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: Breaking - Bannon removed from National Security Council | Dem ends all-night Supreme Court protest | Tillerson heading to Russia | Trump pressures North Korea | Ivanka defends husband's WH role | Brooklyn's new avocado bar

BREAKING -- BANNON BOOTED FROM NSC: President Trump has removed chief White House strategist Steve Bannon from his role on the National Security Council (NSC). Don't forget: Bannon in January was elevated to a position on the NSC principals committee, in a shakeup of the council. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and director of national intelligence had their roles downgraded in the move.

It's Wednesday. 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 ENDED -- AT THIS RATE, IT'LL BE TUESDAY ALL WEEK IN THE SENATE: Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyPortland protesters clash with law enforcement for first time since federal presence diminished New York police confirm arrest of protester in unmarked van Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors MORE (D-Ore.) held an all-night talkathon from the Senate floor to protest Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination. Timing: He started speaking shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday and ended at 10:14 a.m. -- more than 15 hours later. At 6:30 a.m.: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) became the first senator to join Merkley's talkathon. 

PLEASE OH PLEASE LET A PHOTO EMERGE OF TILLERSON IN A RUSSIAN FUR CAP: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is traveling to Russia next week to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. During those meetings, Tillerson will discuss Ukraine, counterterrorism efforts and bilateral relations, among other issues. "This trip is part of our effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure U.S. views are clearly conveyed, including on next steps in Minsk implementation," said acting spokesman Mark Toner in a statement.

ANNOUNCED THIS A.M. -- MORE HOLLYWOOD IN THE (WHITE) HOUSE: Via The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has hired Josh Raffel, a top PR executive for Hollywood producer Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions, to run communications for the new White House Office of American Innovation.

TALK OF THE MORNING -- HALF OF WASHINGTON'S NEWEST POWER COUPLE: First daughter Ivanka Trump's interview on CBS aired this morning. Highlights: 

  • Ivanka says her father is always receptive to her opinion, even when they disagree.
  • Ivanka also shot down the possibility of running for office in 2024: "Politics is a tough business."
  • The first daughter on criticism that she is "complicit" in her father's policies: "I don't know what it means to be complicit, but I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly, that my father's administration is the success that I know it will be."
  • Ivanka also defended her husband Jared Kushner's White House role.

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS -- SOOO *NERVOUS LAUGH,* WHEN DO WE START PANICKING ABOUT NORTH KOREA...?: Via The Hill's Rebecca Kheel, lawmakers and the Trump administration are upping the pressure on China as worries about North Korea's nuclear capabilities grow. What they're up to: Satellite imagery in recent weeks has indicated that Pyongyang may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test, which would follow two nuclear tests and a flurry of missile tests over the last year.

IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND: North Korea fired a ballistic missile yesterday into waters off the peninsula, according to the U.S. military.

TILLERSON'S REACTION -- YOU'D THINK THIS WAS A TWEET BY THE BREVITY: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released an extremely brief statement. "North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment."

WHAT TO WATCH LATER THIS WEEK: President Trump is holding a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago later this week, which will present Trump with his first in-person opportunity to make progress on his stated goal of reining in North Korea. China is likely in the best position to accomplish that, as it has long propped up the isolated nation. 

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 TAKES UP BEEKEEPING! ... NO, INTERPRETIVE DANCE! ... NO, TAEKWONDO!: Hillary Clinton is very unlikely to return to her family's foundation, three sources close to the former Democratic nominee tell The Hill. "She's taking a look at her life and wants to try some different things," said one ally who has spoken to Clinton in recent weeks. "She's not tying herself to something that's always been an option. She wants to figure out what she wants to do." What she does know: Clinton wants to figure out how she can best use her voice for the benefit of the Democratic Party, sources say.

*PULLS OUT THE HANDY DANDY BULLHORN* 'WHAT DO WE WANT?' 'IDK, LOTS OF THINGS!' 'WHEN DO WE WANT THEM?' 'NOOOW!': Democrats plan to drive a hard bargain when Republicans try to pass a stopgap spending bill by the end of April to prevent a government shutdown. Why: They think any shutdown will be blamed on President Trump and Republicans. What to they want: A clean funding bill with no conservative policy riders. I.e., measures blocking ObamaCare funds, removing environmental protection, etc. What to expect:

CALLING ALL UBER DRIVERS -- INVEST. IN. SEATCOVERS.: Via Stat's Leah Samuel, there is a new trend for people who need a trip to the emergency room: calling an Uber instead of taking an ambulance. "The trend, experts say, is driven by a few key factors. Ride-hailing services are cheaper and more predictable than ambulance services. And it allows riders to choose the hospital they're taken to. But emergency Uber and Lyft rides come with significant risks -- to drivers, to patients, and potentially to the companies themselves."

NOT REPORTED UNTIL NOW -- KUSHNER'S MEETING BEFORE THE TRAVEL BAN: Via BuzzFeed's Hannah Allam, President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, quietly met with a group of Muslim leaders just weeks before Trump issued his initial travel order in late January. Details: "Though the transition team was based in Trump Tower, this meeting took place off site, away from the cameras. The goal was a candid talk about what kind of relationship the new administration might forge with American Muslims -- a minefield of a topic given Trump's anti-Muslim remarks during the campaign."



Yahoo's Colin Campbell
I like Ivanka brand tweets that could be White House subtweets.



The House and Senate are both in.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House.

4 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence hosts a reception for Gold Star wives.

5:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has a phone call with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

April 27: Former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObamas discuss pandemic, voting, anxiety and community in new podcast The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 The Obamas' production company fetches 7 Emmy nominations MORE will speak at a public architecture conference in Orlando, Fla. Details:



1:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a bilateral press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Livestream:



Today is National Caramel Day!

WE BOW DOWN TO YOU, BROOKLYN: An avocado bar -- a restaurant with avocados as its staple ingredient -- is opening in Brooklyn.

THE WOMAN BEHIND A PHOTO THAT WENT VIRAL: A recent "queer dance party" was held outside of Ivanka Trump's house as a protest. A photo emerged of a woman in a fur coat sipping wine outside of Trump's house watching the protest with a smile. The internet sure had fun with that one. Back story and interview with the woman:

And because I kept you this long, here's the best video I've seen in a while: birds dancing along to their owner's singing. Hint: The ending is the best part.


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