The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Amtrak train derails in Washington state | GOP nears tax bill victory | McCain to miss vote | Congress faces crunch time on spending | Trump says he is not thinking about firing Mueller amid rumors | Fight over Trump transition emails | Trump to unveil 'America First' national security policy | Last-minute gift ideas

 

TAX REFORM IS ALMOST ACROSS THE FINISH LINE

So close I can feel Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE avoiding stepping on any cracks and intensely inspecting any pennies he finds on the ground -- oh and he definitely has a daily alarm set for 11:11: Republicans are on the brink of a massive legislative achievement, the first with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE in office -- tax cuts! When the House is expected to vote: Tuesday. Then the bill will head to the Senate. http://bit.ly/2AUpE0i

THE VOTE COUNT IN THE SENATE: In the Senate, any drama over the outcome appeared to be extinguished with the news that previous "no" votes, Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump Paul's demand to out whistleblower rankles GOP colleagues MORE (R-Fla), will vote "yes." Still uncertain: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSteve Schmidt: 'Overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence' for Haley Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Sanders proposes expanded Veterans Affairs services, B to rebuild infrastructure MORE (R-Ariz.) could miss the vote for medical treatment and Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranMike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid Biden has a lot at stake in first debate The Hill's Morning Report — Trump turns the page back to Mueller probe MORE (Miss.) is also dealing with health issues. If McCain/Cochran miss the vote: Republicans are likely to have 50 "yes" votes plus Vice President Pence breaking the tie. I.e.: Republicans are in good shape unless there are surprises. http://bit.ly/2BtgSro

REPUBLICAN SENATE VOTES WE STILL DON'T KNOW: Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (Ariz.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick MORE (Maine) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (Utah) have yet to say if they will support the tax deal, but they each voted for the Senate version of the bill. http://bit.ly/2AUrCxQ

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It's Monday. Be forewarned: Today is National Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day. ;) 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.

 

JUST NOW

An Amtrak passenger train ​has ​derailed:​ Via CNN, in Washington state, an Amtrak passenger train derailed and is now dangling over a highway. The train reportedly hit cars on the highway as it derailed. Are people hurt?: “Amtrak released a statement saying ‘some injuries’ have been reported in the crash. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said to expect casualties.” Latest information — it’s changing quickly, so keep checking this page: http://cnn.it/2kg7HD4

Photos:

 

LATEST WITH THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

The big update -- that's a lot of holiday reading: Via Axios, special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators is in possession of tens of thousands of emails from the Trump transition team. Those include: Messages belonging to President Trump's son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Bolton suggests Trump's Turkey policy motivated by personal, financial interest: NBC In new North Korea talks, 'achievable' is the watchword MORE and other members of the transition team's political leadership and the foreign policy team. What Mueller's team is using the emails for: To question witnesses. They are also looking to the messages to confirm information and follow new leads. http://bit.ly/2keavkg

TRUMP COMMENTS ON THE TRANSITION EMAILS: When asked about the slew of emails Mueller obtained, Trump said, "Not looking good, it's not looking good. It's quite sad to see that. My people were very upset about it," Trump said. "I can't imagine there's anything on them frankly because as we've said there's no collusion, no collusion," he continued. 

AND A TRUMP LAWYER WENT A STEP FURTHER: A lawyer for Trump's transition team said that the emails were obtained illegally. http://bit.ly/2yRPFeW

MUELLER'S TEAM RESPONDS: Special counsel Robert Mueller's office defended its work. In a statement to The Hill: "When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process," said Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office.

HOW OTHERS ARE REACTING: Democratic and Republican lawmakers defended special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation amid attempts by conservatives to discredit the probe. http://bit.ly/2CXoUJw

Nah, I wouldn't fire him. I love the guy. Well, he's fine. That annoying pain in my side...: President Trump yesterday said he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller amid concerns that the administration was trying to halt the investigation into Russian election meddling. Keep in mind: There were mounting rumors that Trump was considering firing Mueller as the president's allies stepped up their attacks on the special counsel. http://bit.ly/2yRPFeW

 

T-MINUS FIVE DAYS

This week in Congress -- What does everyone want? Vacation! When do they want it? On time! (please): Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, lawmakers have until Friday to keep the government open. Yet they still haven't agreed on how to avoid a costly shutdown but still accomplish tax reform. The plan now: House Republicans are forging ahead with plans to pass a stopgap measure that would fund defense programs through next September, but other agencies only through Jan. 19. Timing: The House Rules Committee is slated to meet Tuesday afternoon to prepare the legislation for a floor vote, which could occur as soon as Wednesday. What else would be in the bill: http://bit.ly/2AUrCxQ

TIDBIT ON THE BUDGET -- THE NEW F-WORDS: Via The Washington Post's Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin, the Trump administration is now prohibiting officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from saying certain words in documents for the agency's budget. The prohibited words: "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based." Explanation: http://wapo.st/2CAUhbt

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Good point. I'm going to start watermarking my Instagram photos with "Cate Martel's Copyright":

HAHA:

 

ON TAP

The House is in. The Senate will be in later today. President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C.

3 pm. EST: The Senate meets.

3:15 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonSteve Schmidt: 'Overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence' for Haley Nikki Haley: Trump 'truthful' in 'every instance that I dealt with him' Tillerson denies Haley's claims of taking actions to undermine Trump MORE.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on two nominations. Their schedule today: http://bit.ly/2CWhXZ6

6:30 p.m. EST: Votes in the House. Their schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

Tuesday: The House is expected to vote on tax reform.

Op-ed: Here's an op-ed in The Hill from an economics professor arguing the tax bill has four fatal flaws: http://bit.ly/2Bs4FTD

 

WHAT TO WATCH

2 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks about his administration's national security strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2zl0CZY

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Roast Suckling Pig Day.

Still behind on your Christmas shopping? SAME.​: Via BuzzFeed, here are lists of the perfect gifts by category: http://bzfd.it/2CXCyMw

Happy Holidays from your favorite royal family: Prince William and Kate Middleton released their family's annual Christmas card. It's pretty cute: http://bit.ly/2CWAowA

And because you read this far, here's a dog trying his hardest to get a reaction from his friend: http://bit.ly/2kdmaje

 

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