The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breaking -- Franken resigns in defiant speech | Dems seek moral high ground in sexual harassment fight | Why Schumer is in a tricky situation over shutdown, immigration | Lawmakers expected to pass two-week spending bill | Fallout from Trump's Jerusalem decision | Best-rated cookie in every state | 6-year old's letter to Santa goes viral



Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenVirginia can be better than this Harris off to best start among Dems in race, say strategists, donors Virginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message MORE is out: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) just announced that he is resigning his Senate seat over allegations of groping and sexual misconduct. On the allegations: Franken said some of the allegations against him are "simply not true" and that others he remembers differently. The big line -- timing of his resignation: "Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate." He also said: "I am proud that in my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion for women."

This was a bold line: "There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office."

On his future: "I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice." He says he will remain an activist.

From the room: "The room was silent after Franken finished speaking. His party lined up to shake his hand and hug him. Several of the female Democratic senators who had called for his resignation wiped their eyes." (From The Guardian's Lauren Gambino)

Tidbit after his announcement: Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTrump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies Bipartisan senators press Trump for strategy to protect Syrian Kurds Haaland displays trans flag outside office after Supreme Court decision on transgender military ban MORE (D-Ill.) "at end of Franken speech: I gave him a big hug and told him I loved him and thanked him for what he's done." (From Fox's Chad Pergram)

Watch Franken's announcement: Here's the video:

How many women have accused Franken: Eight.

Colleagues turned quickly: More than 30 Democratic senators called for Franken to step down.

Tidbit: "Bob Packwood resigned in a floor speech. Here's how LA Times described it: Packwood announced his intention to resign in a somewhat rambling speech during which he touted his achievements, reminisced about his decades in the Senate, and finally, wept. He did not give a date for his departure." From Politico's Steve Shepard:

WHAT HAPPENS NOW: From PBS Newshour's Lisa Desjardins:

"- MN's Gov. appoints a temp senator. (Gov. Dayton = Dem.)

- The state holds a special election Nov. 2018.

- That means both MN Senate spots will be on the ballot next year. (Klobuchar up for [reelection].)"

FRANKEN'S LIKELY REPLACEMENT: Via The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is likely to tap Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to replace Franken.

Hmmmmm, interestingggg: "Franken says Minnesota deserves a senator who can focus on the state's needs with all 'her' energy."

CONTEXT -- STEPPING BACK FROM ALL OF THIS: The Hill's Amie Parnes and Mike Lillis explain how Democrats rushed to push out Franken less than a week before the Alabama Senate special election, where GOP nominee Roy Moore could be elected with his string of sexual misconduct allegations.

It's Thursday. The attack on Pearl Harbor happened 76 years ago today and the final Apollo mission began 45 years ago today. 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.



Free idea for House GOP leaders -- quietly play this Taylor Swift song on repeat over the House speakers, so quietly members may not even realize --> 'I don't know about you, but I'm feeling (Dec.) 22!' The House seems to be in good shape to prevent a government shutdown. Today: The House is set to vote on a two-week spending bill to keep the government open through Dec. 22. I.e.: Buying them more time with the added pressure of being right before Christmas. The Senate is expected to follow. 

HOW THE SHUTDOWN THREATS HAVE PUT SCHUMER IN A TRICKY POSITION: Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) has to walk a fine line on the immigration fights and the risk of a government shutdown.

BREAKING — It’s a no from us: House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor Thursday afternoon, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win MORE (D-Calif.) said hours before the vote. Added pressure for Republicans: GOP leaders need to gather the 218 votes they’ll need to pass the measure largely on their own — a feat they’ve been unable to accomplish on a long list of budget bills going back to 2011, when they took the House gavel.



Major protests -- we did see this coming: Via CNN, dozens of people have been injured today in the West Bank in protests after President 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 announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What happened during the protest: Palestinian protesters used slingshots and threw rocks. Israeli forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

WHAT SPARKED THIS: Yesterday, President Trump announced the U.S. would not only recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital but said the U.S. Embassy would be relocated there from Tel Aviv. Officials warned of potential violence: The State Department warned U.S. citizens to avoid Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank over fears of protests and violent reaction to the president's announcement.

IF YOU MISSED TRUMP'S ANNOUNCEMENT: Here are five takeaways to know from President Trump's Jerusalem speech:

VIDEO OF THE PROTESTS: Yikes, they're burning an American flag.


Fake it 'till you make it, right?: Via The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, Missy Ryan and Karen DeYoung, several White House advisers said President Trump did not completely grasp the ramifications of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Excerpt: "Several advisers said he did not seem to have a full understanding of the issue and instead appeared to be focused on 'seeming pro-Israel,' in the words of one, and 'making a deal,' in the words of another. ... The debate came to a head at a White House meeting Nov. 27 ... Trump repeated his earlier assertions that he had to follow through on his campaign pledge, seemingly irritated by objections over security and the break with previous policy. 'The decision wasn't driven by the peace process,' one senior official said. 'The decision was driven by his campaign promise.'"

Which advisers were in favor of the decision: Vice President Pence, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job United Methodist churches may cut ties with denomination over push to allow LGBT ministers Nikki Haley: ‘I’m too young to stop fighting’ MORE and major donor Sheldon Adelson.

Which advisers were against the decision: Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job Trump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE and Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Top US general: Trump wrong on Syria pullout, ISIS defeat MORE

OP-ED: In an op-ed for The Hill, The Atlantic Council's Mirette F. Mabrouk argues that Trump is letting his campaign promises dictate the Israeli embassy decision.



Trump asks to delay accepting transgender military recruits: The Trump administration is asking a federal judge to delay a requirement to begin accepting transgender recruits to the military on Jan. 1. The administration and the plaintiffs have asked for a decision by noon Monday. Back story: In July, Trump tweeted that he would ban transgender people from the military. In October, a judge blocked the ban while a lawsuit against it moves through the courts. The judge said the military must accept recruits by Jan. 1.



Omg, guys. I'm crying I'm laughing so hard:

This letter has gone viral for obvious reasons.


Oh and....


Ugh. (This video of the California flames has been getting a lot of traction):

Here are the latest updates, including a new map of what areas could be affected:


This is worth watching:



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

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on Interior Assistant Secretary nominee Joseph BalashThe Senate's schedule today:

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel in the Oval Office.

1:30 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. 

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump signs a proclamation for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

3 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with congressional leadership.

4 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton in the Oval Office.

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

7:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump host a Hanukkah reception. Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence attend.

7:30 p.m. EST Friday: President Trump is holding a rally in Pensacola, Fla. It's not Alabama -- *cough, Roy Moore, cough* -- but it's preeeeetty close.

Dec. 16: Nog Fest at the new D.C. Wharf. Details:



1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives the daily press briefing. Livestream:



Today is National Cotton Candy Day!

Warning: You will not just want, you will need a chocolate chip cookie after reading this: Via Insider Food, here's a list of the best chocolate chip cookie in every state. Photos of each:

What a beautiful concept: Via NBC's "Today," Finlandia has created wine glasses and beer mugs made entirely out of cheese. Pretty sure I had a dream about this once. A set of the glasses is a mere $5,000. Video:

And because you've been too productive today, here's a baby hamster munching a pumpkin seed.


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