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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

 

LATEST FROM THE WEST WING

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 TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East 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. http://bit.ly/2ymSK6y

BACK STORY: Here's more about her and why she's so controversial: http://thebea.st/2z8Pak7

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: http://politi.co/2Bg01ux

^^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: http://bit.ly/2Ajfx50

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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 cmartel@thehill.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

HAPPENING THIS MORNING

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. http://bit.ly/2AClrm0

ON THE INVESTIGATION'S BIAS: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth following House GOP subpoena House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein Fusion GPS co-founder will invoke 'constitutional rights not to testify': lawyers 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." http://bit.ly/2yn3r9c

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." http://bit.ly/2iXAX0i

 

DOUG JONES'S ALABAMA UPSET

SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT:

What it looked like at the Roy Moore watch party once Democratic candidate Doug Jones won: http://bit.ly/2iYma5G

Silence from Moore supporters: "Surreal scene at Moore party. Moore and Bannon had been expected to speak. Utter silence at the moment." http://bit.ly/2BksZcD

I applaud the staffer who picked this song: "Anddd Doug Jones walked off the stage to 'teach me how to Dougie.'" http://bit.ly/2nZZjMw

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." http://bit.ly/2C1G0oi

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."

 

REACTIONS:

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. http://bit.ly/2Ah8f1D

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 StrangeTrump: 'I could pick a woman,' and she could be accused of misconduct Ann Coulter believes Kushner wrote anonymous op-ed bashing Trump Mulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost 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!" http://bit.ly/2z8NuHu 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." http://bit.ly/2z8LdvE

Yikes, here's today's New York Daily News cover: FIRST OF ALL, everyone, leave Sassy the horse out of this. Sassy did NOTHING. http://bit.ly/2iZKkfW

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." http://bit.ly/2Am8R5W

This is a tweet from a U.S. senator: "Hot DAMN," Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanElection Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms Former Dem aide makes first court appearance on charges of posting GOP senators' info online Ex-House intern charged with 'doxing' GOP senators during Kavanaugh hearing MORE (D-N.H.) tweeted when Jones won. http://bit.ly/2AAyB2O

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 AyotteElection Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Pallbearers, speakers announced for McCain's DC memorial service and Capitol ceremony MORE (N.H.). http://bit.ly/2nXE5Po

Well that didn't take long: Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats must end mob rule GOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' Democrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die MORE (R-Colo.) "is already recruiting Jones to switch parties." Gardner's statement last night: http://bit.ly/2C3ppA6

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." http://bit.ly/2AiqfIO

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. http://bit.ly/2Air7x4

When Jones will take office: It may not be until 2018. Reasoning: http://cnn.it/2o0oApG

Front page on Montgomery, Ala., newspaper stands: http://bit.ly/2C1TLTT 

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.'" http://bit.ly/2AgDppN

 

WHAT THIS UPSET MEANS:

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 McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.). Notable loser: The Republican National Committee. Full list and reasons for each: http://bit.ly/2BfWRXJ

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: http://bit.ly/2CbiwO7

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. Druckerhttp://bit.ly/2ATLMZK

Significance of a Dem winning in Alabama: "First time in a quarter century that a Democrat will serve in the Senate for Alabama." http://bit.ly/2AD8bNK

Context for the president: "Trump has backed loser in 3 statewide elections in 3 months: Strange in AL, Gillespie in VA, Moore in AL." http://bit.ly/2C1csqy

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 Martinhttp://bit.ly/2ymPic8 

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 Cusackhttp://bit.ly/2ARt8Bw

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 Pergramhttp://bit.ly/2z9fZVg

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 Moorehttp://bit.ly/2Cb1Nuk

 

JUST ANNOUNCED

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. http://bit.ly/2z9ix5K

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 FrankenMinnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post Former campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer Prosecutor drops some charges against Harvey Weinstein 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 EllisonMinnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post Minnesota Dems worry about Ellison allegations as state AG race tightens Republicans see silver linings in deep-blue states 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 KlobucharIs there difference between good and bad online election targeting? Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Clusters of polio-like illness in the US not a cause for panic MORE (D-Minn.) is also up for reelection in November 2018. http://bit.ly/2z82yEX

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Hmmmmmm:

 

ON TAP:

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.

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

3 p.m. EST: President Trump gives a speech on tax reform. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2AUiOZq

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. Watchhttp://bit.ly/2AhrBnh

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

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: http://cnn.it/2BhsvEe

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." http://bit.ly/2z8JE11

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: http://bit.ly/2AS3e0D

 

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