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: Senate delays hearing for VA pick | Allegations of workplace misconduct | Jackson denies accusations | White House stands by nominee | Bush 41 in ICU, condition improving | Trump welcomes Macron to White House | Brushes 'dandruff' off Macron's shoulder | Trump calls Kim Jong Un 'very honorable' | Man steals $1.2M in fajitas 



Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis CNN's Acosta sends private message to former Melania Trump aide: 'F--- you' Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns MORE and Brigitte Macron: We'd really love to help, but it looks like you're having too much fun for us to interrupt:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House, hailing their close friendship as an example for the world. http://bit.ly/2HWND3v

Trump's welcome quote: "There are good ships and there are wood ships, ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships..."

Lol, jk -- here's his actual quote: "The wonderful friendship we have developed over the last year is a testament to the enduring friendship that binds our two nations," Trump said during a formal arrival ceremony on the South Lawn. http://bit.ly/2HWND3v

Watch the ceremony: Trump's remarks start at around minute 35: https://cs.pn/2qRX9xy


Awkward tidbit: Standing next to French President Macron, President Trump paused during comments to brush dandruff off Macron. How Macron reacted: He smiled and said nothing. Watch -- it's pretty funny: http://bit.ly/2vDXDfy 


It's a dreary Tuesday in Washington. 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.


NEW -- Really, can any of these nominations be uneventful these days?:

The Senate Veterans Affairs' Committee has delayed the confirmation hearing for Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs. Why: Multiple reports in the last 24 hours with allegations of workplace misconduct. http://bit.ly/2HHnyHQ

THE ALLEGATIONS: Via CBS's Ed O'Keefe and Nancy Cordes, "multiple allegations of a 'hostile work environment.' The accusations include 'excessive drinking on the job, improperly dispensing meds,' said one of the people familiar, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the situation. The other people familiar with the stories also confirmed those details. If proven true, 'it'll sink his nomination,' said one of the sources." https://cbsn.ws/2HOUYnZ

UPDATE -- THE WHITE HOUSE STANDS BY JACKSON: White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement: "Admiral Jackson has been on the front lines of deadly combat and saved the lives of many others in service to this country. He's served as the physician to three Presidents -- Republican and Democrat -- and been praised by them all. Admiral Jackson's record of strong, decisive leadership is exactly what's needed at the VA to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they deserve." http://bit.ly/2HUnbas

JUST NOW -- JACKSON DENIES ALLEGATIONS: Via The Washington Post's Seung Min Kim: "Ronny Jackson denies allegations against him as he arrives on Capitol Hill: 'No, I'm looking forward to the hearing. I was looking forward to doing it tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to getting it rescheduled and answering all the questions.' " http://bit.ly/2Ho4O0F


After all of that, Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSaudis say journalist killed in ‘fight’ at consulate; 18 detained Pompeo asks Mexico to help tackle migration ‘crisis’ Trump: 'FAKE NEWS' that Pompeo heard tape of Saudi journalist's death MORE slides into the Senate's DMs: 

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of CIA Director Mike Pompeo becoming secretary of State. Last minute change No. 1: Just before the vote, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE (R-Ky.) switched his vote to "yes." Last minute change No. 2: Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Senate eyes Kavanaugh floor vote next week MORE (R-Ga.), one of the "yes" votes, was absent for a funeral, leaving the committee formally tied at 10-10. The committee was going to have to wait until 11 p.m. for Isakson to get back to D.C., but Democratic Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats' same-sex partners 15 Saudis identified in disappearance of Washington Post columnist The Senate needs to cool it MORE (Del.) changed his vote to present. http://bit.ly/2HpY02R

NEXT STEP FOR POMPEO: Mike Pompeo's confirmation now heads to the Senate floor, where he will likely be confirmed. Three Democrats have already announced their support.

CORKER ON COONS SWITCHING HIS VOTE: Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia Corker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE (R-Tenn.), the committee chairman, visibly choked up when speaking with reporters about Coons after the vote. Corker said Coons displayed a "statesmanship that I'm not accustomed to seeing in the Senate." http://bit.ly/2HpY02R

And we thought the Mike Pompeo vote yesterday was dramatic -- You. Just. Wait.: 

Via The Hill's Katie Bo Williams, the Senate's debate over Gina Haspel's confirmation as CIA director is poised to be a bitter re-litigation of one of the most controversial episodes in recent U.S. history. Why she's controversial: Haspel, the spy agency's deputy directory, is indelibly tied to the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques after the Sept. 11 attacks. Yeah, but -- supporters say she's qualified: Haspel is a 33-year intelligence veteran who is seen even by some critics of President Trump as an experienced and apolitical hand. Will she be confirmed?: Haspel can be cautiously optimistic right now, despite a few lawmakers who are opposed. http://bit.ly/2FcgmhL


Former President George H.W. Bush's condition is improving -- Get well soon!:

Via The Houston Chronicle, former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital Sunday morning for an infection that spread to his bloodstream. He was hospitalized a day after the funeral for his late wife Barbara Bush. Latest update on his condition: Bush's condition appears to be improving. From Bush spokesman Jim McGrath: "McGrath said Bush was eager to get back to the family's summer home in Kennebunkport, adding, 'The 41st president wants to go to Maine. He's the most goal-oriented person on the planet and I would not bet against him.' " http://bit.ly/2HXJKeH

SOME CONTEXT: "Mild blood infections don't always develop into the more serious condition known as sepsis, said Dr. Coburn Allen, an infectious disease specialist ... at the University of Texas at Austin. 'It sounds like he was septic at first because they said he was stabilized -- and generally if they say you're stabilized it means you weren't at one point. Generally if you get through the unstable part with a blood stream infection, you don't go back to unstable so it's likely he'll recover completely." http://bit.ly/2HXJKeH


Just now — Trump said what, now?:

President Trump just called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a "very honorable" person and expressed hope their meeting will occur "as soon as possible." In Trump's words: "He really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we're seeing," Trump said of Kim Jong Un during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House.  Watch: http://bit.ly/2FdoX3y

I imagine the friend saying 'Are we sure this is a good idea?' right before I yell 'Ready? Go!':

Via The Hill's Rebecca KheelPresident Trump's goal of winning a historic deal with North Korea is worrying allies, who fear he will give away too much to score a political victory. Which countries are most nervous: Japan and to a lesser extent South Korea, both of which question whether Trump's "America First" mentality will result in a deal that keeps America safe but not its allies. What to expect: http://bit.ly/2HWCShy

INTERESTING TIDBIT: 'GANGNAM STYLE' -- OOPH, THAT IS MEAN: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in Thursday. "South Korea made its own conciliatory gesture on Monday by turning off loudspeakers at the inter-Korean border. Seoul stopped blaring K-pop -- South Korea's world-famous brand of popular music (for example, 'Gangnam Style' ) -- into North Korea as a show of good faith before Kim meets Moon." http://bit.ly/2FfUAd2



Tidbit from the weekend:


That last photo is terrifying -- really, how necessary is it to go outside in life?: 

Full size photos: http://bit.ly/2qXO5Gm


Omg, this video:



The House and Senate are in.

This morning: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump host French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron at the White House.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisUS mulls sending warships through Taiwan Strait amid China tensions Overnight Defense: US, South Korea cancel another military exercise | Dozen sailors injured in chopper crash on aircraft carrier | Navy vet charged with sending toxic letters US, South Korea cancel another military exercise MORE.

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House. The House's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

7 p.m. EDT: The Trumps host French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron for a state dinner. 

The menu for tonight's dinner: It's making me hungry: http://bit.ly/2vMzNyi

What to know about the menu: The courses are very much inspired by Melania, not Donald Trump. Other tidbits: http://bit.ly/2JoVkPr

Wednesday: Oral arguments in the Supreme Court over President Trump's travel ban. What to know: http://bit.ly/2vGx5u9 Op-ed from two law professors who argue that the Bill of Rights is the best defense against a travel ban: http://bit.ly/2HncAYG

Saturday: The annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. 



11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump had a join press availability with French President Emmanuel MacronLivestream: http://bit.ly/2KdfhcW

1 p.m. EDT: Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump, Obama head to swing states with Senate majority in balance The Fed really is ‘crazy’ for undercutting Trump recovery MORE and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan hold a lunch in honor of the president of France. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2qUjyKC

8 p.m. EDT Wednesday: Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyFormer FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016 Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure McGahn departs as White House counsel MORE participates in a CNN town hall hosted by Anderson CooperDetails: https://cnn.it/2qU8uw7

10:30 a.m. EDT Thursday: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE testifies at a House Appropriations Committee hearing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HKPmLi



Today is National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day.


This is an impressive crime:

A Texas man was sentenced to 50 years in prison for stealing $1.2 million in fajitas. No, seriously. How does one even...?: "Gilberto Escamilla, 53, was employed at the Darrel B. Hester Juvenile Detention Center in San Benito, Texas, until August 2017 -- when it was discovered that he had been placing orders for fajitas using county funds and then selling them for his own profit since December 2008." Full story -- because I know you're also curious: https://nbcnews.to/2HYIWWA


And because you read this far, here's a dog that loves peanut butter more than life itself. Keep trying! http://bit.ly/2HXiEV0