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December 18, 2017
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Friday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced that he will vote for the final Republican tax bill being rushed through Congress, despite his lone GOP no vote when it passed in the Senate. His original concern was the $1 trillion or more the bill will add to the federal deficit — the Congressional Budget Office on Friday put the final deficit hole at $1.455 trillion over 10 years — but Corker said Friday the imperfections are worth helping U.S. businesses. On Friday night, the International Business Times found a newly added provision that would open big tax breaks to real estate developers like President Trump, Jared Kushner, and Corker.

On Saturday, Corker insisted he had not known about the "Corker kickback" before he switched his vote. On Sunday, he asked Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for an explanation. "The suggestion was that it was airdropped into the conference without prior consideration by either the House or the Senate," Corker said. "Because this issue has raised concerns, I would ask that you provide an explanation of the evolution of this provision and how it made it into conference report. I think that because of many sensitivities, clarity on this issue is very important."

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) provided something of an explanation on ABC's This Week, telling host George Stephanopoulos the measure was added in during "a very intense process" where "the Democrats refused to participate, and what we've tried to do is cobble together the votes we needed to get this bill passed."

It's possible specifically helping real estate LLCs was incidental, as the new provision "combined a capital-investment approach that the House favored with the Senate's tax-cut mechanism," Bloomberg reports. But while "the new law will include lots of what you might call unintended consequences," Axios says, noting how it might increase moving U.S. factories overseas, "often they were intended by the hidden hands that put them there." Peter Weber

10:39 p.m. ET
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In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent Sunday night, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked for an "immediate postponement of any further proceedings" regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

On Sunday, The New Yorker published an article where Deborah Ramirez, a classmate from Yale University, said while they were at a party freshman year, Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his penis in her face. Earlier this month, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault while they were both teenagers. Ford is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

In her letter, Feinstein, the committee's ranking Democrat, also asked that "the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation, and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims." Should the White House not ask the FBI to launch an investigation, then the Senate Judiciary Committee "must subpoena all relevant witnesses," Feinstein added. "It is time to set politics aside. We must ensure that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted before moving forward." Catherine Garcia

9:58 p.m. ET
AP Photo/John Amis

Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday, giving the golfer his 80th career PGA Tour victory and his first since 2013.

Woods won by two shots over Billy Horschel, and with this win, he's now second in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Justin Rose. He will receive $3 million for his second place finish, and on Monday, will enter the top 15 in the world rankings.

"I had a hard time not crying on the last hole," Woods told reporters. "I just can't believe I pulled this off. It's been tough. Not so easy the last couple years. I've worked my way back, and I couldn't have done it without the help of everyone around me." In April 2017, Woods had spinal fusion surgery, and he was arrested for DUI a month later. Catherine Garcia

9:24 p.m. ET
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Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The New Yorker reported Sunday night.

Deborah Ramirez, 53, was one of Kavanaugh's classmates at Yale University, and she told The New Yorker that during their freshman year in the early 1980s, they were at a party where both were inebriated. Kavanaugh allegedly put his penis in Ramirez's face, causing her to touch it as she pushed him away. Kavanaugh told The New Yorker this "did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so."

At least two Democratic senators are investigating the incident, after receiving information from an attorney, The New Yorker reports. Ramirez, who was contacted by the magazine, said she was reluctant to discuss the alleged incident because she could not fully remember the party, where she was encouraged to drink heavily. She spent six days going over her memories and speaking with an attorney. The New Yorker contacted dozens of classmates, and one, who asked to remain anonymous, said he heard about the incident after it happened and was "100 percent sure" he was told it involved Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh's freshman roommate, James Roche, said Ramirez was a close close friend and she was "exceptionally honest and gentle. I cannot imagine her making this up." He said he never saw Kavanaugh engaging in sexual misconduct, but he was "frequently, incoherently drunk," and it is "definitely" believable that Kavanaugh could be part of a "group of guys who thought it was funny to sexually torment a girl like" Ramirez. One of the classmates Ramirez said was at the party told The New Yorker he didn't think the incident happened and another said, "I have zero recollection." Other Kavanaugh friends from Yale released a statement saying "with confidence" the incident did not happen because "we would have heard about it." Read more at The New Yorker. Catherine Garcia

1:47 p.m. ET

Christine Ford isn't expected to testify about her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until Thursday — but Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) already seems to have made up his mind.

"You can't bring [her allegation] in a criminal court; you would never sue civilly; you couldn't even get a warrant," Graham said on Fox News Sunday. "What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy's life based on an accusation?"

"Unless there's something more, no I'm not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh's life over this," Graham continued, before adding that Ford "should have her say" and will be "respectfully treated." Watch Graham's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

1:17 p.m. ET

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley broke with President Trump and many of his supporters Sunday to argue that Christine Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, "deserves respect and deserves to be heard."

"Accusers go through a lot of trauma. Some handle it one way and some handle it another way," she said on CNN's State of the Union, answering a question about Trump's tweeted response to Ford. "Regardless, it's not something we want to do to blame the accuser or try and second-guess the accuser. We don't know the situation she was going through 35 years ago. We don't know the circumstances."

Haley argued for a responsible but swift examination of Ford's claim by the Senate for the sake of both families involved. Watch an excerpt of her comments below, or read them in full here. Bonnie Kristian

12:51 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News Sunday to talk trade war, Iran, and Friday's report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has proposed ousting President Trump from office using the 25th Amendment.

"To the extent one wants to call this a trade war, we are determined to win it," Pompeo said of Trump's escalating tariffs on Chinese imports. He ignored a question from host Chris Wallace about how long the administration would maintain this course, repeating, "We're going to win it. We're going to get an outcome which forces China to behave" in accord with "fundamental principles of trade around the world, fairness, reciprocity."

Though Pompeo, like Trump, has cast U.S. tariffs as a punishment for poor behavior from Beijing, the cost of the taxes is absorbed by American consumers, not Chinese producers. China's trade surplus with the United States has hit record highs since Trump's tariff scheme began.

Turning to Iran, Pompeo pushed back on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's angry response to Saturday's attack on an Iranian military parade. "When you have a security incident at home, blaming others is an enormous mistake," Pompeo argued, calling for Tehran to focus on domestic security "rather than causing insecurity around the world."

And he slammed those, allegedly including Rosenstein, who have considered undermining the Trump administration from within. "If you can't be on the team, if you're not supporting this mission," Pompeo charged, "maybe you've got something else to do."

Watch Pompeo's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

10:55 a.m. ET

At least 44 people have died since Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas more than a week ago, and though the catastrophic rains have finally ceased, flooding continues to hit North Carolina especially hard.

As some rivers continue to rise, tens of thousands remain without power, and many roads are still submerged or covered in debris. "I know we sound redundant, but it bears repeating," tweeted South Carolina's emergency management department. "Turn around, don't drown!"

Floodwaters have receded from Interstate 40, leaving behind a glut of dead fish. See firefighters hosing fish off the blacktop below. Bonnie Kristian

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