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: Latest on Comey | Trump says Comey 'wasn't doing a good job' | Comey reportedly sought more funds for Russia probe | Dems block committee hearings | Trump meets Russian minister | Senate rejects repeal of Obama drilling rule | Celeb chef kicks Ryan off set | DC's big sports night

JUST NOW -- 'WHAT BEAUTIFUL WEATHER WE'RE HAVING, HUH GUYS?!'President Trump made his first public remarks since firing FBI Director James Comey during an Oval Office meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. How it went down: The White House invited the media in to view the meeting, where reporters shouted questions at Trump. Trump's ​quote: "He was not doing a good job," Trump said, referring to Comey. "Very simply he was not doing a good job."

What this reminds me of: "Where's the poop, Robin?!"​ from "How I Met Your Mother." -->

BREAKING: NEW CONTEXT -- A LITTLE MORE OF THE SCRATCH CARD IS POKING THROUGH: Via The New York Times's Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo, former FBI Director James Comey reportedly requested more money and personnel for the bureau's investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election days before (!) he was fired by Trump. Comey made the request during a meeting last week with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein -- and then briefed members of Congress. 

It's Wednesday. Tonight's a big night for the city of never-ending painful sports disappointment. Let's play "count the number of D.C. sports shirts around town" today! 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 and on Facebook.

I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT A SLOW NEWS DAY AGAIN. I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT A SLOW NEWS DAY AGAIN.: President Trump shocked Washington on Tuesday by firing FBI Director James Comey, the man who had been leading the politically charged investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey's dismissal, citing his handling of the probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary 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's use of a email server while secretary of State. Let's break it down...



Why now: That's still unclear, but this is what we know. From Politico's Josh Dawsey: "Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. ... He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn't disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said."

Flashback: Trump praised Comey for his actions on Clinton's emails in October

Strange detail -- How Comey found out: From The New York Times: "Mr. Comey learned from news reports that he had been fired while addressing bureau employees in Los Angeles. While Mr. Comey spoke, television screens in the background began flashing the news. In response to the reports, Mr. Comey laughed, saying that he thought it was a fairly funny prank. Shortly after, Mr. Trump's letter was delivered to F.B.I. Headquarters in Washington."

Another tidbit -- How Spicer wanted to break the news: Via The Washington Post's Jenna Johnson, "Spicer had wanted to drop the bombshell news in an emailed statement, but it was not transmitting quickly enough, so he ended up standing in the doorway of the press office around 5:40 p.m. and shouting a statement to reporters who happened to be nearby. He then vanished, with his staff locking the door leading to his office."

Timeline of how the Comey saga played out: This really puts the shock factor into perspective.

What we don't know: Here are five questions for Trump:



BREAKING -- RE *CLAP* TAL *CLAP* IATION: Democrats are threatening to slow the Senate to a crawl in response to Comey's ousting. How: Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (D-Ill.) objected to the Senate GOP's routine request to allow 13 committee hearings to take place today. How the scheming is happening: Democrats are holding a caucus meeting to discuss how to move forward after Comey's firing.

REACTION: A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing ended abruptly Wednesday morning after word spread that Senate Democrats were planning a slowdown of committee business.

Senate Republicans -- mixed: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (Ariz.) said he is "disappointed" with Trump's decision. "I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop." And the other side: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (Ky.) defended the decision. "Our Democratic colleagues [are] complaining about the removal of an FBI director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized," he said Wednesday.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) said he was "surprised" by the news but added: "It sounds to me from reading the president's letter that he lost confidence in him."

Just now -- Pence reacts: Vice President Pence denied claims from Democrats that Comey was fired to stop the bureau's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. "That's not what this was about," Pence told reporters at the Capitol.

Dems -- what you'd expect: Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) has demanded "immediate emergency hearings" over Trump's firing of Comey.

Gist of the response from Trump critics: "In the polarized political climate of 2017, there is zero chance that Democrats and other critics of Trump will accept the stated explanation as the real reason for Comey's removal." (From The Hill's Niall Stanage)

Trump's replacement tweet -- New! Better!: "James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI," Trump tweeted.

Scathing NYT editorial: "Mr. Comey was fired because he was leading an active investigation that could bring down a president."

HAPPENING TODAY -- Moving on: Via CNN's Laura Jarrett, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are meeting with possible interim FBI directors today. Do we know any names: Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now acting director, but unclear who else.



BREAKING -- THIS IS IMPORTANT NEWS THAT HAPPENS TO BE UNRELATED FROM COMEY'S FIRING: The Senate has rejected the repeal of an Obama administration drilling rule. Why this is big: It's a major loss for congressional Republicans, who had targeted the methane rule as a prime Obama regulation to undo. They argue that it unnecessarily adds costs to oil and natural gas drilling on federal land. Which Republicans voted no: Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Ariz.). Keep in mind: Vice President Pence also came to the Capitol in case his vote was needed to break a tie. 

YIKES -- I'M PICTURING THE FIGHT SCENE WITH DREW BARRYMORE AND ADAM SANDLER AT THE END OF 'THE WEDDING SINGER' --> brawl broke out on a Southwest Airlines flight and turned into a dogpile on top of a flight attendant. Video and play-by-play (lol, yep.):

TRENDING -- HOW DARE YOU ASK QUESTIONS: Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, said he was arrested at the West Virginia State Capitol after trying to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the House-passed healthcare bill. Video and details:

NEXT ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL WHO SHOULDN'T SPRING FOR THE HIGH-QUALITY BUSINESS CARDS: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, national security adviser H.R. McMaster has become the latest target of the leaks and infighting that have dogged the Trump administration's early days. What spurred it: The administration is mulling ramping up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. As per ush: White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is rumored to be at the center of it.

NEW -- HIDE YOUR LSD: Via The New York Times's Rebecca R. Ruiz, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to toughen the rules on drug-related crimes.

YIKES THIS IS AWKWARD -- THIS IS MY KITCHEN. MYYY KITCHEN.: Via Page Six's Emily Smith, celebrity chef Sandra Lee wouldn't let Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) join a cooking segment on Fox News and asked him to leave the set. From a source: "Paul Ryan was on the segment before Sandra, and the hosts asked him to hang around for Sandra's cooking feature to try the food. But in the break before her demo, she said to Ryan and some others there, 'I need you to go away so I can collect my thoughts, prepare, and get ready for the segment.'" Keep in mind: Lee is the longtime girlfriend of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).



Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) (Psssst, that would be CCN...)
CNN now stands for Cardiac Care Network because their people are having heart attacks over Trump doing what Dems once demanded-fire Comey.

HuffPost's Igor Bobic
James Comey and Hillary Clinton ought to team up and write a fictional book together too. 

Back story to this joke: Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMueller’s probe doesn't end with a bang, but with a whimper Mark Mellman: History’s judgment Congress should massively ramp up funding for the NIH MORE is co-writing a thriller with best-selling author James Patterson



The Senate is in. The House is not.

This morning: President Trump met with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, in the Oval Office. That's bizarre timing. 

While Lavrov met with Tillerson: Russia's top diplomat mocked Comey's firing.

Today: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gives the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black university.

Today--Saturday: The Republican National Committee's spring meeting in San Diego.

Noon: Protesters gather outside the White House to demand an independent investigation into Trump-Russia ties. Protests will also occur at Senate offices around the country at 5 p.m. local time. Details:

12:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a weekly lunch with economic advisers.

6 p.m. EDT: The Woodrow Wilson Awards Dinner. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will attend.

Tonight (!): "The Wizards will be in Boston for Game 5. The Caps will be at Verizon Center for Game 7. The Orioles will be at Nationals Park for game whatever. And Wednesday night could be the biggest night for Washington sports fans in at least a decade -- and possibly a lot longer than that." (Via The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg



1:30 p.m. EDT: Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives the daily press briefing. This is a big day for Sean Spicer to be out.

Reason: Spicer will be fulfilling his U.S. Navy Reserve duty this week.

2 p.m. EDT: Bloomberg Government is holding an event on tax reform. Livestream:

Thursday night: NBC's Lester Holt is interviewing President Trump. It will air Thursday on "NBC Nightly News" and on Friday's "Today."

Tuesday: CNN is hosting a debate with Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.) and Ohio Gov. John KasichOld habits die hard, huh?



Today is National Shrimp Day. "You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it." ;)

YOU KNOW YOU'VE MADE IT WHEN YOU HAVE AN ICE CREAM FLAVOR NAMED AFTER YOU: Via Teen Vogue, former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenOvernight Tech: FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices | Biden scolds social media firms over transparency Medicaid funds shouldn't be used to subsidize state taxes on health care Biden hits social media firms over lack of transparency MORE is getting his own ice cream flavor when he speaks at Cornell University's convocation this year. The flavor will be based on Biden's favorite ice cream: chocolate chip. Now, people can vote for the flavor name. My two favorite names: Bits n' Biden and Not Your Average Joe's Chocolate Chip.

And because you read this far, here's a bear in Avon, Conn., who hilariously perched on a woman's deck with its paws to the glass, watching while she made brownies. So good. 


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