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: What to know about Comey memos | Trump says memos exonerate him | Dems see damaging evidence | McCabe reportedly plans to sue | DNC files suit against Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks | Students walk out on Columbine shooting anniversary | Dems look to block Pompeo | Barbara Bush viewing, funeral plans | Free McDonald's fries today | DC getting royal wedding-themed bar

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

Comey: Are you having fun? I'm having fun.



Comey's 'Trump diary' is released -- just waaait until investigators discover the invisible ink:

Think: http://bit.ly/2F6wDVu  ;)

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyPush to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE meticulously documented his meetings with President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE, and last night the Department of Justice gave those memos to Congress, which then released them to the public. Why this is big: While it's one side of the story, the memos provide a thorough, real-time account of some of the most controversial moments of the Trump presidency. http://bit.ly/2F33Voc

How long is the released document?: 15 pages. It contains seven conversations between Comey and Trump between January 2017 and April 2017. Four are classified and have been partially redacted.

Full text -- if you're nosey like me: http://bit.ly/2HNd9Im

New revelations in the memos?: Well, the major narratives are already known, but the memos add a few tantalizing new details. 

Why Republicans think this was a win for them: The three Republican chairmen who forced the memos' release claim that they provide clear evidence that Trump did not seek to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.

Why Democrats think it was a win for them: The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said they "provide strong corroborating evidence of everything [Comey] said about President Trump" and show a "blatant effort to deny justice."

Six takeaways from the memos: From The New York Times's Michael S. Schmidt: https://nyti.ms/2HGeYcn

How Trump reacted -- yes, this makes sense:

President Trump trumpeted the release of a series of memos. He tweeted: "James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?" http://bit.ly/2qLFhUO

 

Happy Fry-Day! I'm not *just* making a bad pun today. ;) You can actually get free French fries at McDonalds today. Details: https://7ny.tv/2F2eOGL I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and happy thoughts to cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

LATEST WITH THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

I'm taking bets -- compared to Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciWill Republicans continue to engage in willful blindness? Scaramucci: Trump sees Bloomberg as threat Scaramucci: Trump will be gone by March 2020 MORE, who's taking the over or under for Guiliani's expected tenure?:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is joining the legal team representing President Trump in the Russia investigation. Why the Trump team needed him: Trump's legal team has been shorthanded since the departure of lead attorney John Dowd last month. The additions come as the Russia probe has moved in on Trump's inner circle. I.e.: Personal lawyer Michael Cohenhttp://bit.ly/2qNOQ4T Also keep in mind: Giuliani is a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, the same office investigating Cohen.

 

The DNC throws a 'Hail Mary' pass:

Via The Washington Post's Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Ellen Nakashima, the Democratic National Committee has filed a lawsuit "alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump." Who the DNC is suing -- basically everyone: The Russian government, President Trump's election campaign and WikiLeaks. https://wapo.st/2HiKJsz

THE GIST OF THE CASE: "The case asserts that the Russian hacking campaign -- combined with Trump associates' contacts with Russia and the campaign's public cheerleading of the hacks -- amounted to an illegal conspiracy to interfere in the election that caused serious damage to the Democratic Party." https://wapo.st/2HiKJsz

 

Just now -- Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeDOJ watchdog expected to say FBI erred, but absolve top leaders of anti-Trump bias: report CNN's McCabe restricted from talking about DOJ IG report The curious timeline for taking down Trump MORE is baaaaack: 

Via Axios's Stef W. Kight, "Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is looking to sue for defamation, wrongful termination and other possible civil claims, his lawyer told reporters Friday." Details :http://bit.ly/2F2UhlL

MEANWHILE: Via The New York Times, "Federal prosecutors are examining whether they have sufficient evidence to open a criminal investigation into Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director, his lawyer said on Thursday, after a Justice Department inspector general report repeatedly faulted him for misleading investigators." https://nyti.ms/2qMqIAy

 

HAPPENING DOWNTOWN TODAY

National School Walkout:

Via CNN, "For the second time in two months, thousands of students from across the country are streaming out of class Friday as part of a National School Walkout to demand action on gun reform -- even as Florida police investigate a fresh shooting that injured a student Friday morning." https://cnn.it/2vBt1vc

WHY TODAY: It's the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. 

WHEN THE WALKOUT IS HAPPENING: At 10 a.m. in every time zone. Details of the walkout: http://bit.ly/2Hesyo4

WAIT, THERE WAS ANOTHER SHOOTING TODAY?: This morning, a student was shot in the ankle at a high school in Ocala, Fla. The suspect is in custody. School walkouts in that district were then canceled for today. Details of the incident: https://cnn.it/2F3rpJU

 


Photo of students gathering outside the White House: http://bit.ly/2vvy687

 

IN OTHER NEWS

I <3 'Big Pasta':

Via BuzzFeed's Stephanie M. Lee, new studies are popping up that show pasta is actually healthy for you. Well: The world's largest pasta company, the Barilla Group, is actually funding and then promoting these studies. Why: Pasta companies are worried about the low-carb diet movement. https://bzfd.it/2K2MBmT

From 'Close to Home,' The Hill's opioid series:

New Jersey Rep. Donald NorcrossDonald W. NorcrossHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment WHIP LIST: The 228 House Democrats backing an impeachment inquiry 2020 Presidential Endorsements MORE's (D) describes addiction in his state. "It is brutal. My rural communities are the ones with the highest percentage of overdose deaths in our district." http://bit.ly/2qNNGWY

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

This is both heartwarming and heartbreaking:

Back story: Veteran congressional aide Ed Lorenzen, 47, was killed in a house fire in Rhode Island while trying to save his 4-year-old son. His other two children escaped and survived. https://n.pr/2qKwRx0

 

Baby's first floor votes!:

 



ON TAP:

Congress is out. President Trump is in Palm Beach, Fla., and Vice President Pence is in North Carolina for the day.

12:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at an event for Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerNC rep explores Tillis primary challenge Democrats likely to gain seats under new North Carolina maps On The Money: Trump opens surprise new front in trade war | Trump official proposes tariffs on .4B in French goods | US manufacturing contracts for fourth straight month MORE (R-N.C.) at an event in Greensboro, N.C.

2 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in an infrastructure roundtable with Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoLobbying world Democratic chairman presses Transportation secretary over transparency in Boeing 737 Max probe Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show MORE in Greensboro, N.C. He then travels to Charlotte.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks about tax cuts at the Park Expo and Conference Center in North Carolina.

5:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts a roundtable with Republican National Committee supporters in Palm Beach, Fla.

6:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence attends a Republican National Committee event at the Westin Charlotte. He then travels back to Washington, D.C.

Saturday: Free entrance to all national parks. http://bit.ly/2qLGkUH

Sunday: Earth Day. Via Newsweek, here are small ways to reduce your impact: http://bit.ly/2F0I6pq

Monday: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS, Sudan to exchange ambassadors for first time in decades Iran expert: Trump's foreign policy approach aimed at instigating 'unrest' Fox's Napolitano says obstruction 'easiest' impeachment offense for Democrats MORE's confirmation to lead the State Department. Details: http://bit.ly/2vwcDfg

A hiccup for Pompeo?: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Democrats are mulling an audacious plan to block Mike Pompeo in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- even though Pompeo likely has enough votes to win confirmation on the Senate floor. The planhttp://bit.ly/2HgLvT3



WHAT TO WATCH:

1 p.m. EDT: Former first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. This is open to the public. Livestream of the church: https://cs.pn/2HMAfyz

Noon Saturday: The funeral for former first lady Barbara BushLivestream: https://cs.pn/2qMVhpD

Tidbit -- Trump will not attend: A spokesperson told Politico: "To avoid disruptions due toadded security, and out of respect for the Bush Family and friends attending the service, President Trump will not attend." However: First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGeorge Conway calls out Melania Trump after she criticizes impeachment witness: 'You're amplifying what was a nothingburger reference' Impeachment witness apologizes for mentioning Barron Trump in hearing Melania Trump says impeachment witness 'should be ashamed' for mentioning son MORE will be there. https://politi.co/2vwjp4x

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Upside Down Cake Day. Tomorrow is National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day and Sunday is National Jelly Bean Day.


This is pretty brilliant: 

A royal wedding themed pop-up bar is opening in Washington, D.C. for the month of May. Think: A throne, a faux lemon-elderflower wedding cake, royal wedding-themed cocktails, shortbread tea cookie and fake engagement rings. Dates: May 4–20. Photos: http://bit.ly/2HPDF3S


Getting traction -- Hey Seinfeld fans: 

During an NHL playoff game Wednesday night, The New Jersey Devils "got Patrick Warburton to recreate his role on Seinfeld as David Puddy, the auto mechanic who ends up dating Elaine on and off and who also turns out to be a Devils fan who paints his face and his chest for a playoff game." Photos and video from Wednesday: http://bit.ly/2vvapgf

THROWBACK: Here's that Seinfeld clip of Puddy painting his face. Amazing. http://bit.ly/2K2QrfN


And because you made it this far, here are pandas adorably falling off things. You can't not smile: http://bit.ly/2HfdW3v