Franken Will Quit

Friday, December 8, 2017Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 8.43.07 AM

Good Friday morning. 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
ON WASHINGTON

Franken’s Improbable Political Rise and Sudden Fall

By CARL HULSE
Al Franken's office. As a celebrity with appeal to younger voters, he had been a fresh face for the party.

Al Franken’s office. As a celebrity with appeal to younger voters, he had been a fresh face for the party. Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Al Franken walked onto the Senate floor just before noon Thursday and anxiously scanned the spectator galleries above to find his family. He wanted to make sure they were there in what was going to be the most difficult moment in a short but — until recent days — wildly successful political career.
Mr. Franken, a “Saturday Night Live” comedian turned progressive Democratic hero who was being mentioned seriously as a presidential candidate, was about to relinquish a Minnesota Senate seat, which he had barely won in the first place, in the face of mounting accusations of inappropriate behavior with several women in the past.
It was an almost unthinkable loss for Mr. Franken, who continued to insist he hadn’t really done anything wrong. But if it was a personal sacrifice, it was one that could help his party in the months ahead by allowing Democrats to draw a sharp distinction between their party and its efforts to hold politicians accountable for sexual harassment and abuse and Republicans, who could be welcoming a man accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls into the Senate as early as next week.
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Representative Trent Franks of Arizona on Thursday in Washington.

House Republican Resigns Amid Harassment Investigation

By NICHOLAS FANDOS

Representative Trent Franks of Arizona, who said he had asked two female staff members to be a surrogate to bear his child, was the third lawmaker to step down from office this week.

President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — and to set in motion an embassy move — is his riskiest foray yet into the thicket of Middle East diplomacy.

Most Former U.S. Ambassadors to Israel Disagree With U.S. Shift on Jerusalem

By SEWELL CHAN

All but two of the 11 former envoys said President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital — a departure from seven decades of U.S. policy — was foolish and even dangerous.

Palestinians demonstrating on Thursday outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Palestinians Clash With Israeli Troops to Protest Trump’s Declaration

By ISABEL KERSHNER

Hamas called for a new intifada, protests erupted across the Middle East, and Arab and European leaders condemned the president’s move.

Representative Tom Reed, left, was one of four House Republicans from New York to vote for his party’s tax plan.

If the G.O.P. Tax Plan Hurts You, Congressmen Say It’s Your State’s Fault

By JESSE MCKINLEY AND NICK CORASANITI

Five House Republicans in New York and New Jersey who voted for the tax plan are trying to blame state leaders for fostering high-tax environments.

The average property tax for homes in Westchester County, outside New York City, is $16,500 a year. Both the House and Senate tax bills allow for only $10,000 in real estate tax deductions.
WEALTH MATTERS

Tax Changes Are Coming Next Year, but You Can Plan for Them Now

By PAUL SULLIVAN

High-earning taxpayers cannot afford to wait and see what happens with the tax overhaul; they need to act this month before certain opportunities go away.

President Trump met with congressional leaders on Thursday in the Oval Office.

Congress Approves Two-Week Stopgap Measure to Keep Government Funded

By THOMAS KAPLAN

Faced with a Friday deadline to pass a government funding measure, the House and Senate passed a two-week fix to buy more time for negotiations.

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”

Morgan Stanley Fires Ex-Congressman Over Inappropriate Conduct

By KATE KELLY

Harold Ford Jr., a former Democratic congressman from Tennessee who became a managing director at the financial services firm, was fired for behavior it said was “inconsistent with our values and in violation of our policies.”

Al Franken, center front, with the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1992.

Franken: From ‘Saturday Night Live’ to Congress

By MATTHEW HAAG

Senator Al Franken was a star on the sketch comedy show and then a talk-radio host before running for political office.

President Trump with Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik, and Jared Kushner during a Hanukkah Reception on the State Floor of the White House, on Thursday.

Congressional Democrats Left Out of White House Hanukkah Party

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS AND KATIE ROGERS

The White House pared down its invitation list for the annual Hanukkah celebration. Democrats and Jewish groups critical of the president were not included.

Nunes Cleared of Misconduct Over Disclosing Monitoring of Trump Aides

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

The House Committee on Ethics found that Representative Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had not improperly disclosed classified information.

The “Girls” creator, Lena Dunham, shown here stumping for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire during the 2016 campaign, now puts herself at odds with the former candidate.

How a Clinton-Dunham Alliance Hit a Wall on Weinstein

By AMY CHOZICK

Lena Dunham, a longtime Hillary Clinton enthusiast, says she warned the campaign against associating with Harvey Weinstein.

The F.B.I. headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
FACT CHECK

Trump’s Flip-Flops on Intelligence Agencies

By LINDA QIU

The president has offered lavish praise when members of the intelligence community or law enforcement investigate his opponents but rebuked them when their actions do not align with his interests.

Jessica Kim, 20, joining others in Manhattan on Thursday to protest the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to repeal net neutrality laws.

Inside the Opposition to a Net Neutrality Repeal

By CECILIA KANG

Fight for the Future, a scrappy 10-person nonprofit, has helped lead the uproar against changes to internet rules, including hundreds of protests on Thursday.

Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, testified on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

F.B.I. Director Denies Political Bias Is Tainting Investigations

By ADAM GOLDMAN

The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, defended his employees during a politically charged appearance on Capitol Hill.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, third from left, and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, third from right, during bilateral talks with other diplomats in Vienna on Thursday.

Tillerson Says the U.S. Will Never Accept Crimea Annexation

By GARDINER HARRIS

The American secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister traded barbs at a security conference in Vienna.

Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, at the Security Council in November.

U.S. Sends Mixed Signals on Olympics in South Korea

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR AND GERRY MULLANY

The U.S. envoy to the U.N. said American attendance at the Winter Games near the DMZ was an “open question,” while the White House press secretary tweeted that the “U.S. looks forward to participating.”

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