5 things for Thursday, February 9, 2017: Jeff Sessions, Trump's judges, snowstorm

Sessions bids farewell to Senate after vote.
Sessions bids farewell to Senate after vote.

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    Sessions bids farewell to Senate after vote.

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Sessions bids farewell to Senate after vote. 01:53

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(CNN)Good morning. And if you're a school kid in the Northeast, happy snow day!! Whether you're grabbing a sled or headed to the office, here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. Jeff Sessions

President Trump will be on hand when Jeff Sessions is sworn in this morning as attorney general. The Senate voted to confirm him, but boy, was it a battle. Thirty hours of debate and a stunning fight between Senate Republicans and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was told to sit down after she tried to read a 30-year-old letter critical of Sessions written by Coretta Scott King. Some said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell engaged in some good, old-fashioned mansplaining when he enforced an arcane rule against bashing other senators after Warren "persisted" in criticizing Sessions. Later, some Democratic senators (who happen to be men) read the letter -- without being punished. Republicans said Warren did all this to drum up hype for a 2020 presidential run.

    2. Trump and judges

    Judge Neil Gorsuch speaks to the crowd on January 31 after his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump. Alex Wong/Getty Images
    Well, you don't see this every day: a Supreme Court nominee criticizing the president who just nominated him. Neil Gorsuch did just that, calling Trump's recent verbal attacks on the judiciary "demoralizing" and "disheartening." And Gorsuch isn't the only one who's upset. Appellate lawyers from across the country wrote a letter to the Justice Department to complain as well. For Gorsuch, though, this may be partly political. He mentioned his disappointment with Trump's remarks to a Democratic senator, and Gorsuch will need some Democrats to vote for him (because the Dems could filibuster his nomination). So this was a great chance for him to show some independence from the President.

    3. Yemen raid

    Sean Spicer's ticked off (again). This time the White House press secretary went off on people -- we're looking at you, John McCain -- who criticized last month's anti-terror raid in Yemen. Spicer said the raid was "absolutely a success" and anyone who bad-mouths it should apologize. The January raid against al Qaeda resulted in tons of intelligence -- but a US Navy Seal was killed, along with at least 23 civilians. That's why McCain wouldn't call it a success. Oh, and Yemen's ticked off about the raid, too. The government doesn't want the US doing any more of these without its OK.

    4. Venezuela

    CNN: Whistleblower alleges passport fraud
    CNN: Whistleblower alleges passport fraud

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      CNN: Whistleblower alleges passport fraud

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    CNN: Whistleblower alleges passport fraud 10:43
    Venezuela may have given passports to people with ties to terrorism, including folks connected to Hezbollah. A CNN investigation uncovered this after talking with an ex-legal advisor to the country's embassy in Iraq. He said there was a scheme to sell passports and visas for thousands of dollars right out of the embassy. It's a big deal because a Venezuelan passport can grant you entry into more than 130 countries without a visa -- including 26 countries in the European Union (but not the US). Venezuelan officials deny the claims.

    5. Winter weather

    If you live in the Northeast, batten down the hatches. A major snowstorm is headed your way. The flakes start falling at daybreak in New York and Philly, where up to a foot of snow is expected. The precipitation and 30-mph winds will create whiteout conditions at times. Boston's getting a foot, too, but DC gets off easy, with less than half an inch. Schools throughout the region are closing, and airlines are canceling flights.

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