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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 claims he didn't fire Comey over Russia probe | Tributes pour in for Barbara Bush | White House budget office to investigate Pruitt's soundproof booth | Biden to decide on run at year's end | House consumed by leadership races | Pompeo secretly met Kim Jong Un | Goodbye, '50 Most Beautiful'

 

HAPPENING AT MAR-A-LAGO

Weekend at Donny's!:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping his meetings with President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE this week at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort could make the two countries closer on issues like trade and North Korea. "But after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first day visiting President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., the Japanese public is wondering whether their leader, embattled at home by influence-peddling scandals, might return to Japan with the diplomatic equivalent of an 'All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt.'" https://nyti.ms/2EWbOfi

 


While you were dying Easter eggs...:

The Washington Post's Shane HarrisCarol D. LeonnigGreg Jaffe and David Nakamura report that CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoMattis 'not aware' of North Korea taking any steps to denuclearize Tiananmen anniversary a time to revisit China's human rights record The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by Delta Air Lines - Trump says he will sign 'something' to end family separations MORE secretly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend. Why: As a precursor to President Trump's meeting with the North Korean leader. Keep in mind: This meeting happened shortly after Pompeo was nominated to be secretary of State. https://wapo.st/2HaaJXf

^WHY THIS MATTERS: "It was yet another sign that the United States was acting independently of Japan, its strongest ally in Asia." https://nyti.ms/2EWbOfi


NEXT UP -- APRIL 24: President Trump will host French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House for the first state dinner of the Trump presidency. Why: "This visit will advance American and French cooperation on economic and global issues and deepen the friendship between the two countries," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. http://bit.ly/2HBXbD0

ANNOUNCED THIS MORNING -- APRIL 27: President Trump will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House next week for her second trip of the Trump administration. The White House called the relationship between Germany and the U.S. a "bedrock of the transatlantic relationship and the NATO Alliance." http://bit.ly/2vofpTL


Happy Hump Day! 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.


TALK OF THE MORNING

OK, so we have 'untruthful slime ball,' 'Lyin' Comey' and now 'Slippery James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Senate Intel requests more testimony from Comey, McCabe The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix MORE' FWIW, 'untruthful slime ball' is still my fav:

This morning, President Trump claimed he didn't fire former FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia investigation, even though he had previously cited that reason for his decision to fire Comey. http://bit.ly/2HcQnIC

REST IN PEACE, BARBARA BUSH

Remembering the former first lady:

This is a fascinating timeline: Here are photos of Barbara Bush over the years: http://bit.ly/2H8NIDV

Her New York Times obituary: The video attached to the obituary is worth watching: https://nyti.ms/2Ha3ApT

That is quite the elite club: Abigail Adams is the only other woman who was the wife and the mother of U.S. presidents.

A tribute from her son: Former President George W. Bush posted a heartwarming message on Facebook. "Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end." Full post: http://bit.ly/2HKaU8L

A beautiful tribute from Jenna Bush Hager: The former first daughter posted an emotional tribute to her grandmother on Instagram. "I already miss this FORCE of a woman-- the 'enforcer' because she was the glue that held our family together." Full post -- the throwback photo is adorable: http://bit.ly/2J6wZO6

Her legacy in Kennebunkport, Maine: http://bit.ly/2qI0iz7

How is former President George H.W. Bush doing?: From the former president's longtime chief of staff: "So many of you are asking, 'How is 41?' He, of course, is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara, his wife of 73 years. He held her hand all day today and was at her side when [she] left this good earth. Obviously, this is a very challenging time. But it will not surprise all of you who know and love him, that he also is being stoic and strong." Full statement: http://bit.ly/2JRzG7j

Where she will be buried -- next to her daughter: Barbara Bush will be buried on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University. She will be buried next to her 3-year-old daughter Robin, who died in 1953. http://bit.ly/2JSIHwS

Funeral details: Mrs. Bush will lie in repose Friday for members of the public. Her funeral will be Saturday. http://bit.ly/2JSIHwS

The lighter side of Mrs. Bush: On CNN last night, "Barbara Bush followed her family's FitBits and would harass them when she felt like they weren't waking enough." http://bit.ly/2J84pfp

Inside their 'epic love story': Here's how former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Pierce met: https://eonli.ne/2qGI7KW

NEW DETAIL: Via CNN, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump backs down in rare reversal Hollywood goes low when it takes on Trump Ivanka Trump thanks her father for ending family separations MORE will attend Barbara Bush's funeral on Saturday. "The White House West Wing communications office did not immediately respond when asked whether President Donald Trump would join his wife in attending." https://cnn.it/2JUdQA8

 

SPOTTED

Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: Trump family separation policy could make the US a pariah Elizabeth Warren can unify Democrats and take back the White House Giuliani doubles down on Biden comments: 'I meant that he’s dumb' MORE sitting in coach:

Via The Hill's Bob Cusack, former Vice President Joe Biden was spotted this morning sitting in coach on the D.C. shuttle to LaGuardia. http://bit.ly/2vltAZC

What he looked like: Biden was "sporting his trademark sunglasses and a sharp blue tie."

On his 2020 plans: "Asked when he will decide on whether to launch a 2020 presidential bid, Biden smiled and told The Hill, 'Oh, not until the end of the year.' " 

Keep in mind: Biden isn’t a fan of LaGuardia. He once referred to the airport as "third-world."

 

IN CONGRESS

Agenda, shmagenda:

Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, House leadership races on both sides of the aisle are consuming the Capitol as major legislating grinds to a halt and attention shifts toward November's midterms -- and who will lead the parties through the high-stakes 2020 presidential season. The situation: The House GOP leadership team is projecting an image of calm a week after Ryan's sudden announcement that he won't seek reelection. But behind the scenes, there is a storm brewing as party leaders try to figure out who should -- or even can -- succeed the Wisconsin Republican, and how soon that transition might take place. http://bit.ly/2HIwcn8

TIDBIT -- COMMUN *CLAP* ICATION: Allies of Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump, GOP launch full-court press on compromise immigration measure Trump says he will sign executive order to end family separations House GOP struggles to win votes for compromise immigration measure MORE (R-La.) say House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump backs down in rare reversal Trump, GOP launch full-court press on compromise immigration measure Meadows gets heated with Ryan on House floor MORE (R-Wis.) did not give a heads-up before publicly endorsing Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally Rally crowd chants 'CNN sucks' after Trump rips media Trump's America fights back MORE (R-Calif.) to be his successor. "That's not the way to run things, especially with a member of your leadership team," one GOP lawmaker who is an ally of Scalise, told The Hill.  http://bit.ly/2Hzu4jV

 


IN OTHER NEWS


New tidbit in the Michael Cohen saga:

Via The Chicago Tribune's Tim Novak, the father-in-law of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has reportedly loaned $20 million to the wife of a Chicago cab mogul who was identified in the warrant the FBI used to raid Cohen's office, hotel room and home. http://bit.ly/2EWlXsn


A soundproof booth seems practical, tbh: 

Via The Hill's Timothy Cama, The White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will investigate the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitts's $43,000 soundproof booth. What sparked this: OMB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Mulvaney defends family separations at border Consumer watchdog agency needs to get back to doing its job MORE "said that since the Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled Monday that the spending on the booth was a violation of the Antideficiency Act, OMB will investigate." http://bit.ly/2HdcVce


Farewell, beautiful people: 

After nearly 15 years, The Hill ending its annual 50 Most Beautiful list. "It's been a great run, but all things must come to an end," The Hill editor-in-chief Bob Cusack said. "Rest in peace." One of its coolest moments: The annual 50 Most Beautiful issue even made its way onto the airwaves as part of a key plot line in HBO's "Veep." The production crew even reached out to The Hill to ensure a prop copy appeared authentic. Full story: http://bit.ly/2Hens6U


Fascinating read -- 'If the election were held today, would you vote for Donald Trump?': 

The Washington Post's Ben Terris asked retiring Republican Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Senators hammer Ross over Trump tariffs GOP senator demands details on 'damaging' tariffs MORE (Tenn.) whether he would vote for President Trump again. It took Corker four days to answer the question. Why it took him so long: https://wapo.st/2JWEVm7


At a hospital in D.C.: 

"[Health and Human Services] Secretary Alex Azar has been readmitted to a hospital, in DC, to deal with an unspecified infection, per his office. He was released from a hospital in Indy last week." (h/t The New York Times's Glenn Thrushhttp://bit.ly/2J6M5TP


NOTABLE TWEETS:

We've all been there:

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in. President Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida with the Japanese prime minister. Vice President Pence flies down for the day to join them.

1:15 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence have lunch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago.

2 p.m. EDT: Votes in the Senate. The Senate's schedule today: http://bit.ly/2HHoycA

5:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House for the week. 

7:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie AbeVice President Pence also attends.

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

2:30 p.m. EDT: A Senate subcommittee is holding a hearing on the immigration court system. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2HIJG26

2:30 p.m. EDT: Florida Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Hillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Lawmakers urge Google to drop partnership with Chinese phone maker Huawei MORE (R) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmakers blocked from entering facility holding migrant children Transportation Department watchdog to examine airplane cabin evacuation standards Hillicon 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 MORE (D) hold a forum at the Capitol on school safety. Details: http://bit.ly/2J6iSbs

3 p.m. EST: The President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa meets. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2J4r5gm

5:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo AbeLivestream: http://bit.ly/2JXQwS3

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Animal Crackers Day.


Noooooo:

Via Washingtonian, the RareSweets bakery in CityCenterDC is closing next Monday. http://bit.ly/2vpw4pZ


And because you read this far, here's a ticklish husky puppy: http://bit.ly/2J6iY2T