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

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 -- 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 RomneyBloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio Paul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Progressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory MORE (R-Utah) appeared to confirm the name of his secret Twitter account after it was discovered by Slate's Ashley Feinberg



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 Romney

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:

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 KimmelHarrison Ford takes swipe at 'son of a b----' Trump in Jimmy Kimmel interview Five things to watch for at this year's Oscars The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — House Dems charge Trump with abuse, obstruction of Congress in impeachment articles 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 -- 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:




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."

Oh and: "On top of that, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE has fired a senior diplomat after a whisper campaign mounted by his personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHouse panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance Pennsylvania Democrat says US Attorney's Office should prioritize opioids rather than 'Russian propaganda' from Giuliani Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn 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: Biden leaving New Hampshire early as voting underway The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senators brace for floor fight as trial nears end Mike Bloomberg really gets under Trump's skin — and that's good for Bloomberg 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.   

Over the weekend -- read my lips:
Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report MORE spent the weekend trying to correct the record about his comments on Ukraine.

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 BidenSanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Klobuchar releases medical report that says she's in 'very good health' Candidates face pressure to exit presidential race 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) WallacePresident Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks Steyer: 'I do for sure' have to finish in top three in South Carolina Pence chief of staff: 'There's not intelligence' saying Russia wants Trump reelected MORE:



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." 



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:


HOUSE REPUBLICANS LOOK TO REBUKE Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Schiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again' Trump: Nevada a 'great win' for Sanders 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.

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?"



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 CummingsTop Democrats demand answers on DHS plans to deploy elite agents to sanctuary cities House to vote next week on bill to create women's history museum The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address 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 McConnellSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' Bottom Line The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge 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:



Pete is scooting his way in:

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Candidates face pressure to exit presidential race MORE is in third place in Iowa, according to a new Suffolk University/USA Today poll.

The numbers: Former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 18 percent, closely followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCandidates face pressure to exit presidential race Buttigieg proposes undoing SALT deduction cap Bloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio MORE (D-Mass.) with 17 percent. Buttigieg came in third with 13 percent. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE (I-Vt.) has 9 percent support. 

More from the poll:



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."

Video of items being thrown at U.S. troops:

Happening next: "Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCoronavirus threatens joint US-South Korea military exercises: reports Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Pentagon outlines new principles for use of AI 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."

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." 



Real Estate Investment Trusts are reshaping communities all across America, supporting economic activity and 2.3 million jobs. See why an estimated 87 million Americans invest in REITs. Learn more.



This is great:




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:

6:30 p.m. EDT: Postponed votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

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:

4:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gives a speech on trade. Livestream:

6:30 p.m. EDT: NBC's Lester Holt's exclusive interview with Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate On The Money: GAO to investigate Trump aid for farmers | Bloomberg calls for bolstering Dodd-Frank | Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Soros: Zuckerberg, Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook 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.

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: 


Attention, Disney fans: is hiring someone to watch 30 Disney movies in 30 days for $1,000. Details:


And because this is one of my favorite videos I've seen lately, here are ducks enjoying a makeshift amusement park ride: