*******BREAKING NEWS: Republicans release their secret memo accusing the FBI of political bias in seeking surveillance of a member of the Trump campaign and of generally favoring Democrats. See number 3 below. Full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/us/politics/trump-fbi-memo.html.********
1. We will report on Trump’s State of the Union Address, since it did dominate the early-week news cycle. In the end, though, it may be forgotten by next week, given how much more strongly actions (and tweets) speak than words. Much of the press coverage concerned either his attempt to appear Presidential and unite the country or his attempts to appeal to his base with misstatements and tough rhetoric, for example on immigration. You can get a report on the speech in The New York Times for Wed. Jan. 31: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/30/us/politics/sotu-trump.html.
As The Times’s columnist Roger Cohn reviews the speech, it was aggressively appealing to his base. In his essay, “Trump’s Volk und Vaterland,” Cohen writes, “‘This, in fact, is our new American moment,’ President Trump declared in his State of the Union speech. ‘There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.’ But which American Dream? Trump portrayed a dark and menacing world in which immigrants, who stand at the heart of the American idea, were equated with gangs, murderous criminals and ‘horrible people.’ In his 80-minute speech, the word ‘woman’ did not come up once. Other words or phrases never mentioned included ‘peace,’ ‘human rights,’ ‘equality,’ ‘Europe,’ ‘multilateral,’ ‘civil rights,’ and ‘alliance.’ The Constitution flitted onto Trump’s radar chiefly in the context of appointing his kind of judges. If there was a theme, it was the demonization of immigrants and of the rest of the world, combined with an exaltation of American might. He spoke of building a ‘Great Wall’ on the Mexican border, but it may as well have been against the rest of humanity.” [emphasis added] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/opinion/trump-state-union-immigrants.html.
The Washington Post had a clear sense of what was said and not said and the implications of the speech. Their reporters noted on Wednesday morning, “President Trump’s call for unity ran headlong Wednesday into the divided politics of the moment, as Democrats redoubled criticism of his policies and Republicans acknowledged differences of opinion within their party on immigration. Trump, in his first State of the Union address Tuesday, called for the two parties to come together — remarks sharply at odds with the combative manner in which Trump has conducted his presidency so far.” Moreover, the authors point out, Trump offered consideration for Dreamers’ citizenship in return for increased border security. “Trump used some of his most polarizing language when lamenting crime from MS-13 and other gangs, which he blamed on ‘open borders.’ He sought to repurpose the term ‘dreamer’ by saying American citizens have seen their economic prospects dimmed and personal safety put at risk because of illegal immigration.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trump-sets-ambitious-agenda-touts-new-american-moment-in-state-of-the-union-speech/2018/01/31/ddfb3334-067e-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html.
The Post’s Gregory Sargent analyzes the claims and the real goals of Trump’s speech: “First, to persuade working- and middle-class Americans that those economic policies are good for them. Second, to reiterate his commitment to the most polarizing aspects of his approach in the eyes of the base voters who thrill to it while making conciliatory noises directed at the college-educated and suburban white swing voters who have been badly alienated by it — and who, as a result, may deliver control of at least one chamber of Congress to Democrats this year, hamstringing his presidency. Both of these imperatives required large-scale deceptions on Trump’s part.” For more, see his essay here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/01/31/trumps-speech-exposed-trumpisms-biggest-and-ugliest-lies.
For those who wish to delve further, Politico has a complete text plus fact-checking here: https://www.politico.com/interactives/2018/trump-state-of-the-union-2018-transcript-analysis/.
But the most concise comment on one of the most damaging lies in the speech comes from Paul Krugman, who says, simply, “[Trump lamented] a wave of violent crime by immigrants. Was this racist? Yes, of course. But saying that doesn’t capture the full evil of what he was doing (and I use the term ‘evil’ advisedly). For he wasn’t exaggerating a problem, or placing the blame on the wrong people. He was inventing a problem that doesn’t exist, and using that imaginary problem to demonize brown people.” [emphasis added] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/opinion/worse-than-willy-horton.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=context®ion=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article.
For the good speech by Joseph Kennedy III, giving the official Democratic response, see Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/31/kennedys-speech-so-howd-he-do/?utm_term=.d552eb244de8.
2. Illinois’s very own Attorney General candidate, Renato Mariotti, published a long and persuasive essay in Politico on Jan. 26, arguing that, “The case against Trump has grown stronger in recent months, and it now appears likely that Mueller will conclude that Trump obstructed justice.” [emphasis added] Mariotti gives a thorough treatment of all the details accumulating in the Mueller investigation that seem to point to a strong prosecutorial case. In particular, he notes that the prosecutors must prove that such incidents as the firing of James Comey were done not just in line with a President’s control of the executive but also with “corrupt intent” to conceal a crime. Mariotti shows that from what we know, Mueller is anticipating the “no corrupt intent” defense, and already has much evidence to overcome it. Whether he can actually indict a sitting President, of course, is another question. See Mariotti’s carefully reasoned case that Mueller is closing in on an obstruction case, here: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/26/mueller-trump-obstruction-of-justice-russia-216532. *Highly recommended.
Politico has also published a wide-ranging report from 12 legal scholars, examining what is next for the Mueller investigation? Scholar Laurence Tribe, of Harvard Law, for example, offers this: “The president’s foiled effort to rid himself of the Mueller investigation in June 2017, and his now-exposed invention of patently phony excuses for doing so—much as he had invented fake reasons for firing Comey before admitting his actual Russia-related reason on national television—eliminates any possible defense that Trump was clueless about the relevant rules. Together with the plethora of other evidence bearing on Trump’s corrupt motives in making these (and at least a dozen other) moves to derail or undermine the pending investigation, this attempt to pull off an even worse version of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre leaves no reasonable doubt that Trump’s motives throughout have been as illicit as if Putin had directly bribed him to attempt to end the investigation into the way Russia helped Trump become president.” https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/26/trump-tried-to-fire-mueller-so-what-216539. *Highly recommended.
3. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans, instigated by the House Intelligence Committee Head, Devin Nunes (and commentators on Fox News), are themselves attempting to undermine the credibility not just of Mueller but also of the FBI and the Justice Department itself. This is a complex story, but The New York Times does have a good, clear summary of what is taking place. Nunes has induced his committee, over the objections of the FBI, to release Nunes’s own summary of classified information he believes compromises the FBI. He says that the original reasoning for requesting surveillance of the Trump campaign’s Russia ties was fraudulent, depending on the Steele dossier [it did not, exclusively]. “‘It’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counterintelligence investigation during an American political campaign,’ Mr. Nunes said in a statement. ‘Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.’ People who have read the three-and-a-half-page memo say it contends that officials from the F.B.I. and the Justice Department were not forthcoming to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge in seeking the warrant. It says the officials relied on information assembled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, without adequately explaining to the judge that Democrats had financed the research.” But, says The Times, “Democrats have called the Republican document a dangerous effort to build a narrative to undercut the department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates colluded with Russians and whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice. They say it uses cherry-picked facts assembled with little or no context and could do lasting damage to faith in federal law enforcement.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/us/politics/fbi-director-republicans-secret-memo.html.
Moreover, as The Times points out in a further summary on Wednesday evening, “as a matter of political reality, the memo — written by Republican staffers for Representative Devin Nunes of California, the House Intelligence Committee chairman — has everything to do with defending President Trump from Mr. Mueller’s investigation.” The matter is of great importance for the future of the Mueller investigation. Why? Because it now appears that the target here is Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general appointed by Mr. Trump last year. He is accused in the Republican investigation of somehow misleading the FISA court about the dossier. This could lead to grounds for Trump to fire Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Mueller investigation. So this is an important story, since it could imply a setup to get Rosenstein out and a Trump appointee in, who could fire Mueller.
More ominously, The Times reports in that article that Sean Hannity, whom Trump watches closely and who even directly advises to Trump at times, seems to have inside knowledge of the as-yet-unreleased Nunes memo. Read the following carefully: “On the day House Intelligence Committee Republicans revealed the existence of their memo and voted to share it with the House, Mr. Hannity built his evening program around what he said his sources had already told him about its contents — saying Americans would soon learn ‘beyond any shadow of a doubt that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his band of Democratic witch hunters never should have been appointed and they need to be disbanded immediately.’ And, though it was not yet public that the memo revealed Mr. Rosenstein’s role in extending the surveillance of Mr. Page, Mr. Hannity himself raised the question: ‘Did Rosenstein sign off on extension of this FISA warrant?’ He also emphasized that ‘I’m very interested about Rod Rosenstein in all of this’ — and called for him to be fired.” [emphasis added] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/30/us/politics/secret-memo-mueller-russia-investigation.html.
On Wednesday, in a remarkable rebuke, the FBI warned Nunes against releasing the memo, putting the FBI in conflict with the President, who said it should be released. As The Washington Post reports, “The long-simmering feud between President Trump and the Justice Department erupted into open conflict Wednesday when the FBI publicly challenged the president’s expected release of a contentious and classified memo related to the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In a rare unsigned statement, the FBI cited ‘grave concerns’ with inaccuracies and omissions in the four-page memo, which was written by House Republicans and alleges abuses at the Justice Department connected to secret surveillance orders.” [emphasis added] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fbi-feud-over-classified-memo-erupts-into-open-conflict/2018/01/31/64362038-06c2-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html?utm_term=.794776b8056e.
In an op-ed Wednesday in The Washington Post, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, angrily responds to the Republican vote to release the memo: “The Nunes memo is designed to [put the government prosecutors on trial] by furthering a conspiracy theory that a cabal of senior officials within the FBI and the Justice Department were so tainted by bias against President Trump that they irredeemably poisoned the investigation. If it wasn’t clear enough that this was the goal, Nunes removed all doubt when he declared that the Justice Department and the FBI themselves were under investigation at the hearing in which the memo was ordered released.” Read his response to this dangerous partisan attack on the Justice Department and the concomitant suppression of a Democratic response memo here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/rep-nuness-memo-crosses-a-dangerous-line/2018/01/31/cbdabedc-0696-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.ff738de030e4.
And CNN reports on Wednesday that in December, “Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was ‘on my team.’” [emphasis added] https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/31/politics/donald-trump-rod-rosenstein-december-meeting/index.html.
As Schiff and others have pointed out, although the matter at hand is somewhat obscure to most Americans, it is increasingly threatening to set the stage for a Nixonian attack on the prosecutor. For this reason, our readers should follow the story as it develops.
4. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on Wednesday night that the Mueller investigation is focusing on the memo written on Air Force One as a cover story for that famous Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, and the Russians. “The statement [later shown to be misleading], released in response to questions from The New York Times about the meeting, has become a focus of the inquiry by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller in recent months have questioned numerous White House officials about how the release came together — and about how directly Mr. Trump oversaw the process. Mr. Mueller’s team recently notified Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the Air Force One statement is one of about a dozen subjects that prosecutors want to discuss in a face-to-face interview of Mr. Trump that is still being negotiated.” If Trump did suggest the misleading or false language about the meeting, this could go far in arguing that he wanted to cover up Russian involvement knowingly and with “corrupt intent.” So we have Republicans pushing against the FBI as the Mueller investigation is getting closer to Trump himself. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/us/politics/trump-russia-hope-hicks-mueller.html.
And commenting on The New York Times report above, Vanity Fair’s Tina Nguyen suggests that a young Trump aide, Hope Hicks, may be key to establishing what went on in that Air Force One meeting. She seems to have told Trump, in an unguarded moment in a conference call, that he need not worry about the Russian emails offering dirt on Hillary, because they would never see the light of day. This according to a former Trump legal spokesperson, Mark Corallo. Hicks has denied Corallo’s account: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/02/could-hope-hicks-bring-down-trump-robert-mueller.
5. Though it did not receive much coverage in the US press, “In the only major foreign policy shift announced in Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president signed an executive order to reverse Barack Obama’s eight-year effort to close the [Guantánamo] facility in Cuba – and predicted that ‘many’ new inmates could soon be flown there.” So reports The Guardian on Thursday. The paper details criticism from Bush-era officials, some of whom worked at Guantánamo, who say the prison was counter-productive and should be shut down. “Alberto Mora, general counsel of the Department of the Navy from 2001 to 2006, expressed hope that Mattis, who persuaded Trump not to resume the use of torture, may also convince him not to send more inmates to Guantánamo, which Mora called ‘a ludicrous and extravagant waste of military manpower.’”https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/01/guantanamo-bush-era-officials-warn-keeping-prison-open-may-be-6bn-error.
6. In a stunning attack on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer watchdog office long under fire from Congressional Republicans, The Washington Post reports in an exclusive, that the Trump administration will strip “the enforcement powers from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau office that specializes in pursuing cases against financial firms accused of breaking discrimination laws….The Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity had penalized lenders that it said had systematically imposed interest rates on minorities that were higher than those for whites.” Now that office will no longer have enforcement power. For its part, “[t]he CFPB added that the agency will continue to pursue fair-lending enforcement and supervision cases. Beyond moving the Office of Fair Lending, [office head Mick] Mulvaney has also dropped lawsuits against payday lenders and said the agency would reconsider aggressive rules that the industry complained would cripple it.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/02/01/trump-administration-strips-consumer-watchdog-office-of-enforcement-powers-against-financial-firms-in-lending-discrimination-cases.
7. In an important exclusive interview, Thursday’s Politico says that Mike Pence told them, “[he] is launching one of the most aggressive campaign strategies in recent White House history: He will hopscotch the country over the next three months, making nearly three dozen stops that could raise tens of millions of dollars for House and Senate Republicans, all while promoting the party’s legislative accomplishments. If done right, Pence said in an exclusive interview with POLITICO backstage before his speech to the House and Senate GOP here Wednesday night, Republicans could expand their majority in both chambers.” Pence was telling Politico about a strategy developed and presented in January at a Camp David Congressional summit; an update is expected Thursday at the Greenbriar resort GOP retreat. “The vice president’s team has devised a unique ancillary strategy to support his cross-country campaigning: partnering with America First Policies — a Trump-backed public-policy nonprofit group designed to boost the president’s agenda — to hold public events designed specifically to discuss legislative achievements like the tax bill. The goal is to have the group set up events to help voters understand what the White House sees as the upside of the Republicans’ legislative agenda. A senior administration official said Pence’s message at the events will provide a ‘blueprint for how to be successful in midterms.’” [emphasis added] https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/01/mike-pence-republicans-congress-midterms-381261. *Recommended reading.
8. Is Donald Trump profiting from the Presidency? It is a complex question, and in some instances yes, in some, no. So reports The Washington Post in a thorough Q&A on the subject of Trump’s business dealings. Questions answered include, “I thought Trump was going to profit off the presidency. Have his businesses actually done better or worse?”; and “Is Trump breaking the law with his business dealings?” The answers are not as simple as you might think: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nine-questions-about-president-trumps-businesses-and-possible-conflicts-of-interest/2018/01/29/f8b2a3a8-014f-11e8-9d31-d72cf78dbeee_story.html?utm_term=.3752b30c42c1.
9. The New York Times reports that “A 590-page higher-education bill working its way through Congress is a wish list for a wide range of people, groups and colleges saying that their First Amendment rights — freedom of speech, religion or assembly — are being trampled. Many of them are religious, right-leaning or both, and the Republicans behind the bill have eagerly taken up the cause, correcting what they see as antipathy toward conservative beliefs on American campuses.” [emphasis added] College administrators have called this bill an attempt to control what happens on college campuses, and to allow more discrimination by private groups on campus about whom they can allow in. Catholic colleges, for example, could have wide leeway to treat same-sex couples differently without losing federal funding. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/us/first-amendment-education-bill.html.
Note that this comes at a time when, reports The Huffington Post on Feb. 1, “The amount of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses in the U.S. increased 258 percent between fall 2016 and fall 2017, according to a report the Anti-Defamation League released Thursday.” [emphasis added] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-supremacist-college-campus-propaganada_us_5a7317eee4b06fa61b4dfc47?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009.
10. In a little-noticed move, Mitch McConnell has promised a vote soon on a 20-week abortion ban. It has little chance of passing; however, it has been championed by many in Congress (including over the years by Peter Roskam in Illinois), and it is taken seriously as a danger to abortion rights by pro-choice groups. A New York Times editorial says, “Mr. McConnell is set to hold a procedural vote this week on a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is part of a long-term legislative effort by the anti-abortion movement to gut Roe v. Wade and severely curtail abortion access nationwide.” The Times further editorializes, “Only about 1 percent of women seeking abortions do so after 21 weeks, and they often make that decision because a fetal abnormality has been found or because their own health is in danger. Twenty-week bans particularly curb access for poor women, who often struggle to find the money and time for the procedure.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/28/opinion/editorials/threat-abortion-rights.html.
11. Did you know that over 9,000 school teachers were immigrants protected by DACA? The New York Times has a moving story of the emotional toll, on students and teachers alike all over the country, of the administration’s threats of deportation after revoking DACA. “Educators played a crucial role in helping young unauthorized immigrants realize DACA’s potential,” says the paper. “The National Education Association, for instance, held clinics at which it encouraged eligible families to apply for the program, and worked with school districts to declare themselves ‘safe zones’ for undocumented students and their families.” But now, “Karen Reyes spends her days teaching a group of deaf toddlers at Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten School in Austin, Tex., how to understand a world they cannot hear.” The formerly-DACA-protected teacher, “has struggled to explain to her students, through sign language and pictures, the uncertainty of her future….Ms. Reyes’s teaching days may be numbered — to 119 to be exact. ‘I don’t know what I’m going to tell them,’ Ms. Reyes said through tears. ‘They understand when I go on an airplane. Maybe they’ll just think I’m on a never-ending flight.’” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/us/politics/daca-teachers-trump.html.
12. It is happening all over the world. What might be broadly—and generously—described as far-right authoritarian governments have taken power in European countries, Hungary and Poland. Now in Italy none other than Silvio Berlusconi is poised for a comeback. The Guardian reported on Tuesday that “there is no denying that Berlusconi has launched the comeback of his life, and is now the politician with the most momentum as Italy heads to national elections on 4 March.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/28/silvio-berlusconi-march-election-matteo-renzi-five-star-movement. We may be forgiven for noting that an Axis is developing.
And it is not just in Europe. The New York Times reports that the retreat of American leadership on human rights and democracy around the world has emboldened dictators and autocrats from Egypt to Honduras to Cambodia. True, this abandoment of principle is long-standing, and the CIA has been involved in overthrowing popular regimes our government did not like for decades. However, there was always, say authorities from groups like Amnesty International, room for some pushback on authoritarians, even if only marginally. Now, they say, that margin has critically shrunk. The result, says The Times, is that “[a]cross the world, autocratic leaders are engaging in increasingly brazen behavior — rigging votes, muzzling the press and persecuting opponents — as they dispense with even a fig leaf of democratic practice once offered to placate the United States or gain international legitimacy. The global tide is driven by a bewildering range of factors, including the surge of populism in Europe, waves of migration and economic inequality. And leaders of countries like Egypt, which had long been sensitive to Washington’s influence, know they run little risk of rebuke from an American president who has largely abandoned human rights and the promotion of democracy in favor of his narrow ‘America First’ agenda.” [emphasis added] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/world/middleeast/trump-sisi-egypt-strongmen.html.
13. Elsewhere around the world, The New York Times reports on the massive floods afflicting Paris, as their city wonders if climate change means they must adjust (as so many places have) to a new normal. And, the paper reports, “an international body chose this week to publish a study arguing that Paris and the rest of the Seine basin needed greater protection against the risk of a catastrophic flood.” There are dramatic photos in the article. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/world/europe/france-paris-floods.html.
14. On Wednesday, The Chicago Tribune reported on campaign contributions and expenditures in the 6th district Congressional race. They headline, “Two Democrats in primary to take on Roskam stand out in cash race, thanks to their own checkbooks.” The paper reports “Two candidates trying to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton were emerging Wednesday as leaders in the chase for campaign cash in the crowded Democratic primary field. Though some candidates had yet to file their federal campaign finance reports in the hours before a midnight deadline, Kelly Mazeski of Barrington Hills, had more than $513,000 in her treasury as the year opened, and Sean Casten of Downers Grove had about $409,000….They are among seven Democrats who will compete in a March 20 primary in what will be one of the most closely watched congressional races in the Chicago area.” At the same time, other candidates have raised outside money, and the report details their campaign funding as well. For the full reports, check the FEC website here: https://www.fec.gov/data/elections/house/IL/06/2018/. Read the newspaper report here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-democrats-congress-roskam-20180131-story.html.
15. Also in local news, The Naperville Sun reports on the wave of women candidates all over the country, and focuses on the five women running in that 6th district race. “Of the seven candidates vying for the opportunity to run head-to-head against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam this November, five are women.” The paper quotes candidate Carole Cheney. “‘We have a voice too, and we want to be heard,’ Cheney said. ‘We need a Congress that represents the people who live in the districts, and in the 6th District, there are more women than men.’” http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-naperville-women-candidates-st-0117-20180116-story.html.
16. Rep. Peter Roskam sat down with the editorial board of The Daily Herald to defend the tax bill he was so instrumental in writing and passing. “’The overarching significance of a good, pro-growth tax policy that is inclusive and is not for the few, but really tries to offer broad tax relief,’ Roskam said, ‘is, at its foundation, really significant long-term for the health of our country.’” He claims that “analyzing the whole array of changes, including a standard deduction increased to $24,000 for couples and a child tax credit doubled to $2,000, the law will produce positive results. He said a sample family in the 6th District — with a median income of $135,000 a year for a husband, wife and two children — is projected to receive a $4,000 tax cut.” But Democrats charge that “the tax law discourages homeownership and could decrease charitable giving because the higher standard deduction will lead fewer filers to itemize.” To this, Roskam responds that, “The more the economy grows, the more money people have, the more likely they are to buy houses, he said. And the more money people make, the more they have to give.” http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20180126/roskam-tax-bill-law-modernizes-rules-promotes-growth.
Many other sources dispute this prediction, including the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, which sees higher taxes for some “middle class” families, according to a report in USA Today back in November: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/11/27/some-middle-class-trump-plan-would-mean-tax-increase/94427186/. The Tax Policy Center analyzes many scenarios for “tax cuts” in this report: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/updated-effects-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-representative-families/full. Note two things: 1) the term “middle class” is more a social term than a meaningful one in economics: for tax purposes, different filing situations produce different results; and 2) the term “tax cut” is itself too broad to apply to what is an increasingly complex tax code that will, again, affect different filers in different ways.*
[*For example: the TPC notes, comparing the taxes for a typical couple in the $135,000 bracket who would no longer be at an advantage by itemizing because of their loss or limit on certain deductions: “As a consequence of losing their personal exemptions and no longer itemizing, taxable income would increase for the couple in the high-tax state and they would pay higher federal income taxes than under pre-TCJA law. Taxable income would also go up for the couple in a low-tax state, but by less than for the couple in a high-tax state, and they would have a tax cut under the TCJA. The couple in a moderate-tax state also would see their taxable income go up but they would pay about the same tax as under pre-TCJA law.” (p.7) ]