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Evening Briefing: Obama Crowd Shames Trump Again and the GOP Tax Bill Hits a Snag

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | November 30, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | November 30, 2017 |

— The Senate has postponed a vote on the GOP tax plan until tomorrow, as they continue to scramble for votes. They apparently do not yet have them, and it likely has something to do with the fact that the Joint Committee on Taxation reported today that — even with expected economic growth — the tax plan would generate an additional $1 trillion deficit. Moreover, they have not figured out a way to satisfy deficit hawks like Senator Corker, who wants “triggers” to ensure that taxes are raised if the economic goals are not met. The Senate Parliamentarian ruled that a “trigger” would not be allowed so the GOP is trying to find new ways of generating revenue to satisfy those deficit hawks, which may include raising taxes. No one knows where to raise those taxes, as of yet.

I don’t know what this means, exactly. A new vote has been set for the morning. Again, everyone assumes that the GOP will get there, but everyone assumed that about the Obamacare repeal, as well. I am holding out an inkling of hope.

— Part of the reason the GOP apparently believed that the tax plan would pay for itself is because Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited a report saying that it would. That report, it turns out, does not exist. Elizabeth Warren is calling for an investigation.

— Meanwhile, back on the Russian front: The NYTimes is reporting that Donald Trump tried to pressure Republicans to end the investigation into Russia interference with our election. Over the summer, he asked several members, including Richard Burr and Mitch McConnell, to put the kibosh on it ASAP.

Mr. Burr told other senators that Mr. Trump had stressed that it was time to “move on” from the Russia issue, using that language repeatedly, according to people who spoke with Mr. Burr over the summer. One Republican close to Mr. Burr, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Trump had been “very forceful.”

That’s seriously inappropriate and a breach of the separation of powers. And no, I don’t think anyone is going to do anything about it, either. However, it certainly helps Bob Mueller build his obstruction of justice case.

— We reported earlier today that Chief of Staff Kelly has put in action a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Pompeo with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. Sarah Sanders did not exactly deny this, and Trump didn’t exactly deliver a ringing endorsement for Tillerson today. CNN has learned that this plan was actually leaked to the press by the White House in order to shame Tillerson out of office. The idea was to shame Tillerson into “punching out.”

Petty, petty, petty. The President doesn’t have the guts to fire his Secretary of State.

The Washington Post is reporting that Trump is not exactly against a government shutdown on December 8th, either, as for some reason he believes a shutdown would help his image.

President Trump has told others that a government shutdown could be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall, according to people who have spoken with him recently.

— On the Democratic side of the ledger, there is now a very long list of Congress people — both Democrats and Republicans — calling for Representative John Conyers to resign. So far, Conyers — who was hospitalized today for stress-related reasons — has not budged.

— Finally, here is the embarrassing turnout for Donald Trump’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony today compared to an Obama crowd.