From The Reporter's Notebook
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that a State Department employee had been arrested for obstructing an official proceeding and lying to the FBI, in relation to an investigation of her contacts with and acceptance of gifts from foreign intelligence officials, TPM's Matt Shuham reported. The employee, Candace Marie Claiborne, the Justice Department claimed, failed to report contacts with two Chinese intelligence agents despite their providing her with thousands of dollars worth of gifts, including, according to the affidavit, cash, “an Apple iPhone and laptop computer, Chinese New Year’s gifts, meals, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, and a monthly stipend.”
Agree or Disagree?
Josh Marshall: "Step back and consider this. The Director of the FBI has now confirmed publicly that there is an on-going counter-intelligence investigation probing whether close advisors and associates of the President colluded with a hostile foreign power to help elect the President. The jarring and disorienting effects of Trump's two months' presidency, makes it hard for us to process just what a stunning revelation that is. This is a matter of sufficient gravity that it is hardly sufficient to say that this will be examined deep in the national security apparatus out of the public eye for months or maybe years. We've been told something all but unbelievable is happening. But we can't know really anything about it. The deeply classified, secretive nature of these investigations is a sufficient explanation for all that. But perhaps there's more to it. Remember, it's not just what's been discussed in open session. Top members of Congress have also pressed the FBI's apparent reluctance to share all of what it knows in closed sessions."
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: "Tax reform sounds good in theory, but it is politically toxic in practice. A revenue neutral restructuring of the tax code is a zero sum game. There will be clear winners and losers from tax reform making it a highly divisive issue. People are loss averse, so those who are going to pay more in taxes will be more passionate about the issue than those who will have their taxes cut. Democrats have an advantage as raising taxes on the top 1% is only 1% of the voting population, so the amount of winners can offset the losers. The Republican plan of raising taxes on the middle class and giving it to the 1% is going to be a political disaster. I don't see how both sides can reconcile these differences."
Related: NYT: Trump Regrets Tackling Obamacare Repeal Before Tax Cuts
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