The Hill's 12:30 Report

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

Sign up to receive the 12:30 Report right to your inbox:

--> 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: What to watch as Zuckerberg testifies | Trump vents over FBI raid on lawyer | Rosenstein reportedly signed off on raid | Schumer calls for legislation to protect Mueller from firing | Top Trump security adviser resigns | Obamas not attending royal wedding | Dunkin Donuts adds 'Donut Fries'



Uhhh, this is terrifying.

Back story: An advocacy group has placed 100 life-sized cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBipartisan senators to introduce bill forcing online platforms to disclose value of user data Understanding what Facebook's Libra is — and what it isn't Buckyballs, Facebook and the dangers of virtue-signaling MORE on the Capitol lawn. Why: "The event intends to call attention to the hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook." Details:



Day two on the job: 'Don't let the door hit you on the way out': 

Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian, Tom Bossert, President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE's top homeland security aide, is leaving the White House, the latest in a long list of West Wing resignations.

What to know about Bossert: "Bossert has served in the White House since Trump's inauguration and played a key role in responding to cyber threats and last year's hurricanes that devastated Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

Why this is so newsy today: "His departure comes one day after John Bolton took over as national security adviser, a move that was expected to cause turnover on Trump's security team. The 43-year-old aide is close to chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and Bolton's predecessor, H.R. McMaster."

Important tidbit -- why now: Via Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs: "Bossert is essentially being fired. He is resigning at the request of new National Security Adviser John Bolton, I'm told."

Statement: From White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:


It's Tuesday. 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



Just Zuck's luck: 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will feel the glare of the national spotlight today as he testifies to Congress for the first time. Here are five things to watch: 

  1. How does Zuckerberg handle the pressure?
  2. How aggressively do lawmakers question him?
  3. How does he explain Facebook's response to Cambridge Analytica?
  4. What does Zuckerberg say about Russia's election interference?
  5. Does the hearing fuel calls for regulation?

Context for each:



On the next season of 'CSI: Washington': 

Via The New York Times's Matt Apuzzo, the FBI raided the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer, yesterday morning. Why: To seize emails and documents related to a reported payment to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels. How the FBI got a search warrant: After receiving a referral "in part" from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE. Cohen's lawyer called the search "completely inappropriate and unnecessary." Full story:

HOW TRUMP REACTED -- EXAAACTLY HOW YOU'D EXPECT: This morning, President Trump launched a fresh attack on the FBI raid of Michael Cohen. 

At 7:07 a.m., he tweeted: "Attorney–client privilege is dead!" 

And at 7:08 a.m., he tweeted: "A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!"

This follows the president's response last night: The president blasted the raid as a "disgrace" and as an "attack on our country" before a meeting alongside Vice President Pence, national security adviser John Bolton and others.

"We'll see what happens. … Many people have said, 'You should fire him,' " Trump also said when asked if he will fire Robert Mueller. "Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing, that's a big statement."


New detail -- Rosenstein was on board:

Via The New York Times's Michael D. Shear, Matt Apuzzoand Adam Goldman, Deputy attorney general Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon MORE personally approved the FBI raid of Michael CohenWhat this means: "Mr. Trump's advisers have spent the last 24 hours trying to convince the president not to make an impulsive decision that could put the president in more legal jeopardy and ignite a controversy that could consume his presidency, several people close to Mr. Trump said."


I mean, alternative phrasing wouldn't be a terrible idea: 

Full size photos:


NEW -- How this could affect the Mueller investigation: 

Via ABC's John Santucci and Katherine Faulders, "In the wake of an early morning FBI raid on his personal attorney, sources close to President Donald Trump and his legal team say the president is 'less inclined' to sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team."


Important context:

WHY THIS SEARCH WARRANT IS A BIG DEAL: Via The Atlantic's Adam Serwer, "Michael Cohen Has a Big Problem: It takes strong evidence to execute a search warrant against an attorney representing a subject in a federal investigation, let alone the president's personal counsel." 

Reasoning: From Clinton Watts, a former FBI agent and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute: "Doing a search warrant rather than a subpoena suggests the investigators thought Cohen, if given a subpoena, would possibly destroy evidence or withhold key evidence, particularly if it were incriminating." Full argument:

YEAH, BUT HOLD ON: From ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger: "A note of caution on the Michael Cohen news: The FBI screws up a lot. It messed up a raid on Benjamin Wey. Case got thrown out. FBI raided David Ganek's hedge fund, which I'm convinced was an abuse. While the procedures appear to have been upheld in the Cohen raid, we don't know what they were authorized to look at and what they took. That will be a legal fight to come, and the FBI doesn't have a pristine track record. Full argument:


Reactions from Congress:

ON THE LEFT -- PROTECT. MUELLER.: Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' MORE (N.Y.) just called on Senate GOP leaders to bring legislation to the floor that would protect special counsel RobertMueller from being fired. He also warned President Trump not to fire Mueller.

ON THE RIGHT -- DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, DJT: Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, the No. 2 Senate Republican John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats give Trump trade chief high marks GOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks MORE(Texas) just warned that it would be a "big mistake" for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. "I don't think the president's going to fire him because I think it would be a big mistake," he told The Hill.




No worries, Michelle! I'll take your seat. I gotcha covered.:

Former President Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama leads USA dodgeball against Corden's Team UK Michelle Obama to lead female celebrity dodgeball team in 'Late Late Show' face-off Obamas sign deal with Spotify to produce podcasts MORE reportedly won't be among the guests at Prince Harry and Megan Markle's upcoming wedding, "but the couples look forward to seeing each other soon."

UNRELATED, BUT -- WHAT AN INSULT FROM THE QUEEN: Queen Elizabeth II compared President Trump and former President Obama to a noisy helicopter. The joke: Why do they go round and round when you want to talk?" Queen Elizabeth exclaimed. "Sounds like President Trump," she deadpanned. "Or President Obama." Uh, how did this come up?: She made the crack while filming a documentary at Buckingham Palace about her love of trees for the United Kingdom's ITV. Why this is newsy: The 91-year-old royal family matriarch has never given a press interview.




Full forecast from the Capital Weather Gang​:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is at the White House. Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C., but is heading to Boston for a Republican National Committee event.

Noon: President Trump meets with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the White House and has a working luncheon. Details:

12:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons. The Senate's schedule today:

2:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate holds a procedural vote on nominations. 

5 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a Republican National Committee event in Boston. The event is closed press.

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House. The House's schedule today:

Today: Equal Pay Day. Op-ed in support of the day: And an op-ed against the day is misleading:

Not happening this weekend: President Trump will no longer travel to Peru and Colombia. Why: From White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "The president will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria." Vice President Pence will travel in his place.

One week from today -- April 17: Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden is the least electable candidate — here's why Top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann lands book deal Trump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president MORE's highly anticipated memoir is released.



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

2 p.m. EDT: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in a joint Senate hearing on data privacy. Livestream:

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the 2017 NCAA football national champions, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Livestream:

Throwback -->

10 a.m. EDT Wednesday: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in a House hearing on data privacy. Livestream:



Today is National Cinnamon Crescent Day.


Just thought you should know...: 

Via Pop Sugar, Disney has released a Little Mermaid Pool Party collection -- and it's not just for kids. That Sebastian pool float!!


Donut! *clap* Fries! *clap*: 
Via USA Today, Dunkin' Donuts is testing "donut fries" as a new menu item. Plus: The company has also added pretzel bites, waffle-breaded chicken and Munchkin dippers at a few stores. Details and photos:

REAL TALK -- WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE?: A few locations in Boston. "Priced at $2 for five fries, they are currently being tested out in a small number of restaurants in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of a new snacking menu. Stores include 265 Franklin Street, the restaurant at Logan Airport and 588 Washington Street in Quincy, according to a statement."


And to break up your day, here are some of the most compelling arguments for why golden retrievers are superior. Try disputing me: