The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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​The Hill's 12:30 Report: Major Threat For ObamaCare  |  Barbara Walters Interviews Trump Tonight  |  Baghdad to Washington Direct Flight

LATEST IN WEST AFRICA — 'NO MORE HOSTAGES': Via The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes and Kristina Wong, 10 men stormed a Radisson Hotel in Mali with AK-47s and grenades, taking 170 people hostage, including Americans. They were reportedly shouting, “God is great” in Arabic. Agence France-Presse is reporting there are now "no more hostages." At least three people are dead. More here as the story develops:

BAGHDAD TO WASHINGTON: Iraqi Airlines has announced it plans on launching direct flights between Baghdad and Washington, D.C. next year. If this actually happens, there will likely be extensive security precautions for these flights.

THIS JUST IN: CNN RELEASES NEXT DEBATE CRITERIA: Republicans have three ways to qualify for the next presidential debate. Averaging polls between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13, candidates need: at least 3.5 percent nationally; at least 4 percent in Iowa; or at least 4 percent in New Hampshire.

It’s Friday and Congress is on recess until after Thanksgiving. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning and what’s on tap for the rest of the day. Send tips, gripes, comments and fun weekend plans to and @CateMartel.

MAJOR THREAT FOR OBAMACARE: Via The Hill’s Sarah Ferris, UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, has threatened to pull out of ObamaCare. Why: In the last month alone, the administration has significantly lowered expectations for new customers and will have far fewer dollars to help cushion insurer losses. Why this is huge: Participation by private insurers in the exchanges is critical to the viability of ObamaCare. This shows a major weakness in the exchanges.

IF YOU WATCH ONE THING TODAY: The New York Times has a first-hand account from a hostage in the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. It’s a difficult video to watch but is very powerful.

— “We got lucky when [the gunmen] decided to save their own lives by taking us hostage. [At that point], they realized that life is valuable. But it was too late.”

THAT'S A CLOWN QUESTION BRO: The House passed a bill yesterday to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. with a veto-proof majority. But Senate Democrats are threatening to filibuster, and it looks like they have the votes. When Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidConstitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Klobuchar: 'I don't remember' conversation with Reid over alleged staff mistreatment Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (D-Nev.) was asked about the prospect of Obama vetoing the legislation, Reid said, “Don’t worry, it won’t get passed. Next question?”

SCOOP: GOP’S RESPONSE TO MASS SHOOTINGS IS DELAYED: Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan and Ferris, resistance from some Republicans is delaying a major mental health reform bill that GOP leaders have billed as their response to mass shootings. The earliest time frame now is early next year.

MAUREEN DOWD ON WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD: In a cover story for The New York Times Magazine, Maureen Dowd writes about women in Hollywood combating sexism.

TRUMP, CRUZ VS. ... ISLAM?: Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzEl Chapo's lawyer fires back at Cruz: 'Ludicrous' to suggest drug lord will pay for wall Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again MORE (R-Texas) has suggested that the U.S. only accept Christian refugees from Syria, while Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE has floated closing down mosques in the U.S.. Trump has also floated heightened surveillance of mosques, registering American Muslims in a database and offering them a special ID listing their religion.

UPDATE: Cruz just told a group of reporters he rejects Trump's plan for Muslim registries.

RUBIO PUBLISHES ISIS STRATEGY: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Fla.) releases his ISIS strategy. He puts it simply: “Whatever it takes. Exactly what it will take will depend on how the situation on the ground changes over the next 15 months.”

SANDERS WANTS A NEW NATO: Via The Hill’s Ben Kamisar, At his democratic socialism speech at Georgetown University Thursday, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (I-Vt.) called for a new NATO that includes Russia. Sanders hardly ever discusses foreign policy, so this is big.


People stood after the speech to applaud, and your selfie-hating correspondent saw AT LEAST four students immediately turn around to try to take selfies. Ugh.

Students were extremely enthusiastic during his remarks, but lots of them walked out during the Q&A portion, which is always more interesting than prepared remarks.

HEIGHTENED SECURITY IN DC: Because of the ISIS threat to Washington, D.C., the metro system has heightened security that will continue throughout the weekend.

GOP OPERATIVE TURNED MEDIA COMMS: Via NYT’s Nick Corasaniti, Veteran GOP operative, Brad Dayspring, “the outspoken and occasionally combative ... operative with a notorious Twitter feed” is joining Politico as vice president of communications.

TRUMP VS. KASICH ON TWITTER: Trump launches Twitter ire at Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) after a Kasich-aligned super-PAC bought ads attacking Trump. Kasich's response? Well, let's just say he didn't turn the other cheek.

ISRAELI SPY RELEASED FROM U.S. PRISON: Via The Hill’s Julian Hattem, after 30 years in prison, Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy, was released. Parole forces him to stay in the U.S. for five years, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly lobbying President Obama to let him move to Israel immediately.

BOOKER CAMPAIGNING FOR HILLARY: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is campaigning for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up McCabe's shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on MORE today in South Carolina.



CNN’s Elise Labott  *This tweet got her suspended for 2 weeks
House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish@CNNPolitics 

Erick M. Sanchez, Senior Adviser at Frontier Solutions 
In a cab, just saw a crowd cheer at a bar on Capitol Hill and wasn't sure why. Looked across the street and sawBernie Sanders carrying his dry cleaning alone, carrying an umbrella. #‎thistown

Jim Webb *Please note, this tweet has since been deleted. Your author took the time to recreate it, ensuring each character and capitalization is correct 



12:30 p.m. EST: #1 New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham speaks at The Aspen Institute about his biography of former President George H.W. BushDetails:

6:30 – 9:00 p.m. EST: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration MORE (R-Ky.), Rick Santorum, Cruz, and Rubio address the Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines. Details:

6:00 p.m. EST tomorrow: James Rosen speaks about his book on former Vice President Dick Cheney during “Politics and Prose.” More info:

8:00 p.m. EST tomorrow: Polls close in the runoff gubernatorial election between Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom Line Bottom Line Top 5 races to watch in 2019 MORE (R-La.) and John Bel Edwards.



10:00 p.m. EST: Barbara Walters interviews Trump on ABC 20/20



ABC’s “This Week”: Carson, Martin O’Malley

CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Paul, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

CNN’s “State of the Union”: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)

Fox News’s “Fox News Sunday”: Rubio, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Kasich


Now for the fun stuff...

ICYMI — MLB MVP: Washington Nationals’s Bryce Harper was the unanimous choice as the National League’s MVP, Washington's first baseball MVP since 1925. (The last time Washington celebrated a baseball title was 1924).

BEST SANDWICHES IN DC: DCist has a list of the 10 best spots for an open-faced sandwich in D.C. It’s oddly specific, but I support it.

Today is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day.

PLANS THIS WEEKEND: The Gaylord National Resort is opening “Christmas on the Potomac,” with 2 million pounds of colorful sculpted ice filling its glass atrium, including 5 ice slides. It looks impressive. Here’s the info:

Have a great weekend and see you back here Monday.