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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: ​Latest on FBI memo | Reports say Trump ready to allow release | Dems say Trump got 'secretly altered' version | Trump inaccurately claims State of the Union was most watched | Black Dems take lead in push to impeach | California coffee shops to add cancer warnings | North Korean athletes arrive for Olympics


This may be my new favorite photo — neeeext up on Supermarket Sweep!:




We may not have to wonder what's in that memo much longer...: President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ MORE plans to declassify a controversial memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses at the FBI, according to multiple media reports Thursday. What this means: The decision paves the way for the document, which was drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, to be released to the public as early as Friday (!) How the White House reacted: "When we have a decision, we'll make it publicly available. We don't have one yet," White House spokesman Raj Shah said on Fox News as the news broke.

More details in The Washington Post:

It's Thursday! 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 and on Facebook.



Oh you just WAIT for the invisible ink to appear: Last night, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHeads up, GOP: Elections have consequences Top Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' House Dems launching probe into Whitaker's role in company government deemed a 'scam' MORE (D-Calif.) claimed that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHeads up, GOP: Elections have consequences Overnight Energy: Trump, California leaders clash over fires | Trump says oil prices should be 'much lower' | Zinke criticizes media coverage | Officials consider new truck pollution rule Trump, California battle over climate and cause of fires MORE (R-Calif.) shared with President Trump a "secretly altered" version of the Republican-crafted memo alleging abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department. From Schiff's letter: "This evening the Committee Minority discovered that the classified memorandum shared by the Committee Majority with the White House is not, in fact, the same document that Members of the House of Representatives have been reviewing since January 18, 2018 and that the Committee Majority voted on Monday to release to the public."

This a.m. -- tread v carefully: Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOn The Money: Senior GOP senator warns Trump against shutdown | Treasury sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | HQ2 deal brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Senate confirms Bowman to Fed board Senior GOP senator warns Trump against partial shutdown The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — House, Senate leaders named as Pelosi lobbies for support to be Speaker MORE (S.D.) said House Republicans should proceed carefully before making the memo public. His reasoning: "I think the Senate Intelligence Committee needs to see it, for sure. [Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard] Burr would like to see it and hasn't been able to yet," Thune said, arguing that the Senate Intelligence Committee should be apprised before the document becomes available to the public. "There are important national security considerations they need to weigh and hopefully they're doing that," he said.

WHO'S SEEN WHAT?: Only a handful of lawmakers had seen intelligence backing up the controversial memo when the House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to release it. But now: The number of lawmakers who have seen the intelligence appears to have grown since the vote. Why that matters:

Back story -- so, what's the deal with the Nunes memo anyway?: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) wrote a controversial memo that alleges "shocking" surveillance abuses on the Trump campaign by the Justice Department. The House Intelligence Committee voted to publish the memo, but that move is controversial. Democrats say the memo cherry picks its facts. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said it could put classified information at risk. What else to know about the memo and why it's big:

This is a pretty interesting graphic:


Brent Budowsky argues that special counsel Robert Mueller should call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to testify in the obstruction probe.



Immigration lite: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) says that Congress may settle on a slimmed-down immigration deal that leaves aside some of President Trump's priorities. What it could include: Protecting undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation in exchange for more money for border security. What would be out: Trump's demand that Congress limit immigration preferences for nonnuclear family members and end the diversity visa lottery program.

WHO HAS THE FUN JOB OF TELLING THE PRESIDENT THIS?: Meanwhile, Donald Trump is going full-steam ahead with his immigration agenda, catering to his base with tough talk. How: Trump's State of the Union speech was notable for its emphatic rhetoric on illegal immigration and for the significant time devoted to the topic. The president offered little by way of an olive branch to Democrats.



The State Department loses one: The third-ranking official and top career diplomat at the State Department is leaving his post. Who: Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon. How long he served: Nearly 35 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. His statement: "I decided it was an important moment to take a step back and to determine what next I can do in my life," he said.



Come onnn. Are we doing this 'crowd size' thing again??: This morning, President Trump boasted that Tuesday night's State of the Union was the most watched ever. He tweeted: "45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. Fox News beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!"

Fox News reacts -- errrghhh well...:

It's really happening!: North Korean Olympians have arrived in South Korea for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang this month. How many athletes: Ten North Korean skaters and skiers. Details: The athletes arrived on the same South Korean flight with non-Olympic South Korean skiers who had visited a North Korean ski resort last month. Why this is very unusual: Most travelers between the countries cross a land border. It's highly unusual for North Koreans to be on the South Korean plane.

Other North Korean athletes who are in South Korea: Twelve North Korean female hockey players traveled to South Korea last week to be part of the first unified Korean Olympic team.

Is drinking coffee the new smoking?: Via CNN's Jen Christensen, because of a lawsuit from a nonprofit, coffee shops in California may soon be forced to put a cancer warning label on their coffee drinks. Why: "The state keeps a list of chemicals it considers possible causes of cancer, and one of them, acrylamide, is created when coffee beans are roasted." Where you'll see the labels shortly: At least 13 companies have settled in the lawsuit and will make warning labels. This included 7-Eleven.

Team captains of impeachment: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are proving central to efforts to impeach President TrumpWhy the CBC: Black lawmakers say that's the result of Trump repeatedly stirring racial controversies, from personally attacking two members of the caucus to casting equal blame on white supremacists and counterprotesters for fatal violence in Charlottesville, Va., last summer. How many support impeaching the president: Just under two-thirds of the 48-member CBC has backed impeachment in House floor votes forced by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenVoters split on if House Dems should begin Trump impeachment proceedings, poll finds Dem strategist says Trump should not be impeached Cummings throws cold water on impeaching Trump MORE (D-Texas), himself a CBC member.

The CBC members who attended the State of the Union: Many pointedly refrained from clapping or shaking Trump's hand. 

The CBC members who didn't attend: More than half of the 14 House Democrats who boycotted the speech were members of the caucus.



Attention, all grammar nerds:



Congress is out.

1:10 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting at the Washington Hilton.

8:10 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee winter meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. 



12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the Republican retreat at the Greenbrier Valley Resort in West Virginia. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill On The Money: Senior GOP senator warns Trump against shutdown | Treasury sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | HQ2 deal brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Senate confirms Bowman to Fed board Senior GOP senator warns Trump against partial shutdown MORE (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hold a press conference from the Republican retreat in West Virginia. Livestream:

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence holds a swearing in ceremony for Sam Brownback, who will be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Livestream:

Next week: The House Democratic retreat. New: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Democrats huddle for 2020 ‘friend-raisers’ MORE will headline the retreat.



Today is National Baked Alaska Day.

Dat gold medal lyfe: Via Time, here's a list of Winter Olympic events and who to watch for each sport:

And because you read this far, here are newborn penguins who are still too small to swim, but love to play: