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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Alabama Senate race is days away, but already, top Republicans are admitting defeat. Whether their candidate, Roy Moore, overcomes multiple on-the-record accusations of child molestation and sexual misconduct to win on Dec. 12 or not, top party officials concede that Alabama has been a disaster for the national brand -- and either result will put the Republican congressional majorities in jeopardy. "There's no outcome here in which the Republican Party can say, 'Well, that turned out OK,' no outcome where we can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief," said Scott Jennings, a GOP strategist who is close to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "Both outcomes are bad for the overall health and brand of the Republican Party."

The outdoor outfitter Patagonia is leading an effort to oppose President Trump's unprecedented move reducing the size of two national monuments in Utah by nearly 2 million acres combined. The company's website states, "In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history. ... Over 2.7 million public comments poured in during the Department of the Interior's 60-day comment period -- a record-breaking response. More than 98 percent of those comments expressed support for maintaining or expanding national monuments. Shutting down a national monument, or any major portion of a national monument, could have a devastating impact on local economies and the multibillion-dollar outdoor recreation economy that America's public lands and waterways support."

On Friday, Senate Republicans rewrote the American tax code over lunch -- and passed their (partially handwritten) legislation around 2 a.m. the following morning. ... While Republicans were manically outlining their plans to take from the poor to give to the Trumps, they also, accidentally, nullified all of their corporate donors' favorite deductions. ... The Senate bill brings the normal corporate rate down to 20 percent -- while leaving the alternative minimum rate at ... 20 percent. The legislation would still allow corporations to claim a wide variety of tax credits and deductions -- it just renders all them completely worthless. Companies can either take no deductions, and pay a 20 percent rate -- or take lots of deductions ... and pay a 20 percent rate. read more

K.T. McFarland, President Trump's former deputy national security adviser and a member of his transition team, appeared to have misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on what she knew about communications between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to an email exchange obtained by The New York Times. ... [Sen. Cory] Booker told the Times the email suggests McFarland gave false testimony. "If this is the case, this is an alarming development, and another example of a pattern of deception on the part of Trump's closest associates regarding their connections and communications to Russian government officials," he added.

John Anderson, the longtime GOP congressman from Illinois who bolted his party in 1980 to run as an independent against President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, has died. He was 95. His daughter, Diane Anderson, confirmed her father's death on Sunday night in Washington, D.C. after a long illness. ... NPR's Brian Naylor writes: "With his shock of white hair and glasses, Anderson looked more a college professor than a politician when he ran for president in 1980, first as a Republican. But after losing the GOP primary in his home state of Illinois to Ronald Reagan, he decided to run as an independent. He called his [run] 'a campaign of ideas.'"


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