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The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
© Camille Fine

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breaking - Trump doubles down, denies controversial remark to widow | Sessions testifies before Senate | Trump now opposes ObamaCare deal | Second judge halts Trump travel ban | Senate launches probe into Russian bribery | Five reportedly shot at Maryland office park | DC restaurants with Michelin stars in 2018

Breaking -- Sessions in session: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds MORE is currently testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the annual Justice Department oversight hearing. This is Sessions's first appearance before the panel since his confirmation hearing.  http://bit.ly/2xPgnJE

HERE'S THE NEWS SO FAR:

SESSIONS STARTS OUT: "I will not be able to discuss the contents of my conversations with the president." http://bit.ly/2gOmgMG

ON RUSSIA: Sessions to Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority MORE: "I have never had a meeting with any Russian official to discuss any kind of coordinating campaign efforts." http://bit.ly/2x4wCOv

*THIS NEWS IS IMPORTANT -- SESSIONS ON THE SPECIAL COUNSEL: Sessions told the committee that he hasn't been interviewed by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. http://bit.ly/2yrrdF6  Oh, and: "DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores confirms that AG Sessions has not been asked for an interview by Special Counsel Mueller." http://bit.ly/2giKttH

ON THE HILL'S REPORT ABOUT RUSSIAN CORRUPTION: Sessions vowed that the Justice Department will review revelations in a series of stories published by The Hill showing the Obama administration approved a uranium deal with Moscow despite evidence gathered by the FBI showing that Russian nuclear officials were involved in bribery, kickbacks and other corruption on U.S. soil. http://bit.ly/2yxojOo Keep reading for more updates on that story.

SESSIONS ON COMEY: Sessions criticized former FBI Director James Comey, saying the "significance of the error" the former FBI director made on the "Clinton matter" has not been fully understood. http://bit.ly/2xPgnJE

SEN. ORRIN HATCH ON THE DRUG CZAR NOMINEE: "Sen. Hatch calls [the Washington Post/60 Minutes] investigation that led to the DEA czar nominee Tom Marino withdrawing 'complete baloney.'" He also calls it a "10,000-word hit piece." http://bit.ly/2ySvmTl

LIVESTREAM OF THE HEARING: http://bit.ly/2yTDmn2

It's Wednesday. Ohhh, we're halfway there! 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 cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

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Becoming a news cycle -- if I had to sit down and make a list of 5 types of people not to start a public fight with...: Yesterday, Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonAn attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation Capitol Police report warned that Congress could be targeted three days before riot Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help MORE (D-Fla.) claimed that President Trump made insensitive remarks to the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, a soldier killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month. The line that's getting traction -- what Wilson says she heard Trump tell his widow: Johnson "knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens it hurts anyway." http://bit.ly/2kW3VBE

THEN THIS MORNING: President Trump ripped Rep. Wilson, saying her claim was "totally fabricated." Trump's tweet: "Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!" http://bit.ly/2xNMULk

AND LATER THIS MORNING -- THE WASHINGTON POST TRACKS DOWN THE WIDOW'S MOTHER: The widow's mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that Rep. Wilson's version of the story is accurate. "'President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,' Jones-Johnson said. She said she was in the car at the time but declined to elaborate on the specifics of Wilson's claim." http://wapo.st/2ijXKXm

A FEW MINUTES AGO -- TRUMP REITERATES HIS SIDE OF THE STORY: "I didn't say what that congresswoman said," says Trump. "I did not say what she said ... Let her make her statement again." (Tweet from the Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus)  http://bit.ly/2yy4wyy

Update on the Russian bribery case -- 'I don't care how long it takes. I will keep you here all night!' (We can't keep them past 4.) 'We will keep you here until 4!' http://bit.ly/2xP0umoVia The Hill's John Solomon, the Senate Judiciary Committee has launched a probe into a Russian nuclear bribery case, demanding several federal agencies disclose whether they knew the FBI had uncovered the corruption before the Obama administration in 2010 approved a controversial uranium deal with Moscow. The scope: Aides say the committee has sent requests to 10 federal agencies. http://bit.ly/2x60tWZ

MORE NEW INFORMATION THIS MORNING: An FBI informant was blocked by the Obama Justice Department from telling Congress about the Russian nuclear corruption case, his lawyer told The Hill. Oh really now?: "All of the information about this corruption has not come out," Attorney Victoria Toensing said in an interview Tuesday. Why this matters: http://bit.ly/2ywlCfQ

WHAT SPARKED THIS: A story published in The Hill yesterday uncovering a Russian bribery plot the FBI knew about before the Obama administration approved a uranium deal with Moscow. Full story: http://bit.ly/2ypbSFa

Breaking local news -- five shot at an office park in Maryland: Via CNN, "Five people have been shot at an office park in the Maryland community of Edgewood, and the shooter is believed to be on the loose, a deputy with the Harford County sheriff's office said Wednesday morning. The shooter left the scene -- the Emmorton Business Park in Edgewood, roughly 30 miles northeast of Baltimore -- and no one has been arrested, the deputy said." As a precaution: Five schools in the area were placed on lockdown. http://cnn.it/2ilmj60

Photo of the scene: From The Baltimore Sunhttp://bsun.md/2x5O7ha

Breaking health-care updates -- you're hot, then you're cold. You're yes, then you're no: President Trump, reversing comments he made yesterday, is now suggesting he will oppose a bipartisan deal to help stabilize ObamaCare. How strong is his opposition?: Trump stopped short of saying he would veto the measure if it passed in Congress. The tweet with his change of mind: "I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care," Trump tweeted about the deal brokered by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHawley pens op-ed to defend decision to object to electoral votes amid pushback Demolition at the Labor Department, too Hawley, Cruz face rising anger, possible censure MORE (D-Wash.). http://bit.ly/2gOYmAI

WHY WE ARE SCRATCHING OUR HEADS: Yesterday afternoon, President Trump signaled his support for the bipartisan health-care fix. In his words: "The solution will be for about a year or two years. It is a short-term solution so that we don't have this very dangerous little period." http://bit.ly/2gj0YWB

*STILL LOOKING AROUND AT EACH OTHER CONFUSED*: This morning, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said President Trump called him expressing optimism about the bipartisan health plan. http://bit.ly/2hP0vfd

JUST NOW -- TRUMP CLARIFIES: "Trump's latest comment on Alexander-Murray: 'If something can happen that's fine, but I won't do anything to enrich the insurance companies.'" (From The Hill's Jordan Fabianhttp://bit.ly/2hNXNXn

Travel ban news -- another one bites the dust: A second federal district judge has put a hold on President Trump's latest travel ban. Details: Judge Theodore Chuang, a federal district judge in Maryland, temporarily blocked most of Trump's travel ban order on nationals from eight countries. What Chuang didn't block: The judge said Trump could still ban individuals from North Korea, business officials from Venezuela and individuals lacking a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. http://bit.ly/2ywWUfn

New exclusive from TTNN -- that's 'Trump's Twitter News Network': This morning, President Trump accused former FBI Director James Comey, who he ousted, of drafting his Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Texas Supreme Court rejects Alex Jones request to toss lawsuits from Sandy Hook parents Paris Agreement: Biden's chance to restore international standing MORE exoneration letter before the investigation into the former secretary of State's handling of classified information was complete. His tweets: "Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn't do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?" Half an hour later, he decided he wasn't done: "As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!" http://bit.ly/2ijDANa

It's like wondering if you'll get a 'happy birthday' text from your friend's ex: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Republicans say they will fight back vigorously against former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon's efforts to knock off GOP incumbents in primaries next year. The unknown: They hope that President Trump will have their backs, but they're not counting on it. What GOP leaders are urging their colleagues to do: Put a laser-like focus on their home states and constituents, so even if Trump abandons or criticizes them ahead of the midterm elections, they'll still be in a position to win. http://bit.ly/2xPZ3Eo

OP-ED: In an op-ed for The Hill, Ned Ryun, former presidential writer for George W. Bush and CEO of American Majority, makes his argument for why Republicans should watch out for Stephen Bannonhttp://bit.ly/2xOD0Oc

 

NOTABLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

The crowd's reactions are pretty interesting:

Here's the first video of Trump entering the steakhouse and patrons realizing who it is: http://bit.ly/2x5cTOG

Here's the second video of Trump trying to get to his tablehttp://bit.ly/2gqvAcv

 

Hm, interesting.:

 

ON TAP:

The Senate is in. The House is out.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with the Senate Finance Committee. List of which members were invitedhttp://bit.ly/2gskTWP

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

1:30 p.m. EDT: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event on health-care reform. Detailshttp://uscham.com/2ijSoLB

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate has two roll call votes. More votes are possible today.

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

This morning: Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Video: http://cs.pn/2gqpfxJ

2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing.

9 p.m. EDT: Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Ethics complaint filed against Biggs, Cawthorn and Gosar over Capitol riot Hawley, Cruz see approval ratings dip in wake of Capitol riot: poll MORE (R-Texas) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment Sanders selling sweatshirts with his famous inauguration pose for charity MORE (I-Vt.) debate the GOP's tax plan with CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day. Always supportive.

Just released -- the Michelin star restaurants in DC: Via Washingtonian, the 2018 Michelin star restaurant rankings for Washington, D.C., have been released. New additions to the list: http://bit.ly/2yRBmLQ

Wow, some of these websites are throwbacks: Via Time, here's a list of the 15 most influential websites of all time. Listhttp://ti.me/2x5Boeu

And because you made it this far, here's a bunny seriously enjoying the fall season: http://bit.ly/2giPh2b

 

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