The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breaking - Woman accuses Franken of groping, kissing without consent; Franken apologizes; McConnell calls for ethics review | House Republicans poised for big tax win | Trump gives pep talk before vote | Mnuchin, Linton mocked on twitter for money photo | Rubio hits back after Trump water break | Pope's new ride | Hippo photo-bombs engagement pics



Yiiiiiiikes, this photo of Sen. Franken......: A TV host and sports broadcaster on Thursday accused Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenShould the Rob Porter outcome set the standard? Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats MORE (D-Minn.) of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006. "It wasn't until I was back in the U.S. and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one," Leeann Tweeden wrote. "I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated," she wrote. "How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's funny?" Her full story from KABC:

SHORTLY AFTER -- FRANKEN APOLOGIZES: Via NBC's Ashes Klein, Sen. Franken responded saying, "I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it."

JUST NOW -- MCCONNELL CALLS FOR AN ETHICS REVIEW: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) is calling on the Senate Ethics Committee to review allegations that Sen. Franken kissed and groped a woman without her consent in 2006. McConnell's statement: "As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable -- in the workplace or anywhere else."

FOR YOUR RADAR: Leeann Tweeden, the woman who accused Franken, will speak on WMAL Radio in Washington, D.C. at 3:05 p.m. EST.

It's Thursday -- one week from today, we'll be able to smell the Thanksgiving turkey cooking. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.



I call this photo: 'When the waiter tells you that adding bacon is an extra $1.': The photo depicts Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife, Scottish actress Louise Linton posing with the first bills printed with Mnuchin's signature.

Let the jokes ensue:

From CNBC's Christina Wilkie: "Why do Treasury Sec Mnuchin and his wife insist on posing for photos that make them look like Bond villains?"
From @DustinGiebel: "So much going on in this photo but I am shocked to find out Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Big tech lobbying groups push Treasury to speak out on EU tax proposal MORE's wife killed Han Solo"
From Harold Itzkowitz: "Steve Mnuchin and Louise Linton pick out wallpaper."

More photos of Mnuchin with the newly minted bills:  



House Republicans hope to move tax reform from Lord Licorice's dark forest to the greenery of Peanut Acres House Republicans are poised Thursday to pass a sweeping tax-reform package that, if enacted, would deliver the first major legislative victory of the Trump era.

Earlier today: President Trump visited Capitol Hill to rally support, but it appears there will be little need to twist arms.

Photo of Trump arriving at the Capitol:

Just now — guess the couple’s therapy has been going well: “Trump told the House Republican Conference meeting that he only likes 30-40 percent of them” (Via Politico’s Jake Sherman Ya, but: Trump did also say “it was a good meeting as he departs House GOP conference meeting on tax.”

Video of Trump after the meeting: “President Trump on his way out of House GOP meeting says ‘taxes are going really well’ and again ignores Qs on Moore/Franken.” (Via CNN’s Deirdre Walsh) Watch:

The vote count -- looks pretty good for the GOP: Assuming all Democrats vote no, Republicans can afford up to 22 no votes and still pass the bill. According to The Hill's Whip List, 10 Republicans have said they will vote no.

BUT HERE'S WHERE THE TAX PLAN GETS TRICKY -- THAT LITTLE OLE CHAMBER CALLED 'THE SENATE': The House may have an easy time passing the tax bill, but there's lots of uncertainty in the Senate's bill. "The first Republican senator has officially come out against both chambers' plans. Who: Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump spars with GOP lawmakers on steel tariffs Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wis.) Who else we're watching: Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (R-Maine), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe siren of Baton Rouge Interior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (R-Alaska) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? Blackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' MORE (R-Tenn.)

OP-ED: In an op-ed for The Hill, Solutionomics founder Chris Macke argues that "New Yorkers have a right to be salty" over the proposed repeal of state and local tax deductions in the GOP tax plan.



Oh, U.S. government. Oh, U.S. government. How lovely are thy branches (...especially during the holidays when everyone wants to leave) Via The Hill's Niv Elis, conservatives are growing worried that an end-of-year spending bill will be loaded up with extraneous, expensive provisions as lawmakers rush to prevent a government shutdown and get home for the holidays next month.

Complicating things: If Congress doesn't approve a new law setting limits on spending by late January, automatic spending cuts known as sequestration are set to be imposed under an earlier budget law.

What Dems are demanding: Democrats are insisting that any increase in defense spending be matched, dollar-for-dollar, with increases in nondefense spending.

Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE has been waiting FOUR YEARS for this moment: Yesterday, President Trump pointedly paused his speech recapping his Asia trip to take a sip of water. The clip quickly went viral on social media. Watch:

Then Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who famously took an awkward water break while delivering the GOP's response to the 2013 State of the Union address, had fun with Trump's moment. Rubio tweeted: "Similar, but needs work on his form. Has to be done in one single motion & eyes should never leave the camera. But not bad for his 1st time." Throwback: At the time, Trump gave Rubio grief for his water break. "Next time Marco Rubio should drink his water from a glass as opposed to a bottle--would have much less negative impact," he tweeted.

Spotted in the Capitol: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was just spotted in the Senate. “[For what it’s worth,] Palin thinks Franken should resign. Said she’s here to meet with Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE.” (Via The Daily Beast’s Andrew Desiderio‏) Photo

JUST NOW — As much as I looove getting robocalls telling me I won an all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean...: Via The Hill's Harper Neidig, t​he Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to let phone service providers proactively block robocalls from fraudulent numbers. Why: To protect consumers. From FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: "These calls are very likely to be illegal or fraudulent; there’s no legitimate reason for anyone to spoof caller ID to make it seem as if he or she is calling from an unassigned or invalid phone number...”



Oh wowwww:

Back story: Carter Page is a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who has been a subject of headlines in the investigations into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Page, who does not have a lawyer, revealed during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that he had met with Kremlin officials during a July 2016 trip to Moscow. More on Page:

Keep in mind. This is not Page’s only bucket hat 






The House and Senate are in.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump speaks to the House Republican Conference at the Capitol.

1:30 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House, including on the GOP's tax bill.

Watch: House Republicans debating the tax reform bill on the floor.

5 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence host a Thanksgiving dinner with service members and their families.



3 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream:

7:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the Tax Foundation's 80th Annual Dinner at the National Building Museum. Livestream:



Today is National Fast Food Day!

An?! Amusement?! Park?! Dedicated?! To?! Pasta?!: Eataly World, an Italian food park, has just opened in Bologna, Italy. It looks incredible:

That's a new take on the Pope Mobile: Pope Francis was given a special edition Lamborghini Huracan. The car is costs around $200,000, but he signed the hood, upping its value. Before you get excited about seeing the pope ride around in this: The Vatican plans to auction it off for charity. At least we do have this photo to hold onto:

Hey, Harry Potter fanaticsThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is getting decked out for Christmas. What to expect

And because I like you guys so much, here's Fiona the hippo photo-bombing a couple's engagement. The photos are incredible.


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