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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says impeachment articles coming 'soon' as pressure builds

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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: Pelosi says impeachment articles coming 'soon' | Trump, Republicans attack Pelosi for delay | Trump calls articles 'fraudulently produced' | Dems, Trump to clash over Iran war powers | House voting today to restrict Trump on Iran | GOP Sens. Lee, Paul rip Iran briefing | Is Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus Rally crowd chants 'lock him up' as Trump calls Biden family 'a criminal enterprise' Undecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability MORE 2020's Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton Rally crowd chants 'lock him up' as Trump calls Biden family 'a criminal enterprise' Undecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE? | 2020's five most vulnerable senators | Celebrities react to Prince Harry, Meghan MarkleMeghan MarkleMeghan Markle: You realize 'your voice matters' even more 'when you're not able to exercise it' GOP congressman accuses Prince Harry, Megan Markle of interfering in US elections Prince Harry, Meghan Markle to speak with Malala Yousafzai about COVID-19's impact on girls' education MORE news

 

NEWS THIS MORNING

Soon, young grasshopper:

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Schumer labels McConnell's scheduled coronavirus stimulus vote as 'a stunt' Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) said she will probably send the articles of impeachment to the Senate "soon," even as she has not won any concessions from Republicans. Pressure has been building on Pelosi, who declined to send over the articles or name the impeachment managers after the House vote on impeachment last year. http://bit.ly/35wgCoU

In Pelosi's words: "I'm not holding them indefinitely. I'll send them over when I'm ready, and that will probably be soon."

Livestream of Pelosi's press conference this morning: http://bit.ly/2tFfylt

  

Earlier this morning from Trump -- Fraud! Fraud!:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE slammed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this morning for holding the articles of impeachment. http://bit.ly/36Huu0U

Trump tweeted: "Pelosi doesn't want to hand over The Articles of Impeachment, which were fraudulently produced by corrupt politicians like Shifty Schiff in the first place, because after all of these years of investigations and persecution, they show no crimes and are a joke and a scam!" http://bit.ly/36yHEgF

  

It's Thursday! 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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LATEST WITH IRAN

Just now -- Trump speculated on the Ukrainian plane crash:

After reports that some are speculating that Iran may have shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet by accident, President Trump weighed in on Thursday and said "somebody could've made a mistake." http://bit.ly/37REgOg

In Trump's words: "It's a tragic thing when I see that. It's a tragic thing. But somebody could've made a mistake on the other side … It was flying at a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could've made a mistake."

 

TWO U.S. OFFICIALS AGREE -- SAY IT'S 'HIGHLY LIKELY' A MISSILE DOWNED THE JETLINER: 

Via Associated Press, "Two U.S. officials said Thursday it was 'highly likely' that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board." http://bit.ly/2T9vFT4

 

TIMING OF THE PLANE CRASH: 

"The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week." http://bit.ly/2T9vFT4

 

Happening today -- Democrats try pulling on the reins: 

House Democrats are voting today to curb President Trump's war powers on Iran. http://bit.ly/36CZak1

What exactly they are voting on: A war powers resolution that would force Trump to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran.

What to expect today: Basically a brawl between President Trump and Democrats. 

What next: If the resolution passes the House, Senate Democrats would need four Republicans to get 51 votes to pass a war powers resolution from Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats have no case against Amy Coney Barrett — but that won't stop them Pence-Harris debate draws more than 50M viewers, up 26 percent from 2016 Five takeaways from the vice presidential debate MORE (D-Va.).

And then: If the resolution passes both chambers it would go to President Trump's desk for a signature, where it would likely be vetoed. Democrats are far from the votes needed to override a presidential veto. 

 

HOW TRUMP IS CLAIMING IRAN VICTORY WHILE TURNING DOWN THE HEAT: 

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage: http://bit.ly/2QU2zE8 

 

SooOooOo, uh, that went well:

Republican Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTed Cruz won't wear mask to speak to reporters at Capitol Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test Barrett fight puts focus on abortion in 2020 election MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (Ky.) ripped the administration for its closed-door Iran briefing yesterday and announced their support for a resolution to rein in President Trump's war powers. http://bit.ly/39SGY7L

Mike Lee told reporters: "It was probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate." 

Lee also said: "I find this insulting and demeaning ... to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States." 

Rand Paul on the administration using a 2002 war authorization to justify last week's airstrike: "I see no way in the world you could logically argue that an authorization to have war with Saddam Hussein has anything to with having war with people currently in Iraq." 

 

BACKSTORY:

"Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit use of COVID-19 funds on contractors | Dems optimistic on blocking Trump's Germany withdrawal | Obama slams Trump on foreign policy House Democrat optimistic defense bill will block Trump's Germany withdrawal Overnight Defense: Famed Navy SEAL calls Trump out | Yemen's Houthi rebels free two Americans | Marines fire commander after deadly training accident MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo warns any arms sales to Iran will result in sanctions as embargo expires Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of missile strike that killed at least 13 MORE, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley were dispatched to brief both the House and Senate on Wednesday amid days of concerns from lawmakers that Trump was on a path to war with Iran, which on Tuesday night launched missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops." http://bit.ly/39SGY7L

 

Oh snap!: 

Watch: http://bit.ly/2N73v7a

  

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Interesting read -- is Joe Biden this cycle's Hillary Clinton?:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, "When Joe Biden was asked last week at an Iowa town hall if he was running a better campaign than Hillary Clinton had in 2016, it highlighted a question on the minds of some Democrats: Is Biden this cycle's Clinton? The question is becoming more significant as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Senate Democrats seek to alleviate public concern about some results not being available on election night Georgia senator mocks Harris's name before Trump rally: 'Kamala-mala-mala, I don't know' MORE (I-Vt.) gains traction." http://bit.ly/305D4nz

"While the much bigger field of candidates and strong campaigns from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 Biden town hall questioner worked as speechwriter in Obama administration: report MORE make the 2020 primary different than the one four years ago, Democrats are also seeing some parallels. And some would just as soon avoid them."

The comparison: http://bit.ly/305D4nz

  

THE FIVE MOST VULNERABLE SENATORS IN 2020:

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.)

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Democratic super PAC pulls remaining ads from Colorado Senate race Exclusive: Poll shows Affordable Care Act challenge a liability for McConnell at home MORE (R-Colo.)

Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Republicans increasingly seek distance from Trump Democratic super PAC pulls remaining ads from Colorado Senate race MORE (R-Ariz.)

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Collins PAC donated hundreds of dollars to two candidates who support QAnon Republicans increasingly seek distance from Trump MORE (R-Maine)

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Democrats see cash floodgates open ahead of Election Day Supreme Court battle turns into 2020 proxy war MORE (R-N.C.)

Reasoning for each: http://bit.ly/39WBclB

  

HARRY AND MEGHAN SURE RUFFLED SOME FEATHERS

You can pretend you scrolled past this section. No one has to know ;)

Yesterday, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, announced that they plan to step back as "senior members" of the royal family and "become financially independent," sending shockwaves around the world. 

Read Harry and Meghan's announcement: http://bit.ly/2FwI0bK

The Queen was reportedly 'blindsided': Royal analyst Victoria Arbiter said on NBC's "Today": "When they got back (from Christmas in Canada), they did have a discussion with the queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, saying, 'Look, we want to do something different here,' but I don't think any of this information certainly that's been listed on their website was shared with the senior members of the royal family, and that's where they were blindsided." https://on.today.com/36Bja6A

 

KEEP IN MIND -- TODAY IS KATE MIDDLETON'S BIRTHDAY: 

In honor of the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday, Kensington Palace released a new photo of Kate with a birthday message. The photo: http://bit.ly/2FAJ1j6

Tidbit: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex commented on the post, "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!" http://bit.ly/2FAJ1j6 

 

CELEBRITY REACTIONS TO THE NEWS:

Piers Morgan: "People say I'm too critical of Meghan Markle - but she ditched her family, ditched her Dad, ditched most of her old friends, split Harry from William & has now split him from the Royal Family. I rest my case." http://bit.ly/35xVQVS

Amy SchumerAmy Beth SchumerCelebrities go nude for PSA on naked ballots Hillicon Valley: House panel says Intelligence Community not equipped to address Chinese threats | House approves bill to send cyber resources to state, local governments Celebs share deepfake video of Kim Jong Un warning democracy is at risk MORE: "Chris and I are formally stepping down from our royal duties. We appreciate your support." Bahaha, the photo with her post is greathttp://bit.ly/2QDsd1m

Bette Midler: "What a sad story. They hounded and bullied her until it was no longer tenable to stay, just like Diana.  They'll never learn until it hits them in the wallet.  I hope she bankrupts them all." 

Jameela Jamil from "The Good Place": "And that folks, is what power looks like." 

More reactions via Fox News's Tyler McCarthy: https://fxn.ws/304Jljv

  

THE QUESTION EVERYONE IS WONDERING -- HOW WILL THEY BECOME 'FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT?': 

Via CNN's Lianne Kolirin, "The couple are unlikely to struggle when it comes to their private income -- whether it might be through sponsorship, speaking tours or the like ... Besides his income from the Duchy of Cornwall, Harry inherited several million from the Queen Mother, and a few million more was left to him in trust by his late mother, Princess Diana." https://cnn.it/2Fzc6vh

Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2T7SNBi

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Getting traction -- I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.: 

Watch: http://bit.ly/39V18hJ

  

ON TAP

The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C., and are both heading to Toledo, Ohio, this afternoon for a campaign rally.

11 a.m. EST: One roll call vote in the Senate. The Senate's full schedule todayhttp://bit.ly/2T5UTBt

1:15 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2FzP3jY

2 p.m. EST: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence leaves for Toledo, Ohio.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves for Toledo, Ohio.

4:15 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House. 

9:10 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

10:40 p.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House.

  

WHAT TO WATCH

11 a.m. EST: President Trump announced proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations. Livestream: http://bit.ly/304RrZg

7 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. Vice President Pence also speaks. Livestream: https://cs.pn/35FYh8S

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Apricot Day.

  

And because you made it this far, here's a dog who refuses to sleep alone: http://bit.ly/2FzZsfw