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 AmashTrump, GOP at new crossroads on deficit Rand Paul revels in role of Senate troublemaker GOP lawmaker hits Trump over Dem memo: Americans deserve to read both 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."

A DEM WAS MUCH MORE FORMAL ABOUT IT: On the House floor this morning, Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenScarborough: Dems should pull funds from candidates who mention impeaching Trump Dem lawmaker meets with deported man in El Salvador The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Texas) called for President 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 to be impeached, accusing the president of obstruction of justice.

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 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. 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..."

Advice for the future: "Over the course of your life you will find that things are not always fair..."

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

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:

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."

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."

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.

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"

Right after the story broke: "Friend at the airport says everyone is glued to the TVs" (From NY Magazine's Yashar)

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 RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan 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.

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)

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."

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 Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal 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 FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (R-Maine) asked reporters. "That's all I'm asking."

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."

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.'"

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.

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 reasoning 

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."



SCARY MOMENT TODAY -- GET WELL SOON, SEN. TILLIS: Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisPrison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Kimmel writer tweets amount NRA has given lawmakers in response to shooting prayers Both sides of immigration fight unhappy with Senate debate 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:

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

Photo of Tillis and his team before the race:

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.

Do yourself a favor and watch the video of the duck ramps in action: So. Funny.

WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS? WHY CAN'T WEEEE BE FRIIIIENDS?: Via People's Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, former President 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 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.

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:

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:



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

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

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.

HuffPost's Matt Fuller
I ask Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopInterior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism For energy dominance, make states equal partners in offshore energy Trump admin proposes repealing most of Obama methane leak rule MORE if he's concerned about Trump seeming to reveal classified info. Bishop: "OK, what non-answer do you want me to give you?"



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:

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.

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

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:



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.



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:

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

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.


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