TRUMP AGENDA: “No more Mr. Nice Guy”
Ali Vitali, in Vietnam: “President Donald Trump came to a major meeting with Asian countries armed with an awkward message for trading partners: no more Mr. Nice Guy. Trump on Friday pledged to end years of "chronic trade abuses" that he said have plagued the U.S. "I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it," Trump said in a speech ahead of a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders. "They did not. But I will."
Trump and Putin will not hold a formal meeting, the White House says.
From Alex Seitz-Wald, Benjy Sarlin and Leigh Ann Caldwell: “Senate Republicans unveiled their tax overhaul plan Thursday as the GOP races to pass President Donald Trump’s top priority before their self-imposed Thanksgiving deadline. The Senate plan differs in some key ways from the version introduced by the House last week. The release of the Senate bill sets the stage for talks among the White House, Senate and House to reach agreement on a final bill in the weeks ahead.”
The New York Times: “The Senate bill differs significantly from the House version approved by the Ways and Means committee on Thursday: It would preserve some popular tax breaks, including ones for mortgage interest and medical expenses, and would maintain a bottom tax rate of 10 percent for lower earners. But it would also jettison the state and local tax deduction entirely and delay the enforcement of a 20 percent corporate tax rate until 2019, which could rankle the White House and mute the economic growth projections that Republicans are counting on to blunt the cost of the tax cuts.”
And in POLITICO: “If one thing unifies Republicans and makes the job easier than it might appear, it's the fear that they will have nothing to take into those contests after the failure of another marquee effort, repealing and replacing Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders used the drubbing the party took in Tuesday's election in Virginia as a warning to the rank and file: Pass tax reform or face the wrath of Republican voters.”
Carol Lee and Mike Memoli: “While President Donald Trump has notoriously clashed with his predecessors since taking office, Vice President Mike Pence has been quietly cultivating his. Pence speaks with Joe Biden on the phone at least once a month, and he’s had numerous conversations with Dick Cheney, even meeting in his West Wing office, according to people close to the two former vice presidents. Their discussions involve an exchange of ideas and advice, these people said, with Biden and Cheney offering their counsel on foreign and domestic policy issues, the interplay between the White House and Capitol Hill, and how to navigate the country’s No. 2 job.”
Don’t miss the New York Times’ interview with Steve Bannon, who says Mitch McConnell’s got to go.
NJ.com, on the Menendez trial: “The juror dismissed from Sen. Robert Menendez's bribery case said they began deliberations on Monday with nine of them -- including herself -- prepared to find him not guilty of the most serious charges. By Thursday, they were still deadlocked, she said. Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, 61, of Hillside said the government had not made its case against Menendez and three others jurors agreed with her.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the investigation. Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed the U.S. to extradite him, views the cleric as a political enemy.”
And even more, from NBC’s Carol Lee and Julia Ainsley: “Four people familiar with the investigation said Mueller is looking into whether Flynn discussed in the late December meeting orchestrating the return to Turkey of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan who lives in the U.S. Additionally, three people familiar with the probe said investigators are examining whether Flynn and other participants discussed a way to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the U.S. Zarrab is facing federal charges that he helped Iran skirt U.S. sanctions.”
The Washington Post: “Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Thursday that, contrary to a report in The Washington Post, taxpayers did not cover his wife’s expenses on a July trip to Europe that mixed official travel with sightseeing. “There was nothing inappropriate about this,” Shulkin said, speaking at a Washington Post Live event on veterans’ issues. He rebuked the news organization for what he called “poor reporting.”
OFF TO THE RACES: Roy Moore – under pressure
AL-SEN: Here’s the Washington Post’s bombshell report on Moore: “Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32”
NBC’s Adam Edelman takes a look at the growing pressure on Moore.
In AL.com: “An attorney for Leigh Corfman, whose story of a sexual encounter with Roy Moore when he was 32 and she was 14, broke today, said Corfman stands by her story. Hoover attorney Eddie Sexton told AL.com that Corfman has wanted to publicly talk about the time in 1979 when Moore dated her, but never felt like it was the right time.”
The New York Times: “Republicans in Washington seemed near panic Thursday in the light of a news report in which four women said Roy S. Moore, the Republican nominee for a United States Senate seat in Alabama and an evangelical Christian, had made sexual or romantic overtures to them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, said Mr. Moore should step aside ahead of the Dec. 12 special election if the allegations were true. But in Alabama, the fallout was uncertain for a candidate who is considered a hero in some circles for his conservative cultural stances.”
Steve Bannon is calling the Washington Post “part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party.”
CA-SEN: Dianne Feinstein has a strong lead for re-election, according to a USC/LA Times poll.
PA-SEN: The Allentown Morning Call: “Republican Jeff Bartos has redirected his political aspiration from Washington, D.C., to Harrisburg. The Montgomery County real estate developer is abandoning his plans to run for the U.S. Senate and instead will seek the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, a post he aims to win by working in tandem with gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner, a York County state senator and business owner. The two men appeared together Thursday to announce they are creating an informal ticket. Bartos’ decision removes the main obstacle facing U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta as he seeks the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey next year.”
UT-SEN: POLITICO: “Mitt Romney is edging closer to a 2018 Senate run. The former GOP presidential nominee is huddling with Utah’s class of GOP power brokers, contacting the state’s major political donors, and hitting the trail for candidates running in local races amid mounting speculation that the state’s longtime senator, Orrin Hatch, will retire. Romney is also raising money for House and Senate Republicans, winning him favor with GOP leaders ahead of a treacherous midterm election.”