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News Analysis: The Real Aim of the Nunes Memo Is the Mueller Investigation

Republicans are pushing the narrative that a cabal of politically biased law enforcement officials set out to sabotage Mr. Trump. And they are portraying a dossier written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent, which laid out unverified claims that Russia had compromised Mr. Trump and was conspiring with him, as the fountainhead of the Russia investigation. That assertion disregards unrelated evidence that Russia sought to influence the election and the pattern of contacts between Russians and Mr […]

Senate Democrats Make Hard Turn Left in Warming Up for 2020 Race

Five of the six the presidential hopefuls have long said they would not vote for any spending bill that does not include protection for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, who have been shielded from deportation by an Obama-era program that Mr. Trump rescinded. (The sixth, Ms. Klobuchar, also voted against the last short-term spending bill.)But some red-state Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia (a state Mr. Trump carried with nearly 68 percent of the vote) are equivocating, clearly worried that Democrats could take the blame for a shutdown if the spending bill does not pass.PhotoSenators Kamala Harris of California, right, and Cory Booker of New Jersey pressed the secretary of homeland security during a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times“We’ve got 48 hours, and that’s a lifetime in the news cycle around here,” a nervous-sounding Mr […]

Live Briefing: Senate Budget Committee Approves Tax Bill

Senator Susan Collins, the Republican of Maine who has not yet thrown her support behind the bill, said that she was feeling more optimistic about the bill after the meeting with the president.“I believe that a lot of my concerns, it appears, are going to be addressed and that I’m going to be getting the opportunity to offer amendments on the senate floor,” Ms. Collins said.Ms. Collins said that the president was supportive of her wishes that $10,000 of property taxes be deductible under the senate plan, a change that would be similar to the compromise that House Republicans made on the repeal of the state and local tax deduction. She also said that Mr […]

Trump Campaign Adviser Met With Russian Officials in 2016

He confirmed that an email he had written to the campaign after that trip to Moscow was presented to him during Thursday’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.Mr. Page acknowledged his meeting with Russian government officials during sharp questioning by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the committee, according to a congressional official familiar with the exchange.During another part of the testimony, Mr. Page was questioned about a trip to Budapest, although it was not immediately clear why. […]

House Passes Budget Blueprint, Clearing Path for Tax Overhaul

Democrats were swift to criticize the approach, saying it was an attempt to hide tax changes that will hurt, not help, middle-class families. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the bill was shaping up to be “a bunch of false promises to the middle class.” Republicans, he said, “know the details — the specifics of what they’re really about — will be hard to argue in the sunlight.”Lawmakers and committee staff members must still resolve some of the thorniest issues before they can release a bill, including where to draw income lines for tax brackets, how high to set the top personal income tax rate and how to ensure that major changes to the way that multinational corporations are taxed do not encourage them to shift more money overseas. The biggest question is how to offset enough tax revenue that will be lost from cutting rates to remain within the rules of the Senate budget reconciliation process, which allows Republicans to bypass a Democratic filibuster.The budget measure approved on Thursday would allow for a tax bill that adds as much as $1.5 trillion to federal deficits over a decade, at a time when the federal government’s debt has already topped $20 trillion. The deficit for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, totaled $666 billion, an increase of $80 billion from the previous year.The outline of the tax plan unveiled in September would cut the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent, from 35 percent; collapse individual income tax brackets from seven to three or four, with tax rates of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent, and possibly one higher; and nearly double the standard deduction, to $12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.The budget measure passed over the loud protests of House members from New York and New Jersey, who worry that the blueprint will doom the current deduction for state and local taxes — a benefit of great importance to taxpayers in their states. Eleven of the 20 Republicans who voted no were from those two states.“This isn’t over,” one of those lawmakers, Representative Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, a Republican, said after the vote. “I am confident we’ll reach an agreement. And if we don’t, then I don’t see how we can move forward.”Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyGet the Morning Briefing by EmailWhat you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.Thank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.Mr. Brady told reporters later in the day that while no such agreement had yet been reached, it would eventually be resolved, since families in New York and New Jersey needed to be “better off” after a tax bill passes.Continue reading the main story“This is a serious issue, and we’re taking it seriously,” Mr. […]

Senate Approves Budget Plan That Smooths Path Toward Tax Cut

“This is the last, best chance we will have to cut taxes,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a member of the Budget Committee, who warned that the consequences would be ruinous if the party failed.“That will be the end of us as a party,” he said, “because if you’re a Republican and you don’t want to simplify the tax code and cut taxes, what good are you to anybody?”Mr. Trump took to Twitter shortly after 1 a.m. to congratulate the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell — whose tensions with the president have been well-documented — for a “first step toward delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for the American people!”Others were quick to condemn the blueprint. Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and the ranking member of the Budget Committee, declared the budget to be “extremely cruel,” and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said it would burden the middle class.“This nasty and backwards budget green-lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans,” Mr. Schumer said.The Senate approved the budget blueprint after considering a flurry of amendments, a tedious process that gives the minority party an opportunity to force the majority to endure politically difficult votes. One Democratic amendment that was rejected sought to stop tax cuts from going to the top 1 percent; another would have restored cuts to Medicare.Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyGet the Morning Briefing by EmailWhat you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.Thank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.The Senate approved the budget after a so-called vote-a-rama, a legislative whirlwind in which amendments are considered one after another. One proposal would have deleted language that could allow for drilling legislation; the amendment failed, 48 to 52.Continue reading the main story“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine areas of the United States, and we have been protecting it for decades for a reason,” said Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.But Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska and the chairwoman of the energy panel, said erasing the language would “deprive us of a substantial opportunity to benefit our country at the same time that we care for our environment.”In Congress, the annual budget resolution provides an outline of federal spending and revenues. The Senate’s blueprint, for the 2018 fiscal year that began Oct. […]

With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller’s Inquiry Sets a Tone

A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment. Lawyers and a spokesman for Mr. Manafort also declined to comment.Few people can upend Washington like a federal prosecutor rooting around a presidential administration, and Mr. Mueller, a former F.B.I. director, is known to dislike meandering investigations that languish for years […]