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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 returns, says North Korea 'no longer a nuclear threat' | Cohen likely to cooperate with investigators, report claims | GOP to vote on immigration next week | Conservatives anxious for FBI Clinton probe report | Why Kushner's confidence is growing | New twist in Rosenstein, House fight | Possible World Cup 2026 venues | Hill TV launches



Michael Cohen spotted testing orange-colored shirt samples: 

Via Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's personal lawyer Michael Cohen has told his close friends that he thinks he will be arrested any day now. "Reached for comment, Cohen wrote in a text message, 'Your alleged source is wrong!'"


On what Trump could be thinking: "Trump should be super worried about Michael Cohen," a former White House official said. "If anyone can blow up Trump, it's him."

On the obstruction of justice case: "Within the next month, Mueller is reportedly planning to deliver his findings in the obstruction of justice investigation to Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE. 'Donald is very worried,' said a Republican close to Trump." 

On Kushner's new-found confidence since getting his security clearance back: Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Manafort’s plea deal — the clear winners and losers Five takeaways from Manafort’s plea deal MORE "recently stood up and walked out of a meeting that [Chief of Staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE] was leading. Kushner has told people that Kelly will be gone by the end of summer, according to a person who's spoken with him recently. 'Jared is strutting around with his balls out,' said the Republican [source]."

Full article -- it's worth reading:


New development -- Cohen's attorneys leave the case: 

Via ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the law firm representing President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen is not representing him anymore. Now: Sources say Cohen is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

OH AND...: A former U.S. attorney says that President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEric Holder: Trump releasing docs on Russia probe is 'dangerous abuse of power' Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Legal expert says Manafort deal could help Trump in short term MORE, could be sent to federal prison by the end of this week. Why? Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE said in a court filing that Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release. Mueller on Monday asked the court to revoke or revise his release conditions.

NEW POLL ON MUELLER: Thirty-six percent of voters view special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in a negative light, according to a new Politico–Morning Consult poll. Why that's newsy: It's a big jump from just 23 percent who had negative views of Mueller in July 2017. And it could raise pressure on Mueller to begin to wrap up his investigation.

AS THIS PROBE INTENSIFIES -- REAL TALK, CAN TRUMP PARDON HIMSELF?: Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales explains whether that can happen:


It's Wednesday. 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



I'm curious to see what this looks like:

Via CNN's Laura Jarrett, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to ask the House to investigate its own staff. Big picture: Rosenstein has been butting heads with House Republicans and the clash his hitting a new tipping point.

What was the tipping point?: Yesterday, Fox News reported that Rosenstein threatened to subpoena documents from Republicans on a House committee. Aides called this a "personal attack."

How does that even work?: Rosenstein will "request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers' conduct."



This a.m. -- no need to worry, team: 

President Trump tweeted that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. He tweeted: "Just landed - a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!" Full series of tweets:



Anniversary of the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice: 

In June 2016, a gunman shot at Republican members of Congress during their practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, including House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' Scalise tells Canada: Make a deal on trade or be left behind GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave MORE (R-La.), who was seriously injured. This year, Scalise is back at practice.

Scalise tweeted a video of news coverage on the day of the shooting and the months following


This year's game: 

The Congressional Baseball Game will happen tomorrow evening at Nationals Park. Details and tickets:



Why Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCorey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report GOP super PAC hits Randy Bryce with ad starring his brother Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE can't stop smirking: 

House Republican leaders have drafted immigration legislation for a vote next week, sinking the petition that would bypass Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and force other immigration votes on bipartisan bills. Back story: Centrists have been trying to force a vote on immigration legislation to protect undocumented immigrants. House Republican leaders were on the clock to come up with a compromise. Now: The House will vote on two bills, a conservative immigration bill and a moderate compromise that is still being worked on.



Launched today -- a new network!:

The Hill's new political TV network, Hill.TV, launched this morning with the debut of its morning show "Rising," co-hosted by former MSNBC anchor Krystal Ball and conservative radio show host and former CIA analyst Buck SextonWhen to watch: 8 a.m. EDT. How to watch:


Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP candidate scores upset win in Texas state Senate runoff McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal Cornyn takes on O'Rourke over AR-15s MORE (R-Texas): Cruz says he's not looking to become the next Supreme Court pick. Watch his explanation:

Liberal activist Rob Reiner: Reiner explains why he thinks former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: Presume the 'essence' of sexual assault accusations are 'real' Sanders, Warren ask whether there’s room for both in primary Kavanaugh hires attorney amid sexual assault allegations: report MORE could help save Democrats in 2020. Watch his reasoning:

Ambassador Joe DeTrani: DeTrani is one of the few Americans ever to negotiate with the North Koreans. His context on the summit:



The United States, Mexico and Canada have been chosen to co-host the 2026 World Cup. "It will be the first time the World Cup is hosted by three countries, but a vast majority of the tournament will be on United States soil. Of the 80 matches, 10 will be held in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the United States -- including the final, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey."

WHERE THE GAMES COULD BE: Via ESPN, here's which venues will likely host World Cup games:


Happening Thursday -- a day for the Clinton probe: 

Via The Hill's Katie Bo Williams, "Conservatives on Capitol Hill are anxiously awaiting the imminent release of a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general scrutinizing the law enforcement agency's handling of its investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton: FBI investigation into Kavanaugh could be done quickly Hillary Clinton urges Americans to 'check and reject' Trump's 'authoritarian tendencies' by voting in midterms EXCLUSIVE: Trump says exposing ‘corrupt’ FBI probe could be ‘crowning achievement’ of presidency MORE's private email server." Keep in mind: "Congress will likely not see the document until shortly before it is made public on Thursday, with its official conclusions remaining the subject of intense speculation until then."


10 years ago today:

TV journalist Tim Russert died 10 years ago today.



40 years ago this week: 



The House and Senate are in.

5:50 a.m. EDT: President Trump arrived back at the White House.

11:10 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence arrived in Dallas.

12 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Texas. 

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

4:10 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence arrives back in Washington, D.C.

4:45 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

5:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a Great America Committee, Protect the House event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

7:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the American Council of Life Insurers CEO Capitol Forum Dinner in Washington, D.C.



2:30 p.m. EDT: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press briefing. Livestream:

9 a.m. EDT Thursday: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Livestream:

9 a.m. EDT Thursday: Former National Economic Council Director Gary CohnGary David CohnCohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president On The Money: Trump announces new China tariffs | Wall Street salaries hit highest level since 2008 | GOP bets the House on the economy Financial policymakers must be suffering from amnesia MORE appears at a Washington Post event. Livestream:



Today is National Cupcake Lover's Day!


Microsoft's makeover:

Via CNN's Heather Kelly, Microsoft is unveiling a new, simpler look for Word and Outlook. What about other apps?: Microsoft is holding off on Excel, PowerPoint and other apps.


And because you made it this far, here's a dog eating watermelon in an adorable way: