The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump rips Dems as shutdown looms | Congress deadlocked | Flynn associates charged will illegal lobbying

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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: Trump rips Dems as shutdown looms | Congress deadlocked | Trump finds himself isolated | How the spending fight is testing McConnell | Dems dig in for long shutdown | Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget MORE won't seek reelection | Flynn associate charged with illegal lobbying | Senate criminal justice bill heads to a vote | 2018's most Googled politician (it's not who you think) 



Step 1: Cue up ‘Closing Time’ on the intercom: 


Via The Hill’s Niv Elis, House Democrats are planning for a prolonged shutdown that would begin Saturday if President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE and Congress are unable to agree to a spending bill.

The plan — Step 2: If the shutdown goes until Jan. 3 when Democrats take over the House, they will have a new funding bill. They will likely try to pass a measure with no funds for Trump's border wall, setting up a clash with the GOP-led Senate.


Maybe the president should start a group text to talk to Congress:

A few days before the looming government shutdown, President Trump called out Democrats who say that the U.S. border is secure.

He tweeted: "Anytime you hear a Democrat saying that you can have good Boarder Security without a Wall, write them off as just another politician following the party line. Time for us to save billions of dollars a year and have, at the same time, far greater safety and control!"

Where things stand -- just don't get ~too~ attached to your government being open: Lawmakers are returning to Washington this week with no clear plan to avert a partial government shutdown.

When the government would shut down without a deal: Midnight Friday.

When is the soonest Congress can resolve the issue: The House doesn't return until Wednesday evening.

The holdup: President Trump is demanding $5 billion in border wall funding. 

What Democrats are willing to agree to: $1.3 billion for border funding, but no more than that.

What agencies will stay open regardless: The Pentagon, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and energy programs. Those agencies have been funded through Sept. 30, 2019.

What agencies would shut down: The departments of State, Transportation, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, and Homeland Security. Yeah, but: Law enforcement agents deemed "essential" will still work.

WHERE TRUMP STANDS IN THE SHUTDOWN FIGHT: He's pretty isolated with even members of his party. How so:

WHY Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans up for reelection fear daylight with Trump Overnight Energy: Students around globe demand climate action | EPA bans consumer sales of deadly chemical in paint strippers | Green New Deal set for Senate vote The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP MORE NEEDS TO TREAD CAREFULLY: Most Senate Republicans see a shutdown as a mistake heading into a tough 2020 cycle, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is up for reelection. Keep in mind: Republicans are defending 22 Senate seats (!) in 2020. What to expect from McConnell:


It's Monday -- Christmas Eve is a week from today! 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.

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Breaking -- A two-year senior slide sounds nice:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced on Monday that he will not run for reelection in 2020. Yeah, but: He will finish the rest of his term.

From Alexander: "I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020. The people of Tennessee have been very generous, electing me to serve more combined years as Governor and Senator than anyone else from our state." 

Read his full statement:


Which company do you think will control our free will first, Amazon or Google?:

Google announced plans to open a new campus in New York. Where: On Hudson Street and Washington Street in Manhattan. When the company campus will open: By 2022. How much Google is investing in this new campus: $1 billion.

Last week: Google announced last week that it is opening another $1 billion facility in Austin, Texas.

Keep in mind: Amazon also recently announced a new headquarters in New York City.


Meanwhile — Facebook, Google and Twitter may not have been so helpful in the Russia investigation:

Via The Hill’s Harper Neidig and Morgan Chalfant, “A report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee's probe into Russia's online disinformation campaigns aimed at U.S. voters accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of impeding the investigation.” How so: According to the firm The New Knowledge, the companies submitted incomplete data and may have misled lawmakers about Russian trolls.

Read the report:


A Michael Flynn associated has been charged: 

Via The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner, "A former business partner of Michael Flynn is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States." Who: Bijan Kian. This morning: Kian appeared in federal court in Alexandria, Va.



What else is happening in Congress this week -- 'It's Always Infrastructure Week in Philadel-- Washington:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke, the Senate is debating a White House-backed criminal justice bill this week after years of the legislation stalling. Happening at 5:30 p.m. today: The Senate has a vote related to the measure. It needs 60 votes to advance.

What's in the bill: "The legislation combines a House-backed prison reform with a handful of changes to sentencing and mandatory minimum laws. Senators rolled out a modified, final version of the legislation last week with changes aimed at winning over more GOP support, including increasing the list of offenses that make an individual ineligible from the 'earned time' credits that cut down on a sentence."

Interesting read -- 'A complete guide to all 17 (known) Trump and Russia investigations': Via Garrett Graff in Wired. The list of investigations:


2018's most Googled politician -- any guesses??:

No, it's not Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBeto could give Biden and Bernie a run for their money Left-wing Dems in minority with new approach to spending Lawmakers contemplate a tough political sell: Raising their pay MORE (D-N.Y.). The winner: Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee who lost to Republican Brian Kemp



I laughed…:

From Journalist Jim Swift: "We're on teething watch with the twins. I told my wife we should call it the Molar investigation. She was not amused."

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzHillicon Valley: Huawei official asks US to ease restrictions | Facebook loses top execs | Defense officials hit Google over China | Pro-Trump 'safe space' app pulled over security flaw | Senators offer bill on facial recognition technology Senators introduce bill to regulate facial recognition technology Dems introduce bill to protect science research from political interference MORE (D-Hawaii) tweeted that "President Carter divested from his peanut farm": MSNBC's Garrett Haake added, "And to think, he could have held it in a shell company. (I'll show myself out.)"



What everyone was watching over the weekend:

This video has almost 15 million views so far.




The Senate is meeting this afternoon. The House is out until Wednesday. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

Noon: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Zinke cleared of violating federal rules tied to Pennsylvania special election Overnight Energy: Trump unveils 2020 budget | Plan slashes funds for EPA, Interior and Energy | Interior request highlights border security MORE.

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with the deputy prime minister of New Zealand.

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets to work on criminal justice reform.

5:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump attends church on St. Patrick's Day Trump faces growing Senate GOP backlash on emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report: O'Rourke jumps into 2020 fray MORE participate in a Christmas reception at the White House.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes. The chamber's full schedule today:

7:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence leaves for Cape Canaveral, Fla. 



3 p.m. EST: The Senate debates criminal justice reform. Watch:

For no good reason except that it's almost the holidays: Here's a livestream of a beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla. Watch:



Today is National Maple Syrup Day.


Getting traction -- he got two minutes for ruffing:

A 5-month-old puppy played fetch on the ice during a St. Louis Blues practice. Watch:


Today in 'You Should Probably Come Up With A New Hobby':

Surveillance video shows a person attempting to steal a television that was delivered to a home in Prince George's County. Watch -- smooooooth:


And to break up your Monday afternoon, here's a panda enjoying a bamboo snack: