The Hill's 12:30 Report

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 mocks Schwarzenegger at prayer breakfast | Arnold fights back | Questions mount over Yemen raid | Trump lashes out at Aussie PM | Dems plan protest for Trump speech | McCain photobomb

THIS MORNING -- NOW LET US PRAY FOR THOSE IN MY WRATH: President Trump this morning addressed the National Prayer Breakfast, with his opening remarks noting his "tremendous success" as the star of the reality show "Celebrity Apprentice," as well as the show's drop in ratings since he left. "We know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It's been a total disaster," Trump said about the show since Arnold Schwarzenegger started hosting, Trump said. Pray for Arnold (yep, this happened): "And I want to just pray for Arnold if we can, for those ratings," he joked.


THE TERMINATOR FIGHTS BACK: "Hey Donald I have a great idea. Why don't we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you're such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job," Schwarzenegger in a video. "And then people can finally sleep comfortable again. Hmm?" Watch:

OTHER NEWS FROM THE BREAKFAST: President Trump vowed to "destroy" the Johnson Amendment, which prevents religious groups and churches from engaging in political activities. The president added that freedom of a religion is a "sacred right," but that it is also "under threat."

It's Thursday. Happy Groundhog Day and cheers to six more weeks of winter. Yay... 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.

BREAKING -- 'SCUSE ME, COMIN' THROUGH: Republicans on a Senate committee have suspended their rules to push through President Trump's EPA pick, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, despite a boycott by Democrats.

TALKED ABOUT THIS MORNING, 1 -- BECAUSE WE CLEARLY MUST NOT DESERVE A QUIET MORNING THESE DAYS: Via The Washington Post's Greg Miller and Philip Rucker, in a Saturday phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, President Trump lambasted an agreement between the two countries over refugee resettlement and bragged about the size of his Electoral College victory. This part is awkward: "At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day -- including Russian President Vladimir Putin -- and that 'this was the worst call by far.'" Yikes. Keep in mind: The U.S. has a very strong relationship with Australia. Full report:

REACTION -- MCCAIN CALLS THE AUSSIES: Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll MORE (R-Ariz.) said he called the Australian ambassador to express support for the countries relationship after a heated call from President Trump. 

TALKED ABOUT THIS MORNING, 2 -- BAD HOMBRE IS REFERRING TO A POORLY EXECUTED HAIR STYLE...RIGHT?: I kid, I kid. Via The Associated Press's Vivian Salama, in a phone call, President Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that he is ready to send U.S. troops to stop the "bad hombres down there" unless Mexico does more to stop them.

YESTERDAY, THE WHITE HOUSE FIRST DISPUTED THIS: From a White House official: "Reports that the President threatened to invade Mexico are false. Even the Mexican government is disputing these reports." From Mexico's foreign relations department: "The assertions that you make about said conversation do not correspond to the reality of it. ... The tone was constructive and it was agreed by the presidents to continue working..."

BUT THEN TODAY​...: The White House confirmed the exchange happened but said it was lighthearted. "Those comments, while lighthearted, were part of a discussion about how the United States and Mexico could work collaboratively to combat drug cartels and other criminal elements, and make the border more secure," an official said.

GUYS, THIS IS THE BEST THING I'VE SEEN ALL DAY: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) photo-bombed Manu Raju's live shot on CNN. Video:

WHAT TO KNOW IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS -- TRUMP'S FIRST MILITARY OPERATION: The first military operation ordered by President Trump may have resulted in as many as 30 civilian deaths and the killing of an American operative, according to several reports questioning the intelligence behind the raid in Yemen.

Why it may have gone awry: Via Reuters, U.S. military officials said the operation was approved without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup operations.

Why Trump went to Delaware unannounced yesterday: Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens died in the raid. President Trump flew to Dover Air Base in Delaware yesterday, unannounced, to visit with Owens's family.

THIS A.M. -- NO SPEAKER? NO SOUP FOR YOU!: President Trump has threatened to cut federal funding to the University of California, Berkley. Why: Violent protests broke out on its campus Wednesday in response to a planned appearance by a far-right commentator. His tweet: "If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view -- NO FEDERAL FUNDS?"

AND WE THOUGHT THE UNCOMFORTABLY AWKWARD GUESTS WERE A THING OF THE PAST -- Ha, haha, haaaaah (blink twice for help): House Democrats are rallying behind a plan to make President Trump's first speech to Congress as uncomfortable as possible by inviting guests they say will suffer under new White House policies. What kind of people we talkin': ethnic minorities, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, the disabled and others. Is this giving anyone else flashbacks to the "Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonKanye West says he had coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report- Presented by Facebook - Trump threatens schools' funding over reopening Fox News apologizes for 'mistakenly' cropping Trump out of photo with Epstein, Maxwell MORE accusers in the audience" debate stunt of 2016?

'TIS THE SEASON: "The Senate halls are abuzz with Girl Scout cookie orders." (h/t Politico's Sarah Ferris)

ICYMI -- BRIEF CATCH-UP ON GORSUCH: Here's a short video primer on Judge Gorsuch's nomination for the Supreme Court.



The Onion (Onion...ILY)
Depressed Groundhog Sees Shadow Of Rodent He Once Was 



The House and Senate are in.

1 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Harley-Davidson executives and union representatives.

1:30 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. Their schedule today

4:15 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.



Happening now: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Live stream:

7 p.m. EST: MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosts "Power in the Presidency" from American University. Interviews include pre-taped segments with Trump aide Kellyanne Conway and Khizr Khan

Sunday: Vice President Pence, 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.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press."



Today is National Tater Tot Day!

IN POP CULTURE NEWS -- THE BEY HIVE GROWS BY TWO: Beyoncé announced on Instagram yesterday that she is pregnant with twins. Well, she has shattered the record for most-liked photo on Instagram.

RELEASED TODAY -- PUTTING A PRICETAG ON YOUR LOVE: Via The Knot's 2016 Real Weddings study, the average cost of a wedding is up to a record high of $35,329 in 2016, up 8 percent from 2015. Here are graphics of the average cost of a wedding by state, plus the average spent on each component:

And to briefly distract you, here's a cool optical illusion: figure out which of these items is real and which is a painting:


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