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: Trump signs exec actions on trade, abortion, hiring freeze | Rubio to back State pick | Spicer, press gear up for first briefing | Behind-the-scenes drama over CIA pick | National Pie Day 

BREAKING -- THIS BETTER NOT AFFECT MY AVOCADO ACCESS ;) President Trump signed an executive order today announcing his plan to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. What else?: Via CNBC, Trump plans to renegotiate a free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Did we see this coming: Yes, eliminating the North American Free Trade Agreement was a frequent campaign promise from Trump.

Keep in mind: Congress never ratified the TPP -- President Obama had hoped to push it through before leaving office.

JUST LIKE A LOCAL FURNITURE COMMERCIAL -- SLASH THIS, SLASH THAT, AND SLASH THOSE PRICES!: President Trump vowed to slash taxes for U.S. companies as long as they keep their operations within the United States during a Monday meeting with business leaders. "We're trying to get it down anywhere from 15 to 20 percent, it's now 35 percent, but it's probably more 38 percent than it is 35," he told a group of business leaders at the White House.

IT MAY NOT BE PRETTY THOUGH: President Trump may be headed into a big fight with Republican lawmakers over his plans for dramatic cuts to federal spending.

ALSO BREAKING -- DAY 1, MORE EXECUTIVE ORDERS: President Trump signed two other executive orders: one blocking foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that provide or "promote" abortions. The other places a hiring freeze on non-military federal workers.

It's Monday, D.C. has cleared out from the weekend madness and we're back to our own, usual, daily chaos. *small chuckles slowly turn into sniffles* 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.


BREAKING -- GRUMBLE, FINE. SURE. SOUNDS DANDY: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Congress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help MORE (R-Fla.) posted on Facebook that he will support Rex Tillerson's nomination for secretary of State. "I must balance [my] concerns with his extensive experience ... it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy. Therefore, despite my reservations, I will support Mr. Tillerson's nomination in committee and in the full Senate."

THROWBACK: Less than two weeks ago, Rubio called Tillerson's positions on Russia "troubling." The exchange was tense and awkward. Watch:

SPOTTED: Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Congress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' probe report MORE (D-N.H.) has been spotted in the Manchester, N.H. airport waiting for her flight to Washington, D.C.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF THE CIA NOMINEE DRAMA: Via The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes, President Trump expected to have Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) confirmed as CIA director on Inauguration Day. Pompeo will almost certainly be confirmed, but partisan nastiness behind the scenes delayed the vote. Wow, this sounds tense: 

"[Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer told Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: Pompeo floats TikTok ban | Civil rights groups slam Facebook after call | Election security funding included in proposal Pompeo: US 'certainly looking at' ban on Chinese social media apps like TikTok Overnight Defense: DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding MORE that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he'd know that Republicans didn't extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump may be DACA participants' best hope, but will Democrats play ball? Biden hires top aides for Pennsylvania Spencer Cox defeats Jon Huntsman in Utah GOP governor primary MORE'Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,' Cotton snapped. 'So don't talk to me about where I was 8 years ago.'" 

SPOTTED: "[Tesla CEO and founder] Elon Musk walking in the West Wing here at the White House ahead of the 9 am CEO meeting." (h/t CNBC's Eamon Javers)



I CAN'T BELIEVE THE FIRST TRUMP NEWS CYCLE IS OVER CROWD SIZES...: Eh, no, maybe I can. Sigh. Anyway, the Trump administration disputed media reports of low turnout for Friday's inauguration. Saturday, Sean Spicer held his first official appearance as White House press secretary, accusing reporters of making inaccurate claims, then took no questions. Press conference, shmress shmonference. Politico then fact-checked Spicer's statement and reported four inaccurate claims in the 5 minutes and 30 seconds of speaking:

LINE OF THE WEEK -- 'ALTERNATIVE FACTS': Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, then went on NBC's "Meet the Press" to discuss the fight. "Conway ... said the White House press secretary gave 'alternative facts' when he inaccurately described the inauguration crowd as 'the largest ever' during his first appearance before the press this weekend." 

Notice: Conway even pauses with a small smile after she says "alternative facts." Watch the back-and-forth.

MUST READ -- IF THAT WEEKEND IS A PREVIEW TO THE NEXT 4 YEARS, YOU CAN FIND ME SCREAMING INTO A PILLOW: Via The New York Times's Peter Baker, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, even Trump's top aides were troubled by his rocky first weekend. "The lack of discipline troubled even senior members of Mr. Trump's circle, some of whom had urged him not to indulge his simmering resentment at what he saw as unfair news coverage. Instead, Mr. Trump chose to listen to other aides who shared his outrage and desire to punch back. By the end of the weekend, he and his team were scrambling to get back on script."

INTERESTING BACK AND FORTH: Former George W. Bush's press secretary Ari Fleischer and former President Obama press secretary Jay Carney debated current White House press secretary Sean Spicer's first official statement on Saturday from the White House.

Fleischer: "This is called a statement you're told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching."

Carney: "Wrong. The President I worked for never told me to lie. Ever. And I doubt Pres. Bush ever told Ari Fleischer to lie. Today was not normal."

Fleischer: "No. Not wrong. It indeed wasn't 'normal', but the reason Sean said it was because his boss told him to say it. He didn't wing it."

CNBC's John Harwood then asked Carney and Fleischer: "What should a WH press secretary do if directed by his boss to say something untrue?"

Carney: "Not an experience I had, but in your scenario the press secretary should decline."



Mary McGill
The Trump Sandwich Special, spotted in Ballymote, Sligo. Side orders include 'indigestion' & 'heartburn'. 

NYT's Maggie Haberman
Announcers at an NBA game were making #SpicerFacts jokes this weekend. This moment broke through huge. And can't be put back in bottle.



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is holding lots of meetings in the White House today.

1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Live-stream: And it's safe to assume that all the major cable news networks will air this live. 

1:30 p.m. EST: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) meets with women's rights advocates after the Women's March on Washington.

3 p.m. EST: Senate meets to consider Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) for CIA director.

3 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with union leaders and American workers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

4:30 p.m. EST: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes on secretary of State nominee Rex TillersonLive-stream:

5 p.m. EST: The House Rules Committee will meet to discuss the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.

5 p.m. EST: President Trump brings congressional leaders from both parties to the White House for a reception.

6 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.).

6:30 p.m. EST: The House votes on a series of suspension bills.

7 p.m. EST: MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid moderates a candidate forum for chair of the Democratic National Committee. All seven candidates will participate. Live-stream:

Tonight: "Ryan hosting Pence tonight for dinner at Capitol. Also expected are top Trump aides: Priebus Bannon Kushner et al. Also HHS nominee Price." (From Fox's Chad Pergram)

10 a.m. EST Tuesday: Senate confirmation hearing for Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for Health and Human Services secretary.

10:30 a.m. EST Tuesday: The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Live-stream:



Today is National Pie Day!

TALKED ABOUT -- AZIZ ANSARI FOR THE WIN: This week's "Saturday Night Live" was much anticipated after the newsy week. Comedian Aziz Ansari's opening monologue was what we all needed. Watch:

And because you read this far, here's a day-old baby sea otter floating around in the water.


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: