An Army veteran says Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) groped her in December 2003, telling CNN that while she was deployed in Kuwait, the Minnesota Democrat cupped her breast during a photo op.
Bret Stephens: “If you want to understand the ways in which Donald Trump’s presidency is systematically corrupting the American mind, I have a book recommendation for you. It’s about Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”
“The book is Peter Pomerantsev’s Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible. It was published in 2014, and it brilliantly tells the story of the (Soviet-born) British author’s sojourn as a producer for Russian TV. As the title suggests, at its heart it’s the tale of the substitution of reality with ‘reality,’ of factual truth with interpretive possibility.”
“That’s also the central task of Donald Trump’s presidency.”
Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) “appeared to blame members of the LGBT community, liberals and socialists for the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him,” The Hill reports.
Said Moore: “When I say they, who are ‘they?’ They’re liberals. They don’t hold conservative values. They are the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender who want to change our culture. They are socialists who want to change our way of life and put man above God and the government is our God. They’re the Washington establishment…who don’t want to lose their power.”
Ron Brownstein: “The baby boom is being evicted from the penthouse of American politics. And on the way out, it has decided to trash the place.”
“That’s probably the best way to understand the generational implications of the tax legislation Republicans are driving through Congress.”
“The House and Senate measures shower enormous benefits on households at the top of the economic ladder, a group that by all indications is older and whiter than the population overall. Then it hands the bill for those benefits largely to younger generations, who will pay through more federal debt; less spending on programs that could benefit them; and, eventually, higher taxes.”
“In pitching the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has said repeatedly that the plan will pay for itself through a surge of economic growth and that over 100 people in Treasury are ‘working around the clock on running scenarios for us,'” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Mnuchin has promised that Treasury will release its analysis in full. Yet, just one day before the full Senate prepares to vote on a sweeping tax rewrite, the administration has yet to produce the type of economic analysis that it is citing as a reason to pass the tax cut.”
Mike Allen: “Exhausted by the Trump presidency? Brace yourself: White House officials expect Trump to be even more outrageous and cocksure in coming months.”
“Officials tell us Trump seems more self-assured, more prone to confidently indulging wild conspiracies and fantasies, more quick-triggered to fight than he was during the Wild West of the first 100 days in office.”
“Imagine Trump if he signs a huge tax cut into law, which seems likely, amid soaring stocks and rising economic growth. Imagine if Roy Moore wins in Alabama, which seems likely, too. It surely won’t humble Trump — or hem him in. He’s like the Incredible Hulk, after the media and Mueller made him mad.”
Playbook: “Republican leadership seems intent on pushing the narrative that they are going to start a formal conference negotiation between the House and Senate bills. But some tell us it would be much easier if the House just swallowed the Senate’s legislation.”
“Former Trump adviser and longtime political troublemaker Roger Stone has been asked repeatedly how he knew, seemingly in advance, that WikiLeaks was going to publish damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And he has repeatedly refused to answer, saying he had a ‘go-between’ who did not wish to be named,” ABC News reports.
“On Tuesday, however, Randy Credico, a New York comedian and political activist who hosts his own radio show, tweeted a picture of a congressional subpoena compelling him to appear on Dec. 15 before the House Intelligence Committee… Credico has been identified as the intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and will face questions from investigators about those relationships.”
“President Trump this week disseminated on social media three inflammatory and unverified anti-Muslim videos, took glee in the firing of a news anchor for sexual harassment allegations despite facing more than a dozen of his own accusers and used a ceremony honoring Navajo war heroes to malign a senator with a derogatory nickname, ‘Pocahontas,'” the Washington Post reports.
“Again and again, Trump veered far past the guardrails of presidential behavior. But despite the now-routine condemnations, the president is acting emboldened, as if he were impervious to the uproar he causes.”
“If there are consequences for his actions, Trump does not seem to feel their burden personally.”
“Jared Kushner met earlier this month with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election,” CNN reports.
“Mueller’s team specifically asked Kushner about former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who is under investigation by the special counsel… Flynn was the dominant topic of the conversation.”
“Staffers for Senate Republicans’ campaign arm seized information on more than 200,000 donors from the House GOP campaign committee over several months this year by breaking into its computer system,” Politico reports.
“Something is unleashed with him lately. I don’t know what is causing it. I don’t know how to describe it.”
— New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, talking on CNN about President Trump’s recent behavior.
President Trump “has told associates he feels good about the way he has navigated the Alabama Senate race that has riven the Republican Party and is confident he will come out fine no matter what happens in the contest,” the Washington Post reports.
“Trump has said privately that if Republican nominee Roy Moore wins, he would reject any move by Republican leadership to expel him from the Senate and would welcome his support on legislation… And if Moore loses, Trump will simply distance himself and remind people that he backed the current senator, Luther Strange, in the primary.”
Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore (R) “co-authored a study course, published in 2011 and recently obtained by ThinkProgress, that instructs students that women should not be permitted to run for elected office.”
“If women do run for office, the course argues, people have a moral obligation not to vote for them. The course is also critical of the women’s suffrage movement, which in 1920 secured some American women the right to vote.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that pollster Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Trump, would oversee White House efforts to combat the opioid overdose epidemic, BuzzFeed News reports.
However: The White House has not yet released a strategy on how to approach the crisis, nor has a head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy been appointed.