US Senate approves tax overhaul as Trump responds to Flynn guilty plea

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National Security Adviser Mike Flynn FILE – JANUARY 31, 2017: Former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn listens to President Trump during a listening session with cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/AP)

In the last 24 hours U.S. President Trump was served a major victory with the narrow passage of his tax bill. He was also confronted by developments in the Russia investigation as former National Security Adviser Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

CGTN’s Toby Muse has the latest developments.

Senate passes tax bill in party-line vote

Early Saturday morning, the largest change to the US tax code in three decades passed the Senate almost exactly on party lines, with 51 Republican votes in favor. Only one Republican senator joined the Democrats in voting against.

It was an important legislative win for President Donald Trump who has seen some of his key campaign pledges fail. Leaving the White House on Saturday, he called the passage “tremendous” and “largest tax cuts in the history of our country.”

Republicans say that the bill will spur growth in the US economy, but Democrats contend it is a massive gift to corporations and America’s wealthiest citizens.

The bill was changed up until the last minute, with hand written notes present on some of the almost 500 pages.

Among the changes that would be implemented were the bill to ultimately become law would be a corporate tax rate reduction from 35 percent to 20 percent, and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for drilling for oil and gas.

The self-employed will likely see a tax increase.

Wall Street supports the bill, and markets climbed to record high in the past week.

A report from the Joint Committee on Taxation said that even with optimistic economic growth, the plan will add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

Now that the measure has passed the Senate, senators will meet with their colleagues in the House of Representatives and work out the differences between their respective bills.

Once they reach an agreement, both the House and the Senate would have to vote on the final compromise, which will then go before President Trump to sign if it receives enough votes.

Paul Bledsoe discusses US Senate’s tax overhaul bill

Ivan Eland discusses Flynn’s guilty plea and the Senate tax plan

Trump breaks silence on Flynn guilty plea

On his way to New York on Saturday morning, President Trump responded to reporters’ questions about the guilty plea of his former National Security Adviser and campaign member Michael Flynn.

 “What has been shown is no collusion,” the president said. “No collusion. There’s been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy.”

Trump continued tweeting: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide.”

Different media outlets have identified the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as someone who urged Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador at the behest of Israel for a vote in the United Nations.

Flynn is the fourth member of the Trump campaign to be charged by Robert Mueller’s special investigation and is the second who has agreed to cooperate with the probe.

The question is what more can Michael Flynn offer the special prosecutor in this inquiry.

Flynn indictment timeline: What led to Trump adviser’s guilty plea?