October, 2017

GOP Tax Bill Delayed

“The release of the Republican tax bill is being delayed until Thursday,” Axios reports.

“The delay of the scheduled release, by the House Ways and Means Committee, reveals the difficulties the team has had in resolving how to raise enough money to pay for the massive corporate tax cuts.”

Papadopoulos Said Trump Campaign Approved Meeting

“Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos made a significant claim in an email: Top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Bloomberg reports.

“The email is cited in an FBI agent’s affidavit supporting criminal charges against Papadopoulos… But it’s not included in court documents that detailed his secret guilty plea and his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”

Halperin’s ‘Game Change’ Partner Was Unaware

“For the political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, work on the third installment of their popular Game Change book series — set to be an insiders’ account of the final two months of the 2016 presidential race — came to an abrupt halt last Wednesday at around 10 a.m.,” the New York Times reports.

“That was when Mr. Heilemann received a call from a shaken Mr. Halperin, who informed his longtime partner in writing and reporting that CNN was about to publish a potentially damaging story. Several of Mr. Halperin’s former colleagues at ABC News had accused him of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

Said Heilemann: “I had never heard of, been exposed to or had any inkling of the notion that he had engaged in any behavior that could be described in even the broadest sense of being sexual harassment or sexual assault. I was flabbergasted and shocked.”

Tancredo Will Run for Colorado Governor

“After back-to-back losses in 2010 and 2014, immigration hardliner and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) plans to try again in 2018 to become Colorado’s next governor — a move spurred in part by his anger at Republicans for not protesting when a Colorado Springs resort canceled a white nationalist conference where he was supposed to speak,” the Denver Post reports.

Mueller Interviewed Clovis Last Week

“Sam Clovis, the former top Trump campaign official who supervised a man now cooperating with the FBI’s Russia investigation, was questioned last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and testified before the investigating grand jury,” NBC News reports.

“George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in July and began cooperating with agents… The court documents unsealed Monday describe emails between Papadopoulos and an unnamed ‘campaign supervisor.’ The supervisor responded ‘Great work’ after Papadopoulos discussed his interactions with Russians who wanted to arrange a meeting with Trump and Russian leaders.”

Trump Rejects Bannon’s Hard Line Against Mueller

President Trump “has decided — for now — to stick with his strategy of cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller, a day after the Russia investigation ensnared three of his campaign aides,” CNN reports.

“That’s despite being urged to take a harder line by his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.”

“Bannon spoke with Trump following Monday’s announcements from the special counsel, and advocated taking a harsher approach to Mueller… While Trump encouraged Bannon to lead the public charge against Mueller, the President made clear to aides Tuesday that he’s not adopting Bannon’s advice.”

Mueller Schedules Interviews with White House Staff

President Trump’s longtime aide and current communications director, Hope Hicks, is scheduled to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in mid-November, following the president’s trip to Asia, multiple people familiar with the schedule told Politico.

Mueller’s team is also expected to interview three or four other current White House officials as early as this week.

Hensarling Won’t Run for Re-Election

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) announced he will not seek reelection in 2018, marking the end of a political career defined by his long-running struggle to pare back government intervention in the economy, Politico reports.

“Hensarling, first elected to Congress in 2002, is in his last term as chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, where he has spent years fighting with mixed success to roll back regulations and phase out federal programs.”

Republicans Scramble to Finalize Tax Bill

“House Republicans are racing to finalize their tax reform proposal before its much-anticipated rollout Wednesday morning. But so many key details have yet to be finalized that some congressional sources worry the unveiling may have to be postponed,” Politico reports.

“House Ways and Means Committee members spent all Tuesday holed up in conference rooms trying to iron out last-minute disagreements. Senior committee staff worked through the night Monday and were expected to do the same on Tuesday.”

Most Would Blame Trump for Higher Health Costs

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds 50% of Americans say they will blame President Trump and congressional Republicans if health care costs increase under Obamacare and if more end up losing coverage, while 37% say they would put the blame on former President Obama and Democrats.

As for Trump’s tax plan, 25% of Americans say it’s a good idea, compared with 35% who say it’s a bad idea; another 39% say they don’t have an opinion.

Fox News Started Early Questioning Mueller’s Credibility

Vox analyzed the past week of Fox News transcripts, comparing them against cable rivals CNN and MSNBC. What they found was striking:

  • Fox was unable to talk about the Mueller investigation without bringing up Hillary Clinton, even as indictments were brought against top Trump campaign officials.
  • Fox also talked significantly less about George Papadopoulos than its competitors.
  • Fox repeatedly called Mueller’s credibility into question, while shying away from talking about the possibility that Trump might fire Mueller.

House Bill Won’t Include State Income Tax Deduction

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said the GOP tax legislation due to be released this week will not include a deduction for state and local income taxes and will offer relief only on property taxes, Reuters reports.

Said Brady: “Our lawmakers in those high-tax states really believe their families are being punished most by property taxes.”