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BREAKING: Flynn Charged

Mueller charges Mike Flynn with making false statements to FBI.

We’ll be bringing you more info as it comes out. On its face, this seems almost certainly like Flynn is being charged with a good deal less than he could be charged with – presumably because of a cooperation deal. I stress “seems”. What we know is that he’s been charged with lying to the FBI.

9:19 AM: Flynn to appear in court this morning at 10:30 AM, according to Jeff Toobin on CNN.

Here’s a quick backgrounder (sub req.) on how to interpret what we’re hearing in terms of the larger Russia investigation.

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Republicans Are Building Themselves a Political Trap with 'Tax Reform'

Given how this year has unfolded, we should not underestimate Republicans’ ability to snatch legislative defeat from the jaws of victory. Still, it looks like Republicans will get their prized ‘tax reform’. Yes, the bill is horrendous policy on numerous fronts. But don’t ignore the fact that Republicans appear to be building a perilous trap for themselves to fall into. Yes, they’re jamming it through before anyone can get a good look at what’s in it. Even they don’t know what’s in it. But remember, they and we will have all 2018 to find out.

Let’s walk through this.

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Those Publications Need to Clean This Up

CNN is now reporting that the CIA/State shake-up story that roiled the news this morning was in fact an effort to send a message to and shame Rex Tillerson. That is hardly surprising given President Trump’s way of doing business for decades. But there’s more to it than that.

This new report at least suggests that the initial news reports this morning were false.

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Trump Skates. But It's Not the Press's Fault.

I’ve seen several complaints this morning that the news media has failed to hold President Trump to account for the multiple allegations against him ranging from inappropriate touching to assault and rape. I think this is wrong. We’ve seen a clear pattern playing out in all the allegations about sexual misconduct and the firings, resignations and apologies which have followed in their wake. The consequences track entirely to the constituency – either political, commercial or corporate – the accused serves and depend on.

If the constituency doesn’t care, the accused will be fine. 

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Flynn's Deeds Are Much Worse Than We Thought

This may not be surprising. Or it’s not out of the blue. But it’s worth taking stock of the recent round of stories about disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and what those stories collectively tell us.

We’ve known since during the campaign, indeed even before he joined Donald Trump’s campaign, that Flynn had attended a high profile Moscow gala in December 2015 seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. That’s not against the law though. Nor is it even inherently improper. We didn’t know at the time he had failed to properly notify the Pentagon of his activities or about money he had been paid – a general officer has continued such responsibilities to the Department of Defense after they retire. In any case, while there have been reasons to doubt the totality of what Flynn was up to, what he was actually caught doing seemed mainly to be a matter of not declaring things or making FARA filings about things he would be entitled to do if he had.

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