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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump will head to Capitol Hill Tuesday to meet with Senate Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon, ahead of an expected vote on tax reform this week.

“We look forward to welcoming President Trump to the Senate again next Tuesday,” the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., announced in a statement today.

“This is a historic opportunity for our conference and the president to build on our momentum to give Americans the tax relief they’ve been waiting for,” he said.

Trump and Senate Republicans are also expected to discuss other fall legislative items. Congress is currently facing a Dec. 8 deadline to fund the government.

Tuesday will mark the president's second visit to the Hill in two weeks. Last Thursday, Trump traveled to the Capitol to rally House Republicans ahead of their tax vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act..

On Tuesday, Trump is scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The GOP tax measure will be the big ticket item in the Senate next week. Trump is eager to sign a tax bill by Christmas, and McConnell plans on bringing the bill to the Senate floor when members return from the Thanksgiving holiday. Any measure that passes the Senate would need to be reconciled with the House version.

It's still unclear whether Republicans have the votes to pass the GOP tax package in the Senate. Assuming all Democrats oppose the tax measure, Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson came out against the House and Senate versions of the tax reform bill last Wednesday. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Bob Corker of Tennessee have yet to say whether they'll support the measure.

Murkowski said she supports repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a key provision in the Senate Republican tax bill — but she withheld a full endorsement of the tax package. Sen. Collins said in an interview on ABC News' This Week that she wants to see revisions to the plan.

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Elsa/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump shared his Black Friday plans for a quick game of golf with Tiger Woods in between a call with Turkey and talks on American jobs.

The president kicked off his Friday morning on Twitter by first continuing his attacks on professional football players protesting racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, adding that that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "has lost control of the hemorrhaging league."

Trump's complaints about the protests peaked earlier in the 2017 NFL season, igniting a cultural debate over the appropriateness of the action. His initial criticism of those who knelt led to an increased number of players kneeling, though the amount has waned in recent weeks.

The president's tweet further quoted one authored by White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino claiming NFL ratings "continue to plummet" and noting that New York Giants cornerback Olivier Vernon kneeled during the national anthem ahead of the team's game against the Washington Redskins Thursday.

Shortly after his tweet about the NFL, Trump shared his plans to play golf via the social media platform, tweeting that he would hit the links at his golf club in Jupiter, Florida with a pair of PGA tour members.

While the president has spent many weekends at Trump-branded golf clubs during the first year of his presidency, both he and the White House are typically do not announce whether he actually plays a round, making Friday's tweet an outlier. Trump regularly criticized former President Barack Obama for playing golf while occupying the Oval Office.

The president and Woods previously played golf last December in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Lindsay Menz, who has accused Sen. Al Franken of groping her at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, is speaking out about the alleged incident for the first time on camera this morning.

“My husband steps away from us to take the photo. I stand next to Sen. Franken and he pulls me into him and then he moves his hand to my butt,” Menz, 33, told ABC News' chief national correspondent Tom Llamas. “I was shocked.”

She added, “I was surprised and kind of wondering, did that really just happen?”

Franken released a new statement on Thursday after reports multiple women recalled similar incidents as Menz, saying, “I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women -- and I know that any number is too many.

“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that,” Franken continued. “I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again.”

Menz's claim came just days after Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006.

In a Nov. 16 blog post, Tweeden claimed that Franken, then a comedian, “forcibly kissed me without my consent” while rehearsing for a skit on a 2006 USO tour to entertain U.S. troops in Afghanistan. She also posted a photo in which she claims it shows Franken groping her while she was asleep on a military plane.

Franken, who was elected as a Democratic senator for Minnesota in 2008, responded to the accusations in a statement obtained by ABC News.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it,” he said.

As a guest on ABC's "The View" on Nov. 17, Tweeden shared a letter she said Franken sent her that day:

“It says, ‘Dear Leeann, I want to apologize to you personally. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture. But that doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I understand why you can feel violated by that photo. I remember that rehearsal differently. But what's important is the impact on you and you felt violated by my actions, and for that I apologize. I have tremendous respect for your work for the USO. And I am ashamed that my actions ruined that experience for you. I am so sorry. Sincerely, Al Franken.'”

According to Tweeden, Franken also asked to meet with her personally.

Menz told ABC News she wanted to speak publicly about her own alleged experience with Franken so that people believe Tweeden's story and she doesn't feel alone.

A spokesperson for Franken told ABC News on Monday night that the senator doesn't plan to resign in light of the second accuser coming forward. The Senate Ethics Committee will investigate the allegations against Franken.

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Andrew Harrer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn have told President Trump's legal team that they will no longer share information regarding special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, ABC News has confirmed.

The New York Times first broke the news, calling it an indication that Flynn may be cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating a deal.

Sources familiar with the discussions between Flynn's legal team and the president's attorneys tell ABC News there was never a formal, signed joint defense agreement between Flynn's defense counsel and other targets of the Mueller probe.

However, the teams have at times engaged in privileged discussions at times.

Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump's legal team confirmed the news to ABC, saying: “This is not entirely unexpected.”

“No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president,” Sekulow said, adding, “It’s important to remember that Gen. Flynn received his security clearance under the previous administration.”
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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Facebook has developed a new tool that it says will allow users to see if they liked or followed accounts and content linked to a Russian internet company that was outed as a troll farm after the 2016 elections.

The extent of Russian meddling in the presidential election is the subject of multiple investigations and a U.S. intelligence community assessment that the country waged overt and covert campaigns in an attempt to interfere with the political process.

The feature will allow users to see which, if any, accounts made by the Internet Research Agency — a Russian internet company that was revealed as a troll farm after the election and purchased some 3,000 ads — they liked or followed from January 2015 to August 2017.

It will show not specific ads or posts that users may have seen but only the pages and accounts a user has liked or followed.

The tool is set to be available by the end of the year in the Facebook Help Center.

The social media giant has said that potentially 150 million people have seen the Russian-linked content on Facebook and Instagram.

"This is part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy," wrote Facebook in a press release.

"It is important that people understand how foreign actors tried to sow division and mistrust using Facebook before and after the 2016 U.S. election," the company wrote. "That's why as we have discovered information, we have continually come forward to share it publicly and have provided it to congressional investigators. And it's also why we're building the tool we are announcing today."

Facebook is among the tech giants that have recently come under scrutiny for what some say is their lack of attention to Russian activity on their platforms during the 2016 election season.

This month Facebook joined Twitter and Google for open hearings with House and Senate committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In Facebook's hearing with the House Intelligence Committee, the committee requested that the company notify users who had been targeted or exposed to content associated with Russia's efforts in the campaign.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has launched a handful of initiatives that he says aim to provide better security and transparency for the social network.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, was quick to praise Facebook's announcement, saying in a statement Wednesday, "The move by Facebook to allow users to see if they liked or followed pages created by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency is a very positive step."

"We look forward to additional steps by the companies to improve transparency with respect to Russian abuse of their platforms and urge them to furnish a joint report on how Russia used these platforms to sow discord and influence the election," he added.

Last month Facebook announced a new effort to make its advertising more transparent by letting users know who paid for ads — particularly political ones — and beefing up its requirements for authenticating advertisers and its enforcement against ads in violation of its policies.

Facebook previously announced that in an effort to increase transparency for advertisements in the future, it will make it possible to see what ads pages are running as well as require confirmation of people's identities before they may buy U.S. election ads.

Facebook has also said it was hiring 10,000 engineers, ad reviewers and security experts to better identify violations and fake accounts in addition to updating its policies to block ads that are proved fake by third-party fact-checking organizations.

In order to address fake news, Facebook initiated work to stop misinformation by removing potential financial incentives for advertisers and made updates to clickbait stories in the spring.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Four Dreamers momentarily halted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in a demonstration they say is aimed at calling for action from Congress to replace an expiring Obama-era program that protects them from deportation.

The four protesters sat down in the parade route on Central Park West at 70th Street in Manhattan but were quickly carried off by NYPD police officers. A representative for the group that organized the demonstration, The Seed Project, said that none of the protesters were arrested or given citations.

One of the protesters, Hector Martinez, 26, told ABC News he decided to take part in the demonstration "to push for more protection for undocumented youth."

The NYPD police officers carried the protesters out of the parade route and told them if they came back they would be arrested, Martinez said.

Martinez said he immigrated to the U.S. with his family from Colombia when he was 10 and obtained the right to work and study under the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DACA was started by President Barack Obama in 2012 through an executive action that allowed certain undocumented immigrants who were children when they were brought to the U.S. to remain in the country and be eligible to work and study if they meet certain requirements.

The Trump administration announced in September a plan to let the program expire. The Justice Department recommended to the Department of Homeland Security and the White House that the DHS should begin "an orderly lawful wind down, including the cancellation of the memo that authorized this program," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at the time.

Martinez said that decision has created "a time of great difficulty" for Dreamers, who now face uncertainty as Congress debates a replacement to the program. The protection will begin to expire for the program's enrollees in March of 2018 if no action is taken.

Nearly 800,000 unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children have been granted protection from deportation under the program.

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ABC News(BLACKSBURG, Va.) -- Donald Trump and Barack Obama may be worlds apart on the political spectrum, but the turkeys the presidents pardoned couldn't be closer -- they're now neighbors in Virginia.

While it's unclear whether the four turkeys will have a bone to pick with each other or become birds of a feather, Drumstick and Wishbone, who were spared a trip to the dinner table this year, are joining Tater and Tot at Virginia Tech.

On Tuesday, just before he granted clemency to Drumstick, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Trump quipped about overturning his predecessor's policies.

"As many of you know, I have been very active in overturning a number of executive actions by my predecessor. However, I have been informed by the White House Counsel's Office that Tater and Tot's pardons cannot under any circumstances be revoked, so I'm not going to revoke them," said Trump. "So, Tater and Tot, you can rest easy."

Both Drumstick and Wishbone, who lost the 2017 race for National Thanksgiving Turkey but was still spared from the oven, have moved into an enclosure called Gobbler's Rest at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where they will be cared for by the school's Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences.

Tater and Tot, who are already a year into their retirement at the university, are "hosting an open house" this weekend to welcome "the two newest members of Hokie Nation," Virginia Tech announced in a press release this week.

A Virginia Tech spokesperson told ABC News in 2016 that the school was excited to receive Tater and Tot, and that its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is "world-renowned for its poultry department."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this evening with "friends and family at the winter White House," the first lady's spokesperson said.

Here is what is on the first family's table at Mar-a-Lago this holiday, according to Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's press secretary.



-Mashed potatoes and gravy

-Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

-A variety of baked goods

-Local produce and cheeses

-Red snapper

-Florida stone crab

-Dessert, including various cakes and pies

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ABC News(NEW YORK) --  President Trump offered his thanks to members of the military serving overseas on Thanksgiving -– holding a video call with those at posts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Bahrain, and aboard the USS Monterey.

“We totally support you, and in fact we love you, we really do, we love you, and this is a Thanksgiving you will not forget. You are in a different part of the world than you are used to but, boy, are you doing a job there,” the president said.

The president also rattled off his accomplishments as president and assured the service-members that they are fighting “for something good.”

“I know it’s hard to be away from home at this time of the year. We’re doing well at home,” the president said. “The economy is doing really great. When you come back you’re going to see with the jobs and companies coming back to our country, and the stock market just hit a record high, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 17 years, so you’re fighting for something real, you’re fighting for something good.

"A lot of things have happened with our country over the last short period of time.”

The president then referenced his administration’s battle to pass a tax reform package before the year’s end, telling the troops that the cuts will be beneficial for the economy.

“Now we’re working on tax cuts — big, fat, beautiful tax cuts. And hopefully we’ll get that and then you’re really going to see things happen,” he said.

Following his video call with troops, President Trump made a visit to a Coast Guard station in Florida to thank the members stationed there in person and specifically made note of the strength of the Coast Guard’s “brand.”

“I think that there is no brand of any kind, I’m not just talking about a military kind, that has gone up more than the Coast Guard. Incredible people, you’ve done an incredible job,” Trump said.

“You saved a lot of people and I just want to thank you on behalf of the whole country, what a job you’ve done,” the president said, referring to the Coast Guard’s tireless efforts in the response and recovery to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in recent months.

The president again touted the strength of the U.S. economy and stock market -- declaring that “we’re building up wealth” to help build a stronger military.

“We have a country really starting to turn, and we want have a strong country,” Trump said. “We want to have a country where I can buy new Coast guard cutters and not have to worry about it, and that’s what we’re doing, we’re building up wealth, so that we can take care of protection.”

The president went on to say that the U.S. makes the best military equipment in the world but that he advises the military to make the U.S. equipment “a little bit better” than what it might sell to our allies.

“I always say make ours a little bit better, keep about 10 percent in the bag, because nobody has what we have,” Trump said.

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas is apologizing for a graphic image of himself that emerged on social media this week, confirming he took the picture and sent it to women with whom he was pursuing relationships.

"While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women," Barton, 68, admitted in a written statement.

"Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down," the statement added.

The congressman confirmed in a statement to ABC News he told the woman he could take the issue to the Capitol Police after he claims she "threatened" to make his private photos and messages public. Barton also said late Wednesday he accepted an offer from Capitol Police to launch an investigation into the photo's release. The Washington Post was first to report Barton threatened to go to Capitol Police if she released the private photos.

"This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship," Barton said in a follow-up statement late Wednesday. "When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation."

Barton is not expected to immediately resign, according to a spokeswoman.

In the wake of fresh allegations of sexual misconduct by members of Congress, the circulating image resembling Barton had been a topic of growing concern among Texas Republicans on Capitol Hill, with some aides quietly speculating that it was in fact the Texas congressman.

The episode is seen as an embarrassing disclosure for a prominent House Republican -- the longest-serving congressman from Texas -- and one that could threaten his political career.

Asked whether House Speaker Paul Ryan believes Barton should resign, Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong told ABC News: “The speaker has spoken to Rep. Barton on this matter. We will keep those conversations between the two of them.”

Barton, the former chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently announced plans to run for re-election.

Barton has been a vocal advocate against sexual predators online as a member of a congressional task force and spoke at a press conference on Capitol Hill alongside victims in 2007.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Doug Jones was faced with a new challenge in his race against Roy Moore for senator in Alabama on Tuesday when President Donald Trump greeted reporters on the White House lawn with a slew of attacks on Jones' record. One of those attacks, against Jones' record on crime, particularly stood out for the longtime attorney.

Prior to working as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Jones served as the assistant U.S. attorney in Birmingham, Alabama. Considering his unique background in law enforcement, with a number of high-profile convictions in everything from murder trials to white collar crime, local Alabamans in legal circles were caught by surprise when the president accused him of being “soft on crime.”

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump gave a tacit endorsement of Jones’ opponent despite the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers against Moore.

“He totally denies it,” the president said breaking his silence on the race. “We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat. Jones, I’ve looked at his record, it’s terrible on crime, it’s terrible on the border, it’s terrible on the military.”

A campaign spokesman for Jones responded to the president’s remarks in a statement writing, “I am certain the domestic terrorists Doug locked up as U.S. attorney, including Tommy Blanton, a murderer who sits in prison now and will die there, would disagree that Doug is soft on crime. Officers, police chiefs and prosecutors heralded Doug for his toughness and persistence.”

Jones, the Democratic Senate candidate running against Moore in Alabama’s special election next month, served as a federal prosecutor in his home state for 20 years. He gained statewide recognition for aggressively reopening and pursuing a 30-year-old case against two members of the Ku Klux Klan responsible for the infamous Civil Rights era bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The bombing left four young girls dead.

“A lot of people said, ‘It couldn’t be done,’” former Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Gorman Houston told ABC News referring to the modern-day prosecution of the decades old church bombing case.

Pam Pierson, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at the University of Alabama agreed with Houston and said at the time Jones’ decision to prosecute the historic case was a controversial one.

“I think a lot of other prosecutors would not have had that courage to do that, because the risk of failing to win a conviction was high, but he pursued that as a matter of conscience,” Pierson told ABC News on the phone. “Doug just felt it was not wrong not to pursue it.”

Houston ran as a Republican, but now considers himself an independent. He said Jones was known “well-known and well-respected” in the state.

“I would not say he was soft on crime. I don’t know where the president got that,” he went on. “His reputation was not being soft on crime. I have just never heard that.”

Spencer B. Walker, a current district attorney in the 1st Judicial Circuit of Alabama wrote to ABC News too, saying, “Although I don’t know Mr. Jones personally, his professional reputation is that he is a fair but tough prosecutor who excelled at his job. All that I have heard about Mr. Jones has been positive, both personally and professionally.”

Joyce Alene, another law professor at the University of Alabama tweeted, “Ironically, Jones had a tough on crime track record as US Atty in Birmingham… Moore on the other hand, often sided with defendants.”

Pierson, who said she intends to vote for Jones, said during her interview with ABC, “There is nothing in the record to support that he was soft on crime, in fact the record would support the opposite.

“I would invite the president to investigate his record. Jones just did not have that reputation at all.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- According to former Maryland governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, former President Obama, the Democratic National Committee, and the Clintons bear responsibility for miscalculations that weakened the Democratic party in recent elections.

“What is happening now is the party is regenerating itself, almost like after a bad forest fire,” O’Malley told ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on the Powerhouse Politics podcast.

He says the "fire" started in 2008. He believes Obama squandered the energy of his candidacy. “Rather than infusing that energy into the veins of the Democratic party and making the Democratic party new and more energetic, instead, the president and his people decided to set up a separate organization in ‘Organizing for America.'"

O’Malley says that Republican donors took advantage of the situation, sweeping state and local races around the country.

During the 2016 presidential race, O’Malley said the Clintons were a “formidable force” who did everything in their power to secure the nomination within the rules as they found them.

But it is the DNC that O’Malley said has “a lot of work to do”. O’Malley dropped out of the presidential campaign after the Iowa primary, but he blames DNC decision-making surrounding the early debates in 2015 as a significant factor in Donald Trump's rise beginning that July.

“Every two weeks they were having Republican debates in prime-time with the big drum roll," he said.

O’Malley said that while the party thought it would be helpful to Hillary Clinton to hold off until October, “by then, Donald Trump’s fascist appeal was out of the bottle.”


O’Malley considers himself a foot soldier in down-ballot races around the country as the Democratic party faces its reckoning.

He recently announced a new political action committee, the Win Back Your State PAC, aimed at funneling cash to Democratic hopefuls. O’Malley said he’s personally been campaigning in 21 states for local candidates throughout the past year.

He said, “My wife keeps saying ‘why do you keep going out there and campaigning for people?’” He points to Democratic success in special elections in Delaware, Oklahoma, Washington, New Hampshire, Florida, and Iowa as a sign that change is on the horizon in traditionally “red” districts.

O’Malley said that the party’s regeneration isn’t coming from “a memo at the DNC ... It’s much more authentic. It’s much more real. It’s much closer to people than that. All over the country, you see new candidates running for office."


Is all of this grassroots campaigning and touring the country setting the table for a 2020 presidential bid? O'Malley said he has decided “not to make that decision right now”.

He said he expects to decide after the midterms.

But he also notes a lot can change in the next year, adding this curve-ball prediction: “It’s also hard to say what it will do to the Democratic field if we’re facing President Pence and a female vice president rather than Donald Trump."

"The only thing I know for sure is the next good thing for all of us to do is help good people win back their states,” O’Malley said.


One thing O’Malley didn’t expect to be talking about this election season: The sweeping allegations of sexual misconduct that have recently rocked both political parties.

O’Malley said he’s been “a little surprised, but he calls it a “pivotal and important moment” in the country’s history.

“I think in every generation, we like to think our conduct moves a lot closer to our ideals in terms of how we treat women,” O’Malley said.

He continues, “I wasn’t raised in a house like that. I remember when Donald Trump had his famous interview exposed with Billy Bush and it was being said it was just locker room talk. I go to the gym fairly often, and I don’t hear people talking like that in the locker room. This is aberrational behavior. It’s unacceptable.”

When asked whether Sen. Al Franken should resign in light of recent sexual misconduct allegations, O’Malley declined to comment, saying he was unfamiliar with the details.

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iStock/Thinkstock(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released an open letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, accusing the agency of stonewalling his office's investigation into what he called a "massive scheme" to inundate the FCC's public net neutrality review process with fake comments.

"The process the FCC has employed to consider potentially sweeping alterations to current net neutrality rules has been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities and the FCC has been unwilling to assist my office in our efforts to investigate this unlawful activity," Schneiderman wrote to Pai, a Republican appointed to head the agency by President Donald Trump.

Net neutrality rules prevent internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others from charging more to access certain websites. The rules were established to provide an equal playing field online.

Under Democratic leadership, the FCC approved net neutrality rules in 2015, but the agency is now controlled by Republican appointees and has taken a different stance under the Trump administration. Pai rolled out the FCC's plan to scrap the Obama-era rules ahead of a vote scheduled to take place on Dec. 14.

The process allows the public to comment on the changes and weigh in on the issue before the agency makes its final decision.

"Enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules" were first reported in May of this year, Schneiderman's letter said.

The false comments attempted "to drown out and negate the views of the real people, businesses, and others who honestly commented on this important issue," according to Schneiderman's letter.

An FCC spokesperson told ABC News Schneiderman's "so-called investigation is nothing more than a transparent attempt by a partisan supporter of the Obama Administration's heavy-handed Internet regulations to gain publicity for himself."

In his letter, Schneiderman writes that he has "long publicly advocated for strong net neutrality rules," but said his investigation is about "the right to control one’s own identity and prevent the corruption of a process designed to solicit the opinion of real people and institutions."

The FCC said it would base its decision on facts and legal arguments, not on repetitive form letters that surface in the commenting process, the spokesperson said. The agency received some 7.5 million comments consisting of the same form letter and it also received over 400,000 comments from the same address in Russia in support of the Obama-era rule, according to the spokesperson.

Many of the fake comments "misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process," the letter continued, noting that "hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized in the same way."

Schneiderman said the false use of names and addresses amounts to a crime "akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale." The FCC, Schneiderman wrote, "has refused to provide ... information that is critical to the investigation."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two of the biggest mass shootings in modern American history have taken place within just the past 50 days.

And in the aftermath, there seems to be no real, reasoned gun debate face-to-face or online -- just a deepening division between Americans on the left and on the right.

But there is a growing group of people doing the unexpected. They’re called the Liberal Gun Club, just one of a number of left-leaning gun clubs now in operation, who seem to support less gun restrictions and agree with the NRA on some points.

“I’m Lara. I’m a liberal. I voted for Hilary Clinton. But I’m a strong Second Amendment supporter,” Lara Smith, a lawyer and the president of the California chapter of the Liberal Gun Club, told ABC News’ “Nightline.”

The club was founded in 2008, and they hold conventions, advise politicians, stage so-called “Meet in the Middle” events, educate and train.

“The mission of the Liberal Gun Club is education,” said Smith.

Smith said she was anti-gun and started shooting only four years ago. After giving it a try, researching the issue and having too many arguments with her gun-loving, former Marine husband, Ed Smith, she changed her views.

Lara Smith is an instructor to Shemira Fermon, a veterinarian nurse and new member of the Liberal Gun Club.

“I’ve always been into guns but I’ve never found anyone that made me feel comfortable learning how to use them as tools not toys,” Shemira Fermon told “Nightline.”

“I see everybody else’s views as inconsistent. Abortion and gun rights are the flip side of the same issue. If you’re for banning one and not the other there’s a real inherent inconsistency in there. My view is that neither of them should be banned,” said Lara Smith. “I’m arguing that I’m more liberal than even my liberal friends. The liberal view on most things is, I might not like it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to ban it.”

Smith said she’s experienced mixed reactions from people with different political views at the gun range. “Some places the reaction is, ‘The Liberal Gun Club, what’s that? That’s great!’ Some places it’s like, ‘Are you one of those libtards?’” Smith said.

Members of the Liberal Gun Club say they also face some flak from liberal friends and coworkers.

“Who to talk to about it and who not to,” Ed Smith told “Nightline.” “There are definitely people you can tell you don’t want to bring up the topic.”

The Liberal Gun Club says it now has 7,500 members nationwide. They agree with their more right-wing brothers and sisters on some points.

“The government says, ‘Hey we’re going to change this so everybody has to give up their guns.’ What else is going to be next?” said Fermon.

However, there are some points they disagree with.

“Particularly under this administration, I don’t want to give up any of my constitutional rights,” said Lara Smith.

“I have an issue, and trust issues in general with law enforcement,” Fermon said. “Now you’re telling me what little slim chance of protection I had is now gone, and is given to people that I don’t trust at all. How is that fair?”

The NRA has a reported 5 million members, but only a reported 19 percent of gun owners in America are actually NRA members too.

According to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of Republicans and right-leaning independents own guns. And 20 percent of Democrats or left-leaning independents own guns.

“I think a lot more people have guns here that are liberal than we know about,” said Ed Smith.

When it comes to mass shootings, Lara Smith says she doesn’t think banning guns is the answer.

“The only suggestions we’re getting are, ‘Out of my cold, dead hands. We’re doing nothing’ or, ‘Ban this kind of gun!’ Those aren’t solutions,” Lara Smith said. “I don’t think bans are the answer. I think there are these huge societal issues that we have to look at.”

Lara Smith said she agrees with President Donald Trump, who, after the Sutherland Springs church shooting, said, “This is a mental health issue at the highest level.”

She also said she believes people shouldn’t have a gun if they’re not trained to use it: “Oh my god, you should not be carrying a gun in public unless you are trained.”

Lara and Ed Smith said they think it makes sense to have background checks when you purchase your first firearm.

“These guns existed way before this increase in mass shooting,” Lara Smith said.

She added, “Everybody wants this to stop. Everybody wants to stop these mass shootings, right? I think we just disagree on....”

“... How to do it right,” said Fermon.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she supports repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, a key provision in the Senate Republican tax bill, but she refrained from offering a full endorsement of the tax package.

"I believe that the federal government should not force anyone to buy something they do not wish to buy in order to avoid being taxed," Murkowski wrote in an op-ed for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “That is the fundamental reason why I opposed the Affordable Care Act from its inception and also why I co-sponsored a bill to repeal the individual mandate tax penalty starting as early as 2013. And that is why I support the repeal of that tax."

Murkowski, who was one of three GOP senators to vote against a partial repeal of Obamacare this summer, notably did not say whether she would vote for the Republican tax plan the Senate will consider after Thanksgiving break.

Murkowski is among a number of Republican holdouts on the tax plan. If all Democrats oppose the measure, Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes.

On Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that she wants to see revisions to the plan.

"I want to see changes in that bill, and I think there will be changes," Collins, who opposes the individual mandate repeal, said on ABC News' "This Week".

Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., announced his opposition to the Senate tax plan, saying it favors corporations over pass-through businesses. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; and John McCain, R-Ariz., have also voiced concerns about the measure.

The House passed a $1.5 trillion tax plan that decreased the number of tax brackets and cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill similar to the House plan out of committee last week, but the Senate measure includes a repeal of the individual mandate.

If the Senate passes a tax package, the bill would be reconciled with the measure passed by the House. President Trump has said he wants to sign a tax bill by Christmas.

"We're going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas -- hopefully that will be a great, big, beautiful Christmas present,” Trump said Monday.

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