With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Republicans face a lose-lose situation in the Alabama Senate race. If Roy Moore goes down next month, the GOP’s working majority becomes much more fragile. If he wins, Republicans would struggle to get rid of him, and his presence would cause countless headaches in 2018.

Trying to prod the Republican nominee to step aside, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday: “I believe the women.” Several prominent members joined him, and the chairman of the Senate GOP campaign arm, Cory Gardner, announced that Moore should be expelled if he wins the Dec. 12 special election “because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”

But Moore is not going away. He was defiant even after another woman came forward Monday to accuse him of sexual misconduct when she was a minor. The former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court — twice removed from office for refusing to comply with lawful judicial rulings — denies any wrongdoing, shows no contrition and is trying to turn the tables on McConnell:

-- There continues to be much less appetite for a write-in campaign in Alabama than in Washington.

Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who lost to Moore in the primary despite President Trump’s endorsement, poured cold water last night on the idea that a write-in campaign could work. “Let the facts unfold,” the appointed senator told the Associated Press. “I think, right now, a write-in candidacy is highly unlikely.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan also said that it is “very unlikely” anything would change Moore's status as the GOP nominee, noting that she has seen a “surge of support” for him since The Washington Post broke the story last week.

Meanwhile, the state’s Republican governor reiterated her support for Moore. “Based on what I know now, yes I will vote for him,” Kay Ivey told reporters. “But we don't have the facts. There may be some more facts to come out. But he is the party's nominee.”

-- “In recent days, senior Trump administration officials have been in touch with (Ivey) and her inner circle,” Sean Sullivan, Robert Costa and Jenna Johnson report. “One person described those conversations as ‘information gathering’ so the White House would know where Ivey stands and to keep the channels of communication open. But since Trump won’t return from Asia until late Tuesday and is still considering his own options regarding how to further address Moore’s candidacy, White House officials have been reluctant to lean on Ivey in any way … ‘It’s tough having him out of town because no one wants to get too far ahead of him,’ said one Republican involved in the talks … McConnell has spoken to Trump about Moore since the allegations were first reported last week, Republicans familiar with their conversations said . . .

“Inside the White House, (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions has been floated as a potential replacement, according to two White House officials and several Senate Republican aides. A Sessions spokeswoman at the Justice Department did not immediately comment on the proposal. A Republican close to Sessions, speaking candidly on the condition of anonymity, said that Sessions ‘has told folks in Alabama that he is not considering it.’ Sessions … has dismissed the notion in private but would ‘of course’ listen to the president, should he reach out, according to one White House official.”

Time is of the essence if a write-in campaign were to work because people are already starting to mail in absentee ballots. If Moore stays firm, even a write-in campaign for someone like Sessions — if he agreed to it — probably would fail. The judge has devoted followers, and the Republican vote would split.


-- A victory by Democratic candidate Doug Jones would narrow the GOP’s margin of control in the Senate from 52-48 to 51-49. This would make every single Republican “the deciding vote” on every bill, which anyone who has ever had an attack ad run against them in a race for Congress will tell you is not a great spot to be in. (Just ask the Democratic senators who voted for Obamacare …)

Mike Pence has already cast five tiebreaking votes in 2017. That’s more than any other vice president during their first year of office in U.S. history. Without Strange in the Alabama seat, Republicans would not have been able to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule last month. They wouldn’t have been able to open floor debate on the repeal of Obamacare in July. They wouldn’t have been able to reverse an Obama administration rule that prevented states from withholding family-planning dollars from Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions. And they wouldn’t have been able to confirm Betsy DeVos as secretary of education in February.

Just last week, McConnell was lamenting that Rand Paul’s injuries — which kept him at home in Kentucky until last night — made his job harder because every vote counts.

“As a member of the Republican Party and an elected Republican, there’s no circumstance under which having a Democrat would be better (than having a Republican),” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) told a Rotary Club lunch in his state yesterday, per the Marietta Daily Journal. “That said, anybody who violates the moral code of ethics and decency should not be serving in the United States Senate.”

Democrats would have a much clearer path to winning the majority in 2018 with Alabama in their column than they do now. Jones wouldn’t be on the ballot again until November 2020. Unlike 2018, when Democrats must defend 10 states that Trump carried last year, that will be a tough cycle for Republicans. Not only is Trump up for reelection, but Republican incumbents will need to face voters in places like Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa and Maine.



-- “The Senate probably wouldn’t have any choice but to seat Moore, thanks to a 1969 Supreme Court decision,” Philip Bump explains. “The idea would be to allow Moore to take his seat in the Senate, should he win next month’s general election, and then quickly begin the process to expel him from the body. … Such an effort would not be a sure thing, even setting aside the two-thirds vote count. Because these proceedings are rare, most seem to get mired in questions about the boundaries of the Senate’s authority. That, and several particular examples that mirror Moore’s situation, might suggest that Gardner’s plan would be more difficult than it seems.”

Bump flags a few precedents that would work to Moore’s advantage. The most helpful is the case of William Roach in 1893: “The allegation against Roach was that he had embezzled money when serving as a bank teller before being elected to the Senate. The Senate declined to investigate. ‘After extensive deliberation,’ the Senate historian wrote, ‘the Senate took no action, assuring that it lacked jurisdiction over members’ behavior before their election to the Senate. The alleged embezzlement had occurred 13 years earlier.’”

-- Whether to expel Moore would become a wedge that divides the GOP conference. Only 15 senators have been expelled in American history, and 14 of those were traitors who supported the Confederate insurrection. The last time it happened was in 1862, during the Civil War. It would require the approval of two-thirds of the chamber to kick Moore out. (Amber Phillips explains the four-step process here.)

There would be a lot of pushback on efforts to expel Moore because, his supporters would note, the people of Alabama were aware of the allegations and voted for him anyway. It would be hard for many Republicans to justify to their grass-roots supporters why they decided to invalidate the popular will of the people.

Senate Republicans are already getting this kind of pressure from denizens of the right-wing fever swamps. To understand their bunker mentality, consider a new column by Clarence McKee that just posted on Newsmax, whose owner is close with Trump: “With friends like Senate Republicans, who needs enemies? As one friend told me, ‘If Senate Republicans had been at Gettysburg, they would have cut and run at the first sound of cannon fire and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia would have defeated the Union army of General George Meade.’ But no one should be surprised at their failure to stand together against a united Democratic and media resistance to the Trump agenda. At the first hint of scandal or controversy, Democrats usually rally and unite like a family under siege, while Republicans run over each other trying to be the first to say, ‘don’t blame me I’m on the right side.’ … Many will recall the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment made against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by those on the left in an attempt deny him confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. What is amazing, even for Republicans, is how quickly so many have been to throw Moore under the bus — based on allegations alone.”

-- Some GOP leaders understand all of this, which is why they were cautious not to second Gardner. “It’s premature to talk about expelling someone who hasn’t been elected,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the No. 2 in GOP leadership and a former two-term NRSC chairman. McConnell also stopped short of backing expulsion when reporters pressed him in the Capitol last night. “I said this morning all I'm going to say today,” he said. “Others are speaking for themselves, and you all are reporting it.”

-- GOP senators clearly remain torn about what to do. The Advocate reports on the “different tones” between the two senators in the Louisiana delegation: “Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, suggested the allegations against Moore are credible and called on him to leave the race. The women's accounts are ‘circumstantial,’ Cassidy said, ‘but circumstantial seems to favor the women’s stories.’ … Sen. John Kennedy, R-Madisonville, was more cautious … ‘If the allegations are true, Judge Moore needs to step aside,’ Kennedy (said). ‘That's all I'm going to say on the subject.’ … Kennedy repeated the line when pressed by reporters …”


-- A Senator Moore would be a constant lightning rod. Every vote is going to be reported by the press as something like: “52 Republicans voted for the measure, including Roy Moore.” Just like most GOP members hate being asked about whatever Trump just tweeted, they’d get asked constantly about why they were on the same side of an issue as Moore.

McConnell is on tape saying that he believes Moore’s accusers. Moore has focused his campaign on ousting McConnell as majority leader. To say that their relationship would be “awkward” is an understatement.

-- It’s hard to believe Moore would be a reliable vote for leadership on tough procedural votes. It’s also hard to see him being happy with whatever low-level committees McConnell would inevitably put him on in a (futile) bid to keep him out of the spotlight.

-- 2018 might be an even bigger Year of the Woman than 1992. Last week’s off-year elections demonstrated that female backlash to Trump is already so intense, with a sizable degree of buyer’s remorse among college-educated and married white women. If GOP leaders look the other way, the gender gap would widen. More women might run for office.

-- From coast to coast, Democrats would aggressively link GOP Senate candidates — incumbents and challengers — with Moore. It would be like in 2006 when ads linked Republicans to Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley.

-- There would be a white-hot media spotlight on the endemic culture of sexual harassment that makes Capitol Hill such a difficult place for women to work. Some lawmakers in both parties would not like where that leads …

The New York Times offers a taste of what this additional scrutiny might look like ahead of a House administration committee hearing today on harassment in Congress: “In more than 50 interviews, lawyers, lobbyists and former aides (said) that sexual harassment has long been an occupational hazard for those operating in Washington politics, and victims on Capitol Hill are forced to go through far more burdensome avenues to seek redress than their counterparts in the private sector …

“With such rigid policies, even the most dogged complainants may find no avenue for resolution. In one case, a fellow at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, M. Reese Everson, brought a complaint against a House member to the Office of Compliance. But she said the office told her it could not handle her case because, as a fellow and not a full-time employee, she did not fall under its jurisdiction. She ended up filing her complaints with the District of Columbia government, where they have languished for over two years.”

-- We’re already seeing what’s being called The Harvey Weinstein Effect in down-ballot races, and Moore would supercharge that. For example: Krishanti Vignarajah, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maryland and former policy aide to Michelle Obama, will today propose a new state agency dedicated to addressing sexual harassment and violence. “She said too many women, including herself, have experienced sexual assault, unwelcome sexual advances or harassment,” Josh Hicks previews. “Vignarajah said the state office she is proposing would be in charge of setting up a hotline through which victims could anonymously report sexual assault or harassment and get information about support services. The office would be tasked with enhancing coordination between governments at all levels to address allegations of harassment.”


-- This is just the latest donnybrook of the past 29 months to underscore the frailty and weakness of the GOP establishment.

Even his own allies acknowledge that McConnell lacks the stature with the GOP base that’s required to push Moore aside. A Fox News poll in September showed that 60 percent of Republicans had an unfavorable view of their Senate leader, up from 33 percent just a couple of months earlier. And in fact, nobody has employed an anti-McConnell strategy more than Moore; it's arguably how he won the GOP primary,” Aaron Blake notes. “As McConnell and the GOP establishment have been so demonized, the GOP base has been instilled with a healthy persecution complex that makes it believe stories such as this are merely efforts to undermine its candidates. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, really, for this to happen to Moore, of all people, and for him to be pitted against McConnell, of all people. Whatever the Alabama GOP truly thinks about Moore, it has to contend with that same base. Doing what McConnell is now publicly calling for will surely reinforce the belief that this is a widespread effort to take Moore down by the forces he's threatening.”

-- A former top campaign strategist for McConnell, Scott Jennings, calls on Trump to intervene against Moore in an op-ed for today’s Louisville Courier Journal: “Demand the Alabama Republican Party withdraw Moore’s name as a candidate, which it almost certainly would do if ordered by the White House; dispatch a still-popular Sessions to run a write-in candidacy; and campaign for and hope Sessions wins.”

“Some have argued a presidential intervention would be hypocritical, as Trump himself has faced allegations of crude sexual behavior,” Jennings writes. “But Trump was never accused of pedophilia, for goodness sakes. The Moore revelation drew comparisons to Trump’s Access Hollywood tape but, beyond their emerging in close proximity to a general election, the moments are quite dissimilar. Licentiousness isn’t the same as pedophilia. If fear of hypocrisy is enough to paralyze a president (or any politician, for that matter), our entire political leadership might as well go into a soundproof bunker, never to be heard from again.”


-- Beverly Young Nelson, now 55, said Monday that she got to know Moore, now 70, in the late 1970s when she was a [16-year-old] waitress at the Old Hickory House restaurant in the northeastern Alabama town of Gadsden, where Moore lived for much of his life,” Robert Costa and Jenna Johnson. “Nelson said at a news conference at a New York hotel that Moore, then the district attorney of Etowah County, was a regular at the restaurant and would sometimes compliment her looks or touch her long red hair. …

“On a cold night about a week or two after that, Nelson alleges, Moore offered to give her a ride home from work after her shift ended at 10 p.m. Instead of taking her home, Nelson said, Moore pulled the two-door car into a dark and deserted area between a dumpster and the back of the restaurant. When she asked what he was doing, Nelson alleges, Moore put his hands on her breasts and began groping her. When she tried to open the car door and leave, Nelson said, he reached over and locked the door. When she yelled at him to stop and tried to fight him off, she alleges, he tightly squeezed the back of her neck and tried to force her head toward his lap. He also tried to pull her shirt off, she said.

“‘I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified,’ Nelson said during the news conference, often becoming emotional as she described the attack that she alleges occurred about 40 years ago. ‘I thought that he was going to rape me.’ Moore denied the latest accusations during a brief campaign appearance Monday evening in Etowah County, where he still lives. ‘I can tell you without hesitation this is absolutely false,’ Moore said[.]

Moore wrote this message in her 1977 high school yearbook:


-- More than a dozen people told the New Yorker’s Charles Bethea that Moore was banned from his hometown mall for attempting to pick up teenage girls: “[T]wo officers I spoke to this weekend, both of whom asked to remain unnamed, told me that they have long heard stories about Moore and the mall. ‘The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,’ one of the officers said. The legal age of consent in Alabama is sixteen, so it would not be illegal there for a man in his early thirties to date a girl who was, say, a senior in high school. But these officers, along with the other people I spoke to, said that Moore’s presence at the mall was regarded as a problem. ‘I was told by a girl who worked at the mall that he’d been run off from there, from a number of stores. Maybe not legally banned, but run off,’ one officer told me. He also said, ‘I heard from one girl who had to tell the manager of a store at the mall to get Moore to leave her alone.’ The second officer went further. ‘A friend of mine told me he was banned from there,’ he said.”

-- The Birmingham News also quotes residents of Etowah County echoing the long-standing rumors about Moore being banned from the mall and pursuing teenage girls. From AL.com’s Anna Claire Vollers: “‘These stories have been going around this town for 30 years,’ said Blake Usry, who grew up in the area and lives in Gadsden. ‘Nobody could believe they hadn't come out yet.’ … ‘That's why it's sort of frustrating to watch’ the public disbelieve the women who have come forward, he said. … Jason Nelms, who now lives in Tennessee but grew up in nearby Southside, was a regular at the [Gadsden Mall] when he was a teenager. He recalled being told by a mall employee that they kept watch for an older guy who was known to pick up younger girls. Nelms said he was told later by a concession worker at the mall that it was Roy Moore.”

-- The attack ad writes itself . . .


  • Marwa Eltagouri: “In Roy Moore, some Alabama evangelicals see a man of Christian values. Others are torn.”
  • Julie Zauzmer: “Roy Moore allegations prompt reflections on fundamentalist culture in which some Christian men date teens.”
  • George F. Will column: “Roy Moore is an embarrassment. Doug Jones deserves to win.”
  • WaPo Editorial Board: “Mitch McConnell believes the women. Kellyanne Conway doesn’t.”
  • Callum Borchers: “Distrust of the media is an excuse to disbelieve Roy Moore’s accusers”
  • Alyssa Rosenberg: “Defending sexual assault is never worth it. Really.”
  • Eugene Scott: “Sexual abuse of minors is not just a rural, conservative, Southern issue.”
  • Margaret Sullivan: “The ugly echo chamber of Hannity and Breitbart is why women wait so long to report abuse.”
  • Erik Wemple: “Blast of besieged blowhards: I will sue!”
  • The New York Times Editorial Board: “Mitch McConnell Believes the Women. Good for Him.”
  • U.S. News & World Report: “National Democrats Tread Carefully In Alabama Senate Race.”
  • Bloomberg: “Roy Moore's Defiant Brand Can't Protect Him This Time.”
  • National Review: “If Roy Moore Were A Fictional Character, You’d Know He Was A Villain.”
  • Newsweek: “Who is Roy Moore's Wife? Kayla Moore Says She's Gathering Evidence Sex Abuse Accusers Were Paid.”
  • Rolling Stone: “If Roy Moore Isn't Rock Bottom for Republicans, What the Hell Is?”
  • Salon: “Breitbart tried to help Roy Moore, but bolstered Washington Post reporting instead.”

-- More Republican senators are joining the chorus calling on Moore to step aside:

Yet another prominent Moore supporter offered an alarming defense for his alleged behavior:

Republican operative Steve Schmidt, a senior strategist on John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, also encouraged Alabama voters to elect Jones:

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-- Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a second special counsel to investigate a medley of concerns raised by Republicans about Democrats — including Clinton Foundation dealings and the sale of a uranium company to Russia. Matt Zapotosky reports: “The revelation came in a response [to] an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), who [called] for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath. The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had 'directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,' and that those prosecutors would 'report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.'”

  • Many legal experts will see this letter as inappropriate bending to political pressure by Sessions, who looks like he's targeting political opponents and who is supposed to be recused from 2016-related inquiries. The attorney general famously drew Trump’s ire after recusing himself in the Russia investigation. Perhaps this is about getting/staying on the president's good side?
  • Sessions is slated to testify before Goodlatte’s committee this morning, where he will likely face questions about this.

From an official in the Obama DOJ:

-- A woman has accused George H.W. Bush of groping her when she was just 16 years old, the sixth such claim against the former president. Time’s Aric Jenkins reports: “Bush, then 79 years old, groped [Roslyn Corrigan’s] buttocks at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the Central Intelligence Agency where Corrigan’s father gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush, Corrigan said. … ‘My initial reaction was absolute horror. I was really, really confused,’ Corrigan (said). … ‘The first thing I did was look at my mom and, while he was still standing there, I didn’t say anything. What does a teenager say to the ex-president of the United States?’ … Corrigan said the incident happened while she was being photographed standing next to Bush. … Seven people, including family members and friends, confirmed . . . that they had been told about alleged groping by Bush of Corrigan prior to the other recent allegations.”


  1. Las Vegas casino mogul and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is publicly breaking with Steve Bannon over his efforts to oust Republican incumbents in 2018. “The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,” an Adelson spokesman said. “They are supporting Mitch McConnell 100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.” (Politico’s Alex Isenstadt and Josh Dawsey)
  2. A federal appeals court ruled that Trump’s third travel ban could partially take effect. The government will, at least temporarily, be able to keep out people with no bona fide ties to the United States. (Matt Zapotosky)
  3. The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case on the free-speech rights of antiabortion counseling centers in California. The case centers on whether it violates the Constitution for the state to require those facilities to tell patients about available contraception and abortion options in the state. (Robert Barnes)
  4. A D.C. court has limited the scope of a Justice Department search warrant seeking the Facebook data of Trump protesters connected to Inauguration Day rioting. Judge Robert E. Morin ruled that about 6,000 people who liked or followed the DisruptJ20 Facebook page would have their identities redacted. (Ann E. Marimow)
  5. Hate crimes have increased for the second consecutive year, according to a new FBI report, with the largest share of victims — around 6 in 10 — being targeted for their race or ethnicity. The report is consistent with an earlier study from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which says it has seen an increase in hate groups in the country. (Mark Berman)
  6. A congressional candidate in New Mexico was arrested on stalking charges after allegedly sending persistent, threatening texts to a woman — including some suggesting he was “watching her” and that he was outside her apartment. The contender was previously accused of stalking a woman in 2007. (KRQE)
  7. Heart health experts updated their definition of high blood pressure from 140 over 90 to 130 over 80. The change means that nearly half of U.S. adults will now officially have hypertension. (Lenny Bernstein and Ariana Eunjung Cha)

  8. Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. The Italian team lost to Sweden 1-0 in the qualifying match. (Steven Goff)


-- Donald Trump Jr. exchanged private messages with WikiLeaks during last year’s presidential race at the same time the site was publishing a trove of hacked emails from Democratic officials. Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman report: “Donald Trump Jr. did not respond to many of the notes, which were sent using the direct message feature on Twitter. But he alerted senior advisers on his father’s campaign[.] … In the messages, WikiLeaks urged Trump Jr. to promote its trove of hacked Democratic emails and suggested that [Trump] challenge the election results if he did not win, among other ideas.”

-- “[Though] Trump Jr. mostly ignored the frequent messages from WikiLeaks, he at times appears to have acted on its requests,” writes The Atlantic’s Julia Ioffe, who first reported the news. “According to a source familiar with the congressional investigations … on the same day that Trump Jr. received the first message from WikiLeaks, he emailed other senior officials with the Trump campaign, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and [Jared Kushner], telling them WikiLeaks had made contact. Kushner then forwarded the email to [Hope Hicks]. At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests.”

-- “At one point during his communication with WikiLeaks, Trump Jr. sought to learn more about a rumored leak of new documents related to Clinton[:] ‘What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?’ Trump Jr. asked.” On Oct. 12, the account replied, suggesting Donald Trump Jr. tweet a link to John Podesta’s hacked emails. Trump Jr. did not respond, but Donald Trump himself tweeted this out to his millions of followers just 15 minutes later:”

-- WikiLeaks's Julian Assange would not confirm the messages in a tweet thread:

-- Don Jr. posted the messages himself and argued that they aren't as sinister as they might appear:


-- Mike Pence denied knowing of Don Jr.’s interactions with WikiLeaks during the campaign. “The Vice President was never aware of anyone associated with the campaign being in contact with Wikileaks,” his press secretary said in a statement. “He first learned of this news from a published report earlier tonight.” (Politico)

-- Former FBI agent Clinton Watts, who has been following Moscow’s influence efforts, called Trump Jr.’s messages “unprecedented.” “I can’t think of any time in history where a foreign government, through a cut-out has been able to tap directly into a campaign in this way,” he told our colleagues. “It shows they were complicit to this and how amenable they were to hurting another American, even if the source came from a foreign government.” (Carol D. Leonnig and Rosalind S. Helderman)

-- “We know Wikileaks is a pro-Russian front,” Colin Kahl, the former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, wrote in a tweet. “We also know that Putin’s top goal, other than getting Trump elected, was to spread chaos & delegitimize the US election. That puts this Wikileaks DM to Don Jr in context.”

-- “Trump's victory meant the loss of a known Kremlin foil in Clinton and the emergence, as Assange put it, of a ‘completely unpredictable phenomenon,’” Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand writes. “But the near-daily revelations about the Trump campaign's contact with Russia and Russia-linked entities — including WikiLeaks, a Russia-linked professor, a Russian lawyer, and a Russian lobbyist — is on track to create the type of crisis in American democracy Putin may have wanted all along.”

-- Flashback: In April, CIA Director Mike Pompeo described WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service (that is) often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

From an information warfare expert and former adviser to the president of Georgia:

From BuzzFeed:

From a staff writer for Slate:

From the editor of the Lawfare Blog:


-- The White House announced that Trump would visit Capitol Hill on Thursday to rally support for a tax overhaul among House Republicans. Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis report: “House Republican leaders felt increasingly confident Monday that they had the votes to pass the bill. Two GOP deputy whips, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal doings, said they had not encountered any hard ‘no’ votes during their initial survey of colleagues Monday night. . . . It is not unusual for presidents to go to Capitol Hill before a big vote, but Trump’s visit comes as some lawmakers are wrestling with whether to back a major White House priority even if it could be unpopular in their district.”

-- The Senate Finance Committee has begun debate on its bill, which still does not meet the requirements necessary to pass it without Democratic support. The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin reports: “As written, the Senate Republican tax bill doesn’t comply with what is known as ‘the Byrd Rule,’ which prevents the Senate from passing tax and spending measures on simple majority votes if they increase budget deficits beyond 10 years. … Republicans haven’t said how they plan to change the bill to comply with the Byrd Rule. The most likely scenario is setting many of the tax cuts to expire after 2027, at the end of the decade-long budgeting period. It may take more than that. The committee debate is expected to run through the week, paving the way for full Senate consideration after Thanksgiving.”

-- Ivanka Trump and Steve Mnuchin appeared at an event in New Jersey to promote the plan. Politico’s Katie Jennings reports: “Both Mnuchin and Trump painted the reform effort as bringing relief to the middle class and stimulating business growth and competition by cutting corporate tax rates. … Trump, Mnuchin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie … were trying to sell the bill in one of the states that could have among the most to lose when it comes to reducing or eliminating the [state and local tax] deduction.” They appeared at the event alongside Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), who originally opposed the plan but quickly came around to it. “MacArthur's support for the bill is likely the reason Trump and Mnuchin traveled to New Jersey on Monday, in the hopes other Republicans who might be on the fence will follow suit and jump on board.”

-- Mnuchin vowed the White House would not accept a corporate tax rate higher than 20 percent in the final plan. (Wall Street Journal)

-- HOW IT’S PLAYING LOCALLY: Peter Jamison reports: “At a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said the proposal to eliminate the deduction for state and local income and property taxes could lead to sharp hikes in the overall tax bill for some District families. The increase could be more than 10 percent in some parts of the city. The plan also could cripple efforts to create and preserve affordable housing, in the District and cities throughout the country, by eliminating a key provision of the tax code that encourages private developers to build low-income housing, they said.”


-- Trump has tapped former pharmaceutical executive and Bush-era health official Alex Azar to replace Tom Price at HHS. Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein report: “The decision to enlist the 50-year-old Azar — who served as president of Lilly USA … before stepping down in January to work as a health-care consultant — represents a pragmatic pick. An establishment figure with a reputation as a conservative thinker and methodical lawyer, Azar would be expected to use his experience as HHS general counsel and deputy secretary to pursue Trump’s goals through executive action. Azar has been highly critical of the Affordable Care Act, telling Fox Business in May that the law was ‘certainly circling the drain’ and saying … many of its problems ‘were entirely predictable as a matter of economic and individual behavior.’ He also supports converting Medicaid from an entitlement program covering everyone who is eligible into block grants, a long-standing GOP goal that has sparked opposition from Democrats as well as some centrist Republicans.”

-- The vice president has become a decisive voice in the appointments of health officials — including Azar, a longtime Pence supporter. Politico’s Adam Cancryn reports: “If confirmed, Azar would join an Indiana brain trust that already includes CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Two of Verma’s top deputies — Medicaid director Brian Neale and deputy chief of staff Brady Brookes — are former Pence hands as well, as is HHS’ top spokesman, Matt Lloyd. Yet another Pence ally — Indiana state Sen. Jim Merritt — is in the running to be White House drug czar. … Pence and his cadre are driving a national agenda dominated by the kinds of conservative, anti-regulatory policies he embraced as Indiana governor.

-- Trump judicial nominee Brett Talley — who has never tried a case and received a unanimous “unqualified” rating from the American Bar Association — did not disclose in congressional documents that he is married to a senior White House lawyer. The New York Times’s Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt report: “The nominee, Brett J. Talley … is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II. Mr. Talley was asked on his publicly released Senate questionnaire to identify family members and others who are ‘likely to present potential conflicts of interest.’ He did not mention his wife. Mr. Talley also did not mention his wife when he described his frequent contact with White House lawyers during the nomination process. … Ms. Donaldson has emerged in recent weeks as a witness in the [Robert Mueller’s] investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice. She was interviewed by investigators recently about her detailed notes about conversations with Mr. McGahn on topics including the firing of the [Comey] …”

-- Trump is naming white men to federal judgeships at the highest rate since George H.W. Bush. AP’s Catherine Lucey and Meghan Hoyer report: “So far, 91 percent of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found. Three of every four are white men, with few African-Americans and Hispanics in the mix. … The shift could prove to be one of Trump’s most enduring legacies. These are lifetime appointments, and Trump has inherited both an unusually high number of vacancies and an aging population of judges.”

-- A U.S. delegation including one of Trump’s energy advisers was jeered at the U.N. climate change conference in Bonn. The New York Times’s Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer report: “George D. Banks, special adviser to President Trump on international energy issues, led a panel with top American energy executives. ‘Without question, fossil fuels will continue to be used, and we would argue that it’s in the global interest to make sure when fossil fuels are used that they be as clean and efficient as possible,’ Mr. Banks said. … But even before the Trump team could make its case, the panel was disrupted for more than 10 minutes by scores of chanting and singing demonstrators. The protesters then walked out, leaving the room half empty. Throughout the remainder of the presentation, audience members shouted down and mocked White House officials who attempted to explain away President Trump’s stated view that global warming is a hoax.”

-- A Senate committee plans to vote today on Kirstjen Nielsen’s nomination as DHS secretary despite a Democratic push for additional hearings. Nick Miroff reports: “Five Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wrote a letter last week to the panel’s chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), urging him to bring Nielsen back for more questioning. They cited a report in The Washington Post describing efforts by top White House officials to pressure the acting DHS secretary, Elaine Duke over an immigration decision. The report also detailed Duke’s plans to resign . . . If Nielsen is approved Tuesday, it would set the stage for a full Senate confirmation vote in the coming weeks.”

-- With CIA Director Mike Pompeo pledging to make the agency more “vicious,” the administration has promoted a CIA officer who reportedly worked for an assassination program targeting terrorists. BuzzFeed News’s Aram Roston reports: “At the time, the sources say, the program was contracted to Erik Prince, the controversial security contractor whose sister is Donald Trump’s education secretary. Sources say there is no evidence anyone was ever killed under the program. The official, Michael Barry, became the National Security Council’s chief intelligence officer in September and is the primary liaison between the NSC … and the CIA. … [T]he timing of his appointment is sure to bring scrutiny both to Pompeo’s plan to unleash his agency in new ways and to reported efforts by Prince to persuade the Trump administration to hire his companies to fight in Afghanistan.”

-- If you read one story about the dysfunction crippling the White House: Elaina Plott shadowed Omarosa Manigault for a day to find out what it is, exactly, that the reality-star-turned senior White House official does in the West Wing. (Spoiler alert: Nobody really seems to have a clue.) From The Daily Beast: "’It’s tough to sneak in a question to Omarosa — about her job, her life, her goals, about where exactly we are heading at this precise moment — because we are always walking, quickly and seemingly aimlessly across the West Wing, and in and out of rooms . . . At some point we are looking for a certain Josh, though we don’t ever locate him, and I never find out why he’s needed. Many of her answers go this way, with sentences accomplishing the syntactical feat of never seeming to begin or end. Or they begin and end at the same time: ‘Everything,’ she says when I ask about the contents of her job portfolio right now. Ultimately, in my quest to better understand what, exactly, Omarosa does each day, I learned little more than the fact that she was getting married.”

“After the abrupt end to our day in March, I called a Republican source in constant contact with the White House and asked what they thought Omarosa's job entailed. 'No clue,' the source said[.] 'Wait, Hope [Hicks] let you follow [Omarosa] around?' … No, I hadn't spoken with Hope[.] … 'So Sean [Spicer] let you?' Ditto. 'Christ,' the source said. 'No one in the comms department knew a random reporter was walking around the West Wing. This is why people think we're a s--- show.’”


-- Jurors in the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) are deadlocked. Alan Maimon and Devlin Barrett report: “‘As of 2 p.m., on behalf of all the jurors, we cannot reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges,’ the jury wrote in the note to U.S. District Judge William Walls. ‘Is there any additional guidance? And what do we do now?’ The judge decided to send the jury home an hour early so it could try again starting Tuesday morning. Outside the courthouse, Menendez said, ‘Clearly there are jurors who believe in my innocence . . . I believe no juror should be coerced.’ … Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell said 11 of the 12 jurors have been deliberating for several days and asked that Walls declare a mistrial.”

