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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 — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Centrist Republicans close to forcing immigration votes | Trump to decide next week on Korean summit | Why Bannon thinks Rosenstein could be fired 'very shortly' | Behind the scenes look at the White House press office | Trump knocks 'criminal deep state' | DC's best BBQ

 

GETTING TRACTION

White House communications team added to the list of 'most dangerous jobs':

How I imagine Sarah Huckabee Sanders reacting: 'I mean, do YOU want this job?'

 

In The New York Times Magazine, Mark Leibovich has a fascinating, behind-the-scenes feature on the White House press shop and "the risky business of speaking for President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE." If you don't have time to read the entire feature -- bookmark it for later: https://nyti.ms/2LpTzDm

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on being called a liar: "It certainly bothers me.  Because one of the few things you have are your integrity and reputation ... there's a difference between misspeaking or not knowing something than maliciously lying." 

On the deputy press secretary: "Who is Hogan Gidley? Or 'What's a Hogan Gidley?' as Senator Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN anchor hits Trump: He didn't go to Vietnam 'until he was in his 70s' with 'Secret Service protection' Trump reignites criticism of McCain months after senator's death Graham defends McCain amid Trump attacks: 'Nothing about his service will ever be changed' MORE asked of Senate aides after Gidley, a deputy White House press secretary, accused the South Carolina Republican in March of supporting an immigration policy 'that sides with people in this country illegally and unlawfully.'" 

^On Gidley: "Gidley is an unmarried 41-year-old from South Carolina whose West Wing office is stocked with bottles of Muscle Milk. He is a mop-haired Republican flack who has bounced around government and campaign jobs and dresses better than most political operatives do." 

Tidbit from Sanders on this article: "'Am I going to hate this story?' Sanders asked as she walked me to the door. This was also the first thing she said to me when I walked in. She laughed as she said it, something between plaintive and resigned, and she ended on a playful suggestion. 'Make Hogan look bad and me look good,' Sanders said."

Oh and if you're curious: Here's the actual list of most dangerous jobs in America: https://usat.ly/2Ljbewx

 

It's Wednesday -- you're halfway there!  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.

 

 

JUST NOW

Coming up on the season finale of Real World: West Wing — Will Trump meet with Kim Jong Un? Or will he not?: 

President Trump said he will decide next week whether to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong UnDetails: U.S. officials are expected to meet with North Korea’s representatives in the coming days about planning for the summit, which has been thrown into doubt by comments from Trump and Kim.  http://bit.ly/2Llr1uy

 

LATEST WITH THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

I know Trump called it 'spygate,' but when did we officially decide against 'spyghazi?':

This morning, President Trump continued to push his claim that there was a spy embedded in his campaign. He tweeted: "Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around comes around!" He later added: "SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history! http://bit.ly/2s2vpXp

HAPPENING TOMORROW: Top U.S. officials will brief lawmakers about a confidential source in the Russia probe. This is important: No Democrats have been invited to this briefing (!) and they are not pleased. http://bit.ly/2x5ORHJ

Tidbit -- 'We ah fam-ily": "House Intel Ranking Member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP The real reason Nancy Pelosi has backed away from impeachment MORE says they have been told by the Department of Justice and FBI that Chairman [Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesEx-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances Nunes warns of the 'straw police' in California Koch-backed group pushes for new limits on Trump's tariff authority MORE] has 'refused' to receive briefings alongside Democrats ... DOJ is still providing the same information to Schiff, they're just not receiving the briefings at the same time." http://bit.ly/2IYw85z

 

I meeean, what are a few FBI raids between friends?:

Via Reuters, President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBharara: 'Doesn't seem' Mueller's investigation 'ending any time soon' Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump condemns 'horrible' New Zealand mosque shootings MORE is asking a federal judge to exclude evidence obtained in FBI raids. Manafort's argument: "FBI agents unlawfully conducted an initial warrantless search of a storage locker housing documents from his consulting company by improperly getting a low-level staffer to unlock it and let a special agent look around." https://reut.rs/2KOMriK

 

Don't get too cozy, Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinGraham says he'll probe Rosenstein's 25th Amendment remarks The damning proof of innocence that FBI likely withheld in Russian probe Conway's husband: 'Banana republic' if Trump got his wish to go after investigators MORE

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon just predicted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be fired "very shortly." Bannon's prediction: Rosenstein "either ... is going to take the direct order of the President of the United States or I think Rosenstein will be fired." Where Bannon said this: The Hill obtained an audio recording of the unedited interview between Bannon and the BBC's Emily Maitlis. http://bit.ly/2IF2GCw 

 

ON CAPITOL HILL

Centrist Republicans: It's not just hard-liners that get to have all the fun:

Via The Hill's Scott Wong, "Some moderate House Republicans are threatening to use a tactic typically employed by conservative hard-liners in the Freedom Caucus: voting down a rule to block what they view as bad legislation." What legislation?: Several moderate Republicans want a vote to shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The legislation is bipartisan, by the way. But House leadership is instead first bringing a vote on a more conservative immigration reform proposal. Centrists say that if they don't also get a vote on their bill they will vote no on the rule. Who -- for example: Reps. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Fla.) and Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (R-Calif.). What to expect: http://bit.ly/2KMRyzT

HOW CLOSE ARE CENTRISTS GETTING TO A VOTE ON THEIR BILL?: Very close. 204 lawmakers (including 21 Republicans) have signed a petition to circumvent leadership and force a vote. How many votes they need: 218. How close lawmakers are to a vote: If all Democrats sign on, Republicans only need four (!) more GOP backers to sign on. http://bit.ly/2s5Ypgl

 

CAMPAIGN NEWS

New poll -- 36 is the new 100:

36 percent of voters say they support President Trump's reelection bid in 2020, according to a new Politico–Morning Consult poll. 44 percent would prefer a Democrat. Full poll: https://politi.co/2rZQi5M

 

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IN OTHER NEWS

Sandy Hook families sue Alex Jones:

Via ABC's Aaron Katersky, six families of children who were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., are suing Infowars owner Alex Jones, who has repeatedly called the shooting fake, for defamation. https://abcn.ws/2IEUsdr

 

Wow, this story has some incredible footage:

Via CNN's James Griffiths, a small group of reporters spent more than 18 hours traveling to North Korea's nuclear site. Photos and video of the journey: https://cnn.it/2x8f7kQ

 

YESTERDAY'S APOCALYPTIC RAIN STORM

Spotted: Actual cats and actual dogs coming from the sky:

Heavy rain and strong thunderstorms pummeled Washington, D.C., yesterday afternoon. https://wapo.st/2khKzUk

 

Poor guy, but I have a few questions: "There is a guy running along Pennsylvania Ave., in the torrential downpour, wearing dress pants, leather shoes and no shirt." (h/t The Daily Beast's Andrew Desideriohttp://bit.ly/2sasiMy

 



NOTABLE TWEETS:

Haha!:

 

Westworld is taking over:

 

ON TAP:

Noon: President Trump leaves the White House for New York.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House.

2:30 p.m. EDT: The Atlantic Council is holding an event, "The Road to NATO's Brussels Summit." Details: http://bit.ly/2s2C7wu

3:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a nomination.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

4:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the prime minister of Georgia.

5:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters at Lotte New York Palace Hotel.

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump has dinner with supporters.

8:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence spoke at the Coast Guard commencement ceremony in New London, Conn. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2s21cYu

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable on immigration at Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, N.Y. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2x2vQGd

2:30 p.m. EDT: NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineApollo 11: How millennials can grasp the greatest event ever — for now Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction NASA: Plan to send US back to the moon may be delayed without private rockets MORE testifies on Capitol Hill about his agency's 2019 budget. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2IKISK0

9 p.m. EDT: CNN is hosting a town hall with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMulvaney: Military projects impacted by wall funding haven't been decided yet Left-wing Dems in minority with new approach to spending Julian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run MORE (D-Calif.). https://cnn.it/2s1614a

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Taffy Day. --http://bit.ly/2IIs71V ;)

 

Be forewarned -- if you read this before you eat lunch, you WILL be getting barbecue today: 

Via Washingtonian, here's a list of the 13 best barbecue restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. http://bit.ly/2IDLRHT


And because you made it to the end, here's an adorable photo of a puppy's first bath: http://bit.ly/2kiQEA7