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: House Intel releases final Russia report | Faults both Trump, Clinton campaigns | 'No evidence' of collusion | Ryan defends decision to dismiss chaplain | Trump hails Korea breakthrough | Kim Jong Un to seek peace deal | Merkel visiting White House | What to know for WHCA dinner weekend | ABBA's first new songs since 1982



OK, so at what point can we talk to Kim Jong Un about that haircut...?:

Back story on the haircut situation: Men in North Korea are only permitted to get one of 15 state-approved haircuts. The list *does not* include Kim's own style: https://nyp.st/2r4inqZ


Via The New York Times's Choe Sang-Hun, North and South Korea have agreed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Oh and: The two countries have agreed to talks with the United States to officially end the Korean War -- which was fought from 1950–1953. How this happened: A historic meeting when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stepped into South Korea and vowed to negotiate a peace treaty. https://nyti.ms/2FllBfb

Now what -- so, 'bout those nukes: President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE "and his aides are expected to seek a quick timetable for the North to eliminate its nuclear weapons, mindful that it has failed to deliver on its promises in the past, including a pledge not to develop such weapons." I.e.: Don't get too excited yethttps://nyti.ms/2FllBfb

Video of Kim Jong Un stepping into South Korea: It's pretty fascinating. Watch: https://nyti.ms/2r4Kbfb

REACTION FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP: The president tweeted: "KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!" http://bit.ly/2r5wcp5


Happy Friday! It's officially White House Correspondents' Association dinner weekend. 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.



The gist of the House committee's Russia report: All of you acted poorly, but... --> http://bit.ly/2B0odRJ ;)


The House Intelligence Committee just released its final report on the 2016 presidential election, which found "no evidence" of ties between President Trump's campaign and Russia. Yeah, but: The report did criticize "poor judgment and ill-considered actions" by Trump's campaign -- as well as Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBudowsky: Closing message for Democrats Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP mocks Clinton after minor vehicle collision outside Mendendez campaign event MORE's campaign. http://bit.ly/2HvN43z

Full report, if formerly top secret documents are your thing: http://bit.ly/2HBojyO

If some of this news sounds familiar: It should. Last month, the committee released a one-page summary of these findings that concluded there was no collusion. But we're now learning the details.

What else we learned: The report said Russia did carry out a "multi-faceted" campaign against the U.S. to "sow fear and division in American society."

REACTION FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP -- THIS WHOLE 'DIRECT-LINE-TO-THE-PRESIDENT'S-THOUGHTS' THING IS CONVENIENT: He tweeted, "Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!" http://bit.ly/2I68ukE



Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Adelsons donated M in September to help GOP in midterms MORE: OK, hear me out:

Via The Hill's Melanie Zanona, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) explained to the House Republican Conference this morning why he fired Chaplain Patrick ConroyThe reason: Members felt like their "pastoral needs" were not being met, according to several Republicans inside the room. http://bit.ly/2r4uQLj

BACK STORY: Yesterday afternoon, The Hill's Melanie Zanona and Mike Lillis reported that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) forced out Chaplain Patrick Conroy, who has been in the role for seven years. The news surprised many members of Congress. What a few Democratic lawmakers think was the real reason: Conroy was critical of the GOP tax-cut bill. Full story -- you can make up your mind: http://bit.ly/2HAwBaq


'Don's Hate Reads' is the new 'Oprah's Book Club':

Via The Hill's Amie ParnesPresident Trump is fueling best-seller lists. How: Trump's presidency has been good for business and book sales -- and little evidence of an oversaturated market. Proof: Trump-related books have held the top spot on bestseller lists since January. The books: http://bit.ly/2FocGJA



Oh how times have changed -- throwback to 2001's WHCA Dinner:


An American gem:

He later tweeted: "*Spoiler Alert* The 'temporary restrooms' in Penn Station are Port o Potties out in the street." http://bit.ly/2HwlP4G 



The House was in this morning. The Senate is out. Both chambers will be out next week.

11:40 a.m. EDT: President Trump welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House. They have a meeting and a working lunch.

2:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts the 2018 White House Correspondents' Association scholarship winners in the White House. It's closed press.

Today: The Supreme Court will likely vote in private on President Trump's travel ban case. Yeah, but: Their decision likely won't come out until June. "Predictions based on oral arguments can be perilous. The justices will likely vote in a scheduled Friday meeting, which is private, and the decision is not expected for about two months. Much can happen behind the scenes during that period." Context from CNN​: https://cnn.it/2FjPgFr

Op-ed on the case: How the court's ruling could have a far-reaching impact. http://bit.ly/2I3Z9tR



10:30 a.m. EST: President Trump hosted Team USA Olympic athletes in the White House. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2vMKJM6

10 out of 10 would pet:

1:50 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HxZ2FH

8 p.m. EDT Saturday: The annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2r4A1vD

Parties: Here's a list of the events and parties surrounding the WHCA dinner: https://wapo.st/2HZ2JYM

^Meanwhile: Instead of attending the dinner, President Trump is holding a campaign rally in Washington, Mich. What to know: https://cbsloc.al/2HyfsxV



Today is National Prime Rib Day.


'Dancing queen, young and sweet, [no longer] 17, ohhh yeaaah...':
Please oh please bring back those hair styles --> http://bit.ly/2HuQpje 

The pop group ABBA is releasing its first new music since 1982! The group posted on Instagram: "We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the studio. And it was like time stood still." Details: https://bbc.in/2JxcoCL


Does Pepper make home visits? I could use a life assistant:

The Smithsonian has a new robot named Pepper who assists museum visitors. She also poses for selfies. Video of Pepper in action: http://bit.ly/2HVFf6s


The name really rolls off the tongue:

William and Kate, the duke and duchess of Cambridge, announced the name of their newborn son: Louis Arthur CharlesThat's a long name, so for short: "The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge." Graphic of the British royal line of succession -- Louis is 5th: https://cnn.it/2KhfjAK


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here's a puppy sitting in a watermelon having a snack: http://bit.ly/2r3ZSUF