Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing

Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Senators are scrambling to find ways to mitigate the cost of the tax bill after some lawmakers called for safeguards against ballooning the deficit. Credit Zach Gibson for The New York Times

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Michael Flynn charged with lying to the F.B.I.

• President Trump’s former national security adviser is expected to plead guilty today to lying about a conversation with the Russian ambassador last December.

• The plea would be the latest signal that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

Vote on tax plan expected today.

• Senators had to contemplate major changes to the tax bill after a nonpartisan committee found that proposed cuts would not pay for themselves, as Republicans have claimed. Follow our live briefing for the latest.

On Thursday, the Joint Committee on Taxation said the measure would add $1 trillion to budget deficits over 10 years.

One idea is to set the corporate tax rate higher than the 20 percent President Trump has called for.

We asked: How many people in each income group would get a tax cut? And in a video, we checked some Republican claims about the plan.


Fact Check: The Senate G.O.P. Tax Plan

Senate Republicans and President Trump are rushing to overhaul the tax system. Does their plan live up to their promises?

By DAVE HORN on Publish Date November 30, 2017. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

Replacing a moderate with a hawk.

• The White House plans to force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

Continue reading the main story

Mr. Tillerson would be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director who has called for ripping up the Iran nuclear agreement, suggested that regime change in North Korea would be welcome and played down talk of Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing
Rex Tillerson at the White House last month. If he leaves his position before the end of the year, his time in office would be the shortest of any secretary of state in nearly 120 years — excepting those whose tenure coincided with a change in presidents. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Speaking of Russia, our reporters learned that Mr. Trump repeatedly urged Senate Republicans over the summer to end the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference. The requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.

Mea culpa. Kinda sorta.

• Our journalists analyzed the apologies — and non-apologies — of high-profile men who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Watch the men’s various reactions here.


Sorry, or Not: How Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct React

Powerful men continue to be accused of sexual harassment and assaults, and have been responding by accepting, hedging or dodging the allegations.

By NATALIE RENEAU and SARAH STEIN KERR on Publish Date November 30, 2017. . Watch in Times Video »

On Thursday, the former NBC anchor Matt Lauer offered his apology, and fans of “Today” were processing the news. “I’m very disappointed in him,” one said.

Leaders of the House called on Representative John Conyers Jr. to resign from Congress, and accusations against two more major figures came to light: Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul who co-founded Def Jam Records, and the playwright Israel Horovitz.

The Times has started a newsletter, The #MeToo Moment, in which our gender editor, Jessica Bennett, will offer updates and analysis. Sign up here.

Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing
NBC fired Matt Lauer this week after allegations of inappropriate behavior. In a statement, he expressed “sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused.” Credit NBCU Photo Bank, via Getty Images

Immigrant acquitted in case invoked by Trump.

• An undocumented Mexican immigrant was cleared of murder and manslaughter in the 2015 killing of a San Francisco woman.

Cited by Donald Trump during his campaign, the death of Kathryn Steinle fed into a debate over whether immigrants without legal status should be dealt with more aggressively. The immigrant, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, had been deported five times.

After Thursday’s verdict, a U.S. customs official said the agency would “work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”

The Daily”: The tax bill’s trillion-dollar problem.

Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device.

Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing
Emperor Akihito will step down on April 30, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan said today. It will be the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in two centuries. The emperor, pictured in November, said last year that he planned to step down before his death. He is 83. Credit Kazuhiro Nogi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


One of the longest stock-market booms in history continued on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing above 24,000 for the first time.

Here’s a snapshot of U.S. stocks and global markets.

The world’s biggest battery was turned on today in Australia. The size of a football field, it was built by Elon Musk, the Tesla Motors founder, and can power 30,000 homes.

You’ll probably pay more for your Christmas tree this year.

Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing
A Christmas tree lot in Idaho Falls, Idaho. A shortage of trees this year can be traced to the recession in 2008. Credit John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register, via Associated Press

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

How to clean holiday stains, including gravy, wine … and blood.

Exercise may enhance brain training.

Recipe of the day: This weekend, surprise someone with a homemade ginger stout cake.


The new Seven Wonders of the World.

In today’s 360 video, visit the sites and monuments selected in 2007 as additions to the original list named in 250 B.C.


New Seven Wonders in 360: The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China was built over a period of 1800 years to protect against invaders.

By Video by SARAH LI on Publish Date December 1, 2017. Photo by Robb Kendrick for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

In memoriam.

Jim Nabors found fame as TV’s amiable bumpkin Gomer Pyle, originally in a supporting role on “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1962. With catchphrases like “shazam!” and “gawwwleee,” the character was given his own series. Mr. Nabors was 87.

Ready for the weekend.

At the movies, our critic says “The Shape of Water,” directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, is “altogether wonderful.” (You can find all our new film reviews here.)

We recommend 12 new books, as well as what to watch on TV based on how much time you have.

And our music critics assess this year’s crop of holiday releases, including Gwen Stefani and Herb Alpert.

The 10 best books of 2017.

Our Book Review editors made their annual picks.

The World Cup draw.

The soccer tournament begins in June, but the 32 teams will be divided into groups at 10 a.m. Eastern in a ceremony at the Kremlin. (Russia is next year’s host.)

Follow our live briefing and read a breakdown of every team.

Best of late-night TV.

Jimmy Kimmel lashed out at Roy Moore, the Senate candidate in Alabama, over Christian values.

Quotation of the day.

“He was a good mentor, until he was the worst, probably most nightmarish mentor you could have.”

— Jocelyn Meinhardt, who said she was raped at 19 when she began a summer fellowship in 1989 with the playwright Israel Horovitz. Mr. Horovitz has been accused by nine women of sexual misconduct.

Back Story

It’s considered the highest art form of its class, with equal parts risk and high reward. It’s impossibly light, and taller than it is wide. The jeweled citrus peel is the (dried) cherry on top.

We’re of course speaking of panettone (pronounced pann-eh-TOH-nee), the traditional Italian bread served around Christmas. The boxed fruitcake lines grocery stores around the world but is deeply rooted in Milanese folklore dating to the Middle Ages.

Michael Flynn, Kathryn Steinle, Jim Nabors: Your Friday Briefing
A seasonal treat with Italian origins. Credit An Rong Xu for The New York Times

One legend of its origin involves a nobleman’s love for the daughter of a baker named Toni. Forbidden from marrying her, the nobleman disguised himself and went to work for the baker, creating a new bread to impress the woman, made with butter, eggs and candied fruit. The bread was such a hit at court, a new dessert was named in its honor — pan del Ton — and the nobleman was allowed to marry the daughter.

Five hundred years later, the boxed version of panettone became widely available. Homemade panettone is notoriously difficult: Butter a couple of degrees too warm can turn the dough to mush.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

“It melts in your mouth and it’s suddenly gone,” one baker told The Times. “And then you want to eat more.”

Remy Tumin contributed reporting.


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