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 RomneyTrump FDA pick dodges questions on Trump's flavored vape ban Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping Progressive Democrats ramp up attacks on private equity 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 KimmelTrump fans defend Watergate scandal when Kimmel swaps Nixon's name for Trump's The Hill's 12:30 Report: What we learned from first impeachment transcripts Kimmel shares clip contrasting Obama's announcement of bin Laden's death with Trump's al-Baghdadi speech 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.

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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."

Oh and: "On top of that, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE has fired a senior diplomat after a whisper campaign mounted by his personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBiden: Impeachment hearings show 'Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee' Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep FBI sought interview with whistleblower at heart of impeachment probe 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: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — Buttigieg closes in on Biden, Warren in Iowa The Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash 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 MulvaneyDefense official testifies Ukraine was aware of issues with aid in July Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony 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 BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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) WallaceChris Wallace: Sondland testimony 'took out the bus and ran over' Trump, top aides Chris Wallace: Trump testifying 'would be akin to Prince Andrew testifying about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein' Fox's Neil Cavuto rips into Trump over attacks on Chris Wallace's impeachment coverage 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 SchiffNunes's facial expression right before lawmakers took break from Sondland testimony goes viral Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Maloney wins House Oversight gavel 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 CummingsDebate gives Democrats a chance to focus on unaddressed issues of concern to black voters Maloney wins House Oversight gavel The Hill's Morning Report - Wild Wednesday: Sondland testimony, Dem debate take center stage 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 ButtigiegFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico 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 WarrenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-Mass.) with 17 percent. Buttigieg came in third with 13 percent. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 EsperPentagon chief: US giving Vietnam surplus ship for coast guard Talks stall on defense costs with South Korea Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran 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." 



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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 ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Senators press Facebook over user location tracking policies Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant 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: