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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 – CBO predicts 22M more uninsured under latest Senate bill | Sessions to stay on despite Trump criticism | McCain says he’ll ‘be back soon’ after brain cancer diagnosis | GOP reverses course on healthcare | Bernie the senator meets ‘Bernie’ the puppy | New ‘Harry Potter’ books this October

BREAKING — CBO SCORES REVISED REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE PLAN: The Congressional Budget Office has just released the score of the revised Senate healthcare plan. Topline: The bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million in 2026 and would reduce federal deficits by $420 billion over the next decade. The CBO report:

Insight from CNN’s MJ Lee: “Key here is deficit reduction number: first Senate bill saved $321 billion. So revised bill would save ~$100 billion more.”

Don’t forget: Before Republicans revised their healthcare plan, the CBO’s first score estimated that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured.

Keep in mind: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) added an amendment to the current bill, but the Cruz measure will take longer to score.

It’s Thursday — today marks six months in office for President Trump! Here’s a list of his milestones: I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and ice cream flavor recommendations (please) to and on Facebook.

NEWS OF THE MORNING — WHOEVER HANDED JEFF SESSIONS THE PAPER TODAY HOPEFULLY PUT A LITTLE BAILEYS IN HIS COFFEE: President Trump sat down with The New York Times’s Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman for a wide-ranging interview, during which he tore into Attorney General Jeff Sessions and said he never would have hired him had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Full interview:

The line everyone’s talking about: “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said. He also called Sessions’s decision “very unfair to the president.” Ouch, he used third person

Just don’t look at my bank accounts, k?: “Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said ‘I would say yes’ and wouldn’t rule out firing him. 

Who was with Trump during the interview?: Just one aide, Hope Hicks. Why this is noteworthy: When Trump sat down with The New York Times in April, at least six (!) White House aides were there.

The part that made me laugh: “Over the course of 50 minutes, the often-fiery Mr. Trump demonstrated his more amiable side, joking about holding hands with the president of France and musing about having a military parade down a main avenue in Washington. 

Lol sorry, Baltimore peeps: “The president also expressed discontent with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, a former federal prosecutor from Baltimore. When Mr. Sessions recused himself, the president said he was irritated to learn where his deputy was from. ‘There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any,’ he said of the predominantly Democratic city.” Note: Rosenstein was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Pennsylvania; he was the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland prior to his current post.

CAPTION FOR THIS SESSIONS PHOTO — WELP [SHRUG EMOJI]: Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he plans to continue to serve in his post “as long as that is appropriate.” His words: “I have the honor of serving as attorney general. It’s something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself,” Sessions said during a press conference this morning, one day after President Trump expressed frustration with the top Justice Department official. 

LATE THIS A.M. — ONE STEP FURTHER TO CONFIRMATION: Christopher Wray, President Trump’s pick to lead the FBI, unanimously cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. The unanimous ‘yes’ votes: 11 Republicans, nine Democrats. Next step: Full Senate vote, likely before August recess.

NEWS OF THE MORNING NO. 2 — WE’RE ALL THINKING IT SO I’M JUST GOING TO SAY IT: EFF. CANCER.: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with brain cancer. How he was diagnosed: The tumor was discovered after McCain underwent a minor procedure last week to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. Next steps: The senator and his family are reviewing treatment options, which include chemotherapy and radiation. Keep in mind: This is not McCain’s first battle with cancer. He has had melanomas removed in the past, most recently in 2002. Return to the Senate?: His office said further consultations with his doctors will determine when he will return to the Senate.

JUST NOW — McCain tweeted: “I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support — unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!”

REACTIONS — well wishes from almost any lawmaker and politician you can think of:

President Trump: “Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. [First lady] Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.”

Vice President Pence: “Karen & I are praying for Sen. John McCain. Cancer picked on the wrong guy. John McCain is a fighter & he’ll win this fight too. God bless!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “John McCain is a hero to our Conference and a hero to our country. He has never shied away from a fight and I know he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life…”

Senator Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): “You are a true fighter & I’ll be praying for you until you beat this. I know you will.”

His buddy: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close friend of McCain and one of his most ardent allies on Capitol Hill, spoke with McCain yesterday. He said they talked only briefly about McCain’s diagnosis before shifting to a conversation about the Senate’s healthcare reform efforts and the National Defense Authorization Act, the federal defense spending bill.

Former President Barack Obama: “John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”

Former President Bill Clinton: “As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden: “John and I have been friends for 40 years. He’s gotten through so much difficulty with so much grace. He is strong — and he will beat this.”

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton: “John McCain is as tough as they come. Thinking of John, Cindy, their wonderful children, & their whole family tonight.”

Sen. McCain’s daughter Meghan, a Fox News host: “It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father. He is the toughest person I know. The cruelest enemy could not break him. The aggressions of political life could not bend him. So he is meeting this challenge as he has had every other. Cancer may afflict him in many ways: but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.” Full statement:

FIRST IN THE 12:30 REPORT — HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM — POTHOLES?: ReBuild USA is releasing a new six-figure ad campaign in six states to advocate for a federal infrastructure bill. “It’s far past time that Washington acted on infrastructure— too many of our roads and bridges are crumbling, our children’s schools are in disrepair, and everyday there’s reports of our water systems in decay and our national energy grid at risk,” said Brent Booker, secretary treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions, which supports the ReBuild USA national campaign. Which states you can find the ads in: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Timing: Don’t forget, this is President Trump’s “Made in America” week! What the ads look like:

MCCONNELL SPOTTED BY THE SENATE SUBWAY WITH A CARDBOARD SIGN — ‘WILL WORK 4 VOTES’: Senate Republican leaders are desperately searching for the 51 votes they need to open a debate on ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation after a Wednesday scolding from President Trump. How we know they’re desperate: Leaders have reopened negotiations on their previous bill, reversing course from their plans to move to a vote on a straight repeal of ObamaCare.

Must-read analysis: From The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “President Trump sought to strong-arm Senate Republicans into passing ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation on Wednesday in an attempt to turn the weight of his office into impetus for action.” How Trump is trying to bend Congress to his will and how that’s going

AT LEAST THE TV NETWORKS HAVE PLENTY OF PODIUMS FROM THE 2016 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY…: Via The Hill’s Amie Parnes, Democrats are expecting one of their party’s biggest fields in history will battle to take on President Trump in the 2020 election. Major factor: The lack of a big-name candidate who might scare off other rivals. For the first time since Kerry was the party’s nominee, no one named Clinton or Obama is expected to run for the Democratic nomination. The potential Dem field for 2020:



NBC’s Frank Thorp (Yiiiiiiikes)
Ummm, Congressional reporting as a full contact sport featuring Seung Min Kim. Photo:

Journalist Matt Laslo
Rep. Chris Collins is on the phone off the House floor – surrounded by reporters – discussing stock trades



The House is in, wrapping up last votes for the week. The Senate is in. 

This morning: President Trump participated in a meeting at the Pentagon.

1:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence will be interviewed by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, followed by Sean Hannity

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate will hold a roll call vote on David Bernhardt to be deputy secretary of the Interior. 

This afternoon: Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford brief House members in a closed briefing on the strategies to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Happening today: O.J. Simpson‘s parole hearing. Latest updates from NYT: 

Monday: President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing. Why this is big:

Wednesday: Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort are slated to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a public hearing. Details:



What you can’t watch — 2:15 p.m. EDT: White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives the press briefing off-camera.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump announces a “pharmaceutical glass packaging initiative” from the Roosevelt Room of the White House.



Today is National Lollipop Day!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR OCT. 20: J.K. Rowling is releasing two new “Harry Potter” books this fall. What to know about each:

I LAUGHED WAY TOO HARD AT THESE: A writer for “Saturday Night Live” has been responding to President Trump’s tweets as if they were texts. Trump: “Will be at the Women’s U.S. Open today!” Josh Patten: “Ok text if you need anything.” They’re pretty entertaining regardless of your political views:

BERNIE MEETS HIS NAMESAKE: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared on “The View,” where co-host Joy Behar introduced him to her new puppy, which she named “Bernie.” Sanders’s reaction is great. 58-second video:

And to keep you away from your work for another few seconds, here’s a viral video of a girl impersonating all of us. It’s too accurate.


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Tags Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Bill Clinton Charles Schumer Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Jeff Sessions Joe Biden John McCain Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Ted Cruz

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