The Note: Trump's 'huge' year could lead to a bumpy road for GOP in 2018

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Bahrains Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in the Oval Office of the White House, Nov. 30, 2017.PlayEvan Vucci/AP
WATCH White House reacts to tax bill, Rex Tillerson

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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Take Trumpism and combine it with the potency of traditional Republicanism and a powerful force emerges – perhaps strong enough to deliver a sweeping tax cut, and a long-absent victory for the GOP.

But while this week could still bring a very big win for President Donald Trump and his party, it also reveals the mammoth leaps of faith they are collectively taking.

Start with the tax bill. We know it will worsen the deficit outlook, boost the fortunes of the wealthy, and provide questionable benefits to only some middle-income taxpayers – all in the hopes of giving the economy "rocket fuel" it may or may not need.

As for the politics, this a widely unpopular bill that's being crafted on the fly and moving along on party lines. It's telling that Democrats aren't even tempted to vote for it – and that House Republicans from the northeast and California are on record in opposition.

Then turn to the president himself. This week saw the president's tweets and public statements veer far off course into conspiracy theories, news bashing, and anti-Muslim sentiments.

Few elected Republicans said a word about the president's words. Party unity held, for the moment, in the interest of passing something big this year.

It figures to make for a more pleasant December than Republicans otherwise would have had. But they may be trading a happy conclusion to 2017 for what might be a difficult road in 2018.

The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek

The intersection of pop culture and politics seems to pass right through the state of Alabama right now.

Embattled GOP senate candidate Roy Moore is in the thick of his campaign's "church door to church door" strategy, stopping at a Baptist church outside of Birmingham last night. But Moore seems to have made the most waves on Twitter in recent days.

After late night host Jimmy Kimmel sent a comedian to Moore's speech Wednesday night outside of Mobile, Moore tweeted at Kimmel, ".@jimmykimmel If you want to mock our Christian values, come down here to Alabama and do it man to man." After some back and forth, Kimmel went right at the heart of the accusations of sexual misconduct against Moore, tweeting, "Ok Roy, but I'm leaving my daughters at home! P.S. - wear that cute little leather vest."

Kimmel also went after Moore in his opening monologue last night, saying he's more than willing to head down to Alabama to interview Moore — with a group of high school cheerleaders. He also said Moore isn't even "man enough" to debate his Democratic opponent Doug Jones.

It may seem odd that a major party's candidate for U.S. Senate is getting in Twitter battles with late night hosts, but it seems Moore is again following after the man who arguably has breathed the most life into his campaign in the last week — Donald Trump.

Moore's campaign also came out with a new ad featuring President Trump's comments bashing Jones.

There are 12 days left until the nation sees whether or not that push was enough for Moore to survive the political fight of his life.

The TIP with Cheyenne Haslett

Politicians say conflicting things all the time -- and during elections, words often flow freerbut Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took banter a step further Thursday morning on CNN. As ABC News' Chris Donovan points out, almost word-for-word, the senator fully contradicted a statement he'd made back in February 2016 about the president.

Graham was asked about reports of Trump still talking about "birtherism." Graham, growing frustrated, criticized CNN and MSNBC for their coverage of the president. It's okay to disagree with Trump, as Graham does on different viewpoints, but he's concerned that the media is endlessly trying to label Trump a "kook not fit to be president," Graham said.

One problem. That phrase is the exact same phrase Graham used to label Trump earlier this year. Read excerpts from both transcripts below.

Sen. Lindsey Graham on CNN, Nov. 30, 2017: "You know what concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook not fit to be president. He did win, by the way.

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Fox News, February 17, 2016: "I'm not going to get into the mind of Donald Trump because I don't think there's a lot of space there. I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office...He's not fit to be president of the United States.

The interview on Fox News in February was after Graham dropped out of the Republican primary race for president. He was backing Republican candidate Jeb Bush at the time.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY:

  • Voting on the Senate Republican tax bill was called off Thursday night and the plan is to resume votes today at 11 a.m. ET.
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan formally invited President Trump to give his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, 2018.
  • Today, an independent review and final report on the racially-charged violence over the summer in Charlottesville will be announced at a press conference held by the city. The review was conducted by former U.S. attorney Tim Heaphy.
  • Looking ahead to the weekend: Senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner will speak at the Brookings Institute on Middle East policy on Sunday.
  • President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today, a day after the news that the White House devised a plan to remove Tillerson in the coming weeks.
  • Trump also meets with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and then gives remarks at the White House Christmas reception.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    "He's here. Rex is here," President Donald Trump said amid rumors that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the way out.

    NEED TO READ

  • Congress secretly paid nearly $100,000 to settle harassment claims against disgraced congressman. The Congressional Office of Compliance secretly paid close to $100,000 in taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment claims from at least two young male staffers who worked for disgraced former Congressman Eric Massa, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter told ABC News. The claims were settled after Massa, a Democrat from upstate New York, resigned in 2010 amid a pending ethics investigation into allegations he groped and sexually harassed members of his staff. (Justin Fishel) http://abcn.ws/2j3MZWu
  • White House crafted plan to replace Tillerson as secretary of state, source says. The White House developed a plan in recent months to remove Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from his post and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a source confirmed to ABC News on Thursday. (Tara Palmeri, Adam Kelsey and Veronica Stracqualursi) http://abcn.ws/2ByROyJ
  • Sen. McCain says he'll back the Senate GOP tax plan. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gave a boost Thursday to efforts by President Donald Trump and Republican senators to get a tax reform bill through Congress. (Megan Hughes and Ali Rogin) http://abcn.ws/2j55QQY
  • Conyers 'not going to be pressured' to resign, attorney says. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is "not going to be pressured" to resign from office after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on him to step down Thursday over sexual harassment allegations, his attorney, Arnold Reed, said in a news conference Thursday outside Conyers' home in Michigan. (John Parkinson, Cindy Smith and Megan Hughes) http://abcn.ws/2AlKHJS
  • Critics see State Department in disarray despite Tillerson's defense. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered a forceful defense against reports that he is gutting the State Department, saying he was "offended" by them. He challenged the numbers, accused some reporters of sounding "like the sky was falling," and argued the agency was "functioning very well from my perspective." (Conor Finnegan) http://abcn.ws/2zClklL
  • Top Dem suggests GOP-controlled Congress won't force Sessions to answer Russia probe questions. "We have the power to compel the attorney general to answer those questions, but that requires [Republican] agreement," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Thursday after Sessions testified to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. (Mike Levine) http://abcn.ws/2iuGWNx
  • Trump expected to announce decision to shrink 2 monuments in Utah. Trump has been considering whether to reduce the size of several national monuments as part of a review started earlier this year. He is expected to announce his decision to change the boundaries of two monuments in Utah, Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. (Stephanie Ebbs) http://abcn.ws/2AlWms0
  • The Washington Post reports on that Trump told confidants a government shutdown would be good for him. http://wapo.st/2njfdBj
  • FiveThirtyEight details why GOP Senators wary of the tax bill are getting on board. http://53eig.ht/2i2VGPX
  • The Advocate reports that Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., now said he plans on backing 5th Circuit nominee Kyle Duncan. http://bit.ly/2jBceyN

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.