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Of hij in levensgevaar is, kan de marechaussee niet zeggen. De andere inzittende werd op de basis behandeld aan lichte verwondingen. Voor beide slachtoffers kwamen meerdere ambulances ter plaatse. Ook werd vanwege de ernst van de situatie een traumahelikopter opgeroepen.
Het is niet duidelijk wat er precies is gebeurd met het militaire voertuig. De Koninklijke Marechaussee doet nader onderzoek naar de toedracht. Mogelijk gaat het onderzoek bij daglicht nog verder. Dat gebeurt onder leiding van de Verkeersongevallenanalysedienst (VOA), een gespecialiseerde afdeling van de politie.
Wat was er dit weekend allemaal aan de hand?
ABN Amro kreeg het het hardst te verduren. De bank werd dit weekend in totaal drie keer getroffen door een DDoS-aanval. Door zo’n aanval kunnen klanten tijdelijk moeilijk of helemaal geen gebruikmaken van de diensten van de bank, zoals internetbankieren. Ook ING werd zondagavond getroffen. Zondagavond laat waren de problemen voor deze twee banken voorbij en werkte alles weer naar behoren, maar maandagochtend volgde een dergelijke aanval op de Rabobank. Ook de Belastingdienst zou korte tijd uit de lucht zijn geweest.
Wat is zo’n DDoS-aanval?
Persoonlijke gegevens worden bij een DDoS-aanval niet buitgemaakt
DDoS staat voor Distributed Denial of Service. Binnen de hackerswereld staat een dergelijke aanval zo’n beetje onderaan in de hiërarchie. Het is een uiterst botte manier om computernetwerken plat te leggen: door deze in korte tijd te bombarderen met zeer grote hoeveelheden informatiepakketjes bezwijken servers uiteindelijk door dit geweld. Uiteraard nemen potentiële doelwitten hun maatregelen en trekken zij defensiegrachten op, maar 100 procent veiligheid biedt dit niet.
Het goede nieuws van zo’n aanval is dat het puur is gericht op de boel platleggen. Persoonlijke gegevens worden bij zo’n aanval niet buitgemaakt.
En iedereen kan dat maar doen?
Ja. Voor een DDoS-aanval hoef je niet zo veel te kunnen. Zonder al te veel moeite zijn op het dark web – het verborgen gedeelte van internet – standaardpakketten voor DDoS-aanvallen te koop. Hoe zwaarder de aanval, hoe duurder, maar de drempel is erg laag. Voor banken, die traditioneel veel geld en moeite in hun beveiliging stoppen, zijn echter zeer zware aanvallen nodig. Voor die aanvallen worden vaak botnets van eerder gekaapte computers ingezet. Al die computers doen mee met een aanval door in dit geval bankensites te overvragen met informatie. Zoals altijd in de cybersecurity is het ook hier weer een constante strijd tussen aanvallers en verdedigers. De verdedigingslinie wordt steeds steviger, maar de aanvallen steeds heviger.
Wie zit erachter en wat zijn de motieven?
We hebben nog geen idee wat de reden van die aanvallen is, behalve dat het doel blijkbaar is om bedrijven dwars te zitten
Dat is heel lastig te zeggen. Door de aard van deze aanvallen – informatieaanvragen vanuit een groot aantal verschillende bronnen – blijft de opdrachtgever op de achtergrond. De banken tasten dan ook in het duister. In zijn algemeenheid zijn de motieven van dit soort digitaal vandalisme niet altijd even duidelijk. Vaak is het een kwestie van ‘gewoon, omdat het kan’.
De ING is een eigen onderzoek gestart en heeft ondertussen aangifte bij de politie gedaan, zegt een woordvoerder. ‘We hebben nog geen idee wat de reden van die aanvallen is, behalve dat het doel blijkbaar is om bedrijven dwars te zitten. Maar het is wel zeer ontwrichtend en onze klanten hebben er veel last van.’
Neemt de frequentie van die aanvallen toe?
Ook dat is moeilijk vast te stellen. DDoS-aanvallen bestaan al decennia. Een van de bekendste vond bijvoorbeeld in het jaar 2000 plaats, toen de 15-jarige ‘MafiaBoy’ zo’n beetje alle grote sites wist plat te leggen. Voor grote bedrijven is het inmiddels routine. Verreweg de meeste aanvallen worden afgewend en komen dan ook niet in de publiciteit. Maar Detailhandel Nederland liet zondag naar aanleiding van de storingen weten zich ‘steeds meer zorgen te maken’ over de stabiliteit en betrouwbaarheid van het betalingsverkeer.
Ook president Klaas Knot van De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) sprak zich erover uit. In het tv-programma Buitenhof zei hij dat cyberaanvallen voor banken tegenwoordig aan de orde van de dag zijn. Volgens hem vindt er op de website van DNB zelf bijvoorbeeld ‘vrijwel elke seconde’ wel zo’n aanval plaats. DNB is met banken in gesprek om ervoor te zorgen dat die hun systemen na zo’n aanval snel weer in de lucht hebben. Ook delen de banken hun informatie over de aanvallen.
Wie had er last van de storingen?
Betalen via iDeal, de mobiel bankieren-app of de website van de bank was tijdelijk onmogelijk of moeilijk gedurende de DDoS-aanvallen. Maar betalen met de pinpas in winkels en horecagelegenheden kon al die tijd gewoon. Een woordvoerder van webwinkel Bol.com, waar veel transacties via iDeal plaatsvinden, zei gisteren dat de storingen bij de banken geen merkbaar effect hebben gehad op het aantal verkopen. Desondanks liet Detailhandel Nederland zondag naar aanleiding van de storingen weten zich ‘steeds meer zorgen te maken’ over de stabiliteit en betrouwbaarheid van het betalingsverkeer.
Een korte excursie door de jungle van de internetbeveiliging
Een DDoS-aanval zoals die van afgelopen weekend plaatst het belang van computerbeveiliging weer eens op de voorgrond. Een korte excursie door het oerwoud van veiligheidsbegrippen.
DDoS-aanval: het digitale equivalent van een massavernietigingswapen
Omvangrijk, alles verzengend en eenmaal afgevuurd niet meer tegen te houden. In dit stuk uit 2015 legden we uit hoe zo’n DDoS-aanval in zijn werk gaat.
Want to keep smart and easy tabs on the tax reform debate in Washington? We have you covered here.
House Republicans have finally released their tax package today. But an unusual array of corporate interests — which typically ally with Republicans in major legislative battles — are siding against it in what could be an ominous development.
The prominent naysayers include the National Association of Realtors and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which immediately said they couldn’t support the overhaul that makes changes to both the individual and corporate side of the tax code. The National Association of Home Builders had already announced it’s opposition and vowed to fight the revamp with its considerable firepower. “We will do everything we can to defeat this thing,” said Jerry Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Home Builders, even before the plan made its debut to House Republicans this morning.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised the release of the bill, but said in a statement that “a lot of work needs to be done.” And The BUILD Coalition — which represents financial services companies, real-estate developers, and farm interests — has come out against the bill’s proposed limitation of the deduction for interest on business debt.
— NFIB (@NFIB) November 2, 2017
The biggest problem for Republicans appears to be the decision to halve — rather than keep entirely intact — the deduction for mortgage interest. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would reduce that deduction to homeowners with $500,000 mortgages instead of the $1 million mortgages that are currently allowed. Property tax deductions would now be capped at $10,000.
Moderate Republicans from high-cost states like New York and New Jersey had fiercely opposed any changes to the state-and-local tax deduction and early reports had thought the final product would potentially eliminate it. But that was not the case, provoking opposition from them as well.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) is apparently one of the foes, per a Fox News reporter:
GOP NY Rep Zeldin: I am a No to this bill in its current form. We need to fix this State and Local Tax deduction issue.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 2, 2017
The overhaul would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent — a bid pushed by President Trump in order, he hopes, to lure American companies back into the country. It would collapse the individual side of the code from seven brackets to four.
Other major proposals in the bill include, per Mike and Damian:
- Doubling the standard deduction from $12,700 per family to $24,000.
- Creating a new “family credit” and raise the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child.
- Eliminating deductions for medical expenses and and property and casualty losses were eliminated.
- Changing the way college-savings plans and tax-exempt churches and charities are taxed.
Yet Republican leaders proclaimed their members “excited” about the effort:
Democrats, not so much:
The initial pushback is not a good sign for Republicans desperate to obtain a legislative win as they head into the 2018 midterms.
Much haggling and negotiations remain to occur — and reports of the plan’s death, which will come with some frequency, are likely to be exaggerated. Nonetheless, the instant backlash suggests this will be an uphill battle.
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The rental truck used by Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, who drove down a bike path for twenty blocks killing eight people and injuring several more, is hauled away on a New York City Police flatbed on Wednesday. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
NEW YORK TERROR ATTACK:
— Charges filed. NYT: “Federal prosecutors on Wednesday filed charges accusing the driver in the Manhattan truck attack of carrying out a long-planned plot, spurred by Islamic State propaganda videos, to kill people celebrating Halloween. The charges, filed just over 24 hours after the deadliest terror attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, placed the case in the civilian courts even as President Trump denounced the American criminal justice system as ‘a joke’ and ‘a laughingstock.’ The charges describe the driver, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as a voracious consumer and meticulous student of ISIS propaganda, and detail how he said he was spurred to attack by an ISIS video questioning the killing of Muslims in Iraq.”
Trump dispatched with the presumption of innocence late Wednesday to declare that Saipov should get the death penalty:
NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017
That followed a day in which Trump used the attack to renew a push for his hard-line policies. David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe: “The president said he would move to eliminate a popular “diversity lottery” for foreigners seeking U.S. visas and direct the State Department to ramp up “extreme vetting” of immigrants. He also suggested he would consider sending the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, a legal permanent resident of the United States, to the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
— Terror by truck. The method is now a go-to for ISIS, used seven times in Western cities over the last year. The Post: “The results of the Halloween attack underscore the reasons for its popularity, terrorism experts say: The tactic requires no special skill or instruction, or formal membership in a terrorist group. And it is nearly impossible to prevent or stop.” … Neighbors say they saw Saipov practice driving a truck around his suburban New Jersey neighborhood in recent weeks.
Jerome Powell. (Zach Gibson / Bloomberg)
— Powell gets the rose. The announcement is coming today. WSJ offers some historical perspective: “Mr. Powell’s nomination would mark the first time in nearly four decades that a new president hasn’t asked the serving Fed leader to stay on for another term, even though that person was nominated by a president of a different party. The last time a first-term president didn’t do that was in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter chose G. William Miller to succeed Arthur Burns… Reached by phone Wednesday, both Mr. Powell and Ms. Yellen declined to comment. A Fed spokeswoman also declined to comment.”
— Investors cheer continuity. Bloomberg’s Sarah Ponczek and Elena Popina: “Investors enjoying the fruits of a decade-long bull market in equities expect to find an ally in Jerome Powell… Barring the reappointment of Yellen, Powell was viewed as one of the best options for bulls, an extension of the dovish policies that helped the S&P 500 rise 45 percent during her tenure… Equities have been on an upswing since Bloomberg News reported Trump was leaning toward Powell on Friday, with the biggest exchange-traded fund rising three of four days. S&P 500 Index futures were little changed late Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Trump intends to nominate the 64-year-old Fed governor on Thursday. The dollar and Treasuries showed little reaction.”
— Fed leaves rates alone. In the shadow of Thursday’s big announcement, the central bank on Wednesday left interest rates unchanged. WSJ’s David Harrison: “Officials have penciled in one more move for 2017 if the economy stays on track. The Fed has one more meeting scheduled before the end of the year, on Dec. 12-13. The central bank has raised its benchmark federal-funds rate four times since late 2015, in quarter-percentage-point steps, to a current range between 1% and 1.25%.”
The former Goldman Sachs president, now Trump’s top economic adviser, was a front-runner for the Fed job until August, when he publicly broke with the president over his handling of fatal neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Goldman Sachs economists on Wednesday upgraded their forecast on U.S. nonfarm payrolls for October to a 340,000 increase from a 325,000 gain, based on the latest data on company hiring from ADP and factory activity from the Institute for Supply Management.
MONEY ON THE HILL
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.). (Alex Wong/Getty)
— Today’s remainning schedule for the tax bill. Courtesy of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) press office:
- 1:30 pm: Speaker Ryan/Ways and Means members meet with President Trump at the White House.
- 2:30 pm: Speaker Ryan interview with Fox News’ The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino airs.
— More GOP infighting ahead. Bloomberg’s Anna Edgerton: “A leading House Republican conservative warned that the unveiling of the tax bill Thursday would unleash dissent ‘like you’ve never seen.’ But that doesn’t mean Republicans will fail, said Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. ‘It may be a little messy, it may not be as fun as we would all have liked to have seen it be over the past few weeks,’ Meadows told reporters Wednesday after meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. ‘But we’re going to get it done, and failure is not an option.'”
— Trump throws a curveball. Damian: “Trump on Wednesday said congressional Republicans should make a major change to their upcoming tax cut bill by including changes to the Affordable Care Act, an idea that has divided the GOP for months. The idea had already been rejected one day earlier by… Brady, who had said it risked bogging down the process. But Trump, in two Twitter posts Wednesday, pushed the idea, which has gained currency with some Senate Republicans. The biggest proponent of the idea is Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).”
Wouldn’t it be great to Repeal the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further Tax Cuts…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
….for the Middle Class. The House and Senate should consider ASAP as the process of final approval moves along. Push Biggest Tax Cuts EVER
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
— Mnuchin resists corporate fade-in. Bloomberg’s Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is resisting a gradual phase in of the proposed 20 percent corporate rate out of concern the move wouldn’t boost economic growth as much as he’s anticipated, according to a Trump administration official and another person familiar with Mnuchin’s thinking. Mnuchin is worried that a slow reduction of the corporate rate from its current 35 percent would also make the U.S. less competitive, as other countries cut their rates faster and foreigners delay their investments in the U.S., said the official, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.”
He’s got history on his side, a new analysis suggests. “Ladling out corporate tax cuts bit by bit is a bad idea. Look at history,” Bloomberg’s Sarah Ponczek writes. “So goes an argument being pushed by analysts at Strategas Research Partners, who say Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush came to regret their gradualist approaches in 1981 and 2001. ‘Phasing in the corporate tax rate cut for five years is a terrible idea,’ the analysts, led by Daniel Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, wrote in a note Tuesday. ‘Taxpayers will delay their economic activity in anticipation of the lower tax rate in future years.'”
— Colleges, charities on Senate menu. Politico’s Brian Faler: “Universities, charities, life insurance companies and others could all lose cherished tax breaks under a Senate plan to rewrite the tax code. Senate Republicans are considering a number of sure-to-be controversial changes, including imposing a new 2 percent excise tax on the endowment earnings of private universities, according to a summary POLITICO obtained.
They may reduce the tax breaks people receive for fringe benefits at work, such as a deductions for entertainment- and transportation-related expenses. Another proposal, apparently aimed at Silicon Valley firms, would limit write-offs businesses can take for providing meals to employees. Uber drivers, people who rent their homes through Airbnb and others participating in the ‘gig economy’ could see tougher income reporting requirements that make it harder for them to avoid paying taxes. Insurance companies could lose a host of tax breaks worth more than $31 billion.”
— WH blasé about delay. Politico’s Nancy Cook reports that the administration was okay with the fact that House Republicans missed their initial target of a Wednesday rollout, “provided it doesn’t extend into the weekend, according to three senior administration officials—and Trump even told Ryan he’d be fine if it takes until Friday, said two people briefed on their conversation.”
But Trump wouldn’t be accepting responsibility if another of his priorities goes down. Here he was Wednesday making clear he will blame Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn if the tax overhaul fails:
— Cut, cut, cut. ABC News: “Ryan’s office initially asked the White House for input because of the president’s knack for branding, according to a senior Hill aide. Trump has been insistent that the bill be called the ‘Cut Cut Cut Act’ according to the administration officials. Ryan and Brady have pushed back on the name of the bill. However, Trump has held firm.”
— A new $100 million force. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “Trump’s super PAC is drawing up plans to spend $100 million on an all-out push to sell tax reform and elect pro-Trump Republicans in 2018. The group, dubbed America First Action, is expected to host a fundraiser in the coming months that will be attended by Vice President Mike Pence and is in talks with the administration to get Trump to headline an event. It has tapped oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm, a Trump ally whose net worth exceeds $11 billion, to boost its fundraising campaign. And it is recruiting major Republican Party donors across the country.
Last week, America First officials met with top Trump advisers at the White House to brief them on a multimillion dollar campaign to promote tax reform and discuss how the legislative battle is likely to play out. But the stepped-up activity, which strategists revealed in interviews for the first time, is an abrupt change for the super PAC. The group has been dormant for much of the year, much to the frustration of the White House. America First has suffered from infighting, leadership shake-ups, and questions over its strategy and approach since its founding after the 2016 election.”
Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.). (AP /Manuel Balce Ceneta)
— Garrett’s rough day. WSJ’s Andrew Ackerman: “Trump’s choice to head the Export-Import Bank didn’t appear to sway waffling Republican senators on a key panel into supporting him, putting his confirmation at risk. Lawmakers from both parties criticized Scott Garrett during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Wednesday, saying his past votes to shut down the bank while serving in the House made him unsuitable to run the agency.
Mr. Garrett reversed his prior opposition to the agency in testimony before the committee, pledging to keep the bank ‘fully functioning.’ But lawmakers indicated they weren’t satisfied by his remarks. No Democrats on the committee are expected to back Mr. Garrett, meaning attracting enough Republican support is crucial to getting his nomination through the panel and advancing it to the full Senate. Industry groups that benefit from the Ex-Im Bank, which provides financing for U.S. exports, are pressuring lawmakers to oppose Mr. Garrett.
‘What would have made you change your mind about whether or not the Export-Import Bank should exist?’ asked Sen. Mike Rounds (R., S.D.) who said he had met with Mr. Garrett twice and hadn’t received a satisfactory answer. ‘This is critical, that you be able to share what has changed your mind.’… Mr. Scott bantered with Mr. Garrett during the hearing but later told reporters he was still undecided.”
President Trump. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
— Trump isn’t angry. He says so himself. The NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker: “Trump projected an air of calm on Wednesday after charges against his former campaign chief and a foreign policy aide roiled Washington, insisting to The New York Times that he was not ‘angry at anybody’ and that investigations into his campaign’s links to Russia had not come near him personally. ‘I’m not under investigation, as you know,’ Mr. Trump said in a brief telephone call late Wednesday afternoon. Pointing to the indictment of his former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, the president said, ‘And even if you look at that, there’s not even a mention of Trump in there.’ ‘It has nothing to do with us,’ Mr. Trump said. He also pushed back against a report published Monday night by The Washington Post, which the president said described him as ‘angry at everybody.’ ‘I’m actually not angry at anybody,’ Mr. Trump told The Times.”
— He might be a little bit angry. Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman: “Trump… has reacted to the deteriorating situation by lashing out on Twitter and venting in private to friends. He’s frustrated that the investigation seems to have no end in sight. ‘Trump wants to be critical of Mueller,’ one person who’s been briefed on Trump’s thinking says. ‘He thinks it’s unfair criticism. Clinton hasn’t gotten anything like this. And what about Tony Podesta? Trump is like, When is that going to end?’
According to two sources, Trump has complained to advisers about his legal team for letting the Mueller probe progress this far. Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call.
When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. ‘Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,’ Nunberg said. ‘I’m only saying publicly what everyone says behind the scenes at Fox News, in conservative media, and the Senate and Congress.'”
— Tech giants face more Hill heat. The Post: “Senators from both parties took tech company officials to task in a hearing Wednesday for failing to better identify, defuse and investigate Russia’s campaign to manipulate American voters over social media during the 2016 presidential campaign. In the second of three Capitol Hill hearings this week on Russian’s online information operation, members of the Senate intelligence committee challenged Facebook, Google and Twitter in strikingly direct terms that, at times, seemed to carry the implicit threat of legislation that could rein in the nation’s wildly profitable technology industry.
‘I don’t think you get it,’ said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), whose home state includes all three companies. ‘What we’re talking about is a cataclysmic change. What we’re talking about is the beginning of cyber-warfare. What we’re talking about is a major foreign power with sophistication and ability to involve themselves in a presidential election and sow conflict and discontent all over this country. We are not going to go away gentlemen. And this is a very big deal.'”
Watch the summary of tech companies’ Senate Intelligence testimony, in three minutes:
One message senators delivered repeatedly to the lawyers sent to represent the companies: Next time, bring your CEOs.
The day wasn’t all bad for Facebook, at least. The company posted a 79 percent surge in profit to $4.7 billion, beating Wall Street expectations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission took a first step on Wednesday to head off the recent trend of celebrities endorsing new virtual currencies, warning that they could be breaking laws.
Here’s an example of what Russian Facebook ads you might have seen if you were a Hillary Clinton supporter. The Post’s Dan Keating, Kevin Schaul and Leslie Shapiro take a look at a few other examples of how people were targeted on Facebook based on interests, political leanings, location, age and other traits.
POST PROGRAMMING ALERT: The Post and Live Nation will bring the “Can He Do That?” podcast to a live audience at the Warner Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 7. In this live taping, political reporters Bob Woodward, David Fahrenthold and Karen Tumulty will join host Allison Michaels to review the past year in President Trump’s White House and the biggest moments that made people wonder “Can He Do That?” Tickets can be purchased now at Live Nation. Attendees will also receive a free 30-day digital subscription to The Washington Post.
The Heritage Foundation holds an event on reforming the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on Friday.
The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment holds a hearing on “Legislative Proposals to Improve Small Businesses’ and Communities’ Access to Capital” on Friday.
The Washington Examiner holds an event on the tax bill with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on Nov. 8.
From the New Yorker:
Here are the ads that Russian-linked groups posted on social media:
Donald Trump Jr.’s Halloween socialism lesson, according to the Internet:
Hillary Clinton chats with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show:
Samantha Bee says chief of staff John Kelly is not the adult in the White House:
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers unveiled the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in decades, outlining a $1.51 trillion plan to cut taxes for corporations, reduce them for some middle-class families and tilt the United States closer, but not entirely, toward the kind of tax system long championed by businesses, according to talking points circulated on Thursday.
The House plan, released after weeks of internal debate, conflict and delay, is far from final and will ignite a legislative and lobbying fight as Democrats, business groups and other special interests tear into the text ahead of a Republican sprint to get the legislation passed and to President Trump’s desk by Christmas.
Representative Kevin Brady, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, said the bill is estimated to cost $1.51 trillion over a decade. Lawmakers must keep the cost of the bill to $1.5 trillion if they want to pass it along party lines and avoid a fillibuster by Democrats. Lawmakers have been scrambling for days to find a way to make cuts that are expected to cost trillions of dollars into a $1.5 trillion hole. That has prompted a host of changes on the corporate and individual side, including a new twist that would limit the mortgage interest deduction by capping it at $500,000.
The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.
“This isn’t the last product,” said Representative Carlos Curbelo, Republican of Florida and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “This is just the kickoff to this tax reform exercise.”
Individual tax rates will change
The plan establishes three tax brackets, 12, 25 and 35 percent, and also keeps a top rate of 39.6 percent for the highest-earners, collapsing the total number of brackets from seven. The brackets, as described by Representative Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and Republican of Texas, fall along the following lines:
Single filers making up to $24,000 will pay no income tax; up to $90,000 will be in the 12 percent bracket, up to $260,000 in the 25 percent bracket and up to $1 million in the 35 percent bracket. Those making above $1 million will be in the 39.6 percent bracket, which is currently the top rate for millionaires.
Changes for the middle class
The proposal roughly doubles the standard deduction for middle-class families, expanding it to $24,000 for married couples, from $12,700, and setting it at $12,000 for individuals, from $6,530 today. Republicans also plan to expand the child tax credit to $1,600 from $1,000 and add a $300 credit for each parent and nonchild dependent, such as older family members.
No changes to 401(k) retirement plans
After much nail-biting debate, the House will not make any changes to the pretax treatment of 401(k) plans. “Americans will be able to continuing making both traditional, pretax contributions and ‘Roth’ contributions in the way that works best for them,” the talking points say.
