Weekly News Brief: Michael Flynn, Matt Lauer, and Tax Reform


Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Retired U.S. Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Former National Security Adviser Pleads Guilty

Michael Flynn, who served as President Trump’s national security adviser for only 23 days, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his cooperation with Russian interests during President Trump’s transition. Flynn had originally resigned from his position in February after it was discovered he deceived Vice President Mike Pence about the true content of his conversations with Russian ambassadors. Flynn confessed that he was encouraged to be in contact with Russians by certain high-ranking members of Trump’s transition team. This charge represents the first time a member of Trump’s administration has been held legally accountable for misconduct involving Russia and speaks to the widespread speculation that there was Russian interference with Trump’s presidential campaign.


Matt Lauer Becomes the News

  The 20-year career of Matt Lauer, one of NBC’s most prominent morning news anchors, came to an end on Tuesday after allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him. Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News, sent out a memo early Wednesday morning informing employees on the matter. The memo said, “On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer […] As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.” He continued in the memo, explaining that they do not believe this to be an isolated incident. The day after, Lauer released a statement apologizing for his actions.

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” in a statement read on the TODAY show Thursday. “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.”

The incident occurred in the midst of other similar allegations and firings sweeping through the news and entertainment industries.


Senate Approves New Tax Regulations

A new Republican tax reform plan was narrowly passed in the Senate this past Saturday. Many Republican senators commended the bill specifically for its support of the middle class.

“America needs reforms that will both grow [the] economy and help workers,” Senator Marco Rubio (FL) said in a tweet. “Last night, [the] U.S. Senate passed [tax reform] that will help grow [the] economy.”

The bill reduces the marginal tax brackets to only four and increases the child tax credit amount, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. Due to the widespread cuts proposed in this bill, the Joint Committee On Taxation predicts that $1 trillion would be added to the nation’s deficit over the next decade. The 400-page bill was released to the public just hours before the vote, leaving many Democratic senators with little time to analyze it in its entirety. Despite the lack of bipartisan support, the bill was hastily passed at 2 a.m. on Saturday by a 51-49 vote. This served as a major legislative accomplishment for Republicans, who have failed to pass any tax plans since President Donald Trump has entered office.