Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday’s Briefing: Flynn Pleads Guilty and Is Cooperating With Mueller; Republicans Ready to Pass Big Tax Cut for Rich and Corporations

Plus, a jury acquits undocumented defendant in fatal shooting of Kate Steinle.

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 10:22 AM

click to enlarge Michael Flynn.
  • Michael Flynn.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 1, 2017:

1. President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials and has agreed to cooperate with special prosecutor Robert Mueller in his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, The New York Times$ reports. Flynn also said he was ordered by a “very senior” member of the Trump transition team to contact Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last December after then-President Obama sanctioned Russia for its interference in the election.

2. Senate Republican leaders say they have the votes to pass a massive tax cut for the wealthy and corporations, the Washington Post$ reports. The GOP leadership made the announcement as key Republican holdouts said they would back the plan, despite the fact that the Senate’s nonpartisan analysis concluded that it would deepen the nation’s debt by $1 trillion over ten years. The legislation also will raise taxes on millions of middle-class Americans and low-income people.

3. A San Francisco jury acquitted undocumented immigrant Juan Ines Garcia Zarate of murder and manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of Pleasanton resident Kate Steinle. The jury concluded that there was not enough evidence that Zarate was guilty; his defense attorneys had argued that the gun he found accidentally discharged, noting that the bullet ricocheted off the ground before striking Steinle along San Francisco’s waterfront in 2015. The case sparked a national conversation on sanctuary cities and immigration.

4. There are 3,600 units of housing under construction in Oakland, and another 8,990 units have been approved as the city continues to undergo its biggest housing boom in years, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. Currently, three residential high-rises are under construction in downtown.

5. The state legislature has paid out nearly $2 million in sex harassment cases in the past 25 years, and many of the settlements have protected the accused from being revealed while also prohibiting the victims from being rehired in the Capitol, reports Katie Orr of KQED, citing new research from the law firm Tuple Legal.

6. And California regulators ruled that utilities cannot pass on legal costs from wildfires, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The decision by the California Public Utilities Commission stemmed from lawsuits filed against San Diego Gas & Electric for a series of wildfires in 2007, but it also could apply to PG&E for the recent fires in the North Bay.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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