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: Just now - Trump says no politician has been treated worse by media than him | First Republican raises impeachment | GOP anger builds | Ryan has 'full confidence' in Trump | Putin offers transcript of Trump meeting | Sen. Tillis 'fine' after collapsing during race | Capitol duck ramp controversy (Lol)

BREAKING -- FIRST REPUBLICAN RAISES TRUMP'S IMPEACHMENT: Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos, Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP leaders agree to consider Dec. 30 spending bill House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him MORE (R-Mich.) said reports that President Trump pressed recently ousted FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation would merit impeachment if true, becoming the first Republican lawmaker to broach the idea. Asked by The Hill if the details in the memo would merit impeachment if true, Amash replied: "Yes." http://bit.ly/2qrOYIm

A DEM WAS MUCH MORE FORMAL ABOUT IT: On the House floor this morning, Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat's resolution to impeach Trump Pelosi, Hoyer: Now is not the time to consider impeachment MORE (D-Texas) called for President 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 to be impeached, accusing the president of obstruction of justice. http://bit.ly/2qRAB1f

T minus two days until Friday! 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 cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

JUST NOW -- THAT WAS #INSPIRING FOR GRADUATES: President Trump lamented "unfair" treatment by the media in his first public remarks since a bombshell report that he pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to drop his probe of former national security adviser Michael FlynnThe speech: Trump was speaking to graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. http://bit.ly/2qshkCj Highlights:

On the media: "Look at the way I've been treated lately by the media. No politician in history … has been treated worse or more unfairly."

On his presidency: "'I've accomplished a tremendous amount in a very short time as president...' Trump tells Coast Guard grads..." http://bit.ly/2pLrejz

Advice for the future: "Over the course of your life you will find that things are not always fair..." http://bit.ly/2pWGCF4

Side note: "CNN was showing the Dow down 250 points today on screen as Trump bragged about the economy." (From Politico's Shane Goldmacher) http://bit.ly/2rfKxS2

LATEST BOMBSHELL -- IF YOU EVEN ADD ONE STRAW TO THAT POOR CAMEL'S BACK: Via The New York Times's Michael SchmidtPresident Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael FlynnHow we know: Comey wrote a memo after the meeting, detailing the conversation. What Trump reportedly said: "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go." Timing: This happened Feb. 14, one day after Flynn resigned. Original story: http://nyti.ms/2rqyQp2

White House's defense: The White House denied the memo's version of events, telling reporters, "This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey." http://bit.ly/2rqc9Ax

Ya, but -- interesting context: "Notable that no one's name was attached to statement from WH responding to NYT's Michael Schmidt bombshell ... And that no one's gone out on TV yet." http://bit.ly/2pKvKPA

Radio silence: Aside from the unsigned statement, the White House has been virtually silent. White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not take questions from reporters aboard Air Force One this morning, as scheduled, but he says he will on Trump's flight back to Washington. http://bit.ly/2pWkwme

And more this morning: "Charlie Rose: 20 Republican Senators invited onto CBS This Morning to respond to the latest news at any point during the show -- all declined" http://bit.ly/2qwhp6u

Right after the story broke: "Friend at the airport says everyone is glued to the TVs" (From NY Magazine's Yashar) http://bit.ly/2qRbrA1

LATE THIS A.M. -- I HAVE FULL CONFIDENCE THAT THE DMV WILL GET ME IN, OUT AND DONE IN UNDER 15 MINUTES: House 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.) said he has full confidence in President Trump as a handful of GOP lawmakers called for an independent commission or special prosecutor to probe a series of controversies related to Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. http://bit.ly/2rqLOCe

Interesting factoid: "Worth noting that last year in that same room, RNC lobby, Ryan told reporters candidate Hillary should be denied classified information." (From The Hill's Scott Wong) http://bit.ly/2rfoLhn

HOW IT WENT OVER WITH OTHER REPUBLICANS -- WE'RE READY TO CHANGE OUR REQUEST FROM FREE PREMIUM TRUMP COFFEE TO SOME FREE PREMIUM TRUMP VODKA: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Republican unease with President Trump is building, and if it snowballs, the White House could suffer significant political damage. Asked about the mood among conservatives, GOP strategist Rick Tyler replied with a single word: "Fatigue." http://bit.ly/2qrlw54

I THINK EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY AGREES WITH YOU, SEN. COLLINS...: Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, exasperated Republicans in the House and Senate are growing tired of having to defend President Trump. "Can we have a crisis-free day?" Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight 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 Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (R-Maine) asked reporters. "That's all I'm asking." http://bit.ly/2pWamln

D'AWW, THANKS VLADDY!: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he's willing to send over the records of President Trump's conversation with two Russian officials in the Oval Office last week. Putin also said Trump did not share secrets. Oh Putin and your jokes: "I'll be forced to issue him with a reprimand because he did not share these secrets with us," Putin joked. "Not with me, nor with representatives of Russia's intelligence services. It was very bad of him." http://bit.ly/2pKQpmu

YIKES: "NBC's Andrea Mitchell: Q: Putin offered transcript. Do you think Russians are bugging Oval Office? 
Tillerson: 'I would have no way to know that.'" http://bit.ly/2qslSsV

OBSTRUCTION OR NO OBSTRUCTION? 'TIS THE QUESTION: Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) called Trump's conversation with former FBI Director Comey "obstruction of justice" when calling for Trump's impeachment. Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a defense of his father, which read, "News Flash, President Trump hoping James Comey cuts Mike Flynn some slack because he is a 'good man' is not close to Obstruction." "Truth," Trump Jr. commented. http://bit.ly/2qwotzK

INTERESTING TAKE ON THE SITUATION: GWU law professor Jonathan Turley called Trump's question to Comey "wildly inappropriate," but argues on The Hill's contributor blog that the alleged Comey memo doesn't seem to meet the bar for obstruction charges. Excerpt: "Encouraging leniency or advocating for an associate is improper but not necessarily seeking an unlawful benefit for him." Legal reasoninghttp://bit.ly/2qs5gkD 

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "President Trump's allies are pushing him to make drastic changes as the White House deals with persistent leaks and a communications strategy they believe has spun out of control. ... Now, some of the most influential figures in conservative media are openly auditioning for Sean Spicer's job." http://bit.ly/2pWlRJR

 

IN OTHER NEWS...

SCARY MOMENT TODAY -- GET WELL SOON, SEN. TILLIS: Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Grassley offers DACA fix tied to tough enforcement measures We are running out of time to protect Dreamers MORE (R-N.C.) collapsed this morning while running in a race, was given CPR and was taken away in an ambulance. Why he was running: Tillis and his team were running in the American Council of Life Insurers's Capital Challenge. Reactions from his colleagues: http://bit.ly/2pWftC9

Photo from WUSA anchor Debra Alfarone: "At today's ACLI race, 3 men saved the life of Senator Thom Tillis of NC." http://bit.ly/2rf3WT2

Photo of Tillis and his team before the race: http://bit.ly/2pKKOwu

I LAUGHED OUT LOUD -- THE NEWS WE ALL DESPERATELY NEED TODAY: Via The New York Time's Liam Stack, "Political turmoil rocked the nation's capital again on Tuesday evening as politicians from both parties responded to President Trump's -- you know what, never mind. This is a story about ducks. Ducklings, to be precise." Point of the story: Duck ramps have been installed at the Capitol Reflecting Pool and it's been controversial. http://nyti.ms/2rqr1yP

Do yourself a favor and watch the video of the duck ramps in action: So. Funny. http://bit.ly/2qrzSTn

WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS? WHY CAN'T WEEEE BE FRIIIIENDS?: Via People's Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPatagonia files suit against Trump cuts to Utah monuments Former Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation MORE told friends after Election Day he thinks President Trump is a "bullshitter." Why: He was reportedly describing an election night phone call during which Trump said he has "respect" for Obama. Throwback: Trump questioned Obama's birthplace and called him the "founder" of ISIS. Lol. http://bit.ly/2qrhlWX

FUNNIEST TWEET YOU'LL SEE ALL DAY: A photo of President Trump's appearance in "Home Alone 2" with the caption: "Excuse me, where's the lobby?" "I don't know but here is some classified information on ISIS" (From Priorities USA's Dave Jorgenson). It has over 54k retweets and 131k favorites. Photo: http://bit.ly/2rqwpSw

HAPPENING TODAY -- A FREE WOMAN: Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks, has been released from prison. Post of her first steps from prison: http://bit.ly/2pUdj6O

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Politico's Rachael M. Bade
I just asked Darrell Issa about the Comey news and he flicked me off -- literally gave me the middle finger -- and kept walking. Said nothing http://bit.ly/2qs2jAV

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) responded: I respect Rachael Bade and worked with her for years. I know she must have seen or heard something to believe this happened, but it didn't http://bit.ly/2qs2jAV

AP's Erica Werner: I was there. Not in position to see the gesture but saw Issa turn to Rachael, her react. I believe Rachael Bade. http://bit.ly/2pW3VPw

HuffPost's Matt Fuller
I ask Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopRyan picks his negotiating team for tax cut bill Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments Five things to know about Trump's national monuments order MORE if he's concerned about Trump seeming to reveal classified info. Bishop: "OK, what non-answer do you want me to give you?" http://bit.ly/2pTXfSy

 

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in.

This morning: President Trump spoke at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's commencement ceremony in Groton, Conn. Video: http://bit.ly/2rrev31

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House.

5 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) for U.S. ambassador to New Zealand. http://bit.ly/2pWbl5i

2:30 p.m. EDT Thursday: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is briefing all senators on FBI Director James Comey's firing. http://bit.ly/2qR4HC3

6:30 p.m. EDT Thursday: White House press secretary Sean Spicer is headlining a fundraiser for Virginia Republicans at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va. Invitation screenshot: http://bit.ly/2rfdOML

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

No on-camera press briefing today from the White House. Press secretary Sean Spicer will speak with the press on Air Force One while flying back from Connecticut.

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Walnut Day. It's also National Cherry Cobbler Day.

I'M AT A LOSS FOR WORDS: A restaurant in New York is serving a pasta dish made with a single, 30 ft. (!) noodle. It even comes with shears. See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2qRmI3b

*HARD CLICK*: Via Mashable, "Dropping a bowling ball on jelly in extreme slow-mo has unexpected results." Yes, yes. There's video: http://bit.ly/2pKUozB

And to keep with the duckling theme today, here's an adorable family of ducks bombing into the water one by one. It's in the 90s in D.C. today and this is exactly what I want to be doing. http://bit.ly/2pU02LB

 

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