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: Nunes, White House blocked ex-acting AG from testifying | Ryan preps for next crisis | GOP leaders say ObamaCare repeal work isn't done | Mystery over Ivanka's role | Trump to sign climate order

HAPPENING THIS A.M. -- KUMBAYAH, COLLEAGUES. KUMBAYAH: House Republicans on Tuesday said they are not giving up on their effort to repeal ObamaCare despite the failure of their replacement bill last week. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocratic super PAC quotes Reagan in anti-Trump ad set to air on Fox News: 'Are you better off?' Trump lashes out at Reagan Foundation after fundraising request The Memo: Trump's grip on GOP loosens as polls sink MORE (R-Wis.) said lawmakers will keep trying to find a path forward on repeal and replacement even while moving on to other issues in the short term.  "We're going to get this right, and in the meantime we're going to do all of our other work that we came here to do," he told reporters Tuesday.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: "Clear message from [House GOP] Leadership at closed-door conference: Unify or die. Can't isolate groups or caucuses. Need to come back together now."

YEAH BUT -- RECORD SCRATCH TO A SCREECHING STOP: Just a few hours ago, Republican President Donald Trump tweeted, "The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win!"

It's Tuesday. 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.

PUBLISHED LATE THIS A.M. -- WHY NUNES IS DREAMING ABOUT APRIL RECESS: Via The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) abruptly canceled a committee hearing, a move by the Trump administration "to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, The Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry."

LATEST ON THE NUNES KERFUFFLE -- NO MEETINGS FOR YOU: Via CNN's Manu Raju, the House Intelligence Committee has canceled its meetings for the week amid pressure from Democrats for Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to recuse himself from the panel's probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election. The straw that broke the camel's back: Tension rose when Nunes reportedly canceled a public hearing about Russia that was set to take place today.

WELL THIS HAS ESCALATED QUICKLY: The storm around Nunes intensified Monday after it was revealed that he secretly visited the White House grounds the day before announcing that the intelligence community had, through incidental surveillance, obtained material on members of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE's transition team. Nunes struggled to provide an explanation for the unusual trip.

NUNES REACTS: This morning, Nunes brushed aside calls to recuse himself from the panel's investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. Pushed repeatedly on whether he would continue to lead the investigation, Nunes declined to answer definitively -- but signaled that he did not intend to step down. "Why would I not [continue to lead the investigation]?" he said. "I'd like to answer your question, but I'd like to know first, why that would be? Help me understand."

RYAN'S GOT HIS BACK: Asked this morning whether Nunes should recuse himself, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said, "no."

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE WIZARD OF OZ: Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, "Ivanka Trump is a mystery, even to some people working with her in the White House. The first daughter, who will soon occupy a second-floor office in the West Wing, has been at the epicenter of her father's White House ... but she's also taken a hands-off approach on major legislative issues such as healthcare ... it's been a frustration to some working at the White House.

NEXT LEGISLATIVE CRISIS -- *STARTS A 'PAUL RYAN NEEDS A SUMMER VACATION' GOFUNDME*: Via The Hill's Scott Wong, "A wounded Paul Ryan is facing another potential crisis over the next month. The Speaker, who saw his years-long effort to repeal ObamaCare collapse last week after a rebellion on the right, must come up with a plan to fund the federal government and avert a shutdown." Timing: Government funding expires on April 28, but the House has a two-week recess in April.

AND UP AFTER THAT -- SHORT EXPLAINER: Here's the difference between tax cuts and tax reform. You're going to be hearing a lot about it.

EARLIER ​TODAY -- WHITE HOUSE LOCKDOWN: The Secret Service placed the White House on lockdown Tuesday due to a suspicious package. Clearing the area: "Secret Service agents cleared all media/visitors off White House North Lawn. Snipers seen roaming property." (From NBC's Peter Alexander) Context: The lockdown comes after a series of security breaches, including a man who allegedly jumped the fence earlier this month.

UPDATE ON THE SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE -- LOCKDOWN LIFTED: "An agency spokesperson told reporters the incident began when a man holding a package approached a uniformed officer at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Ave at 10:15 AM and made suspicious comments. The man was later taken into custody by the Secret Service." 

MAR-A-LAGO COSTS ARE OVERWHELMING WEST PALM BEACH -- 'WHAT, DO YOU THINK WE'RE MADE OF MONEY?!': The Democratic lawmaker whose district includes President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is asking the White House to alleviate the "financial burden" of his near-weekly visits. Costs piling up: $1.7 million in overtime work paid by the Sheriff's Department and Fire Rescue and $60,000 in overtime to law enforcement handling protests. Example of one trip alone: Trump's hosting of Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next month is expected to cost the Sheriff and Fire departments $280,000 alone. Airport burdens: Flights cannot take off from a local airport when Trump is in town, so the airport loses about $30,000 each visit and lost a $440,000 annual contract with a helicopter company that moved to another airport due to the security measure.

SPOTTED AT THE AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM: First daughter Ivanka Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum event to highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Photos:

PERFECT TIMING WITH THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS: The Embassy of Japan and the U.S.-Japan Caucus hosted a reception last night to welcome the 115th Congress. Spotted: Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertMail ballot surge places Postal Service under spotlight Bottom Line The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (R-Wash.), Diana DeGette, (D-Colo.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenHouse Dems introduce bill to require masks on planes and in airports Trump raises idea of delaying election Democrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle MORE (D-Wash.) and Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah). Photo:



Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere (Ooooof.)
For sale in the Trump Tower gift shop: 

Author Gwenda Bond (Ugh.)
Best/worst headline ever: Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year 

Brian Fung
You can now call your congressman through Facebook. Video how-to: 



The House and Senate are in.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump signs an executive order to undo many of President Obama's environmental policies. What to expect:

3 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. Their schedule:

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

5 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

6:30 p.m. EDT: Symone Sanders, former national press secretary for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Trump Spanish-language ad equates progressives, socialists Biden's tax plan may not add up MORE's (I-Vt.) Democratic presidential campaign, speaks at a "Women In Media" event at the National Press Club. Info

7 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts a reception for senators and their spouses.

8 a.m. EDT Wednesday: The Hill is hosting an event on "Infrastructure Modernization: A US-Canada Conversation." Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition's Task Force on Infrastructure, and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, are among the speakers. The Hill's Bob Cusack and Melanie Zanona are moderating. Details and registration:

10 a.m. EDT Wednesday: Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), "Chief Deputy Whip of the Democratic Caucus [and] an expert on healthcare issues, who played a major role in the development of the Affordable Care Act," speaks at the National Press Club.

Friday: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired MORE speaks at Georgetown University.

Monday: Opening Day at Nationals Park! Rumor has it that President Trump may throw the opening pitch.



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

8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday: Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderChamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection Pelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive Senate GOP opens door to smaller coronavirus deal as talks lag MORE (R-Tenn.) speaks at an American Enterprise Institute event on the Every Student Succeeds Act. Live stream and info:

8 a.m. EDT Thursday: Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTea Party rises up against McConnell's trillion relief plan Hillicon Valley: Twitter bans thousands of QAnon accounts | Bipartisan support grows for election funds in Senate stimulus bill | Senate committee advances bill to ban TikTok from federal devices Senators demand answers on expired surveillance programs MORE (R-Utah) speaks at an American Enterprise Institute event about the division of congressional and executive powers. Live stream and info:



Today is National Black Forest Cake Day.

NOW WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS BEFORE? HMMMMMMM: Via The Verge's Casey Newton, Facebook just rolled out a new feature that looks like an exact copy of Snapchat. Photos:

FOR THE METS FANS IN THE GROUP: Via ABC7 New York, Citi Field is unveiling a new lineup of specialty foods this season. Think: ice cream cones filled with cookie dough and sushi from Daruma of Tokyo. Full lineup:

And because you read this far, here's a golden retriever popping a giant water balloon -- with some incredibly artsy camera angles:


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