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: Trump says he's being investigated for firing Comey | Trump allies on offensive against Mueller | Rosenstein weighs recusal from Russia probe | Changes coming to Cuba policy | Amazon buying Whole Foods | National Fudge Day

ALERT -- TRUMP SAYS HE'S BEING INVESTIGATED: 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 tweeted that he was "being investigated" for firing FBI Director James ComeyHe tweeted: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt." Who he's referring to: It wasn't immediately clear, though it is likely Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinKeep in mind: While the president's tweet had the appearance of confirming he is under federal investigation for possible obstruction of justice, it's not clear what information he used to back up comments.

FLASHBACK: The president tweeted last week: "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!"

TWITTER GAME: Drink every time President Trump refers to a "witch hunt." 

MELANIA, SISTAH GIRL, HELP A NATION OUT. CHANGE HIS TWITTER PASSWORD.: President Trump went on another Twitter tirade this morning about the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. On the economy: "Despite the phony Witch Hunt going on in America, the economic & jobs numbers are great. Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!" On the media: "The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media -- over 100 million people! I can go around them."

It's Friday. *collective sigh of relief* 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.

BUSINESS NEWS OF THE MORNING -- COULD THIS MEAN WHOLE FOODS' WINE SECTION COULD BE...DELIVERED? *EYES WIDEN*: Via CNBC, Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at $13.7 billion. John Mackey will remain CEO of the grocery stores. Interesting tidbit to keep in the back of your mind: Amazon has been trying to grow its online grocery business.

Yikes, this graph: "How Amazon took over the world. A relentless focus on the top line."

NEW FROM THE WHITE HOUSE -- THE DREAMERS CAN STAY: Via The New York Times's Michael D. Shear, "President Trump has officially reversed his campaign pledge to deport the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children."

LATEST WITH THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION -- FISTS CLENCHING IN MUELLER'S DIRECTION: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "President Trump's legal team and political allies have launched a preemptive strike against special counsel Robert Mueller." Why: "Trump's backers are furious about a story that appeared Wednesday in The Washington Post, in which five anonymous sources alleged that the president is the target of an obstruction of justice investigation for allegedly trying to bury an FBI probe into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn." Timing: That story "which was published on Trump's birthday and a week after the White House believed the president had moved beyond allegations of collusion with Russia in the presidential election, was viewed by Trump's allies as evidence that the story was planted by law enforcement officials to ensure a shadow of suspicion would remain."

NEW DEVELOPMENT -- RECUSAL IS THE NEW 'PEAAAACE, I'M OUT': Via ABC's Mike Levine and Pierre Thomas, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, "the senior Justice Department official with ultimate authority over the special counsel's probe of Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter, which he took charge of only after 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' own recusal." Why this is huge: His comments show that the federal probe is widening.

Who is third in command: Associate Attorney General Rachel BrandWhat to know about her:

A CRYPTIC MESSAGE FROM THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT -- TRUST NO ONE. BELIEVE NOTHING: The Justice Department issued a statement last night warning against believing anonymous sources. Statement: "Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials,' particularly when they do not identify the country -- let alone the branch or agency of government -- with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote Thursday.

Why reporters found this statement bizarre: Many reporters quickly pointed out the statement as bizarre, speculating that the Justice Department was attempting to squash existing leaks, or possibly a story that hasn't yet been reported. It's not immediately made clear if the statement was in reference to a specific story. 

Example -- tweet from Buzzfeed's legal editor Chris Geidner: "Great to hear the White House and Donald Trump admin is going to do all briefings on the record from now on. Bravo, Justice Department."

SPOTTED AT THE CONGRESSIONAL BASEBALL GAME: Anheuser-Busch/Buffalo Wild Wings co-hosted a watch party at the PNC Diamond Club for last night's Congressional Baseball Game. Spotted: Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta; White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Rebecca Miller Spicer; deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee SandersDoug Bailey, vice president of industry affairs for Anheuser-Busch; Sen. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanThe Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill Lobbying World The Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ark.); Reps. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), John Delaney (D-Md.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxGOP higher-ed bill would eliminate Obama rule on career-prep programs GOP bill would eliminate student loan forgiveness for public service Overnight Finance: Day three of tax bill markup | Ryan says election results raise pressure for tax reform | Tax whip list - Where Republicans stand | Justice, AT&T spar over CNN sale | 25 Dems vow to block spending without Dream Act MORE (R-N.C.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoRichard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Records show Papadopoulos frequently acted as Trump campaign rep Freedom Caucus chairman courts Dems on tax reform MORE (R-Fla.); Roland Foster, senior policy adviser for Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Sasse: RNC help for Roy Moore 'doesn't make any sense' Sasse calls RNC decision to resume support for Moore 'bad' and 'sad' MORE (R-Ariz.); and Katie Pointer, floor manager for 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.).

Overheard in the concourse: "Oh my god! There's beer and hotdogs here! It's a real American ball park!" 
Me: ... (

HAPPY TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY, ERRBODY: Two years ago, Donald Trump rode down a Trump Tower escalator to "Rockin' In The Free World" and into everyone's hearts. Lol, he announced his bid for president two years ago today. Oh how time flies... Throwback to that day:  



Hanna De Castro (This photo has gone viral.)
My mom was told to give me a half up half down hairstyle. She didnt know what that meant so she did this. Photo:

Politico's Ben Schreckinger (Oh wow. This Smirnoff ad.)
SPOTTED in London 



The House and Senate are both out.

5:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at a fundraiser for his political action committee at the JW Marriott Indianapolis. Details:

4 p.m. EDT Monday: The Senate is back in.



1 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami and makes an announcement on United States' policy towards Cuba. Livestream:

What to know about Trump's Cuba policy:

Photo of Trump's backdrop:

Sunday: Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.) appear on CNN's "State of the Union."

Sunday: Jill Abramson, David Blankenhorn, Edward Luce, Padraig O'Malley, Ruchir Sharma and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani of Qatar will appear on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."



Today is National Fudge Day!

CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS TO BECOME A 'MADE FOR TV' TLC HORROR MOVIE: Two teenagers were rescued after being lost for three days in the Paris catacombs. Yikes.

IT'S LIKE AN ADULT TOY STORE: Artist Lucy Sparrow has opened an all-felt bodega in New York. Basically, it's an entire convenience store of plush items for sale. The photos look pretty cool:

And to get your weekend off to a good start, here's a woman who captured video of her UPS driver taking a selfie with her dogs:


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