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First Read’s Morning Clips: Trump Meets Duterte

TRUMP AGENDA: Trump “briefly” brought up human rights with Duterte

From NBC’s Ali Vitali: “U.S. President Donald Trump met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at an economic summit here, leaving unanswered questions about whether he'd bring up human rights violations. After the meeting, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs." ISIS and trade were also discussed, she said.”

“In a stark break from past practice by American presidents, who have pressed foreign leaders publicly and privately about allegations of human rights abuses, Mr. Trump instead pursued his own transactional style of diplomacy, dwelling mostly on areas of common ground during his meeting with Mr. Duterte,” writes the New York Times.

The AP, on how Trump handled the “traditional” ASEAN handshake.

Trump is teasing a major announcement on trade this week.

The latest on tax reform, in the Washington Post: “Congressional Republicans face critical decisions this week as they move within striking distance on a major legislative package to cut taxes, an achievement party leaders say is crucial to stabilizing the GOP’s recent political tailspin ahead of next year’s elections. The House plans to vote on a GOP tax bill by week’s end that would slash taxes for companies and overhaul the tax code for virtually every American family and individual. And the Senate Finance Committee expects to vote on its version of the package within the next few days.”

The Wall Street Journal reports on how the GOP tax bills would make the system simpler — and how they wouldn’t.

The Washington Post reports on “a wave of county sheriffs who feel emboldened by President Trump and his agenda, becoming vocal foot soldiers in the nation’s testy political and culture wars.”

POLITICO checks in on the investigation into Tom Price’s use of private flights. “The department’s inspector-general’s probe will review who approved — or should have been approving — Price’s use of private jets on at least 26 trips from May to September, some of them quick jaunts on routes heavily traveled by commercial aircraft, according to three people with knowledge of the probe… Price’s use of corporate jets appears to run afoul of federal regulations stating that private travel should be approved only when commercial flights aren’t feasible, and the inspector-general probe is likely to put a spotlight on HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration John Bardis, the official designated in department rules as overseeing the travel approval process along with the HHS general counsel’s office.”

“Brett Talley, a 36-year-old lawyer whom President Trump nominated for a lifetime federal judgeship, has practiced law for only three years and has yet to try a case,” writes the Washington Post.

“For several decades, a consensus has grown that reining in the United States’ $3.2 trillion annual medical bill begins with changing the way doctors are paid: Instead of compensating them for every appointment, service and procedure, they should be paid based on the quality of their care,” writes the New York Times. “The Obama administration used the authority of the Affordable Care Act to aggressively advance this idea, but many doctors chafed at the scope and speed of its experiments to change the way Medicare pays for everything from primary care to cancer treatment. Now, the Trump administration is siding with doctors — making a series of regulatory changes that slow or shrink some of these initiatives and let many doctors delay adopting the new system.”

OFF TO THE RACES: How large counties are changing the political landscape

Here’s a big look from one of us (!) about how America’s large counties are changing the political landscape.

Joe Biden said on TODAY that he hasn’t made up his mind on 2020. And NBC’s Mike Memoli gives a preview of Biden’s new book here.

POLITICO: “Fresh off sweeping victories in Virginia, and eyeing a possible historic upset in Alabama, the party is looking ahead to a political environment next year defined by both energized liberal base voters and discouraged conservatives. That, combined with an intraparty GOP war, has liberal leaders taking a new look at Senate, gubernatorial and House races in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi, in addition to next month's contest in Alabama.”

AL-SEN: Roy Moore now says he plans to sue the Washington Post over its report that he pursued teenage girls.

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey told one of us(!) that Roy Moore should step aside.

The Washington Post notes that Moore is trying to re-center his campaign on conservative religious ideals.

VA-GOV: NBC’s Dante Chinni takes a look at what the Virginia election results mean for 2018.