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: Trump, lawmakers honor Billy Graham at Capitol | Trump launches new attack on Sessions | Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling assault-style rifles | NRA lobbied Trump against age restrictions | Dems surge on generic ballot | Blue wave in Texas? | Cherry blossom-themed pop-up bar returning 

 

HAPPENING THIS MORNING

Billy Graham lies in honor at Capitol: President TrumpDonald John Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again MORE, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBooker prepping for first 2020 debate with bicep curls Democratic debates: What the top candidates need to do Paul Ryan praises Trump: 'He's not taking any crap' MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July Adam Scott calls on McConnell to take down 'Parks & Rec' gif Trump says he spoke to Pelosi, McConnell on border package MORE (R-Ky.) honored Reverend Billy Graham in the U.S. Capitol this morning. Livestream of the ceremony: http://bit.ly/2oCxYgk

How unusual is this: Via CNN, "He is only the fourth person to lie in honor, following civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005 and two slain Capitol Police officers in 1998, the Architect of the Capitol's records say. The practice is similar to government or military officials lying in state, but is used for private citizens." http://cnn.it/2oEKJqO

His funeral: Graham's funeral is Friday in Charlotte, N.C.

Will other presidents will attend?: No. "Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Biden has a lot at stake in first debate Biden to debate for first time as front-runner MORE is unable to attend the funeral, while two former presidents George W. Bush and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Impeaching the president: At what cost, and by what method? The Evergreen State and the soul of the Democratic Party MORE traveled to Charlotte this week ahead of the service to pay their respects while Graham's body lay in repose." http://avlne.ws/2F0TBhk

It's Wednesday -- today is the last day of February!  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.

 

ALSO THIS MORNING 

This week on The Real World -- West Wing: This morning, President Trump launched a new attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calling it "disgraceful" that he has asked an inspector general and not Justice Department lawyers to investigate potential surveillance abuses. Trump tweeted: "Why is A.G. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAttorney General Barr plays bagpipes at conference Roy Moore trails Republican field in Alabama Trump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake MORE asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn't the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!" http://bit.ly/2oDE0xj

 

LATEST WITH THE FLORIDA SHOOTING

Getting traction -- Dick's Sporting Goods has new shelf space: This morning, Dick's Sporting Goods announced it will stop selling assault-style rifles. The company also said it will no longer allow people who are under the age of 21 to purchase a gun, and it will stop selling high-capacity magazines. How it was announced: During an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Dick's CEO, Ed Stack, said he was "disturbed and saddened" by the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., earlier this month. "We felt that we really needed to do something and so we've decided not to sell these assault weapons any longer in any of our stores," Stack said. http://bit.ly/2oCTEJ7

Read the statement from Dick's Sporting Goods: http://bit.ly/2CKN9ch

 

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One party, two very different strategies: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, the GOP leaders have taken two very different approaches in their responses to the Florida shooting. http://bit.ly/2CP8FN1

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.): Says the Senate should focus on legislation that can pass like improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Keep in mind: He wants to win seats in states like Florida. 

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.): In contrast, Ryan is downplaying the need to pass legislation and said House lawmakers are more interested in investigating multiple law enforcement mistakes that allowed the 19-year-old charged in the shooting, Nikolas Cruz, to operate unimpeded. Keep in mind: Ryan is under heavy pressure from conservatives not to go too far on gun restrictions. 

NRA PRESSURE ON TRUMP:Via CNN's Elizabeth Landers, "National Rifle Association leaders appealed directly to President Donald Trump about not raising the age limit for buying certain firearms, a senior administration official tells CNN." http://cnn.it/2EZcuoX

 

EIGHT MONTHS UNTIL THE MIDTERMS

Do you choose the blue ink? Or the red ink?: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, Democrats are surging in the generic congressional ballot as the economy fades from the spotlight and a cascade of White House controversies has taken center stage. The numbers: A new CNN survey released Monday put the Democratic advantage in the congressional generic ballot at an eye-popping 16 points. The margin in the RealClearPolitics average has returned to nearly 10 points, after Republicans crept to within 7 points earlier this month. http://bit.ly/2COSuQ2

Blue may be the new gold in Texas: Via The Hill's Reid Wilson, more Democratic voters than Republicans have cast ballots ahead of next month's primary elections in Texas, in what some party officials interpret as a new sign that a blue wave is building ahead of the midterm elections. How we know: The Texas secretary of State's office said 168,000 voters had cast ballots in the Democratic primary; 138,000 in the Republican primary. http://bit.ly/2t4cMW4

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Pics or it didn't happen: Via The New York Times's Glenn Thrush, "Department of Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonMellman: Are primary debates different? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Gillibrand introduces bill blocking HUD rule on undocumented public housing residents MORE's office in late 2017 -- just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD's programs for the homeless, elderly and poor, according to federal procurement records." Details: The set included a custom table, chairs and a hutch. 

'I mean, have you SEEN the detailed woodwork?!': "Mr. Carson 'didn't know the table had been purchased,' but does not believe the cost was too steep and does not intend to return it, said Raffi Williams, a HUD spokesman." http://nyti.ms/2t0VyJ7

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Other branches of government had these, too: 

*Gasps*:

This is the world we live in now: 

 

ON TAP:

The Senate is in. The House is out.

3 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with members of Congress to discuss school and community safety. Where: The Cabinet Room in the White House.

4:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on nominations.

Date set -- Sept. 17: The trial date for former Trump campaign chairmanPaul ManafortPaul John ManafortREAD: Hannity, Manafort messages released by judge Manafort, Hannity talk Trump, Mueller in previously undisclosed messages FBI, warned early and often that Manafort file might be fake, used it anyway MOREKeep in mind: The start date is just weeks before the 2018 midterm elections. http://bit.ly/2oFT6SP

Op-ed: The Atlantic Council's Anders Åslund argues that Russia is going rogue and discusses how the U.S. must contain it. http://bit.ly/2HPTSFA 

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

11 a.m. EST: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMika Brzezinski to Ivanka and Melania: 'You will go down in history as having done nothing about' conditions for migrant children The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? In Arizona, Trump's new press secretary battled reporters MORE, Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump calls off Iran strike at last minute The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — All eyes on Trump as 2020 bid begins MORE attended the arrival ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham, who will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2oCxYgk

2 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2F1NyJs

Tonight: Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who just finished a stint on CBS's "Celebrity Big Brother," will appear with CBS's Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show." http://bit.ly/2CPfjmp

Monday: Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is scheduled to appear on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert. http://bit.ly/2CPfjmp

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Chocolate Soufflé Day.

Hire me! Hire me! Hire me!: Via Washingtonian's Jessica Sidman, the cherry blossom-themed pop-up bar is returning tomorrow in Washington, D.C. Behind-the-scenes: "Drink Company's Shaw temporary bars have drawn massive crowds willing to wait hours for the chance to sip themed cocktails in elaborate rooms decorated like a Christmas wonderland, the Game of Throne's Seven Kingdoms, a haunted forest, or a David Bowie disco. With each new venture, the decor has gotten more elaborate with robots and custom art and props. Now, it's one step away from a Hollywood production. The budget for decor supplies alone has climbed to around $25,000-to-$30,000 per pop-up." Full read -- it's pretty interesting: http://bit.ly/2F3tS7U

And because you made it to the end, here's a kitten and an owl who are the best of friends: http://bit.ly/2oIkKPp