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: Breaking - House Intel panel releases controversial Nunes memo | Read the memo | Trump calls allegations a 'disgrace' | Signals he has no confidence in deputy AG | Lawmakers weigh bill to fund government through March 23 | Economy adds 200K jobs in January | Olive Garden's 'Italian nachos'



The. Memo. Is. Here.:

In a controversial and unprecedented move, the House Intelligence Committee just released a previously classified memo alleging abuse of government surveillance powers by the Justice Department.

 Read the full, 4-page memo: From the House Intelligence Committee's website:

^^Because of the demand: Some people are having trouble opening the link because the server is overloaded.  Here's another way to read if it won't load:

One quick take: From journalist Garrett M. Graff: "My VERY quick read--the Nunes memo is ... a big let-down. Will shore up Trump base, sure, and muddy waters, but no real surprise/shock. Carter Page was known to be targeted by Russian intelligence officers, from the SVR, already, years earlier. Plenty of non-Steele reasons (presumably omitted from Nunes memo) to surveil him."

Keep in mind -- there aren't redactions: White House spokesman Raj Shah said the document has been declassified "in full" and sent back to the House Intelligence Committee. Shah said no redactions were made. 

How it was published: Minutes before the memo came out, President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE approved its release.

LOL, t​o sum up this news (well, and th​is​ week): "The buildup for this memo was too much. I'm gonna need an emotional support peacock."

Back story -- it's incredible if you missed the story about the emotional support peacock:


Happy Friday -- it's Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter ... lovely. 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.



House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Health Care: Official defends suspending insurer payments | What Kavanaugh's nomination means for ObamaCare | Panel approves bill to halt employer mandate House panel advances bill that would temporarily halt ObamaCare's employer mandate Nunes leaves in middle of hearing following questions on Russia probe MORE (R-Calif.) crafted a controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice, causing a firestorm over its accuracy and whether it should be released.

The short version of why Republicans and the president wanted it released: Republicans believe the memo will show that the Justice Department used information partially funded by Democrats to push the investigation into the Trump campaign.

Agencies that didn't want the memo released: The Department of Justice and the FBI have fiercely opposed the release of the memo on the grounds that it is misleading and could expose sensitive intelligence sources and methods. 

Why Democrats opposed the release: Democrats describe the document as a dangerous politicization of intelligence -- a cherry-picked set of data points designed to damage Mueller's investigation. So: Democrats drafted their own memo to rebut the first. The House Intelligence Committee voted not to release the Democratic rebuttal. Whether it will eventually be released is unknown. 

Keep in mind about Nunes: He recused himself from the Russia investigation after the revelation that he secretly visited the White House grounds the day before announcing he'd been shown evidence of incidental surveillance of President Trump's transition team.



Monday: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeFormer FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans The dishonesty of the deep state 5 takeaways from wild hearing with controversial FBI agent MORE stepped down. Keep in mind: "McCabe was a central target of President Donald Trump's ire toward the FBI over its involvement in the investigation into potential collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election."

The House Intelligence Committee voted to release a GOP memo alleging surveillance abuses at the Justice Department.

Wednesday: The New York Times reported that a former spokesperson for President Trump's legal team is expected to testify that White House communication director Hope HicksHope Charlotte Hicks'Daily Show' trolls Trump over Pruitt's resignation Ex-Fox News exec Bill Shine to join White House Ex-Trump aide pushes for Hope Hicks as chief of staff: Trump will 'listen to women more than men’ MORE may have obstructed justice. How: Hicks allegedly promised during a phone call that emails from Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTrump Jr. mocks the 'resistance' over 'baby blimp' in London Mueller: Russian officers launched leaks website in June 2016 Teen who had his MAGA hat stolen gets one signed by Trump MORE about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians "will never get out."

Thursday: Lawyers for Richard Gates quit. Who is Gates?: Paul ManafortPaul John Manafort5 revelations from Mueller's indictment of Russians in DNC hack Mueller indicts 12 Russians in 2016 DNC hack The dishonesty of the deep state MORE's co-defendant and a former Trump campaign aide charged with tax fraud and money laundering in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia probe. Keep in mind: Gates's lawyers quit a week after CNN reported that Gates could be moving to cooperate with the special counsel.

As soon as today: The GOP House Intelligence Committee memo could be released as soon as today. President Trump viewed the controversial memo and is planning to soon authorize its release.



What do ya gotta do around here to get a government funded (for more than a few weeks at a time)?: House lawmakers will likely consider legislation to keep the government open through about March 23, according to two sources familiar with the situation, though the plan has not been finalized.

When current government funding expires: Feb. 8. Yes, that is soon.

Why another short-term funding bill?: The thinking is that a six-week funding patch would give lawmakers enough time to reach a deal on immigration, which would then unlock the budget caps deal to allow writing a massive omnibus spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year.

When Congress will likely vote for this March 23 funding bill: Likely Tuesday. House Democrats are leaving for a retreat Wednesday.

Be straight with us -- will there be a government shutdown again?: It's not likely. Senate Democrats have said they are less willing to use shutdown tactics another time.



Tell me about those jobs: The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in January, giving the economy a strong start to the year amid anticipation that a Republican tax package will further boost the nearly nine-year expansion. The unemployment rate: It held at 4.1 percent for the fourth straight month, the lowest level since December 2000, when it was 3.9 percent. For context: In the past year, the jobless rate has dropped from 4.8 percent to 4.1.



Ugh, this is pretty intense: Via CNN's Eric Levenson, "The father of three daughters who were abused by Larry Nassar tried to attack the former doctor in an Eaton County, Michigan, court Friday before he was tackled and arrested by security." What he said before he lunged: "I would ask you, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon," he asked. "Would you give me one minute?" The judge declined, saying, "That's not how our legal system works." Video:





Onion, thanks for being you:



Congress is out. President Trump is leaving for Virginia for meetings and then will head to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Vice President Pence is in Pittsburgh but will be back in D.C. tonight.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump met with North Korean defectors. Details:

1:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at a Rick Saccone for Congress event in Pittsburgh.

2:40 p.m. EST: President Trump tours the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center in Virginia.

3:05 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a Customs and Border Protection roundtable.

4:40 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Mueller indicts 12 Russian officials for DNC hack | Trump does damage control after bombshell interview Queen Elizabeth greets Trump for first visit to UK as president Trump: Queen Elizabeth is ‘just an incredible woman’ MORE leave for Florida.

11 a.m. EST Monday: Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDHS secretary: No sign Russia targeting midterm elections at 2016 level Twitter suspends Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks accounts after indictments Elon Musk donated nearly K to Republican PAC, filings show MORE is presenting a human rights award at Georgetown University.



2:35 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at a tax-reform event in Pennsylvania. Livestream:

6:30 p.m. EST Sunday: Super Bowl LII. Details and predictions from CBS Sports:



Today is National Bubble Gum Day. I.e.: my weakness

As judgmental as I feel​, I am a wee bit intrigued: Via Business Insider, Olive Garden is now serving Italian nachos. How the?: The dish "is essentially fried lasagna sheets topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, a three-meat ragu sauce, cherry peppers, and alfredo sauce." How long they will appear on Olive Garden's menu: Until April 1 -- when I assume they will tell us this was all an elaborate April Fool's prank and that America is doomedPhotos -- I KNOW you're curious:

And because you read this far, here's one of the best videos I've seen in a while: a group of penguins reacting when one of them falls. Be sure to watch this with the sound on -- I think this confirms penguins curse, too.