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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP/Getty Images)

The White House announced Friday that President Trump would not hold an official meeting with Vladimir Putin on Friday, though Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said an informal pull-aside is "certainly possible and likely." 

Any meeting with Putin could attract unwanted attention to a White House that is dealing with the intensifying investigation over potential collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Trump said on his way to Asia last week that he "expected" to meet with the Russian leader during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit\in Vietnam. A Putin aide told Russian media that the meeting was confirmed.

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  • Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the headquarters of the "Russia Today" television channel in Moscow in 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the headquarters of the "Russia Today" television channel in Moscow in 2013. (Yuri Kochetkov / Pool Photo)

Russia said Thursday it could begin next week to take measures against U.S. media outlets working in Russia in retaliation for a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to make the Kremlin-funded RT news agency register as a foreign agent.

The Justice Department set a deadline of Nov. 13 for RT to register as a foreign agency based on accusations that the Russian government-funded cable news network and website was a Kremlin propaganda outlet. The decision came in the wake of investigations into Kremlin attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

RT’s chief editor, Margarita Simonyan, said the outlet would register by the deadline but planned to challenge the decision in a U.S. court. Failure to register could result in the seizure of RT’s U.S. bank accounts and the arrest of the senior editor, Simonyan told Russian news outlets.

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  • Congress
  • Taxes
  • Economy

A House committee voted along party lines Thursday to approve the Republicans' sweeping tax overhaul bill -- with some last-minute changes -- a crucial step toward seeking the chamber's full passage by Thanksgiving.

"Americans deserve a new tax code for a new era of prosperity, and today we deliver," said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committte.

The panel's approval by a 24-16 vote came as the Senate unveiled its own version of tax legislation that contains the same centerpiece -- a large cut in the corporate rate -- but has significant differences that will have to be worked out in the coming weeks.

Roy Moore, the conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, was accused Thursday of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor.

The explosive allegation, in a Washington Post report, comes against one of the GOP's most outspoken Christian conservatives less than five weeks before a special election that Moore is favored to win despite his long history of inflammatory rhetoric.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if the allegation is true, Moore "must step aside."

(TNS)

Large numbers of Americans signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act  in the first days of this year’s open enrollment period, according to new federal figures that show Americans flocking to insurance despite the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on the healthcare law.

In the first four days of the 2018 enrollment period -- which began Nov. 1 -- more than 600,000 people selected health plans through the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace, which serves residents of 39 states.

That represents a daily average of more than 150,000 signups, outpacing the beginning of last year’s open enrollment period under the Obama administration, when an average of 84,000 people a day signed up through the first 12 days.

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  • Congress
(AFP/Getty Images)

Another House committee chairman is planning to retire.

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a 13-term congressman from Virginia.

In a statement Thursday, he says it's "the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the 6th District."

  • Congress
  • Economy
  • Budget
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

As they await the unveiling of the Senate GOP tax plan Thursday, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee were scrambling to revise their own bill after changes made this week pushed its cost over the limit needed to pass it through the Senate on a simple majority vote. 

The committee was expected to approve the House bill later Thursday on a party line vote after making additional changes.

An amendment approved Monday and offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the panel’s chairman, gutted a complicated excise tax for foreign transactions of multinational companies that was in the original bill. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), left, joined by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), speaks about the Republican tax plan at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), left, joined by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), speaks about the Republican tax plan at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan opened the door Wednesday to delaying the implementation of a new 20% corporate tax rate — the cornerstone of President Trump’s plan — amid worries that the GOP proposal will exceed its target of adding no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

Postponing the tax cut for a year or two would diverge from Trump’s insistence that corporate rate reductions be made immediately. But Senate Republicans floated the idea this week as they frantically search for ways to pay for the corporate tax cuts and still provide relief to middle-income households.

Senators plan to introduce their bill Thursday. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said one revenue-raiser that will probably be included is a full repeal of all state and local tax deductions, including property taxes, a big blow to many residents in California and other high-tax states.

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President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

President Trump stood next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and said the Chinese had taken advantage of America to build a trade imbalance that is not sustainable.

“I don’t blame China," Trump said. "Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.”

Instead, Trump blamed past American presidents.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump. (Nicolas Asfouri / AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a "new starting point" for the U.S.-China relationship while President Trump declared that “we have a capacity to solve world problems for many, many years to come” on Thursday, as the two men held their first official business meeting after a raft of ceremonies.

Xi, who comes into the meetings flush with new authority in his country, was more detached in his comments than Trump, who spoke in personal terms about a terrific initial meeting Wednesday night and a dinner that went longer than expected because the men were having such a great time.

Trump's language, putting the U.S. and China on near-equal footing, could play to Xi's favor. The Chinese president is eager to assert China as a dominant world power rivaling America.