Concerns that special counsel Robert Mueller’s first charges in the probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election could hinder Republican efforts to pass comprehensive tax reform by 2018 may be unfounded.
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“Oddly, I think that this could actually be something of a benefit for the tax plan rollout,” National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto during an interview on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” “Because it will be very difficult for the special interest groups who are against the tax plan, or various parts of it depending on what it actually looks like, to get oxygen in the press.”
On Monday, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Roger Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, according to the special counsel’s office.
Manafort pleaded not guilty to all charges, and a $10 million bond was set. Manafort, 68, has been the subject of a longstanding investigation because of his past dealings in Ukraine, during which he failed to file as a foreign agent until June 2017.
Earlier this month, George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty to knowingly making false statements to the FBI about his relationships with foreign officials whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.
Despite this, Goldberg suggested the news could in fact distract the Washington press corps from writing negatively about the tax cut plan and rally deficit-wary Republicans to support it.
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But, he voiced concerns that razor-thin margins in both the House and the Senate -- thanks in part to the potential elimination of the state and local tax deduction, which benefits high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California -- could possibly endanger the bill.
“If the Republicans can’t do tax reform, if they can’t cut taxes, why have Republicans?” he said Tuesday. “Donald Trump can point to his executive orders, Donald Trump can point to lots of things he’s done, he’s not up for election for a while. These guys going into 2018, they need to put some points on the board.”