The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump denies Russian interference at presser with Putin

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The Hill's 12:30 Report -- Breaking from Trump, Putin summit: Trump denies Russian interference | Trump says no evidence of collusion, touts election win | Putin says he wanted Trump to beat Clinton | FCC chair rejects Sinclair-Tribune merger | Trump reportedly didn't want notetaker in Putin meeting | DC water advisory ends | List of best Prime Day deals 



*Record scratch*

*Freeze frame*

Yup, that's me, Vlad. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation: 


President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE just held a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after their two-hour, highly anticipated meeting. 

Livestream of the joint news conference -- it was pretty nuts:



Trump on Russian interference in the U.S. election: Trump downplayed Moscow's interference. He then pivoted to criticizing the special counsel investigation. Asked whether he would condemn Russia's election meddling, Trump said: "I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia who hacked Democrats during the 2016 election. 

This is stunning: "This is astonishing. Asked by Jeff Mason of Reuters if he holds Russia responsible for anything at all, Trump replies yes only in the vaguest generalities. Then complains about Mueller, says 'zero collusion' and talks about his electoral college margin over Hillary again."

Putin on Russian interference in the U.S. election: Putin denied any interference in the U.S. 2016 election. In Putin's words: "I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including election process.  Any specific material, if such things arise, we are willing to analyze together."

Not helping things: When Putin was asked whether he wanted Trump to beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE, Putin said, "Yes, I did, because he was the one who wanted to normalize relations with Russia."

Yes, we're really talking about this during a major international summit:
"We won the electoral college by a lot," Trump said. He also said: "We ran a brilliant campaign and that's why I'm president." 

Trump on the U.S.-Russia relationship: "Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that."

Putin on the Iran deal: "Putin says he told Trump that he disagreed with the decision to withdraw from the Iran deal and is praising the plan."

Trump: Let's do this again sometime: "I'm sure we'll be meeting again in the future, often." 


How Trump started the summit: "I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. I really think the world wants to see us get along."

Witch hunt, witch hunt I tell you: A few hours before the meeting, President Trump tweeted, "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" The Russian foreign ministry responded: We agree." See the tweets:


What we know about the actual Trump, Putin meeting

A little bit of drama right before the presser started:

Video from the room -- watch how the situation unfolded:


It's Monday! Prime Day starts at 3 p.m.! 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 and on Facebook.



The first thing CNN's Anderson Cooper said following the presser: "You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president..."

From Republican Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseMcConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal Senate approves 4B spending bill Grassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt MORE (Neb.): "This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame... When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs."

From Republican Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw Kavanaugh: 'I will not be intimidated into withdrawing' MORE (S.C.): "Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections ... It is imperative that Congress hold hearings on the extent and scope of any cooperation with Russia in Syria regarding Iran's presence."

Lol, Graham also added: "Finally, if it were me, I'd check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House."

From retiring Republican Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Police arrest 128 protesting Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill GOP launches counteroffensive on Kavanaugh MORE (Ariz.): "I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful."

From former CIA director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanNew book: Putin tried to reinforce Trump’s belief in a ‘deep state’ undermining him Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump Rand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump MORE: "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???"



Yes, Trump just winked at PutinWatch:

Was there a note-taker at the summit?: No. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Trump didn't want any note-takers because he was concerned about leaks. Putin appeared to have a small notebook, but Trump did not. Why this is important: There will be no record of their actual discussion.

^^Politico's Eliana Johnson points out: This also happened during President Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

You can't make this stuff up: The expanded meeting with President Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and their advisers happened in "The Hall of Mirrors." 

