“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.”
“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.”
Washington Post: “Facebook plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that 126 million of its users may have seen content produced and circulated by Russian operatives, many times more than what the company previously disclosed about the reach of the disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election.”
“Previously, Facebook had focused its disclosures on Russian ads. The company has said that 470 accounts and pages run by a Russian troll farm had purchased roughly 3,000 ads, which the company said reached an estimated 10 million users. But the troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency, also published free content. Researchers estimated that the spread of free content was far greater than that of ads and that Facebook has been under pressure to share more about those posts.”
What the Manafort and Papadopoulos indictments tell us about Mueller’s strategy: https://t.co/nLyCAPKiUS
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) October 30, 2017
New York Times: “The guilty plea of a 30-year-old campaign aide — so green that he listed Model United Nations in his qualifications — shifted the narrative on Monday of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia: Court documents revealed that Russian officials alerted the campaign, through an intermediary in April 2016, that they possessed thousands of Democratic emails and other “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.”
“That was two months before the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee was publicly revealed and the stolen emails began to appear online. The new court filings provided the first clear evidence that Trump campaign aides had early knowledge that Russia had stolen confidential documents on Mrs. Clinton and the committee, a tempting trove in a close presidential contest.”
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is pushing President Trump “to take action against Mueller, urging him in particular to defund the investigation… a move that would defang Mueller without the president formally firing him,” Politico reports.
Playbook: “There’s next to no way this will happen. Bannon can pressure Trump until he’s blue in the face. It is much more likely Congress will shield Mueller from being fired than strip funding from his effort.”
— Foppish Vox Hipster (@dylanmatt) October 30, 2017
White House chief of staff John Kelly said that the Civil War was “caused by a lack of an ability compromise” and that Confederate general Robert E. Lee was “an honorable man,” Politico reports.
Said Kelly: “I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state which in 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War. And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had to make their stand.”
“Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said he might have exchanged emails about Russia with a fellow adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the president’s campaign and possible collusion with the Russian government,” Politico reports.
“As he has in the past, Page repeatedly declined to provide direct answer to questions about his role on Trump’s campaign.”
In his New York Times op-ed, “The Silence of the Democrats.” Michael Tomasky, editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and columnist for The Daily Beast, writes “The Democrats are undergoing a historic transformation, from being the party that embraced neoliberalism in the early 1990s to one that is rejecting that centrist posture and moving left. There’s plenty about this to cheer — the neoliberal Democratic Party didn’t do nearly enough to try to arrest growing income inequality, among other shortcomings…There will be necessary internecine fights, and they boil down to loyalty tests on particular positions demanded by the vanguard…Forget about who’s right and wrong in these debates. Time will sort that out. My point is that they tend to consume a party experiencing a shift. The Democratic Party, because it is an amalgam of interest groups in a way the Republican Party is not, has always had a tendency to elevate the candidate who can check the most boxes…When the party’s leaders tussle over this or that policy, they also need to take a step back, to see the direction the country — the West itself — is heading, and take a stand on it.”
John Stoehr says Mueller will not save us from Trump: “I have a sense that liberals—some, anyway—hope the investigation by Special Counselor Robert Mueller is going to save us from President Donald Trump. […] I will assume that much remains to be revealed, but let’s suppose for a minute that this is correct: that Trump is clean while Manafort and a galaxy of aides and advisers are (or were) in cahoots with Russia. That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Donald Trump is a lecher of a businessman, has been all his life, and he does not allow morality to encumber his greed. That such a person could find himself surrounded by con men, swindlers and bona fide traitors does not, to me, seem at all implausible. Indeed, it seems dead-on.
So let’s suppose that the president is right: there was no collusion, at least far as he was aware, and in the end, once Mueller’s investigation has concluded, and all the right people have been charged and convicted, it may well be that this president remains untouched.
If that’s the case, and that’s a big if, I’m sure a lot of people, especially liberals, would rend their clothes and gnash their teeth. They would bewail the injustice of it all, seek out corruption, maybe even indulge in a little Deep State conspiracy theory to explain why a superlative prosecutor failed to indict the worst of them all.
While I don’t mind using hard rhetoric to define the boundaries of political debate, liberals should not—in this thought experiment of mine—bewail injustice for its own sake. They should use injustice as a tool of politics. And they should see what’s before them: a president who has surrounded himself, wittingly or not, with con men, swindlers and bona fide traitors.”
— New Republic (@NewRepublic) October 31, 2017
Olivia Nuzzi says the Trumpists are rattled: ““Any spin coming from the White House should be discounted,” a former adviser to Trump told me. “This is very, very bad.” […]
“Trump’s at 33 today in Gallup,” the former adviser said, referring to the president’s approval rating. “He’s gonna be in the twenties soon.” From there, the former adviser began to list a spiraling series of events: “If they don’t pass tax reform, if the indictments keep coming, they get killed in the midterms, or even if they don’t get killed in the midterms? I don’t know. I don’t know.” They paused. “I think we could be looking at a Nixon situation.”
3 ways Trump will have changed Obamacare by 2020 https://t.co/oxnOxGy4uv
— Vox (@voxdotcom) October 30, 2017
Eric Levitz says the Dems should declare victory in the Russia investigation: “Imagine if Hillary Clinton had campaigned for the presidency on a promise to make superlative hiring decisions – and then, the FBI indicted two of the highest ranking members of her campaign for being undisclosed agents of a hostile foreign regime. Now, imagine that this happened on the same daythat a former Clinton campaign adviser confessed that he had tried to score a meeting with the Russian government last year, in hopes of securing stolen copies of Trump’s tax returns. Finally, imagine that, on Earth 2, John Podesta and Robby Mook’s secret work for the Yanukovych regime – and Philippe Reines’s correspondence with “Putin’s niece” – both came to light months after the Hillary Clinton administration’s first National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, admitted that she had been on the payroll of Turkey’s Islamist government throughout the 2016 campaign.
How would congressional Republicans respond to such a development? Would they reiterate their desire for an independent investigation to explore whether president Clinton had personally colluded with Russian actors? Or would they scream at the top of their lungs that anyone who’d hired undisclosed foreign agents to top positions in her campaign and administration was too incompetent and/or unAmerican to serve as president of the United States?
What if president Hillary had also fired James Comey after he’d refused to honor her request to drop the FBI’s investigation in Susan Rice?
Without question, the GOP would take door No.2. If they had possession of undisputed facts this damning, there’s no way congressional Republicans would encourage the public to focus on an elusive, hypothetical smoking gun connecting Putin and Clinton. That would be doing the Democrats a favor by helping them move the goalposts of what constitutes a ruinous scandal for the Clinton White House all the way back to Siberia.
And yet, at various points Monday, the Democratic leadership did the Trump administration that kindness.”
— Latino Victory (@latinovictoryus) October 30, 2017
New York Magazine: “Kasich 2020 is not just a media proposition. Kasich is a sitting governor exploring a run against a president of his own party — a starkly unusual circumstance. He retains a skeletal campaign staff, and they are helping him to think through his options: Should he run as a Republican in the primaries or as an Independent in the general election?”
“A primary run is plausible, strategists say, if Trump’s approval ratings among Republicans fall below the high 70s, where they’ve been, and Democrats prevail during the midterms, signaling a loosening of the stranglehold of the far-right base on the party. A third-party run is optimal if the major-party candidates represent ideological extremes. Kasich has not declared he’s running, and everyone I spoke to preempted their hypotheticals with caveats. In the Trump era, two years is an eternity…. But among the party’s intelligentsia, all agree there is a common wish that the White House be occupied by a different Republican.”