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Sen. Bob Corker, perhaps the last Republican holdout on the tax plan, announced he would oppose the bill ahead of Friday’s expected vote.

The Tennessee Republican had been among the strongest critics warning the $1.5 trillion plan would add to the deficit, rather than pay for itself through economic growth as his colleagues suggest.

“I wanted to get to yes,” he said in a statement. “But at the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations.” 

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Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, announced her support Friday for the GOP tax bill, joining two other holdouts ahead of an expected vote to pass the overhaul.

Collins negotiated several provisions, including one to restore a property tax deduction (capped at $10,000 a year) that is important to residents in California and other states with high-cost real estate and was slated for elimination as part of a repeal of other popular write-offs.

GOP leaders said they had secured the votes for passage, expected later Friday. If so, the bill would need to be reconciled with a House-passed version in the days ahead.

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(Associated Press)

Donald Trump tweeted Friday afternoon that he is keeping embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, though he would not say how long.

“The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon - FAKE NEWS!” he tweeted. “He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!”

The tweet linked to an Instagram post with a picture of Tillerson being sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office.

(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Rep. Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s plea deal Friday “shocking” but “not unexpected.”

“Given the much broader exposure Michael Flynn had on a range of other issues, if this is the universe that he is pleading to, it says to me that Bob Mueller must be getting fairly substantial cooperation from Gen. Flynn,” Schiff said.

Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to FBI agents about whether he asked the Russian government in December 2016 to hold off on retaliating against sanctions imposed by then-President Obama for trying to interfere with the presidential campaign. During Friday’s proceeding, the prosecutor said Flynn discussed the 2016 meeting with “a very senior member” of Donald Trump’s transition team.

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  • Russia
President Trump passes then-national security advisor Michael Flynn at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 6.
President Trump passes then-national security advisor Michael Flynn at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 6. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

The White House abruptly canceled President Trump’s sole public appearance for Friday, shortly after his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and confirmed that he is cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The White House had no scheduled news briefing on Friday and directed all calls about the investigation to Ty Cobb, the president’s attorney. Cobb issued a statement downplaying the significance of Flynn’s plea deal.

Trump had been planning to briefly allow reporters and photographers into the Oval Office at noon EST at the start of his meeting with Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj of Libya. Trump often responds to shouted questions during such events, but White House aides told waiting journalists that they would not be brought in.

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testRetired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump's national security advisor, is scheduled to plead guilty Friday morning to a single count of making false statements about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, saying he did so because his actions were wrong and he wanted to “set things right.”

“I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right,” Flynn said in a statement issued by his lawyer minutes after the former Army lieutenant general entered his plea in federal court.

He added, “My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.  I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

  • Russia
Former national security advisor Michael Flynn said Friday he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI because his actions were wrong and he wanted to “set things right.”

Former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, saying he did so because his actions were wrong and he wanted to “set things right.”

“I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right,” Flynn said in a statement issued by his lawyer minutes after the former Army lieutenant general entered his plea in federal court.

He added, “My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.  I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor, pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador, communications that a prosecutor said Flynn discussed with “a very senior member” of Trump’s transition team.

The actions came in a federal court hearing in which Flynn and prosecutors confirmed that the retired Army lieutenant general had struck a deal to cooperate with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn made the false statements about his December 2016 conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Jan. 24, soon after becoming President Trump's national security advisor. He could face up to five years in prison.

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Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn walks through the lobby at Trump Tower on Nov. 17, 2016, in New York.
Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn walks through the lobby at Trump Tower on Nov. 17, 2016, in New York. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Trump’s lawyer downplayed the guilty plea and promise of cooperation from former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn on Friday, arguing in a statement that “nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

In fact, Flynn’s attorney suggested in court that his cooperation would result in exposure for at least one higher-up within Trump’s orbit.

Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, downplayed Flynn’s role in the administration in his statement, pointing out that he was “at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official.” Flynn was among Trump’s closest advisors throughout his campaign.