The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Grassley's sticky SCOTUS situation | Obama 'Hope' artist backs Bernie | Snowden's message for Jeb | Trump hits back at the Pope 

RELEASED LATE THIS MORNING -- TRUMP LEADS IN SC: GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE captures 32 percent of Republican support in South Carolina, according to a new Fox News poll. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE follows at 19 percent, Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE at 15 percent, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson tied at 9 percent and John Kasich at 6 percent.

TALK TO THE HAND, SAYS KASICH: Not expecting to do well in the Palmetto State (as that poll reflects), John Kasich won't even be in South Carolina for the state's Republican primary. Instead, he'll be wooing donors in Boston's Back Bay and holding a town hall in Worcester, Mass.

AND ON THE DEM SIDE: Via The Hill's Jesse ByrnesHillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE leads Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE in South Carolina by a whopping 29 points in a new poll, 59 percent to 30 percent.

JUST NOW TRUMP WENT THERE: The GOP front-runner is hitting back at criticism from Pope Francis over his calls to build a border wall. Tweet from Politico's Glenn Thrush: "Peak Donald Trump The Vatican 'everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy'"

It's Thursday -- and we're two days away from the South Carolina Republican primary and Democratic caucuses in Nevada!  It'll be chilly through tomorrow in D.C. in an "eat your veggies" kind of way. But the dessert at the end of the tunnel: It'll be a spring-like weekend in the 60s! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send comments, story ideas and Starbucks secret drink suggestions to and on Facebook



AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT -- I.E. CONGRESS: Via The Hill's Sarah Ferris, with an impending brawl over a Supreme Court nomination in the Senate, the chances of the GOP also passing a budget are dropping. Why's that a big deal: GOP leaders have said they want to pass all 12 spending bills before their August recess to get back to "regular order" before the fall elections, but the SCOTUS nomination fight is now likely to take up their already tight spring calendar.

AND SMACK DAB IN THE CENTER OF THE FIGHT ... SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY: Via The Hill's Alex Bolton, as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Iowa Republican prides himself on being an advocate of transparency. But here's where things get sticky: He won't commit to scheduling hearings on President Obama's expected nominee to the Supreme Court. Reaction from Democrats and longtime observers: Huh?

BIDEN ON BEHALF ON OBAMA: Vice President Biden said in an interview that President Obama is searching for a nominee that Senate Republicans would support.



BERN, BABY, BERN: The designer of President Obama's "Hope" logo has endorsed ... dun, dun, dun ... Bernie Sanders for president! The Clinton campaign is not enthused. Brian Fallon, Clinton's press secretary tweeted: "Diss Obama by day, do poor man's imitation of 2008 campaign by night." Ouch. 

LIKE CLOCKWORK, TRUMP IS NOT HAVIN' IT: CBS and NBC released rival national polls with differing results. The CBS poll has Donald Trump leading Ted Cruz 35 percent to 17 percent. But the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows Cruz leading 28 percent to 26 percent. Trump's response? ... We should all know it by now:  "New CBS National Poll just out - massive lead for Trump. The Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll is a total joke. No wonder WSJ is doing so badly!" It's like clockwork.

NEW THIS A.M. -- EXCUSE ME WHILE I PULL OUT MY SENSITIVE SIDE: Via The Hill's Bradford RichardsonHillary Clinton released an ad in Nevada highlighting her opposition to deporting illegal immigrants. It involves tears.

ALSO RELEASED -- HALEY IN THE HOUSE: After endorsing Marco Rubio for president yesterday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) starred in a Rubio ad today explaining her endorsement. Watch: 

IS NOW THE TIME TO GET NERVOUS? The Hill's Amie Parnes talked with Clinton World about the tightening race with Bernie Sanders and close aides conceded they're nervous. "The s--- will hit the fan," said one longtime friend of the Clintons, predicting a staff shakeup. "No doubt about it."

WHO AMONG US ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM IS?: CNN's Chris Moody traveled to Denmark to explore Bernie Sanders's definition of democratic socialism. It's a fun, light way to explain the idea -- and pretty interesting.



The Huffington Post's Sam Stein
That time Michael Steele had Oreo cookies thrown at him during a campaign event

Townhall's Guy Benson (this got a lot of traction)
Young Indian-American female governor joins young black Senator in endorsing young Latino Senator for president in Deep South state. #GOP

Darth (with a gif of how he described the "Morning Joe" Trump town hall last night)

Jeb Bush
America. [with a photo of a gun]

Edward Snowden retweeted adding: Delete your account.



Congress is still in recess.

12 p.m. EST: GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson holds a town hall at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C.

1 p.m. EST: Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig and others hold a sit-in at the U.S. Capitol to protest big money in politics. 

2 p.m. EST: GOP White House contender John Kasich holds a town hall in Clemson, S.C.

4:40 p.m. EST: President Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama on social media: You’ve got to ‘think before you tweet’ MSNBC trolls Trump with video montage of Obama saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Overnight Regulation: USDA delays healthy school lunch requirements | Senate panel advances controversial environmental pick | Drone industry pushes to ease rules | Dem commish joins energy regulator MORE host a Black History Month reception in the East Room of the White House.

7 p.m. EST: Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders speaks at the "1st in the West Kick-off to Caucus" dinner in Las Vegas. Details: 

9 a.m. EST tomorrow: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees GOP senator: Trump shouldn't pardon Flynn Trump should fill CFPB vacancy with Export-Import chief MORE (R-S.C.) and Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyTop intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father Overnight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' Flynn told associate Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up’ early in Trump presidency MORE (R-S.C.) -- the Palmetto state Republican power teamif you will -- campaign for Marco Rubio at a rally in Columbia, S.C.

10 a.m. EST tomorrow: John Kasich holds a town hall in Columbia, S.C.,  just a mile and a half away from the Rubio event. 

12 p.m. EST tomorrow: Michael W. Doyle, director of Columbia University's Global Policy Initiative; New America's Anne-Marie Slaughter; and Christopher A. Preble and Brad Stapleton of the Cato Institute speak at a Cato event on international intervention. Live stream: 



8 p.m. EST: Vice President  Biden joins MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for a one-on-one.

8 p.m. EST: CNN hosts part II of its town hall. Tonight will feature Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and John Kasich

9 p.m. EST: MSNBC's Democratic presidential forum in Las Vegas features Hillary Clinton and Bernie SandersChuck Todd and Jose Diaz-Balart will be moderating. 



Today is National "Drink Wine" Day! Happy might-as-well-be Friday! ;)

THESE ARE OUR FUTURE LEADERS, GUYS: Salon asked students from Texas Tech University who won the Civil War, who is the vice president, etc. The answers are terrifying.  It's worth watching.

HELP THOSE IN NEED ... SORTA: After rapper Kanye West announced he was $53 million in debt, a GoFundMe was created so we can all donate to help him get out of debt. Insert snide remarks here. 

WELL THIS IS AWKWARD: ... and pretty funny in an "I'm not involved" sort of way. A Delaware elementary school accidentally sent a "Hurt Feelings Report," mocking whiners at the school. Questionnaire example: "Did you require a tissue for tears?" It also lists "I am a wimp," "I have [woman-like or man-like] hormones," "I am a crybaby," and "Two beers is not enough," as possible reasons for filing the report. Parents are less than enthused.

And with that, here's a video that's gone viral of a 3-year-old singing "Part of Your World" from Disney's "The Little Mermaid." She crushes it.


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