13 Russian nationals indicted for interfering in US elections

A federal grand jury on Friday indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election, in a case brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that detailed a sophisticated plot to wage “information warfare” against the U.S.

The Russian nationals are accused of setting a “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

The indictment – the first filed against Russian nationals as part of Mueller’s probe – effectively returns focus to the meddling activities out of Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election, following a string of charges relating to the actions of Trump associates.

Former Department of Justice official Robert Driscoll comments on the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for attempting to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Further, the DOJ made clear that the indictment does not allege that any of the interference changed the outcome of the presidential race.

“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, said at a Friday press conference.

President Trump reacted to the indictments by seizing on Rosenstein’s comment that the election results were not impacted by the Russians’ activity.

“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” Trump tweeted. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

The 37-page indictment, signed by Mueller, said the actions detailed by prosecutors date back to 2014.

The defendants are accused of spreading derogatory information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, denigrating Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — and ultimately supporting Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

“There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

– Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

It says the defendants spread derogatory information about various candidates throughout the 2016 campaign and by “early to mid-2016” were supporting Trump’s presidential campaign.

Rosenstein, though, said that after the election, the group worked both to stage rallies in favor of President-elect Trump and in opposition to his election.

Rosenstein on Friday described a sophisticated operation by Russian organization Internet Research Agency. He said the scheme involved setting up hundreds of social media accounts using stolen or fictitious identities to make it appear like the accounts were controlled by individuals in the U.S. He said the defendants posed as politically active Americans and recruited “real Americans” to stage rallies and engage in political activities.

But Rosenstein said those Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein says the defendants posed as politically and socially active Americans to engage in informational warfare during presidential election and the early days of the Trump administration; no allegation in indictment that any American had knowledge of Russian activities.

“We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. “These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill, though, reacted by continuing to suggest that people associated with Trump or his campaign could have been involved in Russia’s meddling.

“It is imperative that the Special Counsel investigation be allowed to continue to follow the facts on the Trump-Russia scandal, unhindered by the White House or Republicans in Congress,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s interference in our election and the involvement of Trump officials.”

The president ignored shouted questions from reporters as he departed the White House for Florida on Friday afternoon.

But in a statement released by the White House, Trump said “We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful.”

“It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions,” he said. “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”

READ THE INDICTMENT OF RUSSIAN NATIONALS

According to the special counsel, the indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.

The three entities charged in the indictment are Internet Research Agency LLC, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering.

The 13 Russians charged are: Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin; Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov; Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik; Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova; Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva; Sergey Pavlovich Polozov; Maria Anatolyrvna Bovda; Robert Sergetevich Bovda; Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly; Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev; Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko; Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina and Vladimir Venkov.

The indictment says Internet Research Agency registered with the Russian government as a corporate entity in 2013. It employed hundreds of individuals for its online operations and had an annual budget equaling millions of U.S. dollars, the filing said.

Prosecutors accuse the Russians of communicating with a real U.S. person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization. They learned from that person to focus their activities on “purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida,” the indictment says.

It also says the group’s employees – referred to as “specialists” – created social media accounts to look like they were operated by Americans. They created group pages on Facebook and Instagram with names like “Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist” (to promote the Black Lives Matter movement), “United Muslims of America,” “Army of Jesus,” “South United” and “Heart of Texas.”

They also created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts, like one named “Tennessee GOP” under the @TEN_GOP handle that attracted more than 100,000 followers.

According to the indictment, the specialists were instructed to post content online that criticized “Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).”

It said they used pro-Trump, anti-Clinton hashtags online like “#Trump2016,” “#TrumpTrain,” “#MAGA,” “#IWontProtectHillary,” and “Hillary4Prison.”

It says the defendants, around the latter half of 2016, encouraged minority groups in the United States not to vote in the election or vote for a third party candidate. An Instagram account they controlled called “Woke Blacks” posted a message on Oct. 16, 2016 that read: “We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”

The special counsel’s office also said Friday that an American, Richard Pinedo, 28, of Santa Paula, Calif., pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to identity fraud as part of its investigation. A filing from prosecutors said Pinedo sold bank account numbers over the internet.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Congress set to delay shutdown, setting up bigger spending fight later


House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks during a meeting with President Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, along with Republican congressional leaders. (Susan Walsh/AP)
 December 7 at 2:15 PM
Congress prepared to pass a stopgap spending bill as soon as Thursday evening to avoid a partial government shutdown, but key leaders are already bracing for a more heated spending fight later this month.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and the leader of an influential conservative bloc both said Thursday morning they expect Republicans to vote in the afternoon to extend funding until Dec. 22. The Senate is then expected to pass the measure late Thursday or Friday, sending it to President Trump.

As the stopgap moves across Capitol Hill, congressional leaders of both parties are scheduled to go to the White House Thursday afternoon to begin talks with Trump on a long-term spending pact.

But there are clear obstacles to any deal. Trump himself cast doubt Wednesday, telling reporters that Democrats “want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime.” A shutdown over the issue, he said, “could happen.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of hard-line conservatives who have bucked GOP leaders on past government spending bills, warned that any bipartisan deal on spending risked a Republican revolt later this month.

“It takes two bodies to put something into law, and the president’s agreement to a caps deal does not mean that it is fiscally the best thing for the country,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said. “I want to avoid a headline that says President Trump’s administration just passed the highest spending levels in U.S. history.”

The statements have cast a pall over the high-stakes spending talks Thursday, which are expected to be an initial step in a weeks-long dance over funding the government and resolving several other partisan standoffs.

Republicans have majorities in both chambers of Congress, but they cannot pass spending bills alone. In the Senate, a 60-vote supermajority is required to pass most major legislation, and Republicans control 52 seats. That means negotiating with Democrats, who have pushed to maintain their own domestic spending priorities, as well as policy initiatives on immigration, health care and more.

Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) laid out a host of Democratic demands, ranging from funding for veterans and to fight the opioid crisis to passage of a bill that would grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of “dreamers” — immigrants brought without documentation to the United States as children.

Pelosi sent mixed signals on how far Democrats would go to secure their priorities, saying on one hand that “Democrats are not willing to shut government down” but on the other that they “will not leave” Washington for the holidays without a fix for Dreamers.

The main source of the Democrats’ leverage, however, is the GOP desire to hike military spending to more than $600 billion in 2018.

Under a 10-year budget deal struck in 2011, Congress may appropriate a maximum of $549 billion for defense programs and $516 billion for nondefense programs next year. Republican leaders have floated a $54 billion boost in defense next year and a $37 billion boost in nondefense spending; Democrats have thus far demanded equivalent increases for both.

“We need a strong national defense, but we also need a strong domestic budget,” Pelosi said Thursday.

Expected to join the White House meeting Thursday, according to congressional aides, are Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Mattis and Mulvaney are seen on Capitol Hill as the pivotal figures in an internal clash within the Trump administration over whether to cut a deal with Democrats to hike domestic spending to secure an increase in the military budget. Mattis has pushed internally to work with Democrats to secure a bigger military budget, while Mulvaney has argued for pursuing a harder line.

The stopgap bill set for a House vote Thursday does not change existing spending levels, and defense hawks have resisted calls to pass temporary bills into the new year, arguing that the military needs a boost.

But conservatives see it differently: They want to provoke a confrontation with Democrats and break a cycle of bipartisan deals that has led both military and nondefense discretionary spending to rise in lockstep. They are also wary of a year-end spending bill becoming a legislative “Christmas tree” that could include relief for Dreamers and other Democratic priorities.

That, Meadows said, would be “not only problematic, but it will be met with such resistance that we haven’t seen on the Hill for many, many years.”

Meadows said he is pushing Ryan to “do short-term spending until we break the defense-nondefense connection.” He said GOP leaders have expressed openness to drafting a funding bill later this month that funds the military through the remainder of the fiscal year while leaving the remainder of the federal bureaucracy subject to a weeks-long extension.

Ryan declined Thursday to confirm any such deal; Pelosi said it would be a nonstarter for Democrats. Were the House to pass such a bill, the Senate would likely send back a bipartisan measure that would include provisions that conservatives dislike. But that could win votes from House Democrats, sidelining the conservatives.

“We’re going to take the speaker at his word that he’s going to fight,” Meadows said, adding, “If all we do is pass a bill and watch the Senate change it, and then agree to higher spending, that is not a fight.”

Conyers admits settlement after report on sexual conduct with ex-staffers – but denies allegations

Hours after outright denying an explosive report on alleged sexual harassment, powerful Democratic lawmaker John Conyers admitted Tuesday that he settled a complaint with an ex-staffer — who reportedly said she was fired for rebuffing his advances.

Rep. Conyers, D-Mich., initially had told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he hadn’t settled any such harassment complaints. The AP also reported that Conyers answered the door at his Detroit home and said he knew nothing about claims of inappropriate touching, all of which were made in an extensive BuzzFeed article.

Conyers’ office issued a detailed clarification Tuesday afternoon, acknowledging the complaint was real, though the lawmaker adamantly denied the underlying claims.

“The Associated Press made an unannounced visit to the home of Congressman Conyers this morning,” a spokesperson for Conyers said Tuesday. “Congressman Conyers was under the impression the reporter was speaking of recent allegations of which he was unaware of and denied.”

Conyers said he has been a “fierce advocate for equality in the workplace” and supports the rights of his employees, but noted that it was “important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true.”

“In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me and continue to do so,” Conyers said, adding that his office resolved the allegations. “That should not be lost in the narrative. The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment.”

Conyers added that he would “fully cooperate with an investigation,” once the House determines the “extent” they will look at “these issues.”

The allegations against Conyers amounted to yet another bombshell rocking Capitol Hill.

In documents obtained by BuzzFeed News, several former staff members reportedly accused Conyers of requesting sexual favors, rubbing their hands sexually and rubbing their legs and backs.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, discusses immigration reform before a group of students, faculty and others at California State University, Sacramento, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Earlier she was shouted down by young immigrants at an event in San Francisco where she was trying to drum up support for legislation the would grant legal status to young immigrants. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she did not have any knowledge of the Conyers’ settlement.  (AP)

The woman who complained about her firing reportedly claimed she was dismissed because she did not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.” She reportedly believed she had no other option than to remain quiet and take the settlement in 2015.

TOP CALIFORNIA DEM STEPPING DOWN AMID NEW SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she told Buzzfeed News.

Her identity remains anonymous reportedly due to fears of retribution.

FILE - In this July 12, 2017 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington. Franken apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has now been accused by two women of groping them without consent.  (AP)

Conyers, 88, the longest-serving House member, has served in the House for decades. He was active in the civil-rights movement and helped found the Congressional Black Caucus; he’s now the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the report “extremely troubling” in a statement released Tuesday. He noted he already had directed “the Committee on House Administration to conduct a full review of all policies and procedures related to workplace harassment and discrimination.”

Fox News has not independently confirmed the allegations.

According to BuzzFeed News, the Congressional Office of Compliance did not confirm or deny dealing with the case.

“Pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act, the OOC cannot comment on whether matters have or have not been filed with the office,” Laura Cech, publications and outreach manager at the Office of Compliance, told BuzzFeed.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was not aware of the reported settlement involving Conyers.

“No,” Pelosi told Fox News in a statement. “The current process includes the signing of non-disclosure agreements by the parties involved.”

TAXPAYER PIGGY BANK LETS CONGRESS SETTLE SEX HARASSMENT CLAIMS IN SECRET

Pelosi pointed to new legislation put forth by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier which the Democratic leader said would provide “much-needed transparency on these agreements” and make “other critical reforms.”

“I strongly support her efforts,” Pelosi said.

The report said the woman who settled with Conyers ended up with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a roughly $27,000 settlement — which reportedly came from Conyers’ office budget as opposed to a massive fund that has been used to settle hundreds of cases with federal employees.

Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party Brandon Dillon said in a statement Tuesday that the allegations against Conyers are “incredibly serious and disheartening to learn,” but also said that media reports of the case also “point to other troubling allegations of misconduct, including the potential misuse of congressional resources.”

“That is why we are calling for a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee into all of the allegations against Mr. Conyers, and we urge the Speaker to order a full-scale inquiry into the abuse of authority that has pervaded the halls of power in Washington, along with state capitols across the country, for far too long,” Dillon said.

The revelations about Conyers’ alleged conduct are just the latest in a series of allegations shaking the halls of Capitol Hill in recent days.

AL FRANKEN HIT WITH GROPING ALLEGATION FROM SECOND WOMAN

Last week, a TV and Radio broadcast host based in California, LeeAnn Tweeden, accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., of groping and kissing her without her consent. On Monday, a second woman, Lindsay Menz, accused Franken of groping her in 2010 while they took a photo together.

And Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore in Alabama is battling multiple allegations. The woman whose account started the controversy spoke Monday to NBC’s “Today” show, and said she was “absolutely not” paid to go public.

Leigh Corfman claims Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was in his 30’s. Moore has denied the allegations against him.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Courtesy: Fox News

Newt Gingrich: Hillary Clinton’s been getting away with unethical, illegal behavior for 40 years

The never-ending saga of Clinton corruption continues to unfold, with the latest chapter being written by former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile.

In an excerpt from her new book, Brazile finally begins to reveal to the American people what actually happened behind closed doors during the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign and uncovers new details about even more collusive activity.

Brazile describes how the Clintons covertly took over operations at the Democratic National Committee four months after Hillary announced her presidential candidacy, nearly a year before she became the party’s 2016 nominee.

According to Brazile, Hillary exploited the cash-strapped party. She agreed to pay off financial debts left by Obama’s 2012 campaign, but the cash came with a catch.

Brazile wrote that a fundraising agreement signed in August 2015 dictated that “in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in on the significance of this latest Clinton scandal on Fox News Sunday, remarking, “We’ve all said that the Clintons thought they lived above the rules, but this takes the cake. I mean, this is pretty amazing. For them to basically be running the DNC in a primary – to see such a deck stacked is really pretty jaw-dropping to me. No wonder the Democrats are ticked off, I would be too.”

Of course, Speaker Ryan is correct that this degree of clear corruption on behalf of the Clintons is ethically wrong and always on the edge of breaking the law. However, having watched the Clintons for nearly their entire political careers, the Brazile revelations did not surprise me. Hillary Clinton has been getting away with unethical, and often illegal, behavior since she first entered public life.

I was a freshman member of Congress when Hillary began her career of breaking the rules for personal enrichment and power. When the Clintons ran for President in 1992 all this began to come out.

Hillary Clinton’s first major act of corruption dates back almost 40 years, when she miraculously turned $1,000 into nearly $100,000 in 10 months during her first attempt at trading commodities – mainly cattle futures.

A month before Bill Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas in November 1978, Hillary Clinton decided to try her hand at commodities trading, which is an incredibly volatile market. As a total novice, on October 11, 1978, she opened an account with $1,000, made a short sale of 10 live-cattle contracts, then bought them back the next day – pocketing an extra $5,300.

Throughout her stint as an untrained commodities trading savant, a slew of regulatory rules were apparently ignored (or violated) on her behalf. She made a “mockery of the profession” and cashed in after earning a net profit of nearly 10,000 percent in less than a year.

This level of success is nearly unheard of, even for expert commodities traders. Typically, 80 to 95 percent of commodities traders lose money. In fact, in 1994, the Journal of Economics and Finance published a study by economists from Auburn University and the University of North Florida which concluded the odds for Hillary’s level of success during the period she was trading “were – at best – 1 in 31 trillion.”

Let’s be blunt – there’s no way Hillary could have achieved that level of success in commodities trading without breaking the law. But she got away with it – like the Clintons always do.

The history of this corrupt, illegal behavior explains a lot of Hillary’s contempt for free enterprise. When she invested, it was a rigged game she was guaranteed to win. She equates her corrupt behavior with all free enterprise.

