The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sparks backlash with nuclear button tweet | Bannon reportedly called Trump Jr. Russia meeting 'treasonous' | Bannon: 'Zero' chance Trump didn't know about meeting | Trump to meet lawmakers on budget, DACA | Latest on winter storm hitting East Coast | Most politically active celebs in Trump era | McDonald's new dollar menu



This. Guy. Scares. Me. -- clap clap, clap clap clap: North Korea may be preparing for another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test this week or next. What we know about the missile activity: It's at the same site where North Korea launched an ICBM in November. That test was the isolated nation's most advanced to date, capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States, according to analysts.

SO HE HAS A STAPLES EASY BUTTON AND A LABEL MAKER: In a New Year's Day speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that he had a nuclear launch button on his desk. But he also said that he was willing to engage in dialogue with South Korea to ease military tensions between the two countries ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

OP-ED: The Center for the National Interest's Defense Studies director, Harry J. Kazianis, on why, despite Kim Jong Un's "peace overture," we should still be on guard during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Why: Kazianis says Kim's goal is quite simple: hold the games hostage. His reasoning:

Reaction from Trump...: 

Context for this tweet:

HOW THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY RESPONDED: Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role MORE said "the president speaks for himself" in his tweet. She then tried to assure the public: The department is taking steps to prepare for "any possible scenario" that could be a threat to the United States.

Another reaction -- this tweet got a lot of traction:

To lighten the mood a little:

It's a painfully cold Wednesday and I'm not pleased. Filing with a mug of hot chocolate in arm's reach, 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



Time to deal with all of those 'tomorrow problems': House and Senate leaders from both parties are meeting with White House officials today on Capitol Hill to discuss the budget (funding runs out on Jan. 19) and a fix for the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals immigration program. 

HillCast AM View has a great preview of what to expect from the meeting:



What did we do to deserve this??: Powerful winter storm Grayson is forming along the East Coast. Here's what to expect:

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Via The Capital Weather Gang, snow is possible tonight and tomorrow, followed by extreme cold and wind. Latest D.C.-area forecast:

FLORIDA, SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA AND VIRGINIA: Via The Weather Channel, "a mix of freezing rain, sleet then snow will blanket areas from north Florida to the coastal Carolinas and southeast Virginia. This could be one of the heaviest one-day snowfalls on record in both Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina."

Video of the snow in Tallahassee, Fla.:

NEW ENGLAND: Via NECN,  "Snow [will begin] between 4 and 7 a.m. Thursday, falling heaviest from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., wrapping up around 10 or 11 p.m. and dropping at least half a foot on Eastern New England, with some areas likely closer to a foot. Though we escape the strongest wind, gusts over 50 mph will be possible at the coast, leading to some power outages and the potential for blizzard conditions in some coastal areas."

NEW YORK AREA: Via WABC, "A winter storm warning has been issued for parts of Long Island and coastal New Jersey, while a winter storm watch has been issued for New York City."



Major tension on the reunion episode of 'The Real World: West Wing": According to a new book by Michael Wolff, former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon called the 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor PETA billboard in Baltimore calls Kushner a 'rich pest' Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report MORE and a group of Russians "treasonous" and "unpatriotic." "They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV," Bannon reportedly said. When the full book will be released: Next week.

YIKES -- BANNON ON WHETHER TRUMP KNEW: Via NBC's Peter Alexander, "Here's the Bannon quote regarding the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting: 'The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these Jumos up to his father's office of the 26th floor is zero."

Everyone's an activist these days: Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar, here's a list of the seven most politically active celebrities in the era of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE and how much each has donated:

The hatch opens: Longtime Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) announced yesterday that he would retire from the Senate after 41 years, which made him the longest currently serving senator. When he will step down: After 2018. Where everyone's attention immediately turned: To former presidential nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney: 'Putin and Kim Jong Un deserve a censure rather than flattery' A US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE. Hatch's retirement cleared the way for Romney to mount a political comeback and take the seat.

REACTION FROM TEAM ROMNEY:Romney praised Sen. Hatch for his service. He remained tight-lipped about running for the seat immediately after Hatch's announcement, but is widely expected to run. Oh and: Yesterday Romney switched his Twitter location from Massachusetts to Holladay, Utah.

If you're on Capitol Hill: The coffee shop "Cups is sort of reopened (serving drinks but not food)."



Lol, oh...: 


I'd love to know what they’re talking about:





The Senate met at noon. The House is out until next week. President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump says No. 2 State Dept. official could become next Russia envoy The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries State Dept. extends travel ban to North Korea MORE and Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics MORE.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes.



12 p.m. EST: New Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) were sworn in. Livestream:

1 p.m. EST: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) delivers a state of the state address. Livestream:

3 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream:

5 p.m. EST Thursday: Former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerConservatives lash out at CNN for hiring Andrew McCabe 'Queer Eye' star blasts 'Dancing with the Stars' for including Sean Spicer Trump says Spicer will 'do great' on 'Dancing with the Stars' MORE appears on HLN with SE Cupp for a full hour.

Just announced -- April 15: A new season of Showtime's "The Circus" begins.

Keep in mind: CBS News anchor Alex Wagner will replace longtime host Mark Halperin following the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Halperin.



Today is National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day.

Well, Snapchat did help create this issue, so it's hard to feel bad for them here: Via The Daily Beast's Taylor Lorenz, Snapchat held a lavish New Year's Eve party where they ironically blocked guests from posting on Snapchat. The hosts plastered "no photos" signs around the event, told guests to leave phones at home and even covered the lenses of attendees' smart phones. Well: Guests found a way around that. The 'secret' photos:

Another day. Another dollar (menu): McDonald's is launching a new dollar menu tomorrow. Here's the new menu:

And because we could use some happy thoughts today, here's a viral video of a dog who figured out how to sled by herself. She went up and down that hill maybe 50 times. I can't.


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