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
Reuters documents 104 prisoner fatalities after corrections officers deployed Tasers, often with other force. Most inmates were unarmed, and many were handcuffed or pinned to the ground. Some abuses, experts say, are akin to torture. ... The 2009 incident is among hundreds documented by Reuters in which Tasers have been misused or linked to accusations of torture or corporal punishment in U.S. prisons and jails. Reuters identified 104 deaths involving Tasers behind bars, nearly all since 2000 -- 10 percent of a larger universe of more than 1,000 fatal law enforcement encounters in which the weapons were used. 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
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) denied a report Wednesday that he had decided to resign the following day. Minnesota Public Radio had reported, citing an unnamed Democratic official who had spoken to Franken and his staff, that the senator would resign Thursday. Shortly after the story went live, however, Franken's office said it was "not accurate." ... Also on Wednesday, more than a dozen Democratic senators called for Franken's resignation. The senator's office announced amid those calls that he would make an announcement Thursday.
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
Ria Tabacco Mar: Is there a constitutional right to discriminate? That should be an easy "no." But in President Trump's America, that question will be argued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, involves Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, whom I have represented since 2015. ... What should have been a special day became memorable for the wrong reasons. Masterpiece Cakeshop refused even to discuss a cake with them because Mullins and Craig are a gay couple. 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
Andrew Reiner: I had thought about reaching for my father's hand for weeks. He was slowly dying in a nursing home, and no one who visited him -- from my mother, his wife of 42 years, to my three siblings -- held his hand. How do you reach for something that, for so many decades, hinted at violence and, worse, dismissal In the flickering gray from the old black-and-white movies we watched together, I finally did it. I touched my father's hand, which I hadn't held since I was a young boy. ... Since then, I have learned that many middle-aged American men share this discomfort with reaching for another man's hand. But experts say that nonsexual touching contributes to greater well-being. 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
Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post: Our main takeaway: The Trump plan and the 2003 Bush cuts were harder on the middle class than anything else in our sample, with both giving outsize benefit to those earning more than $100,000 a year in the first year after implementation. ... The Tax Policy Center forecast the second round of Bush cuts to shift heavily toward the benefit of wealthy taxpayers. Those earning more than $500,000 went from taking home 24 percent of the overall cut in 2004 to pocketing 50 percent in 2006. But even by that metric, the current House and Senate plans might have Bush beat when it comes to shifting money to the wealthy.
President Donald Trump's weekly job approval dropped to 35% for the week ending Dec. 3, matching the lowest weekly average of his tenure so far. ... Trump's weekly approval average fell to 35% twice previously -- for the week ending Oct. 29 and the week ending Aug. 27. The low point in late August was after his comments about both sides being at fault in the race-related violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.