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 VA pick under fire | Allegedly gave out prescriptions like a 'candy man' | Macron addresses Congress | Jokes about bromance with Trump | Justices hear travel ban case | GOP holds Arizona House seat | World Penguin Day

 

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Macron est: À. LA. MAISON!: 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to a joint session of Congress this morning as part of his state visit to the United States. Here are some of the highlights: http://bit.ly/2r3Ef71

On Iran getting nuclear weapons: "Not now, not if five years, not in ten years,” Macron said. “Never." http://bit.ly/2r06jHd

On the Paris climate accord: Marcon predicted that the United States will come back to the Paris climate change agreement. “I’m sure, one day, the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement...”  Full quote: http://bit.ly/2vPGCPy

Macron’s got jokes!: French President Macron told a story of Benjamin Franklin meeting Voltaire to joke about his own “bromance” with 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"[They hugged and they] kissed each other's cheeks. That can remind you of something."  Watch — the room loved the joke: http://bit.ly/2I2gm72

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On being positive: “Both in the United States and in Europe, we are living in a time of fear," Macron said. "You can play with fear and anger for a time, but they do not construct anything. Anger only freezes and weakens us." http://bit.ly/2r3Ef71

What Speaker Ryan’s intro should have included, in my humble opinion http://bit.ly/2HtL1Jl ;)

Livestream of the address: http://bit.ly/2FdCfNr

Tidbit about the broadcast: MSNBC and Fox News livestreamed the address on air. CNN did not.

Why the address is historic: “Macron is the 8th French President to address Congress. The last was Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. And it was on this very date in 1960, that then-French Pres Charles de Gaulle addressed Congress as well.” (Via CBS’s Mark Knoller) http://bit.ly/2KfY5nh

Best tweet I've seen all morning:

I’ve seriously been craving macarons since President Macron arrived: 

 

Lolol — people are loving the 'bromance':

Full-sized Trump-Macron 'couple' photos — they’re pretty funny: http://bit.ly/2KbQlCO

 

MEANWHILE — THE IRANIAN PRESIDENT IS NOT PLEASED: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ripped into President Trump in the wake of his recent comments on the nuclear deal, saying Trump is a businessman who has no experience with politics or international affairs. In Rouhani’s words: "You don't have any background in politics. You don't have any background in law. You don't have any background on international treaties ... How can a tradesman, a merchant, a building constructor, a tower constructor make judgments about international affairs?” Full quote: http://bit.ly/2qXpbaL

 

Bonjour! C'est Mercredi. 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.

 

If you've seen Miss Congeniality, then you might remember today is the perfect date: http://bit.ly/2qUDEV6

 

HEADACHE FOR TRUMP'S VA NOMINEE

The candy man could use some Advil: 

The White House is defending Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, whom President Trump nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Why he's under scrutiny: Allegations of misconduct as lead White House doctor. Jackson denies these allegations but is on the ropes, with lawmakers from both parties raising questions about his nomination. How the White House is fighting backhttp://bit.ly/2JrZBBN

ON TUESDAY NIGHT: The White House circulated talking points to defend Jackson and counter the allegations. https://politi.co/2vKbOzI

BACK STORY TO 'CANDY MAN': Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterManchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families Trump signs VA reform bill without Democratic co-author The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Primary results give both parties hopes for November MORE (D-Mont.) said Ronny Jackson was known as "the candy man" in the White House. Tester "told CNN's Anderson Cooper that around 20 people raised concerns to his committee about Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, and according to those people, Jackson would hand out prescriptions 'like candy.' " 

–– Ok, what drugs?: According to Tester, Jackson would "go down the aisle way of the airplane and say, 'All right, who wants to go to sleep?' And hand out the prescription drugs like they were candy ... and put them to sleep and then give them the drugs to wake them back up again." https://cnn.it/2vMTCFw

HOW EVERYONE IS FEELING RIGHT NOW: "The White House is frustrated by a steady stream of critical headlines on Dr. Jackson. The Hill is frustrated by a lack of info from WH. 'Salvaging his reputation and his nomination' are top goal -- but officials conceded both might be tough to do." (Via CNN's Jeff Zelenyhttp://bit.ly/2HYkftw 

 

ARIZONA SPECIAL ELECTION

The gist: A Republican wins the deep-red seat, but by a uncomfortably small margin: 

Via The Hill's Lisa Hagen, Republican Debbie Lesko is projected to win Arizona's nationally watched special election, fending off a strong challenge from Democrats who have been overperforming in deep-red seats. http://bit.ly/2qXWGJj

Her Democratic opponentHiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room doctor and first-time candidate 

The vote: Lesko had 53 percent of the vote; Tipirneni had 47 percent. 

Why I said "uncomfortably small margin": Donald Trump won this district by 21 points in 2016. 

Why the special election: Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksFreedom Caucus bruised but unbowed in GOP primary fights Eric Schneiderman and #MeToo pose challenges for both parties The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ariz.) resigned from Congress last December over claims of inappropriate behavior. Back story: https://cnn.it/2HRCB1W

REACTION FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Trump congratulated Debbie Lesko (R) for her win and accused the national media of being "silent" on the race. Full tweet: http://bit.ly/2Hq69Ef

THE FREEDOM CAUCUS ADDS ONE: Via The Hill’s Scott Wong, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsKey conservative presses for shield law after seizure of NYT reporter’s records The Memo: Trump's legal troubles pile up despite release of IG report Wray defends FBI after 'sobering' watchdog report MORE (R-N.C.) told The Hill that Rep.-elect Debbi Lesko is expected to join his caucus. http://bit.ly/2KcJ0TC 

INTERESTING GRAPHIC ON REPUBLICAN TURNOUT SINCE 2016: The New York Times's Alexander Burns and Denise Lu pulled together data that show "Republicans [have] lost support in every special election since Trump became president." The data: https://nyti.ms/2HZJ5Jo

 

EARLIER THIS MORNING -- RIGHT OUTSIDE OF D.C.

Play ball!: 

Republican lawmakers began baseball practice this morning in Alexandria, Va., to prepare for June's Congressional Baseball Game. Keep in mind: This is the first baseball practice since House GOP Whip 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 (La.) was shot last year on the same field. http://bit.ly/2vJCq3G

  

NOTABLE TWEETS:

I see what you did there, Zinke...:

 

This is pretty unsurprising tbh:

Why she's on Capitol Hill: To push for safer cosmetics. Details: https://abcn.ws/2KbFCIu

 

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in.

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump received his daily intelligence briefing.

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

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Apple CEO Tim Cook in the Oval Office of the White House.

2:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Milwaukee.

3:45 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

Saturday: The annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. 

  

WHAT TO WATCH:

10 a.m. EDT: Oral arguments in the Supreme Court over President Trump's travel ban. Livestream of coverage: https://cs.pn/2Hp0xu1

10:30 a.m. EDT: French President Emmanuel Macron addressed a joint session of Congress. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2HqKKH2

Noon: The Senate debates Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump directs Pentagon to create 'Space Force' | Lawmakers say new branch needs their approval | Senate passes 6B defense policy bill | Pentagon suspends planning for 'war game' with South Korea Pompeo: China's calls for trade openness, globalization 'a joke' A mandate for change in Armenia MORE's nomination for secretary of State. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/2K8Faed

2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives the daily press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2qYlOQg

2:30 p.m. EDT: Attorney General 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 testifies at a Senate hearing over the Justice Department's 2019 budget. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2r2pjpJ

5:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks about tax cuts at an event in Wisconsin. 

9:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in an event for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). He then heads back to Washington, D.C.

8 p.m. EDT: Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGiuliani says his demand for Mueller probe to be suspended was for show Cuomo, Smerconish and Melber – Where facts matter 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 participates in a CNN town hall hosted by Anderson CooperDetails: https://cnn.it/2qU8uw7

10:30 a.m. EDT Thursday: Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies at a House Appropriations Committee hearing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HKPmLi

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Zucchini Bread Day. It's also National "Crotilla" Day. 

What is a "crotilla" you ask? It's a cross between a croissant and a tortilla. Photos and where to buy them: http://bit.ly/2Kb2XKg

 

Gmail wants to be the new Snapchat: 

Via CNN's Heather Kelly, Google is rolling out a redesigned Gmail layout this week. The biggest change: "Confidential mode" -- users can send emails that self-destruct in a set time frame and have to be opened with a passcode. Screenshot of the disappearing emails and a full list of changes: https://cnnmon.ie/2FfdGQn

 

Things are getting a little Spicey in New York today: 

Former White House Press Secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerSanders dismisses — but doesn't deny — reports about her exit Spicer joins pro-Trump super PAC CBS: Sanders may leave White House at end of year MORE (ahh, what a throwback) will unveil a wax figure of first lady 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 at New York's Madame Tussauds. Spicer will also talk about his time at the White House. Visitors: "Visitors will be able to tweet on Melania's behalf from a tweeting station nearby, which will then go live to a FLOMT (First Lady of Madame Tussauds) account." http://bit.ly/2Jsr9Xv

 

Happy World Penguin Day!: 

Lilly the penguin is visiting the Library of Congress today for World Penguin Day. Live feed from WJLA-TV: http://bit.ly/2HulDmO

 

And because you read this far, here's a penguin who swims thousands of miles a year to visit his best friend. Awwwww: http://bit.ly/2HsCTwR