The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

If you'd like to subscribe to The Hill's midday political newsletter, please click here:

The Hill's 12:30 Report: GOP huddles on SCOTUS strategy | Apple, feds dig in on encryption fight | Trump's SC victory lap | 106-year-old woman dances with the Obamas | National Margarita Day

1-800-US-GOVERNMENT: Via The Hill's Katie Bo Williams, Apple on Monday called on the government to withdraw its court order demanding the company assist in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Their alternative: Apple says the government should instead form a commission to study the problem of encryption.

NEW THIS MORNING -- N.H. ANNOUNCES DELEGATE COUNT: New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner certified the delegate count for the Republican National Convention. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE: 11; John Kasich: 4; Jeb Bush: 3; Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Biden team discussed 2020 run with O'Rourke as VP: report MORE: 3; and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioKevin McLaughlin tapped to serve as NRSC executive director for 2020 Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Senators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying MORE: 2. What changed: Trump gained one delegate at Rubio's expense. 

Welcome back from the weekend. Get ready for a week full of hearings about the fiscal 2017 budget. The deetz are below. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of what you missed this morning -- and what's on tap for the rest of the day. Send comments, story ideas and your favorite places to get margaritas (!) to and on Facebook.

THROW EVERYTHING ON THE BACK BURNER: Via The Hill's Alex Bolton, Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law Federal judge in Texas strikes down ObamaCare Ocasio-Cortez: By Lindsey Graham's 1999 standard for Clinton, Trump should be impeached MORE's (R-Ky.) priority has been to put his Republican colleagues in a strong position to win reelection in November. Oh but wait -- bottling up President Obama's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia could bring the work of the chamber to a screeching halt, if Democrats choose to retaliate. Conservatives say that's a risk McConnell has to take.

THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS -- TO CONFIRM OR NOT TO CONFIRM: Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, Senate Republicans will get their first chance to huddle as a conference this week and strategize about how to handle the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Also on the agenda...

SPORTSMEN'S BILL: The House is expected to consider legislation to expand access to recreational shooting, hunting and fishing on federal lands following President Obama's executive actions on guns. 

FDA NOMINEE: The Senate will vote on Robert Califf, President Obama's nominee for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

BUDGET: GOP leaders have been aiming for a committee markup of their budget by the end of February, but no markup has been added to the schedule this week. 

More on each: 

WINNERS AND LOSERS FROM SATURDAY: The Hill's Niall Stanage has a great breakdown of the winners and losers from Saturday's Republican primary in South Carolina and Nevada's Democratic caucuses. 

Winners: Republican candidates Donald Trump (who took all 50 delegates!) and Marco Rubio, Democratic candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMemo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report Trump will likely win reelection in 2020 Lanny Davis says Nixon had more respect for the Constitution than Trump MORE, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidManchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives Water wars won’t be won on a battlefield Poll finds most Americans and most women don’t want Pelosi as Speaker MORE (D-Nev.)

Losers: Republican candidates Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, Democratic candidate Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men Trump will likely win reelection in 2020 MORE and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOcasio-Cortez: By Lindsey Graham's 1999 standard for Clinton, Trump should be impeached Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Former FBI official says Mueller won’t be ‘colored by politics’ in Russia probe MORE (R-S.C.)

THE NOT-SO-HUMBLE BRAG -- TALK ABOUT A VICTORY LAP: Via The Hill's Jesse Byrnes, Donald Trump boasted his win Saturday with a wide demographic. "We won with women; I love the women. We won with men. I'd rather win with women, to be honest, but that's OK. We won with evangelicals, like unbelievable. ... We won with highly educated, pretty well educated and poorly educated," Trump continued. "But we won with everything. Tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people. Just won." 

HERE'S THE CRUZ CAMPAIGN APOLOGIZING AGAIN: Via The Hill's Jesse Byrnes, this time they're apologizing to Marco RubioRick Tyler, a top aide to Ted Cruz issued an apology to Rubio after distributing a video that appeared to show Rubio dismissing the Bible. Tyler called the story "inaccurate."

RELEASED TODAY -- RNC AD SLAMS CLINTONS: Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar, the Republican National Committee has dredged up old footage of Hillary Clinton's battle against President Obama in the 2008 South Carolina primary in hopes of undercutting her support among black voters. The new video is called, "The Clintons Hope you Forgot." Watch:

A LIGHT, INTERESTING READ: The Washington Post's Debra Bruno has a fascinating look inside the White House Press Room and the mix of characters. Essentially her point: the briefing room is filled not only with the major media outlets that we'd expect, but some unusual fringe journalists including an Uber driver (?), a woman who slowly leafs through a book of poetry in the back of the room (??) and an Indian man whose newspaper doesn't actually exist at the moment (???). Here's how they got in: 

TRENDING ON FACEBOOK THIS A.M. -- SNOWDEN SAYS HE'D RETURN, ON ONE CONDITION: Via The Guardian's Jamie Grierson, whistleblower Edward Snowden told supporters he would be willing to return to the United States if the government could guarantee him a fair trial. 

COME AGAIN FOR BIG FUDGE?!: (Shout out to anyone who gets this "How I Met Your Mother" reference.) Via Deb Riechmann of The Associated Press, Russia is asking for permission to fly over the United States with advanced digital cameras for surveillance. Why the...?: Russia and the U.S. have an Open Skies Treaty to foster transparency about military activity. OK, but wait: U.S. intelligence and military officials warn this will help Russia collect intelligence on the U.S. Here's our Jesse Byrnes with the recap. 

IN THE NEWS OVER THE WEEKEND: Via The Washington Post's Mark GuarinoWilliam Wan and Missy Ryan, an Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Mich., killed six people in a shooting spree. Authorities say he chose his victims at random. Here's the full story:



Fox News's Chad Pergram
Senate back for 1st time today since Scalia's death. Expect lots of buzz about what's the proper approach from here

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza
Donald Trump has won 66% of the available delegates in the GOP race so far.

The New York Times's Jonathan Martin
Carson statement for the ages! he "received as many delegates in South Carolina as all other candidates but the winner"

The Texas Tribune's Aman Batheja 
(A New York Times travel reporter happened to be a passenger on Megabus. That's bad news for Megabus.) Can we all agree this is the greatest 3-tweet story in the history of Twitter?



Today through Thursday: The National Congress of American Indians holds its 2016 Tribal Nations Legislative Summit at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Here's the agenda: 

11:10 a.m. EST: President Obama delivered remarks at the National Governors Association. Vice President Biden also attended.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate will hold a roll call vote. 

6:30 p.m. EST: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) campaigns in Charlottesville, Va. Note: he's the only GOP candidate not in Nevada, where Republicans are voting tomorrow.

7 p.m. EST: Donald Trump holds a rally in Las Vegas, Nev.

7 p.m. EST: Ben Carson holds a rally in Henderson, Nev.

10 a.m. EST tomorrow: Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryO'Rourke doubles support in CNN poll of Dem presidential race Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Court blocks Atlantic coast pipeline | Kerry calls Trump climate actions 'profoundly dangerous' | EPA asked to investigate Pruitt Fox News hits John Kerry: Trump's actions on climate change are 'profoundly dangerous' for planet MORE testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the State Department's budget request for fiscal year 2017. Details: 

10 a.m. EST tomorrow: Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee on the 2017 budget. Details: 

10 a.m. EST tomorrow: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the unaccompanied child crisis at the border. Details: 

10 a.m. EST tomorrow: The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the opioid epidemic. Info: 



7–11 p.m. EST tomorrow: Republicans caucus in Nevada. Note: Republicans must register to caucus in Nevada at least 10 days beforehand. 

Saturday: The South Carolina Democratic Primary.

Next Tuesday, March 1: Super Tuesday, when Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia have their primaries. Caucuses on this day also include Alaska Republicans, American Samoa Democrats, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota Republicans and Wyoming Republicans. 



Today is National Margarita Day! 

WELL I HAD NO IDEA THIS EXISTED: 18-20 ft. rock busts of each of the presidents are crumbling in a park in Virginia. The group restoring the memorials is hoping to make them a tourist attraction soon.

MUST-WATCH IF YOU'RE A GAME OF THRONES FAN: Seth Myers featured Melisandre from Game of Thrones on "Late Night" still in character. The clip is laugh-out-loud funny. WATCH:

THE STYLE SECTION: Kris Jenner described Caitlyn Jenner as the "worst dressed" at New York's fashion week. Tough crowd.

And with that, here is a video of 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin meeting President Obama and First Lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaRegina King says she'd be honored to portray Michelle Obama in a movie Michelle Obama jokes Barack's message of hope began with being late for dinner Michelle Obama does Fortnite 'orange justice' dance with Santa MORE. The three of them dance. It's heart-warming.


To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: