TRUMP AGENDA: Foreign leaders criticize Jerusalem move
Trump is expected to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital today. NBC’s Alastair Jamieson and Alex Johnson sum up what world leaders are saying about the move.
More, in the New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s decision, a high-risk foray into the thicket of the Middle East, was driven not by diplomatic calculations but by a campaign promise. He appealed to evangelicals and ardently pro-Israel American Jews in 2016 by vowing to move the embassy, and advisers said on Tuesday he was determined to make good on his word. But the president, faced with a deadline of this past Monday to make that decision, still plans to sign a national security waiver to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for an additional six months, even as he set in motion a plan to move it to Jerusalem. Officials said the process would take several years.”
And more in the Washington Post: “Palestinian factions have announced three “days of rage,” starting Wednesday, in protest of a potential embassy move. They see a recognition of an “undivided” Jerusalem as the Israeli capital as a tacit acceptance of the continued Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem warned U.S. nationals and government employees of potential threats to their safety, and Palestinians burned effigies of Trump in the city of Bethlehem on Tuesday night.”
And in the AP: “The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation said changing Jerusalem’s status would amount to “naked aggression” against the Arab and Muslim world, and the head of the Arab League said it would be a “dangerous measure that would have repercussions” across the entire Middle East. Perhaps most significantly, Saudi Arabia spoke out strongly against the possible American step. The Saudis are a key American ally necessary for any attempt to forge a region-wide peace.”
The Washington Post’s Paul Kane explains how House conservatives are at an old game again — political hostage grabs on spending.
Conservative activists are trying to sell the tax plan, but they’re hearing resistance on the ground.
POLITICO says that the tax plan is full of loopholes and glitches, according to experts. “Some of the provisions could be easily gamed, tax lawyers say. Their plans to cut taxes on “pass-through” businesses in particular could open broad avenues for tax avoidance. Others would have unintended results, like a last-minute decision by the Senate to keep the alternative minimum tax, which was designed to make sure wealthy people and corporations don't escape taxes altogether. For many businesses, that would nullify the value of a hugely popular break for research and development expenses.”
From one of us(!): “Many federal workers are feeling better about their jobs this year, but employees at the State Department, the FBI and elsewhere in the intelligence community report lower morale than they did before the 2016 election, according to a newly released survey of government employees.”
From NBC’s Ken Dilanian and Natasha Lebedeva: “Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, the lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee in answers to written questions obtained exclusively by NBC News. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn't have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's Democratic opponent.”
Trump’s attorney says that he can’t be sued in state court over a sexual harassment defamation claim.
OFF TO THE RACES: Bannon’s enemies list
AL-SEN: Alex Seitz-Wald files from Fairhope, Alabama on Steve Bannon’s embrace of Moore — as well as Bannon’s growing enemies list.
The New York Times, on Trump’s endorsement of Moore: “Mr. Trump’s improvisational, and often impulsive, political decision making has become so routine that Republican leaders now accept that there will be days when he suddenly endorses and telephones candidates, including one accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls. On Tuesday, Senate leaders appeared dismayed about — but also resigned to — being linked to Mr. Moore’s candidacy. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, conceded that he could not stop Mr. Moore, a former state judge, from being seated if he won the special election next Tuesday. But in an illustration of how uneasy Senate Republicans are about Mr. Moore joining their ranks, Mr. McConnell pointedly said that if Mr. Moore was elected, ‘he would immediately have an issue with the Ethics Committee.’”
GA: Atlanta’s contentious mayoral race is too close to call, with a recount coming.
MI-13: John Conyers wants his son to run for his seat now that he has resigned. So who is John Conyers III?
NJ-SEN: The tax bill could scuttle some promises made by the state’s new governor, the New York Times notes.