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First Read’s Morning Clips: CFPB dispute becomes a court battle

TRUMP AGENDA: CFPB dispute turns into court battle

Breaking last night: “President Donald Trump's appointment of his budget director as interim director of a consumer protection agency championed by Democrats is being challenged in federal court. Leandra English, the official elevated to interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by outgoing Director Richard Cordray, an Obama-era appointee, filed suit Sunday against Trump and his pick, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.”

More from the New York Times: “At stake is the immediate future of the consumer bureau — one of the last holdouts, within the federal government, against Mr. Trump’s efforts to strip away business regulations. While Mr. Trump can appoint his own director, confirmation could take months and slow down Republican efforts to defang the agency.”

NBC’s Jonathan Allen: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's comments about sexual harassment allegations in her party's own ranks touched off a fierce blowback not only from Republicans, but also from progressives, who said they feared it muddled the Democrats' message on misconduct by putting politics ahead of protecting women. In an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Pelosi, D-Calif., offered supportive words for Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who has been accused of sexually harassing former members of his congressional staff and who reached a taxpayer-funded settlement with one accuser who said she was fired for rejecting his advances.”

And an “ashamed” Al Franken is back at work. From the AP: “The Democrat spoke to a handful of Minnesota media outlets on Sunday in the first interviews he’s granted since being swept into a nationwide tide of sexual misconduct allegations. Four women have accused the U.S. senator of sexual misconduct. Three women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks while taking photos with them during separate incidents at campaign events in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he doesn’t remember taking the specific photos, but said such groping is “not something I would intentionally do.””

And in the New York Times: “Lawmakers are facing mounting pressure to end Capitol Hill’s culture of secrecy over sexual harassment as they return from a holiday break, with members of both parties calling for Congress to overhaul its handling of misconduct claims and to unmask lawmakers who have paid settlements using taxpayer money.”

POLITICO, with the big picture on tax reform: “It’s do-or-die time for Senate Republicans on tax reform. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn't appear to have locked down 50 votes for his party’s tax overhaul, with at least half a dozen GOP senators showing varying levels of concern about the legislation released earlier this month. Yet the GOP leadership has a narrow window to push through its tax bill in the Senate before lawmakers become consumed with spending fights that could trigger a shutdown, not to mention a special election in Alabama that could flip a reliable Republican vote to a not-so-reliable one — or even a Democrat.”

The Washington Post: “The Senate Republican tax plan gives substantial tax cuts and benefits to Americans earning more than $100,000 a year, while the nation’s poorest would be worse off, according to a report released Sunday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”

“For years, a coalition of well-funded groups on the religious right have waged an uphill battle to repeal a 1954 law that bans churches and other nonprofit groups from engaging in political activity,” writes the New York Times. “Now, those groups are edging toward a once-improbable victory as Republican lawmakers, with the enthusiastic backing of President Trump, prepare to rewrite large swaths of the United States tax code as part of the $1.5 trillion tax package moving through Congress. Among the changes in the tax bill that passed the House this month is a provision to roll back the 1954 ban, a move that is championed by the religious right, but opposed by thousands of religious and nonprofit leaders, who warn that it could blur the line between charity and politics.”

Don’t forget that a shutdown is still on the table, too.

Outside group Not One Penny is up with a new ad highlighting the GOP tax plan's benefits for families like Trump's.

And in the Wall Street Journal: “Loan growth at banks is slowing, casting a cloud over what was supposed to have been a banner year for financial institutions following last November’s elections. The rate of 12-month loan growth at U.S. banks in the third quarter hit its lowest level since the end of 2013, according to data released last week by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That marked the sixth consecutive quarter of decline for this measure of loan growth.”

“In June 2015, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn took a little-noticed trip to Egypt and Israel, paid for by a U.S. company he was advising. The company hoped to build more than two dozen nuclear plants in the region in partnership with Russian interests,” writes the Washington Post. “Flynn’s quiet involvement in that project — and his failure to disclose his ties to the effort — could complicate the legal issues facing President Trump’s former national security adviser, who has signaled he may be willing to cooperate with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Tom Steyer defends his campaign to impeach Trump

Tom Steyer is defending his campaign calling for Trump to be impeached.

Is Bernie Sanders making moves for a 2020 run? POLITICO reports.

AL-SEN: The Washington Post reports on how suburban women in Alabama are torn over Roy Moore’s candidacy.

In case you missed it: Trump weighed in again on the Alabama race on Sunday.

Jones’ campaign says that Moore was “unfit for office” even before allegations of misconduct.

CO-GOV: Tom Tancredo says he wasn’t “recruited” by Steve Bannon.