The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, GOP cheer changes to courts amid impeachment fight

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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, GOP make their mark on the courts | Latest on Navy chief's ouster | Trump taps Norway ambassador as replacement | Supreme Court declines to hear Adnan Syed case from 'Serial' | How impeachment is overshadowing the 2020 race | Polls show independents souring on inquiry | Bloomberg officially in | High winds could keep Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons on the ground

 

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Why the White House is celebrating the season:

Via The Hill’s Harper Neidig, “President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE and Senate Republicans have had extraordinary success pushing judicial nominees through the confirmation process at a rapid clip, giving the GOP reason to celebrate even as the White House is embroiled in an impeachment inquiry that’s dominating Washington.” http://bit.ly/33hBdMs

For context: “Amid the impeachment hearings, the Trump administration has flipped the majorities of two appeals courts to Republican-appointed judges, meaning GOP appointees now outnumber Democrats on most of the nation's circuit courts ... Trump’s pace of filling vacancies on the top appellate courts, with the help of the GOP-controlled Senate, has eclipsed the numbers put up by every other president in recent decades.” 

 

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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The next Navy secretary:

Shortly after announcing the ousting of Richard Spencer as the secretary of the Navy, President Trump announced that he has chosen U.S. ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwait to replace Spencer. http://bit.ly/2OjFXx5

Timing: The announcement was made house after Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark Esper FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant US defense secretary can't label US base attack 'terrorism' at this point Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE fired Spencer, “claiming that Spencer had met behind his back with White House officials and offered to allow a SEAL convicted of a war crime to retire at his current rank.” 

Trump tweeted: “I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s ... contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction. Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service & commitment. Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the ... honors that he has earned, including his Trident Pin. Admiral and now Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite will be nominated by me to be the new Secretary of the Navy. A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!” http://bit.ly/2OgVEVI

 

READ RICHARD SPENCER’S RESIGNATION LETTER: 

https://cnn.it/34elZct

 

BACK STORY TO THE NAVY SEAL THAT STARTED THIS CONTROVERSY:

Via The New York Times’s Dave Philipps: https://nyti.ms/33mgjf3

 

REACTION FROM SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHARLES SCHUMER (D-N.Y.):

“I just spoke to former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer. I told him he’s a patriot, that he served the Navy and the nation well and he will be missed,” Schumer said in the statement. “Secretary Spencer did the right thing and he should be proud of standing up to President Trump when he was wrong, something too many in this administration and the Republican Party are scared to do. Good order, discipline, and morale among the Armed Services must transcend politics, and Secretary Spencer’s commitment to these principles will not be forgotten.” http://bit.ly/2pNGVbg

 

The coziest turkeys that have ever lived:

 

IN THE SUPREME COURT

The Supreme Court will not hear the Adnan Syed case — yes, from the ‘Serial’ podcast: 

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Adnan Syed, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in the 1999 murder of his high school ex-girlfriend Hae Min Leehttp://bit.ly/35zznrX

The last development: In a 4-3 ruling last March, Maryland's Court of Appeals denied Syed a new trial. His lawyers then appealed it to the Supreme Court. 

Back story to the case: “Syed has maintained his innocence, and after questions were raised about his case in ‘Serial,’ a judge granted him a new trial in 2016, ruling that his attorney had prejudiced the outcome of the original trial by not calling to the stand an important witness. But Maryland's highest court overturned that decision earlier this year and now the Supreme Court's refusal to review his case is likely to put an end to this part of his legal saga.” http://bit.ly/35zznrX 

 

LATEST WITH THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Let’s reverse-engineer our way out of the room:

Via The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, amid concern about exchanges about held up Ukraine aid, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvey and others scrambled to find another reason that Ukraine aid was held up after the fact. https://wapo.st/2OGDETv

  

Why impeachment is getting even riskier for Democrats: 

Via The Hill’s Jonathan Easley, “New public opinion polls are moving against Democrats on impeachment as independents sour on the House inquiry and increasingly express opposition to the hearings that have consumed Washington in recent weeks.” 

How this could play outhttp://bit.ly/2rndzRC

Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2De359F

 

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Impeachment is the new 2020:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “Impeachment is complicating the Democratic race for president — and not only in terms of whether the public supports or opposes it. The sheer intensity of the spotlight on impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill is overshadowing the primacy process, even with the Iowa caucuses less than three months away.” http://bit.ly/2QVIAqe

For example: “This past week’s Democratic debate in Atlanta — the fifth round of debates this cycle — was the least watched so far. The clash between 10 candidates at Tyler Perry Studios drew 6.6 million TV viewers, according to overnight Nielsen ratings.” 

Compared to earlier debates: "Back in June, the second of two initial debates in Miami drew 18.1 million viewers. As recently as last month, an Ohio debate pulled in 8.5 million viewers.” 

 

Welcome. It’s a crowd.:

Over the weekend, former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Dozens of Virginia counties declare themselves 'Second Amendment sanctuaries' after Democrats win state legislature Bloomberg apologizes after critics say his calling Booker 'well spoken' was racist MORE officially announced that he is entering the 2020 presidential race. http://bit.ly/34kH1X1

He said in a statement: "We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term in office, we may never recover from the damage."

What to know about his campaign: “Mr. Bloomberg’s late entry into the race has already roiled an unsettled Democratic primary field. He has startled rival campaigns in recent days by reserving almost $35 million in airtime for television commercials outlining his biography and political agenda, a figure that dwarfs other campaigns’ advertising budgets. On a website that went live on Sunday, Mr. Bloomberg embraced his status as a surprise contender, branding himself as ‘a new choice for Democrats.’” (Via The New York Times’s Alexander Burnshttps://nyti.ms/2XKQ94v

Keep in mind about campaign donations: Bloomberg is self-funding his campaign and will not accept donations (!)

  

IN OTHER NEWS

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade may be balloon-less this year:
The forecast for New York City on Thursday looks gusty, threatening the balloon floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

How unusual that would be: “If Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons are nixed, it would be the first time the city has grounded them since 1971.” 

Details from The New York Post: http://bit.ly/33fMflh

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

This is very funny: 

 

Oof:

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out.

President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

12:15 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with the prime minister of Bulgaria.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump signs the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act in the Oval Office.

4:30 p.m. EST: President Trump signs the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act in the Oval Office.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

This morning: Former Massachusetts Govl Deval PatrickDeval PatrickBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Krystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats Steve Bullock exits: Will conservative Democrats follow? MORE (D), a 2020 contender, spoke at a “Politics & Eggs” breakfast in Manchester, N.H. Livestream: https://cs.pn/33hwzOw

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Parfait Day.

 

This is an amazing photo:

Via Insider, “A photographer captures giant flocks of birds at the perfect moment so they look like mesmerizing, moving sculptures.” Photo: http://bit.ly/2QPyRC7

 

And because you made it to the end, here’s a toddler who is still in weekend-mode: http://bit.ly/33k7ClD