Protester inside US Capitol hurls mini Russian flags at Trump
WASHINGTON — A male protester who was just feet from President Trump as he walked through a corridor outside the Senate chamber shouted “Trump is treason” and hurled what appeared to be several small Russian flags in the direction of the president — a major security breach inside one of Washington’s most secure complexes.
Trump, walking alongside Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, flashed a smile and a thumbs up as the man shouted. The pair didn’t break stride as they walked past assembled media there to report on the president’s meeting with GOP lawmakers to push for action on a tax overhaul, Trump’s top priority as he nears the end of his first year in office.
“Why is Congress talking about tax cuts when they should be talking about treason?” the protester, in a dark suit, blue shirt, and red tie, screamed at the media. Police in the corridor off the Senate floor quickly moved to arrest him.
It was unclear how the man, who was not identified, was able to access the secure location inside the Capitol. It’s impossible to get to without clearing at least one security checkpoint that’s complete with uniformed police checking congressional credentials, metal detectors, and airport-style baggage checks.
It’s usually a space limited to lawmakers, credentialed reporters, and staff. Security had been tightened in advance of Trump’s visit.
Trump’s hourlong meeting with Senate Republicans on taxes began as scheduled.
Commerce secretary laments the ‘death fine’
WASHINGTON — It wasn’t quite Hamlet’s soliloquy on mortality, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross got philosophical in his opposition to the federal estate tax the Trump administration wants to repeal.
“It’s bad enough that you have to die,” Ross, 79, said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “You shouldn’t be fined for doing so.”
The tax framework released by the White House and Republican leaders last month calls for repealing the estate tax — a 40 percent levy applied to estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals or $10.98 million for couples.
Although Republicans say it penalizes small businesses and farmers, data from 2013 show that just 3 percent of estates subject to the tax were businesses and farms, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Ross said repealing the levy would help small businesses that are passed on to family members. And he questioned whether it’s fair for heirs to pay tax on income that may have already been taxed. “Is there any fairness to having just one portion of the population pay a death tax on values that largely have already been taxed?”
Kid Rock won’t run for Senate in Michigan
DETROIT — Kid Rock says he’s not running for US Senate in Michigan.
Kid Rock told SiriusXM host Howard Stern, ‘‘Are you kidding me?’’ during an expletive-laden interview Tuesday.
The Detroit-area rocker has been teasing the public for months. At a Sept. 12 concert, Kid Rock was introduced as Michigan’s ‘‘next senator’’ and talked about running for president.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Kid Rock said his staff knew there wouldn’t be a run for office. But with all the attention — and a new album in the works — he said he told them: ‘‘Let’s roll with it for a while.’’
Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, was a target of protests during recent Detroit concerts because of his use of the Confederate flag.
Twitter planning more transparency on political ads
NEW YORK — Twitter says it will provide more information about political ads on its service, including who is funding them and how they are targeted.
The move follows similar steps by Facebook and the introduction of a bill that seeks to bring more transparency to online political ads in an attempt to lessen the influence of Russia and other foreign entities on US elections.
The bill would require social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to keep public records on election ads and meet the same disclaimer requirements as political broadcast and print advertising. Companies would have to make ‘‘reasonable efforts’’ to ensure that election ads are not purchased directly or indirectly by a foreign entity, something already prohibited by law.
Twitter said it will require ads that refer to a candidate or party to be clearly identified as election ads. The company will also require the organization funding the ads to disclose its identity, along with how much money it is spending on each ad campaign.
For nonpolitical ads, Twitter will provide limited information, such as how long they’ve been running. Users will also be able to see what ads are targeted at them.
Twitter didn’t outline new policies on ‘‘issue-based’’ ads — the sorts of advertisements that Russia-linked accounts reportedly used to stoke racial and other tensions in the United States. Twitter said it is ‘‘committed to stricter policies and transparency around issue-based ads’’ and will work with other companies and policy makers to define them.
Neither Twitter’s new policies nor the ‘‘Honest Ads’’ bill addresses election meddling efforts outside of advertisements. Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others are also dealing with spam and fake accounts spreading fake news and propaganda.
All three companies are scheduled to participate in Nov. 1 hearings on Russian efforts to influence US elections through social media.