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: Rev. Billy Graham dies | Controversies pile up for White House | Trump pushes Sessions to investigate Obama on Russia | Trump considers gun regs | Students march to Capitol to demand action | Florida conspiracy video trends on YouTube | NRA to join CNN town hall on guns



Rev. Billy Graham has died: Rev. Billy Graham, a famous evangelist who was a confidant to U.S. presidents, died this morning at the age of 99. How he died: He was suffering from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. He passed away at home. How you know him: Graham, an ordained Southern Baptist minister from North Carolina, reached national prominence with his books and sermons and served as a counselor to a dozen presidents. His words reached hundreds of millions of people in hundreds of countries around the world thanks to his worldwide tours in front of sold-out arenas. http://bit.ly/2EGuhwX

His obituary in The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/2Cb07EC


President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE: "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man." http://bit.ly/2FjATCp

Vice President Pence: "Karen and I were saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Americans of the century, Reverend Billy Graham. We send our deepest condolences to the Graham family." http://bit.ly/2GxQxtj

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMullen: 'National security issues do not wait' for presidential transitions Is Trump headed to another campaign or to a courtroom? With the Chang'e 5 launch, China takes a giant leap forward in the race to the moon MORE: "Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many - and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans." http://bit.ly/2Gy9a0m

Former President George H. W. Bush: "Billy Graham was America's pastor. His faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world. I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man." 

Reactions from other politicians: http://fxn.ws/2CBmfDE

It's Wednesday, Feb. 21 --and it could actually hit 80 degrees in D.C. today. 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 next -- discussions on Capitol Hill: Via The Hill's Melania Zanona, Cristina Marcos and Mike Lillis, lawmakers say they are feeling more pressure than ever to act on gun control after the latest deadly mass shooting at a public high school. What makes this time different: The emotional pleas from students who survived the shooting. http://bit.ly/2FgnKdn

What President Trump is reportedly considering:

On bump stocks: 
Yesterday, President Trump said he directed the Department of Justice to propose regulations that would ban bump stocks. What are bump stocks: Devices that allow semi-automatic guns to be modified to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute. They were used in the Las Vegas mass shooting but not in the recent shooting at a Florida school. Details: http://bit.ly/2EXGOzA

On background checks:
President Trump appeared to suggest lawmakers should turn their focus to strengthening background checks for gun purchases. He tweeted: "Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!" http://bit.ly/2CcycnB

On age restrictions: 
Via Axios's Jonathan SwanPresident Trump is considering implementing a minimum age of 21 to buy guns. Details: http://bit.ly/2CzP8Ak

REACTION FROM PAT ROBERTSON: Prominent conservative evangelical leader Pat Robertson has called for stricter gun control laws following last week's shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. "For heaven's sake, I don't think that the general population needs to have automatic weapons," Robertson, who is a gun owner, said on "The 700 Club" on Tuesday. "Amen," a voice off camera said. http://bit.ly/2ofTTdT


HAPPENING TODAY: A group of students in Maryland have walked out of school and are traveling to the U.S. Capitol to protest in favor of gun control. Livestream of their trip: http://bit.ly/2onJX1k

PHOTO OUTSIDE OF THE CAPITOL: http://bit.ly/2og5klP



One... two... three... NOSE GOES!: Via The Hill's Scott Wong, Not a single GOP lawmaker has launched a bid to replace retiring Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyThe Hunter Biden problem won't go away Sunday shows preview: Joe Biden wins the 2020 election Sunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears MORE (R-S.C.) as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the panel with investigatory powers over the Trump administration. Why: Most Republicans have no desire to lead a committee whose central charge would be investigating a Republican administration -- particularly one led by the volatile President Trump, who strikes back fiercely at critics. http://bit.ly/2EGgkiE

Repeat after me: Tax *clap* Cuts *clap*: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "President Trump's White House is consumed by controversies on several fronts, putting the administration on the defensive at a time when Republicans are increasingly worried about their electoral prospects.

Republicans would be content to spend every day between now and Election Day focused on the GOP's tax-cut bill and the economy. But those efforts are complicated by the sheer volume of controversies the White House is juggling." http://bit.ly/2CbJwR0

THE PRESIDENT TWEETED THIS MORNING: "Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren't they the subject of the investigation? Why didn't Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren't Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Session!" http://bit.ly/2GxCKD9



I sent you that private email in confidence!!!:



Yes, a conspiracy theory is the #1 trending video...:

Back story: http://bit.ly/2ELOkhq



Congress is out.

This week: The Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. Schedule: http://bit.ly/2ocTmJK

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump discusses the Economic Report of the President with the Council of Economic Advisers.

12:10 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence tours Kennedy Space Center in Florida, then leaves for Washington, D.C.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonApril's dumbest and most dangerous coronavirus declarations Trump convenes sports commissioners in hopes of filling stadiums Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE, the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with trade union leaders.

3:35 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence arrives in Washington, D.C.



4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence hold a listening session with high school students and teachers who have been affected by mass shootings. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2EYT03b

9 p.m. EST: CNN is hosting a town hall on guns. The newsy part: The National Rifle Association's Dana Loesch has agreed to participate. http://bit.ly/2ocX6ej

6 p.m. EST Thursday: The Heritage Foundation is holding an event, "Trump, Executive Power, and the Bully Pulpit." Details: http://bit.ly/2GzGaW9



Today is National Sticky Bun Day.

Interesting read -- a dilemma we've all likely experienced:

Time's Markham Heid explains whether people should exercise or not when they're sick. The gist: It doesn't help or hurt with colds, but is a bad idea with fevers or flus. http://ti.me/2EHAOLN

Attention, Potter fans:

Here's a Harry Potter themed brunch in New York that includes bottomless butterbeer. Video: http://bit.ly/2HC04RK

And because you made it this far, here's a photo of a duck surfing in a waterfall: http://bit.ly/2sFpZEu