The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Senate panel to vote on Kavanaugh today | Dems walk out in protest | Senators to watch

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Senate panel to vote on Kavanaugh confirmation today | Flake to vote 'yes' | Donnelly, Tester to vote 'no' | Dems walk out in protest | GOP rejects effort to subpoena Mark Judge | Which senators to watch ahead of floor vote | Takeaways from Thursday testimony | House GOP invites Rosenstein to testify | House passes opioids bill, then cancels October votes


Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeRepublican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Maybe they just don't like cowboys: The president is successful, some just don't like his style Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath MORE has decided to vote "yes" on Brett Kavanaugh:

Retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), who was on the fence about Kavanaugh's nomination even after yesterday's testimony, has decided to vote "yes" to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. His reasoning: "While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate's advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution's provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well." 

BREAKING -- Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE IS A NO: Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) says he will vote against Judge Kavanaugh. He's a Democrat -- why is this important?: Donnelly is in a tough reelection race in a state where President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE won in 2016. He was also one of the three Democrats who voted in favor for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017. Donnelly's reasoning:

AND SO IS Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterPence seeks to boost Daines in critical Montana Senate race This World Suicide Prevention Day, let's recommit to protecting the lives of our veterans Filibuster fight looms if Democrats retake Senate MORERed state Democrat Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) also just announced he will oppose Kavanaugh's nomination.


Flake passes on his turn to speak: "Flake gets up from his side and walks over to the Democrats side, taps Coons on the shoulder. Leahy and Klobuchar follow all walk out of hearing room together."

^Hmmmm: The Washington Post's Seung Min Kim just tweeted, "Something weird is happening -- lots of chatter among Democrats after Coons and Klobuchar returned from their talk with Flake."

Lol: "Multiple members of press corps break out the protein/granola bars."




The other swing senator who has made up his mind: Last night after the hearing, Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHas Congress captured Russia policy? Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) said he has decided to vote for Kavanaugh.

The senators who will likely decide it all: Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally Gideon leads Collins by 12 points in Maine Senate race: poll Senate leaders quash talk of rank-and-file COVID-19 deal MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP ramps up attacks on Democrats over talk of nixing filibuster OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBiden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states Senate leaders quash talk of rank-and-file COVID-19 deal OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-W.Va.) are still undecided. 

The math: To block the nomination, Democrats need every member of their conference to vote "no," including red state Democrats (cough, Joe Manchin) plus two Republicans. It will likely come down to Collins and Murkowski.

Tidbit -- those senators huddled last night: Undecided Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) met in a Capitol hideaway office to discuss Kavanaugh.

When debate on the Senate floor could start: As early as Saturday.



Dem tries to subpoena Mark Judge but fails: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tried to subpoena Mark Judge, but Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the effort. Keep in mind: Christine Blasey Ford alleges that Judge was a witness to the sexual assault involving Brett Kavanaugh.

The committee vote: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Livestream of the hearing:

Four Democrats walked out of the hearing room: When Republicans voted to schedule a 1:30 p.m. committee vote on Kavanaugh, four Democratic senators walked out, causing a burst of activity. Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats unveil plan declaring racism a public health issue Overnight Defense: US, Russia trade blame over Syria incident | Pentagon calls out China's 'counterproductive' military exercises, missile test | Democrats press Esper on COVID-19 response Democrats press Esper on 'concerning' rise in Pentagon's COVID-19 cases MORE (D-Hawaii) yelled on her way out: "I strongly object. This is just totally ridiculous. What a railroad job. My answer is no, no, no!"

This exchange has been getting a ton of traction:


Tidbit -- when Sen. Klobuchar was speaking: "Not a single GOP senator is consistently looking at [Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharEPA delivers win for ethanol industry angered by waivers to refiners It's time for newspapers to stop endorsing presidential candidates Biden marks anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, knocks Trump and McConnell MORE (D-Minn.)] as she speaks with clear emotion right now. Some occasionally talking to each other, most looking down at papers or cell phones. Cruz paying the most attention."

Live blog of updates from the Senate Judiciary Committee:


It's Friday -- what a week. 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.


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The House passes an opioids bill

Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, "The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic, a moment of bipartisanship amid a series of fierce partisan battles. The bill, which passed 393-8, is the product of months of work in both chambers, and the Senate is expected to soon send the measure to President Trump's desk."

JUST NOW -- WE OUT!: House Republicans just cancelled the remaining two weeks that the chamber was scheduled to be in session before the midterm elections. The next time the House will meet: On Nov. 13.


Step into our office: 

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won't attend UN General Assembly in person, Meadows says McConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Overnight Health Care: Ex-Pence aide backs Biden over virus response | Trump's sharp words put CDC director on hot seat | Trump coronavirus adviser threatens to sue Stanford researchers MORE (R-N.C.) said House Republicans have decided to invite Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDOJ kept investigators from completing probe of Trump ties to Russia: report Five takeaways from final Senate Intel Russia report FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book MORE to testify to explain his alleged comments about wearing a wire to secretly record President TrumpBut before you think the invitation is a polite gesture: "If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him," Meadows tweeted.

WHAT THE HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS WANTED TO DO: House conservatives had threatened to force an impeachment vote if Rosenstein refused to testify. Leaders of the caucus met with House GOP leaders and came to this agreement.



I think everyone could use a beer after yesterday's stirring testimonies: 

"Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh combined to provide one of the most dramatic and memorable hearings in Senate history on Thursday." Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Emily Birnbaum, here are five takeaways:



Kavanaugh came out in a fury: Kavanaugh called the Senate's confirmation process "a national disgrace."

On the accusations affecting his family: "As was predictable and I predicted, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court and to the country."

On his time in high school: "I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone."

On the 'Renate Alumnius' reference from his yearbook: "'Renate Alumnius' was intended to show affection and 'that she was one of us.' 'I'm so sorry to her for that yearbook reference,' Kavanaugh says."

On Christine Blasey Ford: "My family and I mean no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family."

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Senate Democrats' campaign arm announces seven-figure investment to boost Graham challenger Graham: Comey to testify about FBI's Russia probe, Mueller declined invitation MORE (R-S.C.) yells at his Democratic colleagues: Graham's speech has received a lot of attention. Watch:



Ford and Kavanaugh didn't watch each other's testimony: Neither Judge Brett Kavanaugh nor Christine Blasey Ford tuned in to watch each other's testimony.

Police have zip ties to arrest protesters: But there haven't been many disruptions. Photo:

Video of Kavanaugh walking into the back room for a break:

On Kavanaugh's demeanor -- from a reporter who has covered Kavanaugh in court: "I've covered the DC Circuit for years, and been at numerous hearings where Kavanaugh was on the panel. His demeanor at this hearing so far is very, very different from his demeanor in court. Some judges get fiery/wound up on the bench, I've never seen that with Kavanaugh." (From BuzzFeed's Zoe Tillman)

The room is silent: "When the camera shutters aren't going off, you can hear a pin drop in this room." (Via CBS's Jack Turman III)

How Kavanaugh's opening statement was written: "Kavanaugh takes over. Source close to him says he wrote every word of his statement. It was not precleared by the White House. 100% Kavanaugh."

Photo of Republican senators watching the hearing:

A women's march mobilized in Washington: Video:

Whether Republican House members watched: "I asked 10 House Republicans if they've been watching the Kavanaugh/Ford hearing today. No one has. They've all been in meetings all day." (Via The Hill's Scott Wong)

Lol, here's a couple watching the hearing on the NYC subway: 

Actress Alyssa Milano was there: The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari tweeted, "My day off to a bang up start: as reporters crowd around a witness here to support Blasey Ford, I asked her to please tell us her name and spell it. 'Alyssa Milano,' she says 'A-L...' (In my defense, I was standing behind her; at least I gave fellow reporters some laughs)."

Everything yesterday was hard to watch: Here's a photo of Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse panel advances bill to ban Postal Service leaders from holding political positions Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' DHS IG won't investigate after watchdog said Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments violated law MORE (D-N.Y.) in the hearing room:

Tidbit about Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsBiden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-Del.), who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee: "Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsBiden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE is a Yale Law graduate -- class of 1992. Brett Kavanaugh is a Yale Law graduate of the class of 1990."

HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP THOUGHT THE HEARING WENT: President Trump showered Kavanaugh with praise. He tweeted shortly after the hearing: "Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats' search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!"




How Trump's tax law passed:

Check out the latest in The Hill's behind the scenes look at the passage of the Republican tax law. One key moment: When the GOP added sweeteners. "All along, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski knew she was going to get what she wanted. The Alaska Republican had been trying to for more than 15 years to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling. And at some point, the provision was going to be added to the tax-cut bill." How that affected the process:


*Cue snide laugh*: 

Journalists beat lawmakers in a charity spelling bee at the National Press Club last night. Details from The Hill's Kenna Sturgeon:


Hey, Malia, hey!:

Former first daughter Malia Obama made her first appearance in a music video. The song: "Walking on Air" by the New Dakotas. Watch:





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Wow, this is spot-on:  



The House is out. The Senate meets later today. President Trump is in the White House and Vice President Pence has no public events on his calendar.

11:15 a.m. EDT: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

Noon: President Trump signed the Department of Defense and Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act and Continuing Appropriations Act. Keep in mind: That was closed press.

1:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets. 



2 p.m. EDT: The Senate debates reauthorization of the FAA. Livestream:



Today is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day.


This may even be better than goat yoga:

Here's a café where alpacas roam and hang out with customers. Watch:

Back story on goat yoga if you don't remember --> 


And because we need something light to end the week, here's an elephant who breaks the sprinkler and creates his own fountain: