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



So close I can feel Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Social security emerges as latest flash point in Biden-Sanders tussle Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party 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 says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE in office -- tax cuts! When the House is expected to vote: Tuesday. Then the bill will head to the Senate.

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 CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCommerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter MORE (R-Fla), will vote "yes." Still uncertain: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSchiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial Martha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women MORE (R-Ariz.) could miss the vote for medical treatment and Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom Line Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid Biden has a lot at stake in first debate 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.

REPUBLICAN SENATE VOTES WE STILL DON'T KNOW: Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (Ariz.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (Maine) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe self-fulfilling Iran prophecy No patriotic poll bump for Trump, but Soleimani strike may still help him politically Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (Utah) have yet to say if they will support the tax deal, but they each voted for the Senate version of the bill.


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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



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:




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 KushnerHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden calls on NSA to examine White House cybersecurity following Bezos hack The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power 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.

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.

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.

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.



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:

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:



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




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 TillersonOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Kudlow says Trump 'looking at' reforming law on bribing foreign officials Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book MORE.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on two nominations. Their schedule today:

6:30 p.m. EST: Votes in the House. Their schedule today:

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:



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:



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:

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

And because you read this far, here's a dog trying his hardest to get a reaction from his friend:


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