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: Harvey update: Storm makes second landfall | Five takeaways from Trump's Texas visit | 13,000 rescued in Houston | Trump to make tax reform pitch | Trump says 'talking is not the answer' with North Korea | Mattis letting transgender troops serve for now | New trend in DC dining

TRUMP ON N. KOREA -- A LIL LESS TALKING, A LIL MORE --> President Trump this morning claimed the U.S. has been paying "extortion money" to North Korea. Tweet: "The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" What prompted this: The Pentagon confirmed Monday that North Korea fired a missile that flew through Japan's airspace.


It's Wednesday. 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. 


More rain: Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall again. Here's the latest forecast:

Current rescue count: Over 13,000 people

Jeeeez, this is what one rescue looks like: Here's video of a rescue crew helping a 91-year-old man out of his flooded Houston home. Wow, the effort involved.

Even a shelter is now flooding: Photos:

Ugh, all of this is terrifying: " 'I want to thank these guys for saving my life.' CNN crew just rescued a man who accidentally drove into floodwaters." Video:

On a lighter note -- yesss, Texas!: Here's a local news clip of victims purportedly sharing a bottle of water. During the clip, the anchors realize it may not be water they're drinking. Watch:

No, no, no, no, no: "An alligator facility in Texas has 350 gators and is flooding, which might allow them to escape." Video:

People can be great: A Houston furniture store owner is letting flood evacuees sleep in his showroom. This story is heartwarming. Video:

DJT TAKES T–E–X: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump traveled to Texas yesterday to view the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Here are five main takeaways:

1. Trump plays to convention
2. Can Trump be empathetic?
3. Trump's remark: "What a turnout!"
4. The test is just beginning
5. Trump's second visit could be just as important

Next trip: President Trump plans to visit Texas again Saturday.

NEXT UP -- DJT TALKS T-A-X: President Trump is kicking off his sales pitch on tax reform today during a speech in Missouri. What not to expect: Policy details; it'll be more about why tax reform should happen. Why the McCaskill insults?: Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDems seek to chip away at Trump’s economic record The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Republicans see some daylight in midterm polling Trump urges anti-abortion advocates to rally in November MORE (Mo.) is up for reelection next year and Trump has already been criticizing her ahead of his speech in her home state.

Livestream of the speech at 2:30 p.m. EDT:

SOMEONE'S BEEN DRINKING THEIR MILK!: The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 3 percent (!) in the second quarter. Compared to: This number is up from the first estimate of 2.6 percent, according to the Commerce Department. Why the change: Officials have more data. The growth: The growth was in personal consumption, meaning people have more financial security, and nonresidential fixed investment, meaning confidence on the business side. Context for the number: The growth is the strongest since the first quarter of 2015, when it hit 3.2 percent, but not as high as the 5.2 percent spurt in the third quarter of 2014.

TRENDING -- IF YOU LIKE YOUR JOBS, TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS, YOU CAN KEEP THEM (AT LEAST FOR NOW): Defense Secretary James Mattis announced yesterday that transgender troops in the military would be allowed to continue serving pending the results of a study. Timing: A few days ago President Trump signed a memo barring transgender people from enlisting in the military while instructing Mattis to explore how to handle those currently serving in the armed forces.

SOMETHING'S GOTTA CHANGE IF HE WANTS THINGS TO STAY STRANGE: Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar, time is running out for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who has just one month to save his Senate term and pull off a come-from-behind victory against former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the race for the Republican nomination to finish the Senate term of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDirector of federal prisons resigns after clashes with Kushner, Sessions: report Black Caucus raises concerns over Amazon facial recognition software Immigrant women, children abused by gangs need our protection MORE. When's the runoff: Sept. 6.  How that race is going:



@laurenclairee6 (OMG, these emails!!)
My professor for my online class was mad when nobody showed up for the first day, then realized it was an online class. Email screenshots:



Congress -- still out.

1:55 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives in Springfield, Mo.

3:35 p.m. EDT: President Trump flies back to Washington, D.C.

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.



1:30 p.m. EDT: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) holds a press conference on Tropical Storm Harvey. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds an event in Springfield, Mo., on tax reform. Livestream:



Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day!

I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS A REAL ARTICLE THAT I'M READING: Via The Wall Street Journal's Charles Rollet, a Russian businessman is planning a space colony in lower Earth orbit by 2025 -- and already has more than 300,000 people from 217 countries and territories signed up. The major debate: Potential taxes.

$68 IS THE NEW $12: Via The Washington Post's Holley Simmons, a new fast-casual restaurant has opened in Washington, D.C., with dinner for two (without alcohol) costing around $68. The gist: You order at a counter and are served with disposable containers, but the food is more upscale. FYI: This is a new trend; expect to see more restaurants like this in the D.C. area.

And because you made it this far, here's a cat killing it on an indoor rock climbing wall:


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