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: Dems face tough choices in fight for Senate | Trouble for GOP tax message | Widow of Pulse shooter found not guilty | Trump VA pick hesitated on taking job | White House staffers played 'icing' drinking game | Millennials dump top sheets | Final Four preview

 

BREAKING THIS MORNING

Pulse night club shooter's widow found not guilty: 

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Noor Salman, the widow of the man who opened fire at an Orlando nightclub in 2016, has been acquitted of charges that she aided her husband's rampage and misled investigators. Why she was charged: Prosecutors argued that Salman was aware of her husband's plans and helped with the attack, even though she was not with him at the nightclub. How long it took the jury to decide: Today was the third day of deliberations. http://bit.ly/2Id5UYY

It's Friday. Happy Passover and an early Happy Easter! Sunday is also April Fools' Day, so beware! 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.

 

LATEST MIDTERM NEWS

Someone please get Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE a clipboard with Senate map plays on it:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (N.Y.) is facing difficult choices on where to spend the party's limited resources in the fall midterms. The options -- offense or defense: Senate Democrats are defending 26 seats, including 10 in states that voted for Trump, and many of those candidates are going to need help from the national party. But Democrats also have an outside shot of taking back the Senate majority. Democratic candidates trying to turn the Senate blue will also want help from Schumer. How this could play out: http://bit.ly/2J7Eghu

Show us the $$$:

Via The Hill's Naomi Jagoda and Niv Elis, more than three months since the GOP's tax-cut law, surveys show that people don't think they are getting bigger paychecks. Details: Just 32 percent of working adults reported having more take-home pay due to the new law, according to a new CNBC poll. Why this is a problem for the GOP: Republicans were hoping to run on the measure and the health of the economy in November. This could backfire and actually help the Democrats. http://bit.ly/2GlwOS7

 

LATEST FROM THE WEST WING

Me? You said you want ... me?:

Via The Washington Post's Lisa Rein, Seung Min Kim, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and Josh Dawsey, White House physician Ronny Jackson was "taken aback by his nomination" as Veterans Affairs secretary and first hesitated when first asked whether he would be interested in taking the job. How the nomination process went down: "A senior White House official described an informal interview process, without the extensive vetting that typically accompanies a Cabinet selection." https://wapo.st/2GAM1OH

Why the hesitation about his qualifications: Jackson "was an emergency trauma doctor in Iraq before spending the past 12 years as a White House physician. But his résumé lacks the type of management experience usually expected from the leader of an agency that employs 360,000 people, has a $186 billion annual budget and is dedicated to serving the complex needs of the country's veterans." 

Keep in mind: The VA is the second-largest (!) government agency. The Department of Defense is the largest.

WHAT TRUMP'S VA PICK SAYS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT: Via The Hill's Niall StanagePresident TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE's penchant for making unconventional picks to fill senior positions is once again on full display. The gist: Trump prizes loyalty over experience in Cabinet. Other examples: http://bit.ly/2GJ2Vun

 

GETTING TRACTION ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Ahhh, 'Icing' people with bottles of Smirnoff Ice. A classic" 

In a The Washington Post behind-the-scenes look at the White House, Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg report that staffers played a drinking game called "Icing" in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. https://wapo.st/2EaNIx2

Excerpt on 'Icing': "PPO [Presidential Personnel Office] leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices that included beer, wine and snacks for dozens of PPO employees and White House liaisons who work in federal agencies, White House officials confirmed. In January, they played a drinking game in the office called 'Icing' to celebrate the deputy director's 30th birthday. Icing involves hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it, in this case the deputy director, guzzle it. The White House confirmed that PPO officials played the Icing game but said it and the happy hours are not unique to the PPO and are a way to network and let off steam." Full storyhttps://wapo.st/2EaNIx2

 

IN OTHER NEWS

When I grow up, I want to be a former member of Congress:

Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski attended a U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress dinner and heard some interesting tidbits about what it's like to work in Congress. Like: Members discussed whether they are paid enough and what it's like to sleep in their offices. It's pretty interesting -- listen: http://bit.ly/2pPQlio

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Wow, I had no idea: 

Full photos: http://bit.ly/2GJMSN7 

 

That is an unfortunate coincidence: 

Back story: Fox News host Laura Ingraham mocked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg over his college rejections. At least nine advertisers pulled spots from her program and she later apologized for the insult. More on the story: http://bit.ly/2GIQgre

 

Wow:

Full story: https://es.pn/2pQKKJy

 

ON TAP:

Congress is out. 

This weekend: President Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He has no public events on his schedule today.

Today–Sunday: Awesome-Con in Washington, D.C. -- basically, D.C.'s version of Comic-Con. Details and tickets: http://bit.ly/2pPr8Wg

What to expect at Awesome-Con: Here's a list of the top six things: http://bit.ly/2pT3zMf

Sunday: Women's History Month ends. Op-ed: Here's a wrap-up of the month: http://bit.ly/2GCPSKW

Monday morning: The annual White House Easter egg roll. Via Food Network Magazine, here's the back story to the egg roll: http://bit.ly/2pQ9kt6

50 days away -- May 19: The royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

6:09 p.m. EDT Saturday: No. 3 Michigan plays No. 11 Loyola of Chicago in the Final Four. ESPN preview: https://es.pn/2J6YRTg

8:49 p.m. EDT Saturday: No. 1 Villanova plays No. 1 Kansas in the Final Four. ESPN preview: https://es.pn/2J6YRTg

 

SUNDAY SHOW GUESTS:

NBC's "Meet the Press": Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills MORE (R-Wis.) will appear exclusively on "Meet the Press." The panel will include NPR's Joshua Johnson, Time magazine's Elise Jordan, American Enterprise Institute's Danielle Pletka and syndicated columnist George Will.

"Fox News Sunday": Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKim, Moon toss ball to Trump in ‘last, best chance’ for Korean peace GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' Collins: Kavanaugh accuser should 'reconsider,' testify on Monday MORE (R-S.C.) will appear exclusively on "Fox News Sunday."

CBS's "Face the Nation": Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTrump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Trump to visit North Carolina on Wednesday in aftermath of Florence MORE (R-S.C.), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.) and the United Nations's high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, will appear on "Face the Nation." The panel will include Politico's Michael Crowley, The Atlantic's David Frum, The Washington Post's David Nakamura and Vice's Shawna Thomas.

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Turkey Neck Soup Day.

Welcome, Cali Brown. I hope you're up to the task: 

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has appointed a "deputy first dog." I.e.: His family got a new puppy. Photo of the fur ball: http://bit.ly/2GmKw35

I had no idea top sheets were so controversial!:

Via USA Today's Kelsey McShane, a new "millennials killed the ___" controversy has started. Apparently, millennials don't use top sheets on their beds. Full explanation: https://usat.ly/2GY182p

Informal poll: I've asked a few of my fellow millennial friends whether they use a top sheet. It was about 50-50. 

I'm very intrigued, but I'm not sure I would have the guts to be seen on one of these...: 

Via WTOP Radio, rentable electric scooters are popping up around Washington, D.C. Photo: http://bit.ly/2GIQTB8

And to start your weekend on the right foot, here's THE sleepiest puppy that has ever existed: http://bit.ly/2GkvUFt

 

Updated at 12:54 p.m.