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Despite President Trump dominating the Top 10 political stories on NPR.org in 2017, he didn't end up atop the perch.

This week in the Russia investigations: The Mueller Wars rage behind the scenes, Republicans may get their Clinton uranium inquiry, and the Senate Intelligence Committee looks into Russia and the Jill Stein campaign.

The sharks are circling

President Trump says Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is safe. Reporters shouted a question about whether he was planning to try to fire him:

"I'm not," Trump said Dec. 17.

Before you head out to celebrate the holidays and welcome the new year, here is our last weekly roundup of 2017.

Education under the new tax bill

Graduate students can breathe easier after learning that tuition waivers will remain tax-free, according to the final version of the House-Senate tax bill that passed Thursday.

The president is a "narcissist." He is "paranoid." He is "bipolar."

No, not President Trump.

These labels were applied to Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Theodore Roosevelt, respectively. And the list goes on. John F. Kennedy had psychopathic traits, according to one academic study. And Abraham Lincoln apparently experienced suicidal depression.

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Let's keep this conversation going now with David Brooks of The New York Times. David, welcome.

DAVID BROOKS, BYLINE: Thank you.

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There wasn't much fanfare at the White House today when President Trump signed the $1 and a half trillion tax cut. There weren't any lawmakers there. The event was thrown together quickly, so there was just a handful of reporters and cameras.

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Dec 22, 2017

The tax bill is a done deal. But we’re not done talking about it. In fact, we’re bound to hear more about the massive GOP tax reform next year during midterm elections.

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

Congress Wraps Up 2017

Dec 22, 2017

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ending 2017 with an observation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MITCH MCCONNELL: This has not been a very bipartisan year. Most of our big accomplishments we largely had to do Republicans-only.

International influence campaigns have been around for centuries, but 2017 made clear how much they remain a part of daily life.

Through court documents, congressional testimony, press reports and other sources, Americans learned not only about the extent of the "active measures" — as they're known to intelligence officers — that Russia waged against the U.S. through the presidential election.

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A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against President Trump. The suit charged that the president is violating anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution. Now, the judge did not actually rule on those accusations but did set the case aside. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is ending the year on a rather thoughtful note.

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A federal district judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that President Trump is violating two anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution.

Judge George Daniels, in Manhattan, said the plaintiffs lack the necessary legal standing to sue. And he said the heart of the plaintiffs' case — the Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause — was something they couldn't even sue over.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause bars federal officials from taking gifts or rewards from foreign governments, unless Congress consents.

Vice President Pence made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday. It is the first visit to the country by the president or vice president under the Trump administration, and comes four months after Trump unveiled his strategy for the United States' role in the country.

"I bring greetings from your commander in chief," Pence told troops at the Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul. "Before I left the Oval Office yesterday, I asked the president if he had a message for the troops.

"He said, 'Tell them I love them,' " Pence said.

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Six people who were arrested at protests during President Trump's inauguration in January have been found not guilty of charges of property destruction and rioting, in the first of a series of trials over Inauguration Day demonstrations.

It was a long time in the making, but when the statues of Confederate figures finally came down in Memphis, Tenn., it was quick work.

On Wednesday, the city sold two of its city parks – one with a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the other featuring a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on horseback — for $1,000 each.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants 2018 to be a year of bipartisanship, even if that means moving on from GOP dreams of cutting welfare and fully rolling back the Affordable Care Act.

The Kentucky Republican on Thursday broke with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on the approach to paring back spending on programs like Medicaid and food stamps. In an interview with NPR, McConnell said he is "not interested" in using Senate budget rules to allow Republicans to cut entitlements without consultation with Democrats.

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