Good Thursday morning. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), speaking publicly for the first time since he was shot 106 days ago, tells Norah O'Donnell in a "60 Minutes" interview, previewed today on "CBS This Morning," that doctors did a "phenomenal job of rebuilding … a lot of damage inside that had to get fixed."
President Trump has built an escape hatch from his own tax plan. In Indianapolis yesterday, he bragged that it's the "largest tax cut in our county's history."
But in the West Wing earlier, Trump resisted the framework that had been cooked up by congressional leaders, plus economic adviser Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin:
Why it matters: If Trump shows the fickleness he showed on repeal-and-replace (championing the House plan, then later calling it "mean"), that could increase the chances the plan sinks, with him blaming Congress.
What happened: On Monday, there were some tense moments for Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, as word got out Trump wasn't thrilled with the framework, sources tell Axios' Jonathan Swan.
Be smart: Tax reform is now an existential issue for House Speaker Ryan and Senate Leader McConnell. If they botch this, as they did health care, both chambers could lose their Republican majorities.
How it's playing ... USA Today banner, "Trump could reap millions in tax plan: Proposals to cut estate taxes, AMT would benefit wealthy" ... L.A. Times lead story, "Tax plan would hit state hard: GOP proposal would end a big tax break for Californians and may curtail the mortgage interest deduction."
Be smart: Conservatives on the Hill are hungry to go after Big Tech. There's an irony: The evidence points to the platforms helping Trump. But the Russian revelations clearly add to the companies' regulatory and legislative vulnerability.
Mark Zuckerberg's response to Trump's tweet:
Be smart: Belated "regret" by Zuckerberg will do little to disarm Facebook's increasingly emboldened critics. But it sets the table for the inevitable future congressional testimony by Facebook executives.
"How do you pay for an estimated $5.8 trillion tax cut?" AP Economics Writer Josh Boak asks:
Go deeper ... Axios posted Trump's 9-page plan.
A resident bails water from a flooded home in Catano, Puerto Rico, yesterday.
"Now even money is running out in storm-hit Puerto Rico," by AP's Ben Fox and Danica Coto in San Juan:
Bridge swept away by Hurricane Maria ... Ruby Rodriguez, 8, looks back at her mother as she wades across the river in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico, yesterday.
Hurricane Irma, at one point the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, wreaked havoc in parts of the Caribbean — Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and St. Martin, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and parts of Cuba — leaving more than three dozen people dead and turning vacation island paradises into devastated landscapes.
N.Y Times Quote of the Day ... Clinton Gaskins, owner of Longboard, a restaurant on St. John, in the United States Virgin Islands, where the only customers these days are the locals who stop by to pick up Red Cross-provided meals: "The economy evaporated pretty much overnight."
TIME's Alex Altman and Sean Gregory: "It was a remarkable thing for a President to devote so much energy to attacking athletes for peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. But the spat over sports was ... a move straight from Trump's political playbook."
"Steve Bannon's Back and Targeting China," by Josh Green in the forthcoming Bloomberg Businessweek:
"Why we're decades away from predicting earthquakes," by Axios' Erin Ross: