D.C.’S WORST DAY SINCE 9/11: Are contractor checks too weak? Can ‘cumulative effect’ change gun politics? — BILL DALEY drops out — TODD HARRIS wedding — BDAY: Don Baer, Steve Scully, Richard Wolffe

FIRST LOOK: Robert A. Caro’s gripping, 17,000-word account of  JKF’s assassination will be published as an e-short by Vintage Books on Oct. 1 ($1.99): “The account -- DALLAS, NOVEMBER 22, 1963 -- is a digital excerpt [that includes about 30 pages] from Caro's bestseller, ‘The Passage of Power’ [‘The Years of Lyndon Johnson,’ vol. 4] ... We follow the slow path of the presidential motorcade through the streets of Dallas; we hear the shots;  we witness … the race to get JFK to Parkland Memorial Hospital; the long minutes in which Johnson, unable to learn whether Kennedy is alive or dead, stands waiting in a Parkland cubicle.  We watch him take the oath of office on Air Force One … And we see Johnson taking charge-taking command of the presidency with his unrivaled mastery of political power. … Caro will be featured in numerous documentaries about John F. Kennedy's assassination this fall.” --CARO TOLD US IN AN INTERVIEW YESTERDAY: “To watch Lyndon Johnson take over the presidency is to watch political genius in action. I'm interested in showing political power, and this is like the essence of a presidential power. … You have the chaos and the confusion of the day, and the feeling that there might very well be a conspiracy -- that Cuba or the Soviet Union right behind it. You see all the chances for a misstep, and you watch Lyndon Johnson handle that with such a sure hand. And then you see him get back to Washington and you see him pick up Kennedy's legislation that was really stalled. … getting the civil rights bill started on the way to passage, getting the tax cut bill started on the way to passage. … It's strategic genius, and the use of sheer political muscle. … Story Continued Below “America was not the same place on November 21, 1963, as it was when Lyndon Johnson left the presidency at the end of 1968.  The country had changed, and in Continue Reading

TRUMP’S Wednesday meetings: Kelly, Coats, McMahon and Perdue — Trump to Indiana to celebrate Carrier victory — PELOSI’s embattled leadership bid — B’DAY: Larry Summers

Driving the Day Listen to Playbook in 90 Seconds http://bit.ly/2gjIJS4 ... Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6EayDONALD TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY MEETINGS -- Linda McMahon, the founder of WWE wrestling, and a two-time Senate candidate in Connecticut; Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia; Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican retiring from the Senate; Gen. John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general who was the head of United States Southern Command and is now a candidate for secretary of state.Story Continued Below Good Wednesday morning. All the jokes about the Mitt Romney/Donald Trump dinner have been cracked. Two extremely wealthy men sat down at Jean-Georges, three-star Michelin restaurant in Manhattan that happens to be housed in the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle. They ate frog legs while they discussed the future of the republic. We’re not that funny -- we have no new jokes or quips to add. It is notable that Romney said of Trump: “It’s not easy winning. I know that myself. He did something I tried to do and was unsuccessful in.” It’s not an apology, like some have said Romney owes Trump, but it seems like Romney has said what he needs to say to get State -- or else he’s been thoroughly humiliated. 2-min. video of Mitt speaking to the pool after his dinner http://bit.ly/2gIghaW -- MAGGIE HABERMAN, JULIE DAVIS and BINYAMIN APPELBAUM -- “Steven Mnuchin Is Donald Trump’s Expected Choice for Treasury Secretary”: “Mr. Mnuchin, 53, was the national finance chairman for Mr. Trump’s campaign, and his selection would elevate a wealthy loyalist to a pivotal economic post. He began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he became a partner, before creating his own hedge fund, moving to the West Coast and entering the first rank of movie financiers by bankrolling hits like the ‘X-Men’ franchise and ‘Avatar.’ ... He would be the third Goldman Sachs alumnus to Continue Reading

LEAKED DOC: GOP’s 2017 deadlines — EXEC ORDER WATCH: Dodd-Frank rollback — THIEL looking for an asst. — 1ST IN PLAYBOOK: LOPACH to Subject Matter, UELAND back to budget