Changing the mortgage interest deduction
One of the biggest flash points will be proposed changes to the popular mortgage interest deduction. Under the Republican plan, existing homeowners can keep the deduction, but future purchases will be capped at $500,000.
The National Association of Realtors came out swinging against the bill, suggesting a huge fight awaits over how real estate is treated.
“Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home values and middle-class homeowners at risk, and from a cursory examination this legislation appears to do just that,” said William E. Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors. “We will have additional details upon a more thorough reading of the bill.”
Jerry Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Homebuilders, said he was very disappointed in the Republican tax plan and warned that it could create a recession in the housing market.
“It puts such severe limitations on home buyers ability to use the mortgage interest deduction that home values will fall,” Mr. Howard said in an interview. “If a home seller takes a loss, that’s money they were counting on for retirement.”
Mr. Howard said the bill amounts to a broken promise.
“Contrary to their assertions, the Republicans are picking winners and losers,” he said. “They are picking rich Americans and corporations over small businesses and the middle class.”
Eliminating the medical expense deduction
A big change may be in store for those who deduct medical expenses. The talking points outlined by Republicans say the deduction will go away but that families will be made whole by the overall lowering of tax rates and doubling the standard deduction. But those who make heavy use of the medical expense deduction — including many middle-class families — may be opposed to that change.
Repealing the estate tax — eventually
The proposal will double the estate tax exemption to roughly $11 million, from $5.49 million, meaning families can avoid paying taxes on large inheritance. And it eventually repeals the estate tax altogether, phasing it out entirely in six years.
Adding limits to the state and local tax deduction
One of the biggest flash points will be how the bill treats the state and local tax deduction, which lawmakers are proposing to limit to property taxes and cap at $10,000. That will not be enough for Republicans in some high-tax states, where middle-class families make heavy use of the deduction, which currently applies to state and local income taxes and general sales taxes as well as property taxes.
House Republicans had intended to roll out the tax proposal on Wednesday, but ended up delaying its release by a day, providing a signal of the steep challenge they face in making the math work while also assembling the votes they need to get a bill through the chamber.
Representative Dan Donovan, a Republican from New York, said he remained concerned about the impact of the state and local tax deduction as he left a briefing on the bill but said he would assess the proposed changes on their entirety.
“I’m looking for a benefit for the people I represent,” he said. “The people of New York City deserve a tax break.”
Multinational corporations face big changes
For the first time, the United States is proposing to have a global minimum tax of 10 percent, which would apply to income that American companies earn anywhere in the world. The effort is aimed at preventing companies from shifting profits abroad and grabbing back some of the tax revenue on income earned overseas. Those profits are currently not taxed until they are returned to the United States, giving companies an incentive to keep that money offshore since they are taxed at the current corporate tax rate of 35 percent.
Republican leaders are encouraged
Walking into the men’s restroom, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, said of his colleagues, “It looks very positive, these people are excited.” He added: “this is why they came to Congress.”
The Great Pyramid of Giza has towered over Egypt for more than 4,500 years. Built during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu, the monument was a testament to the ruler’s architectural prowess and is thought to have been a home for his mummified remains.
For centuries, archaeologists have ventured into the Pyramid of Khufu, as it is also known, and marveled at the King’s chamber, the Queen’s chamber and the Grand Gallery. Now, using a technique from the field of particle physics, an international team of researchers has harnessed cosmic ray collisions to peek inside and uncover a hidden “void” within the pyramid’s stones that is roughly 100 feet long, similar to the Statue of Liberty from her heel to her head .
“We don’t know if it’s a chamber, a tunnel, a big gallery or things like that,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, co-director of the ScanPyramids project, which published the finding Thursday in the journal Nature. “We have chosen the word ‘void’ and nothing else because we don’t know what this void is.”
Many archaeologists questioned whether the study offered any new information about the ancient Egyptians, and were quick to note that the team most likely did not find a hidden room filled with the pharaoh’s riches. They said the so-called void was probably empty space designed by the pyramid’s architects to lessen the weight on its chambers and prevent them from collapsing, an example of features that were already documented in the construction of the ancient monuments.
However, the study may suggest that advances in technology can offer a richer understanding of wonders of the ancient world that have long fascinated the human imagination.
Khufu, also known by his Greek name Cheops, is thought to have ruled from 2509 B.C. to 2483 B.C., during Egypt’s fourth dynasty. Though he constructed the largest pyramid Egypt has ever seen, the only intact three-dimensional figure of him that archaeologists have found measures a mere three inches tall. Very little is known about him, so his pyramid offers one of the few looks into his life and reign. The site at Giza where his pyramid was built also contains two other major pyramids and the Sphinx.
Since 2015, Dr. Tayoubi and his colleagues, now consisting of three separate teams of physicists and engineers, have investigated the pyramid using a particle physics technique known as muon-tomography to see through to its core.
“We tried to do for the pyramid what a doctor can do with X-rays,” Dr. Tayoubi said.
Instead of X-rays, the team used muons, the heavy cousins of electrons that form when cosmic rays from outer space collide with particles in Earth’s atmosphere. The fallout from the collisions creates a constant bombardment of harmless particles that can penetrate deep into the planet. As the muons pass through matter they lose energy and decay, so if the team detected a small amount of muons, that means they were passing through matter. But if they detected more muons, it suggests the particles were passing through empty space or less dense material.
The technology was previously used by Luis Alvarez, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, to investigate whether there were hidden chambers in the Pyramid of Khafre in the 1960s. As muon detector resolution has greatly improved over the decades, it has since been used to see the inner structures of volcanos as well as the irradiated Fukushima nuclear reactor.
In 2016, Dr. Tayoubi’s colleagues stood in the Queen’s chamber and used muon detectors capable of making improved measurements to study particles as they passed through the pyramid. When they analyzed their data from a region above the Grand Gallery, a long inclined passageway that leads to the King’s Chamber, they found something strange: an unexpected excess of muons.
They found a void.
The first measurements were made by researchers from Nagoya University in Japan who were a part of the project. Then two more teams associated with ScanPyramids, one from France and another from Japan, also confirmed the anomaly with muon tomography, even from outside the pyramid. The discovery comes on the footsteps of the team’s previous work which detected a small void behind the north face of the pyramid in 2016.
Christopher Morris, a physicist who conducts research using muon tomography at Los Alamos National Laboratory and was not involved in the study, called the findings “pretty amazing,” adding that all the team needed to do was set up their muon detectors and reap the rewards.
“All the other physicists who could have done it, and didn’t, are jealous,” he said.
Arturo Menchaca-Rocha a physicist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico who has used muon detection to investigate the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico, echoed Dr. Morris’s sentiments and said the project’s physics supported its claims.
But archaeologists were more critical of the work.
Mark Lehner, an Egyptologist from the Ancient Egypt Research Associates, said that previous work had shown that the ancient Egyptians most likely constructed gaps in their pyramids and that the voids the team found are nothing special, or new.
“The great pyramid of Khufu is more Swiss cheese than cheddar,” he said. He added that the steep incline of the void also casts doubts on whether it was some sort of room. “At that angle, it doesn’t make much sense for it to be a chamber that would contain artifacts, burials and objects and that sort of thing.”
Zahi Hawass, an Egyptologist, former Egyptian government minister and head of the scientific committee appointed by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to review the work, was more critical of the finding.
“They found nothing,” said Dr. Hawass, noting that such construction gaps had been known of for at least two decades. “This paper offers nothing to Egyptology. Zero.”
Both Dr. Lehner and Dr. Hawass agreed that the scanning work should continue in hopes that the teams can retrieve higher resolution data about the inner workings of the pyramid, specifically the shape and size of the anomaly.
Hany Helal, who is also co-director of the ScanPyramids project, responded to the criticism saying that from an engineering perspective, it would not make sense to have such a big void above the Gallery if its purpose was to relieve pressure.
He said the next steps are to have an international discussion with archaeologists to figure out the structure’s purpose. In the future, he added that scientists may use drones to explore the void once they have more information about it.
“We are sure there is a void,” he said. “Now let us continue our research.”
CNN’s Eli Watkins and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.
Lessons from health care failure
Repealing Obamacare mandate?
CNN’s Betsy Klein, Liz Landers and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.
Investigators continued Thursday to probe the 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant charged with the New York truck attack, poring over his communications to see if he had any help or guidance before carrying out his deadly rampage, while President Trump publicly weighed in on the federal prosecution of the suspect.
New York police officials say the attacker appears to have radicalized himself online and that it does not appear anyone else was involved, though they said that continues to be a key question in the international investigation launched after the Halloween attack in Lower Manhattan killed eight people and wounded a dozen others.
Federal authorities charged Sayfullo Saipov, the suspected attacker, with providing support to a terrorist organization, saying that he was inspired by the Islamic State to carry out the rampage. The militant group, also known as ISIS, has urged its supporters to use vehicles for attacks.
In the charging document, filed Wednesday, authorities said Saipov planned for a year to carry out an attack in the United States and ultimately chose Halloween because he believed more people would be outside as potential targets.
The federal prosecution against Saipov was just hours old when a potentially complicating factor emerged in the form of a presidential tweet. Since the attack, Trump has publicly criticized the American criminal justice system and weighed sending Saipov to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
“Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system,” Trump wrote early Thursday. He continued: “There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!”
Trump’s comments, much like remarks he made about Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, could create a hurdle in the federal case. While one of the charges against Saipov — one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle — could carry with it a possible death sentence, the Justice Department has not yet said whether it will seek that penalty. If prosecutors do pursue a rare federal death sentence against Saipov, defense attorneys could argue that Trump’s tweets may prevent a jury from giving the suspect a fair trial.
The remarks from Trump broke from the tradition that presidents and other senior officials refrain from commenting on ongoing cases in ways that could complicate proceedings, though he is not the first commander in chief to do so. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama weighed in on the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and suggested he would get the death penalty; Obama then backtracked and said he did not mean to prejudge the case.
In a statement released before Trump’s comments, David Patton, Saipov’s attorney, said: “In a case like this involving so much tragedy, it’s more important than ever to let the judicial process play out. How we as a society treat Mr. Saipov will say more about us than it will about him.”
At a speech Thursday in New York City that was scheduled before the truck attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlighted the work federal prosecutors have done bringing cases against terrorism suspects in federal court.
He noted particularly the recent conviction of Ahmad Khan Rahimi, who set off bombs in New York and New Jersey last year; the recent unsealing of charges against three men who plotted to bomb the New York City subway and Times Square; and the apprehension of Mustafa al-Imam, a Libyan national charged with participating in the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
The remarks, in some ways, seemed to be a subtle hint to the president that terror suspects can face justice in American courts. But Sessions, a vocal supporter of using the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, also made mention of the facility there.
“Terrorists should know: this Administration will use all lawful tools at our disposal, including prosecution in Article III courts and at Guantanamo Bay,” Sessions said, according to a prepared copy of his remarks. “If anyone has any doubt about that, they can ask the more than 500 criminals whom the Department of Justice has convicted of terrorism-related offenses since 9/11. And they can ask the dozens of enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay.”
Sessions, who attended a roll call Thursday with officers, also heaped praise on the New York City Police Department, in particular the officer who shot and wounded Saipov.
The attorney general has had a strained relationship with New York City’s leaders, and in April declared that gang murders there were the “predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance.” Sessions’s remarks drew pushback from New York officials, as have some of Trump’s comments.
Trump, in one of his tweets about the New York attack, cited one of the most incendiary parts of the criminal complaint filed against Saipov. Authorities said that Saipov told them he felt good about what he had done and, while speaking to investigators, “requested to display ISIS’s flag in his hospital room.”
In the criminal complaint, the FBI described what Saipov said in his Manhattan hospital room, depicting him as a man who had reams of Islamic State propaganda on his phones and carefully plotted what he was doing.
Saipov told agents he wanted to kill as many people as he could, court papers state, and he considered putting Islamic State flags at the front and back of his truck before deciding that would draw too much attention.
Authorities said Saipov told them that while he first decided a year ago to carry out an attack in the United States — the country where he moved in 2010 on a diversity visa and became a legal permanent resident — he only decided to use a truck two months before.
Saipov rented one on the week before the attack to practice making turns with it, authorities said. A neighbor said he thought it was suspicious that Saipov was driving an apparently empty truck in recent weeks near their homes in New Jersey.
Police say that on Tuesday afternoon, Saipov drove a truck onto the bike path along the west side of Manhattan and targeted cyclists and pedestrians as he careened south. Among those Saipov is accused of killing were a group of childhood friends from Argentina, now in their late 40s, who had been planning a trip to New York for years; a young mother; and two men in their 20s and 30s from New York and New Jersey.
Saipov told authorities he was particularly inspired by a video capturing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asking Muslims in the United States what they were doing to respond to the killing of other members of their faith in Iraq, the complaint states.
Officials have said that Saipov apparently became radicalized online after he came to the United States. He “appears to have followed almost exactly to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels” laying out guidance for carrying out an attack, according to John Miller, the deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism at the New York City Police Department.
Among other things, officials say Saipov used a rented truck, had brought knives and a stun gun as additional weapons and left behind notes declaring his allegiance. According to court papers, one note, written in Arabic, could be translated in part to read: “Islamic Supplication. It will endure.”
As the Islamic State has suffered battlefield losses and seen its self-declared caliphate shrink, terrorism by vehicle has become the attack of choice for the group’s adherents and supporters in other areas. The tactic has been used, with deadly results, in France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Canada.
Investigators are still exploring whether anyone else had any knowledge of or aided in the New York plot. The FBI said briefly on Wednesday it was seeking another man — 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, or Muhammad Kadirov — in connection with the investigation. The bureau gave no indication why they were seeking him and, minutes later, reversed course, saying they had found him but providing no further details.
A person who was in touch with both Saipov’s and Kadirov’s families on Wednesday said that Kadirov is in New Jersey, has retained an attorney and is cooperating with law enforcement officials, but that he was not under arrest as of Wednesday evening. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said Kadirov is Saipov’s cousin and seemed “utterly shocked and horrified” by what Saipov had done.
The rampage on Tuesday afternoon ended when Saipov crashed into a school bus and emerged from his truck armed with a paintball gun and pellet gun, police said. A passer-by flagged down police officers responding to an unrelated call at a school in the area, and one of them shot and wounded Saipov, police said.
Authorities also said Saipov intended to continue his attack beyond the bike path. He told investigators he intended to keep going to the Brooklyn Bridge to kill even more people, the complaint states, but was apparently unable to after crashing the truck.
Eli Rosenberg and Abigail Hauslohner in Paterson, N.J.; Renae Merle in New York; and Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz, Julie Tate, Philip Rucker, Amy B Wang and Samantha Schmidt in Washington contributed to this report.