Trump Says Flynn “Lawful,” Taxing Effects

Trump and Flynn: President Trump finally responded to the guilty plea by his short-term national security adviser tweeting, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies.” He wrote, “It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

But Flynn did try to hide something, and he’s ruined. And that tweet suggests the president knew at the time that Flynn had lied to the FBI.

Flynn was Trump’s national security adviser for only 24 days. He was forced to resign after he was found to have misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with then Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

“What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for the New York. “There’s been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy.”

There may have been no collusion, but that has not been “shown” as the president claims. Wait until we see what comes of Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel.

This all has the president on edge. In the last 12 hours he’s been tweeting about Flynn, “crooked” Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the news business. First thing this morning he tweeted, “I never asked Comey (former FBI director) to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”

The Email Trail: The NY Times gained access to some Trump transition team emails that support the theory that Flynn acted on orders from higher-ups. The paper says, “The Trump advisers feared that a cycle of retaliation between the United States and Russia would keep the spotlight on Moscow’s election meddling, tarnishing Mr. Trump’s victory and potentially hobbling his presidency from the start.”

Taxing Issues: Analysts are still deciphering the potential impact of the Senate Republican tax bill, but some elements are clear despite the changes handwritten into the margins in the last minutes before the vote.

The bill is expected to add at least $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit. This sets the stage for spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other government programs.  The Republicans are looking to undo the Depression-era New Deal.

The modest tax cuts for the middle class would disappear after eight years while the corporate cuts would be permanent.

The bill removes the Obamacare requirement to buy health insurance, resulting in the potential loss of 13 million people from the ranks of the insured.

Under the bill, at least 80 percent of taxpayers making between $50,000 and $1 million can expect a tax cut. The biggest winners are 92 percent of those in the $500,000 to $1 million bracket.

There’s no doubt that the winners are the rich and big businesses under a bill advertised as a relief for the middle class. A NY Times editorial says, “You can expect the lies to become even more brazen as Republicans seek to defend this terrible bill. But no amount of prevarication can change the fact that Congress and Mr. Trump are giving a giant gift to their donors and sticking the rest of the country with the tab.”

Headlines and Deadlines: ABC News suspended its chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for making an egregious error.

Ross had reported that Trump adviser Mike Flynn had been ordered during the campaign to make contact with the Russians. It’s a critical mistake because it suggests that Trump colluded with the Russians, and that is yet to be proven.

The report was later corrected to say Flynn was given his orders during the transition period after the election.

The mistake feeds the president’s “fake news” frenzy, but the news business punishes its miscreants.

The Obit Page: Mitch Margo, an original member of the Tokens, best known for their lasting hit “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” died last month at his home in Studio City, Calif. He was 70.

“The Lion Sleeps” was a cover of a song originally recorded by Pete Seeger. Songwriter George David Weiss re-worked it, adding the lyric “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.” That’s the version that had the Tokens at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in 1961 and 62.

California Archeology: Archeologists on California’s central coast have dug up a 300-pound sphinx buried in sand dunes. You might think this changes our understanding of world history, but the sphinx is one of 20 made for Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 epic, “The Ten Commandments.” In California, ancient history started with the invention of motion pictures.

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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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