Um, this is confusing: "WH spokesman Hogan Gidley would not confirm reports that the Trump-Putin one-on-one meeting lasted 2 hours and ten minutes, per the Russians." (From White House pooler Annie Karni)  

Their facial expressions zoomed: Any time someone gives Trump a hard time about being buddies with Putin, he should just pull out this photo from his wallet:

Photo from the Kremlin: Here's a photo from the summit featuring President Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Trump Jr. to Dem Senator: 'You admitted to hitting your wife so hard it gave her a black eye!' Melania Trump's spokeswoman gets Hatch Act warning for #MAGA tweet MORE

Trump's first TV interviews after the summit: Fox News and ... Fox News. Sean Hannity will get the first interview, which will air tonight. Tucker Carlson will then interview the president, which will air Tuesday night.

Oh and -- Putin speaks to Fox News, as well: Fox News's Chris Wallace has an exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Where: Helsinki, Finland.

Hillary Clinton snaps in a Z shape: Clinton tweeted, "Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?"



It’s like deciding whether merging onto New Jersey’s Route 17 is a good idea on a moped — it’s a no from me:

(If you aren’t familiar​ with Route 17​, read No. 8 -->

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai just rejected a proposed merger between the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media. Why: "The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law," Pai said. What happens now: The merger will be sent to an administrative law judge, likely killing the deal altogether.


And another one gone, another one bites the dust:

Via The Wall Street Journal's Dustin Volz, senior FBI official Jeffrey Tricoli, who has been overseeing the election-meddling task force, has left his position. His new gig: Tricoli took a job at Charles Schwab Corp. Why this matters: "It adds to questions among some tech companies and lawmakers about how much the administration, and the task force in particular, are doing to protect future elections from Russian meddling."



Republican leadership to Dems: 'Put your money where you mouth is':

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke, "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel On 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' MORE (R-La.) are looking to bring a progressive-backed measure to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the House floor in an attempt to force Democrats to show where they really stand on the issue." Could it pass?: That's very unlikely.


All eyes on Helsinki: Lawmakers are carefully watching President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Timing: The meeting came three days after 12 Russians were indicted on hacking charges related to Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 

Brett Kavanaugh practices his charming smile: President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is making the rounds on Capitol Hill. 

Farm bill: The House is expected to vote on the motion to go to conference on the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 this week.

Carbon tax vote: The House is slated to vote on a resolution that would condemn the proposal of a carbon tax later in the week.

Context and details for each:



Oh good news, DC tap water is no longer dangerous:

Via The Washington Post, D.C. water has lifted the boil-water advisory for all customers. Is anyone sick?: No. There have been no reports of sickness from water contamination. What happened: "Officials have said water from a fire hydrant at one of 13 test sites tested positive for coliform bacteria, which, while unlikely to cause illness, can indicate the presence of other pathogens." Keep in mind if you were out of town: Residents who haven't used their faucets since Thursday night should let water run for 10 minutes before drinking it.



This audio clip gives me so much anxiety, but I can't stop listening to it: 

Listen to the audio -- it's pretty funny:



The House is in. The Senate is meeting later today.

10:35 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a briefing at the Commerce Department.

11:55 a.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave Finland for Washington, D.C.

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets. The Senate's full schedule today:

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a nomination. 

6:30 p.m. EDT: The House votes. The House's full schedule today:

9 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the White House.



11:25 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence spoke to Commerce Department employees. Livestream:



Today is National Corn Fritters Day.


Why your office will suddenly feel like the New York Stock Exchange at 3 p.m.:

Amazon's Black Friday equivalent, Prime Day, kicks off at 3 p.m. today and extends through tomorrow. Here's a list of the best Prime Day deals:

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO I CAN DO BETTER, I CAN DO ANYTHING BETTER THAN YOU: Target announced a similar giant sale for tomorrow. What to know:


Fascinating read -- wow, this headline:

Via The Economist, "Why a mayor in Lebanon has dressed policewomen in hot pants." The gist of the reasoning: From the mayor, "People in the West don't visit Lebanon because they think it's a country of Islamic extremism. We want to show that we have the same way of life as the West. You wear shorts and we wear shorts. We have democracy. Our women are free." Reactions: Extremely mixed. Photos of the uniform -- wow:


And because you read this far, here's a dog who is very confused about his treat's whereabouts: