The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump tries to stop explosive book's release | Bannon firestorm consumes DC | Sessions to end Obama rules on legalized marijuana | Republican wins Virginia seat after draw | US, South Korea delay military drills during Olympics | Taco Bell's new french fries



To quote one of the best Winter Olympic movies: 'Sanka, man, whatcha smokin'?' --> Via The Hill's Reid Wilson, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors Key GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum MORE will end an Obama-era policy that allowed legalized marijuana to prosper. Details: Two sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed to The Hill that Sessions will rescind the so-called Cole memo, which ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases. Was this expected: Yes. Sessions has hinted for months that he would move to crack down on the growing cannabis market. Details:

REACTION: "Pot stocks are plunging on news that Jeff Sessions will rescind marijuana expansion policy. (Pictured is Canopy Growth whose symbol is WEED.)" (Via Bloomberg's Ari Natter)


It's a snowy Thursday in Washington -- well, by D.C. standards.  Filing with an even bigger mug of hot chocolate, 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.



Guys, if you're day is quiet, I HIGHLY suggest you watch this: Republican David Yancey will keep his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates after a state official pulled his name out of a bowl, deciding a contest that ended in a tie in November. Wow: In November, each candidate received 11,608 votes.

Livestream: The action starts at 07:30.

My favorite part: The discussion over which bowl was chosen for the drawing. It starts at 12:10 in the video:

The actual drawing: It starts at 13:52 in the video:

The bowl -- photo from CNN's Eric Bradner:



Stephen Bannon's therapy session in the form of a book: Excerpts of Michael Wolff's upcoming book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," were released yesterday, which caused a firestorm in Washington. Why: It includes incendiary remarks about the president from former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon. The gist: The book depicts a president who didn't expect to defeat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE in November 2016 and who clashed with White House staff.

Read the full-published excerpts in New York Magazine:

When the book comes out: Tuesday. Dun, dun, dunnnn. Pre-order it on Amazon:

Five surprising allegations from the book:

1. Trump may have met with Russians after a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower
2.Trump was surprised by his victory in 2016
3. Rupert Murdoch called Trump a "f---ing idiot"
4. Trump clashed with White House housekeeping
5. Trump's staff believed him to be semi-literate

Context and details on each:

How President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE reacted -- just as you'd expect: First -- he snapped at Bannon: An infuriated Donald Trump accused former White House chief strategist and top campaign aide Stephen Bannon of having "lost his mind" and of being "only in it for himself." In Trump's words: "Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books." Trump's full statement torching Bannon -- ouch:

Then -- he sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon: Trump also reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon last night, saying that he violated a non-disclosure agreement by speaking with Wolff, and accusing him of making "disparaging" and "outright defamatory" statements.

And just now -- Trump tells reporters: When asked about Bannon, Trump said,  "I don't know, he called me a great man last night so, ya know he obviously changed his tune pretty quick." 

New this a.m. -- any highly paid lawyer involved here is a winner of the day: Via The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig, President Trump is now attempting to stop the publication of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," Michael Wolff's explosive new book about his campaign and presidency. How Trump plans to stop it: "Trump attorneys send cease-and-desist letter this morning to Wolff and book publisher Henry Holt demanding they stop publication and issue an apology to Donald Trump for defamatory statements made thus far."

HOW THIS FIRESTORM IS CONSUMING WASHINGTON: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Stephen Bannon's fast fall from grace is perplexing to Washington insiders. Among sources in President Trump's orbit who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity, opinions were varied as to whether the relationship between Trump and Bannon was at a permanent end or whether Trump would simply shut Bannon out for a period.

ON TRUMP'S SIDE: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDem lawmaker calls for cryptocurrency probe after Mueller indictments Meet the woman who is Trump's new emissary to Capitol Hill On The Money: Fed chief lays out risks of trade war | Senate floats new Russia sanctions amid Trump backlash | House passes bill to boost business investment MORE blasted the book as "fake." He tweeted: "We have become used to #FakeNews, now we have #FakeBooks! #MAGA."

AND WE HAVE OUR SWITZERLAND: Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said he "doesn't want to get in the middle" of the feud between Trump and Bannon.  Don't forget: Bannon backed Jones's opponent, Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Once a Trump critic, Ala. rep faces runoff with his support Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee MORE.



What fun is funding the government without a ticking time bomb?: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, confusion over President Trump's border wall is holding up talks to avoid a government shutdown on Jan. 19. How that works: Trump has demanded tougher immigration controls in return for relief for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients in the 2018 spending bill. Lawmakers are working on an immigration deal,  but are still waiting for Trump's demands.


OP-ED: Former federal immigration services agency chief counsel Stephen Legomsky on why President Trump shouldn't lump all immigrants together as a risk.

Latest with the 2018 Winter Olympics -- reel in the military equipment: During a phone call this morning, President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to delay an annual joint military exercise that was scheduled for Pyeongchang, South Korea, during the Winter Olympics. Why South Korea wanted to delay the drill: To avoid increasing tensions with North Korea. How North Korea views this military drill: Pyongyang says the drills are a rehearsal for invasion. The drills typically heighten tensions, with North Korea often conducting missile tests in response.



Oh heyyyy:



The Senate is in, but votes were canceled because of the winter storm. The House is out until next week.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump meets with Senate Republicans in the White House to discuss immigration.

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate meets for weekly caucus lunches.

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump presents the National Security Medal to Richard Ledgett Jr.

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Senate Republicans about their legislative priorities.

3:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.



12:30 p.m. EST: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is holding an event on Iran's cyber threat. Livestream:

1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream:

Friday morning: Author Michael Wolff will appear on NBC's "Today" to discuss his upcoming book,  "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." He will also appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday.



Today is National Spaghetti Day!

I'm surprised it took this long, tbh: Taco Bell has added french fries dusted with Mexican seasoning to its menu. The fries come with a side of nacho cheese. When they will appear on menus: Jan. 25.

*Reserves a time to visit before even planning a trip to New York*: There's a restaurant in New York that serves 120 combinations of chicken nuggets. Think: Pretzel-coated or Cap'n Crunch dusted. Video that you shouldn't watch if you're hungry:

And because you read this far, here's a viral video of a toddler consoling his baby sister when she's sick:

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