Trump Condemns F.B.I.

Monday, December 4, 2017Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 10.05.54 AM

Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • In an extraordinary attack on the top law enforcement body in his own government, President Trump accused the F.B.I. and its career investigators of having a bias against him.

  • With government funding set to expire Friday, and Mr. Trump embroiled in a feud with Democratic leadership, Republicans are trying to pass a two-week delay to negotiate a long-term spending package.

  • Mr. Trump and the Republicans say their tax overhaul will reinvigorate corporate spending and set off a wave of investment, hiring and raises. But inside board rooms, executives have other ideas on how to use their savings.
  • For Mitch McConnell and fellow Senate Republicans, the push for a sweeping tax overhaul was never anything like the divisive internal party struggle that prevented repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

  • A conservative operative told a Trump campaign aide that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia through his pro-gun connections.

— The First Draft Team
TIMELINE

What We Now Know About Flynn’s Phone Calls With Russia

By GREGOR AISCH, K.K. REBECCA LAI AND KAREN YOURISH
Court documents released on Friday show that Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, spoke with a senior Trump transition official before calling Russia’s ambassador to the United States to discuss sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama.
Read more »
The minister Barbara Williams-Skinner was arrested last week in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building for protesting the tax reform bill as part of an evangelical social justice group.

Ministers Look to Revive Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poverty Campaign

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Religious leaders hope protests and civil disobedience can force the issue of poverty back onto the national agenda at a time when attention is focused mainly on the middle class.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey during a charity game at Yankee Stadium in 2015. An avid sports fan, Governor Christie is supporting a Supreme Court case that could lead to legalized sports gambling across the country, and burnish his legacy.

Christie Looks to Sports Gambling for a Rare Second-Term Victory

By KEVIN DRAPER AND NICK CORASANITI

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey will be in Washington for oral arguments in a case that could set the stage for legalized sports betting, and burnish his legacy.

Jared Kushner, left, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, at the Saban Forum with Haim Saban, right, the conference’s sponsor, in Washington on Sunday. “I am optimistic that there is a lot of hope” for a Middle East peace deal, Mr. Kushner said.

Kushner on Stage: Hearing His Voice, at Last, if Little Else

By PETER BAKER

At a Middle East policy conference, Jared Kushner said he was optimistic, despite tension over the president’s reported plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arriving in Beijing on Sunday.

Canada’s Trudeau Steps Up on Trade, as America Under Trump Pulls Back

By IAN AUSTEN AND ANA SWANSON

Partly as insurance against Nafta’s collapse and perhaps a way to show Washington it has options, Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are chasing other free trade deals.

Balloons and signs decorated the site of a Nov. 18 campaign event in Birmingham, Ala., for Doug Jones, the Democratic Senate candidate.

Alabama’s Disdain for Democrats Looms Over Its Senate Race

By ALAN BLINDER, CAMPBELL ROBERTSON AND JESS BIDGOOD

The Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, is widely admired. But in his Senate race against Roy S. Moore, many voters say they are struggling to get past his party affiliation.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said on Sunday that he was “going to let the people of Alabama make the call” on Roy S. Moore, the Republican Senate candidate.

McConnell Says He’ll Let Alabama Voters ‘Make the Call’ on Moore

By YAMICHE ALCINDOR

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, had argued for weeks that Roy Moore should leave the race over accusations involving teenage girls.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch after the Senate passed the tax bill on Saturday. He hinted that it was possible that the House could take up the Senate bill and avoid a conference to hash out differences in the House and Senate measures.

Few Hurdles Left, G.O.P. Is Confident Tax Cuts Will Be Signed This Month

By JIM TANKERSLEY AND ALAN RAPPEPORT

The same forces that rocketed the House and Senate tax measures to passage appear likely to bond Republicans as they work to hash out the differences.

President Trump has fueled a polarized, paralyzed environment that has made it difficult for Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, to accomplish her goals, allies of the secretary say.

DeVos Allies See New Obstacle to School Choice Efforts: Trump

By ERICA L. GREEN

For all her tough talk, Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, has made little progress on priorities like school vouchers and charter schools. Allies blame the storms around the president.

Republican tax cuts could give Speaker Paul D. Ryan a chance to pursue what he has long wanted: a smaller government with a skimpier social safety net.

Heading Toward Tax Victory, Republicans Eye Next Step: Cut Spending

By KATE ZERNIKE AND ALAN RAPPEPORT

With Republicans’ new ambitions, the bill heading toward completion is not just a tax cut, but the first step toward a long-held vision to undo the New Deal and Great Society.

A former senator, Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, in Newark in September. He said many of his former colleagues should follow him out the door. “My gosh, you just think, move on and let someone else have a chance,” he said.
ON WASHINGTON

Why It’s Hard to Quit the Senate (but It Can Be Done)

By CARL HULSE

Former Senator Tom Harkin offers advice to former colleagues who can’t seem to let go: Give life outside the Capitol a try before it’s too late.

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the election, in June.

Mueller Removed Top Agent in Russia Inquiry Over Texts

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT, MATT APUZZO AND ADAM GOLDMAN

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, had a top agent removed from his inquiry after the Justice Department’s inspector general began examining whether the agent sent texts expressing political views.

With Republicans intent on passing a tax overhaul along party lines, public protests have been Democrats’ only weapon throughout the lightning-fast progression of the bill.

A Hasty, Hand-Scribbled Tax Bill Sets Off an Outcry

By JIM TANKERSLEY AND ALAN RAPPEPORT

Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, called it “Washington D.C. at its worst” as Republicans sought to speed through their amended bill, handwriting and all.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Andrew C. McCarthy in National Review:
“There’s less to the news than meets the eye.”
Mr. McCarthy does not believe that the news of Michael T. Flynn’s guilty plea is a sign of a major breakthrough for the Russia investigation. If collusion did indeed occur between the Trump campaign and Russia, then Mr. Flynn would be “pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy,” not what Mr. McCarthy describes as a “process crime” — lying to the F.B.I. Read more »
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From the Left
Bob Dreyfuss in The Nation:
“Did Trump’s campaign collude with the Russians to subvert the US elections? The answer is still: We don’t know. There’s plenty of smoke, from multiple directions.”
Based on Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea, explains Mr. Dreyfuss, it would be premature to conclude that President Trump broke any law. However, Mr. Dreyfuss thinks the minimal charges against the president’s former national security adviser are a sign that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team. He is, outside of Mr. Trump’s own family, one of the people who could most damage the president if he has flipped. Read more »
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