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: Ex-Soviet officer reportedly was in Trump Jr. meeting | Trump Jr. pitch part of broad Russian effort | Trump hiring new lawyer | Centrists push back on Senate healthcare bill | Pic of Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonSexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE with Bush statues goes viral | National Mac and Cheese Day!

EXCLUSIVE -- THE RUSSIAN STORY KEEPS GETTING BIGGER: Via The Hill's John Solomon and Jonathan Easley, two months before Donald Trump Jr.'s encounter with a Russian figure, a key House subcommittee chairman received a similar overture in Moscow offering derogatory information about a U.S. policy that was upsetting Vladimir PutinFull story:

IT KEEPS PILING UP -- ANOTHER NEW TRUMP JR. DEVELOPMENT: Via NBC's Ken Dilanian, Natasha Lebedeva and Hallie Jackson, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer was in that June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer. Why this matters: Some U.S. officials suspect this former intelligence officer still has ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. The unnamed officer denies any current ties. It's also the first report of additional people attending the meeting.

NEW HIRE ON THE TRUMP TEAM: President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE will hire Washington lawyer Ty Cobb to manage the White House's responses on the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. His job: Cobb will oversee legal and media responses from the White House on the investigation. A number of White House officials have weighed in on the issue, including Trump.

Happy Friday! It's been painfully hot in D.C. these past few days. The Washington Post even placed a white chocolate version of the Washington monument on their roof and recorded it melting. 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.


THIS IS THE GREATEST PHOTO I HAVE SEEN ALL DAY, WEEK, MONTH! ...2017?!: Former President Bill Clinton posed between statues of his predecessor and successor at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas yesterday, in a photo that quickly went viral. The photo in all of its glory:

NEXT UP IN THE TANK -- THE STATE DEPARTMENT *RAUCOUS CHEERS*: President Trump is seeking to radically remodel the State Department in an unprecedented way, according to former officials from administrations of both political parties. Liiike: a proposed budget cut of nearly 30 percent, a hiring freeze and a potential reshuffling of offices within State. Keep in mind: Past GOP presidents have downsized, but some former officials are calling this effort unprecedented.

THIS A.M. -- I LOVE SPORTS ANALOGIES IN POLITICS: President Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway accused opponents of the White House of moving the goalposts on allegations of collusion between President Trump's campaign team and Moscow. She said former Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House MORE is "one of the only people" who believes in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. "The goalposts have been moved," Conway added, describing the controversy as nothing more than a conspiracy theory in remarks first noted by Politico.

LATEST WITH THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE -- IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS: Centrist Republicans are pushing back on the GOP's new healthcare bill. Which Republicans specifically: Those from states that expanded Medicaid enrollment under ObamaCare. What those Republicans want before backing the bill: A formula for indexing Medicaid to inflation to be changed so that it is more generous to states getting federal support. They also want assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Kavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday McConnell told Trump criticism of Kavanaugh accuser isn't helpful: report MORE (R-Ky.) on how an additional $70 billion in money to help low-income people purchase insurance will be spent.

Here are five takeaways from the healthcare reboot:

JUST NOW -- It's a no from him: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Friday came out against the revised Senate healthcare reform bill, urging Republicans to instead work with Democrats on a solution. Why: Medicaid cuts, duh. The big question: What impact will Kasich's opposition have on undecided GOP Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGraham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (Ohio)?

NEW POLL ALERT: A majority of Americans support ObamaCare and want President Trump to leave his predecessor's signature legislative achievement intact, according to a new Harvard University–Politico poll. The poll also found that Americans rank national security higher as an issue than ObamaCare heading into the midterm elections next year.

LOOK OVER HERE, MY HONDA DRIVERS: Via CNN's Rishi Iyengar, Honda is recalling nearly 1.2 million Honda Accords. Why: A sensor in the car's battery can cause engine fires in some models.



NBC's Frank Thorp
ATM in Senate subway wouldn't stop beeping, turns out someone left their card in the machine. Name on the card: Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin: ‘No reason’ for people to remember Kavanaugh at party accuser describes Durbin: Kavanaugh's accuser is not being treated respectfully Grassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap MORE

The Hill's Jordan Fabian (Haha!)
Wondering if this person has ever watched a boxing match. Screenshot:

Simon Cullen
The French military band plays a medley of Daft Punk tunes for #BastilleDay celebrations. Video with Trump/Macron's reactions:

The Washington Post's Aaron Blake
Emmanuel Macron is basically The Fonz. Photo evidence: 

Fox’s Chad Pergram
House Dem women all wearing sleeveless dresses/blouses after changes made to House dress code policy. Photo:



The House was in this morning. The Senate is out. The vibe on Capitol Hill: Summah Fridays!

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives at the Bedminster Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. Note: He was traveling from Paris.

This weekend: President Trump will attend the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament this weekend at his New Jersey golf course.

Just announced -- later this month: The data and digital director for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign has agreed to speak before the House Intelligence Committee later this month.



NBC's "Meet the Press": Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (R-Texas); Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Russia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless MORE (D-Va.). The panel will include NBC's Tom Brokaw; Squire Patton Boggs' Al Cardenas; presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; and the American Enterprise Institute's Danielle Pletka.

CNN's "State of the Union": Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump's legal team; Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday McConnell told Trump criticism of Kavanaugh accuser isn't helpful: report Dems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage MORE (R-Maine).



Today is National Mac and Cheese Day (!!!) And just in case you aren't craving it already, here's a list of the best mac and cheese dishes in the D.C. area:

THIS STORY IS GIVING ME SO MUCH ANXIETY: Via The Washington Post's Alex Horton, a police officer passed an ATM that was dispensing cash and handwritten notes asking for help. No, it wasn't a reality show: "A man, hidden behind the machine, was locked in the service room that housed the ATM. He began scribbling notes to the outside world in an analog version of The Wizard of Oz bellowing from behind a curtain."

GUYYYYYYS! WINTER! IS! COMING!: HBO's popular series "Game of Thrones" returns Sunday for season 7! Side note: Any "Game of Thrones" fans who haven't been to the pop-up bar in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. -- this is your time. Video:

And because you read this far, here's a viral note that an overbearing dog owner left with her dog Pepper's babysitter. It's insane. "Don't hate her 'cause you ain't her!"


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