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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Mugabe refuses to resign as president of Zimbabwe

  • Budget director: GOP may 'game the system' to pass tax reform

  • White House adviser refuses to directly answer whether Trump backs Moore

  • State Department threatens to close Palestinian office in Washington

  • SNL takes on Al Franken allegations

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe refused to resign in a live televised address Sunday, a speech during which it was expected he would leave office. Earlier that day, the ruling Zanu-PF party ousted Mugabe, 93, as party leader and expelled his wife, Grace, a would-be successor, from the party as well. Emmerson Mnangagwa, who served as Zimbabwe's vice president until Mugabe fired him this month, was chosen as the new party head, and Mugabe was given 24 hours to resign or face impeachment. Prior to his Sunday address, Mugabe announced by proxy his willingness "to die" rather than leave office, and in his Sunday remarks he pledged to preside at the Zanu-PF convention next month. All this comes after the Zimbabwean military put Mugabe and his wife under house arrest earlier this week, prompting thousands of Zimbabweans to take to the streets over the weekend demanding an end to Mugabe's regime.

Source: CNN, Reuters

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney addressed the Trump administration's tax reform agenda in a pair of interviews Sunday. "We're using reconciliation so that we only need 50 votes in the Senate instead of 60," Mulvaney explained on NBC's Meet the Press. "In order to do that, the certain proposals can only have certain economic impact, and one of the ways to game the system is to make things expire," he continued, clarifying that "this is done more to force, to shoehorn the bill into the rules than because we think it's good policy." Likewise, on CNN, Mulvaney said the White House would endorse removing the ObamaCare individual mandate repeal rider from the tax bill if that is what it takes to pass the legislation.

Source: Bloomberg Politics, NBC News

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short on Sunday sidestepped no less than 13 questions from ABC News host George Stephanopoulos as to whether President Trump wants embattled Alabama candidate Roy Moore to win a seat in the Senate given credible allegations of his sexual misconduct toward teenage girls as young as 14. Over the course of about six minutes, Short repeatedly described Trump as "concerned" and "uncomfortable" because of the accusations, while maintaining that "the right decision will be what the people of Alabama decide." After persistently pressing Short to give a yes or no answer, Stephanopoulos finally moved on to a simpler subject, tax reform.

Source: ABC News, Politico

The State Department said Friday it will demand the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) outpost in Washington unless the group agrees to peace talks with Israel. The agency said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas triggered a provision in U.S. law that allows the secretary of state to shut down the PLO office if Palestine acts against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Abbas called for an ICC investigation of Israeli settlements in a September speech. The PLO said Saturday it would not be blackmailed and expressed surprise at the strong-arm tactic after amicable meetings between Abbas and President Trump.

Source: CNN, Reuters

Saturday Night Live censured SNL alum Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) over a reporter's allegation that in 2006 he kissed her without her consent and took a picture groping her while she slept. "I know this photo looks bad, but remember: It also is bad," said Colin Jost in a Weekend Update segment on the subject. "And, sure, this was taken before he ran for public office, but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school. It's pretty hard to be like, 'Oh, come on. He didn't know any better. He was only 55.'" Michael Che chimed in to note President Trump's selective condemnation of Franken, a Democrat, while refraining from comparable comment about Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Source: USA Today, CNN
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