Driving the Day Listen to Playbook in 90 Seconds http://bit.ly/2koyvQz … Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6Eay … Visit the online home of Playbook http://politi.co/2f51Jnf BULLETIN -- BREAKING EARLY THIS MORNING -- AP/PARIS: “French soldier shoots man who attacked them outside Louvre”: “A French soldier shot and seriously wounded a man in a shopping mall beneath the Louvre Museum on Friday after he tried to attack them and shouted ‘Allahu akbar,’ officials said. The man was carrying two backpacks, and he had two machetes, and when soldiers and police officers on patrol told the man that he could not come in with his bags, he attacked, said Yves Lefebvre, a police union official. ‘That's when he got the knife out and that’s when he tried to stab the soldier,’ he said. A soldier opened fire and the man was struck five times, once in the stomach, Paris police chief Michel Cadot said. The backpacks didn’t contain any explosives, he said. One of the soldiers was slightly wounded on the scalp.” http://apne.ws/2l3Q3Ao Story Continued Below ... AND HERE'S WHAT TRUMP IS TWEETING -- @realDonaldTrump at 6:24 a.m.: "Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice...but at least he tried hard!" ... at 6:28 a.m.: "Iran is playing with fire - they don't appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them. Not me!" ... at 6:34 a.m. "Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!"WHAT TRUMP IS WAKING UP TO -- NYT -- four of 5 A1 stories are Trump related -- http://nyti.ms/2kwlaYM … WaPo takes the same tack as the Times on A1http://bit.ly/2k8F1MA … N.Y. POST -- “THE PREZINATOR: Trump vs. Arnold, Berkeley, Iran, Australia…” http://nyp.st/2kzMDZp HAPPENING TODAY -- “Donald Trump Plans to Undo Dodd-Frank Law, Fiduciary Continue Reading

KELLY makes mark on a calmer West Wing — MCMASTER cleaning house at the NSC — TRUMP says U.S. ‘losing’ Afghan war — ZUCKERBERG hires Joel Benenson — FOR HISTORY: MOOCH’s comms plan leaked

Driving the Day Good Thursday morning. THE KELLY REGIME. CUE THE REPUBLICAN APPLAUSE, via Josh Dawsey: “When new White House chief of staff John Kelly huddled with senior staff on his first day at work, he outlined a key problem in President Donald Trump’s White House that he planned to fix: Bad information getting into the president’s hands. Kelly told the staff that information needed to flow through him -- whether on paper or in briefings -- because the president would make better decisions if given good information. … “‘John Kelly knows the challenges he is facing,’ said Leon Panetta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who spoke to Kelly after he took the job. ‘He’s not going to just stand to the side and watch the White House fall apart piece by piece.’” http://politi.co/2u1mODq Story Continued Below -- AP’S JONATHAN LEMIRE: “Trump’s new top aide assures Sessions his job is safe”: “New White House chief of staff John Kelly, in one of his first acts in his new post, called Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reassure him that his position was safe despite the recent onslaught of criticism he has taken from President Donald Trump. Kelly called Sessions on Saturday to stress that the White House was supportive of his work and wanted him to continue his job, according to two people familiar with the call. … Kelly, who was appointed to the post the day before, described the president as still miffed at Sessions but did not plan to fire him or hope he would resign.” http://bit.ly/2wnqOir -- ONE THING REPUBLICANS ARE WORRIED ABOUT is the growing narrative that John Kelly is going to change everything in the White House. Yes, he is certainly doing things more traditionally. He’s reaching out to former chiefs of staff and Hill leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan. And the president appears to be following Kelly’s lead. But that Continue Reading

CBS News Logo Why some Senate Republicans object to tax plan

The Senate could vote as soon as the end of this week on Republicans' tax plan, but the legislation's fate is uncertain. Republicans can only afford to lose two votes — if three senators from the GOP reject the plan, they'll kill the bill. No Democrats have indicated they will vote for it. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would modify the tax brackets for individual taxpayers while increasing the standard deduction and child tax credit. But it would also repeal deductions for personal exemptions, and eliminate the deduction for state and local income taxes, which has been controversial among the GOP. The Senate plan also lowers the tax rate for businesses — but the way in which it does that has also been controversial.  The bill advanced out of the Senate Budget Committee, along partisan lines, Tuesday afternoon. As it stands, Sens. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) say they are opposed to the bill in its current form. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), John McCain (R-Arizona), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are all undecided about whether they will vote for the bill.  Here are Republican objections to the Senate bill: Bill's benefits to corporations vs. smaller businesses  The two Republicans on record as opposing the bill in its current form —Johnson and Daines — both say the Senate bill will benefit larger corporations more than it will benefit smaller businesses, and that isn't good enough for them. Johnson says pass-through companies, like limited liability companies (LLCs) will have a higher tax rate than large corporations.  Johnson said he had a "fine and dandy" exchange with the president over the tax bill and his concerns about the treatment of pass-throughs, and he said Mr. Trump promised to "fix it." Under the Senate bill, the top tax rate for pass-through companies would be lowered from 39.6 Continue Reading

Amazon vs. Wal-Mart is shaping up to be a battle of mega-retailers

Despite the inroads made by Amazon during the first 23 years of its existence, Wal-Mart is still the granddaddy of retailers by a wide margin. But the C-suite at Wal-Mart is well aware of how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his company are disrupting the traditional retailing model and threatening Wal-Mart's leadership position in the long-term. Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart's CEO since 2014, is determined to narrow the gap between Wal-Mart's third place ranking in worldwide e-commerce and Amazon's lead as the No. 1 e-commerce site in the world. McMillon's first big step was to purchase Jet.com for $3.3 billion in 2016 and put Jet's chief executive, Marc Lore, in charge of Wal-Mart's overall e-commerce business. Lore quickly introduced changes, such as free two-day shipping and expanding Wal-Mart's online assortment from 8 million items at the start of 2016 to more than 22 million items by March 2017. (That's still just a mere fraction of the more than 300 million items Amazon has available. In fact, Wal-Mart probably only stocks in total about two-thirds of Amazon's inventory — or approx. 200 million items — across all of its retail formats.) At the same time, Wal-Mart said it would combine its own buying for products sold at its stores with purchases it makes for its website. Until recently, the store and online buying teams of the world's largest retailer had operated independently. This strategy is intended to stamp out duplicate efforts. Wal-Mart has committed itself to making the buying process more efficient for itself and its vendors, and improve coordination between its buying teams. The company also intends to apply its brick-and-mortar expertise in securing the lowest possible prices to its e-commerce business. The move will help Wal-Mart make items at its nearly 4,600 U.S. stores available online. Many store suppliers still don't sell online because of low sales volumes. Just a few months after Wal-Mart unveiled its new Continue Reading

Right on the money: An Albany crackdown on LLC spending is limited but welcome

In anything-goes Albany, even a modest effort to crack down on rampant violation of campaign fund-raising laws counts as progress. And “modest” is certainly the fair word for the Board of Elections’ recent enforcement action, which targets a few thousand dollars’ worth of donations to Shirley Patterson, a losing candidate for state Assembly in Brooklyn. Still, this small-bore case stands a chance of narrowing one of worst fund-raising loopholes in New York politics — and that would be a big deal. Among other charges, the suit by enforcement counsel Risa Sugarman focuses on $5,000 in contributions that Patterson’s campaign collected from three companies linked to developer Kevin Maloney. Two of the firms were “limited liability companies,” or LLCs. Under a wrongheaded ruling by the election board’s party-controlled commissioners, these entities are treated as individuals, not corporations, for purposes of campaign-finance law — making them a vehicle for deep-pocketed donors to secretly funnel millions into campaign accounts of high-ranking officials. (The board voted to uphold that absurd rule earlier this year, a decision that the NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice is trying to overturn in court.) But Sugarman — who was appointed not by the board, but by Gov. Cuomo — contends that Patterson’s LLC donations were illegal. In effect, she says, Maloney had violated the $4,100 cap on contributions to an Assembly candidate, and Patterson’s campaign had failed to identify her contributor by his true name, as required. These arguments cut to the heart of why the LLC loophole is so corrosive to honest politics. They also apply equally well to an awful lot of other money sloshing around Albany’s campaign accounts. Cuomo himself is the No. 1 recipient of LLC cash — including $4.3 million during his reelection campaign and another $1.4 million Continue Reading

Showdown: Cuomo vs. Cuomo

Politician A makes a big deal about the need to reform New York’s campaign-finance laws. “Our elections are dominated by large donors and special interests,” he says in a press release. One of his proposals calls for closing legal loopholes that allow wealthy interests to donate virtually unlimited amounts to the campaigns of people in power. Politician B, meanwhile, is taking full advantage of those loopholes to raise prodigious piles of cash from some of the deepest pockets in the state — and making no apologies for his haul. “Those aren’t loopholes,” he declares in a radio interview. “Those are the laws that are written.” As you may have figured out by now, Politician A and Politician B are one and the same person: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Hypocrisy is nothing new in politics, of course. But when it comes to campaign finance, Cuomo is taking the art of having it both ways to new heights. First, there is the sheer scale of his fund-raising operation. His reelection committee, Andrew Cuomo 2014, last week reported pulling in $6.2 million over the past six months — giving him a total of nearly $28 million in the bank for an election that’s still 16 months away. Real-estate moguls, labor unions, corporations and other special interests all ponied up five- and six-figure sums. By way of comparison, that’s almost double the total raised by the last governor who sought reelection, George Pataki, at this point in the runup to his 2002 campaign. Pataki, by the way, was facing a a challenge from a self-funding billionaire, Tom Golisano. As of now, Cuomo has no formidable opponent on the horizon. Second, there is the yawning gap between what Cuomo proposes and how he actually conducts himself. Cuomo the reformer says he wants to limit the influence of big donors by slashing the donation limits, lowering the maximum for statewide candidates from $60,800 to $12,000. Plus, to Continue Reading

4 quirky rulings from Ky judge on Trump’s list

Here's a look at some of the rulings and the writings of U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky, who is among the 21 judges that President-elect Donald Trump says he will consider to fill Supreme Court vacancies: Business decisionsThapar has ruled both for and against big corporations. He tossed a suit against giant Wal-Mart back to state court, which is considered less hospitable to big business, in one of many times he has remanded based on his strict belief that federal courts are of limited jurisdiction.Ruling for property owners in a case against Elkhorn Coal Co., he started his opinion this way this:“Property rights matter. So too do the efforts of coal companies: They offer employment to millions and provide affordable energy to consumers. Sometimes, a company’s interest in conducting mining operations will leave it at odds with the owner of the surface estate. In such situations, should the law prefer the surface owner or the coal company? The Constitution wisely leaves such questions of policy to the States and the elected branches, not the courts. And here, the states and the political branches have spoken with one voice: Coal companies must comply with certain minimum permitting requirements before they may mine a surface owner’s estate.   Because the coal company in this case failed to comply with those minimum requirements, it must immediately cease mining the plaintiff’s land.” (M.L. Johnson Family Props., LLC v. Jewell)But Thapar in another opinion upheld the right of Sherwin-Williams to fire an employee who could no longer drive because a stroke had robbed him of peripheral vision.“Specialty retailers have it rough these days,” Thapar’s opinion began. “Big-box stores and internet vendors can offer one-stop shopping, more-convenient ordering, and lower prices. But there is something that those competitors cannot offer: face-to-face service. It is often the only thing. To Continue Reading

39th state Senate district election: Larkin vs. Eachus

School spending, taxes and ethics reform are among the top issues in the election for the 39th state Senate seat.Republican William Larkin Jr., 88, is competing in the Nov. 8 election to maintain the seat he's held since 1991 against Christopher Eachus, 61, a former educator and current Orange County legislator who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate seat in 2012.Both candidates were invited to meet recently with The Journal News editorial board in advance of the general election to outline their positions. Eachus was present; Larkin declined to attend, but later shared his positions via email. VIDEO: Voters speak out on the presidential election Eachus has the Democratic, Working Families and Women’s Equality Party lines. Larkin has the GOP, Conservative, Independence and Reform lines.The 39th state Senate District includes all of Haverstraw and Stony Point in Rockland County and extends into Orange County.Eachus, a retired teacher who spent nearly 40 years in the classroom, was for refining the property tax cap, which limits increases to 2 percent a year or the growth of inflation, whichever is lower. Although he supports a cap, he was against any limits that do not provide additional funding for mandates. 99th STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT: North Rockland debt tops election concerns PRIMARY RESULTS: Jaffee wins; upset in Nyack  ROCKLAND ELECTION: Who's on the ballot Eachus also called for doing away with using property taxes to pay for schools and replace it with an income tax. "We all would pay our fair share that way. It would be based on what our income is," Eachus said.Larkin said he fully supports the tax cap, and believes "it should be made permanent." Larkin described the tax cap as "one of the most important tax saving initiatives enacted into law recently."Larkin added that he and a fellow Republican senator pushed to Continue Reading