The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing

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*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Dems square off at final impeachment hearing | Sights and sounds | Trump supporter disrupts proceeding | Senate braces for fight over impeachment rules | Bombshell report details how leaders misled public on Afghan War | Trumka says White House, Dems close to trade deal | Former Fed chief Volcker dies | 71 new species discovered in 2019 | National Pastry Day



This is the moment. Tonight is the night, we'll fight 'til it's over. So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us: 


The House Judiciary Committee is holding the House's final impeachment hearing this morning where Democrats and Republicans are both hoping to win the battle on public opinion.

Who is testifying: Democratic counsels Barry Berke and Daniel Goldman; Republican counsel Stephen Castor

Hearing livestream:

Live blog with hearing highlights:



It has not been boring...: Committee Republicans accused Democratic counsel Berke of disputing the truth of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE's motives. Read the back and forth -- it got pretty testy:

From Republican counsel Castor: "The impeachment inquiry is clearly an orchestrated effort to upend our political system ... On Jan. 3, 2019, on the very first day that Democrats obtained a majority in the House, Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanSherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel Castro launches bid for House Foreign Affairs gavel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill MORE (D-Calif.) introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump. That same day, Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge MORE (D-Mich.) said 'we are going to go in there and we are going to impeach the mother****er.'"

From Democratic counsel Goldman: "President Trump's persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security." 

Goldman on the witnesses: "To the extent that other witnesses would be able to provide more context and detail about this scheme, their failure to testify is due solely to the fact that President Trump obstructed the inquiry and refused to make them available." 


It's a foggy Monday in Washington. 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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For reference, the hearing started at 9 a.m. EST.

At 10:11 a.m. EST: "Witch Hunt!"

At 10:15 a.m. EST: "The best Economy ever!" Trump tweeted, responding to a CNBC tweet about the economy.

At 10:20 a.m. EST: "The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!"

At 10:25 a.m. EST, Trump retweeted: Radio host Buck Sexton tweeted: "Simply mind boggling that here we are, heading into year 4 of the Trump presidency, in a time of tremendous American economic prosperity and relative peace, and Democrats are *STILL* trying to ram Russia/Ukraine hysteria down the throats of normal Americans, like total psychos"  Trump responded: "True!"

At 10:47 a.m. EST: "Read the Transcripts!"



A protester was arrested at the start of the hearing: A pro-Trump protester yelled that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Schumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence MORE (D-N.Y.) committed "treason." Video of the protester getting escorted out: 

Photo of staffers and journalists gathering in the room before the hearing:

This photo always gets me: Here are all the cameras getting shots of the witness seats:

Republican signage: "Where's Adam?" the sign reads. Photo:

Steve Castor's briefcase is a reusable bag -- 'Live. Eat. Shop. Reuse.": And here's an close-up photo

Interesting observations about today's hearing -- a small crowd: Via PBS's Lisa Desjardins: "NOTES from inside the hearing:

- smallest crowd yet in the audience of any impeachment hearing 

- no line! (Come on down if in DC.)

- but looking at committee members, I do sense more somber, serious and focused looks than at the start of last week's academic hearing." Photos to prove it:



How the Senate is bracing for a brawl on impeachment rules:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November Trump's Teflon problem: Nothing sticks, including the 'wins' Senate Republican says lawmakers can't 'boil down' what a Court nominee would do in one case like Roe v. Wade MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Biden refuses to say whether he would support expanding Supreme Court Schumer says Trump tweet shows court pick meant to kill off ObamaCare MORE (D-N.Y.) will try to negotiate a deal on ground rules, similar to the arrangement made before the 1999 trial of then-President Clinton. Talks haven't started yet as lawmakers wait for the House to write and vote on any articles of impeachment. But senators, pointing to the increasingly partisan atmosphere in the chamber, are skeptical the two leaders will reach an accord."

What to expect:



We're all in this *clap* together

--> ;) 

Via The Washington Post's Erica Werner and David J. Lynch, the White House and House Democrats are close to finalizing a new North American free trade agreement, according to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Speculation: "Support from the AFL-CIO, which opposes the existing North American Free Trade Agreement and blames it for destroying millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs, would likely ensure support from a majority of House Democrats if the deal is brought up for a vote. Backing from the AFL-CIO would also indicate that Democrats had succeeded in negotiated stronger enforcement mechanisms and protections for labor than existed in the agreement signed by Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada a year ago." 



Holiday laundry list:

Surveillance probe: "As the House impeachment effort rolls on, Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz is set to testify on his long-awaited report into alleged surveillance abuse during the 2016 election." 

Timing: The report is expected to be released today and Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Government funding fight: Lawmakers have until Dec. 20 to fund the government to avoid another shutdown. Negotiators are hoping to finalize negotiations this week. If not, they will have to pass another short-term continuing resolution (CR). Where spending talks stand coming out of the weekend:

NDAA: "The House could take up a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week after lawmakers reached a deal over the weekend."

Nominations: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has teed up votes on two Ninth Circuit nominees: Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke ... In addition to judicial picks, the Senate is expected to vote on John Sullivan's nomination to be ambassador to Russia, Stephen Hahn to be Food and Drug Administration commissioner and Aurelia Skipwith to be director of the Fish and Wildlife Service." 

Prescription drugs: "The House is slated to take up a Democrat-led bill aimed at lowering drug prices this week."

Context and details for each from The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke:



The Washington Post publishes 'Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war':

The Washington Post obtained secret government documents outlining the war in Afghanistan over the past 18 years.

What the documents reveal, according to the Post: "Senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable." 

U.S. officials were brutally honest about the money and strategy of the war: "With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation." 

How the Post got access to these documents: The paper won a three-year legal battle for the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Read the full report from The Washington Post's Craig Whitlock:



Former Fed Chair Paul Volcker dies at 92:

"Paul A. Volcker, who helped shape American economic policy for more than six decades, most notably by leading the Federal Reserve's brute-force campaign to subdue inflation in the late 1970s and early '80s, died on Sunday in New York. He was 92."

Read his full obituary from The New York Times's Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert D. Hershey Jr.:



Thousands of civilians flooded the streets of Tehran to protest conditions under the regime’s leadership – and they were met with a massacre. The U.S. and Europe must condemn this human rights crisis. Learn more.



What a time to be alive:


By the way: That's Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldRalph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden visits Kenosha | Trump's double-voting suggestion draws fire | Facebook clamps down on election ads Biden picks up endorsements from nearly 100 Republicans MORE, George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayGeorge and Kellyanne Conway honor Ginsburg Lincoln Project releases new ad blasting Trump as 'a horrible role model' George Conway hits Trump on 9/11 anniversary: 'The greatest threat to the safety and security of Americans' MORE and Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson discusses speaking at People's Party Convention Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016 Marianne Williamson: Democratic convention 'like binge watching a Marriott commercial' MORE



Noon: The House meets.

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

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a roundtable on education choice.

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence swears in the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. 

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Ginsburg becomes the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol Rabbi memorializes Ginsburg: Her dissents were 'blueprints for the future' MORE participate in a Christmas reception in the Grand Foyer.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate holds a vote on a nomination. The Senate's full schedule today:

6:30 p.m. EST: Votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

8:15 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in another Christmas reception in the Grand Foyer.



Today: The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the impeachment probe. Livestream:



Today is National Pastry Day!


Everyone has a favorite:

Via CNN's Ashley Strickland, "Scientists discovered 71 new species this year. Here are some of their favorites." The list


And because you made it to the end, here's a dog who definitely does not want any of his friend's food. No way.: