Nightly Brief

Top CNS stories for today including President Donald Trump sows confusion over his stance on Israel by describing news settlement construction as “not helpful” to peace efforts; Sierra’s snowpack is on track to be one for the record books; A Republican congressman’s plan to sell public land is dropped after backlash, and more.

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1.) Running Hot & Cold With Israel, Trump Chides Settlement Efforts

Adding confusion to its stance on Israeli settlements, the White House said Thursday that new settlement construction “may not be helpful” to peace efforts.

2.) Sierra Snowpack on Track for the Record Books

Buoyed by a barrage of January snow that buried ski resorts across the Golden State, regulators announced Thursday that the state’s snowpack is as healthy as it’s been since 2005.

3.) Plan to Sell Public Land Dropped Amid Backlash

A Republican congressman from Utah who introduced a bill to sell 3.3 million acres of “excess” federal lands in 10 Western states – an area the size of Connecticut – has backed off the legislation after backlash and protests by environmentalists and citizens alike.

4.)  FEC Loses Court Battle With Election Reformers

A federal judge upbraided the Federal Election Commission for mishandling complaints by a group that wants to see third-party candidates in the presidential debates.

5.) Judge Keeps Tight Watch on ‘El Chapo’ in Lockdown

Vaguely alluding to the Mexican drug lord’s prison escapes, a U.S. judge refused Friday to relax the rules that are keeping Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from his beauty-queen wife during 23-hour-a-day lockdown in solitary confinement.

6.) Missouri Sends Right-to-Work Law to Governor

Lawmakers on Thursday made Missouri one signature away from becoming the nation’s 28th right-to-work state. If the governor, as expected, signs the bill into law, it will be the first time in U.S. history that more than half of the work force lives in right-to-work states.

7.)  Trump’s Feet Held to Fire for Airport ‘Black Sites’

The day after the commonwealth of Virginia slapped President Donald Trump with a contempt motion, New York attorneys told a federal judge that his government refuses to release a list of people detained under the Muslim ban.

8.) EU Regulator Bungled Citizens’ Initiative

The European General Court on Friday overturned the European Commission’s denial of a citizen petition to improve the protection of racial and linguistic minorities, finding the regulatory body had shirked its duty to offer concrete reasons for the rejection.