The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: ISIS No. 2 killed | Trump's gender gap | Candidate tax plan calculator | Manchin's angry call to Clinton | Cherry blossom weekend

DEVELOPING THIS MORNING – ISIS NO. 2 KILLED: A man considered to be the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's second in command was killed by U.S. forces earlier this week, the Pentagon announced. "Removing this [ISIS] leader will hamper the organization's ability to conduct operations both inside and outside Syria and Iraq," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Friday. Carter declined to provide any more details on the operation that killed Haji Imam. More from The Hill's Rebecca Kheel 

It's Friday, and the cherry blossoms are peaking this weekend! Engage maximum tourist and allergy overdrive. 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 cherry blossom photos to and on Facebook.

NEW THIS MORNING – NOW THAT'S A SLAP IN THE FACE TO TRUMP: Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican (!), said he's open to voting for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 Left-leaning journalist: Sanders would be 'formidable candidate' against Trump Clinton hits EPA for approval of pesticide dump: ‘We need bees!’ MORE over Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE for president. This story is a taste of how a Trump/Clinton general election could result in total chaos. Gulp.

YES, UNFORTUNATELY THIS STORY IS STILL GOING ON: A Donald Trump aide has fulfilled the businessman's threat to "spill the beans" on Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE's wife, Heidi. The dirt: "She is a Bush operative, she worked for the architect of NAFTA, which has killed millions of jobs in this country, she was a member on the Council on Foreign Relations who in Sen. Cruz's own words called a nest of snakes that seeks to undermine national sovereignty and she's been working for Goldman Sachs, the same global bank that Ted Cruz left off of his financial disclosure," said Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson. The gist: Trump thinks Heidi Cruz was working against what Ted Cruz stands for.

WE'LL LET THAT BE A 'WHEN WE RETURN FROM RECESS' PROBLEM: Via The Hill's Sarah Ferris, Republicans have departed Washington for a two-week recess without moving any closer to a budget deal. Now, when they return in mid-April, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFive takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump MORE (R-Wis.) will have just four days to bridge wide gaps. Here's where the budget battle stands now:

AN INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE – BELGIUM'S UNDERSTATED MOOD: Via The New York Times's Dan Bilefsky, following 9/11 and the Paris attacks, there was an outpouring of patriotism with the American and French flags plastered everywhere. But not so in Belgium. "We Belgians do not wrap ourselves in the flag -- it is not our way," said Nicolas Gallet, 19. Why: The country is politically fragmented between the Dutch-speaking area in the north and the French-speaking part of the south.

I BET THIS WAS A FUN CONVERSATION: Via The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal Gabbard cites ‘concerns’ about ‘vagueness’ of Green New Deal MORE (D-W.Va.) was so livid over Hillary Clinton's remarks about the coal industry that he called her up and said, "My God."

DEVELOPMENT IN THE HRC EMAIL SERVER INVESTIGATION: Via The Hill's Julian Hattem, conservative legal watchdogs have discovered new emails from Hillary Clinton's private email server dating back to the first days of her tenure as secretary of State. Why this matters: Clinton's presidential campaign has previously claimed she did not use her account before March 2009, weeks after she was sworn in as secretary of State. The discovered email was dated Feb. 13, 2009.

NERD PROM IS A MONTH AWAY: Via The Hill's Judy Kurtz, the White House Correspondents' Association dinner is a month away, and here are the Hollywood names already expected to attend: Alan Cumming and Chris Noth of "The Good Wife," "Orange is the New Black" actress Natasha LyonneAnnaLynne McCord of "90210," and "Quantico" star Priyanka Chopra

THE CAPITOL IS EMERGING FROM ITS SHELL!: Scaffolding removal is complete at the cupola level of the U.S. Capitol dome. Here's a photo

YOU GOTTA BE POPULAR WITH DA LADIES: Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar -- first Megyn Kelly, then Carly Fiorina, now Heidi Cruz. GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump's controversial attacks on Ted Cruz's wife are spotlighting what could be one of Trump's biggest vulnerabilities in the general election: his poll numbers with women.  A new CNN survey, taken before the spat with the Cruzes, showed 73 percent of registered female voters have an unfavorable view of Trump.

TAX PLAN CALCULATOR: Vox has a simple calculator that tells you how each presidential candidate's tax plan affects you.

KIMMEL MANSPLAINS: Hillary Clinton appeared on Jimmy Kimmel's show last night, where he mansplained her stump speech. Three-minute clip:



C-SPAN'S Howard Mortman
Shhhh.....Don't tell the tourists about the best, easiest, quietest, beautifulest place to see Cherry Blossoms in DC

CBS's Mark Knoller
First Family even got a drive-by the Cherry Blossoms along 15th St NW. 

GOP Strategist Rick Wilson (Gilmentum, baby!)
Second look at Gilmore? 

Politico's Katelyn Fossett
Onion headline from 2006: 80 percent of Al-Qaeda's No. 2s Now Dead: 



1 p.m. EDT: Hillary for America will hold a press call featuring former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta, retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba and former senior U.S. government official Rand BeersRand BeersNational security figures urge Trump to disclose foreign business ties DNC creates cybersecurity board The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE.

3:45 p.m. EDT: Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders endorses Oakland teachers strike Dem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 News media has sought to 'delegitimize' Tulsi Gabbard, says liberal journalist MORE holds a rally in Portland, Ore.

10 p.m. EDT: Sanders holds a rally in Seattle.

1 p.m. tomorrow: The Washington State Democratic caucus starts. At stake: 101 bound delegates.

2 p.m. tomorrow: The Alaska Democratic caucus starts. At stake: 16 bound delegates

6 p.m. EDT tomorrow: Sanders holds a rally in Madison, Wis.

7 p.m. tomorrow: The Hawaii Democratic presidential preference poll will be held. At stake: 25 bound delegates

Sunday: Easter!

Sunday morning: Ted Cruz will appear on "Fox News Sunday."

Sunday morning: Sanders will appear on CNN's "State of the Union."



Today is International Waffle Day! And in the spirit of weekend creativity, here's a short video of chefs putting odd foods into waffle makers – and most worked! I'm lookin' at you, "waffle quesadilla." ;)

FUN READ – THE WORLD'S MOST UNUSUAL COLORS: There's a library at Harvard that stores and protects the world's rarest colors. Included in the most unusual colors are beetle extracts, poisonous metals, and human mummies. These photos are pretty cool.

I MEAN, THIS PROBABLY WON'T HELP PERCEPTIONS OF THE METRO...: Via PopVille, The Columbia Heights metro stop is installing new escalators (!) But they're closing the entire East side entrance for nine months (!) to build it.

HERE'S SOME WEEKEND POSITIVE MOTIVATION: J.K. Rowling shares her publishing rejection letters. Slay on, J.K.!

And to kick off the weekend vibes, here's a puppy that is doing it (life) correctly:


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