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's 200th day — hits NY Times over report on Pence 2020 planning, goes after Blumenthal as 'phony Vietnam con artist' | Five tough decisions for GOP on healthcare | Grassley becomes pivotal player in Russia probe | Scarborough tweet about video games sparks backlash | Emilia Clarke's hilarious 'Game of Thrones' Instagram | Social media camp for kids

HOW CAN ONE SEND AN SPA RELAXATION KIT TO BEDMINSTER?: President Trump kicked off his 200th day in office with an early morning Twitter tear. Keep in mind: He's on vacation right now at his golf club in New Jersey. His targets: Mainly Democrats and the media.

THE DEVELOPMENTS THAT SET TRUMP OFF — 'MIKE 4 'MERICA,' 'PENCE BUILDS THE FENCE,' 'MAKE AMERICA OFF THE RADAR AGAIN': Over the weekend, The New York Times's Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns reported that Vice President Pence is preparing behind the scenes for a 2020 presidential run if Trump doesn't run for reelection.

Then Sunday: Pence called the report "laughable and absurd."

Then this morning — Trump shares his thoughts: The president tweeted insults at the New York Times. "The failing New York Times, which has made every wrong prediction about me including my big election win (apologized), is totally inept!"

If you had to guess how Trump would defend himself — electoral numbers: The president tweeted: "The Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling). Look at rallies in Penn, Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia. The fact is the Fake News Russian collusion story, record Stock Market, border security, military strength, jobs Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation & so much more have driven the Trump base even closer together. Will never change!"

It's Monday — welcome to the peaceful tranquility known as August recess. 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.


AND THIS MORNING — PEW, PEW, PEW: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) accused the Trump administration of "weaponizing" the Justice Department in its pursuit of leakers. His words: "I'm very concerned that the Department of Justice is weaponizing for its personal and political ends, and specifically for the White House's purposes," Blumenthal said on CNN's "New Day." "And politicizing the Department of Justice for personal ends, I think, is a disservice to the law."

What sparked this: On Friday, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants DOJ wades into archdiocese fight for ads on DC buses Overnight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector MORE announced that his agency will crack down on leakers though subpoenas, including targeting media outlets.

Later this morning — Trump reacts: President Trump attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), calling him a "phony Vietnam con artist." Ouch. Tweets: "Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist! ... He told stories about his Vietnam battles and conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?"

And even later this morning — Blumenthal fires back: He tweeted: "Mr. President: Your bullying hasn't worked before and it won't work now. No one is above the law ... This issue isn't about me — it's about the Special Counsel's independence and integrity."

TRUMP'S BIGGEST HEADACHE — A MAN NAMED CHUCK FROM IOWA: Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Five hurdles to a big DACA and border deal Grand jury indicts Maryland executive in Uranium One deal: report MORE (R-Iowa) has emerged as a pivotal player in the controversy surrounding President Trump and Russia. His role: Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Threat to Trump: Grassley has threatened to subpoena Trump family members and associates for the Russia investigation. And on Trump's favorite Cabinet member: Grassley has also defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he had privately urged to recuse himself from the Justice Department's investigation of Russian meddling. Grassley warned the White House that there will be no confirmation hearings this year on a new attorney general if Sessions is dismissed. What this means for Trump as the investigation continues:

GETTING TRACTION — FILE THIS UNDER 'PAD PR BATTLES TO FIGHT': Via The Hill's Lydia Wheeler, consumer groups are making a last ditch effort to stop the Trump administration from stripping nursing home residents and their families of the right to take facilities to court over alleged abuse, neglect or sexual assault. Back story:

IF WE'VE LEARNED ANYTHING FROM 2017 SO FAR -- VIDEO GAMERS AND MILLENNIALS ARE ALWAYS EASY TARGETS FOR RUINING SOCIETY: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough is facing backlash over a tweet that unfavorably compared young men who "stay home playing video games" to those who served in the military during World War II. First tweet: "Our smartphone culture impacts young men in the most profound way. It is often younger women who suffer the most." Second tweet: "Young men in the 1940s liberated Europe from Nazism and the Pacific from the Japanese Empire. Today, too many stay home playing video games."

The gist of the criticism: "I actually prefer to live in a world where the young can play games rather than die in wars. But that's just me." (From The New Republic's Jeet Heer)

Scarborough later defended his tweets: Here's an excerpt: "A narrow slice of the best and bravest among us. Unfortunately, the trend lines of overall society are not as promising. We have work to do." Full series of tweets:

THE SHOT: A quote from Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE (R-Utah) on wanting the GOP to move away from healthcare and on to tax reform. "As far as I'm concerned, they shot their wad on healthcare."

AND THE CHASER: "Before everyone freaks out this was a very common term when Senator Hatch was a child and everyone used muskets." (From Hatch's communications director Matt Whitlock)



Bloomberg's Justin Sink (Lol.)
this woman's life sounds horrible on multiple fronts



Congress is out. President Trump is on vacation at his golf club in New Jersey. Vice President Pence is in D.C.

1:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence has lunch with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

2:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with Education Department staff.

Aug. 11–13: Otakon, the second largest anime convention in the U.S., is coming to Washington, D.C., after a 17-year run in Baltimore. Expect to see lots of young people dressed as their favorite anime and video game characters. Schedule:



Today is National IPA Beer Day.

AND WE HAD ALREADY BEEN COMPLAINING ABOUT KIDS THESE DAYS: Via NBC's Jo Ling Kent, a social media camp for kids now exists. What kids learn: How to go viral, become a YouTube sensation and personal branding. Oiiii.

Photo of the camp's logo:

TRENDING IN CELEBRITY NEWS —HOLLYWOOD MARRIAGES SURE AREN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE: Actors Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced their separation last night after eight years of marriage.

FOR MY 'GAME OF THRONES' FANS — THIS. IS. AMAZING.: Right before last night's "Game of Thrones" episode, actress Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) posted a photo with Kit Harrington (Jon Snow). The caption is amazing.

GOTTA CATCH ME FLYING SOLO: An Indian airline is launching a new service that guarantees women flying solo don't get stuck in the middle seat on flights.

And for a little Monday motivation, here's a dog doing exactly what we'd all like to be doing right now:


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