This week’s wallathon continues as President Donald Trump delivers a speech about his vision for the southern border on prime-time television. (Stream it here at 9 p.m. ET, if you’d like.)

But first: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ newest toy is a 357-foot superyacht with two helipads, apparently. Ah, to be a billionaire. 

Trump’s talking wall tonight. Know these facts first

A government shutdown over Trump’s demands for billions in wall funding is stretching into one of the longest in history. Now, he’s taking his case to TV: Trump’s speech on the border “crisis” will be his first from the Oval Office. Before you tune in, a few border facts to keep in mind:

  • Trump has said drugs are “pouring” over the border. But federal data show the majority captured at the border come through legal entry points, which a wall won’t stop. Same goes for criminals: 60% of those caught also came through legal entries.
  • Arrests for illegal border crossings are at historic lows: 51,856 people were caught in November and 51,001 in October, Border Patrol data show. In the 2000s, that number was commonly over 100,000 each month.

Yet Trump seems set on a wall, even if his vision has evolved from “a concrete wall” to “a solar wall” to a “steel slat barrier” or “fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” in his own words.

Want to see every mile of the U.S.-Mexico border? Feast your eyes on “The Wall,” our Pulitzer-winning interactive map exploring whether a wall could work.

Real quick: 

Brett Kavanaugh brings his first Supreme Court opinion 

Barely a month into his Supreme Court tenure, Brett Kavanaugh issued his first decision Tuesday in a decidedly obscure arbitration case. And unlike his testy 50-48 Senate confirmation in October following accusations of sexual assault, it was unanimous. New Supreme Court justices are assigned less-than-blockbuster cases in which to write their first opinion

That Russian lawyer who met at Trump Tower is facing charges

The Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign has been charged with obstruction of justice in an unrelated case. Natalya Veselnitskaya met in Trump tower with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016, a gathering now tied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry. Tuesday’s charges – brought by federal prosecutors, not Mueller –  highlight her close connections to the Russian government, raising questions about that key Trump Tower meeting.

College football’s champion: Clemson! And Alabama. Forever 

The sports world is still buzzing about Clemson’s complete destruction of Alabama in college football’s national championship game. The 44-16 rout saw legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban finally lose his cool with a very ugly fake field goal try, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence emerged as college football’s next big thing. But if you’re looking for new blood atop college football next year, forget it: The Crimson Tide and Tigers are 1-2 in our early Top 25 for 2019.

This compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network was brought to you by Josh Hafner and John Riley.  Want The Short List straight to your inbox? Sign up, and tell your friends.

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