The TAKE with Rick Klein
Titanic political forces are at work, churning through the political landscape.
And – with echoes of not-so-distant history – signs are everywhere that the disruptions have barely begun.
Alabama hinted at a national political turnaround. A Democratic coalition came together to beat back Trumpist forces, revealing a potential to mobilize that extends deep into the nation’s suburbs.
Amid it all, Republicans are looking to drastically remake the policy structure. Their tax push has become a broader statement of priorities that will impact families’ lives directly, even as they scramble to keep the government open into the new year.
Russia, meanwhile, looms larger as ever – complete with efforts to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose true work remains opaque to all but a few in Washington.
Much is being said about the parallels to 2010, or earlier political eras that saw fast-moving events develop into waves.
Big history is being written in intense batches, with much more to come.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
While Congress zeroed in the Republican tax bill and geared up for the final stages of that legislative fight, two additional issues — health care and the decision from the Federal Communications Commission to overturn so-called “net neutrality” rules — animated voters this week (arguably more than the tax bill did).
Today is the last day of open enrollment when Americans can buy individual health insurance plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services the level of interest and inquiries was so high that the agency had to start asking people to leave their contact information with the promise that someone would reach out to them soon. Agency officials say those consumers who leave their numbers will still be able to buy plans.
Despite the volume of requests, the agency has not bumped the formal deadline.
And net neutrality broke through this week, at least in progressive and tech circles. Several leading grassroots groups and businesses mobilized their followers around the issue.
It will be interesting to see if Republicans face blowback for not legislating or intervening when the administration officials voted to overturn rules on the books.
The TIP with John Parkinson and Jordyn Phelps
The White House said that President Donald Trump called House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday to let him know he was “unhappy” with reports that the Wisconsin Republican was privately mulling the timing of his retirement.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Ryan assured the president that the reports are untrue and said both are committed to spending much more time together in the years ahead. An aide to the speaker confirmed Sanders’ account of the phone call with the president but declined to add any detail.
At the end of his newser on Thursday, Ryan chuckled and said he’s not quitting in response to a shouted question from a reporter.
“This is pure speculation,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said. “He’s not going anywhere any time soon.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
President Donald Trump will deliver remarks at the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. ET and then will head to Camp David for the weekend.
This Week on ‘This Week’: As a vote on the GOP tax bill nears, George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, exclusively on “This Week” Sunday. Plus, after Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., comes exclusively to “This Week.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will participate in a United Nations Security Council meeting on North Korea beginning at 9 a.m. ET in New York City.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will hold a press conference on funding of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program on its 25th anniversary at 10 a.m. ET.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will hold a press conference on efforts to reduce violent crime at 2:30 p.m. ET.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It is not the job of the government to pick the winners and losers of the internet … We should have a level playing field.” — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Thursday when the agency voted to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules.
NEED TO READ
GOP tax plan on shaky ground: Rubio announces he’s a no. The tax bill compromise reached by House and Senate negotiators now won’t be unveiled until Monday. And at least one new Republican defector may make it difficult for Congressional Republicans to get the measure to President Donald Trump’s desk before his Christmas deadline. (Megan Hughes, Ali Rogin, Mary Bruce, Mariam Khan) http://abcn.ws/2jUd6j6
FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules. The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to reverse so-called net neutrality rules that govern how internet service providers treat content and data. (Jeffrey Cook) http://abcn.ws/2zcxOmA
McCain receiving treatment for side effects of cancer therapy, ‘looking forward to returning to work’. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, is “currently receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy,” his office said. (Mariam Khan, Mary Bruce, Ali Rogin and MaryAlice Parks) http://abcn.ws/2AL7O3R
President Trump to visit FBI National Academy following comments that bureau is in ‘tatters’. President Trump will visit the FBI National Academy on Friday amid heightened tensions with the bureau whose reputation he recently described as “in tatters,” and its standing as the “worst in history.” (Alexander Mallin) http://abcn.ws/2o7EIFV
Rep. Blake Farenthold says he won’t run for re-election after harassment allegations. Under pressure to resign amid new allegations of harassment, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, plans to retire after his current term and not seek re-election, the congressman announced on Facebook Thursday. (Benjamin Siegel, John Parkinson and Arlette Saenz) http://abcn.ws/2jVGPbv
RNC launches website promoting tax plan before expected votes. The Republican National Committee is launching a website to help President Trump make his closing argument on the party’s tax plan, ABC News has learned. (Ali Rogin) http://abcn.ws/2zcNZjG
DOJ rejects charges over release of FBI agent’s text messages. The Justice Department is rejecting accusations that it inappropriately offered several reporters access to private communications between two FBI officials who later worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. (Mike Levine) http://abcn.ws/2jVQ8bz
Write-in votes still loom over Alabama Senate race. While the final results in Tuesday’s upset victory for Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election won’t be known for a few weeks, the unofficial results from the race show that write-in votes may have played a crucial role in determining the outcome of the race. (John Verhovek) http://abcn.ws/2jUraJA
Outgoing adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman: ‘Lack of diversity’ at WH left her lonely, but Trump ‘not a racist’. Two days after submitting her resignation as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Omarosa Manigault Newman acknowledged a “lack of diversity” in the White House that she said often left her feeling alone. (Veronica Stracqualursi, Deborah Roberts and Candace Smith) http://abcn.ws/2jVnpmZ
Haley lays out evidence Iran violating UN Resolutions. The Trump administration has presented Iranian missiles and weapons, allegedly sent to Houthi rebels in Yemen that it says shows Iran has violated United Nations Security Council Resolutions related to the Iranian nuclear deal. (Luis Martinez and Conor Finnegan) http://abcn.ws/2jVV67U
US military orders new investigation after report that special operations killed Somali civilians. Two weeks after a media report alleging that U.S. special operations were involved in the killing of unarmed civilians in Somalia, the head of U.S. Africa Command has ordered a new probe into the operation. (Elizabeth McLaughlin and Luis Martinez) http://abcn.ws/2CjdRd1
Putin calls Russia-US contacts ‘all invented’ in annual press conference. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a page out of the playbook of President Donald Trump on Thursday by referring to allegations of contact between U.S. and Russian officials during the 2016 election as “all invented.” (Mark Osborne and Terry Moran) http://abcn.ws/2CjfGqv
Trump cuts red tape (literally), vows to roll back onerous highway regulations. If there’s one thing President Donald Trump loves, it’s a visual aid. (And, reportedly, Diet Coke.) (Erin Dooley) http://abcn.ws/2zdgjCw
FiveThirtyEight explores how the pattern of Democratic victories in 2017 special elections point to a possible blue wave in 2018. http://53eig.ht/2C6tmUI
In an interview with The Atlantic, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that there is about a 30 percent chance President Trump opts for a military options against North Korea. http://theatln.tc/2zdkMoK
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.