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 fights McCain over Yemen raid, claims Dems misrepresented Gorsuch remarks | WH struggles with leaks | Meet Sessions's Senate replacement | Conway promotes Ivanka's brand

ANNOUNCED THIS A.M. -- A NEW FACE ON CAPITOL HILL: Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) was named to the U.S. Senate on Thursday morning, replacing Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsJustice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Tuberville campaign bus catches fire in Alabama Doug Jones cuts pro-mask campaign ad: 'Our health depends on each other' MOREHow he got the job: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) appointed Strange just hours after Sessions was confirmed by the Senate to be the U.S. attorney general. A free ticket to the Senate?: Only temporarily. Strange will serve as senator until a special election sometime in 2018 to replace Sessions. That winner will then finish the remainder of Sessions's term, through 2020.

It's Thursday. 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.

JUST NOW -- ATTENTION WALTER WHITE: President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE on Thursday signed three executive actions on crime and public safety, including one that targets drug cartels. It's unclear what any of the actions would do precisely, and the White House did not immediately provide copies of what Trump had signed.

LIMITED TIME OFFER -- ENTER CODE "M-A-G-A" FOR 15 PERCENT OFF AND A FREE RED TRUCKER HAT: Kellyanne Conway, President Trump's senior adviser, promoted Ivanka Trump's line of clothing and accessories during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" this morning. "Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you. I hate shopping but I'm going to go get some for myself today. ... I'm going to give it a free commercial here, go buy it today," Conway said.

SCOTUS DRAMA -- WHERE'S THE REAL WORLD'S CONFESSION ROOM WHEN YOU NEED IT?​: President Trump this morning contradicted a spokesman for his Supreme Court nominee. Trump took to Twitter to blast Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who told reporters that Judge Neil Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "demoralizing."

Tweet: "Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?"

Back story: On Saturday, Trump ripped the "so-called judge" in Seattle who halted his travel ban, saying the ruling was "ridiculous and will be overturned."

Then Wednesday: Blumenthal said that Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "disheartening" and "demoralizing." In a later statement, Blumenthal urged Gorsuch to make his concerns public. A spokesman for Gorsuch, though, confirmed he made those remarks to the senator.

TWITTER FIGHT DU JOUR -- MCCAIN: President Trump on Thursday morning tore into Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll Republican Scott Taylor wins Virginia primary, to face Elaine Luria in rematch MORE (R-Ariz.) on Twitter, saying McCain's concerns with a raid that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL "emboldens the enemy." Tweets: "Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He's been losing so ... long he doesn't know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in -- bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero ... Ryan died on a winning mission (according to General Mattis), not a 'failure.' Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!"

FUN READ -- WE LIKE EACH OTHER. I. SWEAR.: Via New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi, Trump's senior staffers Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon are trying to shut down rumors they don't get along -- and they're making a big effort to show they're friends. Funny excerpt:

"'I'm quite aggressive, and Reince is a calming influence on hey -- bang bang bang, here's how we ought to think about doing that,' Bannon said, explaining how their personal styles complement each other.
'We talk a lot, pretty much all day long,' Priebus said. 'And then we communicate at night-- '
'Until we fall asleep,' Bannon interjected with a laugh.
Priebus cut in, 'Until somebody falls asleep … You fell asleep last night.'
'I did,' Bannon said.
'I think, like, a quarter to 11,' Priebus added.
'I did,' Bannon said.
'He became unresponsive,' Priebus laughed."

Insight from The Hill's Will Sommer: "Whenever two people insist to a reporter that they're getting along, that's a good sign they're not getting along"

​JUST ANNOUNCED — ​CUE D.C. WOMEN REACTING SIMILARLY TO "THE BEATLES" U.S. VISIT OR A "ONE DIRECTION" CONCERT: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit the White House Monday.

STARTING TODAY -- THE PIPELINE RESTARTS: The company behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline has restarted construction in the disputed area around and under a North Dakota lake.

THE LEAKY FAUCET: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Donald Trump's White House has sprung a remarkable number of leaks since his inauguration. The question is where they're coming from. This is a fascinating read.

OH HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED: Check out the covers of Time magazine in May 2009 vs. Feb. 2017.



BUT WHAT ARE THE OLYMPICS WITHOUT BOB COSTAS?!: NBC host Bob Costas is ending his record as the prime-time Olympic host after 11 Olympic cycles. Who's taking over: Mike Tirico; he hosted daytime coverage of the Rio Olympics and the closing ceremony.

USING THE YOUNGER GUYS AS LAB RATS: The MLB is considering a rule change for extra innings in baseball. Basically, a runner would start on second base at the start of extra innings. "While the specifics of the rule are not final, the current plan is to start with a runner on second base in the 10th and every inning thereafter." How they're testing this idea: The minor leagues will try it this year.

HAPPENING TONIGHT -- MEN'S BASKETBALL DOUBLE-HEADER: Duke plays UNC at 8 p.m. Oregon plays UCLA at 10 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN.



NBC's Frank Thorp V
Sen. Sessions boards the elevator after walking off the Senate floor for the last time as a Senator following the vote to confirm him as AG. Photo: 

The Hill's Pete Schroeder
Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDACA remains in place, but Dreamers still in limbo Bottom line Bottom line MORE has an IMdB page. The fact he's a high-ranking U.S. senator is listed under "trivia." 

"Here's a song Orrin Hatch wrote about Ted Kennedy & wife, also part of the Oceans 12 soundtrack. All this is true:"

Martha Stewart
I decided to plow now I am stuck darn!!!!! Photo



The House is out. The Senate is in working on the confirmation of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for Health and Human Services secretary.

Noon: United Against Nuclear Iran and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America's Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy are co-hosting an event on U.S. policy on Iran. Speakers include: Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks Hickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary MORE (R-Colo.), former Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker and former Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Biden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' MORE (R-Ill.)

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with red state Democratic senators for lunch at the White House to discuss his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. What to know:

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks with Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah of Kuwait by phone.

2:45 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq by phone.

10 a.m. EST Friday: Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyConnecticut senators call for Subway to ban open carry of firearms Democrats optimistic about chances of winning Senate Gridlock mires chances of police reform deal MORE (D-Conn.) speaks at a Washington Post breakfast.

1 p.m. EST Monday: Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) speaks at the Birpartisan Policy Center at an event on infrastructure in 2017.



Noon: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) gives the state's biennial budget address. Keep in mind: There's a snowstorm in N.H. right now, but the show must go on! Live stream:

Fun fact: "Gov. Chris rides in a plow truck at the Hooksett NH DOT facility. Best part of the job he said." (From The Union Leader's Dave Lane) Photo:

1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Live stream:

9 p.m. EST: "The Messy Truth," a CNN town hall hosted by Van Jones, returns with guest Bill Maher. Live stream:

8 p.m. EST: MSNBC's Chris Hayes hosts a special town hall, "Chicago in the Crosshairs."



Today is National Bagel Day (!!) Here's where to get a free bagel today:

And just to stress everyone out, it's ALSO National Pizza Day (!!) Way to not spread out the major holidays. Anyway, here's where to get free pizza today:

UGH, I HAVE BAD NEWS FROM THE FAST FOOD INDUSTRY: KFC announced an addition to its menu: the "Chizza." Let's just say the crust is made out of fried chicken. Sigh. KFC's photos vs. consumer photos:

And because you read this far, here are kayakers lifted out of the water by a humpback whale:


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