News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Amtrak Crash, Tax Reform, RUSSIA Update and Much, Much, More

Trump speaks on his administration's national security strategy

Good Tuesday morning.

Here’s what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will meet with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Here comes the tax reform

The House is expected to vote on the tax reform bill today and the Senate will follow suit shortly. Vice President Mike Pence is on standby in case his vote is needed to break a Senate tie.

Yesterday, Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced they will support the bill, “virtually guaranteeing the measure will pass the chamber.”

“Just finished reading the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Lee said. “It will cut taxes for working Utah families. I will proudly vote for it.”

Other holdouts Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rubio (R-Fla.) announced on Friday they would support the Senate bill.

How long before Americans reap some tax benefits?

Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers predicted the corporate tax changes alone would result in a $4,000 salary increase for the average worker. And the Republicans on the House and Senate committees that wrote the final bill say a family of four with the median family income of $73,000 will get a tax cut of $2,059, at least through the end of 2025.

Some people will be getting tax relief as early as February. “The IRS has said new tables could be available as early as February, meaning people could see their take-home pay increase before the winter ends.” Excellent.

Congressman calls for investigation into Obama admin’s Hezbollah support

On Sunday, Politico published an incredible report detailing how the Obama administration (and obviously Ben Rhodes, whose name was suspiciously left out of the story) killed federal law enforcement efforts to prosecute Hezbollah narco-terrorists in order to help Iran develop a nuclear weapon make a nice deal with Iran. As someone who is very critical of the media, this Politico story was absolutely fantastic work. I want to give props where props are due. Reports Fox News:

A Republican congressman on Monday urged the House to look into a report the Obama administration held up a Drug Enforcement Administration task force’s investigation into Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations, all to ensure the Iran nuclear deal remained on track.

After the bombshell exposé in Politico Sunday revealed that Obama administration officials road-blocked the campaign of the task force, Project Cassandra, to curtail the Lebanese militant group’s criminal activities, Rep. Robert Pittenger of North Carolina sent a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy.

“These revelations are shocking and infuriating,” Pittenger said in a statement to Fox News. “While American soldiers were bravely fighting ISIS terrorists, with some paying the ultimate price, the Obama administration reportedly was protecting Hezbollah terrorists who were funding themselves by trafficking illegal drugs. No wonder President Obama couldn’t bring himself to call them ‘Radical Islamist Terrorists.’”

Good.

Say, what happened when Bruce “Fusion GPS friendly” Ohr testified before the Senate yesterday?

Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general, was supposed to appear yesterday before the leaky Senate Intelligence Committee but his appearance was canceled at the last minute.

Bruce Ohr, the former associate deputy attorney general who was demoted at the Justice Department in the wake of revelations about undisclosed meetings he had with officials from Fusion GPS, had his scheduled testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee postponed until later this week, sources told Fox News.

Ohr was set to appear before the Senate panel Monday, but the appearance was delayed after the committee secured new related documents, which members wanted to review before hearing from him.

Ohr was demoted and kicked off the RUSSIA collusion fantasy task force after it was discovered that his wife worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that was paid by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to produce a RUSSIAN intelligence-sourced salacious dossier on their political opponent, Donald Trump. Mrs. Ohr didn’t just work for Fusion, she worked on Trump-related research.

Today Andrew “Andy’s office” McCabe is supposed to appear before the leaky House Intelligence Committee. There’s nothing to watch on CSPAN, sadly, because the testimony will take place behind closed doors.

RUSSIA update

The former director of National Intelligence and activist in the anti-Trump #resistance thinks Trump is behaving like a RUSSIAN asset. Is there any government bureaucrat more loathsome than CNN leak source James Clapper? Remember when this deep state swamp monster lied to Congress about the NSA data dragnet collecting information on America citizens? Yeah, me too.

CNN reported that Trump expects Mueller to wrap up the RUSSIA collusion fantasy task force soon and write a letter exonerating him. White House counsel Ty Cobb responded that the story was “largely false and unprofessional.” It’s like Groundhog Day with these hysterical media partisans.

NBC breathlessly reports that Trump was warned by intelligence officials after he became the GOP nominee that foreign agents might try and infiltrate his campaign. Hillary Clinton and her campaign were similarly warned. This seems like a standard operating procedure, but what is out of the ordinary is that the intelligence agencies probably had the Fusion GPS dossier when they briefed Trump. Why didn’t they mention it to the campaign?

Debate continues as to whether RUSSIA collusion fantasy task force leader Robert Mueller snatching up Trump transition team email is legal.

Washington Amtrak crash roundup

Yesterday morning, an Amtrak train derailed 50 miles south of Seattle, Washington, sending 72 people to the hospital. Ten people are in critical condition. At least three people are dead. According to reports, the train was traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. The accident occurred during its inaugural service.

On Monday, Amtrak inaugurated service through the new Point Defiance Bypass near Tacoma, Washington.

But what was supposed to be a joyous morning turned into tragedy as the first Amtrak Cascades train to traverse the route derailed, killing several people.

The $181 million Point Defiance Bypass project had been in the works for more than a decade. Proponents have said it will reduce congestion and cut much as 10 minutes off trips between Seattle and Portland.

This is what $181 million buys the taxpayer?

CNN wants you to know that President Trump immediately politicized the tragedy. “The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly,” tweeted Trump. “Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”

That is a somewhat remarkable tweet from a president given the fact that emergency crews were still sorting through the rubble, several people had been killed in the accident and 77 people had been taken to a variety of local hospitals.

This coming from the media activists who were calling for gun control while the Vegas shooting victims were still being transported to hospitals!

What do those two tweets tell us? That Trump’s first instinct is always to look for an angle that benefits him or, even more ideally, proves he is right about something controversial he has said in the past.

Is it controversial to talk about upgrading America’s infrastructure after a tragic infrastructure accident occurs?

[Alleged] sexual harassment update

Harvey Weinstein downfall documentary already being produced by BBC

Kaine’s bid for Senate harassment data rejected

Harvey Weinstein reportedly sought $25 million in ’emergency cash’ from Netflix before massive sexual harassment scandal ended his career

Meryl Streep: ‘I wasn’t deliberately silent’ on Weinstein

Matt Damon says innocent men in Hollywood aren’t getting enough credit in wake of #MeToo, Harvey Weinstein

Shocking new details of Matt Lauer’s alleged affair with much younger assistant revealed

Tavis Smiley: ‘PBS made a huge mistake’

High heels are under fire as sexual harassment and assault allegations skyrocket

Also important:

Trump unveils national security strategy: ‘America is going to win’

DACA negotiations reach critical week

Trump administration blames NKorea for big ransomware attack

Historical picture of the day:

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sign copies of the Hong Kong handover agreement to China in Peking in this Dec. 19, 1984, photo. (AP Photo/Neal Ulevich)

Other morsels:

Democratic Sens. Manchin and Leahy say Franken shouldn’t have resigned

NBC reportedly eyeing ‘The Office’ revival

U.S. bars drones over nuclear sites for security reasons

Judge orders Trump admin to allow abortions for two undocumented immigrants

Star pitcher gives away $9.75 million mansion, land to Christian camp for kids with special needs

GOP Group FOIAs Emails Of Anti-Trump EPA Employees — Now They’re Mad

New York Times Asks Readers To Feel Bad For The IRS

Wasserman Schultz Named One Of Congress’ ‘Most Ethically Challenged’ For House IT Scandal

HHS defends withholding comments critical of abortion, transgender policy

No one knows why this town stinks like cat pee

Senate Intelligence Committee requests documents from Jill Stein as part of Russia probe

Harvey Weinstein Investigated over Victim Payoffs, Report Says

Teen delivering newspapers with stepfather shot to death in Chicago

Air Force Academy restructuring, expanding office handling sexual assaults

Moscow-based cybersecurity firm appeals DHS decision to ban its software

Veteran spends thousands to find her service dog, locates 8 others instead

The Latest: Protesters gather at DeVos commencement speech

Facebook Starts Demoting ‘Engagement Bait’ Posts

Twitter rolls out stricter rules on abusive content

Navy pilot recalls encounter with UFO: ‘I think it was not from this world’

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!