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 Pompeo'China will not sit idly by' if US sells fighters to Taiwan, official says The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Iceland's prime minister will not be in town for Pence's visit MORE, whom President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony 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 Rosenstein10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Why the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing 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 CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' 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 RobertsKobach says he's more prepared for 'propaganda' in Senate campaign Pompeo: Senate run 'off the table' Grassley gambles on drug price bill despite GOP doubts 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 voices 'complete support' for Pence The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Haley: 'Threats of China on full display' in Hong Kong MORE in a show of support.

Advice from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Hickenlooper announces Senate bid 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 Schatz'Medicare for All' complicates Democrats' pitch to retake Senate Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid Booker, Durbin and Leahy introduce bill to ban death penalty 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 RyanSoaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday signaled support for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel I'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (R-Calif.) as his successor. How Ryan did so: He said he was pleased that Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseManchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Sunday shows - Trump's Epstein conspiracy theory retweet grabs spotlight Sanders: Trump doesn't 'want to see somebody get shot' but 'creates the climate for it' 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 PruittEnvironmentalists renew bid to overturn EPA policy barring scientists from advisory panels Six states sue EPA over pesticide tied to brain damage Overnight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules 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 ComeySarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Barr predicts progressive prosecutors will lead to 'more crime, more victims' 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 BrownBank watchdogs approve rule to loosen ban on risky Wall Street trades Dayton mayor assigned extra security following verbal spat with Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape 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.