The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump up in Rubio's home state | GOP senator chased by elephants | Biden, Lady Gaga team up for Academy Awards | 8 in 10 Hispanics don’t like Trump

RETIREMENT ALERT – FREEDOM CAUCUS LOSES A FOUNDER: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos, Rep. Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonQuiet jockeying for McCain seat angers Republicans McSally tells GOP colleagues she'll run for Arizona Senate GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward leads challengers in internal poll MORE (R-Ariz.), a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced Thursday that he won't seek reelection. Reason: The standard answer — he wants to spend more time with his family. Election effect: His district is deeply Republican.

NEW POLL – LOS HISPANOS NO QUIEREN A TRUMP: Via The Hill’s Bradford Richardson, A new poll finds that 8 out of 10 Hispanics view Trump unfavorably, including 7 out of 10 who have a “very unfavorable” impression. How they see Rubio and Cruz (both of Cuban descent): Rubio is seen favorably by an 8-point margin, 45 percent to 37 percent, while Cruz is viewed negatively, 44 percent to 39 percent.

OOOOF – THIS WON'T SIT WELL WITH RUBIO: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, A new Quinnipiac survey has Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight MORE leading in Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: McCabe 'should've been allowed to finish through the weekend' For Tillerson, bucking Trump became a job-killer At least six dead after pedestrian bridge collapses on cars in Florida MORE's (R-Fla.) home state of Florida. Trump: 44 percent, Rubio: 28 percent. Rounding out the field are Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz says Cambridge Analytica assured him its practices were legal Dem battling Cruz in Texas: ‘I can understand how people think this is crazy’ Overnight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian MORE at 12 percent; John Kasich, at 7 percent; and Ben Carson, at 4 percent.

Tweet from Rubio's communications director Alex Conant: How reporters think: "There's 20 days, 15 elections, 3 debates, millions spent before Florida. BUT OMG A POLL SAYS MARCO IS LOSING TO TRUMP" 

Happy Thursday! Filing from a joint presentation by the American Enterprise Institute, Center for American Progress, and Brookings Institution on the changing demographics in the country and their effect on elections, 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. Follow along on Twitter for updates from the event — and send comments, story ideas and happy hour suggestions to and on Facebook

JUST RELEASED... LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Via NH1's Paul Steinhauser, Gov. Maggie Hassan's (D-N.H.) Senate campaign has released a web video blasting Republican Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (N.H.) over the Supreme Court nominee. Watch:

TOPIC TO WATCH FOR IN THE DEBATE TONIGHT: Via The Hill’s Naomi JagodaDonald Trump says he will decide in the coming months whether to release his tax returns. He weighed in after 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said there was likely a "bombshell" hidden in Trump's tax returns and amid growing pressure for the businessman to open up his finances.

ANNOUNCED TODAY – THE DREAM TEAM: Via The Los Angeles Times’s Christi ParsonsVice President Biden and Lady Gaga are teaming up during Sunday’s Academy Awards for a special presentation aiming at combating sexual violence.

NEW POLL – DON’T COUNT KASICH OUT YET: GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has 22 percent support in Pennsylvania, (unchanged since October), followed Marco Rubio, with 16 percent (up by 5!), John Kasich, with 15 percent (up by 12 points!), Ted Cruz, at 12 percent, and Ben Carson, with 6 percent.

GOP ESTABLISHMENT: OH, YUP. THIS COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, Republicans in Washington are coming to grips with the increasing likelihood that Donald Trump will be the party’s presidential nominee. So naturally, a few House members have joined the bandwagon. No senators have endorsed Trump yet, but Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone FBI chief refuses to deny reports he threatened to resign amid pressure House Judiciary Chair expected to issue DOJ subpoena over Clinton emails as soon as this week MORE (R-Ala.) is confident his colleagues would come around.

THE HILL TO EXPAND AS DIGITAL TRAFFIC GROWS: “Few [news organizations] have lapped up [the political season] with more gusto than The Hill,” writes USA Today’s Roger Yu.

– Jimmy Finkelstein, the New York-based businessman who owns The Hill, told USA Today he plans to accelerate the momentum by boosting staffing by 25 percent this year. Video production also is a priority, and he has thought about expanding it beyond politics and policy. And its print product, he speculates, will likely be gone in five years. Read the Q&A with Finkelstein here: 

IF YOU WATCH ONE VIDEO TODAY: Here’s an interview with a 15-year-old Swedish girl who explains why she joined ISIS and why she regrets it.

AN INTERESTING TAKE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE: FiveThirtyEight’s David Wasserman has a fascinating piece about how Marco Rubio could ultimately win more delegates than Donald Trump in the race, even with fewer overall primary votes. It’s worth reading.

GUYS, IT’S OFFICIALLY THE FUTURE: Via Time magazine’s Anand Shah and Theodore Waddelow, here’s how close we are to driverless cars and what it will still take to make them a success.

OBAMA’S “SCOOP” ON LINKEDIN: President Obama posted about his first job as an ice cream scooper on LinkedIn. “Scooping ice cream is tougher than it looks. Rows and rows of rock-hard ice cream can be brutal on the wrists.”

ANNOUNCED TODAY – PLANNED PARENTHOOD PUMPS IN THE CASH: Planned Parenthood is launching an ad buy worth at least $1 million in support of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Trump keeps up 'low IQ' attack on Maxine Waters GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MOREHow so: The ads will target Michigan, Texas and Virginia ahead of their March primary elections. Watch:  



Donald Trump
Signing a recent tax return- isn't this ridiculous?

Politico’s Gabe Debenedetti
With Reid's endorsement, just four Senate Dems are left not endorsing Clinton: Menendez, Merkley, Tester, Warren.

ABC News
WATCH: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSteyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Flake: I'd back impeaching Trump if he fired Mueller 'without cause' Water has experienced a decade of bipartisan success MORE's convoy charged by elephants during trip about poaching: 



1 p.m. EST: Howard University holds a Black History Month discussion with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

1:30 p.m. EST: The McCain Institute holds a discussion on human trafficking. Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (D-N.D.) will be speaking.

1:45 p.m. EST: The Senate will vote on a resolution honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. EST: The House votes. 

3 p.m. EST: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will discuss his latest book, “The Court and the World:  American Law and the New Global Realities” at the Newseum with NBC justice correspondent Pete WilliamsDetails: 

5:35 p.m. EST: President Obama delivers a statement from the State Department.

6 p.m. EST: Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAnti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps MORE (I-Vt.) participates in the MSNBC college tour with anchor Chris Matthews in Chicago.

6:30 p.m. EST: The International Spy Museum holds a book discussion on "United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists."

6:30 p.m. EST: The Atlantic Council holds a discussion on the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between Albania and the U.S. Albania Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati will speak. Details: 

8 p.m. EST: The Washington Press Club holds its 72nd annual congressional dinner. Participants include Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSteyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Trump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (R-S.C.), and Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante and retired Associated Press special correspondent Linda Deutsch.

8:30 a.m. EST tomorrow: The Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its second estimate of the U.S.’s fourth-quarter GDP. 



8:30 p.m. EST: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ben Carson participate in the CNN, Telemundo and Salem Radio Republican presidential debate in Houston. CNN's Wolf Blitzer will moderate.



Today is National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day and National Clam Chowder Day!

“FULLER HOUSE” TO BE RELEASED: Netflix’s follow-up to “Full House” will premier at 3:01 a.m. EST tomorrow morning, midnight Pacific Time.

TRUMP LOVES THE POORLY EDUCATED: No, actually. That’s a Trump quote. Anyway, Jimmy Kimmel had a ball with that line. See for yourself:

A FEW OF US HAD TO RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE, HUH? To celebrate gaining their 1 millionth Twitter follower, the Montreal Canadiens are creating a Twitter promo that automatically tweets a photo of a jersey featuring new followers’ names. Now apply this to a few immature people who then (obviously) created obscene Twitter handles ... Head smack.

And with that, here’s a paralyzed bunny that got a homemade wheelchair. It’s the talk of Facebook right now – for good reason. It’s adorable.


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