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: Senate panel to vote on Gorsuch | Both sides brace for nuclear option | Kushner in Iraq | Obama official reportedly sought Trump aides' names in intel report | Melania Trump's official portrait unveiled | Opening Day

JUST POSTED -- SUR *CLAP* VEIL *CLAP* LANCE: Via Bloomberg's Eli Lake, "White House lawyers last month discovered that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign."   

–– "Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment on Monday morning. Her role in requesting the identities of Trump transition officials adds an important element to the dueling investigations surrounding the Trump White House since the president's inauguration."

This is pretty complicated and it's still unclear what it means but here's a breakdown: Electronic eavesdropping for intelligence can sometimes pick up U.S. citizens who are not the targets, but whose communications are picked up incidentally. Usually, those incidental American names are left anonymous, like "U.S. Person One." But the Trump officials' names were unmasked. That is raising questions about whether they were incidental targets or were being purposely suveilled.

FLASHBACK: The report comes after Eli Lake last Thursday accused the House Intelligence Committee chairman of misleading him. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) "told me that his source for that information [about intelligence and Trump's transition] was an intelligence official, not a White House staffer. It turns out, he misled me. The New York Times reported Thursday that Nunes had two sources, and both worked for the White House," Lake wrote. Why that matters: "This distinction is important because it raises questions about the independence of the congressional investigation Nunes is leading, which may lead to officials at the White House."

It's Monday, but more importantly: opening day for most of Major League Baseball! The Washington Nationals play the Miami Marlins at 1:05 p.m., so keep an eye on those coworkers that don't come back to the office after lunch. ;) 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.

THEME OF THIS UPCOMING WEEK: ARCANE. SENATE. RULES.: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, senators in both parties are speculating that a blowup over President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE's Supreme Court nominee could lead not only to the end of the filibuster for such nominations, but for controversial legislation as well. We basically know what will happen if Dems filibuster: McConnell has all but promised to change the Senate's rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed in a majority vote if Democrats filibuster him. Timing of the showdown: This week, after a Senate Judiciary Committee vote today.

Bookmark this: Here's the constantly updated list of where each senator stands on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Current tally: 3 Dems for, 41 against. 

Live coverage: Follow the Senate Judiciary Committee vote here:

JUST NOW -- '​UNIQUE' ​IS A FUN WAY TO BE ​REFERRED TO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and President Trump met this morning and had a photo opp. The gist:

From AP's Vivian Salama: "Trump says he is behind Sisi and Egyptian people. Sisi says he has deep appreciation for Trump's 'unique personality.'"

BUZZ OF THE MORNING -- KUSHNER'S GETTING AWFULLY 'KUSHY' IN HIS NEW GIG: Via The New York Times's Maggie HabermanJared Kushner -- a senior adviser to President Trump who is also his son-in-law -- [has traveled to] Iraq with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph DunfordPurpose of the trip: "visiting the country as the American military is aiding Iraqi forces in their brutal fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State." Why heads are turning: "It was unclear what Mr. Kushner ... planned to gain from the trip."

Photo of Kushner in Iraq:

THIS A.M. -- OH, THE LIFE OF A 'FOX AND FRIENDS' PRODUCER MUST BE SO ENTERTAINING RIGHT NOW: President Trump praised a Fox News report this morning, "Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by Fox And Friends," the president said early Monday morning. "'Spied on before nomination.' The real story." Context: This tweet followed a report on Fox News promoted as a "bombshell."

Back story -- Fox report: According to that report, the intelligence official who unmasked the names of private citizens associated with the Trump campaign was "well-known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world."

JUST LIKE VEGAS -- WHAT HAPPENS ON TWITTER STAAAYS ON TWITTER: President Trump told the Financial Times he doesn't regret his tweets, noting that without the medium he might not be in the position he is now. "I don't regret anything, because there is nothing you can do about it. ... You know if you issue hundreds of tweets, and every once in a while you have a clinker, that's not so bad."

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS -- EXPLOSION AT A RUSSIAN METRO STATION: An explosion at a subway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, has killed 10 people, according to the Russian News Agency TASS. The Sennaya Square subway station is reportedly being evacuated after "an unidentified device" detonated inside a train. 

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON IN CONGRESS -- #IsItRecessYet vibes: Lawmakers will only have a few days to spare to avoid a government shutdown when they return from recess the last week of April; neither chamber is expected to consider a spending bill or even unveil a compromise this week before leaving town. Timing: Funding runs out on April 28, and any measure to meet the deadline isn't expected to come up for a vote until a few days prior, at the earliest. Full Congressional schedule:

JUST RELEASED -- OO​H LA LA: The White House just unveiled first lady Melania Trump's official photograph. Check it out:

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN -- WHO'S THE PRETTIEST OF THEM ALL: Nominations for The Hill's 2017 50 Most Beautiful are officially open. Who's eligible: Anyone who regularly works in politics and is primarily based in D.C. How to nominate someone: Email with a name, place of employment, contact information and a photo by May 26.

TUCKER CARLSON PROFILE: In The New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh profiles Fox News star Tucker CarlsonWhat a line: "I would love to have senators every night," Carlson says. "I only want to debate people who are more powerful than I am."



Twitter User Bern Morley (Bahaha this is amazing.)
Ominous sub-editing fail of the day 

Second lady Karen Pence (Wow, she can really paint.)
Presented Kate, an art therapist, with a watercolor I created of the VP residence as a way to say thanks to New York Presbyterian Hospital. Photo:

PBS's Lisa Desjardins
TOURISTS, OTHERS, note: short line for the final Gorsuch committee meeting! (Though he's not here.) Photo:

The Council on Foreign Relations' Micah Zenko (This is interesting.)
In my encounters with foreign govt folks, they now recognize Trump comments/tweets are no indication of the FP direction or goals.



The House met at noon. The Senate will be in at 3 p.m.

1:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump has a luncheon with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt.

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes.

6:30 p.m. EDT: The House votes.

12:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday: House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey Democratic super PAC quotes Reagan in anti-Trump ad set to air on Fox News: 'Are you better off?' MORE (R-Wis.) speaks at a WisPolitics luncheon in Washington, D.C. Livestream:



2:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Livestream:



Today is National Chocolate Mousse Day!

I JUST, I JUST, I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO FEEL...: Spaghetti doughnuts are now a thing. A Brooklyn food market mixed pasta with pasta sauce, formed it into a doughnut and cooked it until crispy. The photos are emotionally confusing:

WELP, APRIL FOOLS ON A WEEKEND IS DISAPPOINTING: But there still were a few good pranks. Here are some of the best -- sigh, I really wish the Oreo one was true.:

WHY #NEWCRAYONCOLORS HAS BEEN TRENDING ON TWITTER: Crayola announced it would be retiring Dandelion from its 24-count box. The company also announced it's creating a new color. Well, this turned into a Twitter joke, with users getting creative. My favorite examples: "Best Western Bedsheet (Color ONLY shows under black light)" and a bright orange one user named "Alternative Fact White." More -- they're pretty funny:

And to brighten your Monday, here's a funny trick to teach the cats in your lives:


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