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: Phoenix on high alert for Trump rally | Takeaways from Trump Afghanistan address | Praise from McCain, criticism from Breitbart | Ryan says Trump 'messed up' on Charlottesville | Treasury secretary’s wife brags about how much she pays in taxes | Space station photobombs eclipse | What's in the iPhone 8

WHAT TO EXPECT AT TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN RALLY TONIGHT -- GULP Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, political leaders and law enforcement officials in Arizona are on high alert ahead of President Trump's campaign rally tonight in Phoenix. How so: The big question is whether there will be more supporters of Trump inside the Phoenix Convention Center, which holds 29,000, or protestors outside. Why: Trump's controversial response to the events in Charlottesville, Va. Protesters have made tonight's rally an opportunity for Trump's opponents to show their force. What to expect:

It's Tuesday and we all seem to have survived #SolarEclipse2017 with our eyesight intact. 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.

TRUMP'S PRIME-TIME ADDRESS -- IT'S AMAZING WHAT MORE THAN 140 CHARACTERS CAN DO FOR POLICY: President Trump last night unveiled his much-anticipated agenda for Afghanistan, a plan heavy on broad goals and light on details. The gist: Trump announced he will not pull troops out of Afghanistan and will ramp up the war, but without timetables for the mission.

From The Hill's Ellen Mitchell, here are five takeaways:
1. Trump declined to provide specifics
2. He acknowledged reversing from his campaign position
3. He was emphatic that nation building is not the goal.
4. Trump took a hard line on Pakistan
5. He blamed previous administrations

We can't forget: "First five minutes were about Charlottesville, not Afghanistan" (From The New York Times's Shane Goldmacher)

Reaction from Breitbart: A Breitbart News article called President Trump's speech on his strategy in Afghanistan a "disappointment" to many of his supporters. Excerpt: "The speech was a disappointment to many who had supported his calls during the campaign to end expensive foreign intervention and nation-building." Context and full article:

Reaction from a Republican critic: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAfghanistan is our longest war ever and Congress has abandoned all responsibility Kremlin: ‘We have a long way to go’ before any breakthrough with US The GOP is Trump's party now MORE (R-Ariz.), who has spent months bashing President Trump for delaying a new Afghanistan strategy, on Monday night praised him for "taking a big step in the right direction" after his address. His statement:

​TRENDING -- An expert chimes in: In an op-ed for The Hill, Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues that President Trump missed the bull's-eye on our strategy in Afghanistan. His reasoning:

WHAT TIMING -- OH HELLO THERE, PAULY-R: Right around the time President Trump made his address on Afghanistan, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Republicans grumble about the 'worst process ever' Winners and losers from the .3T omnibus Collins: McConnell has 'kept his commitment' on ObamaCare fix MORE (R-Wis.) participated in a CNN town hall where he criticized Trump's response to Charlottesville. Ryan said Trump "messed up" and "could have done better." The timing: It was the first time Ryan directly criticized Trump for saying that "both" white supremacists and counterprotesters were to blame for the violence.


LATEST IN THE NORTH KOREA MESS -- KIM JONG UN TEXTS MUSCLE FLEXING EMOJIS: North Korea is now threatening "merciless retaliation and unsparing punishment" in a statement from its military.

What sparked this: The American and South Korean militaries are forging ahead with annual summer war games, which are dialing up tensions with North Korea after a week of relative calm. "The next couple weeks are going to be interesting," said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.

JUST NOW -- Sanctions for one, sanctions for all!: The Trump administration this morning announced new sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and businesses accused of helping North Korea boost its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. From Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin: "Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and isolating them from the American financial system."

TRENDING -- DID WE NOT LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT BRAGGING ON SOCIAL MEDIA AFTER KIM KARDASHIAN'S ROBBERY ORDEAL?: Actress Louise Linton, the new wife of Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump says new tariffs, penalties on China could total B White House race to replace Hope Hicks has two lead contenders Overnight Finance: Congress struggles to strike funding deal as deadline nears | Immigration, ObamaCare, Gateway project divide lawmakers | FTC to probe Facebook | Mnuchin plays hardball on tariffs MORE, got in an Instagram fight, bragging about how much she pays in taxes.

First, Linton posted a photo showing her leaving a government plane. In the post, she included hashtags for the expensive brands she was wearing, such as #rolandmouret, #hermesscarf, #tomford and #valentino.

Then an Instagram user responded, accusing Linton of being "deplorable" and mocked her, saying that she is "glad we could pay for your little getaway."

Linton then lashed out: "Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable!" Linton wrote. "Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country?" Full post:



The Chicago Sun-Times's Sam Charles (This is great.)
Our front page today is a work of genius. The design staff knocked it out of the park. Photo:

Campaign Zero's Samuel Sinyangwe (I'm terrified of birds, but this is pretty funny.)
This falcon just swooped down and killed a pigeon in middle of Brooklyn. Then stared us down for 15 minutes. Photo:

Vox's Ezra Klein
This is an actual screenshot from the homepage:



Congress -- still out.

Noon: President Trump leaves for Yuma, Ariz.

5:05 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Arizona. He'll view Border Patrol equipment, including a Predator drone.

5:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Marines.

10 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Phoenix. Vice President Pence introduces him.



Today is National Pecan Torte Day.

INSIDE THE IPHONE 8: Apple is releasing the iPhone 8 this fall, marking the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone. With high expectations, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports on what to expect from the newest phone. The gist: "The new iPhone won't be a case-study of innovation, more a matter of perfecting features that are already out there in rival devices." Graphic of the new phone:

BEST HEADLINE OF THE ECLIPSE: Via Quartz, "The International Space Station just pulled off the photobomb of a lifetime." How so: A NASA photo of the eclipse appears to show a tiny sun spot. But zoomed in, that "sun spot" is actually the International Space Station. See for yourself:

And because you read this far, here's the funniest video I've seen in awhile -- a little boy who stole the show at a soccer game. The crowd's reaction is amazing:


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