The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump to expel dozens of Russians | Trump tweets 'so much fake news' after Stormy Daniels interview | Five takeaways from the interview | Trump lawyer sends Daniels cease-and-desist letter | Daniels claims she was threatened | Big ratings win for '60 Minutes' | VA secretary reportedly next on chopping block | 24K gold ice cream

           

TALK OF THE MORNING -- DUH

Footage of all of us constantly checking President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE's Twitter feed following the Stormy Daniels interview --> http://bit.ly/2G9KkIA

President Trump finally tweeted after the highly anticipated "60 Minutes" interview yesterday with adult-film star Stormy Daniels, appearing to address the trending story. His tweet: "So much Fake News. Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate. But through it all, our country is doing great!" http://bit.ly/2ITTM0m

It's Monday. 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 cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

MORE ON THE STORMY DANIELS SAGA

This goes in the category of stories I never thought I'd be writing:

Last night, ex-porn star Stormy Daniels appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" to discuss her alleged affair with President Trump. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, gave a painfully detailed account of the sexual encounter. Here are five takeaways from the interview: http://bit.ly/2IP8t4R 

1. It's deeply embarrassing -- and tawdry -- for Trump
2. Daniels says she was threatened to keep quiet
3. Daniels says the alleged encounter was consensual
4. Questions will persist for Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney
5. Trump was silent Sunday night and Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy White House pushes back on Laura Bush criticism of family separation Rosalynn Carter: Separating families at border is ‘a shame to our country' MORE has been absent

Context for each: http://bit.ly/2IP8t4R

Actual footage of me watching the interview --> http://bit.ly/2G9KkIA

Transcript of the interview -- just be forewarned the details are pretty graphic: https://cbsn.ws/2G6C1wU

The biggest news from the interview: Daniels says she was threatened after she agreed to discuss her alleged affair with President Trump with a publication in 2011. In her words: "I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. Taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,' And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, 'That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.' And then he was gone," she continued. http://bit.ly/2pH7xXr

Tidbit from The New York Times's Maggie Haberman: "Standout part of this interview is Stormy Daniels saying she wasn't attracted to Trump. He was incredibly proud of the 'Best Sex I Ever Had' NY Post front page. That won't sit well." http://bit.ly/2Gvdmlg

Details that stand out: "Numerous similarities between Stormy Daniels and [former Playboy model] Karen McDougal's accounts:

-- Dinner in his hotel suite.

-- 'You remind me of my daughter.'

-- Statements that he and Melania had separate bedrooms." http://bit.ly/2pFQzJI

NEW DETAIL -- lots of eyes: Via CNNMoney, "Anderson Cooper's interview with Stormy Daniels propelled '60 Minutes' to its highest-rated episode in 10 years, according to Nielsen ratings." https://cnnmon.ie/2ukZJ3d Although I bet overtime of a March Madness basketball game helped that.

Update this morning -- 'This ain't over yet':

An attorney for Michael Cohen, who serves as President Trump's personal lawyer, sent Stormy Daniels a cease-and-desist letter after an interview with the adult-film actress aired on CBS's "60 Minutes." What the letter said: It ordered Daniels to issue an apology for implying that Cohen was responsible for an alleged threat made against her. http://bit.ly/2I6QZ2F

Just because I'm dangling a shiny object right in front of you doesn't mean I'm trying to tease you with it:

Remember last week when Stormy Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted a photo of a disc with the caption, "If 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' how many words is this worth?????" Well this morning: Avenatti was asked about the disc. Watch: http://bit.ly/2ukrtVz

NBC "Today" host Savannah Guthrie: "You tweeted a picture of a DVD or CD suggesting that there was going to be more evidence. That's the suggestion, right? You don't disagree and now you're being coy & not saying it. Seems like you're playing games."

Avenatti: "I'm not playing games. There will be more evidence. It's just not going to happen right now. "Everyone wants immediate gratification. It's not going to happen right now." 

  

ANNOUNCED THIS A.M.

'Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye' --> http://bit.ly/2ITQ9aK:

The Trump administration announced it will banish dozens of Russian diplomats from the United States in retaliation for the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom. How many people: 48 people stationed at the Russian Embassy in Washington and 12 at the Russian mission to the United Nations in New York who are deemed to be intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover. How long they have to leave: Seven days. http://bit.ly/2pJJtD9

Breaking: Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei to now lead the Russia investigation legal team --> http://bit.ly/2ulZ3KQ:

Via The Associated Press, President Trump will no longer be hiring Washington lawyer Joseph diGenova or his wife, Victoria Toensing, to join "the legal team handling the special counsel's Russia investigation." Why: Due to "conflicts," but it's unclear what those are. Keep in mind: DiGenova's hiring came the same week as the resignation of John Dowd, who led the president's team countering special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russian election meddling. http://bit.ly/2pFT7rj

Spotted in China -- Is that you, Kim Jong Un??:

Via Bloomberg News, "Kim Jong Un has made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said." Details: Not much right now. It's still unclear who he's visiting or how long he will stay in China. https://bloom.bg/2G7PbKd

 

IN OTHER NEWS

New year, new me, new crew:

Via The Associated Press's Hope Yen and Ken ThomasPresident Trump is preparing to fire Veterans Affairs Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinPress: Drain the swamp – of Scott Pruitt Overnight Defense: Top general defends Afghan war progress | VA shuffles leadership | Pacific Command gets new leader, name | Pentagon sued over HIV policy Trump taps VA chief of staff to run department on interim basis MOREOh, this could happen soon: A source said the chances Shulkin is fired in the next two days is "50-50." Is this surprising: Eh, no. There's been much speculation about Shulkin's fate in the past few weeks since a report that "he had improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and his staff had doctored emails to justify his wife traveling to Europe with him at taxpayer expense." Full story: http://bit.ly/2G79ozH

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

If you know any of these people, email me. I'd like to shake their hands.:

Interesting:

 

ON TAP:

Congress is out for two weeks for their Easter recess. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C., today, both with a light public schedule.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump received his intelligence briefing in the Oval Office.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

Just announced -- April 14–15: The White House is holding spring garden tours. It's free and open to the public. Details: http://bit.ly/2IPffHD

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

12:30 p.m. EDT: "Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisHillicon Valley: Supreme Court takes up Apple case | Senate votes to block ZTE deal | Officials testify on Clinton probe report | Russia's threat to undersea cables | Trump tells Pentagon to create 'space force' | FCC begins T-Mobile, Sprint deal review Pentagon: Planning for August 'war game' with South Korea suspended Dem: Trump 'Space Force' would 'rip the Air Force apart' MORE welcomes Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at the Pentagon." Livestream: https://cs.pn/2Gfm6s7

2 p.m. EDT: White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2GszXi7

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Lobster Newburg Day.

I have a lot of respect for this:

In Turkey, bakers have created what they claim is the world record for the largest tray of baklava. How much baklava: A mere 1,100 lbs. Video: http://bit.ly/2pGWi1e

Oh good, I've been craving 24K gold ice cream:

An ice cream shop in Anaheim, Calif., has creating soft-serve ice cream cones covered in 24 carat gold. Photos -- and video of how it's made: http://bit.ly/2pFD50x

News you can use:

Via Time magazine's Alix Langone, "Facebook admits it may collect data about your calls and text messages. Here's how to turn it off." https://ti.me/2G7Vs8T

And because you made it this far, here's a MAJOR breakthrough in baby entertainment: http://bit.ly/2ujHMlH