The Morning Briefing: Chuck and Nancy Ghost Trump, Conyers' Underwear and Much, Much More

Good Wednesday morning.

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

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The President will then depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to St. Louis, MO.
  • In the afternoon, the President will arrive in St. Louis, MO, and will give remarks on tax reform.
  • The President will then depart St. Louis, MO for Washington, D.C., en route to the White House.

The NorKs test more missiles

North Korea is claiming it has tested a new, unseen missile that has a range of more than 8,100 miles.

North Korea tested the Hwasong-15 ICBM before dawn, North Korean state media revealed in a special noon announcement. The new missile is believed to have a range of more than 8,100 miles, far greater than that of the Hwasong-14 ICBM the North tested twice successfully in July. The new missile could theoretically strike anywhere in the continental U.S., whereas its predecessor could only strike parts of the U.S. mainland.

President Trump commented about the launch during a press briefing, saying the US "will take care of it."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said of the launch, "The DPRK’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them must be reversed. Together the international community must continue to send a unified message to North Korea that the DPRK must abandon its WMD programs. Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now. The United States remains committed to finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea."

The hot news on tax reform

Yesterday, Democrat leaders "Chuck and Nancy" ditched a planned meeting with President Trump about tax reform legislation.

“Given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement. “Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell and Speaker [of the House Paul] Ryan to meet this afternoon. We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement.”

Trump had expressed some doubt about the meeting on Twitter, earlier that day, so Chuck and Nancy ghosted Trump.

The Senate tax bill did pass the Senate Budget Committee yesterday. The Capitol Hill Police arrested 36 protestors outside the Budget Committee meeting.

"Officers on the scene arrested the demonstrators when they failed to cease and desist their unlawful demonstration activities in and around the Committee hearing room, resulting in the disruption of the hearing," Capitol Police said in a statement.

Bah Humbug: CNN to skip WH Christmas party

CNN tells Politico that it will not attend the White House Christmas party this year.

“CNN will not be attending this year's White House Christmas party,” a CNN spokesperson said. “In light of the President's continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests. We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants.”

Attacks on freedom of the press? Call me when Trump has CNN reporters surveiled by the DOJ.

Remember when the DOJ claimed Fox News' James Rosen was a "criminal co-conspirator" so they could access his (and his parents'!) digital communications? Or when the Obama administration subpoenaed phone records for 20 AP reporters? Where was CNN's righteous indignation over freedom of the press when that happened?

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded at "expert troll level" to CNN's decision:

Who cares about CNN?

John Conyers in his underwear: the latest on the harassment beat

A former aide to [alleged] harasser Rep. John Conyers tells CNN: "Most of us have walked in on him accidentally without knocking and have seen him in his underwear."

Melanie Sloan, the former Conyers staffer, told the WaPo "I was pretty taken aback to see my boss half-dressed. I turned on my heel and I left."

Bob Weiner, who served as Conyers' communications director from 1994 to 2000, spoke to reporters outside the congressman's office.

"His staff is very depressed and think that people are trying to make the die cast against him, and everybody's trying to work out statements of what to say that's the right thing to say and it's very complicated," he said. "People are hoping that the die hasn't been cast too far too soon already, and as I said, the staff is hoping very much that, at a minimum, that he gets the chance to complete his term as a member of Congress. That's the objective right now of the staff."

Meanwhile, another Democrat has called for Conyers to resign. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, joined Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-NY, yesterday, saying "I believe these women, I see the pattern and there is only one conclusion – Mr. Conyers must resign."

Also of note: members of the Congressional Black Caucus are pushing Conyers to resign.

Conyers' colleague and fellow Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has also appeared on the [alleged] harassment radar. Over at the Washington Examiner we learn "Rep. Raul M. Grijalva quietly arranged a 'severance package' in 2015 for one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment, revealing yet another way that lawmakers can use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior on Capitol Hill."

What was the cost to the American taxpayer? "The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further."

Turning to the West Coast now, "An aspiring actress who met Harvey Weinstein by chance in 2014 detailed in tears Tuesday how she said the media mogul made her stand in front of a mirror in his hotel room in Cannes, France, while he stood behind her, groping her and forcing her to perform a sex act after pretending to be interested in her career."

Kadian Noble, 31, has filed a lawsuit in federal court under a sex trafficking statute. A Weinstein spokesman said he "denies allegations of non-consensual sex" and "has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances." Another unidentified woman in London has also filed suit against Weinstein.

Historical picture of the day:

Troops of General Hodge’s First American Army captured the German town of Weisweiler after three days bitter house-to-house fighting, during their drive towards the city of Cologne. Infantry of the U.S. First Army Advance through the battered remains of a street in Weisweiler, Germany on Nov. 29, 1944. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Detective disciplined over 'Because you're white' remark to teen

Man arrested in connection with string of murders in Tampa

Undercover conservative activist rented basement apartment in home of top Democratic operative

Texas victim's family files first claim against U.S. Air Force over church massacre

Rand Paul’s first interview since the attack

Clinton Foundation has bumpy record on donor disclosure

Almost Every Graduate Of DC High School Was Truant, Yet All Of Them Were Accepted To College

Justice Don Willett Saved A Man’s Life At A Chick-Fil-A

Speaker at UConn’s ‘It’s OK To Be White’ event arrested after altercation

HRA worker, his wife busted for swiping more than $225G in welfare benefits

Actress Angela Lansbury Says Female Victims Share ‘Blame’ in Sexual Misconduct

375 million jobs may be automated by 2030, study suggests

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