-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) returned to the Senate after being assaulted by his neighbor, but he gave no indication of why the mysterious attack occurred. Ed O'Keefe and Paul Kane report: “Accompanied by two aides, the senator had no obvious scars or bruises but was clenched in pain as he walked. An aide attempted to deflect reporters as Paul quietly explained that he’s still struggling to breathe as his ribs heal. … Paul declined to answer questions from reporters at the Capitol but told the Washington Examiner in his first interview since the Nov. 3 attack that there was ‘no justification’ for what happened. ‘There is no motive that would justify hitting somebody from behind and breaking their ribs and damaging their lungs, so no, there is no justification for something like that,’ Paul told the paper. But the senator, citing the pending case against his attacker, declined to engage on what might have prompted the assault[.]”

-- Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) announced his retirement. “I think that it is time for me to be more involved in the lives of our children and grandchildren,” Green said in a statement. “I have had to miss so many of their activities and after 26 years in Congress it is time to devote more time to my most important job of being a husband, father and grandfather.” Green’s district is reliably blue and largely Hispanic; his departure is the latest in a string of retirements by (mostly Republican) Texas lawmakers. (Houston’s KHOU)

-- A win for Wall Street: Senators of both parties advanced a plan to relax banking regulations put in place after the financial crisis. Politico’s Zachary Warmbrodt reports: “The deal was driven by Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and a handful of red-state Democrats who have long argued that the rules were stifling lending for their rural constituents. … The compromise would ease regulations on small, community banks as well as several larger lenders that have been subject to stricter oversight because they have more than $50 billion in assets. … [W]ith nine Republicans, eight Democrats and one independent senator signing on, the package had a significant head start on the way to advancing through the Senate[.] … The announcement was significant because bipartisan agreement on big changes to banking rules has been elusive in the Senate since Democrats enacted a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations in 2010.


-- Trump managed to avoid any incidents on the trip – until the last few days of course, when he questioned the intelligence community’s findings that Russia meddled in the election and called Kim Jong Un “short and fat.” Ashley Parker writes: “After an eight-day stretch of mostly good behavior, Trump wandered off script this past weekend in Vietnam as he headed into the final leg of his visit. … In many ways, the president is similar to a tea kettle, with an almost physical need to let off steam after a period of contained pressure — and White House aides are now largely resigned to his periodic eruptions. So as Trump departed from his team’s carefully laid plans, senior administration officials presented a public face of calm. … But Trump mostly acted the good sport, in part because his trip was greased by Asian leaders all playing to his ego and his fondness for grand gestures.”

-- Trump largely ignored glaring and persistent human rights abuses during his 12-day trip to Asia – even though the region is home to some of the world’s most brutal authoritarian regimes. David Nakamura and Emily Rauhala report: “[In Vietnam], Trump embraced the communist nation’s leaders during a state visit to Hanoi without publicly raising the ongoing crackdown on political speech and independent journalists. In Beijing, he praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who oversees an authoritarian system that sharply limits press freedoms, as ‘a very special man.’ And here in Manila, human rights issues were barely discussed — if at all — in Trump’s first meeting with [Rodrigo Duterte], who has garnered worldwide condemnation for waging a bloody, extrajudicial drug war that has killed thousands … Some of the victims have been children.”

And Trump has yet to utter a single word about Myanmar, whose military has led a brutal two-month campaign to slaughter and drive out hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from their homes. The U.N. has called the violent campaign a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” On Thursday, a White House official told reporters traveling on Air Force One that Trump has been “quite concerned” about the situations and “certainly” planned to discuss it publicly. He has yet to do so.

-- CLICKERS: Sometimes photographs really are worth a thousand words. See some startling images of what was left unmentioned during Trump’s regional tour:  

-- While in Beijing, Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting last week in Hangzhou. David Nakamura reports: “Guard LiAngelo Ball, brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball, and forwards Cody Riley and Jalen Hill did not play in the team's victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai. They did not fly home with the team, and ESPN has reported that authorities have surveillance footage and that the players could be required to remain in Hangzhou for a week or two. After Trump raised the matter, Xi promised to look into the case and ensure that the players be treated fairly and expeditiously …” 

-- The 2.5-mile-wide strip separating North and South Korea — a long-feared no man’s land most commonly known as the “demilitarized zone” — saw an unusual amount of activity on Monday after an American man unsuccessfully attempted to cross into Pyongyang “for political purposes,” and a North Korean soldier successfully defected to the South. (Anna Fifield)


A political fellow at the London School of Economics noted this as the 300th day of Trump's presidency nears:

Trump thanked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for returning to Capitol Hill:

And he offered reassurances on trade policy following his Asia trip:

Trump later bragged about a poll showing his approval rating at 46 percent (others have shown it considerably lower):

The Treasury secretary and Ivanka Trump pushed the GOP tax plan:

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) once again called on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to apologize for disparaging her:

Donna Brazile had this memorable quote, per our colleague Karen Tumulty:

And former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) addressed Sean Hannity's fans protesting Keurig coffee makers:


-- “'One of the most secretive, dark states’: What is Kansas trying to hide?” by the Kansas City Star’s Laura Bauer, Judy Thomas and Max Londberg: “Kansas runs one of the most secretive state governments in the nation, and its secrecy permeates nearly every aspect of service, The Star found[.] … From the governor’s office to state agencies, from police departments to business relationships to health care, on the floors of the House and Senate, a veil has descended over the years and through administrations on both sides of the political aisle.” Among the stunning details uncovered during The Star’s months-long investigation:

  • “Children known to the state’s Department for Children and Families suffer horrific abuse, while the agency cloaks its involvement with their cases, even shredding notes after meetings where children’s deaths are discussed …”
  • “[More] than 90 percent of the laws passed [in the last decade] have come from anonymous authors. Kansans often had no way of knowing who was pushing which legislation and why, and the topics have included abortion, concealed weapons and school funding.”
  • “When Kansas police shoot and kill someone, law enforcement agencies often escape scrutiny because they are allowed to provide scant details to the public. [While other states now allow release of body cam footage, a new Kansas law] is one of the most restrictive in the nation, allowing agencies to shelve footage that could shed more light on controversial cases.” 

-- FOOD FOR THOUGHT --> “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning,” by Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic: “Feminists saved the 42nd president of the United States in the 1990s. They were on the wrong side of history; is it finally time to make things right?”

-- The Wall Street Journal, “Democrats’ Challenge: Don’t Blow Their New Opportunity,” by Gerald F. Seib: “American politics in the last generation has featured a recurring cycle of each party in turn overplaying a good hand. In this case, Democrats can miss their chance by deciding that simply running against an unpopular president is sufficient, and failing to come up with an economic message that recaptures the kinds of voters they lost to Mr. Trump last year.”


“Poll: Nearly half of white Southerners feel like they're under attack,” from The Hill: “Nearly half of white American poll respondents living in the South feel like they’re under attack, a new Winthrop University poll found. Forty-six percent of white Southerners polled said they agree or strongly agree that white people are under attack in the U.S. More than three-fourths of black respondents said they believe racial minorities are under attack. And 30 percent of all respondents in the poll agreed when asked if America needs to protect and preserve its white European heritage. More than half of respondents disagreed with the statement.”



“Keurig's CEO apologizes for 'taking sides' as conservatives smash its machines to defend Sean Hannity,” from Business Insider: “Keurig's CEO has apologized to employees for ‘any negativity’ they faced because of the brand's announcement on Twitter on Saturday that it would stop running ads during Sean Hannity's Fox News show. In a memo obtained Monday by The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, CEO Bob Gamgort called Keurig's decision to explain its plan to ‘pause’ its advertising with Hannity's show ‘highly unusual’ and ‘outside of company protocols.’”



Trump has completed his Asia trip and will travel back to D.C. from the Philippines today.

Pence has a meeting with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and USAID Administrator Mark Green. He will later give a speech at the Wall Street Journal's 10th Annual CEO Council Meeting.

Paul Ryan will participate in a Fox News town hall on the GOP tax plan at 6:30 p.m. ET.


Joe Biden, currently on a book tour, addressed Donna Brazile’s claim that she considered having him replace Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee: “I give you my word,” Biden said. “I would never have taken it. I was for Hillary. I did 83 campaign events for Hillary. I think I can say I did more events and worked harder for Hillary, as hard for Hillary, as anyone else. She would have been a first-rate president.”



-- D.C. will see more sunshine in the afternoon, with clouds in the morning. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Another cloudier morning situation with a slow breakout toward sunshine by midday and especially afternoon. A cool morning lifts toward highs in the low to middle 50s — just slightly colder than normal for this time of year.”

-- The Wizards beat the Kings 110-92. (Candace Buckner)

-- The Nationals’ new manager, Dave Martinez, will make $2.8 million over his first three years. (Jorge Castillo)

-- The campaign managers of Virginia’s two major gubernatorial candidates discussed the Democrats’ significant victories at a George Mason University post-election forum. Fenit Nirappil reports: “‘We saw some signs of course … but we never saw it get to where it was,’ said Chris Leavitt, campaign manager for Republican Ed Gillespie. ‘We were at a place where this insurgence of voters, this intensity, was unstoppable.’ Brad Komar, who ran Northam’s campaign, didn’t expect it either. ‘I didn’t see the wave in June; I saw it three days beforehand,’ he said.”

-- Virginia Democrats are claiming that absentee ballots in a still undecided House of Delegates race went uncounted. Laura Vozzella reports: “The parties were especially focused on the House seat being vacated by retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). Republican Robert Thomas is ahead of Joshua Cole by 86 votes. Democrats claim 55 absentee ballots mailed in that race by active-duty military voters went uncounted because they were left in the Stafford County registrar’s mailbox on Election Day[.] … Greg Riddlemoser, general registrar of Stafford County, said all ballots that arrived on time were counted. He said Democrats appeared to be referring to 55 absentee ballots that arrived Wednesday, missing the 7 p.m. Tuesday deadline.”


Joe Biden sat down with Stephen Colbert to discuss his new book:

Trevor Noah criticized Roy Moore and his image as a defender of Christian values:

The Fact Checker has now catalogued 1,628 false or misleading claims made by Trump since he took office:

Protesters in Manila burned a Trump effigy while the U.S. president was attending the ASEAN conference in the Philippines:

French President Emmanuel Macron marked the two-year anniversary of the Paris terrorist attacks:

Players for the Cleveland Cavaliers, including LeBron James, rode the New York subway while in town to play the Knicks: