3. House GOP quietly ends Clinton email, Trump-Russia review. After a series of closed door hearings with former FBI Director James Comey and others, Republicans in the House quietly ended their investigation of how the FBI and Justice Department dealt with both the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server from her time as Secretary of State, and how the investigation developed into possible ties between the Trump Campaign and Russia during the 2016 elections. Instead of a report, GOP lawmakers issued a seven page letter last Friday night, basically asking Senate Republicans to keep investigating, saying there were "troubling facts" which need further explanation. But the letter issued no conclusions about actual wrongdoing, as Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) - who are both leaving Congress this week - said a fuller accounting is still needed. Democrats said it showed the GOP was using the investigation as a diversion from the Special Counsel probe.
4. Mystery subpoena case reaches U.S. Supreme Court. No one knows what the case, "In Re Grand Jury Subpoena" is about, but many experts believe it touches on the Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller - and if that's the case - one part of it is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts has accepted briefs from some involved in the case, which a federal appeals court said in a ruling touches on a foreign company that is owned by an unnamed foreign government. It's not clear what this case is all about, what country is involved, what company, etc. But it's not every day that the U.S. Supreme Court accepts secret briefs.
5. Trump ousts Defense Secretary two months early. After first announcing that Defense Secretary James Mattis - who resigned in protest over President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, and reduce troops levels in Afghanistan - the President basically fired Mattis two days before Christmas, announcing on Twitter that Mattis would leave on New Year's Eve. Mattis sent out a farewell message to the military on Monday which referenced the Civil War, urging Pentagon officials and the troops to defend the Constitution. Just as his resignation letter raised eyebrows about his differences with President Trump, so too did the Mattis "Farewell Message." Mattis quoted a message from Lincoln to Grant: "Let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements or plans."