FBI Warned Trump About Russian Infiltration

In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would likely try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign, NBC News reports.

“The warning came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, the officials said. A similar briefing was given to Hillary Clinton, they added. They said the briefings, which are commonly provided to presidential nominees, were designed to educate the candidates and their top aides about potential threats from foreign spies.”

“The candidates were urged to alert the FBI about any suspicious overtures to their campaigns.”

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Tillerson Slip Reveals Secret Planning on North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “let slip last week a few tantalizing details about one of the nation’s most secret military contingency plans: how the United States would try to race inside North Korea to seize its nuclear weapons if it ever saw evidence that Kim Jong-un’s government was collapsing,” the Washington Post reports.

“For years, American diplomats have been trying to engage their Chinese counterparts in a discussion of this scenario… And for years the Chinese have resisted the conversation… The Chinese feared that if news of a conversation leaked, Beijing would be seen as conspiring with the United States over plans for an eventual North Korean collapse, eroding any leverage that Beijing still held over Mr. Kim.”

Half Say Their Taxes Will Go Up Under GOP Plan

A new Monmouth poll finds Americans disapprove of the tax reform plan currently making its way through Congress by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, 47% to 26%.

It is also worth noting that strong disapproval (35%) of the proposal far outweighs strong approval (13%).

Key finding: “Half the public believe their own taxes would go up under this plan and a plurality would like to see Congress scrap the current effort and start fresh in 2018.”

Redistributing Income from the Poor to the Rich

Washington Post: “Back in 1980, the bottom 50% of wage-earners in the United States earned about 21% of all income in the country — nearly twice as much as the share of income (11%) earned by the top 1 percent of Americans.”

“But today, according to a massive new study on global inequality, those numbers have nearly reversed: The bottom 50% take in only 13% of the income pie, while the top 1% grab over 20% of the country’s income.”

“Since 1980, in other words, the U.S. economy has transferred eight points of national income from the bottom 50% to the top 1%.”

It Looks Like Obamacare Will Survive

Dylan Scott: “Health care lobbyists are flatly dismissing the idea that Congress could actually revisit Obamacare repeal next year. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) remain opposed to taking up repeal efforts. The party’s long-sought talking point of repealing Obamacare root and branch is probably actually, finally dead.”

“Repealing the individual mandate is a legitimate blow to the Obamacare marketplaces, but doing so won’t unravel the markets entirely. They will function worse than they did before, and premiums will rise. But millions of people who receive generous tax subsidies to buy coverage will not feel the brunt of those cost increases. The law’s rules prohibiting health insurers from discriminating against preexisting conditions remain on the books. Finally, and most importantly, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which covered upward of 15 million people, remains untouched.”

House GOP Prepares to Wrap Up Russia Investigation

“Senior Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee tell NBC News that they hope and expect to draw their year-long investigation to an end in the coming weeks, saying they have largely completed all interviews relevant to the narrow scope of inquiry Democrats had agreed to last spring.”

“Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), one of the GOP leaders of the committee’s Russia probe, said that it is in the public’s interest to finish as quickly as possible so that they can issue a final report.”

Collins Still Reviewing Tax Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is still reviewing the tax bill, her spokeswoman said, suggesting she hasn’t yet reached a decision on how to vote, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“She has come under pressure from some groups in Maine to vote against the tax bill, in part because it repeals a mandate that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty, a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act.”

James Hohmann: “The health insurance market is almost certain to implode next year, and rates are likely to skyrocket for many, because of the repeal of the individual mandate. By getting rid of the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act in this bill, Republicans are giving up any standing they had to blame Barack Obama for the health-care mess. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this change alone will lead to 13 million more uninsured Americans a decade from now.”

Palin’s Son Arrested for Burglary and Assault

“Track Palin, the eldest son of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), was in jail on Sunday facing assault and burglary charges,” the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

“Track Palin appeared in state court in Palmer earlier in the day on a felony burglary charge and misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief charges, court records showed. The records indicated all the charges involved domestic violence.”

“His legal troubles have prompted his mother in the past to question the support available for military veterans like him who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress.”

Trump Complains About Justice Department Leadership

Washington Post: “Advisers who have spoken recently with Trump about the Russia investigation said the president was sharply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller operation — but did not broach the idea of firing Mueller…  Rather, Trump appeared to be contemplating changes in the Justice Department’s leadership. In recent discussions, two advisers said, Trump has called the attorney general ‘weak,’ and complained that Rosenstein has shown insufficient accountability on the special counsel’s work.”

“A senior official said Trump mocked Rosenstein’s recent testimony on Capitol Hill, saying he looked weak and unable to answer questions. Trump has ranted about Rosenstein as ‘a Democrat,’ one of these advisers said, and characterized him as a threat to his presidency. In fact, Rosenstein is a Republican.”