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GOP Introduces Massive, Lame Duck Tax Bill

House Republicans unveil giant tax package. Politico: “House Republicans on Monday evening unexpectedly released a 297-page tax bill they hope to move during the lame-duck session of Congress. The legislation would revive a number of expired tax provisions known as “extenders,” address glitches in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and make a range of changes to savings- and retirement-related tax provisions/ Other parts of the bill would revamp the IRS, provide new tax breaks for start-up businesses and offer assistance to disaster victims. The measure amounts to House Republicans’ opening bid in negotiations with the Senate. They’ll need Democratic support there to move any changes, and it’s unclear lawmakers will agree to any of the provisions before adjourning for the year. The bill’s unveiling came only hours after Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, complained the House GOP had provided little inkling of what exactly they want to do on taxes in the lame duck. His spokesperson later gave the measure a frosty reception. ‘The first time Finance Committee Dems saw Brady’s legislation was in his press release,’ Wyden spokeswoman Rachel McCleery tweeted Monday evening. ‘There was no communication from his staff, including a heads up that something was coming. That is not how you negotiate.'”

Manafort Lied To Mueller Investigation

Manafort breached plea deal by repeatedly lying, Mueller says. NYT: “Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, repeatedly lied to federal investigators in breach of a plea agreement he signed two months ago, the special counsel’s office said in a court filing late on Monday. Prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said Mr. Manafort’s “crimes and lies” about “a variety of subject matters” relieve them of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement. But under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Manafort cannot withdraw his guilty plea. Given the impasse between the two sides, they asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to set a sentencing date for Mr. Manafort, who has been in solitary confinement in a detention center in Alexandria, Va. The 11th-hour development in Mr. Manafort’s case is a fresh sign of the special counsel’s aggressive approach in investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race and whether anyone in the Trump campaign knew about or assisted Moscow’s effort. Striking a plea deal with Mr. Manafort in September potentially gave prosecutors access to information that could prove useful to their investigation. But their filing on Monday, a rare step in a plea deal, suggested that they thought Mr. Manafort was withholding details that could be pertinent to the Russia inquiry or other cases.”

Espy Faces Hyde-Smith In Alabama Senate Runoff

Espy faces Hyde-Smith in runoff. Clarion-Ledger: “Despite a long-shot bid for any Democrat — Trump won Mississippi by 18 points in 2016 and has endorsed Hyde-Smith — Espy has generated several bursts of national attention and excitement on the campaign trail in recent weeks. Sometimes, they have been thanks to his opponent’s mistakes. At a Jackson breakfast for women last week, dozens lined up to take a picture with Harris, the California senator and possible 2020 presidential contender. In motivating the women to get out and vote, she described the race as ‘one of the most important in our lifetimes,’ and an ‘inflection moment.’ She also added that ‘if it’s worth fighting for, it’s a fight worth having,’ seeming to acknowledge Espy’s tough odds. Social media gold for Espy: Hyde-Smith’s recent reference to attending a ‘public hanging’ as she praised a supporter, and a later reference to voter suppression of ‘liberal folks,’ which her campaign labeled a joke. Espy has accepted the attention after the videos were posted online, going on CNN and MSNBC. But he has rarely hammered Hyde-Smith very hard for her remarks, which many saw as having racial undertones in a state with a history of violence and voter suppression tactics carried out on African-Americans. In more recent days, Espy’s campaign did release an ad attacking Hyde-Smith over the remarks: ‘We can’t afford a senator who embarrasses us and reinforces the stereotypes we’ve worked so hard to overcome.'”

DOJ Deflects Scrutiny Of Acting AG

DOJ urges justices not to delve into Whitaker appointment. Politico: “The Justice Department is urging the Supreme Court to turn down — at least for now — a chance to weigh in on whether President Donald Trump acted legally when he installed former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, as acting attorney general earlier this month after demanding Sessions’ resignation. Litigants in several different courts have questioned the legality of Trump’s move, but Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the Supreme Court on Monday that it should stay out of the fray until lower courts had a chance to weigh in. ‘No court — in this case or any other — has previously addressed the questions petitioner seeks to inject here,’ Francisco wrote. ‘The Court therefore should decline petitioner’s request to address those matters in the first instance in this suit.’ Lawyers for Nevada businessman Barry Michaels raised the issue with the Supreme Court on Nov. 16, asking the justices to replace Whitaker as one of the official targets of a petition relating to the government’s power to deny firearms to nonviolent felons like Michaels. The motion argued that Whitaker’s appointment was illegitimate and urged the high court to substitute Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the respondent.”

Flake Says No New Judges Until Mueller Protected

Sen. Jeff Flake draws the line: Protect Mueller probe or no new federal judges. AZ Central: “Sen. Jeff Flake drew a dramatic new line against President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans on Wednesday, promising to vote against new federal judges unless the Senate protects Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Flake, a lame-duck Arizona Republican, could jeopardize dozens of judicial nominations Senate GOP leaders want to push through before the current Congress ends in early January. His move comes days after Trump installed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, a position that effectively places him in charge of the Mueller investigation. Whitaker’s earlier public remarks have sketched out ways to undermine Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice afterward.”

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