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At least 6 dead after Amtrak derailment in Washington state

Photo: Rachel La Corte / AP

At least six people are dead after an Amtrak train derailed and fell off a bridge onto Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Olympia in Washington state this morning, per the AP. Amtrak 501 was traveling from Seattle to Portland along a new route on the maiden voyage of an expanded high-speed option.

Amtrak confirmed there were approximately 78 passengers and five crew on board. The sheriff's department also confirmed that there were "multiple motorists" injured but no fatalities on Interstate 5. The National Transportation Safety board said in a press conference that they do not yet know what caused the derailment, but they have deployed a team to Washington to investigate.

This is a developing story.

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Trump outlines "America First" national security strategy

Trump approaches the podium. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump laid out his "America First" national security strategy in a speech Monday, saying, "Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition."

The bottom line from the Associated Press: Trump's strategy "envisions nations in constant competition, reverses Obama-era warnings on climate change and affirms that the United States will unilaterally defend its sovereignty, even if that means risking existing the agreements with other countries that have dominated the United States' foreign policy since the Cold War."

Trump also referenced his Sunday phone call with Putin, during which the Russian President reportedly thanked Trump for a CIA tip that prevented bombing attacks in St. Petersburg. "That is the way it is supposed to work," he said.

Go deeper: Trump to take on China

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New tax cuts projections predict it won't pay for itself

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), right, listen as President Donald Trump speaks. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Just days away from a crucial vote on the GOP's tax overhaul package, The Tax Foundation and Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget have released new analyses breaking down the estimated cost of the bill.

By the numbers: The conservative Tax Foundation predicts the plan will increase the federal deficit by $1.47 trillion, or $448 billion when you factor in economic growth; while the group of budget hawks say it could end up costing $2.2 trillion, or $1.5 trillion including economic growth.

The bottom line: The wide range shows how imprecise the estimates are, but neither group thinks the tax bill is going to pay for itself.

Tax Foundation Analysis:

  • "The plan would significantly lower marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to a 1.7 percent increase in GDP over the long term, 1.5 percent higher wages, and an additional 339,000 full-time equivalent jobs."
  • When fully implemented, the bill "would spur an additional $600 billion in federal revenues from economic growth."
  • Over the next decade, the cuts "would increase GDP by 2.86 percent over the current baseline forecasts."
  • "Overall, the plan would decrease federal revenues by $1.47 trillion on a static basis and by $448 billion on a dynamic basis."
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget analysis:
  • The final plan would "would cost $1.46 trillion under conventional scoring and over $1 trillion on a dynamic basis over ten years, leading debt to rise to between 95 percent and 98 percent" of GDP by 2027 (compared to 91 percent under current law).
  • When factoring in the series of expirations and long-delayed tax hikes incorporated in the bill, the package could end up costing $2.0 trillion to $2.2 trillion, meaning debt would rise to between 98 percent and 100 percent of GDP by 2027.
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Trump's judicial nominee withdraws nomination after viral video

Matthew Peterson, the Trump judicial nominee who couldn't answer basic legal questions during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, has withdrawn his nomination, a White House official told AP.

The defining moment: A video of Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioning Peterson, who currently serves as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, went viral after Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) tweeted it out to his more than 187k followers.

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Venture capital investment hits all-time record

Global venture capital investment has hit an all-time record, with more than $142 billion already disbursed in 2017, according to data provider PitchBook.

  • Fewer startups are raising money, but the round sizes are getting appreciably larger. For example, though mid-October, eight companies had raised rounds of $500 million or more.
  • There has been a boom in fundraising by Chinese startups, partially driven by an increase in local capital sources.
  • U.S. venture investment has hit $81.2 billion, which still trails dotcom era totals from 2000.

Reproduced from Pitchbook; Chart: Axios Visuals

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U.S. vetoes United Nations resolution on Jerusalem

Nikki Haley speaks to the UN Security Council. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

The United States vetoed the United Nations Security Council's resolution to require President Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Axios contributor Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 news reports.

Fourteen member states voted in favor of the resolution.

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House to vote on tax bill Tuesday afternoon

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the GOP tax bill early Tuesday afternoon, Reuters reports, citing Republican congressional aides.

What’s next: The bill is likely to reach Trump's desk after Senate passage later in the week, with holdouts Sens. Bob Corker and Marco Rubio confirming Friday that they'll vote "yes."

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ESPN President John Skipper resigns due to substance addiction

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

ESPN President John Skipper announced Monday that he is resigning as the network's president and co-chairman, a position he has had since 2012.

Why it matters: Skipper's resignation comes at a tumultuous time for ESPN. The network has faced two rounds of 100+ person layoffs this year and has been at the center of investor concerns for Disney's cable networks business. Disney announced last week that it would acquire most of 21st Century Fox's assets, including its regional sports networks, which add to the scope of the ever-changing role of ESPN at the network.

Former ESPN president and executive chairman George Bodenheimer will take over as acting chairman for the next three months while Iger finds a replacement, ESPN reports. Skipper has been with the network since 1997.

In a statement, Skipper thanked Disney President Bob Iger for the "human understanding and warmth" that he displayed during his time at the network:

"I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down."
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Report: Obama administration backed off Hezbollah investigation

Masked gunmen of the pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim Hezbollah party in the village of Sohmor, Lebanon, in 1989. Photo: AP

The Obama administration railroaded a U.S. effort to dismantle a Hezbollah drug-trafficking scheme since it conflicted with aspirations to strike a nuclear deal with Iran, according to a Politico report by Josh Meyer.

What happened: The Drug Enforcement Agency's top-secret effort to trace the trafficking found links to state sponsors in Iran. Requests that the DEA's team put in at the Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury to advance the investigation were delayed or denied. Officials have said publicly they believed roadblocks were constructed for political reasons, namely, to keep conversations about a nuclear deal with Iran going.

  • "During the negotiations, early on, they [the Iranians] said listen, we need you to lay off Hezbollah, to tamp down the pressure on them, and the Obama administration acquiesced to that request…It was a strategic decision to show good faith toward the Iranians in terms of reaching an agreement," a former CIA officer told Politico.
  • "[T]hese [Hezbollah-related] investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal," Katherine Bauer, a Treasury official in the Office of Terrorist Financing told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last February.
  • Within months of Obama's announcement of the successfully-forged Iran nuclear deal, some of the most senior officials on the project, including the DEA agent who supervised it, were transferred to other assignments.

Former officials denied to Politico that they provided roadblocks to the campaign to end Hezbollah's drug-trafficking. One former national security official in the Obama administration suggested members of the DEA project were simply speculating about political motivations.

An Obama spokesperson, Kevin Lewis, told Politico: "There has been a consistent pattern of actions taken against Hezbollah, both through tough sanctions and law enforcement actions before and after the Iran deal."

Why it matters: Losing sight of this project has cost the U.S. Not only has the U.S. government reportedly lost track of this drug-trafficking campaign, which is believed to still operate, it has also reportedly lost insight into other criminal activities around the world. That includes Hezbollah's conspiracies with the Iranian, Syrian, Venezuelan, and Russian governments.

On a grander scale, Hezbollah is working with Iran, Russia, and Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and trains Shiite militants that seek to undermine the U.S. in Iraq, per U.S. officials.