The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Obama taps Merrick Garland for SCOTUS | Lightning strikes Trump tower as polls close (literally) | Sanders vows to go to convention | Trump's delegate challenge | Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE hates avocados?

BREAKING -- OBAMA STEPS INTO BATTLE: President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to the Supreme Court.

The Huffington Post's Sam Stein: In statement against Garland, Susan B. Anthony List (pro-life group) admits, "We do not know this nominee but we do know Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won't stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Ex-US ambassador: Mueller is the one who is tough on Russia MOREhttp://bit.ly/1Lqzb39

The Wall Street Journal's Kristina L. Peterson: Obama says Garland will begin traveling to Capitol Hill Thursday to meet with senators. Republicans have said they won't meet with nominee. http://bit.ly/1QXDSBD

Politico's Isaac Dovere: Right after Garland announcement, that's Cecile Richards [of Planned Parenthood] heading into the West Wing http://bit.ly/1ROcthX

The Hill's Scott Wong: Garland choking up: "Thank you Mr President. This is the greatest honor of my life." http://bit.ly/254j4hZ

What to know about Garland: The 63-year-old judge is from Chicago and graduated from Harvard undergrad and law school. Garland was confirmed with a 76-23 vote to his current post in a Republican-controlled Congress, proving to be a moderate liked by the GOP. And like his potential colleagues Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Samuel Alito, Garland has prosecutorial experience.

So, what's next? "Hahaha" ­-- i.e., this is going to be a slugfest between the administration and Republicans in Congress. Get ready for a show. More from The Hill's Jordan Fabian: http://bit.ly/1R2YMvT

Who voted for him last time? Seven Republicans who voted to confirm Garland to the circuit court are still in the Senate: Sens. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTop state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Russian bots turn to gun control after Florida high school shooting: report The case alleging Russian collusion is not closed MORE (Ind.), Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranOvernight Finance: Breaking down Trump's budget | White House finally releases infrastructure plan | Why it faces a tough road ahead | GOP, Dems feud over tax-cut aftermath | Markets rebound McConnell tees up budget deal McConnell urging Mississippi gov to appoint himself if Cochran resigns: report MORE (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (Utah), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon' | White House says Trump has confidence in VA chief | Russia concedes 'dozens' of civilians injured in Syria clash Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived House passes deal to end shutdown MORE (Okla.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsOvernight Finance: Lawmakers, Treasury look to close tax law loopholes | Trump says he backs gas tax hike | Markets rise despite higher inflation | Fannie Mae asks for .7B Senators working on fix to agriculture provision in GOP tax law Trump budget would slash crop insurance funds for farmers MORE (R-Kan.).

And a nay: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) and current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa) both voted against him. http://bit.ly/1M7Fnx3

It's Wednesday, and the entire Metrorail system in D.C. is shut down for at least 29 hours. It's like a 73-degree snow day! I've been checking the Uber surge all day, and the highest I've seen is 1.9x -- this feels like the "pope traffic freak-out" all over again. 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 upcoming events to cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

SAYYYYY WHAT NOW?!: Via The Capital Weather Gang, lightning struck the iconic Trump tower in Chicago as polls closed in Illinois -- where Trump won. Now that is creepy. http://wapo.st/1PbNXW8

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE ... IN THE GOP: ...because Wednesdays are for rhymes. With a devastating loss in his home state of Florida, Marco Rubio has bowed out of the race for the Republican nomination. Rubio only mentioned Trump by name once in his concession speech, to congratulate the front-runner on his victory. But, he repeatedly alluded to the threat he thinks Trump poses to the nation. http://bit.ly/1YZVC1g

AND IN THE SPIRIT OF A HUMBLE WIN: ...naaaaaht! Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE took one last jab at Rubio after Rubio dropped out. http://bit.ly/1RkN7OA

WINNERS AND LOSERS: Tuesday was a pivotal night for the nominating process, especially with Ohio and Florida's winner-take-all contests. The Hill's Niall Stanage breaks down the winners and losers of last night. 

Winners: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE, Donald Trump and John Kasich
Losers: Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE, Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE and Ted Cruz
Here's why: http://bit.ly/1Mmknxs


Trump: FloridaNorth Carolina, and Illinois 
Kasich: Ohio (!)
Rubio: None :(

Clinton: IllinoisFloridaOhio and North Carolina
Sanders: None :( 

Missouri is too close to call for either party. Recounts for both parties are possible. http://bit.ly/1Wq7sAd


Trump: 646
Cruz: 397
Kasich: 142

Clinton: 1,132
Sanders: 818

Here's the full breakdown from The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1PbMYp5 

INTERESTING READ -- THE 'REAL' DONALD TRUMP: The New York Times's Jason Horowitz spent time at Donald Trump's house in Palm Beach, Fla., getting a different perspective on Trump from his longtime butler, Anthony Senecal. It's fascinating. 

-- "Trump would meet [Senecal] at the arched entrance of his private quarters to accept a bundle of newspapers including The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post and the Palm Beach papers. Mr. Trump would emerge hours later, in khakis, a white golf shirt and baseball cap. If the cap was white, the staff noticed, the boss was in a good mood. If it was red, it was best to stay away." http://nyti.ms/21tGFUF

THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT CRUZ: Via US Weekly, Ted Cruz is on level 350 of Candy Crush, he was once bitten by a poisonous octopus, he hates avocados and he can quote every line of "The Princess Bride." Here are more fun facts you didn't know about him: http://usm.ag/1QXHIef



I WOULDN'T DECLARE VICTORY QUITE YET, DONALD: Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar, Donald Trump has secured more than half of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, but he's unlikely to finish with enough delegates to reach that threshold before the convention unless he steps up his pace. The math: With 60 percent of delegates awarded so far, Trump has won 47 percent of them. If he continues at this clip, he'll fall 100 delegates short of the magic 1,237 number. To win, he'll need to win 60 percent of the remaining delegates. http://bit.ly/1U7h31r

I AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE: Via The Hill's Jesse ByrnesBernie Sanders insisted that he will continue to campaign and fight for the nomination until the convention. Hope you aren't sick of the nominating process fun! http://bit.ly/1UfP6nA



DC Streetcar
So... we're open tomorrow if anyone needs a ride.

Erick M. Sanchez, senior adviser at Frontier Solutions, posted on Facebook, adding: Like getting a text from an ex. http://on.fb.me/22lD1hZ

Politico's Burgess Everett
Massive sustained round of applause for [Sen. Claire] McCaskill when she returns to D caucus after cancer treatment http://bit.ly/1TLM8ap 

Cleveland.com's Henry J. Gomez
Welp. Poll worker draws gun during argument at Cleveland voting site http://bit.ly/1MkOXHN 

Roll Call's Bridget Bowman
McConnell & Trump spoke today. McConnell said he told Trump it might be a good idea to condemn and discourage violence http://bit.ly/1V9UwzY

National Review's Alexis Levinson
Kasich says at dinner tonight at restaurant, "people started to cheer. My reaction: please don't do that cause you're gonna make me cry." http://bit.ly/1TO6qA5



11:45 a.m. EDT: The Senate voted.

12 p.m. EST: John Kasich is holding a town all in Villanova, Pa., ahead of Pennsylvania's April 26 primary.

1:15–2:15 p.m. EDT: The House votes.

2 p.m. EDT: The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity tools for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

2 p.m. EDT: The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the 2017 budget for U.S. Cyber Command.

2:30 p.m. EDT: White House official R. David Edelman and the Federal Communication Commission's Gigi Sohn discuss the Lifeline program reforms at the Open Technology Institute. Details: http://bit.ly/1ptG7Th 

3:15 p.m. EST: President Obama holds a roundtable with Cuban-American leaders.

4:30 p.m. EDT: The House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

5:10 p.m. EST: President Obama delivers remarks at a reception in the East Room for Women's History Month.

8 a.m. EDT tomorrow: The Hill is holding a special deep-dive event on President Obama's White House. Speakers include White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Buwell, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (D-W.Va.), House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), former Senior Communications Director for Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake MORE Jim Manely, former Advisor to the Democratic National Committee & Principal, The Raben Group Jamal Simmons and former Chief of Staff for Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorFeehery: The governing party 'Release the memo' — let's stop pretending that Democrats are the defenders of the FBI Raúl Labrador, a model for Hispanic politicians reaching higher MORE & Partner, Harbinger Strategies Steve Stombres. Details: http://bit.ly/1QXNBIe

12 p.m. EDT tomorrow: Kasich holds a campaign town hall in Orem, Utah.



5 p.m. EST: Former presidential candidate Bobby Jindal joins Chuck Todd on MSNBC's "MTP Daily."



Today is National Artichoke Heart Day!

SOUNDS LIKE THE WIZARD OF OZ WOULD BE DEEMED "INAPPROPRIATE": Until 1950, U.S. weathermen were forbidden from talking about tornadoes. It was considered "career suicide." http://slate.me/1RkyTae

REMEMBER WHEN I CALLED "CHERRY BLOSSOM" THE NEW "PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE?: Starbucks must have heard. They just unveiled a new Cherry Blossom Frappucchino. It contains strawberry puree, cream, white chocolate sauce, whipped cream and green tea powder. The description sounds slightly better than the name of it. http://cnnmon.ie/1nO5JbL

THINGS THAT MAKE ME SCRATCH MY HEAD: To make life drastically easier for serial mandarin orange eaters, Whole Foods tried selling peeled oranges in sealed containers for a mere $5.99/lb. -- what an innovative world we live in. Anyway, all the backlash got Whole Foods to pull the item from the shelves and apologize. http://nyp.st/1Vcumg3 

SAD NEWS FOR GBD'S FAN BASE: GBD, the doughnut and fried chicken shop in DuPont Circle in D.C. is closing today. The store made the announcement on Twitter. http://wapo.st/1ptN1rO

And with that, here is a racehorse that wears a three-piece tweed suit -- and he looks pretty sharp.

-- "Some models can be real divas, but Morestead was calm and a pleasure to work with," said the suit's creator Emma Sandham-King. "Creating the world's first tweed suit for a horse has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career as a designer." http://cnn.it/252D70r 


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