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: Ryan signals support for McCarthy as next GOP leader | Highlights from Pompeo confirmation hearing | Hillary's advice for Pompeo | Loss of Ryan hits House GOP hard | Senate Republicans worry retirement will derail agenda | Trump says he will make Syria decision 'fairly soon' | Uber ups criminal checks on drivers | National Grilled Cheese Day 



Pompeo in the hot seat:

CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Pompeo’s staff cracks down on ‘correct use of commas’ at State Dept MORE, whom President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE chose as his next secretary of State, is facing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today for his confirmation hearing. Livestream:



On the Mueller investigation (!): Pompeo confirmed that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE has interviewed him. On the interview: "I'm not going to speak to" the subject of the conversation, Pompeo said, but cautioned that lawmakers should draw no "negative inferences or positive inferences" from his circumspection.

Sorry, Rosey: Pompeo said he would not resign as secretary of State if President Trump fired deputy attorney general Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinVote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Trump lawyer: NBC interview with Comey firing comments was edited Trump attack on Sessions may point to his departure MORE to stymie the investigation into Russian interference. Quote: "My instincts tell me that my obligation is to continue to serve as America's senior diplomat would be more important at increased times of political and domestic turmoil."

On North Korea: Pompeo said he is not advocating for regime change in North Korea.

On Russia: Pompeo said  the "historic conflict" between the U.S. and Russia is due to Moscow's "bad behavior" -- contradicting Trump's assertion that the special counsel's probe is to blame.

On the Iran deal: Pompeo said he shares President Trump's views about "fixing" the Iran nuclear deal or withdrawing by May 12.



Protesters: "'No Pompeo! No more war!' chants break out immediately after the nominee slips through the camera gantlet and sits down." (Via Politico's Elana Schor) Photo:

Tidbit on the protesters: "Cute moment where [Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPoll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it Ford opens door to testifying next week Police arrest nearly two dozen Kavanaugh protesters MORE] warns the protesters to 'please don't do anything' that could risk arrest and they wave, friendly-like, from the aisle."

^Well, that was fast: "Code Pink protestor removed for screaming 'This man is no diplomat!' from Pompeo hearing." Lol, then: "GOP Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsPat Robertson asks followers to help cast 'shield of protection' ahead of hurricane Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke The farm bill gives Congress a chance to act on the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act MORE quips that he will erupt in a similar manner when he tells Trump about how the tariffs are affecting soybean prices." (Via CNN's Manu Raju

Attending the hearing: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story Nikki Haley on Kavanaugh firestorm: 'It turns my stomach' Melania Trump's spokeswoman gets Hatch Act warning for #MAGA tweet MORE in a show of support.

Advice from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she advised Pompeo not to "purge" experienced administration officials.

So far -- a 'no' vote on Pompeo: Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii) said he will oppose Pompeo. He's a Dem, why is this newsy?: He's the first Democrat who voted in favor of Pompeo's CIA confirmation that will vote against him for secretary of State. Reasoning: "I voted YES on Pompeo for CIA on the theory that he would be the 'adult in the room.' I was wrong," Schatz tweeted. "I am voting NO on Pompeo for Secretary of State because our top diplomat should believe in diplomacy. He has an alarming tendency towards military provocation and brinkmanship."


It's Thursday -- one. more. day. 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.




Nah, I’m good brah — all you:

Via The Hill’s Scott Wong, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign Blue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday signaled support for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Calif.) as his successor. How Ryan did so: He said he was pleased that Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' MORE (R-La.) had endorsed McCarthy to succeed him. Scalise on Fox News today said: He would not run against McCarthy but did not offer an endorsement. “I wouldn't run against Kevin. He and I are good friends,” Scalise told Fox News.



How Senate Republicans are taking the news -- 'But what about the agenda!!': 

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Republicans are concerned that Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) decision to leave Congress will make it tougher to get things done this year and fear a protracted leadership race in the House could suck up a lot of time and attention. And for Trump reasons: Senators see Ryan as a reliable partner in checking President Trump when he diverges from where most Republicans stand, such as on tariffs.


How House Republicans are taking the news -- 'But what about the majority?!': 

Via The Hill's Ben Kamisar, Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) decision to retire from Congress has set off more alarm bells for Republicans worried about whether they can hold the House in the midterm elections. Ripple effect?: Unclear, but Republicans seem nervous for the midterms.

HOW THIS WILL LIKELY PLAY OUT: Here's what to expect in November:


Important context -- Timing:

Via The New York Times's Carl Hulse, "[House Speaker Paul Ryan's] decision was expected, but not so soon. Why now? By making the announcement before the midterms, Ryan is likely to hurt his party's fund-raising while intensifying enthusiasm among Democrats."



Maybe now, maybe later, maybe never. YOU'LL NEVER KNOW:

President Trump stressed that he never said when he would attack Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed numerous civilians. This morning, he tweeted, "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our 'Thank you America?' "


Full size tweets:


President Trump said he will decide "fairly soon" how to respond to an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria. He just told reporters at the White House: "Now we have to make some further decisions, so they'll be made fairly soon."




Another bad headline for Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE:

Via The Hill's Timothy CamaKevin Chmielewski, a former top aide to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt is accusing Pruitt of more extravagant spending, unnecessary security, employee retaliation and more, according to congressional Democrats. Details:

FOR EXAMPLE: Scott Pruitt "insisted on staying in luxury hotels that were costlier than allowed by government standards, while also pushing to fly on an airline not on the government's approved list so he could accrue more frequent flier miles, one of his top former deputies at agency has told congressional investigators."


NEW -- All of these departing aides should shuffle out of the White House one-by-one to 'The Cupid Shuffle':

Ricky Waddell, the No. 2 official on the National Security Council (NSC), plans to leave his post as new national security adviser John Bolton seeks to form his own team. Keep in mind: Waddell is the fourth recent departure from the national security team, showing Bolton is seeking to bring in his own people. ​


Latest in Parkland, Fla. -- OK, this isn't a great start:

Via The Miami Herald, the Parkland, Fla., teacher who volunteered to carry a gun in school after the deadly Feb. 14 mass shooting was arrested this weekend for leaving his loaded gun in the public bathroom at a beach. No harm no foul?: Eh, it gets worse. When the teacher, Sean Simpson, went back for the gun, a vagrant man had already found the gun and fired it. Face palm


Changes at Uber -- I mean, this makes sense:

Via The Associated Press's Tom Krisher, "Uber will start doing annual criminal background checks on U.S. drivers and hire a company that constantly monitors criminal arrests as it tries to do a better job of keeping riders safe."


Omg, this headline:

The New York Times's Brian X. Chen writes, "I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes." It's pretty interesting:



This sounds horrendous.


(I have strong feelings against mayonnaise):

The latest vote count:





The House and Senate are in.

4:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in the swearing in ceremony for an ambassador.

5 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House.

Today: Holocaust Remembrance Day. Op-ed:

Tuesday: Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFBI memos detail ‘partisan axes,’ secret conflicts behind the Russia election meddling assessment New grounds for impeachment? House Dem says Trump deserves it for making society worse Sessions gets unexpected support - from a Democrat who wants to impeach Trump MORE releases his memoir. 

Via CNN's Jeff Zeleny, here's an inside look of how Trump allies plan to discredit fired FBI Director James Comey's new book. Think: "Lyin' Comey." 



12:30 p.m. EDT: Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls 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 Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ohio) speaks about the pension crisis at the National Press Club. Livestream:

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump gives a speech on tax reform from the Rose Garden.

2 p.m. EDT: An oversight hearing on the capabilities of U.S. border protection. Livestream:



Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!

Via USA Today, here's the best grilled cheese in every state:


Well, I now have my weekend plans:

BuzzFeed Tasty set out to find the recipe for "the" perfect chocolate cake. It includes three secret ingredients ... and wow. Video:


And because you made it to Thursday, here's a man sharing what his 4-year-old son said when he fell. This kid's a poet.