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: Turmoil on Trump legal team | Little-known lawyer eyed for big role | Dems want to go on offensive over alleged Trump affairs | Stormy Daniels's lawyer open to settlement | GOP donors worry about Dem midterm wave | Facebook's new privacy settings | Fake DC Craigslist ad for Trump lawyer goes viral



A 'former prosecutor with a doctorate in medieval history' -- oddly enough, that skill set may be necessary these days:

Via Reuters' Karen Freifeld, a little-known attorney is expected to take on a prominent role on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE's legal team. Who: Andrew Ekonomou, a former prosecutor who has a doctorate in medieval history. He has been assisting Jay Sekulow with the Mueller probe since June, but is taking on a bigger role since Washington attorney John Dowd left. 

Trump: 'You're hired. Pretty pleeease.': 

Via CNN's Katelyn Polantz, "Several top US law firms have left President Donald Trump with few places to turn for legal help in the Russia probe." Details: "Five large law firms are passing on the opportunity to represent the President after a shakeup last week on his private defense team and as he anticipates giving possible testimony to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation." 

Washington, D.C. -- what a town, what a town:


MEANWHILE -- INTERESTING READ: The Washington Post's Aaron Blake writes that "[special counsel Robert Mueller] just drew his most direct line to date between the Trump campaign and Russia." His reasoning:

It's Wednesday. 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.


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This a.m. -- Oh, money?! We like money.: 

The attorney representing porn star Stormy Daniels told CBS News this morning that he and his client "would consider" settling their lawsuit against President TrumpWhen asked if they would consider a settlement: "I think we would consider it, I would converse with my client. It would depend on the terms of a settlement," Michael Avenatti replied. "But at this point, I don't see how the case gets resolved short of the truth coming out."

Dems: Stormy is our friend:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Democrats say their party should seize on President Trump's alleged affairs with adult-film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to highlight flaws in the president's character and credibility. Why now: While charges of sexual harassment against Trump didn't cost him the 2016 presidential election against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders campaign reports raising M in less than a day The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question Roger Stone invokes gag order in new fundraiser MORE, Democrats say the "Me Too" movement has changed the political zeitgeist. The problem: One top Democratic strategist acknowledged the issue was "complicated" because "no one voted for Donald Trump on the basis of his personal morals." 



SoOoOo, 2018 . . . nine months to go . . . 'What do you want to do this year?' 'I don't know, what do you want to do this year?':

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Jordain Carney, Republican leaders are mulling what to do for the rest of the year after passing a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package. The midterms aren't helping: Legislative activity will slow down dramatically after the Easter recess as vulnerable incumbents seek to spend more time campaigning ahead of the fall midterm elections. GOP leaders haven't said much about what's next. What Congress will likely tackle: Infrastructure will now take center stage, but there are deep divisions within the party over the scope of the legislation, how much it should cost and how to pay for it.



You mean you can now decide who spies on you!?: 

Facebook announced that it is rolling out a new tool to centralize user privacy and security settings following the outcry over its data collection practices. How so: Users will be able to control privacy options on a single web page instead of having to navigate through nearly two dozen screens. When this will come out: In the next few weeks.



Yikes, this is a powerful headline: 'I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends.'

A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School wrote an op-ed in The New York Times about her interactions with the suspected shooter, Nikolas CruzExcerpt: "My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade. I was eating lunch with my friends ... when I felt a sudden pain in my lower back. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking. ... A year after ... I was assigned to tutor him through my school's peer counseling program. ... Despite my discomfort, I sat down with him, alone." Full story -- it's worth reading:

Op-ed: Johanna Lacoe and Matthew P. Steinberg argue that school discipline isn't the solution after the Florida shooting. 



I call dibs on covering this race: 

Via The Associated Press, "A clown is running for Congress. That's not a joke.

Steve Lough is wearing his red nose with pride, appearing in clown makeup on his campaign website as he runs against four others in South Carolina's Democratic primary for the seat held by GOP Rep. Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanSouth Carolina New Members 2019 House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Milwaukee County GOP mocks Kavanaugh accusation, says Ginsburg claimed Lincoln 'grabbed my ass' MORE." 

Back story: "Lough was a professional clown with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. Now The State newspaper reports that he's for reforming gun laws and providing universal access to health care."

Why GOP donors are in a bad mood:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, the nation's top conservative donors and fundraisers are increasingly alarmed by the prospect of a midterm election wave that could cost Republicans control of the House. How worried are they?: The party's deep-pocketed donors aren't quite ready to abandon their efforts to keep the House in GOP hands. Well, at least not yet. Their strategy -- the Senate!: More than a half-dozen senior Republican donors and fundraisers interviewed by The Hill acknowledged that protecting the Senate majority might at some point become the only sensible investment for Republican donors.

2019 — THE YEAR OF THE CENTRIST: Moderate lawmakers in both parties believe their influence will rise after the midterm elections no matter which party takes control of the House.



Break out those moves, Dubya!: 



Congress is out.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump holds a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors. This is closed to press.

Keep in mind: All of his events today are closed press. This is day five without President Trump making any public remarks.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisAllies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Trump nominates ambassador to Turkey MORE.



1:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: 

8 p.m. EDT April 25: CNN is holding a town hall with former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMcCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ Trump has publicly criticized Russia probe more than 1,100 times: NY Times MORE.



Today is National Black Forest Cake Day.

Well, this seems like a completely logical, valid reason for me to get a dog: 

New York City's first dog café has opened. They have food and coffee, a bakery for dogs AND a photo booth with dog props. Video:

And to break up your Wednesday, here's a dog in a teddy bear costume who really wants attention: