Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp accuses Kevin Spacey of making sexual advance toward him at 14 – EW.com

Kevin Spacey has apologized to Anthony Rapp after Rapp alleged Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance toward the Star Trek: Discovery actor when he was 14 years old. Spacey, at the time, was 26.

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I’m beyond horrified to hear his story,” Spacey wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I a sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”

In addition, Spacey said Rapp’s story “encouraged me to address other things about my life,” including his sexuality. “I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy,” Spacey said. “As those closes to me know, in my life, I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic relationships with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed published late Sunday, Rapp, now 46, alleged Spacey invited the then-teenager to his Manhattan apartment for a party in 1986, where Rapp said he spent most of the evening in a bedroom watching television. As the night wound down, Rapp said he found himself alone in the dwelling with Spacey.

“My memory was that I thought, Oh, everybody’s gone. Well, yeah, I should probably go home,” Rapp said. According to Rapp, Spacey allegedly picked the actor “up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold.”

“But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me,” Rapp said.

At the time, Rapp was starring in the play Precious Sons opposite Ed Harris while Spacey was doing Long Day’s Journey Into Night with Jack Lemmon. “He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp alleged. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

Rapp said he left the apartment after the alleged incident, but claimed to “have a memory of turning around and [thinking], What was that? What am I supposed to do with it? What does it mean? The older I get, and the more I know, I feel very fortunate that something worse didn’t happen. And at the same time, the older I get, the more I can’t believe it. I could never imagine [that] anyone else I know would do something like that to a 14-year-old boy.”

Rapp told BuzzFeed that he never approached Spacey about what happened. (He began telling friends about it around 1990, which BuzzFeed confirmed.) Rapp eventually talked to a lawyer, who advised him against pursuing a case.

Rapp, who’s also appeared in movies like School Ties and Twister and on Broadway in Rent, said he’s bringing the issue up now because of the mounting sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. He currently plays Paul Stamets on Star Trek: Discovery.

“Part of what allowed the Harvey situation to occur was that there was this witting and unwitting conspiracy of silence,” Rapp said. “The only way these things can continue is if there’s no attention being paid to it, if it’s getting forgotten.”

In a statement released to EW after the BuzzFeed story published, Rapp said, “I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out, to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me. Everything I wanted to say about my experience is in that article, and I have no further comment about it at this time.”

This post has been updated

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Mueller’s latest move has Trump’s staunchest allies melting down on Twitter – Business Insider

robert muellerRobert
Mueller.
Thomson
Reuters

  • It emerged on Friday that special counsel Robert
    Mueller had filed the first charges in the Russia
    investigation.
  • President Donald Trump’s most stalwart allies promptly
    had a Twitter meltdown. 
  • Some called for Trump to fire Mueller and
    investigate him, while others said the focus should be on the
    “Clinton administration.”
     

On Friday, CNN reported that a federal grand jury approved the first
charges
special counsel Robert Mueller had filed as part
of the Russia investigation — and President Donald Trump’s
closest allies melted down. 

Mueller is tasked with investigating Russia’s interference
in the 2016 election
. He is also looking into whether anyone
on the Trump campaign colluded with
Moscow
to tilt the election in his favor, and his decision to
file charges likely indicates that the probe is moving from a
political fight to a legal one. 

Following CNN’s report, several prominent Trump supporters
slammed the special counsel or shifted attention onto
Hillary Clinton and reports that her campaign had hired a law
firm which retained Fusion GPS last
year, the opposition-research firm that funded the so-called
Steele dossier
containing several salacious allegations about Trump’s ties to
Russia. 

Sebastian Gorka, a
controversial Trump supporter who used to work in the
White House, suggested that Trump should fire Mueller after the
news broke. 

If this man’s team executes warrants this weekend he
should stripped of his authority by @realDonaldTrump,” Gorka
tweeted. “Then HE
should be investigated.”

And Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, called
the “speculation” around Mueller “insane,” in a Fox News segment
on Saturday morning.

“What we should be focusing on is the continued lies of the
Clinton Administration,” Lewandowski said.

Fox News host Sean Hannity lashed
out
at the media following the CNN story.

“Guess;Mueller and Media working hand in hand,”
Hannity tweeted. “Media to
be tipped off. Mueller was FBI Director Who knew of Russian
crimes before Uranium one.”

trump clintonActors
wearing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton masks pretend to choke
each other in Berlin, Germany, November 8,
2016.
Axel
Schmidt/Reuters

Hannity and Fox News have devoted extensive
coverage
this week to the Uranium One deal, in which the
company was partially sold to Russia in 2010. Republicans have
repeatedly cast the spotlight on the Uranium One decision in
recent days and claimed it indicates that Hillary Clinton and the
Democrats, not Trump, colluded with Moscow. Democrats have in
turn accused Republicans and Trump allies of reviving the story
to distract from the Mueller investigation.

The network’s coverage of the scandal came on the heels of
Trump’s claim that the Uranium One deal
was comparable to the
Watergate scandal.

“I think the uranium sale to Russia and the way that it was done,
so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I
actually think that’s Watergate, modern-age,” Trump said
Wednesday. 

Hannity picked up Trump’s thread on Friday. “Left needs a
dramatic change in the narrative!! Uranium One, Fusion GPS
dossier, all out this week,” he tweeted. “This is a
distraction! TICK TOCK….”

“This has been a HORRIBLE week for Mueller, Special Counsel’s
office,” the Fox News commentator continued. “THIS IS
ALL A DISTRACTION. Monday I’ll have the details. TICK TOCK….!”

“When will Hillary Clinton be indicted?” he added

Longtime Republican strategist and informal Trump adviser Roger
Stone also jumped into the fray, tweeting out CNN’s
story and captioning it, “Breaking: Mueller indicts
@PaulManafort’s 
driver for double
parking.”

He later followed up,
writing that Mueller was indicting “@PaulManafort’s maid for
tearing labels of sofa cushions.” 

Paul ManafortPaul
Manafort.
AP Photo/Matt
Rourke

Stone spent the rest of the night unloading on several CNN
reporters and commentators, including Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, and
Charles Blow. He also lashed out at veteran reporter Carl
Bernstein, who broke the Watergate story along with Bob Woodward.
On Friday, Bernstein suggested on CNN that Mueller had filed
charges earlier than expected to send a message to prospective
defendants. 

Stone, a stalwart supporter of former President Richard Nixon,
tweeted, “If
Carl Bernstein says something the overwhelming odds are that it’s
false lied about Watergate lying lying now.” 

Alt-right provocateur and Trump loyalist Mike Cernovich adopted a
frequent right-wing tactic and criticized those who were behind
“leaking” information about Mueller’s indictments to CNN.
Leaking this is a felony but there is no rule of law with
these criminals,” Cernovich tweeted in response to the
report. 

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who has backed Trump since the
campaign and recently interviewed him for the network, hosted a segment shortly
before the CNN story broke, during which a guest, Ed
Rollins, accused the Department of Justice of building a
“fake case” against Trump “based on Clinton-Fusion GPS
lies.” 

It’s unclear who Mueller filed the charges against and what
the specific charges are. 

Before approving charges, jurors must believe there’s enough
evidence to believe a crime was committed, and prosecutors don’t
usually present indictments unless they believe they can
prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, former
federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote Friday.
For that reason, they typically wait until the end of an
investigation to file charges. 

However, Mariotti added, prosecutors sometimes bring charges
earlier if it’s part of an effort to coerce a defendant into
“flipping” as a witness and cooperating with the
investigation. 

David Choi contributed reporting. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

First charges filed in special counsel Mueller’s Russia probe: report – The Hill

A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has reportedly approved the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

CNN reported Friday that the charges are sealed under a federal judge’s order, with sources telling the network that those charged could be taken into custody as soon as Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is unclear what the charges are, according to the network. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment to The Hill.

Mueller is investigating ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials, and several congressional committees are also probing the matter.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a report made public in January that the Kremlin sought to disrupt the 2016 election and sway the race in Trump’s favor.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment Friday night about reports of charges being filed in the special counsel probe.

But soon after CNN reported the charges, Trump posted a video on Twitter quoting an opinion piece in the New York Post suggesting that his former Democratic challenger Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBlumenthal: Trump-tied data firm reaching out to WikiLeaks ‘significant’Tillerson eliminates key State Department sanctions office: reportIntel Dem: What’s in dossier more important than who paid for itMORE may have colluded with Russia and sought to frame Trump as a “traitor.”

The Trump administration has appeared eager in recent days to shift attention to congressional probes regarding Clinton, after months of news coverage focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

After The Washington Post reported this week that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funded the research contained in a controversial dossier alleging ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump and his allies have sought to cast Clinton as the one with connections to Moscow.

“It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!” Trump asserted in a tweet Friday morning.

After reports emerged Friday night about charges in the special counsel’s Russia probe, Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, called the development a “distraction” on Twitter and questioned when Clinton would face charges.

Mueller’s investigative mandate includes any matters that may arise from the probe into Russian interference, and he has appeared in recent months to expand the scope of the probe to include possible financial crimes.

The special counsel has appeared to take increasingly aggressive steps in recent months as part of the investigation, most notably against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

In July, the FBI conducted an early morning raid at Manafort’s northern Virginia home, and later subpoenaed his spokesman and one of his former lawyers.

According to CNN, lawyers working on Mueller’s probe were seen entering the courthouse where the grand jury is convened. But after some activity, no announcements were made.

Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May to oversee the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Because Rosenstein oversees the special counsel conducting the investigation, he would have been notified of any charges before they were filed, sources told CNN.

The Justice Department declined to comment to The Hill.

Updated: 10:56 p.m.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Spain suspends Catalonia’s government, takes over regional police, calls for snap elections – Washington Post

BARCELONA — Spain moved boldly against Catalonia on Friday, suspending the breakaway region’s government, taking over its police force and calling for snap elections in December, just hours after Catalan lawmakers declared independence.

Madrid’s actions capped a day of developments in the month-long crisis: Catalonia’s declaration of independence prompted the Spanish Senate to give the central government unprecedented powers over the region.

The two votes — one for independence, one to restore constitutional rule — came in dueling sessions of parliaments in Barcelona and Madrid.

The central government easily won permission to take over control of Catalonia. Meanwhile, secessionists in Catalonia faced bitter recriminations from Catalan foes who called the move for nationhood a coup and a historic blunder, a month after a referendum that backed a split from Spain.

The widening impasse has left little middle ground in Spain for possible compromises and has spilled over to the European Union, whose leaders fear another internal crisis after major upheavals such as Britain’s exit from the bloc and the financial meltdown in Greece.

Immediately after the vote for independence, European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: “For EU nothing changes. Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force.”

Tusk’s remark mirrors fears in Catalonia that the Spanish government will employ police and harsh tactics to take back control of the region.

[Catalonia’s independence vote: What you need to know]

After the day’s votes, the Trump administration came down on the side of Madrid. “Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united,” the State Department said in a statement.

What happens now is unclear, though the newly declared republic will struggle to assert itself. Spain’s Constitutional Court will almost certainly declare it illegal, the central government will try to take over the Catalan regional ministries, and few countries in Europe have shown any willingness so far to recognize an independent Catalonia.

The final ballot was 70 to 10 in favor of the declaration of independence in the Catalan Parliament, where 55 deputies declined to vote, showing the deep divisions. 

“We have won the freedom to build a new country,” Catalonia’s regional vice president, Oriol Junqueras, tweeted.

Encarna Buitrago was with her friends in a flag-waving crowd in front of the parliament in Barcelona when independence was declared. Many began to weep at the news.

“Now we need to support our Catalan government. To go out to the streets! And now it’s up to the people,” said Buitrago, a pensioner. “If we are all together, we can do it.”

After the Senate invoked the never-before-used Article 155 of Spain’s 1978 constitution, the central government could move swiftly to remove the Catalan regional president, suspend his ministers and assume authority over the region’s public media, police and finances. 

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the Senate that his government had repeatedly tried to rein in the secessionists in Catalonia. He scoffed at Puigdemont’s offers of “dialogue” to end the impasse. 

“The word dialogue is a lovely word. It creates good feelings,” Rajoy said. “But dialogue has two enemies: those who abuse, ignore and forget the laws, and those who only want to listen to themselves, who do not want to understand the other party.”

Rajoy urged the Senate to approve Article 155 “to prevent Catalonia from being abused.”

“Catalans must be protected from an intolerant minority that is awarding itself ownership of Catalonia, and is trying to subject all Catalans to the yoke of its own doctrine,” the prime minister said.

Other Spanish political parties also spoke out against Catalonia’s declaration. Pedro Sanchez, leader of the Spain’s Socialist party, said despite his disagreements with Rajoy’s government, “faced with the challenge of territorial integrity of Spain, there can be no nuance. Spain without Catalonia and vice versa is a mutilated Spain and Catalonia.”

[Whatever happens in Catalonia, anger with Spain is a sign of things to come]

In Barcelona, shouts of “Independence!” and “Democracy!” rose from an antechamber where hundreds of onlookers, including dozens of regional mayors, had gathered. 

The eruption was answered by disdain from anti-secessionists in the chamber. A member of the Catalan Socialist Party, Daniel Fernández, asked: “What is this? The storming of the Bastille?”

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the left-wing national party Podemos, who defended Catalonia’s right to vote, added his voice to those criticizing Catalonia’s separatists.

“We are against the declaration of independence, not just because it is illegal, but because it is illegitimate,” he said. The Oct. 1 referendum was important “but doesn’t give them the right to declare independence,” Iglesias told journalists.

As for the invocation of Article 155, Iglesias said its coming implementation “will break one of the pillars of our living together.”

Carlos Carrizosa of the Citizens party decried the prospect of a declaration of independence, comparing it to a coup. He pointed at Puigdemont and said: “You, president, have been pro-independence your whole life. This whole plan was already laid out.”

“This movement is textbook populism, full of magical thinking, that reality has destroyed. You are willing to sacrifice all, for your pure fanaticism,” said Alejandro Fernández, a Catalan lawmaker whose Popular Party is also running the central government.

On Thursday, facing a looming deadline to act, Puigdemont appeared in the government palace in Barcelona and denounced what he described as heavy-handed negotiation tactics by the central government in Madrid.

“I have considered the possibility of calling elections,” Puigdemont said. But he ruled it out because “there are not enough guarantees” from the central government not to seize control of the region. He ultimately left the decision to the regional parliament.

Puigdemont reportedly sought a promise from Rajoy that the Spanish Senate would not vote on Article 155.

More than 2 million people cast ballots earlier this month for independence, though the turnout for the referendum was around 40 percent of eligible voters.

During the vote, Spanish national police and Guardia Civil paramilitary officers used harsh tactics, in some cases beating voters with rubber batons and dragging people away from the ballot boxes.

The president of Spain’s Basque region, Inigo Urkullu, a key intermediary between Rajoy and Puigdemont, told journalists that the situation in Catalonia “was very worrying” and required “responsibility” on the part of the two sides.” 

Rolfe reported from Madrid. Raul Gallego Abellan contributed to this report.

Read more         

Meet the two jailed activists behind Catalonia’s independence movement  

How fake news helped shape the Catalonia independence vote

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world            

Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news         

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

How Ashley Judd fought off Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment – ABC News

When actress and activist Ashley Judd was debating whether to come forward with allegations that movie producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed her, she had no idea whether anyone would care about or believe her accusations or similar ones from dozens of other women.

“I’m very blessed to be here,” Judd told Sawyer in her first television interview about her Weinstein allegations. “I made the most important decision I’ll ever make years ago, which is to turn my will and my life over to the care of a loving God, and it was like, ‘I’m so taken care of. I’m totally going to do this,’”

Judd said she also talked with her parents about going forward, and she said her mother, singer Naomi Judd, told her to “go get him.”

“Perpetrators are shameless,” Ashley Judd said. “And they put their toxic shame onto their victims, which we then internalize and carry around with us.”

Judd, 49, is one of more than 60 women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the movie mogul. Nearly 20 women allege the misconduct occurred in the late ‘90s around the same time Judd said she had an inappropriate encounter with him. Judd’s coming forward helped spark a conversation and an online campaign called, #MeToo, in which people used the hashtag to reveal they had been victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment, was shared millions of times on social media.

“Some of my friends have come forward, and some of them have not,” Judd said. “We have more #MeToo’s to help liberate others.”

Oscar winners Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o and Mira Sorvino claimed that they rebuffed Weinstein’s unwanted advances. Other women have alleged sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.

“I’m very sorry for Gwyneth,” Judd said. “I am delighted that she came forward. I think it’s incredibly powerful she did. At the time, I didn’t know that I knew anything.”

Weinstein has denied all allegations. A spokesperson for the movie executive told The New Yorker: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

“Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual,” according to the full statement from Weinstein’s spokesperson. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”

Twenty years ago, the Kentucky native was a young actress filming the movie “Kiss the Girls” when she said Weinstein invited her to a Beverly Hills hotel for a business meeting.

“I had a business appointment which is as– that’s, you know, his pattern of sexual predation. That was how he rolled,” she said.

But when she got there, she said Weinstein, now 65, had her sent up to his room.

“And I was like, ugh, are you kidding me?'” she said.

At the time, Judd said, she had already experienced sexual predation. She has written about being sexually assaulted as a young girl and the terror of feeling trapped during such situations.

When she got to Weinstein’s room, Judd said Weinstein asked to give her a massage and then asked for her to give him one, she added.

“I fought with this volley of ‘no’s,’ which he ignored,” Judd said. “Who knows? Maybe he heard them as ‘maybe.’ Maybe he heard them as ‘yeses.’ Maybe they turned him on.”

She said he steered her into a hallway near a closet and asked her to pick out his suit to wear for the day.

“I have totally frozen in my mind the floor plan… and where the door was behind me, and then eventually where that closet was,” she said.

Judd said she wouldn’t sit down, but remained standing as she cowered in the hall for a few minutes. At one point, she said Weinstein asked her to come into the bathroom and watch him take a shower.

Exasperated, Judd said she offered a sort of deal to Weinstein to get him to back off so she could leave.

“He kept coming back at me with all this other stuff,” she said. “And finally I just said, ‘When I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, when you get nominated.’ I said, ‘No, when I win an Oscar.’ And then I just fled.'”

After she left Weinstein’s hotel room, Judd said she told her parents some details about what had happened said they could see she was visibly shaken. She said she also told agents and others who worked in Hollywood, but no action was taken.

“I knew it was disgusting,” she said. “And if I could go back retrospectively with a magic wand and say … ‘I wish I could prevent it for anyone always.’ And, no, I don’t know that I would have been believed. And who was I to tell?”

At the time, Judd said, she didn’t feel powerful enough to come forward. She recalled once sitting at a table with a few other actresses in the late-1990s and Weinstein walked by.

“And I was like, ‘Let me just make sure that you know this, in case it hasn’t happened to you yet,'” Judd said of what she told the other women. “And they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, he did that. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.'”

Judd said she was at a dinner event in 1999 when she decided to confront Weinstein. She said Weinstein was talking to her and said, “’Remember that little agreement we made? Think I’ve got that script for you.’”

“He was across from me at a table, and… I had come into my own. I had come into my power. I had found my voice, and I was coming right at him,” she said. “And he looked at me, across the table… and he said, ‘You know, Ashley, I’m going to let you out of that little agreement we made.'”

“And then I said, ‘You do that Harvey, you do that.’ And he has spat my name at me ever since.”

Judd first came forward with these allegations three weeks ago in an interview with the New York Times. She had also previously shared these allegations in a 2015 interview with Variety, though she didn’t name Weinstein at that time.

In the wake of the allegations, Weinstein was terminated by the board of the Weinstein Company and later resigned from the board of directors. He was also expelled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

After Judd came forward, Weinstein released a photo of him and Judd holding hands at a Vanity Fair Oscar Party, but Judd said the photo shows a terrified woman.

“I hoped I wouldn’t pass him, but I did and he, obviously, grabbed my hand,” she said. “It’s like the look on my face is abject terror. I can see it in my eyes.”

“It’s very gross. It’s very gross. I feel bad for that 28, 29-year-old woman,” she said of her younger self.

Looking back what happened, Judd said that part of her feels ashamed that she didn’t say “no” at the start and part of her is proud of herself for getting out of that situation.

“We all do the best we can, and our best is good enough,” Judd added. “And it’s really OK to have responded however we responded.”

Judd said she wasn’t sure if she could ever confront Weinstein again. When asked if she thought he belonged in jail, Judd said, “If he’s a rapist, he absolutely should go to jail.”

“I believe that there is hope and help for everyone. It has to be the appropriate help. And there has to be a real, profound understanding on the part of the sexual predator that what they were doing was wrong and criminal.”

She has turned to her faith to find peace.

“When I spoke at the United Nations on the modern slave trade, I said my prayers beforehand,” she said. “I actually prayed last week and I said, ‘Dear God, in case I forget to pray, please let this be the prayer.'”

What she would say to Weinstein today, she said, “is, ‘I love you and I understand that you are sick and suffering, and there is help for a guy like you, too, and it’s entirely up to you to get that help.”

Judd said this is just the kind of person she is.

“Frankly, it’s an easier way to roll through the world than the alternative,” she said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

How the government can fight the opioid epidemic under a public health emergency – Washington Post


(John Moore/Getty Images)

At this point in the nation’s opioid epidemic, fighting back is mainly about quickly making money available: Money for treatment. Money for the overdose antidote naloxone. Money to hire more people to help overwhelmed cities and states battle a crisis that killed an estimated 64,000 Americans last year.

President Trump isn’t likely to identify any big new sources of funding when he declares the situation a  public health emergency Thursday afternoon. But his official pronouncement will help the government speed any available resources to communities, where the epidemic is playing out on the streets every day, and will eliminate some obstacles that stand in the way of providing assistance.

According to the White House, 175 people will die of a drug overdose today and every day until the crisis is curbed. So the government may start with the most basic need: Keeping alive more than 11.5 million people taking prescription opioids for nonmedical uses plus 1 million people using heroin. “Unless you keep people alive, you can’t get them into treatment,” said Elizabeth Van Nostrand, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

That means more naloxone in communities — a lot more — and more money to train people how to use it. Gary Mendell, who founded the activist group Shatterproof after his son’s death, said the nation will need naloxone “everywhere there is a fire extinguisher.”

Naloxone, which is administered in several ways, can be expensive; Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen said that city is paying $70 to $90 for a two-dose pack. It often takes several injections or nasal sprays to revive a single victim, especially if the individual has overdosed on the powerful street drug fentanyl. Police and paramedics sometimes need to carry naloxone for themselves, in case they come in contact with fentanyl. A few are carrying it for their drug-sniffing dogs.

The emergency allows the federal government to speed more people and resources to the streets where naloxone is needed. Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan could negotiate lower prices for government agencies. And he could put out model instructions for states and cities to issue “standing orders” that make the antidote more readily available in pharmacies around the country, as jurisdictions like Baltimore already have done.

The greater need is for treatment. Only one in 10 of the 21 million people with a substance abuse disorder receives any kind of specialized treatment, according to the commission established by Trump to recommend responses. Barriers include a federal policy that prohibits Medicaid from paying inpatient facilities with more than 16 beds. The emergency declaration would allow HHS to grant waivers to any state requesting one.

“This is the single fastest way to increase treatment availability across the nation,” the commission wrote in July.

Opioids aren’t the only problem, though. The country is also battling abuse of benzodiazepines, cocaine and other drugs. But opioids — from prescription painkillers to heroin and fentanyl — cause more than half the overdose deaths each year.

Research shows that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with drugs like methadone and buprenorphine is the most effective approach. It reduces overdoses, keeps people in treatment and cuts the number of relapses (a particularly difficult problem in opioid abuse), the president’s commission said. But only 10 percent of drug treatment facilities are offering it.

Part of the problem is the outdated belief that such treatment merely substitutes one addictive substance for another. But Medicare doesn’t cover MAT. And in some places, such as Veterans Affairs and Indian Health Service facilities, there is a shortage of trained providers. Under the emergency, the HHS could more quickly make temporary hires of people and send them where they’re needed, including hard-hit parts of the country such as Appalachia, the Midwest and New England. The president’s declaration also will allow people in remote areas to receive treatment by telemedicine.

On  Wednesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called for wider use of medication-assisted treatment and said his agency would issue new guidance to manufacturers to promote the development of novel therapies, including ones that treat a wider range of symptoms.

The government also may be able to take a role in encouraging doctors and others to get better training in prescribing opioids; fewer than 20 percent of the more than 1 million professionals licensed to provide controlled substances have training in how to prescribe opioids safely, the commission noted.

The administration will call on the Department of Labor to provide grant money, if available, to states that create job-training programs for people in recovery. It can often be difficult for recovering addicts to find work because of criminal records or gaps in their employment history.

Read more: 

The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA

How painkillers intended for legal users ended up on the black market

When life begins in rehab: an infant heals after a mother’s heroin addiction

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Final JFK Assassination Files Due To Be Released – NPR

The National Archives is expected to release the final batch of government files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Jim Altgens/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Jim Altgens/AP

The government is due to release today more than 3,000 files about the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

The files would be the last to be released by the National Archives under a 1992 law that ordered the government to make all remaining documents pertaining to the assassination public. There has long been a trove of conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s murder in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, including doubts about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, as the Warren Commission determined in its report the following year.

Following Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK, which posited several theories about the assassination, Congress approved the law, forming the Assassination Records Review Board. It required the government to release all its files on the assassination in 25 years, unless doing so would harm national security, giving the president authority to block the release.

President Trump has indicated he would not stand in the way, and in fact tweeted on Wednesday, “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!”

The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017

Trump sent that message while flying to Dallas’s Love Field, the same airport where Kennedy landed just before he was shot.

Trump had been urged by his friend and adviser Roger Stone to allow the release. Stone has promoted the conspiracy theory that Kennedy’s vice president and successor, Lyndon Johnson, was behind the shooting, though there is no reliable evidence to support that.

But CIA Director Mike Pompeo had been arguing for a further delay, according to Stone, who told the website Infowars, which promotes various unfounded conspiracy theories, that the documents “must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead.”

TheWashington Post reported that a National Security Council official said government agencies were urging Trump to block some of the files from being released.

A pair of GOP lawmakers are pushing for a full release.

“After 54 years, there is no reason, for the sake of honesty and integrity in America, that the facts of the JFK assassination should not be made public,” Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., said in a statement announcing legislation introduced earlier this month calling for a full release. “Virgil once said, ‘Evil is nourished and grows by concealment.’ It’s time to reveal what happened that awful afternoon in 1963,” he added.

Companion bills were introduced in the House and Senate by Jones and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It’s unclear whether the files released on Thursday will quell the remaining doubts or add to the skepticism. A 2013 Gallup poll found only 30 percent of Americans believe Oswald acted on his own, with theories about other actors ranging from the CIA to the Mafia to Fidel Castro.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump himself has accused the father of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of associating with Oswald, citing a cover run by the National Enquirer tabloid.

Most of the newly released files are believ to be CIA and FBI documents.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

White House: Trump to declare opioid crisis a public health emergency – The Hill

President Trump on Thursday will instruct the acting director of the Department of Health & Human Services to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, White House officials said.

It’s a move that won’t free up additional federal funding and is a more narrow option recommended by the president’s opioid commission.

The announcement has been months in the making and avoids declaring a more sweeping national emergency under the Stafford Act, which was one option the administration’s opioid commission had previously recommended. The commission recommended either a public health emergency or a Stafford Act emergency.

The Stafford Act “doesn’t offer authority that is helpful here,” a senior administration official said. “There has been some false reporting about this.”

A Stafford Act emergency is typically reserved for a terror attack or natural disaster, in a more localized area.

Trump will formally make the announcement during a White House event Thursday. Officials previewed the actions with the press on condition of anonymity Thursday morning.

On Aug. 10, Trump said his administration was drafting paperwork to officially declare the epidemic a national emergency, which was the “first and most urgent” recommendation in an interim report from his commission to combat the crisis.

Two months later, some advocates and lawmakers were frustrated that the declaration still hadn’t come.

At a press conference last week, Trump said he’d make the announcement this week, calling a declaration “a very important step” and saying “to get to that step, a lot of work has to be done and it’s time-consuming work.”

Administration officials said they felt that a public health emergency was a better use of resources. It will allow Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan to loosen certain regulations and issue grants and spend money that he otherwise would not be able to.

A public health emergency needs to be renewed every 90 days until the declaration is no longer needed.

Three agencies that play a role in the federal response to the opioid epidemic have acting directors instead of Senate confirmed-leaders: the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) — an early backer of Trump — withdrew as the ONDCP nominee last week following a Washington Post-”60 Minutes” joint investigation reporting a bill he sponsored weakened the policing of the nation’s drug laws. Marino has vigorously defended himself.

White House officials said Trump will be submitting names to lead HHS and ONDCP soon, but pointed to “obstructionists” in the Senate for slowing down confirmation of lower level agency appointees who could help implement the action.

The declaration could spark a funding feud in Washington, as some say more cash is needed to make a declaration effective. The amount of money left in the public health emergency fund is paltry — just $57,000.

Administration officials said there have been ongoing discussions with Congress about securing more money for the fund as part of the year-end spending bill, but would not discuss specific dollar amounts.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

The Daily 202: The GOP civil war is bigger than Trump. A new study shows deep fissures on policy. – Washington Post

Donald Trump receives high-fives from students as he arrives at Dallas Love Field yesterday. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

THE BIG IDEA: Republican leaders are trying to downplay the significance of Jeff Flake’s retirement speech by insisting that the party is unified and that critiques of President Trump are entirely about his personality – not his policies.

Asked about Flake’s criticisms as he boarded Marine One for a trip to Texas yesterday afternoon, Trump responded that his meeting with Senate Republicans was “a lovefest.”

“We have, actually, great unity in the Republican Party,” the president said. “If you look at the Democrats with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, that’s a mess. … We’re really unified on what we want to do.”

Asked for reaction to what both Flake and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said about Trump, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Fox News: “This is more of, like, a People Magazine saga.” Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) told CNN, “These things are all personality-driven, and it’s unfortunate that this leaked out over into the public.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told MSNBC, “If we were all to chase every squirrel that comes running along in the form of a personal dispute or a mischaracterization of someone’s integrity or intent, we would be very busy doing that and not focusing on the government.”

But that’s not the case, and they all know it. In fact, there are profound ideological differences within the Republican coalition that have become much more pronounced in the Trump era. Flake’s decision to not seek another term was as much about his refusal to abandon his core principles as his concern over Trump’s fitness for office.

“It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party – the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things,” Flake said in his Tuesday speech on the Senate floor.

On the same day Flake bowed out, the Pew Research Center released a fascinating 152-page report on the nation’s political typology. Based on in-depth interviews with more than 5,000 American adults, the nonpartisan group divided everyone across the political spectrum into eight groups, along with a ninth group of politically disengaged “Bystanders.” (That is a giant sample, and the methodology is airtight.)

Pew’s typology studies, which they have conducted since the 1980s, are always a treat to read because they include a delicious trove of data to feast on. But they are expensive to conduct, so the last one came out in 2014. That’s only three years, but it feels like a generation ago: Before Donald.

The report highlights fissures under the Republican big tent on a host of issues.In many cases, the dividing lines are not necessarily new. Butseveral of the areas which Republicans are most torn about have moved to the front burner because of Trump’s disruptive campaign and presidency, from trade to immigration and America’s role in the world.

— Pew identifies four distinct GOP factions:

Core Conservatives, about 15 percent of all registered voters, are what we think of as traditional Republicans. They overwhelmingly support smaller government, lower corporate tax rates and believe the economic system is fundamentally fair. Seven in 10 express a positive view of U.S. involvement in the global economy “because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth.”

You might call this group the Jeff Flake Republicans. Flake grew up on a ranch that depended on the labor of undocumented immigrants, who he came to deeply respect as human beings. He was a Mormon missionary in South Africa, which made him worldly. As an ideological heir to Barry Goldwater and a devotee of Milton Friedman, he’s a devoted free trader who has unabashedly embraced the “globalist” label to describe himself.

Country First Conservatives, a much smaller segment of the GOP base (7 percent of all registered voters), are older and less educated.  They feel the country is broken, blame immigrants for that and largely think the U.S. should withdraw from the world. Nearly two-thirds agree with the statement that, “If America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”

Market Skeptic Republicans (12 percent of registered voters), leery of big business and free trade, believe the system is rigged against them. Just one-third of this group believes banks and other financial institutions have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, and 94 percent say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. Most of them want to raise corporate taxes, and only half believe GOP leaders care about the middle class. They generally view immigrants negatively, they’re not too focused on foreign affairs and they’re less socially conservative than the first two groups.

New Era Enterprisers, the fourth group, are the opposite. They account for about 11 percent of registered voters: They’re younger, more diverse and more bullish about America’s future. They support business and believe welcoming immigrants makes the country stronger.

— Core Conservatives are the biggest faction in the party, but they have historically punched above their weight because people in this category are more engaged with politics, more likely to vote and more likely to keep up with current events. (They also make up the lion’s share of the donor class, so politicians have another incentive to cater to their interests.)

This helps to explain why 9 in 10 Core Conservatives say the Republican Party represents their values very or somewhat well, compared to only 3 in 4 Country First Conservatives and 6 in 10 Market Skeptic Republicans.

— Trump’s core supporters tend to regard economic policy as a zero-sum game.Many believe that others must lose for them to win. Most Americans, however, believe that it’s possible to have economic policies that benefit everyone in the country. Six in 10 Market Skeptic Republicans say that pretty much any economic policy will end up benefiting some at the expense of others, much higher than Core Conservatives.

Jeff Flake speaks to reporters after announcing he will not seek re-election. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

— Looking through the crosstabs, here were seven other questions that divided the sub-groups in striking ways:

Taxes: Two-thirds of Core Conservatives say there should be lower taxes both on large businesses and corporations. On the other side, only 24 percent of Market Skeptic Republicans support lowering tax rates on high-earning households and a 55 percent majority says taxes on large businesses and corporations should be raised.

Health care: 88 percent of Core Conservatives say it is not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health-care coverage, compared to 72 percent of Country First Conservatives and 57 percent of Market Skeptic Republicans. But the New Era Enterprisers are split: 47 percent say it is the government’s responsibility to ensure Americans have health care, while 50 percent say it is not.

Immigration: Three-quarters of Country First Conservatives say immigrants are a burden on the country, and two-thirds of that group say that the U.S. risks losing its identity as a nation if it is too open to people from around the world. But 70 percent of New Era Enterprisers view immigrants as a strength and two-thirds of them say America’s openness is “essential to who we are as a nation.”

Role of government: Only 12 percent of Core Conservatives say that the GOP is too willing to cut government programs even when they have proven effective, compared to 36 percent of Country First Conservatives, 46 percent of New Era Enterprisers and 49 percent of Market Skeptic Republicans.

America’s role in the world: Overall, 47 percent of Americans agree that “it’s best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs,” but an identical percentage says “we should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.” Support for global engagement has spiked among Democrats since 2014. While half of Core Conservatives say the U.S. should be active globally, 66 percent of Country First Conservatives and 72 percent of Market Skeptic Republicans say the U.S. should concentrate on problems at home and pay less attention to problems overseas.

Climate change: 7 in 10 Core Conservatives say there is no solid evidence of global warming. Only half of Country First Conservatives say that. On the other hand, two-thirds of both Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers say there is solid evidence of global warming.

Gay marriage: Nationally, 62 percent of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally while 32 percent still oppose same-sex marriage. Three-quarters of Country First Conservatives oppose gay marriage. But Core Conservatives are now closer to evenly divided – 43 percent support and 49 percent oppose. On the other side, 57 percent of Market Skeptic Republicans and 54 percent of New Era Enterprisers want to let gays and lesbians to marry legally.

— Bigger picture: The center is not holding. There is much less overlap in the political values of Republicans and Democrats than in the past. In 2004, 49 percent of Americans took a roughly equal number of conservative and liberal positions on a scale based on 10 questions. That was the same percentage as in 1994. Then, three years ago, 38 percent had a mix of liberal and conservative views. Now it’s dropped to 32 percent.

— A good insight: Trump keeps talking about Hillary Clinton because it’s the best way to hold his coalition together. Only about 4 in 10 Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives say they agree with Trump on “all or nearly all issues,” compared to almost 6 in 10 Market Skeptic Republicans. The New Era Enterprisers are split almost evenly: 47 percent say they agree with Trump on many or all issues, while 53 percent say that they agree with the president on few or almost no issues.

In every GOP faction, though, voters strongly dislike Clinton at about twice the rate that they strongly like Trump. (Similarly, Democrats are held together right now by their near universal disdain for Trump.)

To appropriate a phrase from the late Rick James, reflexive partisanship is a helluva drug,” Aaron Blake observes on The Fix. “And today’s Republican Party is much more united on what it is against — namely, the Democrats and the mainstream media — than on what it’s for. … Trump may not be great on their policies, and they may even think he’s kind of a jerk, but he’s with them on the most important thing: being not-the-other-side. It’s arguably his most pronounced quality. And in an increasingly polarized country, it’s what really matters.”

Read the full report here.

Take Pew’s online quiz to see where you would fall on their political typology.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

George H.W. Bush and the cast of AMC’s new series TURN attend a private screening in 2014. (Aaron M. Sprecher/Invision for AMC/AP)

— George H.W. Bush issued a second apology Wednesday evening to actress Heather Lind, who accused him of groping her as they posed for a photo several years ago. “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” a spokesman for the former president said. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”

Another woman has also come forward alleging a very similar story about Bush. Kristine Phillips and Eli Rosenberg report: “Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin that she was working on a production of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ in Maine in August 2016, near the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, when Bush came backstage during intermission and grabbed her as they posed for a picture. ‘He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, “Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?” As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, “David Cop-a-Feel!” Grolnick said. … [Grolnick] said she had been warned by other actors not to stand next to Bush.”

Mark Halperin attends the world premiere of “Knife Fight” during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. (Evan Agostini/AP)

— Mark Halperin was accused of sexual harassment by five women. CNN’s Oliver Darcy reports: “‘During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,’ Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. ‘I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.’ … The stories of harassment shared with CNN range in nature from propositioning employees for sex to kissing and grabbing one’s breasts against her will. Three of the women who spoke to CNN described Halperin as, without consent, pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed. Halperin denies grabbing a woman’s breasts and pressing his genitals against the three women.”

— The New Republic continues to grapple with allegations against former editor Leon Wieseltier. HuffPost’s Jason Cherkis reports: “‘I accept I was blind and complicit and just, like, did nothing,’ one former top New Republic editor … told HuffPost. … But he added that there were men and women in the office who did not know what was going on. … ‘It was kind of a collective failure. This sits heavily on me.’ In part, Wieseltier’s behavior went unchecked because there was no one in place to check it — or at least willing to. The New Republic had no human resources office where employees could safely lodge complaints about Wieseltier. It also didn’t have a clear organizational structure; it wasn’t always clear whom Wieseltier reported to or if he reported to anyone.”

— Bill O’Reilly is in talks for a position at Sinclair Broadcasting Group, despite sexual harassment claims that cost him his job at Fox News and new revelations that he settled a $32 million sexual harassment claim while at the network. (NBC News).

Houston Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez celebrates his home run during the ninth inning of Game 2 of the World Series. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

— The Astros won Game 2 of the World Series in 11 innings. Dave Sheinin reports: “Game 2 of the World Series was already more than four hours old and about six degrees of bonkers when George Springer came to the plate in the top of the 11th inning at Dodger Stadium. Already, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros had, by all natural rights, won the game and lost the game a couple of times apiece. … But there was still one thing missing from a game that, by that point, had everything else: an outcome. And when Springer, the Astros’ leadoff man, smashed a two-run homer with no outs in the 11th off Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy — the ninth Dodgers pitcher of the night — it finally had that as well.”

Protesters gather in support of “Jane Doe” to have an abortion. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. An undocumented immigrant teen received an abortion on Wednesday — putting an end to a weeks-long court battle with the federal government over whether the 17-year-old, who is being held in federal custody, should be allowed to move forward with the procedure. (Ann E. Marimow and Maria Sacchetti)
  2. Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen was found to have sold real estate to mysterious buyers for a profit of up to $20 million. Experts said that the transactions, which occurred in 2014, could merit a review by federal investigators. (McClatchy)

  3. Nikki Haley was evacuated from South Sudan. The U.N. ambassador was visiting a camp for displaced people in the country when a demonstration broke out against President Salva Kiir. (Politico)

  4. Joe Biden said he would have run for president in 2016 had his son Beau not been stricken by cancer. “No question,” the former vice president told Vanity Fair“I had planned on running[.] … Honest to God, I thought that I was the best suited for the moment to be president.”

  5. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R) said Wednesday he won’t seek reelection in 2018 in an announcement that came as a blow to moderate Republicans and set off an immediate scramble for his replacement. In a statement, Straus said he will “continue to work for a Republican Party that tries to bring Texans together instead of pulling us apart.” (Texas Tribune)

  6. The NAACP issued a travel advisory for African Americans flying on American Airlines, citing a “pattern of disturbing incidents” after four black passengers were reportedly forced to give up their seats or removed from flights. The advisory said the incidents “suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias.” (CNNMoney)

  7. An estranged brother of Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock was arrested on child pornography charges. Authorities said the 58-year-old was detained at a Los Angeles assisted-living facility Wednesday in an investigation predating the massacre. He faces 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of possession of child pornography. (NBC News)

  8. The DOJ reached settlements with tea-party groups alleging discrimination in the determination of their tax-exempt status. In one agreement, the IRS acknowledged that its practices were “wrong” and offered a “sincere apology” in the controversy that plagued the Obama administration. (Matt Zapotosky)

  9. A new report shows a dark picture of North Korea’s “re-education” camps. The camps, while less severe than those meant for political prisoners, force people to perform hard labor in near-starvation conditions. The “crimes” that can land people in the camps include making too much money in the markets and attempting to flee the country. (Anna Fifield)

  10. Jeff Glor was named the new anchor of CBS Evening News. The 42-year-old Emmy-award winning journalist has been with the network for 10 years. (CBS News)

  11. Boogie-woogie pianist Fats Domino, who helped launch rock-and-roll, died at 89. Domino’s record sales were rivaled only by Elvis Presley in the early days of rock. (Terence McArdle)

  12. California cities are experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak at homeless encampments. The homeless population in cities like San Diego has been on the rise as housing prices in the state continue to soar. (Scott Wilson)

  13. A federal panel recommended a new shingles vaccine on Wednesday — voting 8 to 7 to formally support a remedy found to be more effective in treating the painful rash in people ages 50 and older. (Lena H. Sun)  

Kevin Brady looks on as Steven Mnuchin takes questions from lawmakers concerning Trump’s budget. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

TAXES ON CENTER STAGE: 

— House leaders made a “frantic” attempt last night to prevent their plans to overhaul the tax code from being thwarted. The House is slated to vote on a budget measure today that sets up the process for considering the tax legislation, but several GOP lawmakers have balked at plans to eliminate the state and local tax deduction known as SALT.

Mike DeBonis and Tory Newmyer have the latest: “At least four GOP lawmakers from high-tax states said Tuesday that they intended to vote against the budget unless a deal is in place to at least partially preserve the state- and local-tax deduction, also known as ‘SALT’ . . . All were dismayed by language included in the latest version of the budget that refers to ‘reducing federal deductions, such as the state and local tax deduction which disproportionately favors high-income individuals.’ They argue that many middle-class households in high-cost-of-living areas take advantage of the deduction.”

Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (Tex.) nonetheless said he was “confident” the budget measure would pass “because this budget vote is about allowing pro-growth tax reform to occur. It isn’t the tax bill.”

— But there are other signs of discord among Republicans and President Trump. Two days after Trump rebutted him, Brady suggested that the GOP plan could force changes to 401(k) retirement plans. Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis report: “Brady . . . said he was ‘working very closely with the president’ on the issue. He added that many people who have tax-incentivized retirement accounts contribute $200 per month or less, a level he thought was too low. ‘We think we can do better,’ Brady said. ‘We are continuing discussions with the president, all focused on saving more and saving sooner.’ Several hours later, Senate Finance Committee Chairman [Orrin Hatch] also said he would oppose Trump’s vow to protect 401(k) plans but that he was open to changes if they made sense. ‘I’m open to look at anything,’ Hatch said[.]”

In openly flouting Trump’s promise, GOP lawmakers are essentially “calling Trump’s bluff that what he says he wants on policy is what he means,”Amber Phillip writes. “And it underscores how little political capital Trump has on Capitol Hill right now[:] Ten months in, Trump has no working relationship with Congress and no reputation as a trustworthy dealmaker. He has taken little to no interest in policy . . . This spring and summer, he largely outsourced Obamacare repeal to the Hill, created a bunch of distracting self-inflicted controversies, then publicly bashed his own party for falling short by one vote in the Senate. He switches his positions on basic issues as often as Katy Perry changes costumes in a show.”

— House Republicans are also toying with the idea of creating a fourth tax bracket for those who make more than $1 million a year. Axios’s Jonathan Swan reports: Brady “has been telling allies that he doesn’t like the idea of creating a fourth bracket but he’s probably going to have to do it because Republicans are losing so much money from other concessions. In a closed-door meeting with conservative leaders on Wednesday … [Brady] did not specify that the top rate would likely stay at 39.6% for income over $1 million a year[.] … The direction Brady gave them was there was likely to be a fourth bracket, though there could be a 1 or 2 percentage point cut to 37 or 38%. One source familiar with the meeting described the move as ‘symbolic’.”

— The stakes are very high: “The prospect of a once-in-a-generation bill to cut taxes on businesses and individuals increasingly appears to be the best hope for a party anxious to find common ground and advance an effort that it has long championed as the pinnacle of Republican orthodoxy,”New York Times’s Jim Tankersley and Thomas Kaplan write. “It is a bit like having a baby to save a failing marriage. … But, like a crying newborn, the drafting of the bill is already costing party leaders sleep. ‘The Republicans are finally figuring out if they don’t pass this, the political consequences are going to be catastrophic,’ said Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation … ‘The attitude of the conservative base is, ‘If they don’t do this, they’re worthless.’”

— But rhetoric around the bill supposedly designed to “benefit the middle class” has given rise to an important question — who IS the middle class? “In America, an income of $59,000 a year (before tax) is smack dab in the middle, according to the U.S. Census. But it’s not that simple,” Heather Long writes. “In Beattyville, Ky., a place dubbed ‘America’s poorest white town,’ median income is only $16,000 and a typical home costs only $53,000. … On the other end of the spectrum are rapidly developing cities such as the San Francisco area[:] The median income is a whopping $136,000 in Palo Alto, the hub of Silicon Valley.  Even engineers at Facebook have been struggling to pay their rent. … America’s vast differences in pay and costs make creating a once-size-fits-all tax policy tricky. One of the biggest dilemmas Republicans face as they work on the tax bill is where to draw the tax bracket lines for people of different incomes … [and] GOP leaders are still working out where to set the rates, and at what income level those rates will kick in.”

— Gary Cohn is reportedly no longer under consideration to become the next Fed chair. Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli, Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev report: “Trump has told advisers that Cohn is doing a great job in his current role and that he wants to keep him at the White House through congressional consideration of his proposed tax overhaul[.] … ‘No decision has been made and no candidate has been ruled out but Gary’s role is too crucial to getting tax reform done,’ a senior administration official familiar with the president’s thinking said. It may be ‘too important for him to continue to be the lead, for him to announce a change at this time.’ Cohn is likely to leave the White House soon after Congress disposes with the tax plan, two people said.”

— The Koch-backed Freedom Partners launched a $1.6 million ad campaign against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) accusing her of “rigging the [tax] system against us.” 

HEALTH CARE, NOT SO MUCH:

— In his speech on the opioid crisis today, Trump is expected to stop short of declaring a national emergency. USA Today’s Gregory Korte reports: “Trump will order his health secretary to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency Thursday[.] … [T]here’s a legal distinction between a public health emergency, which the secretary of Health can declare under the Public Health Services Act, and a presidential emergency under the National Emergencies Act. The latter is what the president’s own opioid commission recommended in July. …  [T]he legal powers Trump is invoking were designed for a short-term emergencies like disasters and infectious diseases.

— A federal judge in California refused to order the Trump administration to resume paying subsidies for low-income people under the Affordable Care Act. Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin report: “The ruling leaves intact [Trump’s] decision … to immediately end the payments that reimburse insurers for discounts the law requires them to give lower-income customers with health plans through ACA marketplaces. The attorneys general, from 18 states and the District, were seeking a temporary order that would have maintained the funding while the rest of the case is decided. [Judge Vince Chhabria] pointed out that most states’ insurance regulators had already prepared for a possible end to the money, by allowing companies to charge higher rates for the coming year. The judge did not decide the suit’s core question: whether the federal government must continue funding the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments without a specific congressional appropriation.”

— Meanwhile, the CBO released a report showing the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill to shore up the ACA exchanges would save nearly $4 billion over the next decade. Juliet and Amy write: The proposal “would not affect the number of people with health insurance. The assessment of the plan … forecasts no fiscal effect from one of its main features: resuming for two years the cost-sharing payments Trump has stopped. That central aspect of the bill would not itself affect the deficit, the nonpartisan budget analysts conclude, because the CBO had been assuming those payments would continue. But the analysts still predict the relatively small savings because health insurers that raised their prices for the coming year to compensate for the funding loss would then need to give the government some kind of rebate for charging too much.”

— BUT: Paul Ryan pretty much ended hope that the House would consider the deal this year. Reuters’s Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu report: “Asked whether the seven-year Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was now dead, Ryan responded, ‘No.’ But he added, ‘I can’t imagine we can do that this year.’ … Ryan said he favored a more conservative short-term Obamacare fix offered by leading Republicans in the House and Senate. It includes provisions to suspend requirements for individuals and employers to obtain health coverage under Obamacare.”

— Maryland announced it would allow two insurers to substantially raise Obamacare premiums in response to the end of the subsidies. (Colby Itkowitz)

— Progressive Democrats are pushing legislation that would allow people to buy into a “public option” for Medicaid. David Weigel reports: “The State Public Option Act, sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) in the Senate and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) in the House, would expand Medicaid from a program available only to Americans at or slightly above the poverty level, to a universal program anyone could buy into. Already, 18 Democrats in the Senate have co-sponsored the bill, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:

— The head of Cambridge Analytica – a data-analytics firm that worked for Trump’s campaign – said in an email last year that he reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for help finding Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reports: “[Alexander] Nix, who heads Cambridge Analytica, told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the WikiLeaks editor release Clinton’s missing emails … Those sources also relayed that, according to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cambridge Analytica CEO that he didn’t want his help, and preferred to do the work on his own. If the claims Nix made in that email are true, this would be the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Assange.” Assange later told the Daily Beast in a statement: “We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”

— Trump on Wednesday called the infamous dossier alleging ties between him and the Russian government a “disgrace” to Democrats. Politico’s Nolan D. McCaskill reports: “I understand they paid a tremendous amount of money,’ Trump told reporters … ‘And Hillary Clinton always denied it. The Democrats always denied it. And now, only because it’s gonna come out in a court case, they said yes, they did it. They admitted it, and they’re embarrassed by it. But I think it’s a disgrace. It’s a very sad commentary on politics in this country.’” 

He also hinted he knows the identity of the Republican who helped fund the opposition research during the GOP primary: “If I were to guess, I have one name in mind,” Trump said. “It’ll probably be revealed. I’d rather not say, but you’ll be surprised. You’ll be surprised.”

— Hillary Clinton and top officials from her presidential campaign were largely silent yesterday about the revelations that the DNC and her campaign paid for research resulting in the dossier. Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman report: “Neither Clinton nor her campaign manager, Robby Mook, responded to requests for comment Wednesday. Campaign chair John Podesta declined to comment beyond referring reporters to a statement issued the previous day by the campaign’s law firm saying officials had not been aware of the arrangement. Brian Fallon, the former campaign spokesman, said he didn’t know about the research at the time but called it ‘money well spent’ if it provided information useful to the special counsel now investigating Russia’s involvement.”

— Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan Russia probe has splintered,with top lawmakers on the panel, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), each agreeing to launch separate inquiries.Bloomberg’s Steven T. Dennis reports: “The two senators spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday, where they agreed to pursue different issues without giving up on the original probe — into the reasons [Trump] fired [James Comey] and Russian attempts to interfere in the election. Feinstein of California said she doesn’t understand a push by Republicans to once again investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails or pursue a 2010 Obama-era deal by a Russian-backed company to purchase American uranium mines.  Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy said Wednesday that the chairman will continue his broad focus on multiple administrations, ‘even if the ranking member is only willing to focus on [Trump] and unwilling to examine the role of the DNC and Clinton campaign …’ Their remarks signal a significant rupture to what has been a bipartisan probe[.]”

— A study set to be published today demonstrates how “embeds” from Facebook, Twitter and Google played a crucial role in the Trump campaign’s success. Politico’s Nancy Scola reports: “While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches.”

— Senate investigators are gathering documents from the estate of GOP operative Peter Smith, who reportedly acknowledged before his death in May that he had led an effort to obtain Clinton’s missing emails from Russian hackers.ABC News’s Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross report: “[Ten days before his death, Smith] told a reporter from the Wall Street Journal that he had led a robust bid during the early months of the 2016 presidential contest to find what he thought were hacked copies of Clinton’s emails in hopes of using them against her during the campaign. Of interest to investigators … are documents and electronic communications that could help determine whether Smith worked in concert with anyone from the campaign of then-candidate [Trump].”

President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

THE NEW WORLD ORDER:

— The Pentagon deployed elite commandos in response to the deadly ambush of U.S. Special Forces in Niger earlier this month, fearing that militants were hunting Sgt. La David Johnson, who was missing at the time. Dan Lamothe and Karen DeYoung report: “The commandos, with the secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), were deployed late on Oct. 4 … [two days before the body of Sgt. La David Johnson was found]. Johnson’s separation triggered declaration of what the military calls a DUSTWUN, which stands for ‘duty status whereabouts unknown,’ the officials said. Declaration of that status typically leads to an intense search for a missing service member.” 

— White House officials initially thought that several American troops might be missing following the ambush. Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung report: “The White House did not officially receive word that three American bodies had been recovered, and that one soldier remained missing, until at least eight hours after the attack had begun[.] … The confusion and delays in receiving and transmitting information between field commanders, through the U.S. Africa Command in Germany, to the Pentagon and then to the White House underscores the chaotic nature of the firefight … In this case, the lack of firm information over so long a period was especially striking to those on the receiving end. ‘My whole life, I’ve never seen something like that happen,’ [a] senior official said[.] … ‘I was dumbfounded by it.’

— The Trump administration is paving the way for use of armed drones and lethal force in Niger, NBC News reports: “France has already decided to arm its drones in the region, U.S. documents show, and the move to arm U.S. Reapers has been under consideration for some time — long before this month’s ambush of a Green Beret unit that resulted in the deaths of four American soldiers. [But] in the wake of the attack, the U.S. has been pressing the government of Niger to allow armed drones at the U.S. bases in that country, three U.S. officials said. A move to expand U.S. drone strikes to Niger would amount to a significant escalation in American counterterrorism operations.”

— Meanwhile, Trump undercut Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson again on Wednesday, disputing her claim that he didn’t remember her husband’s name when he called her last week.Ashley Parker reports: “Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House … Trump said he called Army Sgt. La David Johnson [by] his correct name ‘right from the beginning.’ ‘One of the great memories of all time,’ the president said, pointing at his head with his left hand. ‘There’s no hesitation.’ [He continued]: ‘Just so you understand, they put a chart in front — ‘La David,’ it says ‘La David Johnson.’ So I called right from the beginning.’” He also said he had not specifically authorized the mission in Niger: “No I didn’t, not specifically, but I have generals that are great generals — these are great fighters, these are warriors,” he told reporters. “I gave them authority to do what’s right so that we win.”

PresidentTrump, center right, speaks as John Kelly, White House chief of staff, and H.R. McMaster, national security advisor and Jim Mattis, secretary of defense, listen during a briefing with senior military leaders. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

WHO IS JOHN KELLY?

The New York Times’s Peter Baker has a smart look at the chief of staff who is lauded around Washington as the ‘so-called grown-up in the room,” but also shares many of Trump’s tendencies. “For all of the talk of Mr. Kelly as a moderating force and the so-called grown-up in the room, it turns out that he harbors strong feelings on patriotism, national security and immigration that mirror the hard-line views of his outspoken boss. With his attack on a congresswoman who had criticized Mr. Trump’s condolence call to a slain soldier’s widow last week, Mr. Kelly showed that he was willing to escalate a politically distracting, racially charged public fight even with false assertions.”

Key quote: “’The real issue is understanding really who John Kelly is,’” said former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, a Democrat for whom Mr. Kelly worked at the Pentagon during President Barack Obama’s administration. ‘If you understand what makes him tick, then it all fits together.’ ‘He is aMarine first and foremost,’ Mr. Panetta said. ‘In addition to being a Marine, he was born and raised in Boston’ among blue-collar families with traditional views about God and country. ‘You combine those two and you realize’ that he “shares some of these deep values, some of which Trump himself has tried to talk about.'”

— Meanwhile, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), with whom Kelly got into a dispute after her characterization of Trump’s phone call to Sgt. Johnson’s widow, has not returned to Capitol Hill amid ongoing threats to her safety. Miami Herald’s Alex Daugherty reports: “Congressional vote tallies show that Wilson last voted on Oct. 12, before the House adjourned for a week-long break. She’s missed 19 votes between Monday, Oct. 23 and Wednesday, Oct. 25. … ‘She’s home,’ said Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat. ‘I have not spoken with her about it, but I’ve heard that she’s received substantial death threats and I think she is doing everything she can to ratchet down and let some of us, including me, take over.’ Hastings said she expects Wilson to return next week.”

 — This is personal for one at least reporter: “With my husband deployed, covering the news hits home,” by CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “[John] Kelly describes the journey of a service member’s remains, the journey his son would have taken, after being killed in action. … As I listen to Kelly all I can picture is my husband’s body, packed in ice. I will it to stop. I can’t. I am arrested by this horrific looping video image in my mind and I can’t control the tears. I ask the floor director for tissues. I listen to Kelly hoping that he will talk for several more minutes and I will have time to compose myself so I can speak evenly when I bring my panel in to discuss Kelly’s comments. … [F]or this moment, as I listen to [Kelly] describe my worst fear, I am not a news person at all. I am only a military wife trying not to lose it[.]

The main entrance to the Trump National Doral Miami Golf Shop.  (Angel Valentin for the Washington Post)

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:

— GEO Group, a private prison giant, held its annual leadership conference at Trump’s National Doral golf resort last week as the group intensifies effort to align itself with the Trump administration.Amy Brittain and Drew Harwell report: “During last year’s election, a company subsidiary gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC. GEO gave an additional $250,000 to the president’s inaugural committee [and] hired as outside lobbyists a major Trump fundraiser and two former aides to [Jeff Sessions] … GEO Group, meanwhile, has had newfound success in Trump’s Washington. The company secured the administration’s first contract for an immigration-detention center, a deal worth tens of millions a year. And its stock price has tripled since hitting a low last year when the Obama administration sought to phase out the use of private prisons — a decision that [AG Jeff] Sessions reversed. GEO Group’s achievements over the past year show how a company that has long relied heavily on doing business with the government — and whose business model was under threat — is thriving in the Trump era.”

— A close ally of Mike Pence has been advising the embattled student debt-relief industry on how to lobby Washington. Buzzfeed News’s Molly Hensley-Clancy reports: “Marty Obst, a longtime adviser to Pence and operative closely aligned with Trump’s outside political operation, was a marquee speaker at an industry conference last week[.] … Introduced to the crowd as ‘Mike Pence’s best friend,’ Obst told the group that he had personally spoken to legislators about the industry and what he characterized as the ‘good work’ that debt relief companies were doing for students[.] … He advised the companies to set up a political action committee …”

— Nearly a month after Neil Gorsuch sparked controversy for speaking at the Trump International Hotel, the president’s small business chief Linda McMahon also delivered remarks there. Newsweek’s Max Kutner reports: “During the event, McMahon spoke for about 20 minutes at a podium with a ‘Trump Hotels’ sign. The topics included hurricane relief, SBA initiatives in Louisiana and tax reform … During the event, an SBA staffer texted the agency’s deputy press secretary with several pictures of McMahon speaking. In response to the photos, the deputy wrote, “Can you try to get the portrait mode one without the ‘Trump hotel’ sign in it?”

— ICYMI: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke caught flak for continuing to associate with Scott B. Mackenzie, a political operative accused of running “scam PACs.” Politico’s Ben Lefebvre and Nick Juliano report: Mackenzie’s critics claim that his PACs “raise small-dollar donations from conservative voters but then spend the bulk of the money on consultants and overhead. The critics include former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who filed a suit accusing Mackenzie and other defendants of running a ‘national fundraising scam’ after they gave his 2013 campaign for governor less than a half percent of the money they had raised in his name.”

A worker cleans up debris in a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Harvey in Beaumont, Texas. (AP/David Goldman)

— Puerto Rico moved to appoint an emergency manager of the island’s crippled electrical grid as Whitefish Energy — which is based in Zinke’s home state — came under fire for its $300 million contract to restire power. Steven Mufson and Aaron C. Davis report: “The board said Wednesday that it intends to appoint Noel Zamot, a retired Air Force colonel and member of the oversight panel, to oversee daily operations of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. The decision comes as House and Senate Democrats called for an investigation into the utility’s agreement with Whitefish Energy. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) pledged to examine the grid-rebuilding efforts at an upcoming hearing of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which she chairs.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Tuesday told Yahoo News that the contract should be ‘voided right away.’ … Whitefish on Wednesday clashed with San Juan’s mayor on Twitter, saying her frustration was ‘misplaced’ and ‘demoralizing’ to workers who had come to the island to work on the recovery. ‘We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived,’ Whitefish replied. ‘Do you want us to send them back or keep working?’”

The managing editor of Lawfare summarized the exchanges between Cruz and Whitefish in this way:

In response to reasonable questions regarding suspicious and irregular federal contracting award, company threatens non-performance. https://t.co/cnkWusPxMT

— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 25, 2017

— Meanwhile, Trump met briefly with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and several other lawmakers to discuss Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts,as well as how to prepare for future storms. Jenna Johnson reports: “Sitting in a small conference room at a private terminal at Dallas Love Field Airport … Trump said he was open to launching some major infrastructure projects in the Houston area that are aimed at reducing flooding during future storms and suggested that homeowners living in flood zones install water-resistant drywall on the first floor of their homes — an idea that he credited to his experience in the construction industry. ’I’m the builder president. Remember that,’ said [Trump].”

Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, poses for portraits at his campaign headquarters in Richmond.(Photo by Timothy C. Wright/For the Washington Post.)

2017 ELECTION IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER:

Paul Schwartzman profiles Ed Gillespie, the establishment Republican in Virginia’s gubernatorial race trying to navigate the Trump era: “Over four decades in national politics, Gillespie rose to the highest ranks of Washington’s ruling class, chairing the Republican National Committee, counseling President George W. Bush and earning millions lobbying for corporate clients seeking entree to his rarefied Rolodex. Yet as he seeks to succeed Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Gillespie is at the center of a civil war that is dividing his party, one pitting the Republican establishment he personifies with his four-star credentials against the anti-Washington forces that propelled President Trump’s rise. … [T]he president’s populist appeal remains muscular enough that Gillespie has had to become a political contortionist, seeking to appeal to Trump’s base without pushing moderates toward his opponent, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D).”

In a sign of his outreach to Trump’s base, Gillespie released a new ad saying he would keep standing Confederate statues in the state:

[embedded content]

— Meanwhile, Northam sent out a new campaign mailer linking Gillespie and Trump to the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville. Fenit Nirappil reports: “The mailer features images of both Republican men above a photo of the white supremacists with the text, ‘On Tuesday November 7th, Virginia Gets To Stand Up…To Hate.’ The back of the literature features a prominent image of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, along with Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, with the message ‘This is our chance to stand up to Trump, Gillespie, and hate.’”

Phillip Bump argues that a new Hampton University poll showing Gillespie 8 points ahead in the race should be taken with a grain of salt: “[T]here’s a critical caveat. Instead of asking respondents who didn’t indicate a choice between Northam and Gillespie who they preferred, those respondents were simply listed as ‘don’t know.’ The result is ‘don’t know’ ended up getting more than a quarter of the vote. Why does that matter? Because it means a quarter of the possible electorate which will weigh in on the race … isn’t counted”

— Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) announement he won’t seek reelection has upended the Arizona Senate race. Real Clear Politics’s James Arkin reports: “On the GOP side, Flake’s exit creates a wide open race for the nomination. Several GOP sources said they expected multiple members from the House delegation — Reps. Martha McSally, David Schweikert, Trent Franks and Andy Biggs — to consider a run; Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is also viewed as a potential candidate.”

— U.S. marshals searched for former Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) to serve him with an FEC lawsuit as Rivera hobnobbed with state legislators on the Florida Senate floor. The lawsuit concerns a campaign finance issue that has already resulted in two criminal convictions. (Politico)

— ICYMI: Former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) entered the race to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R). He will compete against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in the Republican primary. (Tennessean)

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Trump congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on being granted another five years in power:

Spoke to President Xi of China to congratulate him on his extraordinary elevation. Also discussed NoKo & trade, two very important subjects!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017

From an opinion editor for New York Daily News:

Congrats on having no checks and balances, all-powerful leader! https://t.co/CfCv94MKE2

— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) October 25, 2017

Trump previewed the release of the JFK files:

The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017

From the Washington Examiner’s political correspondent:

When nothing conspiratorial is revealed in the JFK files, the conspiracy theorists will insist the cover up continues. No point.

— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) October 25, 2017

Trump offered this odd defense of his civility:

Q: Should you be more civil?
Trump: Press makes me more uncivil than I am… I went to an Ivy League college. I’m a very intelligent person pic.twitter.com/x2sYu4tYV2

— David Mack (@davidmackau) October 25, 2017

From a former State Department official:

As a Penn alum this is so embarrassing. So much worse than having Harvard & Princeton students chant “safety school” at you https://t.co/3sn0wXPUb5

— Ilan Goldenberg (@ilangoldenberg) October 25, 2017

From The Post’s Eugene Scott:

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates https://t.co/OHRSKTXejH

— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) October 25, 2017

From a HuffPost writer:

we live in hell pic.twitter.com/SVl1p2684m

— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) October 25, 2017

Fox News’s Lou Dobbs told Trump that he is “one of the most loved and respected” men “in history.” From one of The Post’s data reporters:

We used to laugh at North Korea for this sort of thing https://t.co/gs5zAhUFpd

— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) October 25, 2017

Ivanka Trump met with lawmakers to discuss the child tax credit:

Productive conversation w/ @IvankaTrump today about increasing the Child Tax Credit & how this would help working families in #WV. pic.twitter.com/tu5Pt6n2n2

— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) October 25, 2017

Senate Republicans’ super PAC went after Steve Bannon’s choice for a Senate candidate in Nevada:

Here’s another pledge for @DannyTarkanian to sign backing Bannon over ex-wife charges. #NVSenpic.twitter.com/qIHE8SrAJL

— Senate Ldshp Fund (@Senate_Fund) October 25, 2017

Planned Parenthood questioned Mike Pence’s assertion that Ed Gillespie would be “a great governor for ALL Virginians”:

ALL*

*except Latinos, African Americans, or anyone who wants to make their own reproductive health choices… https://t.co/5knso42RFG

— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) October 25, 2017

The undocumented teenager seeking an abortion issued this statement:

The undocumented pregnant teen being prevented from getting an abortion by the Trump administration just obtained an abortion. Here is her statement: pic.twitter.com/scWIrEX008

— Ema O’Connor (@o_ema) October 25, 2017

Sen.Ted Cruz’s office sent some baked goods to Sen. Flake’s office:

We’ve got the best next-door neighbors in the #Senate. Thanks @TeamTedCruzpic.twitter.com/fKzmtGPmGA

— Jason Samuels (@Jason_Samuels) October 25, 2017

The Post’s national political correspondent had this flashback:

This photo from a year ago just popped up in my Facebook feed. Chyron as prophecy: pic.twitter.com/tbPx566U5X

— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) October 25, 2017

Capitol Hill welcomed trick-or-treaters:

There’s a Halloween party for kids in the Senate and one is dressed as the bill from Schoolhouse Rock!!!! pic.twitter.com/nONEbsNnAQ

— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) October 25, 2017

And Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who faces a tough reelection next year, told Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) this zinger:

VIDEO: Watch @clairecmc tell NRSC @CoryGardner, after his car almost hit her: “Probably the only shot you’ve got to take me out!” pic.twitter.com/yG37EtItlg

— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) October 24, 2017

Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

— HuffPost, “Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar.” Lydia Polgreen: “All of them, at some point over the course of the last nine months, had left their posts within the current administration, having decided that they could better serve their country from outside the government than from within. They weren’t happy about quitting, either. They were civil servants who wanted to remain civil servants, who, except for one, had worked under presidents of both parties. They had disagreed with superiors over the years, they had been fearful of new regulations and wary of political appointees, but they stayed on because that’s the nature of career work in government. This was different.”

— The Daily Beast, “YouTube Trumpkin and Former Milo Intern Kills His Own Dad for Calling Him a Nazi,” by Brandy Zadrozny: “Lane had spent that Friday morning as he did most mornings, on the internet. This day, like the others, Lane read and retweeted posts celebrating the Second Amendment, bemoaning diversity, and spreading conspiracy theories that alleged Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta was involved in a child sex ring[.] … Lane Davis [later] told detectives that the fight [that ended in his father’s death] had started over ‘whether toddlers could consent to sex or not,’ and his father had called him a Nazi and a racist. Held on $1 million bail and represented by a public defender, Lane has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.”

— BuzzFeed News, “Who Is Yashar?” by Steven Perlberg: “His reporting has touched on major news story after major news story, from the Russia investigation to the Fox News sexual harassment scandal to the Harvey Weinstein saga. … And in media circles, he’s gone from a nonentity to a well-sourced journalist recognized by just a first name: Yashar. In an industry fascinated by unexpected newcomers, reporters and editors have been left wondering just who Yashar Ali — his middle, not last name — really is. Yashar says the pen name is meant to protect his family, but in practice, it also obscures his previous career: a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and an aide to former San Francisco mayor and current California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom.”

— Politico Magazine, “Are Trump’s Generals in Over Their Heads?” by Mark Perry: “[The] recognition that our president needs the kind of guidance that can be provided by senior military officers who know war and bloodshed is repeated throughout the military — and on Capitol Hill. But it is balanced by growing worries that Mattis, Kelly and McMaster are most recently showing that military officers are ill-suited for positions that require years of nuanced political experience and a deft handling of public opinion. Each of the three were gifted combat officers … [But] now we are asking that these three show the same expertise they showed on the battlefields of Iraq in selling the budget of the largest institution of the U.S. government, defending a president who mishandled a phone call with a grieving wife and coordinating a complex and often balky national security bureaucracy … Perhaps we are expecting too much. Or perhaps they are in over their heads.”

— The New York Times interviewed 18 teenage girls who were captured by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria, strapped with suicide bombs and sent into crowds to blow themselves up. Dionne Searcey reports: “Far from having been willing participants, the girls described being kidnapped and held hostage, with family members killed during their capture. All of the girls recounted how armed militants forcibly tied suicide belts to their waists, or thrust bombs into their hands, before pushing them toward crowds of people. Most were told that their religion compelled them to carry out the orders. And all of them resisted, preventing the attacks by begging ordinary citizens or the authorities to help them.”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“A Trump Official Once Suggested Women Who Get Free Contraception Should Swear They Won’t Get An Abortion,” from BuzzFeed News: “A Trump administration appointee who blocked an undocumented, pregnant teenager from obtaining an abortion … has a history of controversial statements about contraception and abortion. [Scott Lloyd] suggested in multiple opinion articles that women receiving contraception through federal funding should have to sign a ‘pledge’ promising not to have an abortion and that the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion infringe on men’s ‘right to procreation.’ ‘I suggest that the American people make a deal with women: So long as you are using the condom, pill or patch I am providing with my money, you are going to promise not to have an abortion if the contraception fails, which it often does,’ Lloyd wrote [in 2009].”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Georgetown students have filed a discrimination complaint against a campus group promoting heterosexual marriage,” from Mary Hui: “A Catholic student group at Georgetown University that promotes the benefits of traditional marriage risks losing its funding and other university benefits after being accused of fostering hatred and intolerance. Love Saxa advocates for marriage as ‘a monogamous and permanent union between a man and a woman,’ the group states in its constitution. That definition of marriage happens to be in line with that espoused by the Catholic Church, raising the question of how administrators at Georgetown, the United States’ oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning, will handle the controversy if it eventually comes before them.”

DAYBOOK:

Trump will give an afternoon speech on the opioid crisis and later meet with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. (Jenna Johnson and Lenny Bernstein report on Trump’s speech: “[A]dvocates for the people and communities ravaged by this [opioid] crisis are hoping it is the moment when Trump puts action behind his words — laying out specific steps to combat an epidemic that is killing nearly 100 people a day. … At the top of advocates’ wish list is for Trump to propose a major increase in funding. They say billions of dollars are needed for treatment and prevention and to keep the staggering number of drug users alive.”)

Pence has a call with Austria’s foreign minister before traveling to Colorado for a tour of the Lockheed Martin Waterton Canyon Facility and an evening fundraiser.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

A senior North Korean official warned that the foreign minister’s threat of an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean should be taken “literally”: “The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally,” Ri Yong Pil said on CNN.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

— D.C. will see temperature highs in the low 60s today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “While not quite frosty, the morning chill will get your attention. Initially, clouds should be scattered but become numerous as it starts to warm up. As a result, highs only end up in the upper 50s to low 60s. Breezes are light, helping to keep it comfortable.”

— The Wizards lost to the Lakers 102-99 in overtime. (Candace Buckner)

— Virginia state Del. Robert G. Marshall (R) released a campaign ad accusing his opponent Danica Roem (D), who would be the first transgender person elected to office in the state, of “lewd” behavior. Patricia Sullivan reports: “The ad, which was posted on Facebook, is titled ‘Bad Judgement.’ It says Roem, a former newspaper reporter, ‘has no record of public service but does have a record of bad judgment. From a shocking bathroom video to lewd behavior during interviews . . . Danica is not interested in our future. Danica is interested in Danica’s future.’”

— Protests have taken on a number of new forms in the Trump era, Steve Hendrix and Perry Stein write: “[P]ublic actions increasingly combine performance art and catchy visuals to toss a made-to-go-viral insult straight at the president. It is trolling as dissent. In the year since Trump won, activists have expanded the age-old Washington reliables of marches and rallies with more-unconventional ploys: queer dance parties, high-wire banner stunts, animated graffiti projected onto the walls of Trump’s Washington hotel. In volume and style, the digital age and the president’s own pugilistic instincts have created a unique moment in movements.”

— A judge adopted the voice of John McLaughlin when announcing his decision that the late talk-show host’s ex-wife could not receive his life insurance payouts. U.S. District Judge Christopher “Casey” Cooper began his decision, “Question! On a scale from 1 to 10 — with 1 being the chance of a Washington, D.C., professional sports team winning a championship this year and 10 being absolute metaphysical certainty — how certain is the Court that Mr. McLaughlin, upon his divorce from his former wife Christina Vidal, intended for her to benefit from two life insurance annuities that he brought to the marriage? Any answer shy of 9 would be . . . Wrong! Mr. McLaughlin did not wish his ex-wife to receive the annuity benefits.” (Emily Heil)

— Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan threatened to push for disbanding the Metro board if it blocks the land transfer needed for Maryland’s Purple Line. (Faiz Siddiqui and Katherine Shaver)

— An almost $1 billion renovation of the National Air and Space Museum will begin next summer, closing the western side of the museum. The renovation will be completed in stages to allow the museum to remain open. (Peggy McGlone)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Stephen Colbert interviewed Gretchen Carlson about the shifting culture around sexual harassment:

[embedded content]

And Seth Meyers asked Megyn Kelly how she decided to speak out about Bill O’Reilly on air:

[embedded content]

The Senate chaplain’s prayer seemed to point to Jeff Flake’s speech yesterday:

Senate Chaplain Black: “Lord, provide us with more patriots who will stand for right regardless of consequences.” pic.twitter.com/1wnvkaIC1D

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 25, 2017

The NRA responded to CNN’s “This is an apple” ad:

[embedded content]

The Post’s Nicole Lewis fact-checked Jeff Sessions’s claim that immigration lawyers encourage asylum applications:

Former deputy CIA director Philip Mudd criticized Trump’s claim that reporters present a distorted image of him:

“The guy’s a bridge troll.”

Watch this now. It’s hysterical. And spot-on. pic.twitter.com/LoAHs3AkBq

— John SCAREavosis (@aravosis) October 25, 2017

And Chi Chi, the quadriplegic golden retriever who was rescued from a South Korean dog meat market, became Internet famous:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Saudi Exchange Aims to Be Sole Listing Venue for Aramco Shares – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is gunning for the exclusive right to list shares of oil giant Aramco and will compete with other bourses seeking a piece of what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering, the head of the Saudi exchange said.

The kingdom plans next year to sell a stake in Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as the world’s biggest oil exporter is known formally, and exchanges in London and New York are among those vying for a role. 

“This is our aspiration from Tadawul, to be the sole, the only exchange,” Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al Hussan said Thursday in an interview in Riyadh. “This could be also a very good channel to attract foreign institutional investors.”

Aramco’s IPO is a pillar of an ambitious economic reform program that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman proposed to wean the country off oil. The government has said the sale of 5 percent of the shares could value the company at as much as $2 trillion, though analysts have tended to give lower estimates. Bourses in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto are also trying to attract the sale.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the head of the Saudi sovereign Public Investment Fund, reaffirmed on Tuesday that the country plans to sell an Aramco stake next year, dispelling reports that the share sale would be delayed, speaking at a conference in Riyadh. Any delay would be a setback to the crown prince’s plans as well as the international investment banks and international exchanges eyeing millions in fees and commissions.

‘Very Tight’

The planned timing for a listing next year “will be very tight,” Al Hussan said. “But we have started our work, understanding what needs to be done in any scenario of the structure, so we are ready. Whenever the decision is made, we can flip to the phase of execution.”

In a country were businessmen seldom speak publicly on government affairs, Al Hussan’s comments have prompted two theories among bankers and foreign investors. Either Saudi Arabia is reconsidering its initial plan to IPO Aramco both domestically and internationally, or the government is sending a signal to London — and to a lesser extent New York — to put pressure on regulators to ease the rules for listing there.

The Financial Conduct Authority, the U.K. markets regulator, earlier this month defended a proposal to change rules that would make it easier for Aramco to list in London. Lawmakers and investors have expressed concerns on changing the rules to benefit Aramco.

If Saudi Arabia achieves the Aramco valuation it’s seeking, the 5 percent stake it plans to sell would raise about $100 billion. That would eclipse the $25 billion raised by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2014.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)