10 things you need to know today: December 1, 2017

Senate Republicans make late revisions to save their tax plan, Pelosi urges Conyers to resign after sexual misconduct allegations, and more

Mitch McConnell speaks with reporters about tax reform on Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

1. Republicans make last-minute changes to save tax overhaul

Senate Republicans scrambled overnight to rewrite some of their tax overhaul to win over fiscal conservative holdouts, after the Joint Committee on Taxation released an analysis concluding that GOP tax cuts would add $1 trillion to the national deficit over a decade. Republicans, hoping to pass the plan on Friday, reportedly made a change to roll back some of the tax cuts after six years in a bid to appease deficit hawks, including Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Republicans need 50 of their 52 senators' support to pass the bill. They got closer Thursday, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) saying he would vote yes. Some senators remained undecided, however, so Republican leaders still need a few more votes.

The Associated Press The Washington Post

2. Pelosi calls for Conyers to resign after sexual misconduct allegations

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday called for Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to resign as he faces several allegations of sexual misconduct. Pelosi said the reports appeared to be "credible." A lawyer for Conyers, who was first elected in 1964 and is the longest-serving House member, said Pelosi "sure as hell won't be the one to tell the congressman to leave." House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also said Conyers should step down "immediately." Pelosi on Sunday said Conyers, a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, was an icon and should be allowed to defend himself in an ethics investigation, but by Thursday, as calls for his resignation mounted among Democrats, she had grown more critical, saying, "Zero tolerance means consequences — for everyone."

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The Associated Press

3. Trump weighs plan to oust Tillerson

President Trump is considering ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, senior administration officials said Thursday. Trump's relationship with Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, has been strained over Tillerson's less combative approach to handling threats from North Korea, and other issues. The relationship got worse after Tillerson was reported to have privately referred to Trump as a "moron." Pompeo is a foreign policy hard-liner and Trump loyalist. Under the plan Trump is considering, Pompeo would be replaced at the CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of Trump's strongest supporters in Congress. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "there are no personnel announcements at this time," but did not deny the transition plan was on the table.

The New York Times Reuters

4. Jury acquits undocumented immigrant in San Francisco killing

A California jury on Thursday found a homeless undocumented Mexican immigrant, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, not guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco Bay pier. Garcia Zarate was convicted for possession of a gun by a convicted felon. The case fueled the debate over sanctuary cities. San Francisco had released Garcia Zarate from jail before the killing despite a federal request to hold him for his sixth deportation. Defense attorneys noted that the bullet ricocheted before hitting Steinle, saying that proved that Garcia Zarate fired the gun accidentally when he found it. President Trump called the verdict "disgraceful" in a tweet, saying, "No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration."

San Francisco Chronicle CNN

5. Report: Trump urged senators to wrap up Russia investigation

This summer, President Trump asked the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and other senior Republicans in the Senate multiple times to bring to a close the panel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, several lawmakers and aides told The New York Times. "It was something along the lines of, 'I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,'" Burr told the Times. He said he told Trump "when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish." Several Republicans were concerned about Trump's "forceful" requests to end the inquiry, but Burr downplayed the incidents, arguing that Trump has "never been in government" and doesn't know what is proper.

The New York Times

6. Rep. Joe Barton says he won't run for re-election

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) announced to The Dallas Morning News on Thursday that he is retiring following national publicity about his private life that started with the posting of a naked image of him online. Barton said he would not seek an 18th term next year because, "There are enough people who lost faith in me that it's time to step aside." The anonymous posting of the nude selfie Barton had shared with a woman in an extramarital relationship prompted a number of other women to speak publicly about their relationships with Barton. Unlike several high-profile politicians, Hollywood figures, and news personalities who have faced sexual allegations recently, Barton was not accused of sexual harassment or other abuse.

The Dallas Morning News

7. Former U.S. Marine sentenced to life for rape and murder in Japan

A Japanese court on Friday convicted a former U.S. Marine, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman, Rina Shimabukuro, last year, and sentenced him to life in prison. The case stoked angry demonstrations on the island of Okinawa over crimes linked to the 26,000 American troops stationed there. According to the indictment, Shinzato, 33, raped Shimabukuro after stabbing her in the neck and hitting her on the head with a bar to subdue her. He admitted to the attack and rape, and to abandoning Shimabukuro's body, but said he didn't mean to kill her. Shimabukuro's body was found abandoned in a forest near the village of Onna, three weeks after she disappeared while taking a walk.

BBC News The New York Times

8. Dow surges to break 24,000 barrier

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 24,000 for the first time in history on Thursday after surging by 332 points, or 1.4 percent. The blue-chip index got a big lift as Senate Republicans rallied support for their tax overhaul, which includes big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Trump administration efforts to ease business regulations, and recent signs of a strengthening global economy also have helped boost stocks. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes also rose and closed at record highs. U.S. stock futures edged down early Friday, led by tech stocks, as investors showed caution after the Senate's tax vote was delayed for last-minute revisions to win over conservatives concerned over an analysis indicating the tax cuts would increase deficits.

MarketWatch The Associated Press

9. Argentina gives up hope of rescuing crew of missing submarine

Argentina's navy said Thursday that it had ended its effort to rescue the 44 crew members on a submarine that went missing two weeks ago. "Despite the magnitude of the efforts made, it has not been possible to locate the submarine," navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said. Hopes of a rescue faded last week when the navy said an explosion, possibly the sub imploding as it sank into the deep, had been heard shortly after the time of the sub's last contact on Nov. 15. Investigators believe water got into the submarine's snorkel, used to take in air near the surface, and caused vital batteries to short circuit.

BBC News

10. Jim Nabors, TV's Gomer Pyle, dies at 87

Singer and actor Jim Nabors, best known for playing the classic comic TV character Gomer Pyle, died Thursday in Hawaii. He was 87. Neighbors appeared in numerous TV shows and films, and recorded more than two dozen albums. The Alabama native's fame soared when he played the sweet and naive Gomer Pyle, first on The Andy Griffith Show and then on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. In that show, Gomer was a gentle Marine — known for catch-phrases like "Shazam!" and "Well, Golllll-ly!" — who often tried the patience of his hard-nosed superior, Sgt. Carter. After that show ended he hosted a variety show, The Jim Nabors Hour, and was a frequent guest on other variety shows, including The Carol Burnett Show and The Sonny and Cher Show.


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