Gen. Flynn Pleads, Tax Bill Passes Senate

Up the Ladder: In a development that confirms criminal activity in the White House, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty yesterday to making false statements to the FBI in the Russia investigation and admitted that he is cooperating with the prosecution.

This deal probably puts Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and possibly even the president himself in jeopardy.

Flynn’s lies occurred on January 24th, after President Trump was in office and while Flynn was acting as the national security adviser. Prosecutors collapsed four lies about Flynn’s conversations with the then Russian ambassador into a single charge, a sure sign that they are going easy on him in exchange for information about higher-ups in the Trump transition and administration.

The charges say Flynn lied about asking Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period not to retaliate for sanctions President Obama placed on Russia in December 2016 for interfering with the US election. It’s illegal to conduct foreign policy when you don’t represent the government.

The charging documents say Flynn acted at the direction of senior Trump officials and reported back to them.

The retired three-star general issued a statement saying, “It has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts.” But, he admitted, “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.”

Trump lawyer Ty Cobb issued a statement saying. “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”  Technically that’s true, but the implications will come in what Flynn tells the prosecutors.

President Trump said nothing about Flynn yesterday and the White House cancelled all press access.

The Tax Revolution: Under the shadow of the Flynn plea, the Senate last night passed its sweeping tax reform bill that will affect every element of the economy from families and small businesses to multi-national corporations. The biggest winners will be the wealthy.

The bill passed after several holdouts agreed to vote in favor. Among them were Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Collins signed on after the inclusion of a clause allowing tax deductions for state and local property taxes up to $10,000.

Tennessee’s Bob Corker was still a “no” after he was unable to win a provision for automatic tax increases if the tax cuts unleash a huge budget deficit.

  Democrats objected to being handed a 500-page bill on the brink of the majority calling the vote. Minority leader Chuck Schumer described it as “a process and a product that no one can be proud of and everyone should be ashamed of.”

President Trump tweeted, “The enactment of a comprehensive overhaul – complete with a lower corporate tax rate – will IGNITE our ECONOMY with levels of GROWTH not SEEN IN GENERATIONS…”

The bill was offered under budget rules, allowing to it pass with a 51-49 vote rather than a 60-vote majority. It still has to be reconciled with the House tax bill.

The Weinstein Effect: A little-known Treasury Department fund was used to pay $84,000 to an employee who brought sexual harassment charges against Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, The Washington Post reports. Farenthold is the first member of Congress confirmed to have benefited from the fund created to cover workplace settlements involving lawmakers.

They’re dropping like flies. Two theaters have cancelled the production of shows by playwright Israel Horovitz after the NY Times reported that nine women have accused the playwright of sexual misconduct. Some of the accusations involve women who were minors at the time. Horovitz, 78, told The Times that he has “a different memory of some of these events.”

The NY Post reports that Annette Roque, the wife of deposed “Today” host Matt Lauer, has left home and gone to her native Netherlands. Lauer actually had the nerve to ask NBC News to pay him the remaining $30 million on his contract, but they said no, he was fired for just cause.

World: The Argentine Navy has given up hope for survival of 44 crew members on a missing submarine. They are now describing the search as a recovery rather than a rescue operation. The sub lost contact on Nov. 15th.

Nation: Moody’s investor services announced it will start downgrading the credit rating of cities that don’t plan for the effects of climate change. For instance; Miami not getting ready for rising oceans. Lower ratings mean it costs more to borrow money.

Michael Wertz, a Moody’s vice president, said, “If you have a place that simply throws up its hands in the face of changes to climate trends, then we have to sort of evaluate it on an ongoing basis to see how that abdication of response actually translates to changes in its credit profile.”

Denial Ain’t a River: President Trump is denying reports that he plans to get rid of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He tweeted, “The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS!”

The reports were clearly sourced to White House staffers who spoke to multiple news outlets in what was a coordinated release. Something is fake here, but no the news.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

"The greatest absurdity of our time is You Know Whom, which goes without saying but I will anyway. What his election showed is that a considerable number of people, in order to demonstrate their frustration with the world as it is, are willing to drive their car, with their children in the back seat, over a cliff, smash the radiator, bust an axle and walk away feeling good about themselves. No other president in modern times has been held in contempt by a preponderance of people from the moment he said, 'So help me, God.'"

-Garrison Keillor on President Trump

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