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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



Now walk it back (Now walk it back)

Now walk it back (Now walk it back): 

--> ;)

Credit : NBC | Saturday Night Live

Throwback to President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE’s music video appearance on Saturday Night Live:


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:

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:

Ouuuuuch -- check out the covers of the New York Daily News and the New York Post:

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:


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!"



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."

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


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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



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.


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."


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:


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.



Interesting tidbit -- Comey tells voters to back Democrats: 

Last night, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHow Biden should sell his infrastructure bill 'Finally, infrastructure week!': White House celebrates T bill Huma Abedin on bid for political office: 'I'm not saying no to anything' 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?


Trending -- that subtle Queen Elizabeth sass:

Via People's Stephanie Petit, on the day President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpRNC pushes back against call for chair's resignation over LGBT outreach Trump Tower bar selling presidential cocktail with side of Diet Coke, beef sliders Cheney knocks Ted Cruz: 'A real man would be defending his wife' 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."



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


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



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: 

2:15 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

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



2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: 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:

7:30 p.m. EDT: FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks at the Aspen Security Forum. Details and livestream:

Thursday morning: Former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerChris Wallace labels Psaki 'one of the best press secretaries ever' John Legend, Chrissy Teigen troll Sean Spicer Biden administration competency doubts increase MORE will appear on NBC's "Today" and then on NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today." Why: To preview his new book.



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:


Ouch, this cow is being fat-shamed:

Check out this correction in The New York Times's international section.


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