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Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump will visit the FBI National Academy on Friday amid heightened tensions with the bureau whose reputation he recently described as "in tatters," and its standing as the "worst in history."

According to the White House, Trump will deliver remarks to graduates of the 10-week national academy program. The academy, according to the FBI's website, is a "professional course of study" open to U.S. and international law enforcement managers of all stripes.

In May, President Trump was expected to visit the FBI headquarters, but the trip was notably scrapped following mounting backlash over his controversial firing of then-FBI Director Jim Comey.

Since then, the president has publicly derided the FBI's reputation amid its investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia and Moscow's interference in the 2016 election.

He has vented on Twitter about whether the FBI's investigation is politically motivated, and whether his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, escaped conviction in the investigation of her use of a private email server because of agency's political bias.

Just last week Trump said the FBI's reputation was "in Tatters - worst in History!"

Asked a week ago about the president's tweets in front of the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the reputation of the bureau was "quite good."

"The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women working as hard as they can to keep people they will never know safe from harm," Wray said.

But Wray was also grilled about reports of political bias influencing the investigations into Clinton and Russian election interference.

Specifically, lawmakers pressed Wray over anti-Trump texts sent by a senior agent on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, who was removed over the summer. The texts, recently revealed, repeatedly called President Donald Trump "an idiot," and said the Republican Party "needs to pull their head out of their" rear-ends.

The revelations led members of Trump's legal team this week to call for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel charged with investigating allegations of political bias and conflicts of interest in the Department of Justice.

Trump's war of words with the FBI dates back well before his election win, when he publicly scolded Comey's announcement that Clinton would not face criminal charges in her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

But the feud reached its pinnacle following Trump's sudden firing of Comey in May, and subsequent comments from his administration denouncing Comey's leadership of the bureau.

Several weeks later in his testimony to Congress, Comey emotionally rebuked those comments as "lies, plain and simple."

"The administration then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader," Comey said.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The tax bill compromise reached by House and Senate negotiators now won't be unveiled until Monday. And at least one new Republican defector may make it difficult for Congressional Republicans to get the measure to President Donald Trump's desk before his Christmas deadline.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R,FL) tells ABC News that he is a “no,” unless the bill is changed to include a larger expansion of the child tax credit. It's currently set at $2,000 per child but only refundable up to $1,100.

“Unless they figure out a way to increase the refundable part, higher than $1,100, the way they figured out a way to give corporations an extra year of cuts, the way they figured out a way to lower the top rate for a family making a million dollars a year...Unless they figure out a way to add to the $1,100 figure, I won’t support the bill,” Rubio said.

Senator Mike Lee (R,UT) also has serious concerns about the bill for the same reason, his office confirms.

Senator Bob Corker (R,TN) also opposes the plan. He was the lone Republican to oppose the original Senate bill, and he says his “deficit concerns have not been alleviated.”

Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes and pass the measure along party-lines. Three "no" votes will sink the effort.

The potential absence of Senator John McCain (R,AZ) could further complicate the bill's chances. McCain, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, was not at work Thursday in the U.S. Senate. His office reported that he is "receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy."

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that considerations of absences in the Senate could impact which chamber takes the first votes.

“There is discussion about this," Ryan said. "It's all about timing and managing absences in the Senate.”

GOP leaders, however, are still optimistic that they will get this done.

Asked if he’s confident this will pass, Sen. John Cornyn (R,TX) responded with just one word: “yes.”

The final conference report with full details is expected to be unveiled by Republican negotiators Monday--teeing the measure up for a vote in both chambers next week.

Here is what ABC News has learned will be included in that bill:

FOR BUSINESSES -- Corporate rate will be cut to 21%, down from 35% under current law. This is expected to take effect in 2018.

-- Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax will be “rolled back” according to Sen. John Cornyn – but not repealed.

FOR THE WEALTHY

-- Top individual rate will be cut to 37%, down from 39.6% under current law.

-- Individual Alternative Minimum Tax exemption will be increased to $500k for individuals, $1 million for couples filing jointly. That’s up from $54,300 for individuals, and $84,500 for couples filing jointly under 2017 law.

FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

-- Standard deduction will be increased from $12,700 to $24,400 for joint returns and from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals. According to the Tax Policy Center, more than two-thirds of Americans take the standard deduction when filing taxes.

-- Repeal of the individual mandate requiring health insurance. According to CBO, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate insurance could lead to 13 million more Americans without health insurance, while saving the government $338 billion in federal health insurance subsidy payments over the next decade.

FOR THOSE WHO ITEMIZE

-- State and local tax deductions will be capped at $10,000 combined from any/all categories (property/income/sales taxes). Current law caps property tax deduction at $1 million. There are no current caps on state/local income tax deduction.

-- Mortgage interest deduction will be capped at $750,000, down from $1 million under current law.

-- Graduate school stipend deduction (tax-free tuition waivers) will be preserved.

-- Student loan interest deduction will be preserved.

--- Medical expense deduction is preserved. It allows Americans to deduct medical expenses not covered by insurance that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income.

-- Child Tax Credit preserved. That’s currently set at $2,000 per child but only refundable up to $1,100. It remains to be seen whether Rubio's push to increase that will be reflected in the final bill.

The tax overhaul process has moved at a breakneck pace as Republicans try to pass a massive tax cut for businesses and many American families before Christmas and the end of the year. Many lawmakers and their staffs have been scrambling to digest drafts of the bill and what it means for everyday Americans.

The cost of the measure remains another lingering question. The negotiators still need to work with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to secure a final score on the bill's cost.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If there's one thing President Donald Trump loves, it's a visual aid. (And, reportedly, Diet Coke.)

At a press event in the White House's Roosevelt Room, he flashed a chart outlining a maze of highway permitting regulations.

"Chris is not tall enough for this chart," the commander-in-chief quipped, as aides, including Assistant to the President Chris Liddell struggled to display the complex, color-coded poster. "Neither is anybody else."

According to Trump, an onerous regulatory environment requires would-be builders "go through nine different agencies, make 16 different decisions, under 29 different laws" to get permits for a highway.

"This chart -- I really love this chart," he added. "It really explains what a disaster it is."

His administration, Trump says, is "cutting years of wasted time and money out of the permitting process for vital infrastructure projects."

Since Trump took office, the Department of Transportation says, it has begun rolling back 82 regulations, with an additional 31 deregulatory actions planned next year. (DOT also initiated 76 regulatory actions, fulfilling Trump's two-for-one regulation elimination goal.)

"The never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt," Trump said today.

"Unnecessary, duplicative or overly burdensome regulations are being eliminated and the permitting process is being streamlined to expedite much-needed infrastructure projects for the benefit of communities across the country," Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao, who joined the president at the White House event, echoed in a statement this afternoon.

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Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke revealed today he has fired four senior managers at the Interior Department for inappropriate conduct, including sexual harassment.

"I've already removed four senior leaders that were guilty of inappropriate behavior and I will remove four hundred more if necessary. Intimidation, harassment and discrimination is a cancer to any organization. However deep it goes, we will remove it from Interior," Zinke said in a video posted on the agency's website today.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an email the department could not provide any specific information on the people who were fired but said they generally "abused their authority to intimidate or harass fellow employees. This includes but is not limited to sexual harassment."

She also said the park superintendent at Yellowstone National Park has taken disciplinary action against a number of employees for instances of harassment. A report from the agency's inspector general published in March found a negative work environment for women in the park that included inappropriate comments and actions toward women employees.

The department released the results of a workplace survey Thursday where 35 percent of employees said they were harassed in the last year, with 8 percent saying they were sexually harassed. More than 200 employees who responded to that survey also reported experiencing sexual assault. About 28,300 employees responded to the survey which is 44 percent of the agency's workforce, according to the release.

The inspector general's office said they cannot comment on whether there are any active investigations into sexual harassment or assault.

At least one Interior employee accused of harassment has been named in an inspector general report published in February. Tim Lynn was the director of the agency's law enforcement office and was investigated for his behavior after an employee who worked for him said he was "touchy-feely" and and would sometimes touch her arms or hair and at least once talked about watching porn when they were alone in the office. Lynn denied the allegations but the IG's office found five other women who said he had acted unprofessionally toward them, including touching, hugging, personal text messages and flirtatious comments. The Washington Post reported that Lynn retired in May.

Interior Deputy Sec. David Bernhardt has ordered office heads to submit an action plan within the next 45 days with specific plans to address the results.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to establish an alert system that would warn the public if a police officer in their community is threatened, missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.

The so-called "Blue Alerts" are designed to protect the public from potential threats and help apprehend dangerous suspects. The notifications could go to your television or wireless devices, much like existing weather warnings or missing children alerts.

The alerts will be managed by local and state law enforcement and will provide information to the recipients about steps they can take to protect themselves or help police locate any suspects.

Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr approved the proposal. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said she approved in part and dissented in part.

Today's vote was the culmination of a law signed in May 2015 by then-President Barack Obama that created the Blue Alerts. The FCC was tasked to establish how exactly these alerts would be transmitted.

Present at the meeting were the family members of two former New York City police officers who in 2014 were killed in the line of duty. The 2015 law is named after the officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

The FCC oversees the nation's airwaves and emergency alert systems.

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Zach Gibson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department is rejecting accusations that it inappropriately offered several reporters access to private communications between two FBI officials who later worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

"Senior career ethics advisors determined that there were no legal or ethical concerns that prohibited the release of the information to the public either by members of Congress or by the department," the Justice Department said in a statement today.

During a House hearing on Wednesday, Democrats raised concerns over the public disclosure of the messages, which were sent last year between FBI attorney Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok and document them repeatedly mocking then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in harsh terms.

In what one Democrat suggested was an "extraordinary" move on the eve of the House Judiciary Committee hearing, the Justice Department "invited a group of reporters to its offices to view the private text messages," as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, put it.

At the hearing the next day, Republicans then used the newly-released messages to push allegations of political bias within the FBI and the sprawling probe by Mueller, who is looking at whether Trump associates tried to help Russia influence last year's presidential election and whether White House officials may have sought to obstruct the investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dismissed suggestions that Mueller or his probe were tainted, insisting there is nobody "better qualified for this job" and noting "political affiliation" is not the same as political "bias."

"I've discussed this with Director Mueller, and ... we recognize we have employees with political opinions. It's our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions," Rosenstein told the House panel. "He is running that office appropriately, recognizing that people have political views but ensuring that those views are not in any way a factor in how they conduct themselves in office."

Over the summer, the Justice Department's inspector general, looking into an array of FBI actions tied to last year’s election, discovered the FBI officials' text messages and notified senior department officials. Mueller immediately removed Strzok, and by then Page had already left the team.

After recent news accounts reported that Strzok was axed from the team for sending potentially anti-Trump messages, lawmakers demanded to see the messages for themselves.

On Tuesday night, the Justice Department sent about 375 of the messages, with limited redactions, to at least three congressional committees. Around the same time, reporters from several media outlets were able to review those messages at the Justice Department, under the condition that the information not be attributed to the Justice Department. But the next day, Rosenstein acknowledged to lawmakers that his department allowed reporters to see the messages.

"I'm not aware of any impropriety in what the department has done in making these text messages available," and "not aware" of "any evidence that we disclosed information to a reporter that wasn't appropriate for public release or wasn't disclosed to the Congress," Rosenstein assured the House Judiciary Committee.

According to a statement from Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores, "When the initial inquiries came from committees and members of Congress, the Deputy Attorney General consulted with the Inspector General, and the Inspector General determined that he had no objection to the Department's providing the material to the Congressional committees that had requested it."

The "senior career ethics advisors" then conducted their own review and determined no concerns related to the Privacy Act were implicated in releasing the messages, Flores said.

While many have criticized the Justice Department for making private messages available to reporters in the midst of an ongoing inspector general probe, the Justice Department under President Barack Obama took similar steps.

In 2011 and 2012, when Congress was demanding the Justice Department turn over internal emails related to the botched gun-running probe known as “Fast and Furious,” the department repeatedly invited reporters to a department conference room to view private messages.

Inside the Justice Department in Washington, a department official would hand out copies of the documents after they were sent to Capitol Hill and then brief reporters on individual emails sent to and from department employees. The documents were not provided under any condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department began briefing reporters on "Fast and Furious"-related documents only after select portions of documents sent to Congress were repeatedly leaked.

At the time, the Justice Department's inspector general was still engaged in a wide-ranging, internal investigation related to the failed gun-running probe and the department's response to congressional inquiries about it.

In trying to explain his own department's recent decisions, Rosenstein told lawmakers Wednesday: "Our goal ... is to make sure that it's clear to you and the American people, we are not concealing anything that's embarrassing."

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, is “currently receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy,” his office said.

McCain, 81, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme over the summer, "looks forward to returning to work as soon as possible,” his office added.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of McCain’s closest friends in Congress, told ABC News today that he just received an update on McCain’s health and that he’s “resting in the hospital.”

“He’s receiving treatment for the side effects of the therapy. I feel pretty good about the way the treatment is affecting his underlying cancer. But the treatment has a downside. So he’s tryin’ to get rested up,” Graham said. “I’m very confident he’ll come back and continue to participate for a long time to come.”

Graham said he’s been in touch with McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, and is expecting to set up a time to speak with his colleague by phone.

“He’s had a heck of a Senate schedule, and I hope he’ll take some time to regroup, do a little rehabilitation on his leg and come back,” Graham said.

Sen. Jeff Flake, the junior senator from Arizona, told ABC News today that he was also texting with McCain’s wife last night and that he expects his colleague to be back at work soon.

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration has presented Iranian missiles and weapons, allegedly sent to Houthi rebels in Yemen that it says shows Iran has violated United Nations Security Council Resolutions related to the Iranian nuclear deal.

The weapons included parts of two short-range ballistic missiles that the Pentagon says were recently fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia, an anti-tank guided missile, a self-guided unmanned anti-ship explosive boat and an aerial drone packed with explosives.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations showed off the weapons, that she says were recovered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, at a warehouse at a military base in Washington D.C.

“When you see the evidence, it is absolutely indisputable,” Haley said Thursday, saying the weapons were “essentially Iranian fingerprints.”

Some of the items on display were made as early as 2005, according to the Pentagon. It is unclear when they were provided to the Houthis in Yemen and therefore whether they constitute violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions put in place in 2015.

The rollout of the weapons appears to be another step in the administration’s moves to reverse the nuclear deal with Iran.

“Today, one of the things that we’re doing with all this information is the first step of implementing President Trump’s Iran strategy, which is to expose this behavior, to be clear about it, to show it to the world and be clear eyed so we can go forward together as a community, the US and our partners in the United National in addressing the totality of the Iranian threat," said Laura Seal a Pentagon spokesperson.

In October the administration said it would not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, a move that gave Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran, effectively killing the nuclear arms agreement.

Haley said that following the decertification the U.S. is “taking a new approach to Iran by focusing on all of the regime’s destabilizing behavior, that means we are not just focused on the nuclear program."

The weapons systems were described as having distinctive manufacturing markings and designs unique to Iranian companies and military organizations. Iran has denied allegations that it has provided weapons to Yemen's Houthi rebels.

“The evidence is undeniable,” said Haley. “The weapons might as well have had "Made in Iran" stickers all over it.”

Haley described the Iranian weapons on display as "concrete evidence" that Iran was in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. That 2015 resolution endorsed the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles for eight years as well.

The weapons evidence was provided to the United Nations for its latest review of Iran's compliance with the resolution that was presented to the Security Council on Wednesday. Haley touted the report as the “strongest language yet” of Iran’s violations.

According to a copy of that report obtained by ABC News, the U.N. drew no conclusions on the weapons and is “still analyzing the information provided.”

Haley said the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the UAE were declassifying the evidence in an “unprecedented” move to show the world Iran’s “destabilizing behavior.”

Haley declined to provide specifics of what the next steps would be — saying only that the U.S. would rally support at the UN Security Council and in the international community to push back on Iran.

“We’re not done yet,” she said.

The administration has invited members of the UN Security Council and US Congress to see the evidence as well. European allies have been receptive and the US is “already getting support,” she said, as allies now “see that the president was right” about Iran.

As a backdrop, Haley was flanked by four Iranian-made weapons systems, the most prominent was a reconstructed Qiam 1 short-range ballistic missile put together from the parts of two missiles fired by Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia in July and November, Haley said. The missile reconstruction included rocket engine parts, a booster section and the remnants of an explosive payload.

ABC News was invited on Wednesday to attend a preview hosted by the Defense Department of the Iranian weapons allegedly provided to the Houthis.

The items on display had been provided to the United States by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a defense official stressed "we have no reason to believe they have been altered."

Qiam 1 Missile


First used in 2014, the missile is Iran's updated version of a 1960's Soviet SCUD missile that has a longer range.

Distinctive logos on pieces of the rocket engine show they were manufactured by an Iranian company. According to the Defense Department the missile on display showed unique characteristics to the Iranian Qiam missile including the lack of stabilizer fins, replaced by a wind-bolt made by an Iranian manufacturer, and nine valves along the booster section.

The Defense Department individually numbered each valve along the booster’s side to make that point.

The displayed explosive payload came from the missile fired in November that landed close to Riyadh's international airport and consisted of metallic fragments indicating the explosive warhead had hit the ground.

Shark 33 Self-Guided Explosive Boat


On display was the guidance computer system of a "Shark 33", a self-guided unmanned explosive boat used by the Houthis in the deadly attack on the Saudi warship Madinah in January that killed two Saudi sailors.

The Shark 33's guidance system was seized by the United Arab Emirates in late 2016.

The "rudimentary" system uses desktop computer, housed in a waterproof container, and a camera to guide to guide the explosive boat towards a ship.

The Defense Department pointed out that the maritime software used by the computer is made by an Iranian-company collision avoidance and that a "fuze plate” on display matched similar plates seized at sea from an Iranian dhow loaded with hundreds of Iranian small arms intended for the Houthis.

Intriguingly the camera system was found to include pictures taken at the facility in Iran where the Shark 33’s computer was built. The photos showed a man at a desk wearing distinctive markings of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including an IRGC hat, and as well as seven other guidance computers in the background suggesting they were all built in the same facility.

Toophan anti-tank weapon Another displayed weapon was a Toophan anti-tank weapon that is a reverse-engineered copy of the American-made TOW anti-tank weapon. The TOW missile is optically guided by a wire to its target and can travel more than 2.3 miles (3.75 km) to its target.

According to the Defense Department a clear distinction between the two missiles is that the Iranian-made missile has a straight eject nozzle while the American nozzle has a conical shape.

The Toophan missile on display also had a date and time stamp on its structure that was consistent with the Persian calendar.

Qasef Unmanned Explosive Vehicle


The remotely piloted remotely piloted Qasef 1 drone is packed with explosives that the Defense Department said the Houthis have used in Yemen to ram into targets Kamikaze-style.

The unit on display was similar to Iran's Ababil drones and was seized by the Saudi military in Yemen.

The drone's gyroscope matched others found on Iranian-made drones and a serial number found on the unit matched similar number configurations found on other Iranian-made drones.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two days after submitting her resignation as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Omarosa Manigault Newman acknowledged a “lack of diversity” in the White House that she said often left her feeling alone.

“It has been very, very challenging being the only African-American woman in the senior staff,” she told ABC News’ “Nightline”.

Manigault Newman, communications director in the Office of Liaisons, said it “was very lonely” working alongside Trump’s other senior advisers – the majority of them white -- who “had never worked with minorities, didn't know how to interact with them.”

She added: “There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge.”

The White House announced Wednesday she will be leaving Jan. 20, after resigning to “pursue other opportunities.”

Her departure will leave the senior staff of Trump’s White House with no African-American representation, she noted.

When asked who will fill the void, Manigault Newman said, “That's a question that you'll have to ask President Trump and [Chief of Staff John] Kelly.”

“I regret that we haven't reached the level of diversity in this administration that I strove to see,” she said.

In response to Manigault Newman’s comments, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders today sought to defend the level of diversity within the West Wing, even though she couldn’t say how many African-American senior staffers are employed there.

“We have a really diverse team across the board at the White House,” she said at today’s press briefing. “We want to always continue to grow the diversity here. We're going to continue to do that.”

The White House did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for specific numbers.

Manigault Newman had been bothered by the president's highly controversial reaction to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that left one counterprotester dead, according to a source with knowledge of her thinking.

Trump was criticized for initially failing to condemn white supremacists and for doubling down three days later that there was “blame on both sides” and there were “some very fine people on both sides.”

Manigault Newman, 43, defended Trump today, however, arguing “he is not a racist” though he may find himself in disputes with people of color.

“Yes, I will acknowledge many of the exchanges, particularly in the last six months, have been racially charged,” she said. “Do we then just stop and label him as a racist? No.”

Manigault Newman, whose ties to Trump began in 2003 when she was a contestant on his reality-TV show “The Apprentice,” said she’s still leaving on good terms with her boss. Trump had found out about her departure from watching the news, she said.

“[Trump] was sad to learn about my departure,” she said, adding, “I regret that he found out about it on the television.”

The full interview will air tonight on “Nightline” at 12:35 a.m. ET.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican National Committee is launching a website to help President Trump make his closing argument on tax reform, ABC News has learned.

The RNC's website, which will be accompanied by a six-figure digital ad buy, aims to sell highlights of the proposal to the public and counter criticism while final details are hammered out by Republicans in the House and Senate.

The Senate is slated to start voting on the tax measure Monday with the House scheduled to begin voting Tuesday.

The website, which has a title banner reading “Paycheck President,” features an interactive map allowing visitors to click on their home state to find their senators' office numbers to call and encourage them to vote for the plan. It is targeted to specific states, focusing on the ten that President Trump won in 2016 and have Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2018.

The home page of the site features a video with a compilation of sound bites from Trump’s tax reform speech Wednesday. The site will also include a digital petition visitors can sign to show support for tax cuts.

“This website shows families how the Republican tax cut plan enables them to keep more of their hard-earned money, while also providing information for them to directly contact Democrat senators who are standing in the way of their increased paycheck,” RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement.

The website highlights GOP claims that the tax bill will deliver about $2,000 in savings to an average family making $75,000 per year, although independent analyses show people making that amount might see a net tax increase by 2027.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While the final results in Tuesday's upset victory for Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama's U.S. Senate special election still won't be known for a few weeks, the unofficial results from the race show that write-in votes may have played a crucial role in determining the outcome of the race.

Unofficial results from the Alabama Secretary of State show Jones and Moore separated by 20,715 votes, and that 22,780 Alabama voters wrote in a candidate, making up roughly 1.7 percent of the vote.

According to Alabama state law, if the number of votes for write-in candidates are "greater than or equal to the difference in votes between the candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for the specific county office," the names of each write-in candidate will be officially tallied, meaning a detailed look at each individual Alabama voters opted for instead of Jones or Moore will be provided.

While a major write-in candidate did not emerge in the race, candidates that may have received votes include retired Marine Colonel Lee Busby, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and the head football coaches from the University of Alabama and Auburn University, Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn.

A liberal super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, ran ads on Facebook in the closing days of the campaign urging Alabama voters to write-in Saban and Malzahn.

Moore has not yet conceded the race to Jones, instead saying that he is "awaiting certification" of the result by the Secretary of State. That process is expected to be completed sometime between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3, according to the Alabama Secretary of State's office.

According to Alabama state law, an automatic recount would be triggered if the margin between Jones and Moore was less than 0.5 percent. The unofficial results currently show Jones and Moore separated by 1.5 percent.

There are virtually no requirements for write-in candidates in Alabama, and after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Republican candidate Roy Moore, some Republicans suggested that voting for a write-in option was a good way to avoid voting for Moore without supporting a Democratic candidate.

Alabama's senior senator, Richard Shelby, was one of those Republicans, telling CNN in an interview over the weekend that he did not vote for Moore, and instead wrote in the name of "a distinguished Republican."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former reality-TV star turned White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Thursday tried to set the record straight on her reportedly dramatic exit from the White House Tuesday, and alluded to situations in the White House "that have made me uncomfortable.”

“[Chief of Staff] John Kelly and I had a very straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I raised and, as a result, I resigned,” Manigault said on ABC News' "Good Morning America."

There "were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with,” she said.

"But when I have my story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear," Manigault added.

White House sources have told ABC News she was fired and escorted off the White House grounds. Manigault denied Thursday that she was escorted off the premises by the U.S. Secret Service.

A White House official said in a statement Wednesday that Manigault resigned “to pursue other opportunities.”

Manigault, 43, will stay on until Jan. 20, according to the White House.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Twenty-four hours after Democrat Doug Jones claimed an upset victory in Alabama's senatorial election, controversial candidate Roy Moore is refusing to concede the race.

Moore released a video on Wednesday night, saying "the battle rages on," and vowing every ballot should be counted.

"In this race, we have not received the final count to include military and provisional ballots," Moore said in the video. "This has been a very close race -- and we are awaiting certification by the secretary of state."

Alabama's Secretary of State John Merrill stood by comments he made election night in an interview with ABC News' Tom Llamas on Wednesday, saying an automatic recount is "highly unlikely." Merrill believes Jones' margin of victory will not dip below 0.5 percent, which would trigger an automatic recount. A spokesperson for Merrill said the state had a "free, fair and safe elections process," even calling it "perfect and seamless."

Jones spoke to reporters in Birmingham on Wednesday afternoon and said he'd leave it up to Moore to choose to concede.

"I'm going to leave that to him," Jones said. "I think that as most people, including the president, believe that the people of Alabama spoke, and after elections it's a time for healing, it's a time for reaching out."

Jones also told Moore to "do the right thing" in regard to conceding later in the press conference.

The Moore statement, filmed in front of an American flag and Christmas tree, runs just under five minutes long. It touches on many of the topics Moore made a hallmark of his conservative campaign -- religion, abortion, immigration, the Constitution and the definition of marriage.

Moore also briefly alludes to the allegations of sexual misconduct against him made by multiple women, though not explicitly, saying the claims against him have been a sign of "immorality."

"Immorality sweeps over our land -- even our political process has been affected with baseless and false allegations which have become more relevant than the true issues which affect our country," Moore says. "This election was tainted by over $50 million from outside groups who want to retain power and their own corrupt ideology."

Moore faces allegations from eight women who have accused him of sexual misconduct when he was in his 30s and, in some cases, the women were in their teens. He has denied the allegations throughout the race.

Absentee ballots are still being counted, as Moore notes, but with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones led Moore by nearly 21,000 votes, according to the Alabama secretary of state's office.

While Moore vows to fight on, it doesn't appear as though the rest of the political establishment is in agreement.

The Republican National Committee, Alabama's Republican Party and even President Donald Trump, who endorsed Moore, have all made statements indicating they are moving on. Trump tweeted three times about Moore losing in the 24 hours since Jones declared victory.

Jones said he also received a congratulatory call from Trump, referring to it as "gracious" and "very much appreciated." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and sitting Alabama Republican Sens. Richard Shelby and Luther Strange also called him.

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Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ten months after taking office and seven months after beginning a “redesign” of the department that critics say has hollowed it out, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is making a push to be more transparent and open and boost sagging morale — starting with the first of what will be many town halls on where the agency stands.

The push, described by a senior State Department official, comes as questions about his future continue to haunt Tillerson, after a White House plot to oust him was leaked to the press two weeks ago.

But Tillerson doubled down on his plans to revamp the nation’s foreign service agency and pushed back on continued reports that it was being dismantled.

In particular, after a monthslong multimillion-dollar process that included 35,000 State Department and USAID employees taking an online survey, 300 in-person interviews and employee-led teams narrowing those ideas down with the help of two outside consulting firms, Tillerson’s big reveal today was six changes to IT systems and personnel policy.

Some of the ideas got applause from those in attendance in Washington, such as an end to the hiring freeze for employees’ spouses at posts around the world. But that freeze was implemented by Tillerson, and a broader one remains in place for department employees. It’s been the cause of much frustration for missions and diplomats, although the State Department counters that Tillerson has signed 2,400 exemptions and denied only one to two dozen.

Tillerson also got applause for announcing a streamlining of the security clearance process, which “was frustrating for me,” he said to laughs, and for changes to personnel policy that allow employees on medical or maternity leave to telecommute instead of use up leave time.

But after months of planning that was seen as secretive by Capitol Hill and cuts to staffing through attrition, resignations, retirements and buy-outs, critics called it a small pot to show for his efforts.

“These are drops in a bucket compared to the magnitude of issues facing this department,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. “These problems have been needlessly inflicted by this administration ... It will take a lot of hard work to help State and USAID recover from the damage the freeze and rudderless ‘redesign’ have done.”

Tillerson referred to some bigger changes coming down the line, including upgrading and integrating the IT and HR systems, streamlining the process for policy to be created and raised to his attention and eliminating duplicative systems and processes.

He said that there will be no embassy or consulate closures but that there will be a re-evaluation of how many people are needed at various posts — citing London, Paris and Rome as missions that will likely be cut back.

These new projects are two or three years in the future, he said — implying that he was sticking around to see them through.

In the face of the reports that he was being ousted, Tillerson was at his most passionate talking about organizational performance, saying finding ways to increase it has been “one of the things I’ve gotten the greatest satisfaction from” in his career — and that he did not necessarily enjoy diplomacy.

“The actual task at hand of dealing with North Korea? I don’t enjoy that,” he told the room of employees and those watching at posts around the world. “But I enjoy working with Susan Thornton on it,” referring to the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs as an example of a colleague he’s gotten to know.

“Unleashing” the talent of the department’s personnel seemed to be his top priority.

“It is all about our greatest asset, you the people — how do we develop the talent that resides inside of you, the capability inside of you, and then do we enable you to put it to work on behalf of the American people,” he added. “That’s what the redesign is about, nothing more, nothing less.”

A senior State Department official said that Tillerson acknowledges, understands and respects how people feel but blamed the low morale on a messaging problem. “We have to do a better job to communicate to internal and external audiences the accomplishments and achievements, his vision for the U.S.’s position in the world, and he is committed to doing that,” the official said.

To that end, Tillerson’s senior aide R.C. Hammond, who worked with him through the transition and became his de facto spokesman, is out. Tuesday was his last day at the department after a tsunami of bad headlines for his boss over his first 11 months in office.

Tillerson will play a more public role now as he and his team seek to combat the narrative that he is gutting the department.

He praised the work of foreign service officers and civil servants, especially those who have been filling roles in acting capacities and who have faced attacks from conservatives who see them as holdovers from the Obama administration.

At a speech later in the day, Tillerson acknowledged that there are “lots of open positions. I’ve got nominees for them. I’d love to get them in place. It makes a big difference.” He thanked those who have stepped up in the interim — and tried to offer a bit of humor about the delays, often the result of infighting with the White House.

“Some people seem to want to observe that there’s nothing happening at the State Department because I’m walking through this hollowed-out building and listening to the echoes of the heels of my shoes as I walk down the halls,” he said to laughs at that speech, before the Atlantic Council in Washington.

In addition to the speech, the public push will include an editorial planned for sometime next week.

But some of what Tillerson said in the town hall didn’t seem to help the new push. He recounted how he did not know any State Department employees or diplomats in his previous career, shrugging his shoulders with a laugh and saying, “Sorry.”

Asked whether he enjoyed his job, he laughed for a bit before saying, “I am learning to enjoy it. Look, it’s — this is a hard job.”

Tillerson tried to open up and show a different side of himself, including his admiration for the culture of the American West, where “your word is your bond,” he said. He added that that’s a philosophy he has carried with him throughout his “global diplomacy in the private sector,” in oil deals with foreign leaders.

Critics point out Trump has backed away from deals that the U.S. previously pledged its support to, like the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran nuclear deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Beverly Young Nelson, the woman who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of trying to assault her when she was 16 years old, told ABC News that she was "surprised" and "happy" he lost the race.

Democrat Doug Jones defeated Moore in an upset Tuesday night. It was the first time a Democrat had won a Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years.

"It's a relief to know that he's not going to be in the office and that this may not happen again," Nelson said of Moore. "Hopefully."

Nelson has accused Moore of groping her in the 1970s while he was the deputy district attorney of Etowah County. At the time, she was a 16-year-old waitress working at a restaurant in Gadsden, Alabama.

Nelson claims that Moore offered her a ride home one night, but he instead parked the car and tried to assault her. She alleges that he later instructed her not to tell anyone about the alleged incident.

Moore has vehemently denied Nelson's allegation, as well as allegations from other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, calling them "completely false" and "malicious" during a rally in Henagar, Alabama last month.

Roy Moore accuser Beverly Young Nelson 'scared to go anywhere' since her sexual assault allegation

Roy Moore will be 'lasting' stain on Republican Party, Sen. Jeff Flake says

Roy Moore's loss in Alabama sparks finger-pointing in the White House at McConnell and Bannon

After Nelson went public with her allegation in November, she said that her children had been threatened and that she was afraid to leave her home. But, on Wednesday, she said she felt as if she and the other women who came forward made a difference in the outcome of the election.

Despite how hard she says it was for her to come forward, Nelson said she was "happy" she did so.

"It's like I have had just a concrete barrier lifted off my back," she said. "And I'm just so happy that I went ahead and got this over."

When asked if she had thought Alabama voters would ever elect a Democrat, Nelson, who described herself to ABC News previously as a Republican and a supporter of President Donald Trump, replied, "No, I did not. It has been Republican for so long."

She also had a strong message for those who still decided to vote for Moore.

"You know, that's just not good that they would choose a man just because he is a Republican, not thinking about what he's done...." Nelson said. "Surely, they should think about their own children and their grandchildren -- how it's going to affect them."

Nelson said she received messages of congratulations from all over the country on Wednesday, describing the day after the election as an "amazing day for [her]."

"I've had people in Alabama who have gone out -- who have never voted before -- to vote in my honor," she said. "And I'm just thrilled."

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WJTN Headlines for Thursday Dec. 14, 2017

Ten economic development regions in New York state are splitting $755-million in state funding.    Governor Andrew Cuomo made the annoucement at an event in Albany on Wednesday.&n...

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