‘Start Here’: Nancy Pelosi, Avenatti’s arrest and Brexit. What you need to know today

It’s Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. Here’s what you need to start your day:

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1. Pelosi fends off rebellion from Democrat defectors

Congress is back in session and Nancy Pelosi is lobbying House Democrats to back her for speaker, including trying to win over several incoming freshmen who opposed her on the campaign trail.

She faces a rebellion from some in the party who are calling for new leadership and claim there will be enough votes to block her from winning the gavel on the House floor in January.

“There’s a small, but determined group of Democrats in the House who want to see her sidelined,” ABC News’ Ben Siegel tells us.

Pelosi and her allies are confident that she will be speaker.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans selected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve as minority leader in the next Congress, but the GOP is coming to terms with a new reality, according to ABC News Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce: “They’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to tackle this divided government because of course so far they’ve been in charge here.”

2. Lawsuits seek to extend Florida recount deadline

The deadline for Florida election officials to hand in machine recount totals in the races for governor, senator and agriculture commissioner is Thursday.

But Florida’s recount deadlines are being challenged by incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in a lawsuit, and court action could change them. As of Wednesday night, the ongoing machine recount of votes still had to be completed by 3 p.m. Thursday.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads Nelson in the Senate race by 0.15 percentage points. Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis leads Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum in the governor’s race by 0.41 percentage points. A manual recount is forced when the margin falls within 0.25 percentage points, so a second recount in the gubernatorial race is less likely.

It’s unclear if the recount totals will be done in time, according to ABC News’ Chris Good, who covers election security, and he also notes that some ballots are still being counted.

“One thing to keep an eye on: There are a couple of Democratic lawsuits out there seeking to expand the number of votes that could get counted,” Good says. “There’s a lawsuit that would, if successful, mean that ballots that were postmarked in time, but not delivered on time, would get counted.”

3. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested for domestic violence: LAPD

Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of domestic violence by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The alleged incident took place on Tuesday, the day before Avenatti’s arrest, according to police. He’s due in court on the charge on Dec. 5.

Avenatti was released on bail at $50,000 and denied the allegation. He told reporters he is “confident that I will be fully exonerated.”

4. UK cabinet agrees to PM Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Wednesday her cabinet agreed to a draft withdrawal agreement on the terms of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

“These decisions were not taken lightly, but I believe it is a decision that is firmly in the national interest,” May said after a five-hour cabinet meeting.

What’s in the 500-page draft deal? ABC News Foreign Editor Marcus Wilford breaks it down for us and what May will face next.

5. Judge to rule on CNN lawsuit against White House

A federal judge will decide Thursday whether to force the White House to reinstate the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta.

CNN and Acosta filed suit against President Donald Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, the president’s Chief of Staff John Kelly and the U.S. Secret Service, among others, over the suspension of the reporter’s press pass following a heated exchange between Acosta and the president last week.

The cable network alleges the move was a violation of the First Amendment and “the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta.” An attorney for the Justice Department argued the president has the “authority” to exclude journalists from White House grounds.

Does CNN have a case here? The cable network has a “good shot” of getting Acosta’s credentials back, according to ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams, who adds the case will set legal precedent for White House press access.

“I think there’s going to be language from the court that’s going to help set a standard here that is pretty clear already, but will be used in the future for determining what’s OK and what’s not when taking certain actions.”

ABC News put out a statement in support of CNN: “We stand with CNN in believing that Jim Acosta should have his White House pass reinstated. We hope this is resolved swiftly.”

In other news:

First lady gets her way: Deputy national security adviser reassigned after Melania Trump’s criticism: Mira Ricardel, the president’s deputy national security adviser, has been reassigned one day after first lady Melania Trump called for the woman’s firing. In a remarkable development Tuesday, Melania Trump made a public call for the president’s deputy national security adviser to be fired.

Death toll grows: Officials fear many more deaths from California wildfires that have already claimed 59 lives: As search crews found another body Wednesday in a house burned by a massive Southern California wildfire, officials fear many more deaths in the destructive blazes at both ends of the state that have now claimed 59 lives. The deadliest and most destructive of the two wildfires is the Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County, which has killed at least 56 people.

Saudi-Yemen conflict: House blocks bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen: The House of Representatives voted to block the passage of a bill that would have ended U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. The setback for critics of the coalition in the U.S. comes after the United Kingdom announced progress this week on the diplomatic front as the United Nations special envoy pushes to get the warring parties to the negotiating table by the end of the month in Sweden.

Country’s biggest night: Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood big winners at CMA Awards: Keith Urban was the big winner at the 52nd annual CMA Awards, airing live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday night. Urban walked off with Entertainer of the Year honors, but Chris Stapleton also had a big night, grabbing Single and Song of the Year, along with his fourth Male Vocalist award.

Puppy theft: Man disguised as woman used stolen credit card to buy French bulldog puppy: Police: Authorities are searching for a man who is suspected of fraudulently buying a 5-month-old French bulldog from a Florida pet store while he was disguised as a woman. Bryant Farfan is wanted for allegedly committing grand theft and identity theft in connection with the incident, according to the Largo Police Department.

From our partners at FiveThirtyEight:

Yes, It Was A Blue Wave

Last ‘Nightline’:

Monica Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton re-examined: In an intimate new docu-series, Lewinsky shares her story and “Nightline” examines whether the nation is more sympathetic to her story in the age of #MeToo.

Karlie Kloss, from supermodel to coding coach for girls: The St. Louis native details her journey to gracing runways from Dior to Versace — and living out her other passion in coding, empowering girls in the tech world.

On this day in history:

Nov. 15, 2007 — Barry Bonds is indicted for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Today’s must-see photo:

A migrant, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, attempts to hitchhike on the motorway on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo credit: Go Nakamura/Reuters)

For more great photos from around the world click HERE.

What’s hot on social:

A dramatic shootout between a sheriff’s deputy and a suspect was caught on video.

All right, you’re off and running. You can always get the latest news on ABCNews.com and on the ABC News app. Details on how to subscribe to the “Start Here” podcast are below. See you tomorrow!

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