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 ReidKavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow Dems can’t ‘Bork’ Kavanaugh, and have only themselves to blame Dem senator: Confidential documents would 'strongly bolster' argument against Kavanaugh's nomination 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 CruzViral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions MORE (R-Texas) has suggested that the U.S. only accept Christian refugees from Syria, while Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser 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 RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' 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) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states 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 ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House 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 PaulA Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the Senate too Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill 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 VitterSenate panel advances Trump nominee who wouldn't say if Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly Planned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge 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 FeinsteinGillibrand calls for Kavanaugh nomination to be withdrawn Feinstein calls for hold on Kavanaugh consideration Grassley releases letter detailing Kavanaugh sexual assault allegation 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.