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 TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations 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 GoodlatteConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe Trump vows to stand with House GOP '1,000 percent' on immigration 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 StrangeLoyalty to Donald Trump is new normal for the Republican Party In GOP primaries, Trump can hurt someone, but can he help? Trump loyalty tests, surging number of women winners defines Tuesday's election results 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) HassanOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Health chief grilled on Trump drug pricing plan, ObamaCare case Health chief: Decision not to defend ObamaCare in court not a 'policy' position Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk 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 AyotteErnst, Fischer to square off for leadership post The Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars MORE (N.H.).

Well that didn't take long: Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Sessions floats federal law that would protect states that decriminalize marijuana RNC mum on whether it will support Trump-backed Corey Stewart 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 McConnellWarren on family separation policy: Trump is ‘taking America to a dark and ugly place’ Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis 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 FrankenRichard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump: `A very great moment in the history of the world’ 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 EllisonVoters should keep eye on 2018 races for state attorneys general On The Money: Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger opposed by Trump | Effort to kill Trump tariffs blocked in Senate | Kudlow in hospital after heart attack | Panel advances Fed nominees Ellison introduces bill to curb stock buybacks 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 KlobucharAmerica has reason to remember its consumer protection tradition when it comes to privacy Hillicon Valley: Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner deal in blow to DOJ | Dems renew push to secure state voting systems | Seattle reverses course on tax after Amazon backlash | Trump, senators headed for cyber clash | More Tesla layoffs Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger opposed by Trump 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:


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