What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.
Curated by @matt_kiser

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Day 329: Break the internet.

1/ The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, which required internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. The measure passed 3-2 with the Republican appointees supporting repeal and the Democratic appointees opposing. 83% of Americans supported the rules that are in place. Internet providers are now free to speed up services for some apps and websites, while blocking or slowing down others. In Ajit Pai's first 11 months as FCC chairman, he's lifted media ownership limits, eased caps on how much broadband providers can charge business customers, and cut back on a low-income broadband program that was supposed to be expanded. (Washington Post / New York Times)

  • In a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, 18 attorneys general asked the commission to delay the net neutrality vote pending an investigation into fake comments. Of the 22 million public comments filed with the FCC, 94% of them "were submitted multiple times, and in some cases those comments were submitted many hundreds of thousands of times." (The Hill / NPR)

  • The New York attorney general said the net neutrality public comment process was corrupted by more than two million comments that used stolen identities. Eric Schneiderman called on the FCC to delay the vote and cooperate with his investigation into illegal criminal impersonation under New York law. (New York State Office of the Attorney General)

2/ Trump's pick to regulate toxic chemicals at the EPA has withdrawn his nomination due to his ties to the chemical industry. Michael Dourson spent decades conducting research that chemical manufacturers used to downplay the risks of hazardous substances. (NBC News)

3/ Paul Ryan is considering retirement. Three dozen fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists all said they believe Ryan will leave Congress after the 2018 midterm elections – and possibly even sooner than that. (Politico)

4/ Marco Rubio will vote against the Republicans' $1.5 trillion tax plan unless it includes a larger expansion of a child tax credit. Republicans control 52 seats in the Senate and need 50 votes in order to pass their bill. Bob Corker already opposes the plan. (Washington Post)

5/ Omarosa Manigault: There "were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with" and "made me uncomfortable." The former "Apprentice" contestant reportedly tried to enter the White House residence after a confrontation yesterday with John Kelly, who told her that her employment in the administration would end on January 20th. Manigault was then escorted off the White House grounds. (ABC News)

6/ Trump's daily intelligence briefings are often structured to avoid upsetting him. Russia-related intelligence, specifically, is usually only included in the written assessment and not addressed orally. When it is, the CIA analyst leading the briefing will adjust the presentation's structure in order to soften the impact (Washington Post)

poll/ 53% of voters think Trump should resign over the allegations of sexual harassment. 42% think he should remain in office. 53% of voters believe the women who have accused Trump of harassment compared to 31% who think they aren’t telling the truth. (Public Policy Polling)


Notables.

  1. Congressman Blake Farenthold will not seek re-election following reports that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint by a former staffer, who was fired after she confronted him about his behavior. (ABC 25)

  2. Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson died from a single gunshot wound to the head. He was under investigation for alleged sexual molestation. (WDRB)

  3. A congressional ethics official overseeing the investigations into misconduct by lawmakers is being sued of verbally abusing and physically assaulting women and using his federal position to influence local law enforcement. (Foreign Policy)

  4. Mike Pence delayed his visit to Israel as Congress prepares to vote on tax reform. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate and Pence holds the tie-breaking vote. (CNN)

  5. Trump Jr. testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, spending nine hours answering questions from the panel. (Reuters)

  6. Lindsey Graham said there is a 30% chance Trump attacks North Korea, because "time is running out." (The Atlantic)

Day 328: "I was right."

1/ Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama U.S. Senate race, buoyed by 96% of the African American vote, which represented 29% of overall voter turnout. Jones won 49.9% of the vote to Moore's 48.4%. The victory cuts the GOP's Senate majority to 51-49. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

2/ Roy Moore hasn't conceded the race, saying he will "wait on God and let this process play out." The Alabama Republican Party said it would not support Moore's push for a recount. Moore trails Jones by more than 20,000 votes. (USA Today / Washington Post)

3/ Trump tweets: "I was right" that Roy Moore would "not be able to win" in Alabama because "the deck was stacked against him!" Trump, however, endorsed Moore after his preferred candidate, Luther Strange, lost in the primary, recording a robocall on Moore's behalf, and holding a campaign-style rally just across the state line in Florida last week. (CNN / Politico / New York Times)

4/ Senate Democrats called on Republicans to wait until Doug Jones is seated to vote on the tax bill. GOP lawmakers expect the two chambers to reach a deal in the coming days with a final vote early next week. The soonest Jones could be seated is December 26th or 27th. The Senate passed the tax bill early this month by a 51 to 49 margin. (Washington Post)

5/ House and Senate Republicans reached an agreement on their joint tax bill. The House and Senate are expected to vote next week. The agreement would set the top individual tax rate at 37%, down from today’s 39.6%. The corporate rate would drop to 21% from 37% and would take effect in 2018, rather than 2019. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

6/ Trump pulled two of his judicial nominees after the Senate Judiciary Committee said the candidates would not be confirmed. Earlier this week Chuck Grassley urged the White House to withdraw the nominations of Brett Talley, who have never tried a case, and to reconsider Jeff Mateer, who has called transgender children part of "Satan's plan." (Politico / Washington Post)

7/ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended Robert Mueller's investigation during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, saying he hasn't seen "good cause" to fire Mueller. Republicans used the hearing to raise doubts about Mueller's motives after it was discovered that an FBI agent assigned to the investigation sent anti-Trump texts to another FBI official during the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Peter Strzok was removed from the investigation after the texts were discovered. Republicans want a second special counsel to be appointed to investigate how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation. (Bloomberg / CBS News)

  • The Justice Department gave the House Judiciary Committee Peter Strzok's text message conversations with FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Among many other comments, the two called Trump a "a loathsome human," "an idiot," and an "enormous d*uche." (Washington Post)

poll/ 50% of voters think the sexual misconduct allegations against Trump are credible, while 29% don't think they're credible and 21% are not sure if they're credible. (Politico)

poll/ 56% of voters disapprove of Trump's job performance while 32% approve. (Monmouth University)


Notables.

  1. USA Today editorial called Trump unfit to clean toilets in Obama's presidential library. Trump tweeted that "more than 90% of Fake News Media coverage of me is negative." (USA Today)

  2. Trump Jr. asked the House Intelligence Committee to investigate the leaked information from his closed-door interview with the committee last week. (New York Times)

  3. Chuck Schumer was the victim of a fake news hit and turned over to Capitol Police a document purporting sexual harassment accusations by a former staffer. (Axios)

  4. John McCain is in the hospital for treatment related to his cancer therapy. McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma in July, an aggressive form of brain cancer. (The Hill)

  5. Omarosa Manigault Newman plans to leave the White House next month. (CNN)

  6. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates and raised their forecast for economic growth in 2018. (Bloomberg)

  7. Minnesota governor Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina F. Smith to fill Al Franken's seat in the U.S. Senate. Smith would become the 22nd woman to serve in the Senate. (Washington Post)

Day 327: Sexist smear.

1/ Alabama voters head to the polls today. Republican candidate Roy Moore, supported by Trump, has been accused of pursuing teenage girls while in his mid-30s, with one woman accusing him of sexual assault when she was 14. If Democrat Doug Jones wins, Republicans would have their majority trimmed to 51-49 in the Senate. Polls close today at 8pm ET. (NBC News)

UPDATE:

Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's special U.S. Senate election, beating Republican Roy Moore and narrowing the GOP advantage in the Senate to 51-49. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Live Alabama Election Results. (New York Times)

  • 5 things to watch for in the Alabama Senate election. Doug Jones' chances hinge on African-American turnout and college-educated crossover voters, while Roy Moore is banking on an animated conservative base. (Politico)

  • No one knows what will happen in Alabama. Today's special election is forcing pollsters to confront just about every major challenge in survey research. (New York Times)

2/ Roy Moore's wife argued that her husband is not a bigot because "one of our attorneys is a Jew." At a Monday night campaign rally, Kayla Moore said: "Fake news would tell you that we don't care for Jews. And I tell you all this because I've seen it and I just want to set the record straight while they're here. One of our attorneys is a Jew." Her comments came a week after Roy Moore attacked George Soros, the Jewish liberal mega-donor, saying Soros "is going to the same place that people who don't recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going." (CNN)

3/ The Alabama Supreme Court blocked a circuit judge's order to preserve voting records from today's special election. On Monday, a circuit judge ordered election officials to set voting machines to save all digital ballot images in order to preserve voting records in the event of a recount. Today, the state's Supreme Court stayed the order, meaning Alabama is allowed to destroy digital voting records. (The Hill / AL.com)

4/ 56 female Democratic lawmakers asked the House Oversight Committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump, who has denied the accusations. "At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct," the lawmakers wrote in a letter. In response, Trump tweeted that these are "false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don't know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!" (NBC News / Reuters)

  • Videos and photos shows Trump with some of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct after he said his accusers are "women who I don’t know and/or have never met." (The Hill)

5/ Trump implied that Kirsten Gillibrand would do anything for money in a sexually suggestive tweet in which he called her a "lightweight" and accused her of "begging" for campaign contributions. Gillibrand called Trump's tweet a "sexist smear" meant to silence her and those who have accused him of sexual misconduct, while Elizabeth Warren accused Trump of trying to "slut-shame" the senator. Yesterday, Gillibrand called on Trump to resign. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

  • A sixth senator called on Trump to resign amid renewed attention to past allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Mazie Hirono called Trump a "misogynist," an "admitted sexual predator," and a "liar" with a "narcissistic need for attention." She said "nobody's safe" from him and the only thing that will stop him is his resignation. (Politico)

  • The list of women who have accused Trump of touching them inappropriately touching or kissing them without their permission. (Washington Post)

6/ Trump was "infuriated" by Nikki Haley's comment that the women who have accused him of sexual harassment "should be heard." Trump has grown increasingly angry that the accusations against him have resurfaced, telling people close to him that the allegations are false. (Associated Press)

7/ Rex Tillerson told diplomats that Russia "interfered in democratic processes here," something Trump continues to call "fake news" intended to delegitimize his presidency. The comment came in a closed-door meeting with US diplomats where Tillerson also praised Trump for trying to focus on "productive engagement" with Russia. (The Daily Beast)

poll/ 83% of voters oppose of the FCC's plan to repeal net neutrality laws, including 75% of Republicans, as well as 89% of Democrats and 86% of independents. (University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation)

poll/ 61% of voters think the Senate should expel Roy Moore if he wins the special election in Alabama, including 77% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and 45% of Republicans. (Politico)

poll/ 58% of Americans believe the level of government corruption has risen in the past 12 months. 44% now believe that most or all of the officials in the White House are corrupt – up from 36% last year. (Newsweek)

poll/ 57% of Americans disapprove of Trump's job performance, compared to 37% who approve. (Quinnipiac)


Notables.

  1. Sean Spicer is writing a book to "set the record straight" about what he says happened during the 2016 election, transition and his time serving in the administration. (CNN)

  2. Trump's lawyers want a second special counsel appointed, because they believe the Justice Department and the FBI are to blame for the "witch hunt" – not Robert Mueller and his investigation. (Axios)

  3. Trump's legal team is trying to protect him from Robert Mueller's "killers" in the Russia probe, while facing criticism that they are outmatched. (Washington Post)

  4. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman asked Trump to rethink two of his judicial nominees. Chuck Grassley advised the White House to "reconsider" the nomination of Jeff Mateer and said they "should not proceed" on the nomination of Brett Talley. (CNN)

  5. The Trump administration will let Assad stay until Syria's next Presidential election in 2021, reversing the US stance that Assad must step down as part of a peace process. (The New Yorker)

  6. The House and Senate could reconcile their tax bills this week. An announcement could come as soon as today or Wednesday. The conference committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday at 2pm. (Washington Post)