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First Read's Morning Clips: Are Charges Coming Soon for Michael Flynn?

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: Mike Flynn
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.), National Security Advisor Designate speaks during a conference on the transition of the Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace on January 10, 2017 in Washington. FileChris Kleponis / AFP - Getty Images file

TRUMP AGENDA: Are charges coming soon for Michael Flynn?

An exclusive, from NBC’s Julia Ainsley, Carol Lee and Ken Dilanian: “Federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser and his son as part of the probe into Russia's intervention in the 2016 election, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation… Mueller is applying renewed pressure on Flynn following his indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News. The investigators are speaking to multiple witnesses in coming days to gain more information surrounding Flynn's lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.”

From NBC’s Richard Engel and Aggelos Petropoulos: “Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary in the Trump administration, shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, and he failed to clearly disclose those interests when he was being confirmed for his cabinet position. Ross — a billionaire industrialist — retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, that was partially owned by his former investment company. One of Navigator’s most important business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law and other members of the Russian president’s inner circle. MORE: Some of the details of Ross’s continuing financial holdings — much of which were not disclosed during his confirmation process — are revealed in a trove of more than 7 million internal documents of Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm, that was leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The documents consist of emails, presentations and other electronic data. These were then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — a global network that won the Pulitzer Prize this year for its work on the Panama Papers — and its international media partners. NBC News was given access to some of the leaked documents, which the ICIJ calls the “Paradise Papers.”

And from the Washington Post: “In all, documents and interviews show there are at least nine Trump associates who had contacts with Russians during the campaign or presidential transition. Some are well-known, and others, such as Papadopoulos, have been more on the periphery.”

In the Wall Street Journal: “Kremlin-backed support for Donald Trump’s candidacy over social media began much earlier than previously known, a new analysis of Twitter data shows. Russian Twitter accounts posing as Americans began lavishing praise on Mr. Trump and attacking his rivals within weeks after he announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, according to the analysis by The Wall Street Journal.”

Here’s how Donald Trump reacted to the latest mass shooting in Texas.

An op-ed from Marco Rubio, in the New York Times: “Tax reform is a key part of reinvigorating the American dream so that couples have the flexibility to choose how to best start and raise a family. The status quo means the cost of having children makes those choices for them, resulting in smaller families, riskier pregnancies, longer commutes from more affordable exurbs and more missed recitals… Providing significant tax relief to working families shouldn’t be a final box to check after all of the lobbyists have had their fill. As Congress works on a tax reform package, families must be our priority. We cannot lose sight of what should be the primary goal of tax reform for our time. As the 2016 election revealed, the crisis of the working-class family has steadily grown in recent years, with fewer marriages and children, less work and lower pay, and high rates of disability, all against the backdrop of increasingly out-of-touch, ruling-class elites in the wealthiest country in the world.”

“The second big act of tax reform is expected to come this week, when Senate Republicans unveil a plan of their own that’s likely to significantly differ in some places from the House legislation,” POLITICO reports. “One of the big tests will be how far Senate tax writers can go on the corporate tax rate. It would permanently plunge to 20 percent from 35 percent in the House plan, but the Senate is hemmed in by budget constraints that the House isn’t.”

“Nearly 200 countries are gathering in Bonn, Germany, on Monday to begin talks on the best ways to limit climate change — and they will all hear a mixed message from the United States. While Trump administration-backed officials promote coal, natural gas and nuclear power, representatives from U.S. cities, states and corporations are expected to push renewable resources like wind and solar,” writes NBC’s James Rainey and Ali Vitali.

The New York Times looks at what Xi Jinping wants from Trump.

Rand Paul is suffering from five broken ribs after being assaulted by a neighbor.

NBC’s Daniella Silva, summing up the Donna Brazile- DNC back-and-forth: “Donna Brazile, the former interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, responded to pushback against her forthcoming book about the Democratic Party, telling her critics to "go to hell."”

OFF TO THE RACES: Election Day 2017 is a day away

AL-SEN: Will black voters show up for Doug Jones?

“Voters say they prefer Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives over Republicans by the widest margin in over a decade, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll — a fresh sign of trouble for the GOP majority one year before the midterm elections. But Democrats’ effort to convert widespread disapproval of President Trump into victories in 2018 could be undercut by lower turnout, with Republicans expressing just as much motivation to vote in next year’s elections.”

The New York Times: “With a year left before the midterm elections, the line of senior House Republicans heading for the exits continues to grow. Democrats argue that the wave of retirements will help them retake the House. But regardless of who controls the chamber come January 2019, it is becoming increasingly clear that the House will be a different place, with some of its biggest personalities and powerful committee and subcommittee leaders leaving it behind.”

NJ-GOV: sums up everything you need to know before tomorrow’s gubernatorial election.

NJ-SEN: POLITICO notes that Bob Menendez could hold on to his Senate seat even if he’s convicted.

VA-GOV: From one of us(!): “Democrats have been here before. They're ahead in the polls, the Republican Party is divided and President Donald Trump's flaws have been dominating the political landscape. And we all saw how that turned out for the party in 2016. So as Virginia voters choose their next governor on Tuesday — either Democrat Ralph Northam or Republican Ed Gillespie — the central question has become: Unlike in 2016, can Democrats finally win with those advantages? Or will Republicans once again pull off the upset?”

Jonathan Martin, in the New York Times: “Propelled by demographic changes that are turning Virginia into an increasingly blue state and a liberal base energized by the convulsive Trump presidency, Democrats have long been favored to retain the governorship here when the state goes to the polls on Tuesday. But a racially tinged, divisive campaign by the Republican nominee, Ed Gillespie, who has transformed himself from establishment fixture to culture warrior, has tightened the race and, perhaps, presented a template for how to run a state campaign in the Trump era.”

And in POLITICO: “As the Virginia and New Jersey governors races draw to a close, one person is conspicuously absent from the trail: President Donald Trump. The president hasn’t appeared in either campaign, an indication of his increasingly narrow political appeal and his growing inability to draw support in swing and liberal states. Trump’s absence in the competitive Virginia contest is especially striking: He is the first president since Richard Nixon, who at the time was in the throes of the Watergate scandal, not to campaign in its governor’s race.”

The Richmond-Times Dispatch has full coverage of all the issues on the ballot Tuesday.