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January 21, 2019

If you went on social media over the weekend, you almost certainly saw a video clip of MAGA hat–wearing students from Kentucky's Covington Catholic High School in some sort of standoff with a Native American advocate and Marine Corps veteran, Nathan Phillips, after Friday's March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C.

The Catholic diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High did, and they said in a joint statement Saturday that they "condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students toward Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general. ... The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion."

After that clip went viral on Saturday, on Sunday "the nation picked apart footage from dozens of cellphones that recorded the incident," The Associated Press notes, and the student featured in the viral clip, Nick Sandmann, released a statement explaining his side of the story. He said Phillips approached him, and "I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation." He added that he is now "being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family's name." Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said the "honorable and tolerant students of Covington Catholic School" learned "a brutal lesson in the unjust court of public opinion and social media mobs."

Phillips told the Detroit Free Press that he stepped in to defuse a brewing brawl between the crowd of about 100 Covington students and a handful of confrontational men from a religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites. "I'm a Marine Corps veteran and I know what that mob mentality can be like," he said. "I mean, it was that ugly." He said some Covington students started shouting "Build the Wall" and insulting Native Americans. Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee and Seminole tribes, told The Associated Press that he and Phillips approached the Covington students in part because one of their school cheers was a haka, or war dance of New Zealand's Maori people, and they thought it was mocking. Some students are seen doing a "tomahawk chop."

When you watch the nearly 2-hour video of the incident and what led up to it, says Jorge L. Ortiz at USA Today, "the fuller video would seem to assign more blame on a small group of Black Hebrew Israelites," who hurled insults first at Phillips and other Indigenous Peoples March participants then called the Covington students "crackers" and disparaged Catholicism and President Trump, among other aspersions. Peter Weber

5:43 p.m.

President Trump kicked off his day complaining about Twitter, and finished it meeting with its CEO.

It wasn't on his schedule for the day, but Trump met with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey on Tuesday for a private, 30-minute meeting in the Oval Office. There's not much information on what the two discussed, but a Twitter spokesperson mysteriously told Axios that the meeting revolved around "Twitter's commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis."

Vice News reported Tuesday that Dorsey was headed for the meeting, publishing an internal email Dorsey sent to Twitter employees earlier in the day. "Some of you might feel we shouldn't take this meeting at all," Dorsey wrote in the email, but he countered that sentiment, adding that "I have met with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me."

On Tuesday morning, Trump used Twitter to air some grievances about the site, saying it doesn't "treat me well as a Republican." Trump cryptically added that Twitter is "constantly taking people off list" and called for Congress to "get involved," though it's unclear who any of these people are or what this list even means. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:10 p.m.

The stock market has completed its comeback.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. The former rose 0.9 percent, with the new peak — which surpassed a mark set in September 2018 — coming just months after the markets rapidly plunged on Christmas Eve last year and making up all the lost ground. The Nasdaq climbed 1.3 percent to shatter its previous high set in August 2018. Both markets were coming off long stretches without a record, after bottoming out down nearly 20% at the end of the year.

Stocks have reportedly flourished this year thanks to what The Wall Street Journal writes is a more "accommodative" Federal Reserve. The central bank said earlier this year it was unlikely to raise interest rates, which encouraged investors to take greater risks. The rise was also spurred by a more general confidence in the U.S. economy, per AP.

Overall, on the year, the S&P is up 17 percent, its best start to the year since 1987, per the Journal, while the Nasdaq is up 22 percent, a number it hasn't seen since 1991. Tim O'Donnell

4:56 p.m.

Buda, Texas, is a quaint, fast-growing suburb of Austin, known for its annual wiener dog races and county fair. But deep in the heart of Texas, behind the walls of a pretty little yellow ranch-style house, is the stuff of minimalist nightmares:

First uncovered on Twitter by author Brooke Bolander, the house is for sale on Redfin and asking $435,000. It is described in the listing as a "one of a kind" home with "lots of great features," which is not a lie. I mean, the batting cage in the backyard is unexpected, plus there is a "historical Texans burial plot in the front yard," and who doesn't want that?

Browse all 30 photos here and keep in mind, you lucky dogs, that the "furniture is negotiable." Jeva Lange

4:07 p.m.

New research has found that transgender Americans are more likely to have health risks and a poor quality of life. The study, published on Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined data from 3,075 transgender adults and compared it to data from 719,657 cisgender adults.

Analysis of this data revealed that transgender people are less likely to have health insurance than cisgender people, those who are not transgender. In addition, they are 66 percent more likely to have experienced "severe mental distress," NBC News explained. Trans survey participants were also more inclined to unhealthy habits such as a sedentary lifestyle or smoking.

The survey that collected the study's data was administered from 2014 to 2017, a period when "attitudes shifted" and transgender people may have gotten worse, said Kellan Baker, the study's author and a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

"This study shows that being a transgender person in the U.S. today — being transgender in a society that you know doesn't fully accept you — is hard," Baker told NBC News in an email.

Xiang Cai, a researcher at Columbia University who wasn't involved in the study, said that the study's conclusions reflect "multiple levels of transgender-specific stigmas." But trans people are still "capable and resilient," Cai added, saying that gender-affirming surgeries for trans people can lead to higher quality of life. Read more at NBC News. Shivani Ishwar

3:28 p.m.

Goats are having their greatest moment of all time — or at least the last 10 years.

Dairy goats, while far from the most popular American livestock out there, saw their populations grow by 61 percent from 2007 to 2017, according to the USDA's newly released 2017 Census of Agriculture. Meanwhile, dairy cows only saw a three percent growth in America, and the goat boom may have something to do with it, analysis from The Washington Post has found.

Across the U.S., the dairy goat population went up from 334,754 animals in 2007 to 537,799 in 2017, per the census. That's largely thanks to the dairy state of Wisconsin, where 47,203 goats joined the herd.

Dairy cows, on the other hoof, haven't fared so well. Their miniscule growth was largely confined to Texas, Michigan, and Idaho, likely reflecting the rise of dairy-free milk alternatives, and how the average American drinks about 12 fewer gallons of milk per year than they did in the 1970s, the Post notes. Meanwhile, llamas, despite their growing appearances on decor at T.J. Maxx stores, saw their ranks drop nearly 70 percent from 2007 to 2017, per the census.

Read more about dairy goats' moment at The Washington Post, or find the whole USDA Census of Agriculture here. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:18 p.m.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller obtained enough evidence against President Trump that he would have been indicted were he out of office, Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.

Clinton spoke at the TIME 100 Summit and said that there was "enough there" in the Mueller report that "any other person" would have "certainly" been indicted, and the only reason Trump wasn't is because the Justice Department says a sitting president can't be.

Mueller in his report said his investigation did not establish that Trump's campaign illegally coordinated with Russia. He also didn't make a determination about whether Trump obstructed justice, although he included some examples of potential obstruction.

But it "could not be clearer" from the report that Mueller and his team of investigators believe Trump obstructed justice, Clinton argued.

"As I read it, basically what I thought it was saying is, 'Look, we think he obstructed justice. Here are 11 examples of why we think he obstructed justice. But we're under the control of the Justice Department, and their rule is you can't indict,'" Clinton said.

Clinton went on to say that Mueller was recommending Congress look at this and determine whether this was an impeachable offense. When it comes to impeachment, she made clear that she agrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that it shouldn't be done for "partisan political purposes" but said the House "may well start" an impeachment inquiry, predicting that the report is just "the beginning." Brendan Morrow

3:18 p.m.

As expected, Egyptians voted in a three-day public referendum to approve constitutional amendments that will likely allow President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi to remain in office until 2030, which many critics fear will cement autocratic rule in the country.

Voter turnout was low — just over 44 percent — but Sisi's amendments were reportedly approved by almost 89 percent. There is skepticism about the legitimacy of the vote, however. The Associated Press reports pro-government media, businesses, and lawmakers offered free rides and food handouts to voters, propaganda was plastered all over Cairo, opposition websites were blocked by the government, and potential boycotters were threatened with fines.

The amendments, which easily passed a parliamentary vote last week, extend presidential terms from four to six years and grant the president power to appoint judges and a new prosecutor. The military, which Sisi used to command, will also reportedly have increased powers, and will be considered "the guardian and protector" of Egypt's democracy and constitution.

Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists reportedly urged the government to withdraw the amendments, per AP. The groups believe they will put Egypt on a path toward even greater authoritarian rule just eight years after a pro-democracy movement overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Tim O'Donnell

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