Washington Brief: More Than 50 Killed in Las Vegas Shooting; Trump to Make Remarks This Morning


Top Stories

  • President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to victims and their families after a gunman in Las Vegas killed more than 50 people and injured about 400 people, according to local authorities, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Trump described the shooting as “terrible,” and he is expected to make further remarks this morning. (Las Vegas Sun)
  • Officials from Facebook Inc. are set to meet today with the House and Senate intelligence committees, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hand over copies of more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads that ran around the time of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (The Associated Press)
  • Trump criticized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s suggestion of new dialogue with North Korea, saying Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump’s nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (The New York Times)
  • The Supreme Court is back for its new term today, which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently predicted will be “momentous.” Among the issues on the docket: partisan gerrymandering, cellphone data privacy and religious liberty for a wedding cake baker. (The Washington Post)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday
Rep. Gallagher speaks at Wilson Center event on America First 10 a.m.
Tuesday
Sen. Klobuchar, Rep. Meehan speak at Atlantic event on drug prices 8 a.m.
Senate Banking Committee hearing on Wells Fargo 10 a.m.
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Trump’s DACA decision 10 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee hearing on international tax reform 10 a.m.
RSC members speak at Heritage Foundation event on taxes 2:30 p.m.
McCain Institute event on Russian containment 6 p.m.
Sen. Cotton speaks at CFR event on Iran nuclear deal 6 p.m.
Wednesday
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Cybersecurity Summit 8 a.m.
House Financial Services Committee hearing with SEC’s Clayton 10 a.m.
Senate Banking Committee hearing on Equifax breach 10 a.m.
OMB’s Mulvaney speaks at Washington Post event 10:30 a.m.
Senate Budget Committee markup of fiscal year 2018 budget resolution 2:30 p.m.
Thursday
Sen. Cotton speaks at Washington Post event 9 a.m.
House Financial Services Committee hearing on Equifax breach 9:15 a.m.
Chairman of Council of Economic Advisers speaks at Tax Policy Center event 9:30 a.m.
Senate Budget Committee markup of fiscal year 2018 budget resolution 10:30 a.m.
Peterson Institute event on global economic prospects for 2017 12:15 p.m.
BPC event on Turkish relations 2 p.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

General

More than 50 dead, 200 injured in mass shooting on Las Vegas Strip
Ricardo Torres-Cortez et al., Las Vegas Sun

A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino opened fire Sunday night on an outdoor music below, killing at least 50 people — including two off-duty police officers — and wounding more than 200, authorities said. Officers confronted the suspect at Mandalay Bay, across the street from the concert grounds, and he was killed, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.

Facebook to turn over Russia-linked ads
Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

Social media giant Facebook is expected to provide Congress on Monday with more than 3,000 ads that ran around the time of the 2016 presidential election and are linked to a Russian ad agency. Company officials will meet with the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee to hand over the ads, a Facebook official said.

Google, Facebook may have to reveal deepest secrets
Nancy Scola and Josh Meyer, Politico

The investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 election are threatening to pry the lid off tech companies’ most prized possessions: the secret inner workings of their online platforms. As the probes unfold into social media’s role in spreading misinformation, U.S. lawmakers are beginning to show an interest in the mechanics of everything from how Facebook weights news items to how Google ranks search results.

‘It will be momentous’: Supreme Court embarking on new term
Robert Barnes, The Washington Post 

The Supreme Court begins its new term Monday with a fortified conservative majority and a docket filled with some of the moment’s most contentious issues: voting rights, religious liberty, protection from discrimination, and privacy in an increasingly monitored society. The court was shorthanded for more than a year after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016 and responded by largely avoiding controversial topics and compromising to reach narrow, consensus decisions.

Robert Mueller has no comment
Darren Samuelsohn, Politico

Robert Mueller is rarely seen and almost never heard. He doesn’t frequent popular restaurants, appear on television or even issue statements. When he meets in person with President Donald Trump’s lawyers, he does not visit the White House where reporters might notice.

9 million kids get health insurance under CHIP. Congress just let it expire.
Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post 

Congress just allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provided low-cost health insurance to 9 million children, to expire. If action is not taken soon to restore the funding, the effects will become obvious in schools across the country, with many of the children in the program unable to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick and other services.

Presidential

Trump Says Tillerson Is ‘Wasting His Time’ on North Korea
Peter Baker and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

President Trump undercut his own secretary of state on Sunday, calling his effort to open lines of communication with North Korea a waste of time, and seeming to rule out a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear-edged confrontation with Pyongyang. A day after Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said he was reaching out to Pyongyang in hopes of starting a new dialogue, Mr. Trump belittled the idea and left the impression that he was focused mainly on military options.

Trump Slams ‘Ingrates’ and Media for Not Recognizing Puerto Rico Relief Progress
William Mauldin and Michael C. Bender, The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized the media and what he called ungrateful politicians after his administration faced criticism for its early efforts to support hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Democrats have said Mr. Trump seemed to focus more on issues such as National Football League protests than the early federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

Trump to point out efforts to undo Obama regulations
Laurie Kellman, The Associated Press

President Donald Trump has set out to upend some of President Barack Obama’s regulations, which he says circumvented Congress in the first place and cost American businesses and the economy billions of dollars. Without any major legislative accomplishments to point to despite the advantage of a Republican-controlled Congress, Trump on Monday is giving a speech highlighting his own directives to agencies, which have been ordered to cut two regulations for every new one imposed.

Senate

Lawmakers look to bypass Trump on North Korea sanctions
Sylvan Lane, The Hill

Senators from both parties increasingly worried about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program are talking about bypassing President Trump and hitting the country with sanctions on their own. That talk is setting up a potential clash between Congress and President Trump, whose administration insists they are already hitting the regime of Kim Jong Un hard.

Sanders: It’s “Menendez’s decision” whether to resign if convicted
Erica Pandey, Axios

“It’s Menendez’s decision” on whether he resigns if he is convicted, Sen. Bernie Sanders said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows that 84% of New Jersey residents would want Sen. Bob Menendez to resign if convicted.

Schumer points to Kansas to criticize Trump’s tax plan
Patrick Temple-West, Politico

In a warning shot to Republicans crafting landmark tax legislation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday that Kansas’ experiment with tax cuts foreshadows what can happen if the GOP relies on “fake numbers” to support its effort. Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Schumer rebutted assertions by the Trump administration that the president’s tax plan is not designed to cut taxes for rich Americans.

Kamala Harris’ powerful riposte to Trump: ‘Racism is real in this country’
Ed Pilkington, The Guardian 

Kamala Harris, a rising star within the Democratic party who is being closely watched as a possible presidential candidate in 2020, delivered a powerful riposte from the altar to Donald Trump on Sunday, accusing him of waging “an assault on our deepest values”. Speaking in a historically-charged venue, the First Congregational Church of Atlanta, one of the oldest African American churches in the US founded in 1867 by freed slaves, the California senator gave a blunt account of the problems facing the nation.

House

Top Republicans Pursue Blue Dogs to Back Tax Bill
Alan K. Ota, Roll Call

President Donald Trump and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady are trying to woo fiscally conservative Democrats, as Republicans seek consensus for an ambitious overhaul based on the GOP’s tax framework. Passing a tax bill with just Republican votes in the House is far from a sure thing, as some GOP lawmakers have said they want more details about the size and reach of tax cuts and the impact of contentious offsets such as the elimination of the popular deduction for state and local taxes.

‘They Said I Was Within a Minute of Death’
Tim Alberta, Politico

Shot with a high-powered rifle that was aimed to kill, Steve Scalise is lucky to be alive. “I had miracles,” he tells POLITICO Magazine. “I had angels.”

States

In Puerto Rico, acute shortages plunge the masses into survival struggle
Robin Respaut and Nick Brown, Reuters

Brian Jimenez had burned through dwindling supplies of scarce gasoline on a 45-minute drive in search of somewhere to fill his grandmother’s blood thinner prescription. He ended up in Fajardo, a scruffy town of strip malls on Puerto Rico’s northeastern tip, where a line of 400 waited outside a Walmart.

Republican AGs hire Ryan operative for 2018 buildup
Scott Bland, Politico

The organization dedicated to electing Republican attorneys general is expanding in preparation for a huge slate of 2018 elections for the influential state positions. Zack Roday, who has been the press secretary and spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s political operation, will become the Republican Attorneys General Association’s first-ever communications director.

Kasich hints at leaving GOP if it’s not ‘fixed’
Eli Watkins, CNN

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that a time could come when he no longer supports the Republican Party. “If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party. Period. That’s the end of it.” Kasich said in an interview with anchor Jake Tapper.

How a Wisconsin Case Before Justices Could Reshape Redistricting
Michael Wines, The New York Times

How egregiously can a majority party gerrymander a political map before it violates the Constitution? The Supreme Court has tried to answer that question for 30 years.

Advocacy

Group launches ad to promote GOP tax framework
Naomi Jagoda, The Hill

A group aligned with House GOP leadership on Monday rolled out a digital ad to promote the tax-reform framework released last week by the White House and Congressional Republicans. The ad from the American Action Network (AAN) features economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the president of the American Action Forum and a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

How Two Sentences in Tax Plan May Help Unleash $1 Billion in Lobbying
Kenneth P. Vogel, The New York Times 

The sweeping tax rewrite unveiled by President Trump and Republican lawmakers this past week leaves many of the details to Congress, but two sentences in the nine-page framework have Washington lobbyists salivating over a payday that some industry experts predict could top $1 billion. Tucked away on Page 8, the sentences refer vaguely to plans to repeal or roll back “numerous” exclusions and deductions, and to “modernize” tax rules affecting specific industries “to ensure that the tax code better reflects economic reality and that such rules provide little opportunity for tax avoidance.”

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition:

The evidence is mounting: There are now at least a dozen studies that illustrate the failure of the Durbin amendment. In fact, a recent paper from Federal Reserve economists provides empirical evidence of harm to the consumer. Get the facts from the Electronic Payments Coalition.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

FEMA’s Foul-Up in Puerto Rico
Mary Anastasia O’Grady, The Wall Street Journal

Hurricane Katrina taught the Federal Emergency Management Agency some harsh lessons in 2005. FEMA used what it learned to prepare and respond better when Harvey and Irma hit the U.S. mainland earlier this year.

Actually, a Health Care Deal Is Possible
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

The Republican leadership seems to have thrown in the towel on repealing the Affordable Care Act, at least for now. That’s one piece of good news.

Will Trump’s tax cuts profit Trump?
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

President Trump probably was untruthful when he insisted last week that his tax plan “is not good for me.” We can’t be certain, because Mr. Trump is asking us to take his word on the matter; he won’t release his tax returns.

Trump’s Excellent Judges
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

The start of a new Supreme Court term is a good moment to note some under-reported news: President Trump is rapidly remaking the federal appellate and district courts, with highly qualified nominees who fulfill his campaign promise to pick “constitutional conservatives.” The White House announced its eighth batch of judicial nominees on Thursday, including four excellent choices for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Can these Obama-era national security officials win in Congress?
Josh Rogin, The Washington Post

In the first national election of the Trump era, more than a half-dozen Obama administration national security officials are running for Congress, which could result in the largest influx of foreign-policy-minded Democrats to Capitol Hill in years. But all of them face the challenge of moving from the world of policy to politics and translating their Washington résumés into arguments that appeal to locally focused voters.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition:

In a recent paper, Federal Reserve economists confirm what many industry experts have said before: The Durbin amendment harms consumers. There are now at least a dozen studies that illustrate why this failed policy must be repealed. Learn the truth from EPC.

Research Reports and Polling

What Americans Think About America First
Dina Smeltz et al., The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

President Trump’s inaugural address, like his campaign, signaled a major departure from the past seven decades of American foreign policy and engagement with the rest of the world. While never fully parsed, the slogans “Make America Great Again,” “America First,” and “Americanism, not Globalism,” along with the president’s speeches and tweets, prescribed greater protectionism in trade, a new financial reckoning with our security allies, and a withdrawal from major international agreements.

25 Years of Negotiations and Provocations: North Korea and the United States
Lisa Collins, Center for Strategic and International Studies 

CSIS Beyond Parallel has compiled a record of bilateral and multilateral negotiations between the United States and North Korea from 1990 to 2017. The interactive calendar on your screen displays Provocations by North Korea and Negotiations between the United States and North Korea.

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