The documents have either never been disclosed or been made public only in redacted form, and are due to be released by the National Archives and Records Administration on Thursday under a law passed in 1992 after the Oliver Stone movie “JFK” stoked interest in Kennedy-related conspiracies. The last of the documents were required to be released 25 years after the law was signed, but the incumbent president, in this case Mr. Trump, can order some withheld in response to concerns by the intelligence agencies. White House officials said he had not made up his mind whether to do so.
Historians and conspiracy investigators are eager to see what the documents may yet reveal about Lee Harvey Oswald and any ties he may have had to the Cubans, Soviets, C.I.A., F.B.I. or mafia. Some hope for a better understanding of Oswald’s trip to Mexico City, where he visited the Cuban Consulate in the weeks before the assassination at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Still, some specialists on the killing warned against expecting any stunning revelation. “I don’t think it will turn the case on its head,” said Gerald Posner, author of “Case Closed,” the 1993 book that concluded that Oswald indeed killed Kennedy on his own.
“We’re not going to find some secret memo from J. Edgar Hoover drawing out the escape path for Lee Harvey Oswald,” he said. “The public expectations are very high — they’ve heard about secret files, they know they’ve been locked up for all these years. The average person may think there’s a bombshell in there.”
But Mr. Posner said the files might draw a fuller picture of the early 1960s beyond the specific questions about the assassination. “This is all about the Cold War and spooks and spies and Mexico City,” he said. “This is about a time when we know the government was in league with the mob to kill Castro. Cold War scholars and historians may find this as interesting as Kennedy assassination researchers.”
According to the archives, 88 percent of the documents in the collection created by the 1992 law have been released in full and another 11 percent have been released with portions redacted. Just 1 percent have been withheld in full until now. Most have remained secret because they were declared “not assassination related” or “not believed relevant.” Officials said many of those were documents created as late as the 1990s to describe how intelligence collection worked.
Jefferson Morley, an author who spent years suing the C.I.A. for documents related to the Kennedy assassination, said he thought it likely that Mr. Trump would defer to some agency demands and withhold a portion of the archive. But he said he nonetheless hoped it would answer some questions for researchers that linger after nearly 54 years.
“There won’t be any smoking gun,” said Mr. Morley, editor of the assassination website JFKfacts.org, who re-examined the period for his new book, “The Ghost: The Secret Life of C.I.A. Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.” “But it will fill in the picture of the pre-assassination surveillance of Oswald,” especially during his visit to the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City.
Mr. Morley said that the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. were well aware of Oswald, a former defector to the Soviet Union, before the killing. “The idea that Oswald came out of the blue and shot the president is false,” he said. “The C.I.A. had a deep file on him.”
Mr. Morley also said that with the potential release of what may total more than 100,000 pages, no one should expect instant answers on what they contained. “There will be good stuff in there, but you’re not going to find it in the first two hours,” he said.
Max Holland, a Washington writer and author of the 2004 book “The Kennedy Assassination Tapes,” said he believed expectations about potential revelations from the files were overblown.
He noted that while the documents have not been previously made public, they all were seen years ago by the J.F.K. Assassination Records Review Board and were unlikely to significantly affect the official story. He cautioned against conspiratorial thinking that runs against the evidence, which he finds persuasive, that Oswald alone killed Kennedy.
“I can understand why people are curious,” Mr. Holland said. “But the level of distrust in this country is such that people will believe anything. The problem is really with us.”
Indeed, the Kennedy assassination has continued to intrigue and puzzle the American public long after most of the main players have died. While the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone, most people have never accepted the official version of events. A poll by Gallup in 2013, at the time of the 50th anniversary, found that 61 percent of Americans still believed that others besides Oswald were involved — and that was the lowest percentage of skeptics found in nearly a half century.
“We just have to realize that there is never going to be an explanation of the Kennedy assassination that will satisfy everyone,” Mr. Beschloss said. “That will never happen. At the same time, there are still mysteries on which these files might shed some light.”
Elsewhere, real estate prices in German cities like Frankfurt have risen so much that there is fear of a bubble. Stock prices are at historical highs and may be overdue for a correction. And Britain’s impending exit from the European Union will disrupt the economic order.
Consumers, businesses and politicians have gotten accustomed to — some would say spoiled by — low interest rates.
The central bank’s benchmark interest rate is zero, and investors are so desperate for safe places to put their money that corporations like Daimler, the German automotive giant, have been able to issue bonds that pay no interest.
Low interest rates have also weakened the euro against the dollar and other currencies, a boon for exporters whose products are usually cheaper for foreign customers as a result. The euro will most likely rise as monetary policy returns to normal.
The eurozone economy is humming, but that may be no insurance against another crisis. Such events have occurred regularly since the world’s economic powers abandoned fixed exchange rates in 1973, a recent report by analysts at Deutsche Bank pointed out.
“It would therefore take a huge leap of faith to say that crises won’t continue to be a regular feature of the current financial system,” said the report, which listed the withdrawal of central bank support as one factor that could trigger the next meltdown.
To avoid provoking renewed turmoil, the European Central Bank is expected to move cautiously.
Analysts believe the bank will cut its debt purchases by half, to €30 billion a month, starting in January. But Mario Draghi, the central bank’s president, is expected to stress that the Governing Council will stand ready to ramp up stimulus in response to any signs of trouble.
“Ideally, the E.C.B. would like to announce tapering as noiselessly as possible,” analysts at Dutch bank ING said in a note to clients.
In addition, historically low interest rates will remain in place for the foreseeable future. The central bank has said it will not begin raising rates until it has stopped buying bonds, and only if the eurozone inflation rate is on track to hit the official target of 2 percent.
Still, some economists fear that the end of nearly free money will come as a shock for some weaker companies, free-spending consumers and overly indebted governments.
“The success of a relaxed monetary course is apparent not at the beginning, but when it ends,” Jörg Krämer, the chief economist of Commerzbank and a critic of central bank policies, said in a note to clients. “There are many risks involved, and the longer the E.C.B. delays before changing course, the greater they become.”
Justin Verlander needed just four pitches to retire Chase Utley and pinch-hitter Andre Ethier on a pair of fly-outs to center to start the inning, but that is when the trouble started. He walked Chris Taylor — his second walk of the game, both of which were drawn by Taylor — and got ahead, 0-2, on Corey Seager, but a 97 mile-per-hour fastball was right down the middle and Seager wasted no time hitting it out of the park to give his team the lead. Justin Turner popped out to end the inning, but the mighty Dodgers bullpen now has a lead to work with, which could be a big problem for Houston.
Waldstein: Did that seem like a familiar script? A two-out walk to Chris Taylor and then a two-run homer to left by the next batter? In Game 1 it was Justin Turner with the smash. In Game 2 it was Corey Seager, who went opposite field with a pitch that Verlander left up in the zone. And Seager knew it was gone — or at least had a good chance — right away because he was screaming as the ball left the bat.
All of the Dodgers’ runs so far in the series have come on four home runs.
Now L.A. is 12 outs away from taking a 2-0 lead in the series by beating the Astros’ two best pitchers, and the Dodgers have a favorable pitching matchup in Game 3.
Top 6th: Double play ends Astros’ rally.
Kenta Maeda allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Correa, but retired Yulieski Gurriel on a pop-fly to the catcher before Dave Roberts came out to remove him so Tony Watson, a left-hander, could come in to face the left-handed Brian McCann. Watson is responsible for two of the three runs that the Dodgers bullpen has allowed so far in the postseason, but the change worked out well for Los Angeles. He needed just one pitch to end the inning by getting McCann to ground into a double play.
Waldstein: Wow, the Dodgers are tough. Maeda gave up his first base runner of the postseason and they lifted him. But it worked, as Tony Watson came in and got Brian McCann to hit into the shift for a double play. Watson was then lifted for a pinch-hitter, so he had the near-perfect line: two-thirds of an inning, one pitch.
Bottom 5th: Pederson ties game with solo homer.
Justin Verlander had been absolutely dominating batters, and looked well on his way to getting through five innings without allowing a hit, but with two outs, Joc Pederson worked a 2-1 count and then hit a solo home run to right-center. Verlander was able to get out of the inning quickly by retiring Austin Barnes on a fly to left, but with the Dodgers already having gone to their bullpen, the tie game could be a problem for them if it were to stretch into extra innings.
Waldstein: The crowd comes to life at Dodger Stadium. Pederson goes deep for the Dodgers’ first hit off Verlander. Pederson hit a hanging slider, it looked like. Funny, because part of the reason he was in there against Verlander is because he is a good fastball hitter.
It’s also still funny to be to see a Dodger wearing No. 31 who is not Mike Piazza.
Top 5th: Dodgers turn to their bullpen early.
Rich Hill had only thrown 60 pitches, and allowed just one run, but he was removed to start the fifth inning because Dave Roberts does not like his pitchers to go through the same lineup three times unless they have to. The bullpen was fresh, so Kenta Maeda came in and continued his stellar postseason pitching. He made each of his outfielders work, retiring George Springer on a fly ball to center, Alex Bregman on a fly to left, and Jose Altuve on a fly to foul territory in right.
Hill’s final pitching line for the day was four innings, three hits and one earned run. He struck out seven and walked three.
Waldstein: Maeda has mostly been used for one inning in relief this postseason. That’s 18 straight batters set down for Maeda in the postseason. He hasn’t allowed a base runner.
Bottom 4th: Verlander allows a base runner, but just one.
The Dodgers got their first base runner of the day when Justin Verlander walked Chris Taylor to start the inning, but the Dodgers were not able to do anything with it. Taylor was quickly erased from the bases when Corey Seager grounded to Carlos Correa, who was playing on the left side of second base because of the shift, then Justin Turner grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Top 4th: Astros threaten again, but come up short.
It was a quiet inning, with two walks (one of which was intentional) but there was some entertainment along the way. Rich Hill started things off by walking Yulieski Gurriel. He got ahead 0-2 on Brian McCann, but a passed ball sent Gurriel to second before McCann was retired on a fly to right. The crowd got amped up when it appeared Gurriel might try to advance to third against Yasiel Puig, but he wisely did not challenge the right fielder’s powerful arm, much to the crowd’s delight. With a runner in scoring position, Marwin Gonzalez continued to struggle, striking out looking on a fastball that was right down the middle. Josh Reddick was walked intentionally to get to Justin Verlander, and Hill finished off his Houston counterpart with a three-pitch strikeout.
Waldstein: The Dodgers have won the last four postseason starts Hill has made for them. Hill is from Milton, Mass. and is a huge Patriots fan. I spoke to him on Monday and he was quite pleased they had beaten the Falcons and looked to be playing well again. Hill went to Michigan and was a freshman when Tom Brady was a senior. They both lived in South Quad, the big jock dorm, but Hill said they only really had one passing interaction.
Bottom 3rd: Verlander looks comfortable with lead.
Staked to a lead, Justin Verlander got through Austin Barnes quickly when the catcher flew out to left on the second pitch he saw, and got a little luck when Jose Altuve was able to snag a hard line drive from Chase Utley that appeared to be headed into right field. That brought Rich Hill to the plate, and the pitcher executed a nice swinging bunt, but was retired on a bang-bang play at first to end the inning.
Waldstein: Tiger Woods is at the game. He was shown on the video screen and gave a very awkward smile and wave. I spent half an inning watching Dieter Ruehle, the Dodgers famed organist. But he does much more than play the organ. He also does all those sounds effects, like the cavalry charge trumpet, the clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, noise and the tempo-quickening drum beat. It’s kind of mesmerizing.
Top 3rd: Astros get to Hill with small ball.
The Astros are up 1-0 thanks to some small ball and a little luck. Josh Reddick led off the inning against Rich Hill with a single that looked an awful lot like an error by Chase Utley. Justin Verlander bunted him over to second, and George Springer’s single sent him to third. With runners at the corners, Alex Bregman hit a ball to center that a diving Chris Taylor could not quite snag, letting Reddick score easily. Hill got a second out by catching Jose Altuve looking at a fastball for strike three, and then struck out Carlos Correa on three pitches to limit the damage, but the struggling Houston offense looked the best it has so far in the series.
Waldstein: For the first time in nine postseason games, the Astros have scored in the first three innings. Bregman’s single caromed off the brim of Taylor’s cap, reminiscent of the play where Yoenis Cespedes booted the ball in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, resulting in an inside-the-park home run by Alcides Escobar of the Royals. But this time, it went directly to Joc Pederson, limiting the damage.
Bottom 2nd: Verlander gets 4th strikeout.
It was more of the same for the Dodgers’ hitters in the second, as Justin Verlander continued to dominate. The big right-hander struck out Cody Bellinger on four pitches, got Yasiel Puig to pop out to first, and finished off the inning by fooling Joc Pederson with a called strike three on a curveball that was slightly up in the zone. Verlander has struck out four of the six batters he’s faced and has needed just 24 pitches.
Top 2nd: Hill matches Verlander’s intensity.
Rich Hill’s command problems against the first two batters of the game are a distant memory. He retired Yulieski Gurriel on just one pitch, getting the first baseman to fly out to left, and then threw an 87 mile-per-hour fastball past Brian McCann for strike three. He nearly caught Marwin Gonzalez looking for a called third strike to end the inning, but settled for a swinging strike on the next pitch.
Bottom 1st: Verlander looks dominant.
Chris Taylor, who led off Game 1 with a home run, fouled Justin Verlander’s first pitch off his own foot and then struck out on a 96 mile-per-hour fastball cut over the outside edge of the plate. Corey Seager struck out on four pitches, flailing helplessly at an outside fastball, and Justin Turner flew out to center to end the inning. Verlander looked absolutely dominant.
Waldstein: Verlander, the M.V.P. of the A.L.C.S., comes out as you would expect in the first inning. He was aggressive, going right after the Dodgers hitters and striking out the first two, including Corey Seager on a 98 mile-per-hour heater. Verlander is looking to go 5-0 in the postseason and 10-0 since joining the Astros.
Not a ton of pressure on Verlander. It’s only the Astros’ season at stake here.
Top 1st: Rich Hill settles down without damage.
The first pitch of Game 2 came at 8:17 p.m. Eastern, when Rich Hill threw a an 89 mile-per-hour fastball to George Springer for a ball. It took a while for Hill to find his command, as he walked Springer on six pitches and then fell behind 3-1 to Alex Bregman. But he eventually retired Bregman on a foul pop, struck out Jose Altuve on three pitches, and then got Carlos Correa to fly out to right to end the inning.
Dodgers fans were already pumped up before the game starts as former broadcaster Vin Scully came out with a microphone to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“I can imagine Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella up in Heaven laughing their heads off saying, ‘Look who’s throwing out the first ball at the World Series.’”
Scully, doing a full stand-up routine, said he has been practicing all week by throwing to his wife, who said he has good stuff. He then calls out Steve Yeager to catch the pitch as the fans chant, “Scully, Scully.” But then as he was about to throw, Scully said he injured his rotator cuff and has to go to the bullpen. He calls on lefty Fernando Valenzuela, who throws to Yeager.
Not good stuff. Great stuff. — David Waldstein
Here’s what to expect in Game 2.
■ After last night’s 2 hour 28 minute masterpiece, this game could be another pitcher’s duel, with Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36 E.R.A.) of the Astros facing Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32) of the Dodgers. Verlander beat the Dodgers in his lone start against them this season, striking out nine batters in eight innings on Aug. 20 while he was still with the Detroit Tigers. Hill did not face the Astros in 2017, but in 2016 he went 1-1 against them, allowing three earned runs in 12 innings.
George Springer, CF (0 for 4)
Alex Bregman, 3B (1 for 4)
Jose Altuve, 2B (1 for 4)
Carlos Correa, SS (0 for 3)
Yuli Gurriel, 1B (0 for 3)
Brian McCann, C (0 for 3)
Marwin Gonzalez, LF (0 for 3)
Josh Reddick, RF (1 for 3)
Justin Verlander, P
Chris Taylor, CF (1 for 3)
Corey Seager, SS (2 for 3)
Justin Turner, 3B (1 for 4)
Cody Bellinger, 1B (0 for 3)
Yasiel Puig, RF (0 for 3)
Joc Pederson, LF
Austin Barnes, C (1 for 3)
Chase Utley, 2B
Rich Hill, P
■ The Dodgers’ bullpen looked great in Game 1, with Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen retiring all six batters they faced. Beyond those two, it does not get much easier for the Astros’ hitters. Kenta Maeda has not allowed a run in five postseason appearances and the Dodgers’ bullpen has combined to allow just three runs in 30 and two-thirds innings.
■ A loss for the Astros would put the team in an 0-2 hole, but all hope would not be lost: Eleven teams have recovered from such a deficit to win the World Series (the most recent was the 1996 Yankees). No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit in the World Series.
■ Verlander has been one of the best trade deadline acquisitions in baseball history. In the regular season, he won all five of his starts, struck out 43 batters in 34 innings, and allowed just four earned runs. In the playoffs he has been nearly as good, with 24 strikeouts and four earned runs in 24 and two-thirds innings. It is enough to evoke memories of Doyle Alexander’s memorable run with the Detroit Tigers in 1987 when he went 9-0 in the regular season. But before anyone declares the Verlander trade a major victory for Houston, consider the fact that Alexander lost two playoff starts for them, the team did not win the World Series, and the player he was traded for (John Smoltz) ended up going to the Hall of Fame.
■ There was little offense to speak of on either side in Game 1, with all of the scoring coming on three home runs, but the Astros have to be getting impatient with some of their batters. Since the playoffs began, Marwin Gonzalez, who had a slash line of .303/.377/.530 during the regular season, is just 6 for 40 with two doubles and two R.B.I. George Springer, who hit 34 home runs during the regular season, had a solid division series but has been a ghost since, going 3 for 30 over eight games with no extra-base hits, and he struck out four times in Game 1 on Tuesday.
■ The Dodgers’ Corey Seager was clearly eager to get back into the swing of things after sitting out the A.L.C.S. with a back injury. In his first game back on Tuesday, he saw just four pitches in his three at-bats, but his impatience was rewarded with two singles. Despite the success, he is unlikely to get his job as the Dodgers’ No. 2 hitter back because Manager Dave Roberts will not want to mess with the success that Chris Taylor and Justin Turner have had at the top of his lineup.
Contemporary art theory has long held that the artwork takes place not in the moment of creation or exhibition, but rather in the ways that it circulates in the world. That’s why withdrawal isn’t just a negative act. The museum is actively putting the withdrawal into the world, which will then circulate beside and on top of the artwork, as a rumor, a footnote, a filter. I am arguing for a creative acceptance of the pressure to withdraw an artwork, rather than either outright rejection or reluctant acquiescence.
For a different example, look to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. In the spring the museum erected an outdoor sculpture by the artist Sam Durant that replicated the gallows where 38 Dakota people were executed in 1862.
After an outcry that the work appeared to be a monument to a massacre, the museum convened a mediation session that included the artist, parks officials, museum staff members and, most important, Dakota elders. They decided to destroy the work by burying it, ceding any materials and intellectual property to the Dakota along the way.
Was that “censorship”? The work was removed, but in a creative way that arguably added more meaning to the work than it ever would have had it remained standing.
In some ways, the emptying out of “Theater of the World” also made it more meaningful. Huang Yong Ping, the Paris-based Chinese provocateur behind that work, has frequently been censored. His work “Bat Project II,” a reproduction of part of an American spy plane that crashed into a Chinese fighter, was withdrawn from the 2002 Guangzhou Triennial. The depression that the artwork left in the ground remained, however, as a haunting trace of the original work. Whether intentional or not, this sort of lasting reminder of a work should be an inspiration for how museums can handle controversial works: removal, but not erasure.
For another example, look to how artists responded to the Whitney Biennial. Parker Bright occupied the space in front of the Till painting on several days with text written across his shirt: “No lynch mob” and “Black death spectacle.” His intervention confronted viewers with the reality of a physical body, not just an abstraction of one.
A banner that Pastiche Lumumba hung from the High Line, which runs alongside the Whitney, drew attention to the way that history is not yet past: “The white woman whose lies got Emmett Till lynched is still alive in 2017. Feel old yet?” For observers like myself, this performance was more compelling than the original painting.
Social media has changed how we communicate, and social inequity continues to differentiate how we feel. These dynamics are changing the way we curate. For one thing, the work of exhibition-making no longer ends when the show opens. Instead, it continues as a process of listening, a public performance that goes on for months.
In some way, as curator Hera Chan points out, the dynamics of the platform economy threaten to make curatorial expertise obsolete. Who needs us when institutions can figure out, thanks to social media, crowdsourcing and machine learning, audience preferences quickly and accurately? The difficult question of who “we” are, when we are faced with a controversial artwork, is the curator’s only remaining raison d’être. Consider that exhibitions don’t have a standard rating system, like movies or music — at some level, we must believe that every show should be accessible to all of us. Like churches or public television in a different age, museums are now our civic institutions, where we go to argue about who counts as “us.”
The “should it stay or should it go” approach fumbles the opportunity to broaden and enrich what that “us” is. It’s a difficult question, and we will not agree, but even asking it together creates a kind of community. It falls to curators to facilitate this conversation. Institutions, following the lead of artists, should respond creatively to the call for censorship. Perhaps the withdrawal of the artwork can make room for something else to come into view: a new public.
Congress overturned a rule restricting the ability of coal companies to dump their mining debris into streams and other waterways, threatening rural communities, forests and wildlife.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, rejected a staff recommendation to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to developmental problems in children, and started the process to overturn the Clean Power Plan, the Obama-era proposal to reduce planet-warming emissions from power plants.
Congress repealed an Obama-era rule that would have required companies seeking federal contracts of $500,000 or more to disclose and fix serious labor and safety violations. It also struck down an Obama-era rule that would have required employers to keep records of workplace injuries for five years, to make sure employers did not hide such information. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed changes that would weaken a rule intended to limit workers’ exposure to beryllium, an industrial mineral linked to lung damage and estimated to cause about 100 deaths a year.
The Education Department has delayed implementation of an Obama-era rule to ensure that for-profit colleges seeking federal funds were preparing students for good jobs and they made sure students’ debt was not too burdensome.
Even though Republicans often describe themselves as champions of states’ rights, Congress made it harder for states and local governments to create retirement accounts for workers whose employers do not provide 401(k) accounts and pensions.
Making housing less affordable.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development delayed by two years a rule that would help poor people in high-cost areas by changing how the value of housing vouchers is calculated.
Helping big corporations.
Congress repealed a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that sought to expose and limit corruption by requiring oil and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. Under the direction of a Trump appointee, the Federal Communications Commission has eased the cap on how many local TV stations one company can own — and is considering relaxing it even further — helping the conservative broadcaster Sinclair and limiting the diversity of voices on the nation’s airwaves. Congress overturned an F.C.C. rule requiring telecommunications companies to get consumers’ permission before collecting, using and selling personal information.
Putting lives at risk.
The House and Senate repealed a regulation that would have barred about 75,000 people suffering from conditions like schizophrenia and psychotic disorders — when such conditions prevent them from managing their own financial affairs — from buying a gun.
Still, Republicans in Congress have yet to achieve some of their grandest dreams, like huge tax cuts for the wealthy, and they are counting on Mr. Trump to deliver. Spoilsports like Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, may fret about the small stuff, like, as he said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, “the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency.” But what’s all that compared to a bonanza for special interests?
“To me, the only way to stop this is to defeat the budget tomorrow,” Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said on Wednesday. “Once the budget passes, they hold all the cards.”
“They’re asking us to vote on the budget for a tax bill they haven’t shown us on a promise that somehow it’s going to be fair, even though they’re talking about knocking out SALT,” Mr. King said. “I don’t see how anyone from those districts can vote for the budget under that, even if they promise us something.”
The challenge facing Republicans is trying to mitigate the revenue-losing effects of cutting tax rates, particularly Mr. Trump’s push to reduce the corporate rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, which the White House says is nonnegotiable. The budget resolution that is supposed to win final approval on Thursday would allow for $1.5 trillion in additional deficits from tax cuts over the next decade, but the proposed tax cuts already revealed would cost well over $2 trillion.
Cutting rates unifies Republicans. Finding offsets, either by eliminating tax deductions or employing accounting tricks, divides them.
On Wednesday, Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged a long list of still-unresolved issues in the House’s draft bill, which is to be released Nov. 1. They included where to place the income limits for various tax brackets, whether to maintain or cut tax rates on top earners, and the fate of several critical components of the revamped corporate code.
Two issues in dispute flared up publicly: changes to retirement savings and to individuals’ ability to deduct their state and local taxes.
Mr. Brady seemed to defend a proposal to drastically lower the cap on tax-free retirement account contributions. He indicated that there were better ways to encourage the bulk of workers to save, even after Mr. Trump declared on Monday that “there will be NO change to your 401(k).”
“Right now, we are not a nation of savers,” Mr. Brady said at a breakfast convened by The Christian Science Monitor, adding: “We think in tax reform we can create incentives for Americans to save more and save sooner.”
Privately, though, a member of House leadership assured lobbyists on Wednesday that retirement account limits would not be touched in the draft bill.
House Republicans have been considering sharply reducing the amount that Americans are allowed to save, before taxes, in 401(k) retirement plans to $2,400 a year, from the current $18,000, or $24,000 for workers who are over 50. Lowering the cap would be unlikely to encourage more savings, research suggests, but it would amount to an accounting maneuver that would help Republicans make up some of the lost revenue from large cuts to business tax rates. Money in such retirement accounts is taxed when it is withdrawn. By taxing most deposits immediately, Republicans would push future tax revenue into the 10-year budget window they are now working in.
Mr. Trump was not giving up. He told reporters that he wanted to “quickly” end speculation because “401(k)’s, to me, are very important.” Asked whether he might negotiate over the changes, he replied, “maybe we’ll use it as negotiating,” then added that Mr. Brady knew how critical the retirement accounts were.
Representative David Schweikert, Republican of Arizona and a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said the issue of tax rules for retirement savings was far more complicated than Mr. Trump’s declaration.
“We’re the ones writing the bill,” Mr. Schweikert said. “At some point, he gets to agree or veto. And ultimately, we have to make the math work.”
Mr. Brady also said Republican leaders were seeking a deal on the state and local tax deduction, which they had targeted for elimination. Mr. Brady seemed to suggest the deal could focus on maintaining deductions for property taxes, but not for income or sales taxes.
That would reduce the savings from eliminating the deduction to about $1.3 trillion over 10 years, from an estimated $1.9 trillion over 10 years for eliminating the deduction entirely, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. But it may be the key to passing the budget resolution, which appears in jeopardy if Republicans from high-tax states are not pacified.
A protracted fight over taxes would be particularly rough on a Republican Party already fraying on the edges. Mr. Trump is feuding with two Republican senators who plan to retire, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, as part of a growing rift between old-guard conservatives and Mr. Trump’s new-wave populists in Washington.
In the face of those divides, Republican leaders aim to deliver a completed tax bill to Mr. Trump’s desk by Christmas. The stakes are rising by the day, as Republican donors and voters worry about the party advancing the legislative priorities it has long espoused. A failure on taxes, after the Republicans did not succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act, could jeopardize its congressional majorities in the 2018 midterms.
“The Republicans are finally figuring out if they don’t pass this, the political consequences are going to be catastrophic,” said Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who is advising Mr. Trump on tax policy. “The attitude of the conservative base is, ‘If they don’t do this, they’re worthless.’”
Finding common ground will only get more difficult as the effects of specific tax changes on constituents become clearer.
Polling suggests Republican voters subscribe less to the tax cut philosophy than their elected representatives. A report this week from the Pew Research Center, based on polling in August, found that “Republicans were not especially unified in support of tax cuts,” said Carroll Doherty, the center’s director of political research.
A September poll from the online survey company SurveyMonkey found that three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of cutting corporate taxes, which is the centerpiece of the tax plan. But that poll, and a related one in October, found a divide: Republican voters who approve of Mr. Trump were far more likely to approve of corporate tax cuts and to say that they believe their individual taxes will fall next year than those who have turned against the president.
The divisions in the party do not, at this point, appear to imperil the tax-cutting effort. Mr. Corker is widely viewed as having prevailed in pushing for specific limits on the cost of any tax cuts in the Republican budget. And Mr. Flake — diatribe on Tuesday aside — is still viewed as a likely “yes” on whatever tax bill makes it to the Senate floor, provided it survives several weeks of political kicking and screaming.
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 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.”
• Australia’s plan to close the Manus Island detention center next week but leave asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea would expose them to more danger than they face now, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
• A Vietnamese court sentenced a student activist to six years in prison for using social media to promote a multiparty democracy and freedom of the press. His lawyer called the sentence “absurd.” [AP]
• Malaysia’snine state sultans issued a rare joint statement calling for an investigation into a corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Najib Razak. [Agence France-Presse]
• Kenya holds a second presidential vote today that may be as muddled as its first, discredited one. [The New York Times]
• Singapore is the first Asian country judged to hold the world’s most powerful passport, giving its citizens visa-free access to 159 countries. [Business Insider]
• Canberra, Australia’s “bush capital,” was named No. 3 on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities, setting off a wave of sarcasm in the country’s news media. [BBC]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Two very different hotels in Afghanistan’s Bamian Valley — one with plush executive suites and an extensive menu, the other a two-room mud hut with wasps and 80-cent beans — speak to the fluctuating fortunes of an area seeking a new identity after the destruction of their giant Buddhas.
When lighting struck the Pinaleño Mountains in southeast Arizona at around 2:45 p.m. on June 7, igniting a 48,000 acre fire that reduced an ancient forest to blackened poles and stumps, a scurry of rare squirrels — 217 of the 252 left in existence — disappeared.
Some were fitted with radio transmitters that burned to ash; conservationists deduced their fates. They hoped others had managed to escape.
But for those 35 survivors — biological remnants from the last ice age — Jeff Humphrey, a spokesman with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, was deeply concerned.
“Most of them have lost the cones they’ve stored for their winter nourishment,” Mr. Humphrey said. “How do we get them through this winter?”
The Mount Graham red squirrel is among more than a dozen rare or threatened species that either perished or suffered habitat loss during recent hurricanes and wildfires across the United States.
The red squirrel was not the only creature affected during the Arizona wildfires, intensified by heat waves in the state’s south. After the fire, biologists and wildlife officers rescued Gila and Apache troutfrom forest streams before the water became clogged with ash, which happens when normal forest ground cover isn’t there to filter the runoff.
The Mexican spotted owl, which lives in wooded and canyon areas throughout New Mexico and southern Utah, was also vulnerable. “Its primary threat is wildfires, but it’s far more abundant,” Mr. Humphrey said.
In Southern California, the mountain yellow-legged frog, of which there were about 400 living in remote, drying streams in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains, could face a hard winter after fires destroyed their habitat. Dr. Bruce Stein, a conservation scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, said he also worried for the California red-legged frog in wine country, as well as for endangered salmon and steelhead living in the Russian River (as in Arizona, sediment flowing into the water could harm the fish).
One of North America’s rarest species,the Amargosa vole,also lost part of its remaining habitat in a September fire in the Mojave National Preserve. About 50 of the few hundred remaining mammals perished, said Janet Foley, a professor at the U.C. Davis Veterinary Medicine protection program. “It killed off all the vegetation,” she said, “and they need to live in that.”
Just five of the 29 rare prairie chickens being tracked at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge near Houston survived Hurricane Harvey. The bird — known for its funky mating dance — was already critically endangered. During the last century, its prairie grassland habitat in Texas and Louisiana was plowed to create space for farmlands and cities.
“It was a devastating impact,” said Mike Morrow,the refuge’s lead biologist. “The good news is we have an established captive breeding program,” he said. “Had it not been for that captive flock, it could have resulted in near-extinction.”
Whooping cranes “dodged a bullet” Dr. Stein said, when Harvey made landfall at their winter spot in Aransas County. At that time, the bird was breeding in Canada, but had it been in Texas, the species could have been wiped out, said Dr. Stein. “The concern is what effect the hurricane may have had on the habitat,” he added. Ocelots (a small Texan cat) and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which conservationists feared would be affected, also managed to survive the storm.
Irma hit a number of species hard, including the Barbuda warbler and the Everglade snail kite. In Florida’s Keys — which Dr. Stein referred to as a “biological hot spot” — the storm was bad news for butterflies like the Miami blue, Schaus swallowtail and Bartram’s hairstreak; as well as green and loggerhead sea turtles and Key deer.
The Key deer is “a really charismatic animal,” said Brian Hires, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fewer than 1,000 Key deer are left in existence. All but 33 survived the storm, but may face challenges with restricted access to fresh drinking water. The Miami blue butterfly (there are fewer than 100 left) are only “hanging on in a couple of Keys,” Dr. Stein said.
Hurricane Irma also cut off power to a Florida grasshopper sparrow aviary where the species, teetering on the edge of extinction, was successfully bred in captivity for the first time last year. Hours away from their backup generator shutting down, a service truck delivered 100 gallons offuel to the facility. The grasshopper sparrow chicks survived. The fate of the Bahama oriole, found only in North Andros, South Andros, and Mangrove Cay, is still unknown.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo killed almost half the wild population of Puerto Rico’s native parrots — the only remaining bird of its type in the United States. The animal — with white-ringed eyes and a red stripe above its beak — had, by this year, recovered to about 500 wild and captive individuals. While most of those at the Iguaca Aviary in Puerto Rico’s rain forest survived, the fate of those wild birds in the Rio Abajo and El Yunque forests is unknown.
An earlier version of this article identified incorrectly the area where the Barbuda warbler is found. It is Barbuda, not the Florida Keys. An earlier version also referred incorrectly to the range and conservation status of another bird. The snail kite is not generally threatened over its entire range; the Everglade snail kite, which is not found in the Florida Keys, is endangered.
“Since we are in the south, I can say bless his heart, but it’s time to melt the snowflake,” she said as the room vibrated with boos. A chant of “Build that wall!” broke out.
(On Tuesday, a week after Ms. Ingraham’s trip to Arizona, Mr. Flake announced he was out of the race. “#MeltSnowFlake accomplished,” Ms. Ingraham wrote victoriously on Twitter.)
Fox News hosts are not usually allowed to stump for candidates, but Ms. Ingraham was granted an exception because her show had not yet begun. An ardent nationalist, a Trump confidante, and a foe of open borders, Ms. Ingraham said in an interview with The New York Times that she wants to represent “the working-class, populist sensibility that is the beating heart of the Republican Party right now.”
She added, “I hope that a lot of the men and women who feel forgotten in this country really see that they have in me a champion.”
An acolyte of Ronald Reagan, Robert Bork and Pat Buchanan, Ms. Ingraham was among the first commentators to endorse Mr. Trump in the presidential campaign. Many pundits on Fox News took longer to follow her lead, especially as Mr. Trump feuded with the network’s star anchor, Megyn Kelly.
Before Election Day, Fox News executives were talking up a new focus on straight news coverage. Post-Trump, the channel’s prime-time lineup has moved to the right, installing the combative Tucker Carlson in the 8 p.m. slot and Sean Hannity at 9.
“Laura Ingraham is as about as hard-core a Trump defender as they could have put on the air at this point,” said Charlie Sykes, the longtime conservative radio host and MSNBC analyst. “Right now, that’s what the Fox News viewership wants. They want the Trump red meat.”
Ms. Ingraham is well-suited to deliver it. In Scottsdale, she was greeted as a hero by the Trump-supporting crowd.
“Everyone at Fox News was afraid to say they wanted Trump,” said Mary Waldren, 53, of Ahwatukee, Ariz., one of several hundred attendees who had paid up to $2,700 a ticket to attend the rally for Ms. Ward. “She’s going to be good for Fox News. They’re lucky to have her.”
When Ms. Ward took the microphone, she held up a copy of Ms. Ingraham’s new book, which praises the rise of Mr. Trump and economic nationalism.
“Steve Bannon tells me this is my campaign plan,” Ms. Ward told the crowd, “so I’m going to read it closely.”
As an early supporter of Mr. Trump, Ms. Ingraham landed a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. She said she now speaks with the president a few times a month. “Sometimes, I call him, and occasionally, I’ll get a call,” she said nonchalantly.
But unlike Mr. Hannity, another confidant of the president, Ms. Ingraham has shown a willingness to publicly bite the hand. In the interview, she criticized the “snail’s pace” of staff appointments and knocked the president for “stepping on his own message at times.”
“This is about the movement,” she said. “Trump is invaluable — he’s the titular head of the movement. But it’s like with George W. Bush. I campaigned for him in 2004, and by the end of it, I wasn’t invited to any of the White House events.”
Shawna Noyes, who waited in line for a half-hour for Ms. Ingraham to sign a book, said that Mr. Hannity was sometimes too soft on the president. “I think she’s going to be tough,” said Ms. Noyes, who runs a steel company in Phoenix.
The president, an avid Fox viewer, has not been not shy about registering his displeasure with critical coverage. What will he think of Ms. Ingraham?
“You know, he’ll probably, uh, be irked,” Ms. Ingraham said, staring straight ahead. “We are friends, but friends tell friends when they go off course. And I’m sure he’ll tell me when he thinks I’m deviating from what’s proper and thoughtful. And I’ll do the same with him.”
Ms. Ingraham lives in Virginia with her three adopted children. She grew up in Glastonbury, Conn., the daughter of a waitress and the owner of a carwash. Media criticism began at home: She wrote in her book that she could remember her father deriding the anchor Walter Cronkite and his famed signoff, “That’s the way it is.”
“No, Walt, that’s the way you say it is!” her father would reply.
Ms. Ingraham honed her craft in college at The Dartmouth Review, the undergraduate right-wing journal that earned national recognition (and some revulsion) for stunts that, in hindsight, presaged the antics of Breitbart reporters.
“All the way back to Dartmouth, I was part of the insurgency,” she said.
In an era before mainstream acceptance of homosexuality, Ms. Ingraham assigned a reporter to attend a meeting of the campus gay students’ alliance and published a transcript of the proceedings, naming names. Years later, she apologized, citing in part the experience of her gay brother and his partner, who had AIDS.
In law school at the University of Virginia, she drove a Honda hatchback with the license plate “FARRGHT.” In Washington, as a young conservative on the rise, Ms. Ingraham worked in the Reagan White House, clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, and founded a right-wing retreat cheekily dubbed “The Dark Ages.” (Arianna Huffington was on the steering committee.) A New York Times Magazine article described her joy-riding in Washington in her green Land Rover, blasting zydeco music at midnight.
She was among the first crop of commentators at the dawn of the cable-news era, hosting a show on MSNBC and, along with Kellyanne Conway and Ann Coulter, earning the nickname “the pundettes.” By the early 2000s, her radio talk show was carried by more than 200 stations and her books — “The Hillary Trap,” “Of Thee I Zing,” “Power to the People” — sold by the millions.
Some of her remarks brought outrage. “No one wants to see fat people on the cover of magazines in swimsuits,” she said during a television appearance. She has also been the recipient of name-calling: Ed Schultz, the former MSNBC host, was suspended for calling her “a right-wing slut.”
Still, her move into Mr. Bannon’s Breitbart circle — considered a fringe of the right-wing until Mr. Trump’s victory — was not inevitable. Her embrace of Mr. Trump strained her relationship with some of her fellow conservatives.
“Laura represents her own unique brand,” said Christopher Ruddy, who runs Newsmax, a Fox News competitor. “She comes out of the milieu of talk radio, where the economics of that business have driven a lot of hosts who were moderately conservative to be a little edgier.”
Ms. Ingraham joined Mr. Bannon in 2014 to endorse David Brat, an outsider Republican who would go on to win a surprise victory over Eric Cantor, then the Republican majority leader in the House. She had been encouraged to back Mr. Brat by a producer, Julia Hahn, who went on to write for Breitbart and now works in the White House.
Asked if she is bringing a Breitbart viewership to Fox News, Ms. Ingraham responded: “I wouldn’t call it a Breitbart audience. I would call it America.”
“I like Tom Wolfe’s description of the country,” she continued. “There’s America. The coasts are like the parentheses. In between is the country.”
Her show, she said, would go beyond politics: “Parenting, how technology is changing our lives, the pornified culture that our children are marinating in.”
So is a makeover à la Ms. Kelly — who has softened her on-air persona for her new morning show on NBC — in the cards?
“What do you think?” Ms. Ingraham said, sarcastically. “We’re going to have a stove in the back, and we’re going to have popovers.” She laughed. “No. I won’t be doing that.”