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 



Billy Graham lies in honor at Capitol: President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.) honored Reverend Billy Graham in the U.S. Capitol this morning. Livestream of the ceremony:

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."

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

Will other presidents will attend?: No. "Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaClinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings Obama: Cummings showed us 'the importance of checks and balances' MORE is unable to attend the funeral, while two former presidents George W. Bush and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonHouse Democrats risk overriding fairness factor on impeachment Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' What did the Founders most fear about impeachment? MORE traveled to Charlotte this week ahead of the service to pay their respects while Graham's body lay in repose."

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 and on Facebook.



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 SessionsTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy 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!"



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.

Read the statement from Dick's Sporting Goods:



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.

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."



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.

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.



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 CarsonTrump officials say aid to Puerto Rico was knowingly stalled after Hurricane Maria Yes, President Trump, we do have a homelessness crisis and you're making it harder for us to address New HUD rule would eliminate housing stability for thousands of students 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."



Other branches of government had these, too: 


This is the world we live in now: 



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 ManafortNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 Perry says Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine with Giuliani: report Cuomo signs measure allowing New York to press charges despite presidential pardon MOREKeep in mind: The start date is just weeks before the 2018 midterm elections.

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



11 a.m. EST: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump breaks ground on new White House tennis pavilion Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices | Supreme Court abortion case poses major test for Trump picks | Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown Kroger to stop sales of e-cigarettes at stores MORE, Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — House Dems subpoena Giuliani associates Trump feud with Minneapolis mayor to take center stage at rally Karen Pence launches an Instagram account MORE attended the arrival ceremony for the late Rev. Billy Graham, who will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Livestream:

2 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream:

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."

Monday: Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is scheduled to appear on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert.



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:

And because you made it to the end, here's a kitten and an owl who are the best of friends: