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: Ryan says Rosenstein 'doing a fine job' | What to know for tonight's State of the Union: how to watch, who will be there, who is boycotting | GOP worries FBI controversy will overshadow address | First lady to attend speech | Hawaii employee didn't know missile alert was a drill | Boston, Philly ban each other's foods ahead of Super Bowl



You are doing A OK: House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Atheist group argues in court for prayer rights on House floor Small-dollar donations explode in the Trump era MORE (R-Wis.) defended Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinConservative rep slams Rosenstein's 'conflicts of interest' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump, Obama head to swing states with Senate majority in balance Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week MORE, saying the deputy attorney general who is overseeing the Russia investigation is doing a "fine job" and that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE should not fire him. Ryan's full quote: "I think Rod Rosenstein is doing a fine job. I have no reason to see why he should [fire him]," Ryan told reporters. "Rod Rosenstein was hired after this last election. I think the people at the FBI, at the DOJ need to clean their own house if there are problems in their own house." http://bit.ly/2DKXshV

WHAT SPARKED THIS: Sunday, The New York Times reported that President Trump considered ousting Rosenstein. Why: "A secret, highly contentious Republican memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate shortly after taking office last spring, according to three people familiar with it. The renewal shows that the Justice Department under President Trump saw reason to believe that the associate, Carter Page, was acting as a Russian agent." Republicans have seized on the matter, arguing it suggests the Russia probe was prejudiced from the start. But Democrats say the memo cherry picks its facts. Full story: http://nyti.ms/2Gu6X77

It's Tuesday -- anyone else feel like this is the 84th day of January? 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.



What time does it start?: 9:10 p.m. EST

How can you watch?: It will air on all the major networks. Here's the official White House livestream: http://bit.ly/2GwVSlJ

Is this the president's first address to Congress?: No, it's his first State of the Union address, but he gave a speech to a joint session of Congress last February. http://n.pr/2no4ymi

Will the first lady attend?: Yes.

Why we're even asking: First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis CNN's Acosta sends private message to former Melania Trump aide: 'F--- you' Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns MORE hasn't been seen in public much since The Wall Street Journal reported that adult film star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Donald Trump a decade ago. Melania was reportedly "blindsided" by the reports. http://nyti.ms/2EmW5ag

Lawmakers can bring a guest. Who's coming?: Some of the notable guests include the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bill Nye "The Science Guy"; young undocumented immigrants popularly known as Dreamers; and Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson WerthGuest list: http://wapo.st/2nptV6q 

Who's wearing black: Democratic women. Like the Golden Globes attendees this year, Democratic women plan to wear black to show support for the "Me Too" movement. http://bit.ly/2DR8lTy

Oops -- we'll need those back: Some of the tickets for tonight's address have a typo. What they say: "State of the Uniom." Tickets are being reprinted. Photo of a ticket with the typo: http://cnn.it/2BCgHs1

Who's giving the Democratic Party's response?: Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyHouse lawmakers introduce bill to end US support in Yemen civil war Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Ex-GOP donor urges support for Dems in midterms: 'Democracy is at stake' MORE III (D-Mass.). Kennedy, who is 37 years old, is Robert F. Kennedy's grandson. Kennedy has kept a low profile since joining Congress in 2013, so this is his big platform to introduce himself to the public. What to know about him: http://bit.ly/2DR1Gsw

Keep in mind about the response: They usually only make news when there are gaffs. Think: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family The Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia MORE's (R-Fla.) awkward water sip in 2013 --> http://theatln.tc/2DLoEx0

How many Democrats are boycotting?: So far, nine House Democrats are not attending. List of those boycotting: http://cnn.it/2GxkR8u



Will Trump talk about Russia?: That's unclear. But via CNBC, then-President Richard Nixon brought up the Watergate scandal during the 1974 State of the Union and resigned eight months later. Then-President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonConservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Sen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue No, civility isn't optional MORE, who was facing impeachment during his 1999 State of the Union, didn't mention it and finished his term. http://cnb.cx/2FtrhE3

What to expect -- five things: http://bit.ly/2DLnIsl

1. Does Trump move the needle on the immigration debate?
2. The "Me Too" movement 
3. Democratic boycotts
4. Does Trump stay on script?
5. What is the Democratic message?

Why Republicans are nervous: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Republicans are hoping that a raft of new controversies concerning President Trump, the FBI and the Russia probe do not distract from the address. Why: Yesterday, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeFBI investigated media leak of McCabe comment about Flynn and Trump Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request Rod Rosenstein must recuse himself MORE stepped down from his position. Plus: This comes on the heels of a report that Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE last year. http://bit.ly/2E2uPjw



New development -- the Hawaii missile alert employee didn't know it was a drill: Via The Hill's Harper Neidig, the false missile alert earlier this month in Hawaii was the result of a miscommunication between the employee who issued it and supervisors who were announcing a drill.  What happened: According to a preliminary Federal Communications Commission report, a supervisor's recorded message included the phrase "exercise, exercise, exercise" but also mistakenly included the phrase "this is not a drill." A warning officer, the FCC said, heard the message but not the words "exercise, exercise, exercise" and, believing that it was an actual emergency, issued the false missile alert to the entire state. http://bit.ly/2Epbgjo

I'd say this applies to about 70 percent of golfers tbh: Via Golf.com, LPGA legend Suzann Pettersen plays golf with President Trump and opened up about their golf games. The $$ line: "He cheats like hell," she said. On his golfing skills: "He always says he is the world's best putter. But in all the times I've played him, he's never come close to breaking 80," she said. "But what's strange is that every time I talk to him he says he just golfed a 69, or that he set a new course record or won a club championship some place. I just laugh." Keep in mind: Although Pettersen does not agree with many of the president's policies, she's stayed in touch with him and used to talk on the phone with him monthly. http://bit.ly/2npr3qc

Interesting read on whether Robert Mueller will indict President Trump: The Atlantic's Paul Rosenzweig argues why he thinks "there's no way Mueller will indict Trump. Those hoping the special counsel will prosecute the president are engaging in fantasy." What could instead happen: http://theatln.tc/2rUjGMO






The House and Senate are in.

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons.

1:30 p.m. EST: The House votes. Their schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

2:15 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on nominations. Their schedule today: http://bit.ly/2nrU18R

4 p.m. EST: The House votes. 

8:30 p.m. EST: The House and Senate reconvene for the president's State of the Union address.

Wednesday: Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon will testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Keep in mind: He spoke with the committee earlier this month but failed the answer all of its questions. The panel then subpoenaed Bannon. http://bit.ly/2FsOVR7



9:10 p.m. EST: President Trump delivers the State of the Union address. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2GwVSlJ

Op-ed: The University of Arizona's Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer argues that President Trump can give the country a reset by delivering a civil State of the Union. http://bit.ly/2Fwb01p



Today is National Croissant Day. Now that's a day I can get behind.

I'm intrigued: Starbucks recently added a new croissant that tastes like an everything bagel. Photos: http://bit.ly/2BDCKyC

Ok, this is pretty funny: Via NBC's "Today," gearing up for the Super Bowl, shops in Philadelphia and Boston are banning each other's famous food items. Think: Boston Cream doughnuts have been temporarily removed from some menus in Philly; a Boston bakery won't use Philadelphia Cream Cheese in its cheesecakes. http://bit.ly/2rTIbtI

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!: Via Variety's Justin Kroll, actor Tom Hanks will play Mr. Rogers in a new biographical movie: http://bit.ly/2npsqFm

And because there's going to be a lot of political talk happening today, I think you could use this distraction: here's a parrot who finds a way to cut this cat out of his life: http://bit.ly/2GwhSwM