The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report
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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump tries to stop explosive book's release | Bannon firestorm consumes DC | Sessions to end Obama rules on legalized marijuana | Republican wins Virginia seat after draw | US, South Korea delay military drills during Olympics | Taco Bell's new french fries



To quote one of the best Winter Olympic movies: 'Sanka, man, whatcha smokin'?' --> http://bit.ly/2CUHdiQ: Via The Hill's Reid Wilson, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure McGahn departs as White House counsel MORE will end an Obama-era policy that allowed legalized marijuana to prosper. Details: Two sources with knowledge of the decision confirmed to The Hill that Sessions will rescind the so-called Cole memo, which ordered U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana has been legalized to deprioritize prosecution of marijuana-related cases. Was this expected: Yes. Sessions has hinted for months that he would move to crack down on the growing cannabis market. Details: http://bit.ly/2CCsZ8p

REACTION: "Pot stocks are plunging on news that Jeff Sessions will rescind marijuana expansion policy. (Pictured is Canopy Growth whose symbol is WEED.)" (Via Bloomberg's Ari Natter) http://bit.ly/2lTg1c3


It's a snowy Thursday in Washington -- well, by D.C. standards.  Filing with an even bigger mug of hot chocolate, 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.



Guys, if you're day is quiet, I HIGHLY suggest you watch this: Republican David Yancey will keep his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates after a state official pulled his name out of a bowl, deciding a contest that ended in a tie in November. Wow: In November, each candidate received 11,608 votes. http://bit.ly/2CRRQ64

Livestream: The action starts at 07:30. http://bit.ly/2CFQgqT

My favorite part: The discussion over which bowl was chosen for the drawing. It starts at 12:10 in the video: http://bit.ly/2CFQgqT

The actual drawing: It starts at 13:52 in the video: http://bit.ly/2CFQgqT

The bowl -- photo from CNN's Eric Bradner:



Stephen Bannon's therapy session in the form of a book: Excerpts of Michael Wolff's upcoming book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," were released yesterday, which caused a firestorm in Washington. Why: It includes incendiary remarks about the president from former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon. The gist: The book depicts a president who didn't expect to defeat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Republicans cancel airtime in swing Vegas district The Democratic Donald Trump is coming MORE in November 2016 and who clashed with White House staff.

Read the full-published excerpts in New York Magazine: http://nym.ag/2CFxPTn

When the book comes out: Tuesday. Dun, dun, dunnnn. Pre-order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2EXgGC0

Five surprising allegations from the book:

1. Trump may have met with Russians after a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower
2.Trump was surprised by his victory in 2016
3. Rupert Murdoch called Trump a "f---ing idiot"
4. Trump clashed with White House housekeeping
5. Trump's staff believed him to be semi-literate

Context and details on each: http://bit.ly/2lWRfIe

How President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE reacted -- just as you'd expect: First -- he snapped at Bannon: An infuriated Donald Trump accused former White House chief strategist and top campaign aide Stephen Bannon of having "lost his mind" and of being "only in it for himself." In Trump's words: "Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books." http://bit.ly/2CRIPd2 Trump's full statement torching Bannon -- ouch: http://bit.ly/2E5Dy0M

Then -- he sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon: Trump also reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon last night, saying that he violated a non-disclosure agreement by speaking with Wolff, and accusing him of making "disparaging" and "outright defamatory" statements. http://abcn.ws/2E7kkYy

And just now -- Trump tells reporters: When asked about Bannon, Trump said,  "I don't know, he called me a great man last night so, ya know he obviously changed his tune pretty quick." http://bit.ly/2lTvdpK 

New this a.m. -- any highly paid lawyer involved here is a winner of the day: Via The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig, President Trump is now attempting to stop the publication of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," Michael Wolff's explosive new book about his campaign and presidency. How Trump plans to stop it: "Trump attorneys send cease-and-desist letter this morning to Wolff and book publisher Henry Holt demanding they stop publication and issue an apology to Donald Trump for defamatory statements made thus far." http://bit.ly/2E6IFOd

HOW THIS FIRESTORM IS CONSUMING WASHINGTON: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Stephen Bannon's fast fall from grace is perplexing to Washington insiders. Among sources in President Trump's orbit who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity, opinions were varied as to whether the relationship between Trump and Bannon was at a permanent end or whether Trump would simply shut Bannon out for a period.  http://bit.ly/2lUuMvj

ON TRUMP'S SIDE: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Defense: Trump shifts tone on Saudis | New pressure from lawmakers | Trump: 'Certainly looks' like Khashoggi dead | Pompeo gives Saudis days to wrap up investigation | Trump threatens military action on border to stop migrants On The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit Trump changes tone on Saudi Arabia amid mounting pressure MORE blasted the book as "fake." He tweeted: "We have become used to #FakeNews, now we have #FakeBooks! #MAGA." http://bit.ly/2As1vNS

AND WE HAVE OUR SWITZERLAND: Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) said he "doesn't want to get in the middle" of the feud between Trump and Bannon.  Don't forget: Bannon backed Jones's opponent, Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreFormer campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer Mellman: When questions don’t mean what they say CNN's Toobin: It's Trump's ‘nature’ to not believe accusations of sexual assault MORE. http://bit.ly/2EXcouu



What fun is funding the government without a ticking time bomb?: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, confusion over President Trump's border wall is holding up talks to avoid a government shutdown on Jan. 19. How that works: Trump has demanded tougher immigration controls in return for relief for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients in the 2018 spending bill. Lawmakers are working on an immigration deal,  but are still waiting for Trump's demands. http://bit.ly/2lTtgcS

HOW GOVERNMENT FUNDING TALKS ARE GOING: Very little progress. http://bit.ly/2CBU3Vd

OP-ED: Former federal immigration services agency chief counsel Stephen Legomsky on why President Trump shouldn't lump all immigrants together as a risk. http://bit.ly/2qnOIfl

Latest with the 2018 Winter Olympics -- reel in the military equipment: During a phone call this morning, President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to delay an annual joint military exercise that was scheduled for Pyeongchang, South Korea, during the Winter Olympics. Why South Korea wanted to delay the drill: To avoid increasing tensions with North Korea. How North Korea views this military drill: Pyongyang says the drills are a rehearsal for invasion. The drills typically heighten tensions, with North Korea often conducting missile tests in response. http://bit.ly/2CGC68O



Oh heyyyy:



The Senate is in, but votes were canceled because of the winter storm. The House is out until next week.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump meets with Senate Republicans in the White House to discuss immigration.

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate meets for weekly caucus lunches.

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump presents the National Security Medal to Richard Ledgett Jr.

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Senate Republicans about their legislative priorities.

3:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.



12:30 p.m. EST: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is holding an event on Iran's cyber threat. Livestream: http://ceip.org/2lVf7MX

1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2Aqjfcj

Friday morning: Author Michael Wolff will appear on NBC's "Today" to discuss his upcoming book,  "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House." He will also appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday.



Today is National Spaghetti Day!

I'm surprised it took this long, tbh: Taco Bell has added french fries dusted with Mexican seasoning to its menu. The fries come with a side of nacho cheese. When they will appear on menus: Jan. 25. http://r29.co/2lTHMBa

*Reserves a time to visit before even planning a trip to New York*: There's a restaurant in New York that serves 120 combinations of chicken nuggets. Think: Pretzel-coated or Cap'n Crunch dusted. Video that you shouldn't watch if you're hungry: http://bit.ly/2E4XCQY

And because you read this far, here's a viral video of a toddler consoling his baby sister when she's sick: http://bit.ly/2lUOVSD

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