The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Wolff's Trump book tops Amazon charts | Bannon fights for survival | What Bannon's woes mean for midterms | New scrutiny on Trump's mental fitness | Trump preps work requirements for Medicaid | National Whipped Cream Day


Next up: The White House schmoozes Rihanna for the rights to this song Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, the Trump administration is preparing to release guidelines for requiring Medicaid recipients to work, according to sources familiar with the plans. What this means: It will set the conditions for allowing states to add work requirements to their Medicaid programs for the first time. This is a major shift in the 50-year-old program. Expect Democrats to hit back: Democrats are gearing up for a fight, likely including lawsuits, arguing the administration is trying to undermine ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion on its own after Congress failed to repeal the health-care law.


Happy Friday! 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.



The early bird catches the Trump fury: Michael Wolff's highly anticipated book on the Trump White House, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," was released today, four days ahead of schedule.

On the authenticity of the stories: Via CNNMoney, "Some of Wolff's reporting has already been corroborated. But the book also contains some errors, according to early reviewers."

Michael Wolff on the free promotion Trump has given the book: "Where do I send the box of chocolates?" Wolff says the president's attempts to stop the book will help him sell copies and "prove the point of the book."

How it's doing on Amazon: Wolff's book is dominating the charts on Amazon. Earlier today, "three formats -- a hardcover edition, e-book version and an audiobook ... took the first, second and third slots on Amazon's best sellers list."

Before the book was released -- Trump was not a happy camper: The president tweeted, "I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist. Look at this guy's past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!"

This a.m. -- Wolff responds: "I absolutely spoke to the president ... it certainly was not off the record," Wolff said on NBC's "Today." "My window into Donald Trump is pretty significant. I work like every journalist works. I have recordings. I have notes. I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with what I have reported."

Right before 11 p.m. last night at Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C.:

Ha, this is pretty entertaining to watch:

Serious question: How does one even defend their mental fitness?: Fears about 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's mental fitness have burst into public view. Why: The new book detailing the chaotic early months of his presidency and Trump's tweet taunting North Korea's leader over the size of his "nuclear button." Why this matters: Concerns are being voiced almost exclusively by Trump critics and the media, but this is still unprecedented. What could happen if the concerns become more widespread:

Tidbit -- a week from today: Via The Associated Press, "President Donald Trump undergoes full physical examination, as is traditional for U.S. presidents on an annual basis."

Hmm, I wonder if it will be this doctor again: Throwback to Dr. Harold Bornstein, who declared in his letter that Donald Trump is healthier than all American presidents.



Give me a J, O, B, S: The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, below expectations. Context: Employers added 228,000 jobs in November. The good news: That figure caps off the seventh consecutive year of annual employment growth above 2 million, a streak the U.S. hasn't seen since the web boom of the 1990s. Unemployment rate: It remained at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since December 2000.

Putting it into perspective: "Pretty much a steady-as-she goes jobs report. A bit of a miss on the jobs number, but stability on the U-3 rate, wages, labor force participation, and the employment-population ratio.​ After revisions, job gains have averaged​ ​204,000 over the ​p​ast 3 months." (From the American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis)





He's hot, then he's cold. He's yes, then he's no. He's in, then he's out. He's up, then he's down. You're wrong when it's right. It's black and it's white. --> Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump's former controversial chief strategist Stephen Bannon is fighting for survival. The heaviest blow: One of his most important financial backers, Rebekah Mercer, issued a rare public rebuke of him. It's not just the anti-Bannons: Even conservative strategists who harbor some sympathy for Bannon are shocked at the speed of his apparent fall. What to know about Mercer: Rebekah Mercer, along with her father, billionaire Robert Mercer, is one of the most important funders of conservative political activities. Mercer is a major shareholder in Breitbart, having agreed to buy her father's shares in the organization in November.

LATE THIS A.M. -- TRUMP NEWS NETWORK TWEET: President Trump tweeted the news: "The Mercer Family recently dumped the leaker known as Sloppy Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP spars with FBI agent at tense hearing Bookstore owner calls police after customer confronted Steve Bannon Trump’s plan to drown government must be stopped MORE. Smart!"

WHAT THIS FALLOUT MEANS FOR THE MIDTERMS: Via ABC's John Verhovek, "The open sparring between Trump and Bannon threatens to undermine the former top White House aide's ability to hold together his coalition of hand-picked candidates in a number of high-profile 2018 Senate races." More on the 2018 implications:

OP-ED: Lloyd Green, who was the opposition research counsel to the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988, argues that Stephen Bannon's fall from grace shows President Trump is looking beyond his base.



Lol, SAME.:



The House and Senate are out.

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves the White House for Camp David.

2:45 p.m. EST: President Trump participates in a Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David.

Monday: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un's birthday. He "allegedly" turns 35.



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

"Fox News Sunday": Former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP spars with FBI agent at tense hearing Washington big names celebrate launch of Hill.TV The Hill's Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution MORE; CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSenate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Graham would consider US-Russia military coordination in Syria White House: Trump 'disagrees' with Putin's request to question Americans MORE.



Today is National Whipped Cream Day!

Attention Eataly fans: A new Spanish version of Eataly is opening in New York later this year. Details:

New Year's resolutions are overrated anyway: For all of January, IHOP is serving unlimited pancakes for $3.99. Thought you should know...

And because you made it to the end of the week, here's a blow-up mascot reeking havoc in a mall. The man's reaction is incredible:

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