Republican Party, Xi Jinping, Fats Domino: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing – New York Times

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The Republican effort to write a once-in-a-generation bill to cut taxes appears to be the last, best hope for the fractured party to find some common ground.

But it’s also a “bit like having a baby to save a failing marriage,” our reporters have concluded. Tensions abound, including over sharp reductions in how much Americans may save in 401(k) accounts.

Still, party leaders hope to introduce the bill next week in the House and deliver it to the president by Christmas. Above, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, spoke to reporters.


2. President Trump insisted that his meeting with Senate Republicans yesterday was a “love fest with standing ovations.” (Apart from his feuds with Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, of course.)

We collected the best writing from the right and left on the Trump-Flake dust-up. And today on our podcast “The Daily,” we discuss Mr. Flake’s speech, and what actually happened in Niger, where four U.S. service members were killed early this month.


3. The “Steele dossier” of research into President Trump’s connections to Russia is back in the news, with the revelation that it was at least partly funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The report was compiled by Christopher Steele, above, a former British spy who had been contracted by the Washington research firm Fusion GPS. It included salacious claims about the president, and the news is likely to fuel new partisan attacks over the federal and congressional investigations into Russian election meddling.


4. President Xi Jinping unveiled China’s new slate of seniors leaders — but, in a break with tradition, none were young enough to be likely successors.

The announcement at the Communist Party congress was another sign of how much power Mr. Xi has amassed in his five years in office. He has so many official titles that some call him “chairman of everything.”


5. Scores of Nigerian girls have been sent on suicide missions by Boko Haram. But 18 managed to survive to tell their stories.

The teenagers described being kidnapped by armed militants who tied suicide belts to their waists, or thrust bombs into their hands, and sent them toward crowded civilian areas.

All of them resisted, preventing the attacks by begging ordinary citizens or the authorities to help them. “I came away thinking they were heroes,” our correspondent said. Their full names and images of their faces were withheld out of concern for their security.


6. Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio host and friend of President Trump, will take over one of the most coveted slots on cable next week — 10 p.m. on Fox News.

We joined her as she campaigned in Arizona for Kelli Ward, the insurgent Republican primary challenger to Senator Jeff Flake.

Ms. Ingraham said that she wants to represent “the working-class, populist sensibility that is the beating heart of the Republican Party right now.”


7. Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer whose boogie-woogie piano made him one of the biggest stars of early rock ’n’ roll, died at 89.

He had more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t It a Shame” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.” Listen to 12 of his most essential tracks here.

He was a master of the wordless vocal, making hits out of songs full of “woo-woos” and “la-las.”


8. Recent wildfires and hurricanes put some endangered species in critical danger of extinction.

We present portraits of some of them, including the Mount Graham red squirrel, above, a remnant from the last ice age. An Arizona wildfire killed 217 of them in June, leaving only 35 on Earth.


9. The National Archives is scheduled to release its final trove of records about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy tomorrow.

President Trump resisted pressure from intelligence agencies to block the release.

The assassination is “the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories” in the American psyche, as our writer put it. We dug into our archives to look back at how we covered the investigation.


10. Finally, on the late-night shows tonight, the NBC host Megyn Kelly will sit down with Seth Meyers. She’s become an outspoken critic of her former employer, Fox News.

And in other TV fare, the wildly popular sci-fi/horror series “Stranger Things” returns to Netflix on Friday, just in time for that spookiest of holidays.

Have a great night.


Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

And don’t miss Your Morning Briefing, posted weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern, and Your Weekend Briefing, posted at 6 a.m. Sundays.

Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.

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