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: Breaking — Kushner to make statement from WH, testifies on Russia, denies collusion | GOP struggles for legislative win | Dems to unveil 'Better Deal' agenda | Bernie talking about 2020 | How Michael Phelps kicked off Shark Week | Trump crackdown on pot | RIP Microsoft Paint

NEWS OF THE DAY — I DID NOT COLLUDE WITH THAT WOMAN: Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door meeting. The gist: He denied colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign and released a statement beforehand with his prepared remarks.

Excerpt: "I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government. I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector."

Full planned remarks 

Video of Kushner arriving at the Capitol: Keep in mind: Dozens of interns are watching from above (Via CNN's Jeremy Herb)

Right outside of the closed hearing: It's the media circus you'd expect. Photo:

BREAKING — NOW THAT KUSHNER’S VOICE IS NO LONGER A SECRET, WE’RE ABOUT TO HEAR IT AGAIN: President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is scheduled to make a statement outside of the White House anytime now. 

Livestream of Kushner leaving Capitol Hill:

Livestream of Kushner statement:

What to expect: Kushner is expected to make a statement, not take questions. (From MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson) 

It's Monday. 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.


NEW THIS A.M. -- TWEETS FROM THE BIG GUY: President Trump criticized Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffRussians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit Schiff expects Trump to take 'disastrous approach' on meddling in meeting with Putin Sunday shows preview: Trump readies for meeting with Putin MORE (Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a tweet. Tweet: "Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into 'Russia,' spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!" What sparked this tweet: Schiff on Sunday said that Trump is worried the special counsel investigation into the Russian meddling could include his finances.

Schiff responds: "With respect Mr. President, the problem is how often you watch TV, and that your comments and actions are beneath the dignity of the office."

And on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' 10 things we learned from Peter Strzok's congressional testimony Get ready for summit with no agenda and calculated risks MORE (not a throwback): President Trump asked why federal investigators and his "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions are not investigating Hillary Clinton. Tweet: "So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered [attorney general], looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?"

THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS -- DRINK EVERY TIME YOU HEAR 'REPEAL' OR 'OMG, GAME OF THRONES!' TODAY: Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, Senate Republicans are heading for a showdown on their yearslong campaign pledge to repeal and replace ObamaCare without a clear path to passing the legislation. What they still don't know: Whether they're attempting to pass a repeal and replace bill or a repeal-only bill. When is the vote to open debate: Tuesday (!) and leaders still don't have the votes to proceed.

Chances Republicans are successful with the repeal effort:


Border wall funding: The House is slated to consider a national security-themed spending package as one of its last agenda items before leaving for the August recess at the end of this week.

Russia sanctions: The House will also vote Tuesday on a deal unveiled over the weekend to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.

What's no longer happening this week: Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will not testify in an open hearing this week. Why: They reached a deal with the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid appearing for a public hearing. In return they will provide documents to committee staff and closed-door interviews.

WHY CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS NEED A WIN: The Hill's Scott Wong said it well: "No healthcare overhaul. No tax reform. No infrastructure package. No budget. No government funding bill. It's now entirely possible that congressional Republicans will depart for the long August recess without sending a single major piece of legislation to President Trump's desk." Why this is troublesome:

DON'T PEEL OFF THOSE 'FEEL THE BERN' BUMPER STICKERS JUST YET: Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOn paper, Wilkie is the perfect candidate for VA secretary, but his qualifications go further Sacha Baron Cohen mulls arming toddlers with guns in inaugural episode Ocasio-Cortez to campaign with Bernie Sanders in Kansas MORE (I-Vt.) is having discussions about running for president again. The source also suggested that Sanders is making his plans with other candidates in mind. "The last thing he's going to do is step aside and let Joe Biden take it," the Sanders associate said.

YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR POT AND SMOKE IT, TOO: Via The Hill's Lydia Wheeler, the Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions

RIP, MICROSOFT PAINT -- 'TWAS A GOOD RUN.: On the next Windows 10 update, Microsoft Paint is being killed off in the fall.

TALK OF CAPITOL HILL -- THE REPORTERS WHO MAKE CONGRESS MEMBERS NERVOUS: Rational 360 released a list of the 20 most influential reporters on Capitol Hill based on who members of Congress follow. No. 1: Fox's Chad PergramNo. 2: Axios's Mike Allen. Go, team, go!: Of the top media organizations followed by Congress, The Hill is No .1! Full list:

JUST UNVEILED -- THE NAME COULD USE SOME WORK: Democrats in both chambers will gather in rural Virginia today to unveil a new national messaging campaign aimed at easing the economic strain on the working class. The name: "A Better Deal." What's in it: Three broad areas: creating new jobs, lowering prescription drug costs and restraining the power of corporations. Notably absent: Social issues.

SPOTTED SEARCHING FOR WHITE HOUSE M&Ms: Rep. Darrell Issa was spotted in the West Wing of the White House this morning. (h/t TIME's Zeke Miller)

NEW DEVELOPMENT — A SAD ENDING FOR BABY CHARLIE GARD: Via BBC, "The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard have ended their legal challenge to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment."



Fabrice Deprez (Omg, this photo of him!)
In other news, Nicolas Cage is in Kazakhstan. Photo:

An internet meme has been born: The photo obviously went viral, because, well, that facial expression. Examples of the jokes: 

Fox News's Meghan McCain
"Amazing hike with Dad (Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRand Paul ‘concerned’ about Kavanaugh Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 MORE) his morning. Thank you all for your best wishes!" Photo:

Sen. McCain tweeted another photo hiking:



The House is in. The Senate will be in later today.

This morning: President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a closed hearing on Russia.

12:30 p.m. EDT President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

1 p.m. EDT: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) speaks at a National Press Club luncheon. Details:

3:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday: FC Barcelona and the U.S. Soccer Foundation are hosting a briefing on Capitol Hill. Their cause: "How communities and their leaders can harness the unique preventive and resilient power of sport to keep children healthy and out of trouble."

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Beaver, W.Va., for a speech.

4 p.m. EDT: The Senate gavels in.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes.

6:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. Livestream:

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes postponed in the House. Their schedule today:

Noon Tuesday: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks at The Economic Club of Washington. Details:

August 21: A total solar eclipse. It's path and what to know:



3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump makes a statement on healthcare. Livestream:

6 p.m. EDT: "The Beat with Ari Melber" debuts on MSNBC. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will appear on tonight's show as the first guest.



Today is National Tequila Day.

HAPPY SHARK WEEK, EVERYBODY!: It's the best week of the year -- Shark Week on The Discovery Channel. If you saw posts about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, it's because he swam against a computer-generated great white shark last night. Highlights:

BUT HIS HAIR WOULD MATCH THE SHOW'S COLORS SO WELL: "The Simpsons" turned down President Trump for a guest appearance on the series. How we know: When the show's executive producer was asked if the show had ever turned down a celebrity guest appearance, Al Jean said, "Let's just say he's the president of the United States."

OMG, THIS TOP PHOTO LOOKS INCREDIBLE: Washingtonian released a list of five of the best sandwich shops in D.C.

And to get you through your Monday, here's one of the best videos I've seen in a while: a bird's reaction to a kitten. Clearly the internet agrees -- it has over 228k retweets.


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