Of course, cattle futures were just the beginning. Getting away with one act of corruption led to many more: the Whitewater land deal, Benghazi, Hillary’s illegal private email server, the Uranium One sale, and now the DNC-Clinton collusion scandal.

So, the next time a Clinton scandal breaks (and there will be a next time), we should certainly be outraged, but we shouldn’t be surprised. We should also demand that the Congress and the Justice Department hold them accountable.

Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich. His latest book is “Understanding Trump.”

Courtesy: Fox News

GOP tax bill: No changes to 401(k), doubles deductions for middle class, limits state and local tax

House Republicans on Thursday unveiled their long-awaited tax bill which preserves the popular 401K retirement account, lowers rates for many individual households but trims deductions for state and local taxes.

A summary of the plan, which was made available to reporters ahead of its public release, would also reduce the cap on the popular deduction to interest on mortgages to $500,000 for newly purchased homes. The current cap is $1 million.

The plan also limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000 while eliminating the deduction for state income taxes. Republicans in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey had come out strongly against it.

“I view the elimination of the deduction as a geographic redistribution of wealth, picking winners and losers,” New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin said. “I don’t want my home state to be a loser, and that really shouldn’t come as any surprise.”

Called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the GOP plan would also leave the top individual tax rate at 39.6 percent.

The child tax credit will rise to $1,600 from $1,000, though the $4,050 per child exemption would be repealed.

The legislation is the first major revamp of the U.S. tax code in three decades and has been a top legislative and political priority of Republicans.

“This is the beginning of the end of this horrible tax code in America,” Rep. Kevin Brady told Fox News.

House Speaker Paul Ryan touted the plan as a break for the middle class.

“It is for the families who are out there living paycheck to paycheck who just keep getting squeezed,” he said.

President Trump called the legislation “another important step toward providing massive tax relief for the American people” and added, “We are just getting started, and there is much work left to do.”

The rollout was delayed a day as Republicans were still hammering out specifics.

Lawmakers had been at odds and scrambling to bridge deep divides over contribution limits to 401(k) retirement accounts and the possible elimination of a tax break for state and local taxes.

Potential changes to the plans created an uproar after rumors surfaced that Republicans were considering a plan to slash pretax donation limits from $18,000 for most people to as low as $2,400.

Trump is expected to meet with House Republicans at the White House Thursday afternoon. Markups to the bill could come as early as Monday.

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to consider the bill next week.

“This is our opportunity to make tax reform a reality and deliver the most transformational tax cuts in a generation,” Brady said on Thursday.

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Thursday that this bill “for every member, this could be the most significant bill they make a decision on in congress.”

Trump has recently said he’d like to see the bill become law by Christmas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtesy: Fox News

House paves way for Trump tax reform plan by passing $4T budget

The House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly approved a $4 trillion budget that paves the way for Republicans on Capitol Hill to begin focusing on tax reform.

Trending Articles

Not at home? Amazon wants to come in and drop off packages

Is Amazon taking convenience a bit too far? Some customers think so after…

The vote was 216-212, with 20 Republicans, including conservatives unhappy about deficits and debt, opposing it. Republicans could lose only 22 votes for it to pass.

“Big news – Budget just passed!” President Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

The Senate passed the measure last week and the House endorsed it without changes.

“Tax reform will help reignite the American dream,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters after the vote. “It will help bring us back to a place of confidence, freedom, happiness and a stronger, healthier economy. And this budget that the House just passed, 20 minutes ago, brings us closer to making that dream a reality.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas announced that the text of the tax bill will be released Nov. 1.

“By passing this budget today, House Republicans just provided the legislative runway for pro-growth tax reform,” Brady said. “Our successful vote will allow us to move forward quickly on delivering the first overhaul of America’s tax code in more than three decades.”

Brady also said the Ways and Means Committee will consider the legislation in a committee markup beginning Nov. 6. A markup session is where the committee goes through the bill line by line and revamps the package before advancing it to the floor.

The tax bill is the top item on the GOP agenda and would be Trump’s first major win in Congress.

The goal is a full rewrite of the inefficient, loophole-laden tax code in hopes of lower rates for corporations and other businesses and a spurt of economic growth.

Brady told reporters on Wednesday morning that he’s still looking at curtailing tax-free deposits in 401(k) retirement accounts, a move that could raise revenue in the near term as retirement savings shift to Roth-style accounts that are funded with after-tax earnings.

Trump says he opposes curbing 401(k) donations, however, which tossed a monkey wrench into the process.

Key decisions about tax brackets, including a new bracket for high-income earners, remain up in the air. Outcomes on other provisions are unsettled as well, lending a sense of chaos as GOP leaders rush to fulfill a goal of passing the measure through the House before Thanksgiving.

Republicans view passage of the tax measure as a career-defining dream, and its importance has only grown in the wake of the party’s debacle on health care.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtesy: Fox News

Trump’s DACA demands met with outrage from ‘Chuck and Nancy’

President Trump’s political dalliance with “Chuck and Nancy” already is running into problems, as the top congressional Democrats balk at the president’s new terms for a deal to help the roughly 800,000 young illegal immigrants known as ‘Dreamers.’

Trending Articles

Uber’s app can secretly spy on your iPhone

The Uber app for iOS has been given a unique privilege on the operating…

“This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, after the administration announced the demands Sunday night.

The friction comes roughly three weeks after Pelosi and Schumer left a White House dinner with Trump saying they’d agreed to a framework deal to help the young illegal immigrants, as Trump moves to end their protections under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The Trump administration outlined an extensive list of conditions late Sunday.

“The administration can’t be serious about compromise,” Pelosi, of California, and Schumer, of New York, also said in their Sunday night statement. “We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures … but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, on Monday questioned what Schumer thinks is “reasonable.”

“You have people who are losing loved ones because they are killed by an illegal immigrant,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends.” “What’s reasonable is to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs over the border. I’d like to know what Chuck Schumer thinks is reasonable.”

Trump Schumer Pelosi FBN

President Trump’s dealings with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are running into complications over his new DACA deal terms.  (AP)

Trump in recent weeks has turned to Schumer and Pelosi amid frustration with Senate Republicans, after they repeatedly failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare, denying him a major legislative victory and the ability to fulfill a top campaign promise.

Trump left the earlier meeting touting his efforts with “Chuck and Nancy” but was not specific about whether wall funding was a necessity.

The administration’s requirements announced Sunday include additional crackdowns on “sanctuary cities” that protect illegal immigrants; reducing the number of incoming refugees; 10,000 more Customs and Border Patrol agents; and new initiatives curbing the number of unaccompanied immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally as children.

“Over the last several decades, respect for the rule of law has broken down and immigration enforcement has been sacrificed for the sake of political expediency,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said after the announcement. “This plan will work.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres said the GOP-controlled chamber’s immigration working group would review the roughly 70-point White House list, then consult with the entire Republican caucus and the administration.

The White House plan is considered a starting point for congressional negotiations.

While the plan is already being embraced by Capitol Hill’s most conservative members, including a number of immigration hawks, backlash is growing among Democrats.

“It is immoral for the president to use the lives of these young people as bargaining chips in his quest to impose his cruel, anti-immigrant and un-American agenda on our nation,” said New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The House Freedom Caucus, the chamber’s most conservative wing, is backing the plan.

“We applaud the administration’s leadership on principles that will be critical to any immigration policy changes,” said caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. “We look forward to the administration’s insistence on these principles in any deal that is signed into law.”

In dismantling DACA, the administration has argued it was forced to act because federal courts were ready to rule the program was unconstitutional, which would have put the Dreamers’ future in jeopardy.

Trump, in announcing the end of DACA, gave Congress six months to find a legislative alternative.

The White House on Sunday night also asked to limit family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, in addition to creating a point-based system.

And it called for boosting fees at border crossings, making it easier to deport gang members and unaccompanied children, and overhauling the asylum system.

Conway also said Monday that the White House requests are the result of collaborations with such agencies as the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol.

Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman, Mike Emanuel, Jason Donner, Jake Gibson, Serafin Gomez, Chad Pergram and Joseph Weber and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtesy: Fox News

%d bloggers like this: