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First Read's Morning Clips: Talking Taxes

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform on Aug. 30, 2017, at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Missouri
President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform on Aug. 30, 2017, at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Missouri.Jeff Roberson / AP

TRUMP AGENDA: Talking taxes

“President Donald Trump urged Congress to act on a sweeping, bipartisan overhaul of the tax system Wednesday, promoting the loose outlines of a plan that he said would ease the burden on ‘forgotten’ middle class Americans while also reducing taxes for businesses,” writes NBC’s Ali Vitali.

More, from the New York Times: “The politically difficult legislation has yet to be drafted despite months of private negotiations among members of the Trump administration and Republicans on Capitol Hill. Time is running out for enactment of the bill before year’s end, and the White House is keenly aware that if Mr. Trump fails to deliver his promised tax cuts, he will emerge from his first year in office devoid of any major legislative accomplishments.”

POLITICO: “President Donald Trump’s tax plans hardly match his populist rhetoric. Though he sold his plan to rewrite the tax code as a boon to the average American worker in a speech Wednesday, he mostly focused on the taxes paid by America’s largest corporations.”

The Washington Post: “Away from the cameras and apart from the nonstop drama of the White House, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has come to play a role unlike any other Cabinet member. The retired Marine general has become a force for calm, order and, in the eyes of the president’s critics, quiet resistance to some of President Trump’s most combative and divisive instincts. In perhaps his greatest political feat, Mattis has maintained this air of independence without directly provoking a president who demands absolute loyalty.”

“A Trump administration official said Wednesday that the administration wanted to stabilize health insurance markets, but refused to say if the government would promote enrollment this fall under the Affordable Care Act or pay for the activities of counselors who help people sign up for coverage,” writes the New York Times.

From NBC’s Adam Edelman: “More than half of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, while nearly two-thirds said they support a program allowing "Dreamers" to stay in the U.S., which Trump is expected to end, according to a new NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll. Six in 10 said they felt it was "wrong" for Trump to pardon Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order not to detain suspected undocumented immigrants. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they felt Trump’s pardon was "the right thing" to do.”

Here’s a fuller look at that Pittsburgh focus group we reported on yesterday.

John McCain will return to the Senate next week.

The Wall Street Journal: “Paul Manafort’s political-consulting firm was active for more than a decade doing work that often dovetailed with Russian political interests not only in Ukraine, but also in Georgia and Montenegro, other countries the Kremlin considered to be in its sphere of influence. A Wall Street Journal examination shows these efforts were broader in scope and ambition, and took place for longer, than previously reported—starting in 2004 and continuing through 2015.”

Via the AP: “A grand jury used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has heard secret testimony from a Russian-American lobbyist who attended a June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump’s eldest son, The Associated Press has learned. A person familiar with the matter confirmed to the AP that Rinat Akhmetshin had appeared before Mueller’s grand jury in recent weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret proceedings.”

Bloomberg: “Over the past two years, executives and family members have sought substantial overseas investment from previously undisclosed places: South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund, France’s richest man, Israeli banks and insurance companies, and exploratory talks with a Saudi developer, according to former and current executives. These were in addition to previously reported attempts to raise money in China and Qatar.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Strange bedfellows in Alabama

POLITICO lays out one of the Democratic Party’s challenges for 2020: Their candidates are either familiar and in their 70s or younger and virtually unknown.

AL-GOV: Bradley Byrne says he won’t run for governor of Alabama — at least unless Kay Ivey decides not to run.

AL-SEN: “The Senate special election is making strange bedfellows out of Roy Moore's supporters,” writes “On one hand, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice has a Who's Who of conservative figures in his corner: James Dobson; Chuck Norris; "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson; and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. On the other, Moore is being backed by a self-described Democrat from a Democratic-dominated industry: top Alabama trial lawyer Jere Beasley.”

AZ-SEN: Joni Ernst is backing up Jeff Flake.

FL-27: The race to replace Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is getting bigger and bigger, per the Miami Herald.

MO-SEN: Trump blurred the lines between partisan politics and official White House business when he swiped at Claire McCaskill in Missouri yesterday

OH-GOV: Is Jerry Springer actually thinking of running? The Cincinnati Enquirer: “Springer, a former Cincinnati mayor and tabloid talk show host, wanted feedback from Sen. Sandra Williams, a leader in the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party; and Democratic Reps. Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse. Springer is talking with political consultants and polling the race but hasn't decided whether he'll enter the crowded gubernatorial field.”

Meanwhile, in the Columbus Dispatch: “Cordray keeps mum on Ohio governor bid.”

OH-SEN: Republican Mike Gibbons is set to air the first TV ads of the Senate race.

VA-GOV: A new ad from Ed Gillespie accuses Ralph Northam of casting “the deciding vote in favor of sanctuary cities that let illegal immigrants who commit crimes back on the street.” Here’s the Washington Post, with a fact check.