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 – Senate GOP unveils new healthcare bill | Cruz measure aims to win over conservatives | Trump in Paris | DOJ let Russian lawyer into US | Senate panel asking Trump Jr. to testify | Trump World lawyers up | Conway uses flashcards to defend Trump Jr. | National French Fry Day!

JUST RELEASED -- THAT WAS 'BETTER CARE.' THIS IS 'BETTER, BETTER CARE': Senate Republicans just unveiled a revised healthcare bill as they race toward a high-stakes vote next week. The gist: Much of the bill is similar, but there are some key changes targeted at winning support from conservatives.

The controversial part: A version of an amendment from ... you guessed it ... Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report Support for Abbott plunging in Texas: poll White House debates vaccines for air travel MORE (R-Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeEconomy adds just 235K jobs in August as delta hammers growth Lawmakers flooded with calls for help on Afghanistan exit Afghanistan fiasco proves we didn't leave soon enough MORE (R-Utah) that would allow insurers to sell plans that do not meet ObamaCare regulations if they also sell one plan that does meet those rules. Conservatives say it would allow people to buy cheaper plans, but centrists worry it will raise premiums on the sick.

Sorry, centrists: Importantly, the revised bill largely keeps the Medicaid sections the same, meaning that deeper cuts to the program will still begin in 2025, and the funds for ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid will still end in 2024.

Opioids: The new bill gives $45 billion for opioid treatment.

Full text of the new bill, if you're into that kinda thing:

MCCONNELL'S FACIAL EXPRESSION STANDING NEXT TO CRUZ IN THIS PHOTO IS. TOO. PERFECT.: But will the new bill fare have an easier path in the upper chamber? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ky.) is ramping up pressure on Senate Republicans to allow healthcare reform legislation to move forward. What changed: McConnell yesterday urged colleagues to drop procedural objections to the bill, a sign that his patience is wearing thin -- and that he is uncertain he can win the day.

It's Thursday -- you can do it! 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.


HAPPENING SOON -- BONJOUR, MES AMIS!: President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE and French President Emmanuel Macron are holding a joint press conference in Paris. Livestream:

ALSO NEW -- STEP INTO MY OFFICE: Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing MORE (R-Iowa) is inviting Donald Trump Jr. to publicly testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his meeting with a Russian lawyer offering compromising information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MOREHow we know: Grassley will send Trump Jr. a letter on Thursday asking him to appear before the committee, according to CNN.

EXCLUSIVE -- WELCOME TO THE LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE BRAVE: Via The Hill's John Solomon and Jonathan Easley, the Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump's inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under "extraordinary circumstances" before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president's eldest son. Why this is huge: This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that allowed the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa. Full story:

IF YOU DON'T HAVE A GUY, I KNOW A GUY-GUY WHO CAN GET YOU A GUY: A growing number of White House and Trump campaign officials are hiring their own lawyers to handle the wide-ranging probe into whether the president's associates colluded with Russia's 2016 election-meddling effort. Why this is complicating things: The increasing number of lawyers involved is limiting communication and creating divisions among aides, making it harder to advance Trump's agenda.

HEY, 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.' SUP? SEE YOU SATURDAY!: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway pulled out flash cards on Fox News yesterday to explain collusion. "What's the conclusion? Collusion? No. We don't have that yet. I see illusion and delusion." Watch:

How I reacted when I saw Kellyanne Conway using flashcards on TV -->

Reaction on social media:

YESTERDAY -- I HAVEN'T SEEM DEMS THIS EXCITED SINCE BERNIE SANDERS PROMISED HE'D CONSIDER JOINING THE PARTY: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump yesterday that accuses the president of obstructing justice during the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Context: This is the first time a lawmaker has offered an impeachment article against Trump. Any chance this would pass?: No way.

CONTEXT -- TALK OF THE 'I' WORD: CNN's Z. Byron Wolf has a helpful piece explaining how far we actually are from a potential impeachment effort. The gist: We're still a very, very, very long way. Reasoning:



Yahoo's Hunter Walker
A framed version of the mystical orb photo is now being displayed in the West Wing. See for yourself:

NBC's Alex Moe
Wow... Speaker Ryan announces that his office is working with SAA office to modernize dress code rules in Speaker's Lobby

What spurred this: A CBS News story last week about the dress code:

The Hill's Jordan Fabian
"oh boy" Screenshot of NYT's Maggie Haberman's pool report from Paris:



The House and Senate are in.

This morning: President Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron.

This morning: First lady Melania Trump visited a children's hospital in France. Photos:

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

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes to confirm an ambassador.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have dinner at Le Jules Verne with the French president.

3 p.m. EDT: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) answers questions with IJR's Benny Johnson on Facebook Live.

5 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

4:10 a.m. EDT Friday: President Trump participates in the French National Day Parade with the French president. He then heads to the airport to fly back to the U.S.

3:15 p.m. EDT Friday: President Trump arrives at the Bedminster Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.



12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

4 p.m. EDT: The National Governors Association is holding its 2017 summer meeting in Providence, R.I.  Livestream:

Sunday: Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill MORE (R-Texas) will exclusively join NBC's "Meet the Press with Chuck Todd."



Today is National French Fry Day (!!!!)

JUST IN CASE ANYONE ELSE HAS BEEN EAGERLY AWAITING THIS LAUNCH: The Olympic Channel, which was announced during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, will launch this Saturday at 6 a.m. "The Olympic Channel will launch in more than 35 million homes, available to most subscribers of Altice, AT&T DirecTV, Comcast, Spectrum and Verizon." Inaugural schedule:

THE 'IN-N-OUT BURGER' OF COFFEE: The popular West Coast café and coffee roaster Blue Bottle Coffee opened a location in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Their deal:

And because you made it this far, here's a mesmerizing video of rainbow sprinkles being made:


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