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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."

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Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.