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October 29, 2018

The Trump administration is sending even more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border than previously expected, Bloomberg reported Monday.

While Secretary of Defense James Mattis was reportedly ready to deploy about 800 troops to help prevent migrants from unlawfully crossing the border, General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, head of the Northern Command, said in a press briefing Monday that the number would be closer to 5,200.

The military presence will support border patrol officers, he said, providing logistical and medical help. That would mean members of the military will outnumber the estimated 3,500 Central American migrants who are weeks away from reaching the U.S. by foot. "We will not allow a large group to enter the United States in an unsafe and unlawful manner," said Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. The group of 800 troops previously reported has already been deployed, heading to Texas to "harden" the state's southern border.

The 5,200 will include members of the Army Corps of Engineers, reports The Washington Post, along with troops who specialize in aviation and who can pilot the helicopters that will aid in night-vision tracking of the border. The troops will be deployed by the end of the week. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza

3:47 p.m.

Americans' attitudes toward climate change have changed quite dramatically in just a few years, with almost half now seeing it as an immediate threat.

In a poll released Tuesday, 48 percent of Americans said that people in the U.S. are being harmed by climate change "right now," Axios reports. This is an increase of 16 percentage points since that question was asked in March 2015, and an increase of nine points since it was asked in March 2018. Going back even further, in January 2010, only 24 percent of Americans said climate change was currently causing harm.

Americans, according to this poll, no longer simply see climate change as a problem that their kids or their grandkids will have to deal with. Instead, 49 percent said they believe they will be personally harmed by it. Additionally, 72 percent of Americans said climate change is an important issue for them, up from 63 percent last year and 55 percent in 2013. And 69 percent said they're very or somewhat worried about it, up from 52 percent in March 2015.

Overall, 73 percent said that climate change is occurring, compared to 57 percent in 2010, while just 14 percent said it's not occurring. This shift in attitude correspondents with Americans growing more informed on the issue, as 57 percent now acknowledge that most scientists agree climate change is happening, up from 40 percent in March 2015 and 33 percent in 2010.

The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication conducted this poll by surveying 1,114 U.S. adults online from Nov. 28 through Dec. 11. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

3:43 p.m.

The ongoing '"MAGA teen" controversy is about to get even bigger.

Nicholas Sandmann, one of the Covington Catholic High School students seen staring down a Native American protestor in a widely circulated video, is sitting down with the Today show's Savannah Guthrie for a segment airing Wednesday. Fox News' Laura Ingraham also tweeted that a group of Covington students would be meeting with President Trump "as early as tomorrow," though a senior White House official disputed that.

A video, seemingly showing a group of teenagers confronting Marine veteran and Native American advocate Nathan Phillips at the Washington, D.C. March for Life, caused an online firestorm this past weekend. In interviews, Phillips said the boys, wearing Make America Great Again hats, confronted and began mocking him. Sandmann countered that in a statement, and now, it seems Guthrie will ask for more of his side of the story.

President Trump praised the boys in a series of tweets Monday and Tuesday. And while Ingraham claimed they were headed for the White House, CBS News' Fin Gomez reports otherwise.

It all makes for an incredibly confusing and controversial news cycle. And, judging by some inflamed responses to Guthrie's announcement, it's nowhere close to over. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:57 p.m.

It looks like Apple Pay is making money moves — by announcing several new partnerships on Tuesday.

Soon customers will be able to use the mobile payment system in all 1,850 Target stores, along with Taco Bell, Speedway convenience stores, Hy-Vee supermarkets, and Jack in the Box. Apple says the addition of these national retailers mean 74 of the top 100 merchants and 65 percent of all retail locations in the U.S. will support Apple Pay.

Vice President of Internet Services at Apple, Jennifer Bailey, cites the system as the easiest and fastest way to pay in stores, in addition to being more secure than using debit or credit cards. And clearly Target agrees, with its Chief Information Officer Mike McNamara describing the move as an effort to begin "offering guests more ways to conveniently and quickly pay."

Target originally partnered with Best Buy and Walmart in 2012 to create payment systems for each individual retailer called the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), reports The Verge. Walmart is still holding out by sticking with Walmart Pay, but by the looks of it, Apple Pay might get to the company sooner rather than later. Amari Pollard

1:53 p.m.

School is almost back in session in Los Angeles.

Teachers reached a tentative deal with the L.A. Unified School District on Tuesday to end their weeklong strike, the Los Angeles Times reports. The city's board of education will likely approve the deal soon, and the strike will end once United Teachers Los Angeles members vote to ratify the deal as well.

The city's teachers union had been negotiating for higher pay in the face of tough job demands for the past few months, and walked off the job last Monday. Schools were open last week, lightly staffed by administrators and employees, but two-thirds of students didn't come to class, per the Times. They're open Tuesday under similar circumstances, but this deal means teachers could return to work Wednesday.

Union leaders and the school district brokered the deal at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday after an all-night discussion, and announced it during a morning press conference with Superintendent Austin Beutner, union President Alex Caputo-Pearl and Mayor Eric Garcetti. The deal includes a six percent raise for teachers and the beginnings of a plan to shrink class sizes, though not many other details were revealed, the Times says. Read more about what caused the strike at The Week, and more about the deal at the Los Angeles Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:47 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is bland, and everyone knows it. But sometimes, McConnell's "blankness" — "like a spy or a pinto bean" — works out in his favor, Charles Homans writes for The New York Times Magazine.

As the chamber's longest-running GOP leader, McConnell has stuck to tradition and learned that running the Senate is about scheduling — or delaying — votes and deliberations. In fact, he calls his "decision not to fill" a Supreme Court vacancy right after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia "the most consequential thing I've ever done," per the Times Magazine. And as former GOP Sen. Slade Gorton puts it, McConnell is "just — there. He's just a fact of life."

At the other end of the spectrum is President Trump. In fact, "it would be hard to find two people by personality, or any inclination, that are more diametrically opposed" than Trump and McConnell, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) tells the Times Magazine. "It is... a safe inference that he knows he is dealing with a child," former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) says of McConnell's interactions with Trump, and yet he's never heard McConnell say a bad word about the president, Ryan adds.

Fellow Republicans — whom McConnell told Homans to interview for his profile — remember McConnell as a policy genius. But retired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says McConnell "has ruined the Senate," he told the Times Magazine. It's a harsh insult, but one that comes years after McConnell said his "friend" Reid was "going to be remembered as the worst leader here ever." Read more at The New York Times Magazine. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:27 p.m.

With just a week left to go until the State of the Union's scheduled date, Republicans and Democrats remain in a state of confusion.

Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week requested President Trump delay the Jan. 29 address in light of the partial government shutdown, ABC News and Fox News report the White House is still planning to go ahead with that date. They've apparently asked the House sergeant-at-arms to schedule a walk-through ahead of the speech, indicating that they expect it to take place next Tuesday before both chambers of Congress.

But that can't happen unless Pelosi actually brings up a resolution approving the Jan. 29 date for a vote in the House, and it's unclear whether she will do so. Pelosi last week didn't say she was officially disinviting Trump from delivering the address, and her letter to the president was framed as a request, but she does have the power to not invite him. If she goes this route, ABC News reports Trump has a plan B: he may still deliver the State of the Union but would do so at a rally held somewhere other than Washington, D.C.

In fact, ABC News says, the White House is actually writing two versions of the speech, one for if Trump delivers it on the House floor, and one for if he delivers it at a rally. The president had teased a possibly untraditional State of the Union on Twitter Sunday, saying that "there are so many options." Brendan Morrow

11:35 a.m.

President Trump's TV time may be a bigger problem than we thought.

The president is obviously attached to his favorite Fox News programs, tweeting responses to and explicitly mentioning what show he's watching throughout his presidency. But as former White House communications aide Cliff Sims describes, Trump sometimes took his screen time a little too far.

At one point, Trump was supposed to be meeting with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to hear about his party's replacement for the Affordable Care Act, Sims describes in his forthcoming book Team of Vipers. It didn't work out as Ryan planned, as The Washington Post summarizes below.

Sims recounts one time when Ryan was in the Oval Office explaining the ins and outs of the Republican health care bill to the president. As Ryan droned on for 15 minutes, Trump sipped on a glass of Diet Coke, peered out at the Rose Garden, stared aimlessly at the walls and, finally, walked out.

Ryan kept talking as the president wandered down the hall to his private dining room, where he flicked on his giant flat-screen TV. Apparently, he had had enough of Ryan's talk. It fell to Vice President [Mike] Pence to retrieve Trump and convince him to return to the Oval Office so they could continue their strategy session.

As anyone who watched Ryan's six-part documentary series about himself and tax reform can attest, Trump probably made the right choice. Kathryn Krawczyk

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