While you were sleeping, Senate Republicans passed President Donald Trump's tax plan. And, in so doing, they gambled the entire 2018 election on it. The vote -- 51 to 49 -- was a party line one. (Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker was the only rebel, voting "no" due to his unhappiness with the $1 trillion the bill is predicted to add to the deficit.) ... Obviously, when you rush a massive overhaul of the tax system through Congress, you are taking a risk. But there are even more warning signs for Republicans that reveal what a huge gamble they took in passing this bill. First is the fact that independent analysts have concluded that this bill would add roughly $1.4 trillion to the deficit, according to estimates made by the Congressional Budget Office. read more
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has earned a spot in the entertainment industry's awards season: He was nominated for a Grammy on Tuesday, a first for the 2016 presidential candidate. Sanders was nominated in the spoken word category for the audio book version of "Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In," along with actor Mark Ruffalo. The book was published just after the presidential election. ... Also nominated in the category were Neil Degrasse Tyson for Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Bruce Springsteen for Born to Run, Shelly Peiken for Confessions of a Serial Songwriter, and Carrie Fisher for The Princess Diarist.
President Trump's former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland told a friend in an email when she was on Trump's transition team that Russia "threw" the U.S. election to Trump, The New York Times reported Saturday. McFarland reportedly wrote in the email that sanctions then-President Obama levied on Russia in response to Moscow's election meddling would make it more difficult for Trump to improve relations with Russia, "which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him." read more
Japan's much admired Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate on April 30, 2019, in the first such departure from the Chrysanthemum Throne in about 200 years, the government said Friday. Akihito's elder son Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne a day later, beginning a new as yet unnamed era. ... Akihito was 56 years old when he ascended the throne in January 1989 after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, beginning the Heisei Era. Naruhito will be 59 when he becomes emperor. Naruhito has no son, and only two other men -- his younger brother Akishino and his son -- are left as eligible successors.
The Russian ruble dropped suddenly against the U.S. dollar on an ABC News report that Michael Flynn will testify that he was directed by Donald Trump to make contact with officials of the country. The dollar gained more than 1.1 percent against the ruble Friday. Flynn also pleaded guilty to knowingly making materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to FBI agents, a felony.