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: Trump slams Amazon | Company's stock drops | Inside Trump's VA shake-up | Shulkin hits back, calls DC 'toxic, chaotic' | Frenzy over DC 'Hamilton' tickets



Trump's Amazon Prime order must have come after the two-day guarantee: 

This morning, 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 publicly criticized Amazon, citing how the company pays its taxes. He tweeted: "I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!"


WHAT SPARKED THIS TWEET: Yesterday, Axios reported that the president wants to take aim at the retail giant, citing the company's tax treatment. One source: "He's obsessed with Amazon. Obsessed." Another source: "He's wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law." Don't forget: Trump has gone after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos before and The Washington Post, which Bezos owns.

Live look of how Amazon's stock reacted to the Trump tweet --> ;)

Via CNBC's Thomas Franck, "Amazon shares fell 2 percent Thursday following the president's comments, adding to their 4 percent loss after Wednesday's Axios report."

YEAH, BUT...: Deutsche Bank advised clients not to worry about the Amazon stock. Reasoning:

Happy Thursday -- it's opening day of the MLB season! The first game starts at 12:40 p.m. EDT. Today's schedule: 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.



Trump lawyers reportedly look into cloning the president for future Cabinet picks: 

Late yesterday, President Trump announced he is removing 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 MORE and replacing him with his White House physician, Adm. Ronny JacksonDid we see this coming?: Yes, there has been uncertainty about Shulkin's status for weeks. Shulkin was on the hot seat after a report accused him of misusing taxpayer dollars on travel.

THROWBACK -- HOW YOU KNOW SHUKIN'S REPLACEMENT: Adm. Ronny Jackson became the presidential physician in 2013. He gained national attention in January when he gave an hourlong press conference praising Trump's health and crediting his "good genes." Watch:

NEWLY PUBLISHED -- REACTION FROM SHULKIN: Shulkin wrote an op-ed in The New York Times describing his tenure as Veterans Affairs secretary. The $$ line: "As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country." On working at the VA: Shulkin railed against the work environment as "so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve." Full op-ed:

SHULKIN: THE WHITE HOUSE MUTED ME: On NPR's "Morning Edition," David Shulkin said the White House banned him from speaking out on the ethics controversy that consumed the end of his tenure. In his words: "There was nothing improper about this trip, and I was not allowed to put up an official statement or to even respond to this by the White House. I think this was really just being used in a political context to try to make sure that I wasn't as effective as a leader moving forward."

ON HIS MAJOR DISAGREEMENT AT THE VA: Shulkin also said several people in the Trump administration want to privatize the VA, but he disagreed. In his words: "I think that it's essential for national security and for the country that we honor our commitment by having a strong VA. I was not against reforming VA, but I was against privatization."

On another seemingly quiet week in the Trump administration: 


'Should I stay or should I go?' -->

Rumors are building that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Mark Sanford’s troubles did not begin with Trump NY Post blasts Trump, GOP over separating families at border MORE (R-Wis.) might step down from his post since a GOP lawmaker in Nevada publicly discussed the idea. Nevada GOP Rep. Mark AmodeiMark Eugene AmodeiGOP staves off immigration revolt — for now Mining rider would gut bedrock environmental law The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Tensions mount for House Republicans MORE on 'Nevada Newsmakers': "The rumor mill is Paul Ryan is getting ready to resign in the next 30 to 60 days and that Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Sunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Dems best GOP as Scalise returns for annual charity baseball game MORE will be the new speaker."

EHHH, KEEP IN MIND: Former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerZeal, this time from the center Juan Williams: The GOP's deal with the devil Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase MORE (R-Ohio) and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are dismissing the idea that Ryan will exit. BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerZeal, this time from the center Juan Williams: The GOP's deal with the devil Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase MORE told The Washington Post: "The idea that he's going to walk out of there in the middle of the fight is ludicrous." Cantor: said the notion that Ryan would "abdicate and leave is preposterous."



Best correction I've seen in a long time:

In an article about the Environmental Protection Agency using technology from an Israeli company, The Wall Street Journal misquoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuFull story:

Well played, New York Daily News. Well played.:

New York Daily News reporter Kenneth Lovett was handcuffed and detained in the New York state capitol yesterday for talking on his phone. Then: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) helped free the reporter. Full back story:

Best part of the story: The New York Daily News created this mock t-shirt to support Lovett. The pun is incredible:



Wow, Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Laura Ingraham: Migrant child detention centers 'essentially summer camps' Senate chaplain offers prayer 'as children are being separated from their parents' MORE does look like John Boehner in this: 


Lol, classic Dingell:

Former Rep. John DingellJohn DingellFormer Dem Rep. Dingell hits Ty Cobb over White House exit Overnight Health Care: Rep. Debbie Dingell on the pain and tragedy of the opioids crisis | DEA moves to curb opioid oversupply | Dem says Trump pick opposes VA privatization Debbie Dingell has seen opioids tragedy and pain up close MORE (D-Mich.), who is 91 years old, has quite the entertaining Twitter account. 


Buh dum tsss -->



Congress is o-u-t, out.

Noon: President Trump leaves for Ohio.

1:55 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives at the Local 18 Richfield Training Site in Richfield, Ohio, to deliver a speech on infrastructure.

3:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves Ohio for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump lands in Palm Beach, Fla.

10 a.m. EDT Friday: The Brookings Institution is hosting an event that gives an update on the Afghanistan War. Details:

April 28: The annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.



2 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks about infrastructure in Richfield, Ohio. Livestream:



Today is National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day.

Heyo, Hamilton fans!:

Tickets are officially on sale for the "Hamilton" musical at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Details:

Viral video: This is extremely confusing, but really, I just have one question -- WHY?: 

Via The Huffington Post, during a family's party to reveal the gender of their baby, a man filled a watermelon with pink or blue Jell-O and fed it to a live alligator. Omg, this quote: "We have a few gators who like to eat fruit, so I figured fruit was great -- let's get a watermelon, drill a hole in it, add some Jell-O to it, and throw it in the gator's mouth? Let her bust it open, no big deal, you know?" the baby's father explained. There's obviously video -- watch:

Cookie dough! *clap* Cookie dough!:

Via PoPville, D.C.'s first edible cookie dough shop is opening a second pop-up shop in the Shaw neighborhood. What to expect: "The dough will be available in jars to order a la carte, or customers can create 'mix & match' packs of their favorite flavors." What makes this location unique: "By popular demand, this location will also serve cookie dough scoops and coffee."

And because you read to the end, meet Gracie the golden retriever, who is attempting to catch every flake of snow. Keep going Gracie, I think you're close!: