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 promises decision on Syria in 24 to 48 hours | What to know about reported chemical attack | Rick Scott announces Senate bid | Zuckerberg to apologize in testimony before Congress | Lawmakers return from recess | John Bolton's first day

 

JUST NOW

cc @Bashar Al Assad --> http://bit.ly/2ICMjSk

President 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 just said he would decide the U.S. response to the "heinous" chemical weapons attack in Syria "in the next 24 to 48 hours." On the attack: "It was atrocious. It was horrible," Trump said. "This is about humanity and it can't be allowed to happen." On the U.S.'s next move: Trump said he would be speaking to his national security team to determine the responsible party and any U.S. action. Watch President Trump discussing Syria: http://bit.ly/2IHx1vQ

 

Back story -- What to know about the chemical attack in Syria:

Via The New York Times's Ben Hubbard, "dozens of Syrians choked to death after a suspected chemical attack struck [Syria], with aid groups on Sunday blaming President Bashar al-Assad's government for the assault." Full story -- it's horrific: https://nyti.ms/2H7Paps

REACTION: Governments in the West are outraged. In the U.S.: Senators in both parties have urged President Trump to act. Meanwhile, the president tweeted an attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin for his role in Syria. On whether Trump will act: "Trump has sent mixed signals about his likely response to Syria, advocating getting the U.S. out of the conflict there but also on Sunday tweeting criticism of his predecessor President Obama's hands-off response to a similar situation." http://bit.ly/2qk6HjJ 

KEEP IN MIND: Today is John Bolton’s first day as President Trump’s national security adviser. Bolton is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy. https://nbcnews.to/2GNV4N2

 

It’s Monday — tomorrow is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s! 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.

 

ANNOUNCED THIS MORNING

A Senate race you'll be hearing a lot about:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) just announced that he'll challenge Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonPolitical shenanigans mask true problems in Puerto Rico The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Kavanaugh controversy consumes Washington | Kavanaugh slated to testify Monday | Allegations shake up midterms MORE (D), setting up a marquee battle that could help decide which party controls the Senate. Is this a surprise?: Eh, not really. Scott's long-awaited announcement ends months of speculation. Why Rick Scott isn't running for governor again: He can't run for a third term as governor because of term limits. Should Nelson be nervous?: Yes, this race is expected to the costliest race of the cycle. http://bit.ly/2GKVuDU

UGH, THIS IS TERRIBLE: Politico's Marc Caputo ​just tweeted, "Rest In Peace, Jeri Bustamante, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott who had taught him Spanish for years. She died yesterday in a Keys boating accident." Full story: http://bit.ly/2IDnJRg

 

NEWS TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Sooo, what are the odds Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFight looms over national privacy law Facebook teaming with nonprofits to fight fake election news China may be copying Facebook to build an intelligence weapon MORE shows up in a light gray t-shirt and dark zip-up sweatshirt?: 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is entering the lion's den this week as he faces back-to-back hearings on Facebook users' data privacy. When: He'll testify before a Senate panel Tuesday, followed by the House Wednesday. 

THE QUESTION WE ALL WANT TO KNOW -- WAS MY DATA STOLEN?: Starting today, Facebook will notify the 87 million Facebook users whose data was stolen. How to know if you're included: Every Facebook user will receive a notification about privacy settings on the top of their feed, but users whose data was compromised will receive a slightly longer version. Details and screenshots of each version of the notifications: http://bit.ly/2GMw2tA

BACK STORY -- WHY IT'S IN THE SPOTLIGHT NOW: Political data firm Cambridge Analytica, which did work for President Trump's campaign, obtained data for nearly 87 million Facebook users without their consent. Top Facebook officials were criticized for not immediately addressing the controversy, and lawmakers called on Zuckerberg to testify. The company is now trying to contain the fallout. Everything you need to know about the scandal: https://nyti.ms/2qg3NwW

WOULD ZUCKERBERG RESIGN?: No. In an interview, The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer asked Zuckerberg whether he's considered stepping down. His response: "No, I mean--I am--I do work on philanthropy too, separately. But, these issues are very important," he said. "We've also worked on a lot of hard problems over the last 14 years building Facebook. I mean, it started in a dorm room and now it's this unprecedented community in scale and I'm very confident that we're gonna be able to work through these issues." Full interview: https://theatln.tc/2Jyp8dm

JUST RELEASED -- WHAT ZUCK WILL SAY: The House Energy and Commerce Committee just released Mark Zuckerberg's prepared testimony for Wednesday. http://bit.ly/2IHaM9h The gist: Zuckerberg will apologize in front of Congress. Full text of Zuckerberg's testimony: http://bit.ly/2H62wCx

 

What Congress up to this week:

Balanced budget amendment: The House is expected to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution just weeks after Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending package that is projected to add billions to the deficit. Ehhh, but don't take this too seriously: The measure has almost no chance of becoming law. It needs Democratic support in the Senate and ratification from the majority of states. Then why are they voting on it?: Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (R-Wis.) agreed on a vote in exchange for conservative support on a procedural budget measure needed to move forward tax reform. http://bit.ly/2qmiSwy

Nominations: The Senate is digging back into nominations. Who: Claria Horn Boom to be a district judge, John Ring to be on the National Labor Relations Board, John Pizzella to be deputy secretary of Labor, Andrew Wheeler to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and John Broomes and Rebecca Jennings to be district judges. http://bit.ly/2qmiSwy

  

NOTABLE TWEETS:

OK, this is pretty funny:

Full-sized photos: http://bit.ly/2IEhKMc

  

ON TAP:

The Senate meets in a few hours. The House is out.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump holds a Cabinet meeting.

3 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in swearing-in ceremonies.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate holds a procedural vote on a nomination.

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives a briefing from senior military leadership, followed by a dinner.

Today: John Bolton officially becomes President Trump's national security adviser. What to expect: https://nyti.ms/2Jx7NS6 Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2EuUVIk 

Meanwhile: National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton is leaving the administration, a senior White House official confirmed to The Hill on Sunday evening. http://bit.ly/2GIWIeD

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

2:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2GMND8Y

Wednesday: The Stanley Cup playoffs begin. Schedule and predictions from ESPN: https://es.pn/2GJg0od

Saturday: The NBA playoffs begin. What to expect: https://ble.ac/2JxvyJN 

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day. Sure

 

It's that time of year where we venture out of our cocoons:
Via The Washington Post's Fritz Hahn, here's a list of the new restaurants and bars around Washington, D.C.: https://wapo.st/2GIuPHC

 

And because you read this far, here's Wiley the puppy, who has an actual heart on his nose: http://bit.ly/2EwDzuo