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 struggles to get past Putin presser | Trump says those at 'higher ends of intelligence' loved remarks | Prosecutors push to keep alleged Russian agent in custody | EU slaps Google with massive fine | House bill to offer $5B for Trump wall | Sinclair to change merger in hopes of winning approval

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

Now walk it back (Now walk it back)

Now walk it back (Now walk it back): 

--> http://bit.ly/2JwqBzC ;)

Credit : NBC | Saturday Night Live

Throwback to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE’s music video appearance on Saturday Night Live: http://bit.ly/2NrCedv

 

In an effort to quell criticism, President Trump walked back his controversial comments about Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. How he backtracked: Trump said he meant he didn't any reason why it *wouldn't* be Russia that meddled in the U.S. election. Watch Trump's explanation: http://bit.ly/2JzxrnR

Excerpt from Trump: "I came back, and I said, 'What is going on? What's the big deal?' So I got a transcript. I reviewed it. I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized that there is need for some clarification. It should have been obvious -- I thought it would be obvious -- but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn't. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't.' The sentence should have been: I don't see any reason why I wouldn't -- or why it wouldn't be Russia." But: In an unscripted moment Trump also said that the meddling "could be other people also. A lot of people out there." Read the full transcript: https://cnn.it/2JzAufP

Ouuuuuch -- check out the covers of the New York Daily News and the New York Post: http://bit.ly/2uD1c2H

REACTION FROM CNN'S ERIN BURNETT: "President Trump read from a prepared statement, offering up frankly what seems to be a dog ate my homework excuse on how things went terribly wrong in Helsinki," Burnett said. Watch her full reaction: http://bit.ly/2zQPxlN

 

I do love arguments that stem into 'yeah, well you're dumb' -- I really do:

Early this morning, President Trump said that "people at the higher ends of intelligence loved" his press conference with Russian President Vladimir PutinTrump tweeted: "So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki, Finland. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!" http://bit.ly/2L2RoZP

 

REACTIONS KEEP ROLLING IN -- BECAUSE EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER HAS AN OPINION:

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: "It was clear that he was intimidated by that situation. ... Whether the Russians have something on this president or not, no one really knows. But the way he behaves, there's a clear signal that the Russians have something on him." http://bit.ly/2zN3P71

Conservative columnist George Will: When referring to Trump's performance during the summit, Will called President Trump a "sad, embarrassing wreck of a man." http://bit.ly/2JDFq3u

 

Ok, this was a pretty funny line from the president: 

  

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 cmartel@thehill.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

NEWS THIS A.M.

Trump may get part of his border wall:

Via The Hill's Niv Elis, the House Homeland Security appropriations bill for 2019 was released this morning -- and includes $5 billion toward President Trump's border wall. Specifically: It will include 200 miles of new physical barriers and technology. What about the Senate?: The Senate's version of the bill only includes $1.6 billion and did not include funding for a physical wall. Keep in mind: Trump has said he would veto a bill without border wall funding, so this could lead to another government shutdown after Sept. 30. http://bit.ly/2zSkV3i

 

Prosecutors: Keep her in custody:

Via The Hill's Lydia Wheeler, "Federal prosecutor are urging a district court judge to keep alleged Russian foreign agent Maria Butina in custody while she awaits trial." Why: Prosecutors said she poses a serious flight risk. "Prosecutors noted her last tie to the District of Columbia -- her apartment lease -- ends on July 31, and there were boxes packed in it consistent with a forthcoming move at the time of her arrest on July 15." http://bit.ly/2LmOApU

 

Have you heard the fat lady sing yet? Nope, me neither:

Via CNN's Hadas Gold, Sinclair is changing some of the details of its merger with Tribune to help the sale go through. Why: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai (R) rejected the deal Monday and sent the merger for a review by an administrative judge. Details: https://cnnmon.ie/2NqWQm8

 

Ouch, that's a hefty fine:

The European Union just fined Google a record $5 billion. Why: Regulators are "accusing the company of illegally using its Android mobile operating system to cement its dominance over other online services." I.e.: Google suppressed the competition. http://bit.ly/2mstUyM

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Interesting tidbit -- Comey tells voters to back Democrats: 

Last night, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump vows to get rid of 'stench' at DOJ, FBI House Judiciary on NY Times article: I intend to subpoena 'McCabe Memos' Hillicon Valley: NYT says Rosenstein wanted to wear wire on Trump | Twitter bug shared some private messages | Vendor put remote-access software on voting machines | Paypal cuts ties with Infowars | Google warned senators about foreign hacks MORE tweeted, "This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders' design that 'Ambition must ... counteract ambition.' All who believe in this country's values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don't matter right now. History has its eyes on us." Trump will have fun with this one, huh? http://bit.ly/2msRrj2

 

Trending -- that subtle Queen Elizabeth sass:

Via People's Stephanie Petit, on the day President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump 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 Pamela Anderson claims she convinced Melania Trump to stop wearing fur MORE arrived in the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II wore a brooch gifted from the Obamas. 

The brooch: "The Obamas reportedly hand-picked the personal gift -- which featured 14-karat yellow gold, diamonds and moss agate -- at Washington D.C.'s Tiny Jewel Box store." http://bit.ly/2NpOX05

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

This video is honestly one of the funniest (and worst) videos I've seen in a while -- wow:

 

*Insert monkey-covering-its-eyes emoji*:

  

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C., today with a light public schedule.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump holds a Cabinet meeting.

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate holds a confirmation vote. The Senate's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2mpzPo1 

2:15 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

9:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2O1yobZ This will be worth watching. It will be the first televised press conference in 16 days.

2 p.m. EDT: A House subcommittee holds a hearing on whether the government should use digital currency. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2L3QkoK

7:30 p.m. EDT: FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks at the Aspen Security Forum. Details and livestream: http://bit.ly/2LhaquO

Thursday morning: Former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerSpicer: People at White House are 'burnt out' Spicer: On-camera briefings have become 'grandstanding' opportunity for reporters Photographer cropped inauguration photos to make crowd look larger after Trump intervention: report MORE will appear on NBC's "Today" and then on NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today." Why: To preview his new book.

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Hot Dog Day. It's also National Sour Candy Day and National Caviar Day.

^^Happening on Capitol Hill: PETA is giving out free veggie dogs to protest National Hot Dog Day. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2L6cAON

 

Ouch, this cow is being fat-shamed:

Check out this correction in The New York Times's international section. https://nyti.ms/2uH4YXZ

 

And because you made it this far, here's a seal who definitely does not snore. Seriously, he doesn't snore!: http://bit.ly/2JvgjiZ