, the judges appeared to consider whether the order could be scaled back so that it didn’t affect those who had already lived in the U.S. and wanted to return. Mr. Purcell argued that it would be a very difficult and complicated task trying to draw broad new rules and restrictions among foreign students, workers and their relatives.”

“People who want to visit the United States could be asked to hand over their social-media passwords to officials as part of enhanced security checks, the country's top domestic security chief said.”

The White House is weighing a terrorist designation for the Muslim Brotherhood, the New York Times notes.

The Washington Post: “The Department of Defense is seeking to rent space in President Trump’s New York skyscraper, Trump Tower, a move that could directly funnel government money into the president’s business interests. The U.S. military agency is “working through appropriate channels . . . to acquire a limited amount of leased space in Trump Tower,” Lt. Col. J.B. Brindle, a Pentagon spokesman, told The Washington Post in a statement late Tuesday. “The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building,” Brindle said.”

CONGRESS: Silenced

From NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell and Frank Thorp: “Senate Republicans voted to silence the Democrats' Elizabeth Warren after she read from a letter by the widow of Martin Luther King that criticized the civil rights record of Trump's nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions. The debate on the confirmation of Sen. Sessions came to a screeching but temporary halt Tuesday night when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, objected to a speech that the Massachusetts Democrat was giving. Warren quoted from a letter that Coretta Scott King wrote in opposition to Sessions, a Alabama Republican, during his attempted confirmation for a federal judgeship 30 years ago.”

Mitch McConnell says he sees a “high level of satisfaction” with the Trump administration.

POLITICO: “President Donald Trump wants to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, boost military spending, slash taxes and build a “great wall.” But Republicans on Capitol Hill have one question for him: How the heck will we pay for all of this? GOP lawmakers are fretting that Trump’s spending requests, due out in a month or so, will blow a gaping hole in the federal budget — ballooning the debt and undermining the party’s doctrine of fiscal discipline.”

ICYMI: Betsy DeVos was confirmed yesterday after Mike Pence’s tiebreaking vote.

The DNC is out with a video arguing that Senate Republicans ignored the voices complaining about DeVos.

Who’ll replace Jeff Sessions? POLITICO: “Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is strongly leaning toward picking the state’s attorney general to replace U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions after his expected confirmation Wednesday to become United States Attorney General, according to three Republican operatives with direct knowledge of the plans. The operatives all cautioned, however, that the mercurial governor hasn’t formally picked Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Sessions, and Bentley could change his mind.”