Dec 2, 2017

Trump's worst day and his best night


Michael Flynn arrives at the courthouse. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

The APNewsAlert came at 1:51 a.m.: "Senate narrowly OKs near-$1.5 trillion tax bill, pushing President Trump and GOP close to year's biggest legislative win."

Being there: "Presiding over the Senate, Vice President Pence announced the 51-49 vote to applause from Republicans."

"Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was the only lawmaker to cross party lines, joining the Democrats in opposition."

"The measure focuses its tax reductions on businesses and higher-earning individuals, gives more modest breaks to others and offers the boldest rewrite of the nation's tax system since 1986."

And yet, this huge accomplishment — even many Republicans long doubted that the Senate would finish its version this year — will be a footnote in news coverage and the national consciousness, blotted out by the massive new legal threat to the White House.

  • Be smart: The White House talking point has been that special counsel Bob Mueller is running a narrow probe that'll be done by Thanksgiving, or for sure by the end of the year. With many choices for offenses that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn could have pleaded to, Mueller picked the bullseye: Russia.

Inside the West Wing, conversations by Jonathan Swan and me show there's anxiety and fear among Trump confidants:

  • Flynn is clearly desperate, legally, personally and financially. He has been broken by Mueller. And he was at Trump's side during both the campaign and the first three weeks in the White House.
  • No one knows what the decorated Army general will unload. And despite Flynn's credibility problems, Mueller clearly believes he has something substantial to offer, possibly going to the heart of the White House.

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Michael Flynn statement: "I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right."

Go deeper