Altering America’s Global Role

Friday, December 29, 2017Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 9.12.56 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
Note to readers: First Draft will not be published on Monday, January 1. We’d also like to extend an apology for the delivery problems you may have experienced with the newsletter this week.

Anatomy of a Trump Tweet: Vanity Fair Edition

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
President Trump, vacationing in Palm Beach, Fla., was relatively subdued on Twitter this week — at least until Thursday, when he launched a somewhat arcane broadside at the magazine Vanity Fair. The tweet, dense by Trumpian standards, was a bit confounding, given its highly specific references to rumors and tensions within the Manhattan magazine industry, and a minor Twitter kerfuffle involving a 63-second video about Hillary Clinton.
Phew. Let’s break this down »
Wells Fargo, which reports to the Internal Revenue Service the property taxes it pays from mortgage escrow accounts, will not adjust the figure for homeowners who prepay on their own.
YOUR MONEY

Prepaying Property Taxes? Your Bank May Make You an Audit Risk

By RON LIEBER

For some taxpayers making a last-minute prepayment of property tax, their bank’s filing with the I.R.S. may not match their tax return.

Campaign signs for Doug Jones and Roy Moore in Midland City, Ala., earlier this month.

No to Jones. No to Moore. But Yes to Bugs, Elmer, Mickey and SpongeBob.

By ALAN BLINDER AND RICHARD FAUSSET

Alabama officials released the recipients of thousands of write-in votes. Some are living. Some are dead. Some were never alive in the first place.

The Republican David Yancey, speaking with reporters in Newport News, Va., is locked in a legal battle with his Democratic opponent over one questionable ballot.

Virginia Voting Mess Was Never Supposed to Happen After Bush v. Gore

By TRIP GABRIEL

The state produced a guidebook on questionable ballots after the hanging chads of the 2000 presidential race. But it’s now facing a similar problem.

After a snowfall this week in Erie, Pa. Parts of the East Coast are bracing for record-breaking New Year’s Eve temperatures.

Trump Tweets We Could Use a Little ‘Good Old Global Warming’

By KENDRA PIERRE-LOUIS

With frigid temperatures in the East, President Trump cast doubt on the reality of climate change. But weather is not the same as climate.

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, at the Kremlin last year.

Facebook Removes Chechen Strongman’s Accounts, Raising Policy Questions

By MEGAN SPECIA

Ramzan Kadyrov and Russian officials challenged Facebook’s decision to end his Instagram and Facebook accounts after the U.S. hit him with sanctions.

A Walmart store in Beijing. The retailer is among the many American companies with a presence in China.

China Offers Tax Incentives to Persuade U.S. Companies to Stay

By SUI-LEE WEE

Following a tax overhaul in the United States, Beijing has announced a temporary exemption for foreign firms investing in certain sectors.