The Hill's 12:30 Report

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

Sign up to receive the 12:30 Report right to your inbox:

--> 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: ​Latest on FBI memo | Reports say Trump ready to allow release | Dems say Trump got 'secretly altered' version | Trump inaccurately claims State of the Union was most watched | Black Dems take lead in push to impeach | California coffee shops to add cancer warnings | North Korean athletes arrive for Olympics


This may be my new favorite photo — neeeext up on Supermarket Sweep!:




We may not have to wonder what's in that memo much longer...: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE plans to declassify a controversial memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses at the FBI, according to multiple media reports Thursday. What this means: The decision paves the way for the document, which was drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, to be released to the public as early as Friday (!) How the White House reacted: "When we have a decision, we'll make it publicly available. We don't have one yet," White House spokesman Raj Shah said on Fox News as the news broke.

More details in The Washington Post:

It's Thursday! 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.



Oh you just WAIT for the invisible ink to appear: Last night, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThere's a lack of US leadership on breastfeeding Internet security leader: Hackers are 'trying to undermine very process of democracy' Republicans and Democrats alike face troubling signals from voters MORE (D-Calif.) claimed that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesPelosi sees defections from an unusual quarter — the left Jim Carrey targets McCarthy, Nunes ahead of midterms Police close Nunes district office as protesters rally outside MORE (R-Calif.) shared with President Trump a "secretly altered" version of the Republican-crafted memo alleging abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department. From Schiff's letter: "This evening the Committee Minority discovered that the classified memorandum shared by the Committee Majority with the White House is not, in fact, the same document that Members of the House of Representatives have been reviewing since January 18, 2018 and that the Committee Majority voted on Monday to release to the public."

This a.m. -- tread v carefully: Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph Thune15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work MORE (S.D.) said House Republicans should proceed carefully before making the memo public. His reasoning: "I think the Senate Intelligence Committee needs to see it, for sure. [Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard] Burr would like to see it and hasn't been able to yet," Thune said, arguing that the Senate Intelligence Committee should be apprised before the document becomes available to the public. "There are important national security considerations they need to weigh and hopefully they're doing that," he said.

WHO'S SEEN WHAT?: Only a handful of lawmakers had seen intelligence backing up the controversial memo when the House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release it. But now: The number of lawmakers who have seen the intelligence appears to have grown since the vote. Why that matters:

Back story -- so, what's the deal with the Nunes memo anyway?: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) wrote a controversial memo that alleges "shocking" surveillance abuses on the Trump campaign by the Justice Department. The House Intelligence Committee voted to publish the memo, but that move is controversial. Democrats say the memo cherry picks its facts. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said it could put classified information at risk. What else to know about the memo and why it's big:

This is a pretty interesting graphic:


Brent Budowsky argues that special counsel Robert Mueller should call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to testify in the obstruction probe.



Immigration lite: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) says that Congress may settle on a slimmed-down immigration deal that leaves aside some of President Trump's priorities. What it could include: Protecting undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation in exchange for more money for border security. What would be out: Trump's demand that Congress limit immigration preferences for nonnuclear family members and end the diversity visa lottery program.

WHO HAS THE FUN JOB OF TELLING THE PRESIDENT THIS?: Meanwhile, Donald Trump is going full-steam ahead with his immigration agenda, catering to his base with tough talk. How: Trump's State of the Union speech was notable for its emphatic rhetoric on illegal immigration and for the significant time devoted to the topic. The president offered little by way of an olive branch to Democrats.



The State Department loses one: The third-ranking official and top career diplomat at the State Department is leaving his post. Who: Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon. How long he served: Nearly 35 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. His statement: "I decided it was an important moment to take a step back and to determine what next I can do in my life," he said.



Come onnn. Are we doing this 'crowd size' thing again??: This morning, President Trump boasted that Tuesday night's State of the Union was the most watched ever. He tweeted: "45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. Fox News beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!"

Fox News reacts -- errrghhh well...:

It's really happening!: North Korean Olympians have arrived in South Korea for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang this month. How many athletes: Ten North Korean skaters and skiers. Details: The athletes arrived on the same South Korean flight with non-Olympic South Korean skiers who had visited a North Korean ski resort last month. Why this is very unusual: Most travelers between the countries cross a land border. It's highly unusual for North Koreans to be on the South Korean plane.

Other North Korean athletes who are in South Korea: Twelve North Korean female hockey players traveled to South Korea last week to be part of the first unified Korean Olympic team.

Is drinking coffee the new smoking?: Via CNN's Jen Christensen, because of a lawsuit from a nonprofit, coffee shops in California may soon be forced to put a cancer warning label on their coffee drinks. Why: "The state keeps a list of chemicals it considers possible causes of cancer, and one of them, acrylamide, is created when coffee beans are roasted." Where you'll see the labels shortly: At least 13 companies have settled in the lawsuit and will make warning labels. This included 7-Eleven.

Team captains of impeachment: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are proving central to efforts to impeach President TrumpWhy the CBC: Black lawmakers say that's the result of Trump repeatedly stirring racial controversies, from personally attacking two members of the caucus to casting equal blame on white supremacists and counterprotesters for fatal violence in Charlottesville, Va., last summer. How many support impeaching the president: Just under two-thirds of the 48-member CBC has backed impeachment in House floor votes forced by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenCNN's King: If GOP loses Ohio special election, impeachment likely 'on the table' Election analyst predicts 'impeachment hearings will happen' if Dems take Congress Steyer presses Dems on impeachment before receptive Netroots audience MORE (D-Texas), himself a CBC member.

The CBC members who attended the State of the Union: Many pointedly refrained from clapping or shaking Trump's hand. 

The CBC members who didn't attend: More than half of the 14 House Democrats who boycotted the speech were members of the caucus.



Attention, all grammar nerds:



Congress is out.

1:10 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting at the Washington Hilton.

8:10 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee winter meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. 



12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the Republican retreat at the Greenbrier Valley Resort in West Virginia. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Overnight Health Care: Azar defends approach on drug rebates | Trump presses Senate to act quickly on opioid crisis | Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit tossed Dem senator introduces proposal to rein in Trump on security clearances MORE (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hold a press conference from the Republican retreat in West Virginia. Livestream:

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence holds a swearing in ceremony for Sam Brownback, who will be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Livestream:

Next week: The House Democratic retreat. New: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden endorses first Latina attorney general candidate in Arizona Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream Biden: Aretha Franklin was 'part of the soul of the civil rights movement' MORE will headline the retreat.



Today is National Baked Alaska Day.

Dat gold medal lyfe: Via Time, here's a list of Winter Olympic events and who to watch for each sport:

And because you read this far, here are newborn penguins who are still too small to swim, but love to play: