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 narrowing Supreme Court short list | Mueller hiring more prosecutors | Dems one-up each other with Trump attacks | Trump likens border enforcement to keeping people off your lawn | DNA tests being used to reunite migrant children | Woman arrested after scaling Statue of Liberty | Trump rally in Montana tonight

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

Aaand, let the next phase in the fight over family separations begin:

Via CNN's Sonia Moghe and Nicole Chavez, the Trump administration is performing DNA tests to help reunited families who have been separated. https://cnn.it/2lUTwnq

Why: From an official: "The safety and security is paramount and … it is not uncommon for children to be trafficked or smuggled by those claiming to be parents. To our knowledge this is a cheek swab and is being done to expedite parental verification and ensuring reunification with verified parents due to child welfare concerns." 

The questions that are still unanswered: If the DNA tests require consent, if the DNA is stored and whether this practice is new. Also keep in mind: Babies cannot give consent.

THIS A.M. -- TRUMP TWEETS ABOUT IMMIGRATION: The president tweeted, "Congress must pass smart, fast and reasonable Immigration Laws now. Law Enforcement at the Border is doing a great job, but the laws they are forced to work with are insane. When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave without our Country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. Tell the people 'OUT,' and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn. Hiring thousands of "judges" does not work and is not acceptable -- only Country in the World that does this!" http://bit.ly/2u9P9Zm

OPENING IN TEXAS: A former private prison has just been approved to reopen as an immigrant detention center. http://bit.ly/2tUGE5m

 

It's a slow morning after the holiday -- it's a Thursday, right? 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.

 

LATEST WITH THE SUPREME COURT NOMINATION

Who will be entering the final rose ceremony:

Via The Associated Press's Catherine Lucey, Ken Thomas and Lisa MascaroPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE has narrowed down his list of Supreme Court nominees to three. 

The names: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge

Trump's process: "He conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday and has spoken to seven possible candidates." https://ti.me/2MRkszQ

BRIEF PRIMERS ON EACH OF THE REPORTED FINALISTS: https://ti.me/2lT5oX7

GOOD READ — PROS AND CONS FOR EACH: The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake breaks down the arguments for and against each of the finalists: https://wapo.st/2zejbRr

 

NEWS THIS MORNING

Ah, so that's what that Craiglist ad was for: 

Via Bloomberg's Chris Strohm, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE is hiring additional prosecutors for his investigation into Russia interference in the U.S. presidential election. "As Mueller pursues his probe, he's making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents -- a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually, several current and former U.S. officials said." https://bloom.bg/2u3oBKn

 

New detail -- Trump considered invading Venezuela:

Via The Associated Press's Joshua Goodman, during a meeting in the Oval Office last year with top aides, President Trump asked about invading Venezuela. How aides reacted: "The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonArmed Services chairman to Trump: Keep Mattis 'as long as you possibly can' Sunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report MORE and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration." http://bit.ly/2u75zls

 

HAPPENING NEXT WEEK

Does anyone else see Boris Johnson in this blimp more than they see President Trump...?:

The London mayor has approved a Trump-in-a-diaper blimp to fly over the city next week during President Trump's visit next week to the United Kingdom. Photo of the blimp -- you can't unsee this: http://bit.ly/2Nv5DUG

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Everyone wants to be the ​party's ​hero:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Democrats who are considering running for president in 2020 are trying to one-up each other with attacks on President TrumpWho: Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCelebrities, lawmakers wear black to support Kavanaugh’s accuser Dems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDem senators slam GOP for announcing Kavanaugh vote ahead of Ford testimony Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal This week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos MORE (N.Y.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenLawmakers unveil massive bipartisan bill aimed at fighting opioid crisis Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers Admiral defends record after coming under investigation in 'Fat Leonard' scandal MORE (Mass.). How: http://bit.ly/2KByJnN

 

The No. 2 House Democrat is in the hospital: 

House Democratic Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBrady defends GOP messaging on tax cuts Hoyer questions feasibility of new threshold for Speaker nomination Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE (Md.), 79, is in a Washington, D.C., hospital with pneumonia. His spokeswoman said he is being treated with antibiotics and is looking forward to returning to work "very soon." https://ti.me/2KUnqD2

 

This seems like a fun ONE-WAY hike: 

A woman scaled the Statue of Liberty last night to protest the separation of migrant families who have been caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. "For nearly three hours, she crossed the base of the statue, at times sitting in the folds of the statue's dress and under Lady Liberty's sandal." She was then arrested. Video: https://cnn.it/2zcbCuF

 

Because there isn't much news today and these daytime fireworks are mesmerizing:

 

Wow: These photos of the D.C. fireworks last night are incredible (and I usually think fireworks photos are lame). http://bit.ly/2lScOtE 

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Hahaha:

 

I'd call ​that a successful internship:

 

ON TAP

Congress is out. President Trump is traveling to Montana for a campaign rally and then heads to New Jersey. Vice President Pence has a series of meetings in Washington, D.C.

10:45 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence met with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump takes tough line on Iran at UN | Boasts about record spark laughter | Pentagon in 5G race with China | GOP chair urges Trump to keep Mattis Armed Services chairman to Trump: Keep Mattis 'as long as you possibly can' Admiral defends record after coming under investigation in 'Fat Leonard' scandal MORE.

12:55 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Great Falls, Mont.

1 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

1:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the president-elect of Colombia.

3 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence has a phone call with the prime minister of Greece.

3:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence has a phone call with the prime minister of Macedonia.

7:35 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves Montana for Newark, N.J.

11:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives in Bedminster, N.J.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Great Falls, Mont. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2z8CdZw

Today: Here's a list of sports games on TV today: https://wapo.st/2KCwu3t

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Apple Turnover Day.

 

Weekend plans:

Via The Washington Post's Going Out Guide, here's a list of events happening in the Washington, D.C.. area: https://wapo.st/2KPEWZe

 

*Click*:

Via CNN, "3.3 million-year-old fossil shows that ancient toddlers climbed trees." https://cnn.it/2tW5i5l

 

And to keep the patriotic vibes going strong, here's a chicken playing "America the Beautiful" on the piano. Our founders would be so proud: http://bit.ly/2nEqeN2