A new Harvard University poll Tuesday is blaring a loud danger signal to the Republican Party after finding that millennials are now the largest generation of voters and they are overwhelmingly Democratic, by a two-to-one margin. The latest youth poll from Harvard's influential Institute of Politics found that America's 18-29-year-olds prefer Democrats 65 percent to 33 percent, in part because they don't like President Trump and are "fearful" about the future. read more
President Trump told Israeli and Arab leaders on Tuesday that he plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a symbolically fraught move that would upend decades of American policy and upset efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday, two days after the expiration of a deadline for him to decide whether to keep the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. Palestinian officials said Mr. Trump told the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, that the United States would move the embassy to Jerusalem. Jordan said the president gave a similar message to King Abdullah II. read more
As the rest of the U.S. wrestles with holding sexual harassers to account, President Donald Trump is seeking to silence one of his most vocal critics -- a former contestant on his reality TV show who accused him of groping her and sued him for calling her a liar. At a crowded Manhattan courtroom Tuesday, his lawyer asked a New York state judge to dismiss a defamation case by Summer Zervos, a contender on The Apprentice in 2005 who alleges he "ambushed" her without her consent on more than one occasion starting in 2007, kissing her on the mouth, touching her breast and pressing his genitals against her. read more
ShareBlue: West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is pushing her party to ram through its unpopular tax scam bill before more Americans discover what's actually in it. Appearing on the right-wing propaganda network Fox News, Capito revealed the cynical strategy she is advocating now that the House and Senate are working on a final version of the bill. The legislation enshrines giant giveaways to major corporations and the idle rich and is loaded with unpopular provisions. Capito tacitly admitted this fact, saying, "The more time that goes, I think the more nitpicking and the more likelihood that one member or another may find a certain thing they don't like." read more
Bob Baeur, Lawfare: The interpretation of the [Michael] Flynn plea is subject to the usual risks that someone -- Robert Mueller -- knows far more than anyone else, and with what is available on the public record, it may be impossible to appreciate how this piece fits into the mosaic of the special counsel's investigation. So some may believe it is safest to give the event the narrowest possible reading. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, lied to the FBI to cover up Trump transition team activities that he thought it best not to acknowledge. On this account, Flynn may have been concerned about the propriety of contacts with Russia before the inauguration to shift U.S. policy on sanctions and the U.N. Security Council vote on Israeli settlements. So much, then, for this phase of the case: Now we wait to see what else Flynn may disclose to the special counsel as part of their cooperation agreement. read more
Steve Benen, Maddowblog: Donald Trump's legal defense team have responded to the Russia scandal in recent months by arguing, repeatedly and in public, that the president and his campaign didn't collude with Putin's government during last year's attack, and that the president didn't obstruct justice as the investigation has unfolded. The new line from Trump World is that collusion isn't a big deal and the president is literally incapable of obstructing justice. read more
If anyone was going to be the Forrest Gump of the Russia investigation, we're lucky it was Guardian reporter Luke Harding. ... Now Harding has incorporated those stories, along with other relevant experiences -- such as the time the FSB broke into his home in Moscow, presumably to bug it, and left a book on sex and relationships on his bedside table -- into a book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money and How Russian Helped Donald Trump Win. Among its most interesting chapters is one relating to Tuesday's news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Trump's records with Deutsche Bank. In Collusion, Harding details Trump's attempts in 2008 to default on some $330 million he owed Deutsche Bank for its help financing the construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. The bank sued to force Trump to pay a portion of the debt: $40 million plus legal fees and interest. read more
Matthew Sheppard: Two seemingly opposed trends -- Donald Trump's norm-destroying presidency and the astonishing comeuppance faced by numerous media and political figures accused of sexual misconduct -- are changing American politics in major ways. ... At least on this issue, Democrats and liberals appear to be moving toward higher moral standards in public life. On the political right, however, there is a growing segment pushing in the opposite direction. Once the religious right and their more secular allies decided to overlook Trump's constant stream of lies, his frequent promotion of bigotry and the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him, anything was possible. read more
HBO host John Oliver hammered Dustin Hoffman about allegations of sexual harassment and the actor fired back with a ferocious defense, as a seemingly benign screening became an explosive conversation about Hollywood sexual misconduct on Monday night. "This is something we're going to have to talk about because ... it's hanging in the air," Oliver said to Hoffman at the discussion, an anniversary screening of the film Wag the Dog. He was alluding to an allegation made by Anna Graham Hunter last month that Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie "Death of a Salesman." "It's hanging in the air?" Hoffman said. "From a few things you've read, you've made an incredible assumption about me," he noted, adding sarcastically, "You've made the case better than anyone else can. I'm guilty." read more
Russia's Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country's government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals. read more
On Election Day next November, the nation will be watching California to see whether the Democrats can retake the House of Representatives. Nearly one-third of the congressional districts represented by Republicans that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 are in the Golden State, and if the Democrats are to regain the gavel in the House, they'll need to win most of those districts. ... The outcome of these elections, however, will be determined not only by the appeal and resources of the candidates, the mobilizations on their behalf, and President Trump's unpopularity. A host of other factors -- California's top-two primary system, the likelihood of viable Latino candidates for governor and U.S. senator, the probability of a gas-tax repeal initiative, and the efforts of Democratic candidates for statewide office to win Republican voters -- will likely play a crucial role in deciding the congressional contests the Democrats need to win.
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.