News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Tax Reform Moves to Senate, Harassment Accusations Mount and Much, Much Moore

Al Franken (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Good Friday morning.

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • Later in the morning, the President will host NCAA National Championship teams from around the country.
  • In the afternoon, the President will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tax reform passes the House, Finance Committee approves Senate GOP tax plan

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill. “We are in a generational defining moment for our country,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. Republicans celebrated. Democrats not so much.

“Republicans want you to believe that their trickle-down tax break for the rich will pay for itself,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Never has happened,” she said. Democrats say the tax plan will benefit rich people, but they always say that.

Over in the Senate, a tax reform bill passed through the Finance Committee late yesterday. The plan is to bring it to the floor for a vote after Thanksgiving.

“For the millions of hard-working Americans who need more money in their pockets and the chance of a better future, help is on the way,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

“When the Senate returns after Thanksgiving, I will bring this must-pass legislation to the floor for further debate and open consideration,” he said.

The bill “would temporarily cut taxes for individuals while permanently slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. It also would repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate.”

As usual, not everyone was happy. “I think this is indefensible, partisan legislation,” said Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee.

Alleged predator update

Yesterday was a big day on the sexual predator beat. We’ll go through the developments one by one.

Moore: A new poll from Fox News shows Moore is losing support. The survey revealed that 50 percent of likely voters said they would support Democrat Doug Jones, while 42 percent said they would support the accused Judge Roy Moore. Moore held a press conference yesterday and said calls for him to drop out of the race were “an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama.” Regarding the allegations made against him, he said, “They’re not only untrue, but they have no evidence to support them.” The Alabama Republican Party is standing by Moore. “The ALGOP Steering Committee supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee and trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race,” the party said in a statement. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, WH press secretary, was asked about a zillion times at the presser yesterday if President Trump would weigh in on the subject or call for Moore to step down. She responded by saying the president’s position is that the issue is one for the voters in Alabama and that Moore should step down if the accusations are true. Meanwhile, the attorney for one of Moore’s accusers, Gloria Allred, refused to say if the purported signature of Moore in her client’s yearbook was authentic or a forgery. A group calling themselves Women for Moore will hold a rally tomorrow to support the candidate.

Franken: Now let’s turn to Washington, D.C., where Politico tells us folks inside the beltway are “consumed” by recent sexual harassment allegations. The big story yesterday was an allegation against Senator Al Franken by news anchor Leeann Tweeden. Franken “allegedly shoved his tongue into her mouth” during a rehearsal for a skit to be performed during a USO Tour. This picture also surfaced of a sleeping Tweeden and Franken:

“I couldn’t believe it,” Tweeden wrote. “He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?” said Tweeden. Super funny, Senator. HA HA. Tweeden said she was unaware of the “photo op” until she returned home and reviewed a CD with pictures of the tour.

President Trump decided to insert himself into the situation:

USA Today says Congress appears “unified” on Franken’s assault allegations. “We are at a watershed moment and now is the time for Congress to overhaul how it deals with the issue of sexual harassment,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the top House Democrat, said in a statement.

Franken has apologized for his behavior and has called for an ethics investigation into… himself. Here’s a nifty chart of your money that Congress has paid out over the recent years for its harassments and settlements.

Tambor: Let’s travel across the country to Hollywood, where Jeffrey Tambor, star of the Amazon original series “Transparent,” is facing allegations of harassment. Trace Lysette, who plays transgender yoga instructor Shea on the Amazon show, tweeted:

One day on set during Season 2, Jeffrey, Alexandra Billings and I were all outfitted in pajamas. I was in a flimsy top and matching short shorts. Upon seeing my in my costume, Jeffrey sexualized me with an over the top comment. Alexandra and I laughed it off because it was so absurd and we thought surely it had to be a bad joke. I shook it off. Then later, in between takes, I stood in a corner on the set as the crew reset for a wide shot. My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me. He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me, and began quick, discreet thrusts back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas and I pushed him off of me. Again, I laughed it off and rolled my eyes. I had a job to do and I had to do it with Jeffrey, the lead of our show. When they called action, I put that moment in the corner into its own corner of my mind. Compartmentalizing has always been part of my survival tool kit, long before I came to Hollywood. It’s s–tty to admit out loud — and I don’t say it to justify what I went through — but given the journey and circumstances of my life, I was used to being treated as a sexual object by men — this one just happened to be famous.

Amazon is now looking at options to continue the series without Tambor. (Isn’t he the star of the show?)

Minor players: Seven women have come forward to accuse former President George H.W. Bush of getting handsy with them. And more than a dozen women say Ron Jeremy, porn star, assaulted and/or raped them.

Better late than never: 53 percent of Hillary voters now say the harassment accusations against Bill Clinton are credible.

New book reveals details on the “dodgy dossier”

Chuck Ross details some interesting factoids in “a sympathetic and largely uncritical look” by Guardian journalist Luke Harding at the Steele dossier. The Steele dossier, also known as the “dodgy dossier,” was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Clinton-controlled DNC to muckrake RUSSIAN intelligence to smack against then-candidate Donald Trump.

Among them:

Harding reported that he was contacted by a member of the Clinton campaign who laid out allegations that Trump had used prostitutes in Moscow. Steele’s June 20, 2016 dossier memo makes similar unverified claims.

The outreach establishes for the first time that someone on the Clinton campaign attempted to peddle unfounded rumors about Trump to the press. Harding did not identify the campaign official.

He wrote: “In October an email written by a person in the Clinton camp reached my inbox. It set out some of the unproven allegations against Trump, including sex with prostitutes in Moscow. The email said the claims came from a source inside the FSB. This was not Steele’s work, but some of it echoes the dossier.”

I wonder who this is? Multiple associates of the Clinton camp and DNC have denied even knowing about the dossier or knowing how millions of dollars were paid to the law firm that hired Fusion GPS to get the goods on Trump. Wild stuff!

Historical picture of the day:

H. G. Wells plans to do some reading on his trip to England on the Queen Mary, Nov. 17, 1937. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Corruption trial of Senator Menendez ends in mistrial

Woman with crude anti-Trump truck decal arrested on fraud charges

Mueller subpoenaed Trump campaign for Russia documents: report

Grassley says he’s nixing blue slips for pair of nominees

Transgender athletes won’t need medical proof to compete with identified gender in New Jersey

How to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season

Anti-Gay Republican Resigns After Allegedly Being Caught Having Gay Sex In His Office

McDonald’s customer who ordered 200 hash browns after being refused chicken nuggets is arrested

Department of Homeland Security official resigns after racist comments

Manspreading subway maniac punches woman in face for asking him to make room

Pope Francis denounces climate change deniers

Keystone pipeline leak spills 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

Tesla Semi, an electric big rig truck with 500-mile range, rolls into reality

School cancels Muslim speaker after community backlash

Zimbabwe military ‘engaging’ with Mugabe over leadership impasse

Massive fire breaks out at senior living community in Pennsylvania

Pentagon: Retweet of call for Trump to resign was accidental

And that’s all I’ve got, now start getting ready for Thanksgiving week!