HC Wake-Up Call: Shutdown Will Continue Into 2019, Michael Cohen Prague News Reignites Steele Dossier, & NYC Explosion

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Government Shutdown Will Continue Into 2019

Both the House and Senate met for only a few minutes on Thursday, failing to take any action to end the partial government shutdown. This means that the shutdown — which affects about 25 percent of the federal government — will likely last into the new year. NPR reported that Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, told members that no votes were expected in the House this week. As for the Senate, it's not scheduled to be back in session until January 2. 

According to President Trump, the shutdown is the Democrats' fault. Per CNN, he called the party obstructionists, citing the recent killing of a California cop allegedly by a suspect who is in the country illegally, as a reason for tighter border security and his proposed wall. White House press secretary Sarah sanders also said the Democratic party "is openly choosing to keep our government closed to protect illegal immigrants rather than the American people." 

On the other hand, 47 percent of adults in the U.S. actually blame Trump for the shutdown, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday. The poll also found that 33 percent blame Democrats in Congress, and 7 percent blame Republicans in Congress.

Michael Cohen May Have Actually Been in Prague Like the Steele Dossier Initially Claimed

A new investigation from McClatchy DC alleges that a cell phone connected to Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, "briefly sent signals ricocheting off cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, leaving an electronic record to support claims that Cohen met secretly there with Russian officials." McClatchy cited four sources with "knowledge of the matter."

If true, the claims could potentially confirm a key part of the Steele dossier — a controversial memo compiled by ex-spy Christopher Steele — that, in addition to alleging Cohen was in Prague around that time on behalf of Trump, also alleges Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the existence of a "pee tape" that may have been used as blackmail against Trump. Cohen, however, has continued to deny that he ever visited Prague. After Thursday's release of the McClatchy investigation, Cohen tweeted "I hear #Prague #CzechRepublic is beautiful in the summertime. I wouldn't know as I have never been. #Mueller knows everything!"

Cohen was recently sentenced to three years in prison for tax fraud and lying to Congress, even after cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He's scheduled to surrender on March 6.

Power Plant Explosion in NYC Lights Up Sky with Bright Blue Light

Numerous people took to social media with photos and videos of a bright blue light flooding the sky in New York City on Thursday night, questioning what was happening. According to the New York Police Department, the light originated from a transformer explosion at a Con Edison power plant in Queens. Smoke arose, and tremors shook buildings and rattled windows. There were also multiple fires throughout the borough, per CNN.

After the explosion, LaGuardia Airport was temporarily shut down after experiencing a total blackout, and delays are still expected. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that there were no injuries, and Con Edison is currently evaluating both ongoing outages and what actually happened to cause the incident.

What to look for...

A new Black Mirror movie. Bandersnatch drops on Netflix today.