Democrat Wins in Alabama

Wednesday, December 13, 2017Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 8.55.47 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Doug Jones and the Democrats were able to capitalize on sexual misconduct accusations against Roy S. Moore to pull out a rare victory in Alabama, a staunchly Republican state. The Senate race captivated the nation, not only for its debates over party loyalty and morality, but also for its immense implications for both parties and the Trump presidency.  See the complete results from the election »

  • As a prosecutor and defense lawyer, Mr. Jones played a role in some of his state’s biggest casesputting him in a position to make electoral history.
  • In denying again the accusations of sexual misconduct against him and deriding Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, President Trump ensured that the issue would gain energy and prominence.

  • Senior F.B.I. officials who helped investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign last year wrote in text messages that Hillary Clinton just has to win and described a potential Trump victory as terrifying, according to text messages.

  • Republican lawmakers, scrambling to reach agreement on a final tax bill that they hope to pass next week, are coalescing around a plan that would slightly raise the proposed corporate tax rate, lower the top rate on the richest Americans and scale back the existing mortgage interest deduction.
  • Leaders around the world who don’t like to be criticized or investigated have embraced the term fake news. Scholars fear that it further erodes trust in democracy.

— The First Draft Team
THE UPSHOT

Hacking the Tax Plan: 13 Ways to Profit Off the Emerging Republican Bill

By QUOCTRUNG BUI AND MARGOT SANGER-KATZ

Seiji Matsumoto

Professionals call it tax planning. Analysts call them tax games. We’re calling them tax hacks. Every tax bill has little incentives or loopholes that encourage some behaviors and discourage others. The bill recently passed by the Senate is no different: It is full of little opportunities to make money — or at least save some.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most interesting and useful tricks, with help from some of the country’s leading experts in law and finance. This isn’t meant to be real tax advice — for that you’ll need to hire a professional — but it does shed light on the key features (or holes) in the Senate bill.
Many are changes that involve doing something right now, in the final days of 2017. Others would take longer to pull off but could have lasting payoffs, reaching into the next generation.
We focused on the Senate’s version of the legislation, because experts say the final bill is likely to resemble it in important ways. But Senate and House negotiators are still working out a compromise, so some rules might change before the bill becomes law.
Here are some money-making opportunities in the current legislation »
President George W. Bush at a signing ceremony for a $1.35 trillion tax-cut bill in 2001.
ECONOMIC SCENE

Tax Plan’s Biggest Cuts Could Be in Living Standards

By EDUARDO PORTER

Cutting taxes is mostly an exercise in slicing the economic pie a different way, not making it bigger, with gains for a few offset by losses for many.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, left, and King Mohammed VI of Morocco en route to climate talks on the Île Seguin near Paris on Tuesday.

Macron Holds a Climate Summit, and Trump Casts a Shadow

By AURELIEN BREEDEN AND ELIAN PELTIER

Leaders, businesspeople and investors from around the world gathered near Paris at the invitation of the French president, who warned “we are losing the battle” against climate change.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson spoke Tuesday at the Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum in Washington.

Tillerson Says Embassy in Jerusalem Is at Least Three Years Away

By GARDINER HARRIS

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson discussed the future of the United States Embassy in a speech at the State Department and then took questions from employees.

A campaign rally for Roy Moore on the eve of the special Senate election in Alabama.

Many G.O.P. Blunders Put Senate Seat at Risk

By ALEXANDER BURNS

Republicans made a lengthy list of errors, giving Democrats an opening in Alabama well before accusations of sexual misconduct began to overshadow Roy Moore’s candidacy.

President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain at the White House in January. She was the first foreign leader to make an official visit after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Talk of Trump Visit Tests U.K.’s ‘Special Relationship’

By ALAN COWELL

The American ambassador in London said he hoped a planned trip by President Trump would go ahead despite vocal opposition.

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina and the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in March outside the White House.

New Higher Education Bill Rolls Back Obama-Era Safeguards

By ERICA L. GREEN

A House rewrite of the law governing higher education would dismantle several regulations imposed by the Obama administration to control for-profit colleges.

A group advocating AIDS research marched in the New York gay pride parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in June 1983.

Fingerprints of Russian Disinformation: From AIDS to Fake News

By LINDA QIU

In the 1980s, the Soviets peddled “bum dope about AIDS” around the world. Moscow’s tactics haven’t changed much in the years since.

A so-called ‘supermoon’ behind the Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington earlier this month. President Trump signed a policy directive Monday confirming that the moon should be the next destination for astronauts.

Trump Announces That the Moon Is Astronauts’ Next Destination

By KENNETH CHANG

The presidential directive called for partnership with other nations and commercial companies but did not offer details about schedule or cost.