The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Insurgents seek female challenger to Pelosi for Speakership | Broward County finishes machine recount

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

--> 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 — Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Dem insurgents seek female challenger to Pelosi for Speakership | Broward County finishes machine recount ahead of deadline | Bill to protect Mueller blocked in Senate | Trump calls special counsel probe a 'total mess' | DC to ban plastic straws | WSJ's 10 best airports | Sour Patch Kids now a cereal | DC gets Mueller-themed ice cream truck


Sanctions for you and sanctions for you:

This morning, the Trump administration announced sanctions on 17 Saudis for their alleged roles in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

From Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Facebook weighs crackdown on anti-vaccine content | Lyft challenges Trump fuel standards rollback | Illinois tries to woo Amazon | New round of China trade talks next week On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Treasury sanctions top Maduro allies in Venezuela MORE: "The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions."

EARLIER THIS MORNING: Saudi Arabia charged 11 suspects in Khashoggi's death, including seeking the death penalty for five of the suspects. According to Turkish officials: Khashoggi was killed by a "hit squad" of 15 people last month.


Happy Thursday -- today marks the first snow of the season in the D.C. area! 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 follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily:





Avenatti arrested for domestic violence:

Via TMZ, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represents adult-film star Stormy Daniels, has been arrested on charges of felony domestic violence. Avenatti strongly denies the allegations.

When the alleged incident happened: Tuesday night, followed by another incident Wednesday. 

His bail: $50,000

After he was released on bail, Avenatti told reporters: I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman. I have been an advocate for women's rights my entire career and I'm going to continue to be an advocate. ... I'm not going to be intimidated from stopping what I'm doing. I am looking forward to a full investigation at which point I am confident that I will be fully exonerated."

When Avenatti will appear in court: Dec. 5

Keep in mind about this weekend: Avenatti was scheduled to speak in Vermont Friday and Saturday, but the Vermont Democratic Party canceled the events right after the news broke.

REACTIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media basically exploded after the news broke. Some of the key reactions:



Maybe we could arrange for Flo Rida to sing 'Good Feeling' for good measure


Broward County has completed its machine recount for all three of the state's contested races ahead of the 3 p.m. deadline. Details: "Workers put the last ballots to be counted through machines at election headquarters in Lauderhill around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night. Officials will spend the remaining time before the 3 p.m. deadline Thursday going through ballots that were mailed in or not able to be read by the machines. Keep in mind: Broward County has been in the center of the fierce recount battles.

What to know state-wide: "All of Florida's 67 counties are working to meet a 3 p.m. Thursday deadline for machine recounts. If the margin between candidates is less than 0.25 percentage points, a hand recount would likely be triggered."

EARLIER THIS MORNING -- TWO MORE DAYS TO FIX YOUR SIGNATURE: A federal judge ruled that voters, whose mail-in ballots and provisional ballots were rejected because of an issue with the signature, have until Saturday to resolve the issue.



[Hits keyboard shortcut for 'Trump-slams-Mueller-probe']:

This morning, 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 returned to attacks on the special counsel investigation, this time focusing on inner workings of the probe. He tweeted: "The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess," he wrote in a tweet. "They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don't care how many lives the ruin. These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won't even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!"

He later added: "The only 'Collusion' is that of the Democrats with Russia and many others. Why didn't the FBI take the Server from the DNC? They still don't have it. Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are in favor of the Democrats. That's the real Collusion!"

MEANWHILE IN THE SENATE: Retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (R-Ariz.) asked for a floor vote yesterday on legislation to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season Trump: McConnell should keep Senate in session until nominees are approved MORE (R-Ky.) blocked it. McConnell didn't say why, but hours before he said he didn't think Mueller was in danger of being fired.



Has anyone noticed that Trump hasn't criticized Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaEx-W.Va. official who made racist Michelle Obama remark defrauded ,000 from FEMA: report GOP senator dedicates heart photo to wife from Senate floor for Valentine's Day Barack Obama sends Valentine's message to Michelle: 'She does get down to Motown' MORE

...well, yet:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, "Former first lady Michelle Obama has slammed President Trump as she begins touring for her memoir, but Trump has not hit back in earnest -- yet. Observers across the political spectrum say that may be because Trump, who normally returns every jab thrown his way, realizes the dangers of getting into a spat with Obama, who enjoys historic status as the nation's only black first lady and is broadly popular." Why this is important:



Maybe Dems should post on

Via The Hill's Melanie Zanona and Mike Lillis, a group of Democrats against 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's speakership bid have a new strategy: recruit a female Democratic lawmaker to run against her. Why: "Pelosi and her allies have made her gender -- and the fact that Democrats won the House largely on the backs of women voters and candidates -- a central part of their pitch, arguing they need a strong female voice at the leadership table, especially with President Trump in the White House."




People have THOUGHTS:

The Wall Street Journal released its list of the 10 best airports in the United States, based on 15 metrics.  



  1. Denver, Colo. (DEN)
  2. Orlando, Fla. (MCO)
  3. Phoenix, Ariz. (PHX)
  4. Atlanta, Ga. (ATL)
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (DFW)
  6. Las Vegas, Nev. (LAS)
  7. Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. (SEA)
  8. Charlotte, N.C. (CLT)
  9. Los Angeles, Calif. (LAX)
  10. Boston, Mass. (BOS)

The metrics used and the numbers for each: 



OK, millennials are really getting blamed for this, too?:

Via Bloomberg's Leslie Patton and Lydia Mulvany, smaller Thanksgiving turkeys are gaining popularity. "Smaller families, growing guilt over wasteful leftovers and a preference for free-range fowl have all played roles in the emergence of petite poultry as a holiday dinner centerpiece." Full reasoning:


Spotted on Capitol Hill -- 2 Ch[eney]z:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was at the Capitol yesterday with his daughter, Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyOvernight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Liz Cheney calls for House vote on Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Liz Cheney mocks Booker over factory farming comments: 'I support PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals' MORE (R-Wyo.), who was elected House Republican Conference chairwoman. Video:





Delta is honored to help connect armed service members with their loved ones for support. Visit to learn more about how Delta is committed to supporting military members.



So pretty!:


Announced this morning — the straw ban is coming to D.C.: 



The House and Senate are in.

President Trump is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is in Singapore.

Noon: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration Trump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE visit the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.

12:15 p.m. EST: The Senate has a roll call vote. The Senate's full schedule today:

2:45 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Senate Republican leadership in the Oval Office.

3 p.m. EST Thursday: The deadline for machine recounts in the Florida elections.



This morning: The Hill's Bob Cusack and Melanie Zanona interviewed Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerDem rep says party does not need a divide on diversity, financial platforms Dem rep says bipartisanship needed 'now more than ever' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump complicates border wall negotiations MORE (D-N.J.), Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Dems hit GOP on pre-existing conditions at panel's first policy hearing A rare display of real political courage MORE (R-N.Y.) and four newly elected members of Congress for The Hill's Newsmaker Series. Video of the event:

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump gives remarks on supporting veterans and military families. Livestream:

7 p.m. EST: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) speaks at Loeb School's First Amendment Gala in Manchester, N.H. Livestream:

8 p.m. EST Thursday: Oprah Winfrey's interview with former first lady Michelle Obama airs on OWN.



Today is National Hermit Cookie Day.


The most disgusting news I've read all week:

Via NBC's "Today," Sour Patch Kids cereal will be available for purchase starting on Dec. 26. Where to buy it: Walmart. What even?: Post described the cereal as "sour, then sweet." Photo to prove I'm not making this up: 


The least surprising news of the week:

Via Washingtonian's Brittany Shepherd, a new Robert Mueller–themed ice cream truck is coming to the D.C. area. Including: "Cartel Almond Brittle, Fudge the Truth, Chocolate Mueller-Berry, and Putin's Vanilla Delight" Photo and details:


And because you made it to the end, here is the THE MOST patient dog I've ever seen babysitting a little girl. Amazing.: