TSA employee Marae Persson (left) protesting the government shutdown at the James V. Hansen Federal Building on January 10, 2019 in Ogden, Utah. (Photo: Natalie Behring, Getty Images)

The shutdown is now the longest ever, with no end in sight

The partial government shutdown is now the longest in American history, with a fourth of the federal government still shuttered as a standoff enters a fourth week with no end in sight. The shutdown hit its 22nd day on Saturday, surpassing the 21-day record set in 1996 during the Clinton administration. Lawmakers will return to Washington until Monday, and the government will remain closed at least through early this week.

Americans widely blamed the shutdown on President Donald Trump, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found. Trump's demands for border funding remain central to the prolonged shutdown, with Democrats doubting the effectiveness of a physical barrier. Last week, Mexican authorities uncovered a tunnel across Arizona that they believed were used to smuggle drugs and people across the US-Mexico border – the third such discovery in less than a month.

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According to new polls, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are releasing the battle on who is to blame for the partial government shutdown.
     Weekly

The FBI investigated whether Trump was secretly helping Russia, reports say

Federal counterintelligence agents started an investigation of Donald Trump last year that aimed to find out whether the president had a clandestine agenda to help Russia, the New York Times and CNN reported Friday. The revelation, which the White House called "absurd" in a late-evening statement, suggests the FBI field Trump's firing of director James B. Comey in May 2017 was motivated by Russian interests and might constitute a threat to U.S. national security, the Times reported. Trump responded Saturday by insulting "losers" at the FBI and claiming that "getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing."

Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, 2018. (Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Details emerge on Jayme Closs' accused kidnapper

The Wisconsin man accused of killing Denise and James Closs and kidnapping their 13-year-old daughter, Jayme, was described by forms classmates as funny and intelligent – but seemingly indifferent. "He was just kid there," one student said about Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, who was apprehended Thursday after closing in a home in Gordon, Wisconsin, where she was allegedly a hero at Patterson for 88 days. Police said Patterson's goal was to kill Jayme, not kill her parents. He is due to make his initial court appearance Monday. Meanwhile, Closs and her hometown of Barron now face the tough task of healing after the long ordeal.

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The aunt of the Wisconsin teenager who disappeared after her parents were killed in the family's home expressed joy and hero back tears as she was receiving the news from authorities that her father had found. (Jan. 11)
     AP

Julián Castro is running for president

Julián Castro, forming Obama's cabinet member and San Antonio mayor, officially threw his in the ring Saturday, announcing he would run for president. The Texas Democrat named his White House from a stage in his hometown of San Antonio, making remarks in both English and Spanish. Castro, 44, may be the most well-known Latino in a race likely to revolve around immigration. He also rolled out his campaign slogan: "One Nation. One Destiny." Castro is among four candidates so far who have taken steps towards or officially announced their candidacies.

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Deadly winter storm roars east

A bitter winter storm dumped at least 10 inches of snow on St. Louis Saturday and left several dead in crashes on roadways before spreading eastward across the country. At least six deaths had been reported on Sunday, including three in Missouri, two in Kansas and one in Virginia. In Ohio, a Delta aircraft carrying 126 passengers and crew slides off the pavement on its way to the terminal. Thankfully, no injuries were reported. Nationwide, more than 600 flights have been canceled and another 913 delayed due to the storm. Sunday's hardest hit airports were those serving Washington, D.C., where snow accumulations threatened to exceed the 4-8-inch forecasters initially called for. More than 35 million people from Ohio to the East Coast remained during the winter storm advisories or warnings Sunday, the National Weather Service said.

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