The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breaking - GOP negotiators strike deal on tax bill | Fallout from Alabama election | Winners, losers | Dems push to seat Jones now | Trump's reaction | Minn. lieutenant governor to replace Franken | Deputy AG on the hot seat | Omarosa leaving the White House | Major meteor shower tonight



For a reality TV star, I bet this job did feel very comfortable and familiar:

Via The Associated Press's Darlene Superville, senior White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman is leaving the White House next month. What Omarosa is most famous for: She was the star of the initial season of "The Apprentice" and a longtime supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MOREHer role in the White House: She served as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. Her last day: Jan. 20.

BACK STORY: Here's more about her and why she's so controversial:

OH AND BY THE WAY...: Manigault Newman once showed up at the White House in her wedding gown and with her 39-person bridal party for a surprise bridal shoot. It caught senior aides and security officials by surprise. Details:

^^IF YOU WANT SOME IMAGERY: Here's a segment with Omarosa on TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" from last April, including getting in a heated exchange with star Randy Fenoli:


It's Wednesday -- tonight is expected to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers ever! 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



It's not possible for us to have a big news day these days without Russia updates:

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing this morning, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is in the hot seat over alleged political bias in the Justice Department -- and in a twist, he'd heard about it from both sides of the aisle.

ON THE INVESTIGATION'S BIAS: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRepublicans become entangled by family feuds over politics House GOP prepares to grill DOJ official linked to Steele dossier Goodlatte's son 'embarrassed' his father's 'grandstanding' got Strzok fired MORE (R-Va.) charged that text messages between FBI officials recently provided to lawmakers show "extreme" political bias in the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. The texts: Texts between the FBI's Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page show the officials referring to President Trump as an "utter idiot" and a "loathsome human."

ON FIRING MUELLER: "Rosenstein said if ordered to fire Mueller, 'I would follow the reg. If there were good cause, I would act. If there were no good cause, I would not.' As of today, he says, he still has seen no good cause to fire Mueller."




What it looked like at the Roy Moore watch party once Democratic candidate Doug Jones won:

Silence from Moore supporters: "Surreal scene at Moore party. Moore and Bannon had been expected to speak. Utter silence at the moment."

I applaud the staffer who picked this song: "Anddd Doug Jones walked off the stage to 'teach me how to Dougie.'"

So. Much. FOMO.: From BuzzFeed's Alexis Levinson: "Hi from Doug Jones' election night party turned dance party, where Hey Ya is playing and Charles Barkley is making the rounds to every TV camera."

Rubbing it in: "To all my Jewish friends, Happy Hannukah!" Doug Jones says during his remarks. Monday night: Moore's wife denied claims of anti-Semitism by saying "one of our attorneys is a Jew."



From Roy Moore -- *covers ears and pretends not to hear them*: Roy Moore refused to concede after multiple outlets called the race. His reasoning: "When the vote is this close, it is not over," Moore said. The numbers: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones holds 49.9 percent of the vote, compared to Moore's 48.4 percent, a 1.5-point gap.

The stages of Trump reactions: Last night, President Trump tweeted congratulations to Doug Jones. Then this morning: Trump said Moore could never have won. "The reason I originally endorsed Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump to GOP: I will carry you GOP strategist: Trump will be anchor around Republicans' necks in general election Trump: I ‘destroy' careers of Republicans who say bad things about me MORE (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!" He later added: "If last night's election proved anything, it proved that we need to put up GREAT Republican candidates to increase the razor thin margins in both the House and Senate."

Yikes, here's today's New York Daily News cover: FIRST OF ALL, everyone, leave Sassy the horse out of this. Sassy did NOTHING.

Oh, yeah. Charles Barkley is a political commentator now...: "Charles Barkley: "Yeah we got a bunch of rednecks and a bunch of ignorant people, but we have a bunch of amazing people here and they rose up today."

This is a tweet from a U.S. senator: "Hot DAMN," Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenate panel spars with Trump administration over treatment of unaccompanied immigrant children Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Senators blast Michigan State president's handling of sex abuse scandal MORE (D-N.H.) tweeted when Jones won.

Wow, this tweet: From FP1 Strategies' Lauren Zelt: "I'm actually crying. Hard. For all women who have ever had their lives affected by the horror that is sexual assault, harassment, abuse, misconduct, etc. Whatever you want to call it. Ladies. We finally have a voice. #MeToo." Why this is big: Zelt was the press secretary for Republican Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteNew Hampshire governor signs controversial voting bill Former Arizona senator to shepherd Supreme Court nominee through confirmation process Shut the back door to America's opioid epidemic MORE (N.H.).

Well that didn't take long: Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBusinesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job MORE (R-Colo.) "is already recruiting Jones to switch parties." Gardner's statement last night:

On whether there will be a recount: From Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on CNN last night: "Any candidate can request a recount, and if they pay for it, there's a recount."

On when the votes will be certified: "AL Secretary of State says on FOX that certification can come no earlier than 12/26 under state law." It must be certified by Jan. 3 at the latest.

When Jones will take office: It may not be until 2018. Reasoning:

Front page on Montgomery, Ala., newspaper stands: 

This is a notable take: "Moore supporter (& fiancée of Missouri Senate candidate): 'This election has proven that if three floozies and a fake headline can steal an election, then they're gonna use this as a template to go further.'"



Winners and losers: The Hill's Niall Stanage has a list breaking down the winners and losers from last night. Notable winner: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Name change eludes DHS cyber wing, spurring frustration MORE (R-Ky.). Notable loser: The Republican National Committee. Full list and reasons for each:

Five takeaways: From The Hill's Lisa Hagen, Ben Kamisar and Jonathan Easley:
1: Black voters propelled Jones
2: Enough people cast write-in ballots to make a difference
3: Bannon and Trump lose clout
4: The Senate is in play in 2018
5: McConnell has a slimmer margin in the Senate
Reasoning for each:

Comparison to another race: "If Democrats ever wondered what Republicans felt like when Scott Brown won in Mass. ..." (From The Washington Examiner's David M. Drucker

Significance of a Dem winning in Alabama: "First time in a quarter century that a Democrat will serve in the Senate for Alabama."

Context for the president: "Trump has backed loser in 3 statewide elections in 3 months: Strange in AL, Gillespie in VA, Moore in AL."

The number the White House is reading: "Most sobering stat last night for the White House: Trump approval was at 48-48 in exit polls. In Alabama. Moore not the only issue." (From The New York Times's Jonathan Martin 

Thinking about tax reform: "Dems will want Jones to be seated immediately to reduce chances that tax reform will pass. But that won't happen until after the holidays." (From The Hill's Bob Cusack

One scenario that could change that: "Jones not expected to be sworn-in to Senate until January. Only could be sworn-in at end of December if Senate is in session due to gov't shutdown." (From Fox's Chad Pergram

Op-ed: In The Hill, Cheri Jacobus, a former congressional staffer, Republican National Committee spokesperson and political consultant, writes how the GOP isn't off the hook for supporting Roy Moore



Breaking -- They have a deal!:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Scott Wong, Senate and House negotiators have struck an "agreement in principle" on the tax bill. What's next: Now they are just cleaning up some of the details on paying for it. When to expect an announcement: Later today. What to expect in the deal: It would lower the top individual tax rate to 37 percent and set the corporate tax rate at 21 percent, slightly higher than the 20 percent initially favored by President Trump. The bill would cap the popular mortgage interest deduction at $750,000, a mid-point compromise between the Senate and House bills.

Minnesota, meet your new senator on Capitol Hill:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) just named Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to fill Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries Tina Smith defeats former Bush ethics lawyer in Minnesota Dem primary MORE's (D-Minn.) soon-to-be vacated Senate seat. Smith said she intends to run in November 2018 to complete the remaining two years of Franken's term. Keep in mind: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonEllison ex-girlfriend details abuse allegations Dem requests DOJ probe on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (D-Minn.) won't run for the Senate in 2018, eliminating a potential primary opponent for Smith.  Big year for Minnesota: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharThe Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Tina Smith defeats former Bush ethics lawyer in Minnesota Dem primary Live results: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut hold primaries MORE (D-Minn.) is also up for reelection in November 2018.






The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with the House and Senate tax bill conferees.

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump participates in the swearing-in of Judge Gregory Katsas to the Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C.

2:30 p.m. EST: First votes in the House.

4:30 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.



3 p.m. EST: President Trump gives a speech on tax reform. Livestream:

Last night: NBC's Katy Tur appeared on "Late Night with Stephen Colbert" to talk about her experiences reporting on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Watch



Today is National Popcorn String Day.

Grab a few blankets and some hot chocolate tonight:

Via CNN, tonight is the annual Geminid meteor shower. This year's meteor shower is expected to be one of the best ever. When to watch: It will peak between 7:30 p.m.  and 4 a.m. What to know:

Getting traction on social media -- It is cheese, so yes, I am curious:

Via Food & Wine, an English cheesemaker has created a new cheese infused with gin. "Although it might sound like an odd combination, Cheshire Cheese Company picked up the Bronze Award at the 2017 International Cheese Awards for its creation."

And because you made it to the end, here's a boy so excited to meet "Toy Story's" Woody that he won't let go:


To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: