The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems ruffle feathers with POTUS fitness bill


Oh this should go over well. Swimmingly, even!:



House Democrats unveiled a bill this morning to create a 17-member panel to assess the president’s “capacity” to perform the job. https://bit.ly/3iST44p

Is the panel designed just for Trump?: Well, the commission would be permanent but is definitely a shot at President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE, whose capacities have been questioned amid his coronavirus treatment.

Where Pelosi stands: “Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 On The Money: Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief | Biden faces backlash over debt | 900,000 more Americans file for unemployment benefits MORE (D-Calif.), a sharp critic of the president, has fueled those questions in the days since Trump returned to the White House after three nights in the hospital, floating the idea that Trump's drug regimen — which includes a steroid linked to mood swings — might be affecting his decisionmaking.” 

Pelosi told reporters this morning: "This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents." 

Reaction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Ky.): "Look, that's absurd. Absolutely absurd. Again, right here in this last three weeks before the election, I think those kinds of wild comments should be largely discounted."

Chances of a coronavirus relief bill before the election? Unlikely:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said a COVID-19 relief package passed before the Nov. 3 elections is “unlikely.” https://bit.ly/30R2dnF

In McConnell’s words: "I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election, and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage. I'd like to see us rise above that ... but I think that's unlikely in the next three weeks.”  

Back story: “Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinPence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' Treasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE have been seesawing for months … The latest curveball came this week when President Trump appeared to pull the plug on a large agreement before the Nov. 3 elections. He then walked back his comments, saying he was open to specific pieces.”

It’s Friday! 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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Trump can end his quarantine tomorrow:

White House physician Sean Conley said it is safe for President Trump to return to public events, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19. https://bit.ly/2SHBNAc

From Dr. Conley: “Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time.” 

Conley on Trump’s health: “Since returning home, his physical exam has remained stable and devoid of any indications to suggest progression of illness. Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects.”

The concern from health experts: “Health experts questioned his assessment, noting that patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms can be infectious for longer than 10 days.”

Getting traction — What the White House says about the president’s last negative COVID-19 test:




Reaction from Bloomberg’s White House correspondent Justin Sink: “I honestly don't understand what conclusion we're supposed to draw here other than that trump wasn't tested before the debate in possible violation of the rules.” https://bit.ly/3lrVecM 

And from CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperOfficials brace for second Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Durbin says he won't whip votes for Trump's second impeachment trial MORE: “The only logical reason to stonewall this much is because the actual answer is even more damaging … There is a compelling public health reason to disclose when the president — who we were told was tested daily — last tested negative. He potentially exposed countless people at the WH, in Ohio, Minnesota, and New Jersey to the virus.” https://bit.ly/36PnG4o


I suppose it is tough to socially distance in an actual wrestling match:

Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan and Amie Parnes, “An extended back-and-forth between the campaigns threw the presidential debate schedule into chaos Thursday, raising the question: Will there even be another debate?” https://bit.ly/2IeB9bB

The major complicationPresident Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis. 

Yeah, but it goes further than that: “In addition to the safety concerns, there is also a political standoff between the two campaigns, with a fight over the dates and settings of the two remaining debates.”  

The gist of what happened: The Commission on Presidential Debates made Oct. 15’s debate virtual. The Trump campaign then pulled out and called for the debates to be pushed a week — Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. The Biden campaign then rejected that idea, saying it was Trump’s decision whether to debate on Oct. 15.  

What we knowhttps://bit.ly/2IeB9bB


Dems are winning the early voting race:

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, “A surge in absentee ballots cast in states across the country is handing Democrats an early advantage heading into Election Day amid signs that the party’s vote-by-mail focus is turning out regular and new voters alike.” https://bit.ly/36MFCfO

The total number of ballots returned: “More than 6 million Americans have already voted in 27 states for November’s general election, according to data released by states that have begun accepting ballots.” 

Breaking that down by party: “Registered Democrats have returned 1.4 million ballots, more than twice the 653,000 ballots registered Republicans have returned so far, according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who analyzes early voting.” 

What to take from this datahttps://bit.ly/36MFCfO


Via Politico’s Alex Isenstadt and Natasha Koreckihttps://politi.co/33JxN8R


Exclusive — foreign influence is a leetle more expansive than we thought:

Via The Hill’s Olivia Beavers, Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Biden intelligence chief pledges to keep politics out of job House panels open review of Capitol riot MORE held closed-door briefings last month, informing both the House and the Senate on the expansive foreign influence campaigns that are targeting Congress. https://bit.ly/30QTgL5 

What we know: “Ratcliffe gave ballpark estimates of how many lawmakers have been targeted, suggesting it is from the dozens to roughly 50. But in the briefings, he declined to identify which members of Congress were the targets and he did not indicate if one party was being more heavily targeted than the other.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 7,611,616

U.S. death toll: 212,840

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

The highest number of cases since August:

The U.S. has reported the highest daily number of coronavirus cases since mid-August, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. https://bit.ly/30K6fOL

How many new cases were confirmed yesterday: More than 56,000


When you see it, you see it:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/34Gdlov 


The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE is in Las Vegas, Nev.

President Trump has no public events scheduled.

2 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a conference call with the U.S. Cruise Industry. 


7 p.m. EDT: The Colorado Senate debate between Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet Lobbying world Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Colo.) and challenger John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperBipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief K Street navigates virtual inauguration week Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORELivestreamhttps://cs.pn/3iHF2SL


Today is National Moldy Cheese Day. And for planning purposes, tomorrow is National Tic Tac Day and Sunday is National Sausage Pizza Day

You go, Glen Coco!!:

“An 88-year-old Massachusetts man has completed the ultimate achievement: walking nearly 25,000 miles — equivalent to the total circumference of the Earth.” https://bit.ly/3nA4gpS

You can watch your clothes knitted into a new item:

Via Reuters’s Anna Ringstrom, “Shoppers at H&M in Stockholm will be able to watch their old jumpers be knitted in to a new sweater or scarf on the spot as the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer looks for new ways to encourage its customers to recycle used garments.”

And to get your weekend off to the right start, meet Finley, a golden retriever who loves to give hugs: https://bit.ly/3lGCgPV