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: Trump slams Mueller as probe hits one year | Divisions deepen over investigation | Trump questions if Obama 'spied' on campaign | Ryan faces crisis over immigration | Why Manchin is Trump's top midterm target | Giuliani says Trump team would challenge any subpoena | The science behind 'Yanny or Laurel' | How to hear both names



Fodder for anyone who wants to pat me on the back for a job well done: 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE argued that the first 17 months of his presidency have been more successful than any other administration. He tweeted: "Despite the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted Witch Hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history -- by far! Sorry to the Fake News Media and 'Haters,' but that's the way it is!" http://bit.ly/2KzzrNZ

Trump thinking back to the past 17 months: 'I'm great, aren't I?'


Happy Thursday -- it's another rainy day 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.



HaPpY aNnIvErSaRy!: 
Today marks one year since Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE was appointed special counsel to investigate Russian meddling. Via The Hill's Katie Bo William and Morgan Chalfant, here's how divisions have deepened in the investigation: http://bit.ly/2k8YLyR

TRUMP TWEETED TO 'CELEBRATE' THE DAY: President Trump kicked off the morning calling the investigation a "witch hunt." He tweeted: "Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History...and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!" Anyone else miss the days of 140-character tweets? http://bit.ly/2wKpJ9g

IT COULD BE BIGGER THAN BRIDGEGATE, WATERGATE AND CUPCAKEGATE COMBINED: This morning, President Trump tweeted about a report that former President Obama spied on the Trump campaign in 2016. He tweeted: "Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI 'SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN IMBEDDED INFORMANT.' Andrew McCarthy says, 'There's probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.' If so, this is bigger than Watergate!" Background: Trump was referring to a National Review report last week that alleges Obama administration agencies used their surveillance powers to monitor the Trump campaign. Flashback: Trump has previously accused Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election, a claim the White House walked back. http://bit.ly/2k5FnmI

GOOD PRIMER -- MEET THE MUELLERS: Via CNN, here are the 17 lawyers working on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. https://cnn.it/2GtARqC

^Anyone else feel like this deserves a '90s style sitcom open?

 --> http://bit.ly/2IsrAB1 ;)

EXCLUSIVE -- SHOW ME YOUR CONTACTS: Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, a judge will rule on the release of the special counsel's contacts with the media. "The Hill viewed the relevant court filings, which are reported here for the first time. Klayman filed the initial FOIA request with the special counsel, the Justice Department and the FBI on Jan. 2, arguing that the correspondences needed to be revealed because the special counsel's office was leaking to the media to bolster its criminal cases." http://bit.ly/2IQmke2


Rudy Giuliani is a cable sound bite's dream: 

President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been making news on the special counsel Robert Mueller investigation. The highlights:

ON THE POSSIBILITY OF A SUBPOENA: Giuliani said if Robert Mueller's team subpoenas Trump, his team will challenge it. Giuliani's reasoning: "Giuliani said the president cannot be subpoenaed because his position guarantees him immunity based on the Constitution." Yeah, but...: "No federal laws or rulings from the High Court have barred a sitting president from being subpoenaed." http://bit.ly/2wQppWv

ON ANY TRUMP INDICTMENTS: Giuliani said the special counsel's team told Trump's legal team that they cannot indict President Trump. Giuliani also said he believes the Constitution prevents the indictment of a sitting president. How Mueller's team reacted: They declined to comment. http://bit.ly/2Gs1R9T


Taking a step back -- yesterday was insane: 

Politico's Kyle Cheney pulled together a list of the investigation news *just* from yesterday. http://bit.ly/2rOT7qd

"- Senate Intel endorses [intelligence community] conclusion Russia supported Trump. 

- Cohen solicited $1m from Qataris 

- Cohen files went missing from Treasury 

- Trump Tower transcripts reveal effort to coordinate messages 

- NYT tour de force on origin of Russia probe

- Giuliani claims Mueller team confirmed it can't indict Trump (tells WaPo impeachment must precede indictment) 

- Jordan/Meadows write Trump, tell him to overrule DOJ and release Mueller docs."



Trump makes a voodoo doll of Sen. Manchin: 

Via The Hill's Alexander BoltonPresident Trump has made Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Harris walks fine line on Barrett as election nears MORE (D-W.Va.) a top target in the midterms. How we know: Trump told Republican senators behind closed doors that he plans to target Manchin. Why it's ironic: Manchin is pretty friendly Democrat to Republicans. Yeah, but: Republicans winning Manchin's seat will help protect the GOP majority in the Senate. Why Republicans chose West Virginia: Trump won Manchin's home state by 42 points over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump jokingly blames 'Crooked Hillary' after his rally mic stops working The Hill's Campaign Report: Two weeks to the election l Biden leads in new polls as debate looms l Trump pressures DOJ on Hunter Biden Trump remarks put pressure on Barr MORE in 2016. http://bit.ly/2IsAUoF


*Hold my beer while I violently scream into a pillow*:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, "The 2016 GOP primary has never ended -- at least when it comes to cable news. Every day on CNN, MSNBC and social media, Republicans who once worked for GOP senators and governors bested by President Trump in the long primary are among his most vehement critics. Often, their critiques are even more pointed than those coming from Democrats." Full story: http://bit.ly/2ItTtZw



Why Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Barrett declines to say if Trump can pardon himself MORE isn't sleeping well: 

Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Melania Zanona, the GOP is split on how to handle immigration and the differences are causing a crisis for GOP leadership. How: "Momentum is building for an insurgent effort by centrist Republicans to force immigration votes on the House floor despite GOP leadership's attempt to tamp down the rebellion." ​Possible scenarios: http://bit.ly/2k7eMWm


Chances the Donald Trump–Kim Jong Un meeting happens? Not as high as they were a week ago: 

Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian and Rebecca Kheel, President Trump acknowledged that the planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may not happen. What changed: North Korea threatened to cancel the meeting if the U.S. demands "unilateral" nuclear disarmament. http://bit.ly/2Is7zKQ


Fox News has a new CEO: 

Via The Hill's Joe ConchaSuzanne Scott has been named chief executive officer of Fox News and Fox Business. Scott, who has been with the network since its inception in 1996, will report jointly to Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox executive chairman, executive chairman of Fox News and co-chairman of the proposed New Fox. http://bit.ly/2IujcB4



'They see me rollin', they hatin' ... tryin' to catch me riding dirty': 

^I crack myself up. http://bit.ly/2IowoeM


Watch the video -- it's pretty funny: http://bit.ly/2LbLemq



The House and Senate are in.

Today: BakerHostetler's 29th Annual Legislative Seminar. Featured speakers: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGreenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntLow-flying helicopters to measure radiation levels in DC before inauguration Bottom Line GOP vows quick confirmation of Trump's Supreme Court pick amid coronavirus turmoil MORE (R-Mo.) and House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTop Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief This week: Coronavirus complicates Senate's Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Md.). Agenda and full list of speakers: http://bit.ly/2rMgd0y

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisNearly 300 more former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies MORE

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and holds an expanded bilateral meeting.

2:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on CIA Director nominee Gina HaspelThe Senate's schedule today: http://bit.ly/2k3zOFa

4:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the General Secretary to the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council, an Islamic Indonesian group.

5:45 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

9:45 a.m. EDT Friday: The Atlantic Council is holding an event on Russia President Vladimir Putin's fourth term. Details: http://bit.ly/2Iqtzpv



12:30 p.m. EDT Thursday: Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonApril's dumbest and most dangerous coronavirus declarations Trump convenes sports commissioners in hopes of filling stadiums Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE speaks at a National Press Club event. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2ImJ95C

1 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2L8U4kY

1 p.m. EDT: The Wilson Center is holding an event on the Iran nuclear deal. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2ItgI5K

1 p.m. EDT: Members of President Trump's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee meet. White House livestream: http://bit.ly/2rOnlt8



Today is National Walnut Day.


OK, real talk -- why are some people hearing Yanny and others are hearing Laurel?: 

Dana Boebinger, a PhD student at Harvard and MIT studying the neural basis of auditory perception, explained why people are hearing different words. The gist: "It has to do with which frequencies of the sound are actually making it to your brain. This can be affected by several things: headphones / speakers, listening volume, hearing loss..." Her full 7-tweet thread is worth reading: http://bit.ly/2k45Ctv

INCLUDING THIS VIDEO -- IT'LL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER: It plays the audio clip at different frequencies so you can hear the difference. Listen -- I promise you will hear both words: http://bit.ly/2L84sJG


And because you read this far, here's a dog having a crazy dream. If he does regularly, he may develop muscle mass overnight...: http://bit.ly/2KzDqtV