Happening Today: Jeff Sessions, Elizabeth Warren, Travel Ban, Tornadoes

What to Know

  • The Senate voted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday night in a rare rebuke during debate over Trump's AG nominee, Jeff Sessions
  • Three federal appeals court judges heard arguments Tuesday over Trump's executive order temporarily banning people from 7 countries
  • The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, start a year from today

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Sessions on Track to Be Confirmed as AG

The Senate is working overtime toward confirming President Donald Trump's close ally, Sen. Jeff Sessions, to become the nation's top law enforcement officer as attorney general. The Alabama Republican appears headed toward confirmation on Wednesday evening by a nearly party-line vote. Democrats harshly criticized Sessions for being too close to Trump, too harsh on immigrants, and too weak on civil rights. Epitomizing the sharp-edged partisanship surrounding confirmation of Cabinet nominees, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was given a rare rebuke Tuesday evening for quoting Coretta Scott King, widow of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., on the Senate floor. 

Legal Battle Over Travel Ban Continues

President Trump's travel ban faced its toughest test yet Tuesday as a panel of appeals court judges hammered away at the administration's claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears while also directing pointed questions to an attorney challenging the executive order on grounds that it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims. Trump said Tuesday that he cannot believe his administration has to fight in the courts to uphold his ban, a policy he says will protect the country. How and when a case might get to the Supreme Court is unclear. Meanwhile, a 4-month-old Iranian baby who needs lifesaving heart surgery and was initially blocked because of the travel restrictions arrived at a U.S. hospital.

Tornadoes Wreak Havoc in Louisiana

Tornadoes that struck southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday injured about 20 people, destroyed homes and businesses, flipped cars and trucks, and left about 10,000 customers without power, but no deaths were reported, the governor said. Gov. John Bel Edwards took an aerial tour and made a disaster declaration before meeting with officials in New Orleans. The worst damage was in the same 9th Ward that was so heavily flooded in Hurricane Katrina. A wall of severe weather also delivered heavy rain and hail to Mississippi and Alabama.

Army to Allow Controversial Pipeline

The Army said Tuesday that it will allow the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota, clearing the way for completion of the disputed four-state project. However, construction could still be delayed because the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has led opposition, said it would fight the latest development in court. The Army intends to cancel further environmental study and allow the Lake Oahe crossing as early as Wednesday, according to court documents the Justice Department filed. 

Countdown to 2018 Winter Olympics 

Fresh faces will fight for their first-ever Olympic medals, and veterans will try to add to their medal hauls. In fan-favorite sports like figure skating, the world's best will try to land their quadruple jumps, while four new Olympic sports, including snowboarding's big air and speed skating's mass start, hope to find an audience. The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, are one year away — the Opening Ceremony will be held on Feb. 8, 2018. Here's what to watch for.

Photos of Obama's Vacation Emerge 

Former President Barack Obama's vacation appears to be going swimmingly. He's been spending time in the British Virgin Islands with billionaire Richard Branson, who posted video Tuesday morning showing the pair trying out new water sports and seeing who could go farther in the clear, blue water. Obama tried his hand at kitesurfing, while Branson, the founder of the Virgin business empire and an extreme sports enthusiast, was on a foilboard. Check out the photos and video

Priciest Home in U.S. Costs $250M

At $250 million, a new mega mansion in the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles is the most expensive home listed in the United States. The passion project of developer and handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky, the four-level, 38,000-square-foot mansion built on spec includes 12 bedroom suites, 21 bathrooms, five bars, three gourmet kitchens, a spa and an 85-foot infinity swimming pool with stunning views of Los Angeles. See inside the home.

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