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Extras

Republicans have finished writing the final version of their tax bill, clearing the way for a floor vote that leaders say they are optimistic will pass – and at least one key Senate vote – Marco Rubio, of Florida – has gone from “no” to “yes.”

Long Island is No. 1 on a list of the top 10 metro areas in the US with the greatest share of homeowners who pay $10,000 or more in property taxes annually, and thus would be hit hardest by the federal tax bill.

President Trump escalated his criticism of the FBI over its investigation of possible links between Russia and his campaign, calling the inquiry a “very sad thing to watch.”

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” the president told reporters before departing for an event at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. “It’s a very sad thing to watch.”

Trump isn’t saying whether he is considering a pardon for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

“I don’t want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn — yet,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens. Let’s see.”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he intends to force a vote on a bill that would preserve Obama-era net neutrality rules, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to repeal this week.

Given the looming tax reform bill’s passage in D.C., the New York Conference of Mayors recently sent out guidance on whether taxing entities could take payment before Jan. 1 for 2018 taxes. That came after several municipal leaders, mostly downstate, sought advice.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will be released from house arrest while his criminal case is pending, a judge ruled, but he’ll have to remain under GPS monitoring, be home daily by 11 p.m., and get the judge’s permission to travel outside of southern Florida, where he’ll be living.

The House Ethics Committee announced it has launched an investigation into sexual harassment allegations leveled against Rep. Ruben Kihuen – a Nevada Democrat who is accused of sexually harassing a former campaign staffer.

Syracuse native Kelly Cutrone, a New York fashion publicist known for reality TV shows “The Hills” on “America’s Next Top Model,” has come forward as the 13th woman accusing music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio parted ways with a key Democratic ally – Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – by pushing ahead with a “millionaires tax” to fund the MTA — even if the federal tax overhaul is enacted.

Flamboyant lawyer Richard Luthmann, who once famously sought to resolve a civil lawsuit through “trial by combat,” was arrested by the FBI on a slew of charges, including kidnapping, kidnapping conspiracy, money laundering, brandishing a firearm to commit a crime, aggravated identity theft and extortion conspiracy.

A well-known women’s rights lawyer sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Trump during the final months of the 2016 presidential race.

The Department of Homeland Security is adding new requirements for countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to tighten border and travel security.

A Pennsylvania federal judge has blocked Trump’s repeal of an ObamaCare mandate that required employers to provide birth control coverage.

A White Plains neighborhood association is suing the city to stop a planned French-American School of New York campus at the old Ridgeway Country Club, calling the proposal “an absurdity.”

Actor William Fichtner, who grew up in Cheektowaga, but left the area after graduating from Maryvale High School in 1974 to go to college, first at Farmingdale State College, then Brockport, says: “(A)nybody that knows me knows that I’m a Buffalo guy..I love my hometown.”

A National Guard Black Hawk helicopter made an emergency landing this morning in Wyoming County.

The state’s top court ruled that judges will now be required — when asked — to instruct juries that witness identifications of suspects from a different race is less reliable than when people make IDs from their own race.

Laura Curran will take the oath of office to become Nassau’s next county executive on Jan. 1 in a ceremony outside her new Mineola office.

HGTV star Carter Oosterhouse is the latest in the entertainment industry to be accused of sexual misconduct.

Former Brooklyn assistant district attorney Tara Lenich’s counterfeit charge of an affair between her then-boyfriend and a fellow prosecutor ruined the other woman’s life and career, a new lawsuit charged.

After spending more than 40 years with the Troy Police Department, Chief John Tedesco intends to retire in January.

Ugly Post

Most of us use some form of social media these days, and elected officials are no exception. It’s actually a great way for them to communicate with supporters and even engage communities in a healthy debate on particular issues. But like every form of communication, it can take a nasty turn.

Democratic Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou was posting the other night about the Alabama Senate Race, when someone wrote a comment that seemed not only out of left field, but was also wildly inappropriate. See the Last comment on this thread. https://www.facebook.com/yuhline

Facebook 121517

So, this person Warren Chan managed to achieve a double whammy of being both racist and sexist in the same post. But it doesn’t quite end there. Turns out Chan is politically active and served on the transition team of incoming Democratic New York City Councilman Justin Brannan, who just won a tight race in Bay Ridge Brooklyn last month. Reached by phone, Brannan said that after this comment was posted and brought to his attention Chan was fired from the Transition Committee.  In a statement Jonathan Yedin, the Director of Brannan’s transition team says,

Warren’s comments are reprehensible and vile. We have removed him from the Transition Committee effective immediately.

Chan did not immediately return a voicemail message.

 

 

Here And Now

Good morning and TGIF! Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with nothing public planned. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is making several media-related appearances and attend a holiday party for 1199 SEIU.

Your schedule:

At 10 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will announce new jobs at Strategic Financial, 115 Lawrence Bell Drive, Amherst.

Also at 10 a.m., de Blasio will make an appearance on WNYC.

At 10:30 a.m., the Assembly will hold a public hearing to review and assess the impact of funding in the 2017-2018 SFY Budget for the Department of Transportation. Hamilton Hearing Room B, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Joe Crowley, state Sen. Michael Gianaris and others will hold a news conference to announce that large trucks will be allowed on the Grand Central Parkway between the BQE and RFK Bridge. Big trucks will no longer be forced to detour onto Astoria’s local streets. Columbus Triangle, Astoria Blvd. South & 31st Street, Queens.

At 1:45 p.m., Hochul will make a joint appearance with Rep. Louise Slaughter to discuss the Republican tax plan in Congress, Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building, B-340, 3120 Federal Building, 100 State St., Rochester.

At 4:15 p.m., Hochul will tour the USS Little Rock, Canalside, Buffalo (this is closed press).

At 5:45 p.m., Hochul will attend the Little Rock commissioning ceremony, Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center, 2 Fountain Plaza, Buffalo.

Headlines:

Republicans in Congress are still trying to find ways to pay for their $1 trillion tax cut and keep lawmakers on board for the overhaul package before the end of the year.

One alarm bell that sounded Thursday was the possible defection of Sen. Marco Rubio from voting yes on the tax bill, putting the measure in peril.

President Trump touted his administration’s efforts to rollback regulations in its first year, even going as far as literally cutting red tape to highlight the effort.

U.S. Senate Republicans are trying to shield special counsel Robert Mueller from increasing criticism that his probe of Russian interference is politically motivated.

Supporters of Republican Roy Moore are searching for evidence of voter fraud in his loss in the Alabama Senate race to Democrat Doug Jones as the White House is calling on him to concede.

There’s good news for retailers as it appears Americans are spending more this holiday season than they did last year.

House Speaker Paul Ryan sought to rebut a report in Politico that’s considering leaving Congress at the end of 2018 or after the tax bill is completed.

States attorney general are suing the U.S. Department of Education over delays in loan forgiveness.

A NY1/Baruch College Poll finds 59 percent of voters statewide believe the sexual harassment charges, versus just 23 percent who don’t.

The same poll asked New Yorkers whether U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand should run for president in 2020.

A sexual harassment complaint was filed against New York City Councilman Andy King last week, according to sources, bringing a national reckoning to the corridors of City Hall.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned 60 last week, but he celebrated his birthday Thursday night in a style that is favored by many politicians: by holding a fundraiser. But there were also some party crashers. And while the governor is often targeted by protesters, this year there is a new angle involving the State Senate.

Protesters also picketed outside of the fundraiser of Rep. Lee Zeldin, which was headlined by former White House advisor Steve Bannon.

No longer receiving casino revenues, lawmakers in the city of Niagara Falls have struggled to close the budget gap.

In Michelle Schoeneman’s eyes, Rep. Chris Collins is giving to the wrong group this holiday season. For the second time this year, Schoeneman has paid for a billboard questioning Collins’ support of policies she believes are detrimental to Western New Yorkers.

For those who haven’t gotten their flu shot yet, now would be a good time. There are now 100 confirmed cases of the flu in Monroe County, this time last year the county had 14.

Ride-hailing is a service drivers say is becoming increasingly popular during winter weather conditions like those the arena experienced Wednesday.

New opportunities are on the horizon for refugees and immigrants in the Utica area. The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees is one of the organizations chosen to receive grant funding through the Regional Economic Development Council awards.

The gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to lose their guns.

The state Court of Appeals in a ruling Thursday found judges will now be required to instruct juries that witness identifications of suspects of a different race is less reliable than when people make IDs from their own race.

The court also ruled Thursday that wrongful birth lawsuits can begin the moment a child is born.

Officials in New York and New Jersey through Govs. Cuomo and Christie announced a deal to fully fund the Gateway Tunnel project had been formally agreed to.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is urging the state to change its borrowing practices after finding its debt load is the second highest among states in the country.

A state-backed outreach center for those struggling with substance abuse has opened in the Bronx.

The NYPD is investigating sexual assault claims against hip hop and fashion mogul Russell Simmons.

