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: FBI, GOP feud heats up | Dems losing appetite to force another shutdown | Mueller looking to question Trump | Ex-US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 175 years | Duckworth to be first senator to give birth in office | Trump heading to Davos | Toys R Us shuttering more than 180 stores | National Peanut Butter Day



The immigration fight is going to be brutal: Senators are bracing for a three-week slog as they jockey for leverage on immigration. Escalating things: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) pledge to bring up an immigration bill early next month is adding a sense of urgency, but little clarity, to the search for legislation that could get 60 votes in the Senate. Gulp: Under McConnell's promise, if lawmakers can't get a larger agreement by Feb. 8, the Senate will turn to an immigration debate that the GOP leader says will be "fair and open" to both sides. What that means in practice is open to debate.

CONSERVATIVES ARE EVEN MORE EMBOLDENED: Feeding off what they believe was a victory in the three-day government shutdown, House conservatives are raising the pressure. What they want: A tough border enforcement bill to come to the floor.

TRUMP'S THREAT -- 'CRYIN' CHUCK': President TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE tweeted last night, "Cryin' Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTo make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!"

WILL THERE BE ANOTHER GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN BEFORE THE MARCH 5 DACA DEADLINE?: Senate Democrats say there's no appetite in their caucus for forcing another government shutdown if Republicans refuse to agree to an immigration deal by a March 5 deadline.

Interesting tidbit:

OP-ED: Pollster Mark Penn argues the American public will back an immigration deal with a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) replacement and border security.

It's Wednesday -- You. Can. Do This.­ 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 and on Facebook.



Larry Nassar is sentenced: Ex-USA Gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar, was just sentenced to 175 years (!) in prison for molesting female gymnasts, including several U.S. Olympians. "I just signed your death warrant,” the judge said.

Yikes -- clip from the hearing: "The Judge in the Nassar case made it pretty clear of what she thought of the letter Nassar wrote about the allegations." Video of the judge's reaction to Nassar's letter


Keep in mind: More than 160 women have said Larry Nassar sexually abused them. Ugh. Via The New York Times, "here are his accusers in their own words."

Back story: Here's a quick catch-up on the sex abuse scandal in USA gymnastics:



New development -- secrets secrets are no fun: Via NBC's Carol E. Lee, former White House National security adviser Michael Flynn met with FBI investigators early last year without President Trump's knowledge. What they talked about: The FBI was interested in his past correspondence with former Russian Ambassador Sergey KislyakFun fact: That meeting was one year ago today.

I'm telling you guys. Give this problem to a high school-aged girl. You will have these texts -- and a full social media history -- in no time: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, federal investigators are demanding answers from the FBI over missing text messages between agents accused of anti-Trump bias. Why this is huge: It leaves the FBI, the nation's premier law enforcement agency, scrambling to defend its reputation amid an explosion of criticism from the White House, Congress and conservative media.



The stakes are getting higher: Via The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig, Sari Horwitz and Josh Dawsey, "Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans."



Congratulations, senator!!: Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDem strategist: It's 'far-left thinking' to call for Nielsen's resignation Top Senate Dem calls on DHS secretary to resign over family separations Conservative writer: I want Dems across the country to emulate Ocasio-Cortez's campaign MORE (D-Ill.) announced that she is pregnant! She and her husband are expecting their second child in April. This is historic: She will be the first sitting senator to give birth while in office. Only 10 lawmakers, including Duckworth, have given birth while serving in Congress, but all were members of the House.

THIS MORNING: On NBC's "Today," Sen. Duckworth said, "Women have been getting pregnant and continuing to work to support their families for years, and so for me it seems very ordinary, but it's 2018 and it's about time we started bringing down some barriers in the Senate. ... For me it took 10 years of trying to have my first child and then it took multiple attempts to get to this pregnancy, so what'd I say to women with disabilities – you can do anything." (Duckworth, an Army veteran, had both her legs amputated after a helicopter she was co-piloting crashed during a combat mission in Iraq.)

Face palm -- You'd think this guy would learn!: A man nearing the end of his five-year prison sentence for threatening to kill former President Obama has received additional prison time for threatening to kill President Trump. *throws hands up*

'But the children love the toys!' Via CNNMoney, Toys R Us is closing up to 182 stores across the country. For context: The toy retailer has 880 stores in the United States, 1,600 globally. Was this out of the blue: Well, Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in the fall. Why the problems: "The filing ... by the company's lawyers said the decision to shut so many stores was prompted by increased competition and a shift by customers toward online shopping."





Oh wow, this is pretty funny:

Screenshot of Bradley Cooper's article:


Fun fact:

Full story -->


To make things worse:



The Senate is in. The House is out.

Today–Friday: The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. President Trump is scheduled to attend later in the week. Details and agenda:

11:45 a.m. EST: President Trump held a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors to Washington, D.C.

12:45 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2:15 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on nominees.

2:30 p.m. EST: Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBeto O’Rourke: Term limits can help keep politicians from turning into a--holes Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' Former spokeswoman defends Trump calling Omarosa ‘dog’: He’s called men dogs MORE (R-Texas) is speaking at a Hudson Institute event on the U.S. response to North Korea. Details:

8 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.



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

3 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with mayors in the East Wing of the White House. Livestream:

Friday: Former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at an American Enterprise Institute event about the future of educational choice. Livestream:

January 30: President Trump's State of the Union address.



Today is National Peanut Butter Day.

Omg. This. Actually. Happened.: Vermont reporter Jess Aloe tweeted, "Did you watch The Office? Remember when Michael and Dwight drove into a lake while following the GPS? That actually happened to three Vermont sightseers who drove onto Lake Champlain on a dark, rainy and foggy night." The full story:

And because you made it to the end, here's a toddler with more swagger than anyone I know: