TRUMP AGENDA: 18 Crucial Days
New this morning from NBC’s Carol Lee and Julia Ainsley: “Special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to piece together what happened inside the White House over a critical 18-day period that began when senior officials were told that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The questions about what happened between Jan. 26 and Flynn's firing on Feb. 13 appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, say two people familiar with Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. Multiple sources say that during interviews, Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses, including White House Counsel Don McGahn and others who have worked in the West Wing, to go through each day that Flynn remained as national security adviser and describe in detail what they knew was happening inside the White House as it related to Flynn.”
The Washington Post offers a look at the rise and fall of George Papadopoulos.
Over the weekend, from the New York Times, on Trump’s Twitter and TV habits: “As he ends his first year in office, Mr. Trump is redefining what it means to be president. He sees the highest office in the land much as he did the night of his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton — as a prize he must fight to protect every waking moment, and Twitter is his Excalibur. Despite all his bluster, he views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously, according to interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress. … Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.”
Bernie Sanders told one of us(!) that Democrats should be careful of “jumping the gun” on Trump impeachment proceedings.
Nikki Haley says that Trump accusers “should be heard.”
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The Washington Post, on the big tax rush: “Republicans are moving their tax plan toward final passage at stunning speed, blowing past Democrats before they’ve had time to fully mobilize against it but leaving the measure vulnerable to the types of expensive problems popping up in their massive and complex plan. Questionable special-interest provisions have been stuffed in along the way, out of public view and in some cases literally in the dead of night. Drafting errors by exhausted staff are cropping up and need fixes, which must be tackled by congressional negotiators working to reconcile competing versions of the legislation passed separately by the House and the Senate.”
“A little-discussed provision in the Senate tax bill could lead to a higher tax bill for millions of small investors and cause many to unload stocks before year-end to avoid those costs,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Under the Senate’s $1.4 trillion tax overhaul, investors would lose the ability to choose which shares they can sell to reduce a position. Instead, investors selling partial stakes in a company would have to unload their oldest shares first, a process known as selling on a “first-in, first-out” basis. Selling those shares usually brings a higher tax bill if the stock’s price has been rising. Some small investors are fuming that the new rule would cause them to pay much more in taxes.”
The Trump administration has been ramping down enforcement of federal pollution laws, reports the New York Times.
And Dante Chinni does the math to see how GOP party ID has dropped since the Trump election.
OFF TO THE RACES: One day to go in Alabama
A commission set up to help reform the Democratic presidential nominating process has voted to restrict the number of superdelegates as part of a slew of changes,” POLITICO reports. “The Democratic Party’s Unity Reform Commission is recommending cutting the number of superdelegates by about 400, equal to a 60 percent reduction. Many of the remaining superdelegates would see their vote tied to the results in their state.”
AL-SEN: Richard Shelby says he can’t vote for Moore, telling CNN “I think Alabama deserves better.”
POLITICO looks at how Trump came around to support Moore.
Alex Seitz-Wald writes that pollsters and pundits agree that Tuesday’s race is impossible to predict.
Why was Roy Moore in Philadelphia on the last weekend of the campaign?
The New York Times: “With only hours until the polls open on Tuesday in this unlikeliest of battleground states, Democrats are deploying a sprawling, multimillion-dollar get-out-the-vote operation in an effort to steal away a Senate seat and reduce the Republican majority to a single vote. A constellation of liberal groups outside the state has showered money and manpower on turnout efforts aimed at helping Mr. Jones. But they are working discreetly, hoping to avoid the appearance of trying to dictate whom Alabamians should support.”