A Daily News reporter was arrested after walking into a hospital and presenting himself as a friend of the family of a patient there in order to get an interview and then fled the scene when questioned by security.

Some New Yorkers are lining up early to pay their 2018 property taxes so they can deduct them now before the Republican tax plan is put in place.

(FYI, a $10,000 cap on state, local and property tax deductions is included in the agreed-to version of the final bill).

State grants are boosting historic sites in Capital Region river towns Troy and Cohoes.

A crash that occurred on the new Tappan Zee Bridge (officially the Mario Cuomo Bridge) shouldn’t be repeated in the future based on the plans to change its current configuration.

The Cuomo administration plans to file a legal challenge should the federal government declare the project to dredge PCBs from the Hudson River over.

How U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley became a major force in New York City politics, as his star is also rising in Washington.

Extras

The FCC voted to dismantle landmark rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the internet, granting broadband companies power to potentially reshape Americans’ online experiences.

AG Eric Schneiderman called the FCC ruling “a blow to everyone who cares about a free and open internet,” and said he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to overturn.

Taxpayers will be able to deduct a limited amount – up to $10,000 total – of state and local income or sales taxes on their federal returns as part of the deal between Senate and House Republicans to finalize a major tax overhaul, Rep. Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, said.

Many of the changes made to assuage the concerns of businesses and Republican lawmakers are expected to drive up the cost of the tax reform bill and will need to be paid for to ensure the legislation does not add more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, told congressional leadership that he will not support the latest version of the GOP tax bill if the legislation doesn’t make the child tax credit more generous – something that would drive the overall cost up still higher.

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan has reportedly made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker, and is not expected to remain in D.C. past 2018.

Trump’s son Eric echoed his dad’s recent attack on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, saying he renmembers “when she came into his office every three days to ask him for money and ask for major campaign contributions,” adding: “There is no one who wanted to get into his office more than Kirsten Gillibrand.”

The Walt Disney Company says it has reached a deal to buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox, the conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, in an all-stock transaction valued at roughly $52.4 billion.

Omarosa Manigault, outgoing director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, hinted she plans to tell the public about inappropriate things she witnessed while a member of the Trump administration this year.

The New York Times announced that publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger will retire by Dec. 31 and name his 37-year-old son, Arthur Gregg (A.G.) Sulzberger as his replacement.

Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan will headline a fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York tonight — a last-minute, line-up addition that comes after Ryan backed out of an earlier Zeldin re-election event.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said he believes that if Hillary Clinton won last year’s presidential election, her approach to US relations with North Korea would be “more open-minded” than the Trump administration’s.

The NYC Council is launching an investigation into misconduct allegations against Bronx Democratic Councilman Andy King, who was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint two years ago.

The King probe is part of a broader investigation by NYC Council lawyers into possible sexual misconduct among staff and elected officials, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The wife of a Kentucky lawmaker who killed himself after a sexual assault allegation surfaced this week defended her husband and said she will run for his seat because “these high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day.”

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a report projecting state-funded debt will reach $63.7 billion by March 31, the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year. The New York’s total debt is the second-highest in the U.S. behind California, which has $87 billion in debt.

A federal judge sentenced former Ramapo supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence to 30 months in prison for fraud involving the financing of his pet project, the town’s $58 million baseball stadium.

Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke is emerging as front-runner among four Democrats scrambling to succeed Michael Kearns, who was recently elected to the Assembly, as county clerk in a special election early next year.

The Suffolk Legislature’s Public Safety Committee effectively killed a bill that would have given it oversight over money seized by county law enforcement agencies after opposition surfaced from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and incoming District Attorney Timothy Sini.

Unshackle Upstate, a pro-taxpayer, upstate-focused advocacy and education organization, has released its 2018 advocacy agenda.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that New York has been designated the first age-friendly state in the nation by the AARP and the World Health Organization.

A Utica judge ruled this week that Kevin Ward Jr.’s family can move forward with their claims against Tony Stewart.

Mahoney Still on Team Cuomo for 2018

Though a preferred candidate from her party has yet to emerge to take on Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year, Republican Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says she remains firmly committed to supporting the state’s top Democrat for a third, four-year term.

“I joined this team in 2010,” Mahoney said during a CapTon interview last night. “It was an interesting path to the team with Governor Cuomo, but since then, he’s given me absolutely no reason to not be supportive. What he has done in Central New York is what he said he would do. What he’s done in upstate New York is what he said he would do.”

“As I said, if you measure our progress now compared to where we were, there’s just no denying the fact that we’re better off now. So, I am very much part of his team, and hoping I’ll get another few years to work with Governor Cuomo to continue some of the progress.”

So far, just one Republican – Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb – has formally announced his intention to challenge Cuomo in 2018. But a number of others are considering a bid for the GOP gubernatorial nod.

Mahoney, who has had an up-and-down relationship with the GOP – in part due to her willingness to twice cross party lines to support Cuomo – has played a number of key roles during the governor’s tenure in office.

She co-chaired Cuomo’s transition team after endorsing him for the first time in 2010.

The county executive also served on the now-defunct corruption-busting Moreland Commission, which drew the attention of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara after the governor shut it down early in exchange for an ethics reform deal with legislative leaders. (No charges were ever brought).

Mahoney currently serving as chair of the state Thruway Authority, a position to which she was nominated by Cuomo in 2015 and is slated to hold through Jan. 1, 2020, (which also just so happens to be the next presidential election year).

The county executive has benefited from her strong working relationship with Cuomo. Yesterday, for example, Central New York was announced as the top winner in the latest round of Cuomo’s regional economic development council awards, garnering $86.4 million in state grants and tax credits for development projects.

Mahoney last night defended the economic development council program, which many of her fellow Republicans have dubbed the “Hunger Games,” because it pits regions against one another in the battle for state funds – a process critics say is inequitable and unfair.

The county executive, who in the past has been mentioned as a potential LG running mate for Cuomo, said she has no interest in leaving her current job, to which she was re-elected for a third term in 2015, (the governor returned the favor and endorsed her campaign that year), saying:

“I love the fact that I can have the impact I do on the community and still go home for dinner. My husband and I have our kids still for the most part in Central New York…I very much like the job that I have and hope Kathy (Hochul) is not going anywhere. She’s been great as chair of this regional economic develop process, and today as the big winner, we have nothing but praise.”

Mahoney, who, like Cuomo, has had a rocky relationship with outgoing Democratic Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, took a gentle swipe at both Miner and another Central New York elected official, Republican Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, who are mulling potential challenges to Cuomo in 2018.

Mahoney said she saw some of the press coverage DeFrancisco and Miner received during their joint appearance Monday in Albany at the University Club in an event moderated by my dad, Prof. Gerald Benjamin, of SNUY New Paltz. Both Miner and DeFrancisco were critical of Cuomo, particularly when it comes to the method by which he has allocated economic development funds.

“They have announced their interest in governor, so I would take the criticism that they offer in the context of a political campaign,” Mahoney said of Miner and DeFrancisco. “I hope we don’t have an entire year-long campaign, but for some of us that are political junkies, we’re going to be starting early.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will have lunch with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Later in the day, Pence and Trump participate in an event regarding deregulation, after which, the president will meet with the RNC chairwoman.

At 8:30 a.m., Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Regent Judith Chin will participate in a panel discussion on a new study by the Learning Policy Institute and the National Education Policy Center showing that well-implemented community schools can lift achievement in high-poverty communities, Teachers College, Columbia University, Joyce Berger Cowin Auditorium, Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:30 p.m., the board of trustees of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System meets, New York City Employees’ Retirement System, 335 Adams St., 22nd floor boardroom, Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul joins AARP for an announcement, Senior Planet Exploration Center, 127 West 25th St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Campaign Finance Board meets, Joseph A. O’Hare S.J. Board Room, 12th floor, 100 Church St., Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., the state Division of the Budget holds formal public hearings on the fiscal year 2019 executive budget, state Capitol, Room 124, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development joins Asian Americans for Equality and Enterprise Community Partners to preserve historic affordable building in Chinatown, 81 Madison St., Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the PSC will hold its next regular session, 19th Floor Board Room, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 11 a.m., the Assembly holds a public hearing on supports for foster parents and relative and nonrelative caretakers, Legislative Office Building, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., the Assembly holds a public hearing on oversight of the state fiscal year 2017-2018 state budget for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

At 11:45 a.m., Assemblywoman Monica Wallace and Sen. Tim Kennedy will be joined by Cheektowaga officials to announce millions in state funding for aging sewer infrastructure that contributes to Scajaquada Creek pollution, intersection of Alpine Place and Herbert Avenue, Cheektowaga.

At noon, Hochul delivers remarks at the NY Women in Film & TV Muse Awards, Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Ave., Manhattan.

Ate 1:15 p.m., Hochul highlights the state’s efforts to combat opioid and heroin abuse, Bronx Odyssey House Recovery Center ribbon cutting ceremony, 2038 Davidson Ave., the Bronx.

At 2:30 p.m., Assemblyman Dan Quart, joined by anti-online harassment advocate Meaghan Barakett and exoneree advocate Jeffrey Deskovic, unveil a package of legislation to address cash bail reform, online harassment and re-entry services to those who were wrongfully convicted, 250 Broadway, 22nd floor, Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., Hochul announces the winner of the Green Cities Commuter Competition, City Hall, 515 North Ave., New Rochelle.

At 5:30 p.m., progressive activist groups target Cuomo’s birthday fundraiser over failed policies benefiting his donors over New Yorkers, Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., the Bronx Democrats host their annual holiday party, 1125 Grand Concourse, the Bronx. (NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will attend).

ALSO AT 6 p.m., Cuomo’s 60th birthday party/fundraiser features Jon Bon Jovi and former President Bill Clinton, Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio hosts a town hall meeting with NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca for residents of the 38th Council District, 544 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 7 p.m., a vigil marking the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre and advocating for an end to gun violence nationwide with NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams, the New York Coalition to End Gun Violence and a coalition of dozens of other groups, Rutgers Presbyterian Church, 236 W. 73rd St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo privately apologized to a veteran female state Capitol reporter, Karen DeWitt, after he said she was doing a “disservice to women” by focusing on state government’s response to sexual harassment and assault, rather than posing a question about society as a whole.

“We will have policies in state government, obviously, that affect state government, but I think you miss the point,” Cuomo told DeWitt during a gaggle with reporters. “When you say it’s state government, you do a disservice to women, with all due respect, even though you’re a woman. It’s not government. It’s society.”

The governor later said he intended his comments to be about the need for comprehensive, societal approach to the problem, and he will put forward proposals to combat sexual harassment in his State of the State speech.

A spokesman for Cuomo said he called DeWitt and told her his tone was not spurred by her question, but rather by news that a deal was near on tax-reform legislation in Washington that would strip back the state and local tax deduction – an issue the governor has railed against for weeks.

The state GOP issued a statement calling Cuomo’s remarks to DeWitt sexist, to which a state Democratic Party spokesman responded that the Republicans, after supporting Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and electing the “Grabber-in-Chief” to the White House, are in no position to criticize on this topic.

Melissa DeRosa, who was appointed by Cuomo in April as the first woman to serve as secretary, the top unelected position in the state, tweeted: “Limiting the problem to one man, political party or profession misses the whole point of the #MeToo moment.”

The governor floated the idea of limiting the ability of publicly traded companies and government entities to secretly settle sexual harassment allegations – a proposal that appears to be similar to a bill introduced by two Democratic lawmakers in late October.

Cuomo says he wants to take away all firearms from New Yorkers who are convicted of domestic violence crimes – a proposal he will formally unveil in his State of the State address next month.

During his first in-person appearance before the Capitol press corps in several weeks, Cuomo got defensive when asked about the ongoing FBI probe of his administration and the state’s handling of sexual harassment cases.

The governor declined to join U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s call that President Trump, facing ongoing allegations of sexual harassment, resign from office, commenting: “I understand what she’s trying to say.”

Trump may have thought he was giving Gillibrand a lump of coal for Christmas when he took to Twitter to say she would “do anything” for campaign contributions. But in reality, he gave the New York Democrat and possible future presidential candidate a boost in public exposure that’s likely to elevate her status among voters nationwide.

The highest-earning Americans will get a lower tax rate and corporations will pay slightly more than in previous plans under a deal House and Senate Republicans reached on the party’s competing tax-overhaul bills. Full details of what is likely to be a $1.4 trillion tax cut over a decade will be released this week.

Hillary Clinton told an audience of more than 5,000 people at the Vancouver Convention Centre that she was feeling more optimistic about her country’s future after the victory of Democrat Doug Jones in solidly-Republican Alabama the night before. “As an American I’m concerned, but after last night, maybe a tiny bit less,” she said.

Moore refused to concede for a second straight night, calling Alabama’s secretary of state to the certify the election results even after the president congratulated Democrat Doug Jones on the surprising victory.

Knocked to the mat in Alabama with the stunning loss of a Senate seat, Trump got right back up and defiantly claimed that he had known his candidate would lose all along.

Minnesota’s Democratic governor said he plans to appoint LG Tina Smith to succeed Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who is resigning over allegations of sexual misconduct, and endorsed her for next year’s special election for the seat.

PBS has suspended distribution of “Tavis Smiley” amid “troubling allegations” against the news show’s namesake host, and hired an outside law firm to handle an investigation into the matter.

Variety, which first reported PBS’ suspension of Smiley’s show, cited anonymous sources as saying that the investigation “found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates.”

Smiley excoriated PBS, saying in a Facebook post that the network’s “so-called investigation” into his alleged misconduct had been “biased and sloppy.” He flatly denied the allegations against him.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he is “pursuing every legal path” in regards to the phony sexual harassment allegations made against him.

More >

Extras

House and Senate Republicans have reached an agreement, in principle, on a consensus tax bill, keeping the party on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas.

President Trump’s reaction to Democrat Dough Jones’ upset victory in the Alabama U.S. Senate race: “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”

USA Today’s editorial board regarding Trump’s smear of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “A president who’d all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama’s presidential library or to shine George W. Bush’s shoes.”

Cuomo told a veteran female state Capitol reporter, public radio’s Karen DeWitt, that she did “a disservice to women” for asking what his administration was doing to confront sexual harassment in state government.

In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, three in four of those surveyed – including overwhelming majorities of men and women, Republicans and Democrats, said the issue of sexual harassment on the job was a major one that needed real solutions.

The White House said Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former “The Apprentice” contestant turned political aide, is resigning, effective Jan. 20.

There were reports Manigault Newman was actually fired by White House chief of staff John Kelly and had to be escorted from the building after a foul-mouthed tantrum.

CNN host Anderson Cooper is claiming he was hacked after his Twitter account responded to a tweet from Trump by calling the president a “pathetic loser.”

Ivanka Trump’s brand is about to open a store in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, marking her second foray into brick-and-mortar commerce in the U.S.

Cuomo said he does not believe he will have to testify in the upcoming public corruption case of his longtime friend and adviser Joseph Percoco.

It turns out Cuomo went to Buffalo in late November not for one, but two hushed-hushed campaign fundraisers, one of which was a private gathering of deep-pocketed executives from affordable housing development companies, most of them from out-of-state.

Two Buffalo police officers who were arresting Wardel Davis, a 20-year-old unarmed African-American man, when he died will not be charged in connection with his death, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.

The New York Independent System Operator released a report analyzing the retirement of the Indian Point nuclear plant, concluding that system reliability criteria can be met with one or more types of solutions including generation, transmission, energy efficiency, and demand response measures.

A Liverpool diner known as one of the most politically incorrect establishments of its kind in the nation is under new, a-political ownership.

As Congress considers waiting until January to fund expired Medicare programs, the continued uncertainty already roils rural hospitals.

RIP former Assemblyman John Brian Murtaugh, who was described by Rep. Adriano Espaillat as “a legend of Inwood and a long-time fixture of New York politics.”

David Sweat, the convicted cop killer and prison escapee, isn’t happy at his new prison cell in the notorious Attica Correctional Facility, and he’s started a hunger strike to try to get transferred. Prison officials seeking a judicial order to feed him through a tube.

New York state has added 340 new craft alcoholic beverage producers since 2014. That’s a 50 percent increase in three years for a state that now ranks among the Top 5 in the country in all categories of alcohol beverage production.

New York City may be the state’s economic engine, but it’s not a “top performer” in Cuomo’s book.

The Bangladeshi immigrant accused of setting off a pipe bomb in the New York subway system had his first court appearance today via video from the hospital room where he is recovering from burns sustained in the blast.

The Human Services Council today launched the nation’s first crowd-sourced scorecard to help nonprofit organizations hold government agencies accountable for their business practices. Overall, the state received a C+, and NYC a B-.

JCOPE released the latest version of its newsletter – yes, it has one – called “The Ethics Review.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Albany and New York City.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have lunch with bicameral tax conferees, after which, the president will participate in the swearing-in of Judge Gregory Katsas to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Later in the afternoon, Trump gives remarks on tax reform.

At 10 a.m., the Assembly holds a public hearing on immigrant access to health care, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission holds a public meeting, 33 Beaver St., 19th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosts a Hanukkah celebration and menorah-lighting ceremony, 5625 Arlington Ave., the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., Cuomo will announce the 2017 Regional Economic Development Council Awards, Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St., Albany. (LG Kathy Hochul will also attend).

Also at 11 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli visits Ridgewood Savings Bank, 1035 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

At 12:30 p.m., the Correctional Association of New York releases a new report about Southport Prison, alongside state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, advocates, survivors and family members, 250 Broadway, 22nd floor, Room 2225, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., DiNapoli visits Spring Bank, 69 E. 167th St., the Bronx.

At 2:30 p.m., the NYC Franchise and Concession Review Committee holds a public meeting, 2 Lafayette St., 14th floor conference room, Manhattan.

At 4:45 p.m., Workmen’s Circle and five other Jewish organizations gather at the #NotTheWhiteHouseChanukahParty to recommit to fighting for justice in the year ahead, Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Ave., fifth floor, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., the NYC Voter Assistance Advisory Committee holds its annual meeting, 100 Church St., 12th floor, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Hochul attends the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Holiday reception, The Downtown Association, 60 Pine St., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., the NYC Panel for Educational Policy holds a public meeting, High School for Fashion Industries, 225 W 24th St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at a Manhattan Chamber of Commerce event, TD Bank, 125 Park Ave., Manhattan.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has three holiday parties closed to the press today, all at Gracie Mansion. The first is for city leaders, the second is the annual Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City celebration, and the third will be for members of the NYPD Intelligence Division.

Headlines…

Doug Jones, a Democratic former prosecutor who mounted a seemingly quixotic U.S. Senate campaign in the face of Republican dominance in Alabama, defeated his scandal-scarred opponent, Roy Moore, after a brutal campaign marked by accusations of sexual abuse and child molestation against the Republican.

The upset delivered a significant victory for Democrats and reduced Republicans’ unstable Senate majority to a single seat, which could snarl Republicans’ legislative agenda in Washington and open, for the first time, a realistic but still difficult path for Democrats to capture the Senate next year.

After the race was called by the AP, Moore declined to concede defeat, saying he believed that the margin of victory could narrow enough to trigger an automatic recount. “Realize that when the vote is this close that it’s not over,” he said. “We also know that God is always in control.”

The Alabama Republican Party said it would not support Moore’s push for a recount, and the state’s Secretary of State expressed doubt on Twitter that such an undertaking would change the outcome of the race.

President Donald Trump congratulated Jones in a tweet on his “hard fought victory” and said Republicans will “have another shot at the seat in a very short period of time.”

“Tonight, Alabama voters elected a senator who’ll make them proud,” Hillary Clinton tweeted. “And if Democrats can win in Alabama, we can – and must – compete everywhere. Onward!”

Steve Bannon, an adviser to a top pro-Trump super PAC and ex-top White House aide, says the results of the Alabama special election are going to make Republicans and Trump supporters “start panicking.”

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, scrambling to reach agreement on a final tax bill that they hope to pass next week, are coalescing around a plan that would slightly raise the proposed corporate tax rate, lower the top rate on the richest Americans and scale back the existing mortgage interest deduction.

Following Trump’s example, many of the world’s autocrats and dictators are taking a shine to the term “fake news,” employing it as a tool for attacking their critics and, in some cases, deliberately undermining the institutions of democracy.

Trump put himself once more at the center of the sexual harassment debate, repeating his contention that the women who have accused him of misconduct fabricated the allegations and describing U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of his leading critics, as a “lightweight” who “would do anything” for campaign contributions.

Trump’s attack on Gillibrand sparked a fierce backlash, as critics said the president made an outlandish and sexually suggestive accusation against the Senate’s foremost fighter against sexual harassment.

Two FBI agents assigned to the investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia exchanged text messages referring to the future president as an “idiot,” according to copies of messages turned over to Congress last night by the Justice Department.

A federal judge in Chicago ordered that Dennis Hastert never be left alone with anyone under 18 unless another adult is present who is aware of the former U.S. House speaker’s conviction in a hush-money case that revealed he had sexually abused several high school students.

A federal judge rejected attempts by four of the Buffalo Billion defendants to move next year’s corruption trial to Buffalo, keeping the high-profile case in lower Manhattan instead.

Ten female employees say they were sexually harassed by Ken Friedman, the owner of the Spotted Pig in New York City. Dozens described it as a toxic workplace fueled by fame and fear.

An after-hours space on the third floor of the tony Village hot spot is reportedly known among workers and industry insiders as “the rape room” — where public sex is on display.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s gone to the Capitol Police about a bogus sexual-harassment complaint that has been circulated to the media in an apparent attempt to smear him.

More >

Extras

In an early-morning tweet, Trump took aim at U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who called for him to resign sue to sexual harassment allegations, deeming her a “lightweight” who once begged him for campaign contributions and would “do anything” to get them.

The president also called New York’s junior senator a “total flunky” who blindly follows Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Gillibrand called the president’s comments a “sexist smear attempting to silence my voice,” adding: “I will not be silenced on this issue, neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “There’s no way this is exist at all; this is simply taking about a system that we have that is broken.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has herself been a frequent target of Trump’s criticism, slammed the president on Twitter for “trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame” Gillibrand.

Schumer said Trump’s tweet was “nasty” and “unbecoming” of his office, suggesting that the president “ought to stop tweeting and start leading.”

Trump’s Twitter attack on Gillibrand is fueling Democratic calls for congressional hearings on the president’s own alleged past sexual misconduct, with some even joining the call for him to resign.

When asked for the first word that pops into their heads when they think of the commander-in-chief, U.S. voters gave such glowing descriptors as “idiot,” “liar” and “a**hole,” according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Actress Meryl Streep said she thinks that if more women were in positions of power in Hollywood then the industry would not have tolerated or enabled the behavior of influential alleged predators like Harvey Weinstein.

Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore rode a horse up to his polling place on horseback this morning to cast his vote in a special election that has improbably electrified the nation.

Gillibrand and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio unveiled a bipartisan bill to change truck safety standards and help prevent the kind of truck-car crashes that killed four people this summer on Interstate 81 in Oswego County.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general will investigate Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to spend nearly $25,000 on a privacy booth for his office.

The Justice Department lawsuit to block the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger has an unexpected fan: former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Authorities in Bangladesh said that alleged Port Authority bomber Akayed Ullah was not on the country’s terror list, and they are not sure when he left his homeland.

Prosecutors filed federal terrorism charges against Ullah. The five charges include use of weapons of mass destruction, provision of material support to the Islamic State and bombing a place of public use.

Brooklyn state Sen. Marty Golden tried to pull over a bicyclist by impersonating a cop — and then his wheelman ran a red light and drove into oncoming traffic to get away when the cyclist snapped the pol’s picture, according to the cyclist.

For the second consecutive week, the first two hours of the “Today” show – minus Matt Lauer – surged ahead of the show’s main rival, “Good Morning America” — not only capturing its usual lead among people between 25 and 54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers — but among overall audiences as well.

Republicans are more forgiving than Democrats when it comes to the personal issues of a candidate who’s running for public office, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll that shows GOP voters care more about policy positions.

The tax reform bill is highly unpopular among the American people, a new Marist poll finds. In fact, a majority of U.S. residents (52 percent), including more than one in five Republicans (22 percent) and one in five Trump supporters (20 percent), think it will mostly hurt their personal family finances.

First Lady Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump’s 2017 New York mayoral election votes did not count after the two reportedly failed to follow absentee ballot instructions.

Judith Clark, the getaway driver in a deadly 1981 heist of a Brink’s truck, sued the state Board of Parole, saying it had unfairly denied her bid to be released by treating her “as a symbol of crime rather than as an individual.”

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick visited a Rikers Island jail for a surprise visit with inmates, drawing immediate rebuke from the union representing New York City correction officers, which promptly yanked its sponsorship of a Christmas tree lighting celebration.

Five New York City Ballet dancers — one of whom still works with the company — have accused Peter Martins, the ballet master in chief who has since been put on leave while allegations are investigation, of threatening or physically abusing them and others in the company.

The Empire Center: New York laws encourage a proliferation of civil suits seeking damages for various kinds of alleged wrongful actions, known in legal terms as “torts.” The resulting liability costs have been estimated at $20 billion a year – or more than $2,700 per household.

Edwin M. Lee, an affordable housing advocate and technocrat who became the first Asian-American to be elected as mayor of San Francisco, died early today of undisclosed causes after reportedly collapsing at a supermarket. He was 65.

Tenney Backs Bill Strengthening Hate Crimes Law

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Claudia Tenney backed a bill Monday that would boost hate crimes provisions by increasing federal penalties for violent threats made against religious institutions.

The bill was approved Monday by the House of Representatives, classifying violent threats against institutions like churches, synagogues and other religious sites as hate crimes.

“Religious liberty is a founding principle of our nation and expressly granted to all citizens in the United States Constitution. Every American should have the ability to practice their faith without threat or fear of violence,” Tenney said.

Tenney pointed to threats made against Jewish Community Centers earlier this year in upstate New York, including facilities in Vestal, Dewitt and Albany.

“It was particularly disturbing that the threats targeted centers that serve such a large population, including children and seniors,” she said. “Any threat like this against a religiously affiliated institution is simply unacceptable, and the passage of today’s bill is a step in the right direction toward ending this violence and hate.”