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Janet L. Yellen at her last news conference as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, in December.
Janet L. Yellen at her last news conference as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, in December. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

Federal Reserve officials left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday even as they gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and predicted that inflation would finally move up this year — a signal that rates could rise faster than expected in coming months. 

It was the Fed’s first monetary policy meeting of the year and the last for Janet L. Yellen, who steps down as chairwoman at the end of this week after four years in the job. She will be replaced by Fed governor Jerome Powell.

Policymakers voted unanimously after their two-day meeting to keep the Fed’s benchmark short-term interest rate at a range of 1.25% to 1.5%. That’s a little less than inflation; hence, monetary policy remains supportive of labor-market and economic growth.

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President Trump told a congressman after his State of the Union speech Tuesday night that he “100%” intended to make the memo public.
President Trump told a congressman after his State of the Union speech Tuesday night that he “100%” intended to make the memo public. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

The FBI, in an official statement, said Wednesday it has “grave concerns” about the accuracy of a classified memo prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.

The memo, which reportedly alleges that the FBI abused its surveillance authority in connection with a secret court warrant, should not be released, the bureau said in the statement, warning that the memo excludes essential information and is misleading.

“We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,” the statement said.

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South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy said that he will not run for reelection and will "instead be returning to the judicial system." Gowdy had previously chaired a highly partisan panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Jan. 31, 2018)

South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy said Wednesday that he will not run for reelection and will "instead be returning to the judicial system."

Gowdy is chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and previously chaired a highly partisan panel investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Gowdy is a former federal prosecutor. In a statement, he said that "whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system."

(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton says she should not have let a senior campaign advisor keep his job after a female staffer accused him of sexual harassment in 2007.

"The most important work of my life has been to support and empower women…," Clinton wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night. "So I very much understand the question I'm being asked as to why I let an employee on my 2008 campaign keep his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior. The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn't."

The most important work of my life has been to support and empower women. I’ve tried to do so here at home, around the...

Posted by Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Clinton said that senior campaign staff and legal counsel confirmed that the behavior by faith-based advisor Burns Strider had occurred after the woman came forward. Her campaign manager recommended that Strider be terminated, but Clinton said she instead demoted him, docked his pay, required counseling, separated him from the victim, and warned him that he'd be fired if he did it again.

President Trump opened his State of the Union speech Tuesday night with a plea for unity forged on common ground. By the end of his address, it was clear how little he would give up for it.

Trump said he was "extending an open hand" to opposition Democrats gathered in the chamber. By the end of the speech, it may have felt like the back of one.

The president's tone and tempo were slowed and moderated by his use of a teleprompter, so he appeared more statesman-like than the raucous Trump seen in campaign events — and expressed in his Twitter feed — except when he adopted his rally habit of applauding for himself as the audience did.

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Miss President Trump's 2018 State of the Union? Here are the highlights.
Miss President Trump's 2018 State of the Union? Here are the highlights.

For over an hour Tuesday night, Presidential Trump vied with pugnacious Trump.

The White House had promised a conciliatory and uplifting State of the Union speech, which stood to reason. It's one thing to inveigh against the mess Trump said he inherited a year ago and another to laud the job he claims to have done cleaning it up.

Gone, then, was the wreckage, the ruin and the dystopian "American carnage" he deplored in the glowering speech at his inauguration. Instead, Trump offered a vision of hopefulness and light — for a time, anyway.

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On Tuesday afternoon, the White House said no decision had been made about releasing a controversial Republican memo on secret surveillance, and that President Trump hadn’t even read the document.

But at the end of his State of the Union address, the president suggested he had already made up his mind, once again undercutting his own administration’s talking points.

While exiting the House chamber Tuesday night, Trump was approached by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), who urged him to “release the memo.” A C-Span camera captured the moment.

(Win McNamee / Getty Images)

President Trump’s address was the most tweeted-about State of the Union in Twitter history.

Data from the social media giant indicated there were 4.5 million tweets sent with #SOTU or #JointAddress during the speech, breaking last year’s record of 3 million.

The most tweeted topics during the address were Trump saying “we stand for the national anthem,” his proposal for immigration reform, and MS-13. The most tweeted-about people were Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi and Melania Trump.