The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — Buttigieg closes in on Biden, Warren in Iowa

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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 -- Presented by Nareit -- Buttigieg closes in on Biden, Warren in Iowa | Republicans to hold censure vote on Schiff | What to know about impeachment inquiry this week | Romney confirms secret 'Pierre Delecto' Twitter account | State Department morale at new low | Potatoes thrown at US troops leaving Syria | Four drug companies settle in opioid lawsuit | Bride picks grandmothers as flower girls



The name's Pierre. Pierre Delecto.:

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (R-Utah) appeared to confirm the name of his secret Twitter account after it was discovered by Slate's Ashley Feinberghttp://bit.ly/2VYQT5a



The Atlantic's McKay Coppins published a profile of Romney yesterday where Romney acknowledged having a private Twitter account to keep tabs on the news. Romney told The Atlantic: "I won't give you the name of it," Romney said, but "I'm following 668 people." Read The Atlantic profile on Romneyhttp://bit.ly/2VX0jOO

So Slate's Feinberg dug it up: "This Sure Looks Like Mitt Romney's Secret Twitter Account (Update: It Is): Meet 'Pierre Delecto.' " Check out some screenshots of Romney's secret tweets: http://bit.ly/32z0pyH

Who Romney follows: "This account joined the site in July of 2011, just one month after Romney announced his run for president. The majority of people it follows are either political reporters, politicians, political operatives, or pundits. Though it also follows noted big redhead from Boston Conan O'Brien. Pierre Delecto appears to be a fan of the late-night hosts Jimmy KimmelJames (Jimmy) Christian KimmelJohn Mulaney says Secret Service investigated him over SNL joke Obama jokes that he's 'scared' of Michelle, Sasha Obama surprises speechless fan with live book reading on Kimmel MORE and Jimmy Fallon, too, as well as current and former NFL players Tom Brady and Brett Favre, respectively."

Then McKay Coppins asked Romney if that is truly his account: "C'est moi," Romney responded. Aha!


It's Monday. 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 -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Interesting read -- State Department officials need a morale boost:

Via The Hill's Reid Wilson, "the Trump administration's perennial push for steep budget cuts, an exodus of senior staffers with decades of experience and constant allegations that agency employees represent a deep state has sent morale at the State Department to an unprecedented low." http://bit.ly/2oQZlaR

Oh and: "On top of that, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE has fired a senior diplomat after a whisper campaign mounted by his personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiChoking — not cheating — was Trump's undoing List of Republicans breaking with Trump grows longer Trump rants against election results for 46 minutes in new video post MORE, and abandoned steadfast allies in the Middle East to fend for themselves on the battlefield at the behest of Turkey's government."

The toll it's taking on diplomats: "Current and former diplomats say the weight of those events is taking a startling and measurable toll on American foreign relations, and on their ability to carry out policy set by the White House."


Doral's no longer dandy:

Via The New York Times's Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump Giuliani has discussed possible pardon with Trump: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE, Eric Lipton and Katie Rogers, President Trump reversed course on his plan to host next year's Group of Seven summit at his Doral resort because he did not expect criticism from Republicans. https://nyti.ms/2pBXab0   

Over the weekend -- read my lips:
Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE spent the weekend trying to correct the record about his comments on Ukraine. http://bit.ly/2P5PVTp

What Mulvaney insists: That "he never said the Trump administration expected a quid pro quo linking U.S. aid to Ukraine to Kiev launching investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenLawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list GOP lawmaker blasts incoming freshman over allegations of presidential voter fraud Haaland has competition to be first Native American to lead Interior  MORE during a withering interview on 'Fox News Sunday' with Chris Wallace." 

Mulvaney says he understands how his comments were taken: "Can I see how people took that the wrong way? Absolutely. But I never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn't."

Watch the back and forth with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceBiden adviser: 'He does not have any concern' about Trump lawsuits Public health expert: Americans no longer acting 'with common purpose' on pandemic Anti-Defamation League criticizes White House appointee 'who has consorted with racists' MORE: http://bit.ly/35UZTgc



Chris Wallace said he "talked to a very well-connected Republican in Washington, someone whose name you would know well, who says that if the House votes to impeach and it gets to a trial in the Senate, there's now a 20 percent chance enough Republicans would vote with Democrats to impeach the president." http://bit.ly/2oQUarq 



Hold on tight. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.:


House Democrats are interviewing more witnesses about Trump's dealings with Ukraine as part of the impeachment inquiry. The gist: "None of the witnesses are household names, but all could have information on the Trump administration's activities in Ukraine -- as well as Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani's more informal foreign policy role on behalf of the president." Here's a list and brief primer on this week's witnesses: http://bit.ly/32zRuNo


HOUSE REPUBLICANS LOOK TO REBUKE Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE:

House Republicans are expected to vote this evening to try and formally censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) over his handling of the impeachment inquiry. http://bit.ly/2J9DYbH

This morning: President Trump urged Democrats to vote to censure Schiff. He tweeted: "Censure (at least) Corrupt Adam Schiff! After what he got caught doing, any pol who does not so vote cannot be honest....are you listening Dems?" http://bit.ly/2pDSX6N



Trump administration officials are scheduled to testify before the House and Senate to defend the controversial decision to remove U.S. troops in northern Syria. 


Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWe must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs Voters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE'S FUNERAL:

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the former chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who died last week at age 68, will lie in state on Capitol Hill Thursday.



Election interference: The House will take up a bill to clamp down on foreign interference in the U.S. elections.

Government funding: Oh yeah, that. After government funding talks stalled, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (R-Ky.) is trying to focus on spending packages. 

Treaties: "The Senate will vote this week on a treaty ratifying Macedonia's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization."

Context and details for each: http://bit.ly/2N2g2I2



Pete is scooting his way in:

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year 'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' MORE is in third place in Iowa, according to a new Suffolk University/USA Today poll. http://bit.ly/2J7j0u0

The numbers: Former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 18 percent, closely followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill Overnight Defense: Defense bill moving forward despite Trump veto threat over tech fight | Government funding bill hits snag | Top general talks Afghanistan, Pentagon budget Katie Porter in heated exchange with Mnuchin: 'You're play-acting to be a lawyer' MORE (D-Mass.) with 17 percent. Buttigieg came in third with 13 percent. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) has 9 percent support. 

More from the poll: http://bit.ly/2J9a8nw



Potatoes are thrown at U.S. troops leaving Syria:

Via The Associated Press, "Angry over the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, residents of a Kurdish-dominated city pelted departing American military vehicles with potatoes Monday as they drove through." https://yhoo.it/2J9ZtZF

Video of items being thrown at U.S. troops: http://bit.ly/2MXaFKk

Happening next: "Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperBiden plans to keep Wray as FBI director: report ISIS Task Force director resigns from Pentagon post in continued post-election purge The perils of a US troop drawdown to the Afghan army and tribes MORE said that U.S. troops will stay in eastern Turkey to protect Kurdish-held oil fields for at least the coming weeks and that he was discussing options to keep them there." 


Opioid settlement:

Via The Wall Street Journal's Sara Randazzo, "Four drug companies have reached a $260 million settlement at the last minute to avoid a trial here seeking to blame them for fueling the opioid crisis, attorneys said Monday." https://on.wsj.com/35WsO3Q

The four drug companies: "The country's top drug distributors, McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp., agreed to pay $215 million, attorneys said. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., an Israel-based manufacturer of medicine, will pay $20 million in cash over the next two years and donate $25 million in addiction-treatment drugs, attorneys said." 



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This is great:

Watch: http://bit.ly/31Cv7Fv



President Trump is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is also in Washington, but is heading to Pennsylvania this afternoon.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump held a Cabinet meeting. 

Noon: The House meets.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Avoca, Pa.

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.

4:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence tours SCHOTT North America, Inc. in Pennsylvania.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes to invoke cloture on a treaty. The Senate's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/33NZhan

6:30 p.m. EDT: Postponed votes in the House. The House's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2P6z2I4

7:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.



10:30 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence spoke at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress Opening Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2MxEC4x

4:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gives a speech on trade. Livestream: http://bit.ly/31AjOxA

6:30 p.m. EDT: NBC's Lester Holt's exclusive interview with Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra changes names Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE airs on "NBC Nightly News." 



Today is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day.


These photos are pretty cute:

A woman asked her three grandmothers and one great-grandmother to be the flower girls at her wedding. http://bit.ly/2pDRRrw

From the photographer -- amazing: " When Lyndsey told me she was having her grandmothers as her flower girls, I was not expecting the level of sass that these girls brought!"

Photos of their matching outfits: http://bit.ly/2pDRRrw 


Attention, Disney fans: 

Reviews.org is hiring someone to watch 30 Disney movies in 30 days for $1,000. Details: http://bit.ly/35U0Vco


And because this is one of my favorite videos I've seen lately, here are ducks enjoying a makeshift amusement park ride: http://bit.ly/2Mw2cid