The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: WH denies National Guard plan for deportations | Trump on the offensive | Dems question president's mental health | Trump makes Christie order meatloaf | Hillary meets SNL's Kate McKinnon

BREAKING -- IF ANYONE NEEDS ME, I'LL BE HIDING UNDER A PILLOW UNTIL THIS NEWS CYCLE IS OVER: Citing a draft memo, The Associated Press reported this morning that the White House is considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to arrest undocumented immigrants. Throwback: Trump promised during his campaign to form a "deportation force" to deport the more than 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

WHITE HOUSE SAYS, "NO WAY!": The White House strongly denied the report. "There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said of the report. Spicer said he could not categorically say the idea was never discussed by the administration. "I don't know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested," he said.

KEEP IN MIND: The Trump administration plans to unveil a revised executive order on immigration next week and rescind the president's initial travel ban battles and chaos.

Happy Friday before the long weekend! 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.

FIRST UP IN THE TANK -- A CLEVER WAY TO CONTROL THE NARRATIVE: Via CNN's Jim Acosta and Euan McKirdy, the White House has chosen Mike Dubke to be named as the first White House communications director in Trump's administration, four weeks since the president took office. His deal: Dubke is the founder of conservative firm Crossroads Media. Some officials, who would have preferred a veteran of Trump's renegade campaign, see his selection as an establishment GOP choice.

ABOUT THAT PRESS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY...: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, "President Trump's surprise press conference Thursday was a clear attempt to turn the page on what has been a tumultuous start to his administration. But for all the flamboyant, combative and outright bizarre moments during Trump's extended East Room confrontation with the press corps, questions about Russia are still crowding in on the president." How it went down:

CATCH YOU UP FAST: Here are the 16 most memorable quotes from the press conference. The gist: Fireworks! Lots of fireworks!

FOX NEWS'S SHEP SMITH REACTS: "[Trump] keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we're some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked and the Russians were responsible for it and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening and we're fools for asking the questions?" Video of the full interaction:

TRUMP'S REACTION TO THE PRESSER: "Fake media not happy" with press conference.


WELP, THIS IS DISGUSTING: "Current scene politico: a falcon is demolishing a pigeon on the roof. We're all gawking. Video is gross fair warning (From Politico's Ashley Gold)." Video (yes, it's graphic): 

LOL, THIS IS SUCH A POWER MOVE.: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) admitted that President Trump made him order meatloaf when they met for lunch at the White House Tuesday. "This is what it's like to be with Trump. He says, 'There's the menu, you guys order whatever you want.' And then he says, 'Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'"

YOU GOOD, BRAH?: A growing number of Democrats are openly questioning President Trump's mental health. Examples: Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenRichard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump: `A very great moment in the history of the world’ MORE (D-Minn.) said that "a few" Republican colleagues have expressed concern to him about Trump's mental health. And Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) plans to introduce legislation that would require the presence of a psychiatrist or psychologist in the White House. Their justification: The Democrats justify their questions by pointing to Trump's habit of making demonstrably false claims. At a press conference Thursday, he said he'd had the biggest Electoral College win since President Ronald Reagan, for example, when his margin was lower than either of President Obama's wins.

FIND OUT -- ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF 'REAL WORLD: OVAL OFFICE': President Trump this morning offered up a candidate to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser, tweeting: "General Keith Kellogg, who I have known for a long time, is very much in play for NSA -- as are three others." Kellogg's deal: He previously served as Michael Flynn's chief of staff on the National Security Council. Kellogg was an adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign and was appointed as National Security Council chief of staff in December. *Insert desperate plea for a confession room in the reality show, which is now our life*

PHOTO: "Acting National Security Advisor Lt. Gen Keith Kellogg (Ret) is awaiting POTUS at the top of the Air Force One steps."

SPOTTED -- CLINTON AND HER MINI-ME: Before seeing a production of "Sunset Boulevard" on Broadway, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLewandowski says 'womp womp' at story of young girl being separated from mother at border Giuliani: FBI asked me about tease of a 'surprise' before election Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe MORE was spotted with her "Saturday Night Live" double, Kate McKinnon, at a restaurant in New York City this week. How it went: Page Six reported that a source said "lots of laughter emanated from their table." A diner at the restaurant reportedly began chanting "Lock him up!"

WE'VE ALL BEEN THERE -- THIS IS WHY YOU BOOK HOTELS EARLY: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to stay in a sanitarium 30 minutes away from where other world leaders were lodged during this week's Group of 20 meeting in Bonn, Germany. Why: Tillerson was apparently late to confirm his attendance and the city's hotels were completely booked by the time he did. Why this is newsy: Diplomats had to make the 30-minute trek to meet with Tillerson. This was his opportunity to introduce himself to foreign ministers.



NBC News Contributor Mary Emily O'Hara (Oooof.)
Utah GOP chair's letter to editor published TODAY (not in the year 1624)

The Hill's Will Sommer
The woman who allegedly assassinated Kim Jong un's brother says she thought it was a practical joke 

Politico's Helena B. Evich  (Oh. My. God.)
This raccoon is having a rough morning-just wanted some trash & ended up in Rosslyn!
 >And yes I alerted the driver



The House meets pro forma today and the Senate has been in session overnight. Recess is next week! Here's the chaos lawmakers are walking into:

12:25 p.m. EST: After meetings with Boeing CEO Dennis MullenbergPresident Trump tours the Boeing Company facility in South Carolina.

1 p.m. EST: The Senate will vote on EPA nominee Scott Pruitt

1:05 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the unveiling of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

3:50 p.m. EST Saturday: Vice President Pence speaks at the Munich Security Conference.

Tweet about the conference: "Pretty amazing that there's only one panel on Syria at the Munich Security Conference" (From Nour Bakr)

Saturday: Vice President Pence participates in bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım

ANNOUNCED TODAY -- Monday, Feb. 27: Former President George W. Bush sits down with NBC's Matt Lauer on "Today."



CNN's "State of the Union": Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R). The panel will include CNN's Amanda Carpenter; former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D); former presidential candidate Rick Santorum; and Jason Kander, former Missouri Secretary of State.

NBC's "Meet the Press": Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families McCain, Coons: Trump should withdraw controversial refugee nominee MORE (R-Ariz.). The panel will include David Brooks of The New York Times; former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.); Radio host Hugh Hewitt; and The Cook Political Report's Amy Walter.

Fox's "Fox News Sunday": Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush; The Washington Post's Chuck Lane; Georgetown University's Mo Elleithee; and The Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel.

CBS's "Face the Nation": House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.); Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan McCain, Coons: Trump should withdraw controversial refugee nominee GOP senators drafting legislation to keep immigrant families together MORE (R-S.C.); former Acting CIA Director Mike Morell; former Obama national security adviser Tom Donilon. The panel will include
Bob Woodward, Jeffrey Goldberg, Indira Lakshmanan and Michael Graham.

CNN's "Inside Politics": AP's Julie Pace; The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza; The Daily Beast's Jackie Kucinich; CNN's Manu Raju; and CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson.

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS": Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Antony Blinken, CNN global affairs analyst; Avril Haines, former deputy national security adviser to President Obama; and Sergey Karaganov, former foreign policy advisor to the president of Russia.

CNN's "Reliable Sources": The New York Times's Glenn Thrush; The Washington Examiner's Salena Zito; The Washington Post's Dana Priest; The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald; and CNN's Carl Bernstein.



Today is National Cabbage Day.

GET EXCITED: BBC America is airing Planet Earth II tomorrow at 9 p.m. EST. Why you need to watch it: Remember the viral clip of a baby iguana escaping hungry snakes? (Here you go if not That's just one scene from the new edition! Eeeek!

And because you read this far, here's the Westminster top dog chowing down on steak at the famous Sardi's restaurant in New York.


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