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Matt Lauer, North Korea, Reno: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Getting to a yes on tax cuts.

• Republicans sound increasingly optimistic about the fate of the Senate’s tax bill, after the Budget Committee voted along party lines on Tuesday to advance the $1.5 trillion package. Follow the latest developments on our live briefing.

Here’s what the bill would mean for 25,000 middle-class families.

With a procedural vote planned today, the Republican mood is far different from earlier this year: “At this point in the health care debate, people were walking out and talking about each other’s mamas and getting mad and it just wasn’t healthy, it wasn’t productive,” one senator said. “It was like a bunch of kids in the back of a minivan.”

Also on Tuesday, the effort to avert a government shutdown next month got off to a rocky start after talks between President Trump and Democratic leaders broke down.

At the White House on Tuesday, President Trump sat between empty seats meant for Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leaders.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

NBC fires Matt Lauer.

The network has dismissed Mr. Lauer, its leading morning news anchor, over a sexual harassment allegation.

Andrew Lack, the network’s president for news, said in a memo sent to staff today that a “detailed complaint from a colleague” against Mr. Lauer “represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”

Mr. Lauer’s co-host, Savannah Guthrie, announced the news on “Today” this morning. Appearing on the verge of tears, Ms. Guthrie said, “All we can say is we are heartbroken; I’m heartbroken.” (Read a transcript of her remarks.)

Matt Lauer in New York in 2014.CreditLarry Busacca/Getty Images

North Korea says entire U.S. is in range.

• Pyongyang said today that it had successfully tested a missile that could deliver nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental U.S.

President Trump said “we will handle” the situation. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis noted that the rocket “went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken.”

Experts said the launch underscored the increasing sophistication of North Korea’s program.

The president’s changing reality.

• President Trump once said that the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of his making vulgar comments about women was authentic. Now, he’s not so sure.

“We don’t think that was my voice,” Mr. Trump told a senator in January. And the president has continued to seed doubt about the tape. The White House declined to comment, but some of Mr. Trump’s advisers say he harbors a handful of conspiracy theories that have no grounding in fact.

The aides say that behind closed doors, Mr. Trump has questioned former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and claimed that he lost the popular vote last year because of fraud.

Although Donald Trump publicly apologized after the release of a video in which he admitted to groping women, people close to him say that privately he has expressed doubts that the voice in the recording is his.Published On

This morning, the president shared videos on Twitter supposedly portraying Muslims committing acts of violence. The images were originally posted by a far-right activist in Britain.

Gunman opens fire in Reno.

An assailant took a hostage and opened fire from the eighth floor of a luxury high-rise condominium in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday, shooting for about 20 minutes onto the streets below, the authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the episode, which was reminiscent of the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October. The gunman died, though it was unclear whether he had been killed by police gunfire or had shot himself.

Separately, the Air Force said it had failed to report dozens of service members to a federal gun background-check database as required. The Air Force also didn’t report the domestic violence conviction of the gunman in this month’s church shooting in Texas.

The diary that could upend the Olympics.

• Journals kept by a chemist provide a new level of detail about Russia’s elaborate cheating at the last Winter Olympics.

The notes, seen exclusively by The Times, are among the critical pieces of evidence that could result in Russia being absent from the next Games.

Olympic officials will announce their decision on Dec. 5.

The diary of Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia’s antidoping lab.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

“The Daily”: The unpaid price of fighting ISIS.

Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device.

Business

In a win for President Trump, his pick, Mick Mulvaney, will be the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It usually doesn’t take much to get internet users worked up. To get them really worked up, make the topic internet regulation.

That includes our tech columnist, who says that killing so-called net neutrality rules would also kill the internet as we know it.

Retail jobs don’t need to be bad, our economics columnist writes.

U.S. stocks were up on Tuesday. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

• A movie stylist offers tips for style on a budget.

How to paint your apartment, with tips from a professional.

Recipe of the day: Hearty split pea soup can be even better with bacon. (Not all readers agreed.)

Noteworthy

The physical internet.

In today’s 360 video, visit Herald Square in New York City, where we identify the objects that help make our online lives possible.

The writer and artist Ingrid Burrington helps us identify the physical objects that make up the internet all around us everyday.Published OnCreditImage by Tim Chaffee/The New York Times. Technology by Samsung.

How far will Sean Hannity go?

The Fox News host is willing to defend President Trump at all costs, and he is reaching 13.5 million people a day doing it.

The Times Magazine profiled the man whom Stephen Bannon calls “the single most important voice for the ‘deplorables.’ ”

Ugly Baby’s pretty dishes.

A memorably named Thai restaurant in Brooklyn offers items rarely seen in New York City, our critic Pete Wells writes.

Best of late-night TV.

Bernie Sanders received a Grammy nod for the audiobook version of “Our Revolution.” “He was nominated in the shouted-word category,” Seth Meyers said.

For late-night hosts, being sharply critical of President Trump has been a winning strategy. That’s bad news for Jimmy Fallon and “The Tonight Show.”

Quotation of the day.

“There’s no way we could survive if there were more fires than snakes.”

Prayul Krongyos, deputy director of the Bangkok Fire and Rescue Department, which has responded to more than 31,000 calls about snakes this year. Some pythons have even slithered up through toilets.

A python at a fire station in Bangkok. Most of the snakes rescued by firefighters are eventually released in the wild.CreditAmanda Mustard for The New York Times

Back Story

Call it the Trumpchi conundrum. China finally feels it has a car capable of following vehicles from Japan, Germany and South Korea into the U.S. market. But its biggest roadblock might be its name.

The Chinese automaker GAC Motor insists that its popular Trumpchi vehicles, which went into mass production in 2010, have nothing to do with the U.S. president.

A Trumpchi electric car at a motor show in Guangzhou, China, this year.CreditBilly H.C. Kwok for The New York Times

Even so, when we reported last week on plans to sell the Trumpchi in the U.S. by 2019, GAC officials said that they might rethink the branding.

Automotive history, littered as it is with unfortunate car names, suggests this is probably a good idea.

There’s been the Mazda Scrum Wagon, the Mitsubishi Lettuce, the Nissan Homy Super Long and the Isuzu GIGA 20 Light Dump, not to be confused with the Honda Life Dunk.

Volkswagen offered the Tiguan, a mash-up of tiger and iguana, Ford shortened cougar into Kuga for some markets, and Renault famously had Le Car.

General Motors has long been ridiculed for marketing the Chevy Nova in Spanish-speaking countries, where the name translates to “doesn’t go” (“no va”). The Nova actually sold well in Latin America.

GAC officials told our Shanghai bureau chief that, in Chinese, Trumpchi sounded a little like “passing on happiness.” Any decision on changing the name, they said, would be announced in January — at an auto show in Detroit.

Charles McDermid contributed reporting.

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NBC Fires Matt Lauer Over Sexual Misconduct Allegation

  • The network received a detailed allegation this week of sexual harassment by its leading morning news anchor, an internal memo said.
  • “We were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” it said.

A Sharp Decline for Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’

The latest ratings show that viewers are tuning out NBC’s fun-and-games approach and flocking to the politically engaged Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel.

What the Tax Bill Would Look Like for 25,000 Middle-Class Families

The Senate bill is still a work in progress, but here’s a look at its likely impact on some taxpayers.

The president shared videos on Twitter supposedly showing violence by Muslims.

President Trump shared video posts from an ultranationalist British lawmaker, Jayda Fransen, including “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”

Trump Once Said the ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape Was Real. Now He’s Not Sure.

  • President Trump is said to still be casting doubt on the validity of the “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced during the election.
  • His changing story, as well as his shifting views on how sexual harassment claims should be treated, have stunned advisers.

The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death.

Over the last decade, a few giant corporations became an inescapable part of online life. Gutting net neutrality would cement their power, our columnist writes.

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