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 threatens to 'fight' Freedom Caucus in midterms | Meet Trump's Ms. Fix-It | What Dubya really thought of Trump's inauguration | Putin says 'read my lips,' no election meddling | Senate Intel panel holds first public Russia hearing

PEW PEW PEW -- WHAT, YOU THOUGHT I WOULDN'T FIGHT YOU JUST BECAUSE WE'RE WEARING THE SAME JERSEY?!: President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE threatened to "fight" the Freedom Caucus in the midterms if they continue to clash with Republicans. Tweet: "The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!"

SNAPS IN A Z PATTERN: "It didn't take long for the swamp to drain Donald Trump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment," Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashKudlow acknowledges executive orders may end up in court: 'We're going to go ahead with our actions anyways' Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Peter Meijer wins GOP primary in Amash's Michigan district MORE (R-Mich.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, fired back.

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.

BEST THING I'VE READ ALL DAY, WEEK, YEAR -- AND THE PHOTO MAKES IT THAT MUCH BETTER: New York magazine's Yashar Ali uncovered what former President George W. Bush really thought of President Trump's inaugural speech. "According to three people who were present, Bush gave a brief assessment of Trump's inaugural after leaving the dais: 'That was some weird shit.' All three heard him say it."

HAPPENING TODAY -- IF I HAD A NICKEL FOR EVERY TIME I TYPED 'RUSSIA': The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding its first open hearing in its investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. Live blog of updates:

SOOO, UHHH, WHO WANTS TO TELL PUTIN WHY PEOPLE REALLY REMEMBER BUSH'S 'READ MY LIPS' LINE..?: Russian President Vladimir Putin this morning said he was "confident" Russia did not interfere in last year's U.S. presidential election. Why this is laughable: Asked if Russia meddled in the election, Putin cited former President Reagan in his quote, "Read my lips, no." Something seem off there??: "Read my lips" was actually former President George H.W. Bush's infamous (!) 1988 campaign pledge not to institute any new taxes.

SECRET WEAPON: Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian, meet President Trump's 43-year-old secret weapon: Dina Powell. She's the deputy national security adviser for strategy and one of the few White House aides with extensive experience in a past Republican administration. But not just that job: She has taken on a large list of responsibilities touching on foreign and domestic policy. Powell was asked by senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, to serve in a new office tasked with using private-sector ideas to overhaul the federal government. Plus: She is also advising President Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump on economic initiatives.

A LIL' GAME OF REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY: Senate Democratic leaders are giving centrist colleagues room to decide on Neil Gorsuch for themselves despite strong pressure from the liberal base to sink President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. How so: Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers push Trump to restore full funding for National Guards responding to pandemic Bipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Lawmakers of color urge Democratic leadership to protect underserved communities in coronavirus talks MORE (N.Y.) is having one-on-one conversations with undecided members of their conference, but Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he's not tallying votes.

BAD NEWS FOR AN OBAMACARE REPEAL -- ​NO WAY, GUYS: The Republican centrist Tuesday Group affirmed at a meeting Wednesday that it will not meet with the conservative House Freedom Caucus to negotiate changes to an ObamaCare replacement bill. according to Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.). "We have never negotiated with the Freedom Caucus. There was never a meeting scheduled with the Freedom Caucus. We will never meet with the Freedom Caucus, because it's not appropriate for a group of ad hoc members."

TALK OF THE MORNING SHOWS -- NOW EVERY DAY CAN BE 'BRING YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY'!: Via The New York Times's Maggie Haberman and Rachel Abrams, President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump is becoming an official White House employee, though unpaid. Why this is good: It makes her role official and puts her under the same rules as employees. "She was [already] in the process of receiving government-issued security clearance and communications devices. But that plan had prompted criticism from ethics experts, who had said it would allow her to avoid financial disclosure rules."



Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama MORE (R-Tenn.) (Wow, R on R fighting.)
We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem. 

Back story to the tweet: Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey MORE (R-Wis.) said in an interview this morning that he does not want to work with Democrats on healthcare legislation, breaking with President Trump's recent comments. Full comments:

National Journal's Daniel Newhauser
Rep Chris Collins says Tuesday Group met last night agreed they won't meet or work w Freedom Caucus. "If that call comes in just hang up" 

Matt Drudge
Intriguing lunch in hill office of America's best senator, Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies After trillions in tax cuts for the rich, Republicans refuse to help struggling Americans MORE. He's bold, brave and has somehow kept his heart in such a corrupt city 



The House and Senate are in.

Noon: President Trump has a legislative affairs lunch on combating opioid drug abuse in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

2 p.m. EDT: Part two of the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Note: Russian experts testified this morning. Cybersecurity experts are testifying in the afternoon.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark. 



1:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Livestream:

3 p.m. EDT: Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerCongress botched the CFPB's leadership — here's how to fix it White House, Senate GOP clash over testing funds Prioritizing access to care: Keeping telehealth options for all Americans MORE (R-Neb.) speak at an American Enterprise Institute event on the internet of things. Livestream:



Today is National Turkey Neck Soup Day. Eh?

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T CALL BACK A NUMBER YOU DON'T KNOW: A new phone scam involves scammers calling a number and immediately hanging up. The numbers may appear to be local and legitimate, but are actually expensive long-distance calls. Examples: "'649' goes to the Turks and Caicos, '809' goes to the Dominican Republic, '284' goes to the British Virgin Islands and '876' goes to Jamaica -- despite the fact that they look like domestic numbers."

LOL THIS HEADLINE: From BuzzFeed's Kassy Cho, "Oh My God, Please Stop Popping Your Soup Dumplings Before You Eat Them: Enough of this madness."

And because you read this far, here's a dog that can't stop smiling after getting out of surgery:


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