The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump eyes second Putin summit

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

--> 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 vows to hold second Putin meeting | Republicans look for distance from Trump on Russia | Trump reportedly saw evidence of 2016 meddling | GOP blocks Dem move to subpoena translator | 'Time' cover morphs Trump, Putin faces | Trump rips EU over massive Google fine | Iceberg drifts dangerously close to a town


The longer I look at Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoRosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Pompeo rejects ‘good cop, bad cop’ characterization of Russia strategy Pompeo: 'Enormous mistake' for Iran to blame US, allies for attack on military parade MORE, the more I he really laughing?

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo | Getty




You know what?! That meeting was fun. Let's do it again sometime!:

President Trump touted his performance during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin -- and vowed to have a second meeting with Putin.

Trump tweeted: "The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media. I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed, including stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more. There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems...but they can ALL be solved!"

TRENDING (FOR GOOD REASON) -- OH MY GOSH. PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP: Time released a new magazine cover morphing the faces of President Trump and Russian President Vladimir PutinAll I want to do is unsee this. :-/  Photo -- watch the transformation:

THIS A.M. -- DEMS TRIED TO SUBPOENA TRUMP'S INTERPRETER: Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems MORE (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, offered a motion to subpoena the interpreter who was in the room during President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir PutinSchiff's argument: A key exchange on national security matters may have occurred. The outcome: Republicans obviously rejected the motion.


It's Thursday -- how is it already July 19? 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.



'What time is it?!' 

The crowd yells back: 'Damage control time!':

The Trump administration has been trying to clarify the president's remarks from his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin and contain the damage.

THE LATEST CLARIFICATION: When a reporter asked President Trump if he believes Russia is still trying to interfere with the United States, Trump responded, "No." Then yesterday: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that when Trump said "no," he meant he was done answering questions. Watch Sanders's explanation:

KEEP IN MIND ABOUT TIMING: These remarks came a day after Trump acknowledged that Russia did interfere in the presidential election. Trump also pledged to protect the U.S. from Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. How that played: "But those remarks failed to quiet the uproar surrounding his public handling of Putin, so Trump went even further on Wednesday, stating that he's been tougher than any other president when it comes to Russia."

HOW REPUBLICANS ON CAPITOL HILL ARE REACTING -- BACK, BACK, BACK IT UP: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Jordain Carney, with less than four months before the midterms, Republicans are scrambling to distance themselves from President Trump's controversial Russia comments. How so

HOW REPUBLICANS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ARE REACTING: Via The Hill's Lisa Hagen, Trump's comments have raised new concerns for Republican candidates. Why: It will overshadow more favorable policy areas for Republicans. I.e.: The economy and the tax-cut bill. This is interesting: "GOP candidates in top races are not abandoning the president and strategists say Republicans will remain with Trump unless his favorability among conservatives takes a big hit over the Russia controversy."


Fascinating read -- so what did intel officials tell Trump about Russia?:

Via The New York Times's David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, a few weeks before Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, he received an intelligence briefing showing that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered cyberattacks to influence the U.S. election. 

What was the evidence?: "The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation."

How Trump reacted at the time vs. now: "Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed." 

Full piece -- it's worth reading:

THEN THIS MORNING -- James ClapperJames Robert ClapperNational security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war FBI memos detail ‘partisan axes,’ secret conflicts behind the Russia election meddling assessment Foreign hackers a legitimate concern for ballot machines, says cybersecurity expert MORE CONFIRMS THE STORY: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that President Trump was given classified intelligence that showed Russian President Vladimir Putin did directly meddle in the election. In Clapper's words: "We left very highly classified written documents which laid out in more detail the evidence that we had," Clapper said on CNN. "And so the fact that President Putin was directly involved and directly order this and that no big decisions are made in Russia any way without Putin -- all that was laid out." Watch Clapper's full explanation:

​F​ormer CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden​ weighs in​:



It's like being in an argument and the other person pulls out a bullet-point list of reasons they're right:

Via Politico's Darren Samuelsohn, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE released an itemized list of evidence against President Trump's former campaign chair Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein Ex-White House official revises statement to Mueller after Flynn guilty plea: report Former White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report MOREHow many items are on that list: Well more than 500 (!) pieces of evidence against Manafort. Keep in mind: Manafort has pleaded not guilty to Mueller's charges.

Read the actual list -- it's quite extensive:


It's a classic case of 'I told you so':

President Trump criticized the European Union for slapping Google with a record $5 billion fine. Trump tweeted: "I told you so!  The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!"



Yiiiiikes -- this is pretty scary:



The Senate is in. The House voted this morning. President Trump is at the White House, and Vice President Pence is spending the day in St. Louis, Mo.

9:35 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for St. Louis, Mo.

10:30 a.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

Noon: President Trump meets with Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE.

1 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

1 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), who is running for Senate, and then for Rep. Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE (R-Ill.).

7:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence arrives back in Washington, D.C.



12:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks about tax cuts at an event in St. Louis, Mo. Livestream:

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts a "Pledge to America's Workers" in the East Room of the White House. Livestream:



Today is National Daiquiri Day!


Eh, no one is still doing their New Year's resolutions at this point anyway, right?:

McDonalds is giving out free french fries every Friday for the rest of the year. How: By using the app. Details:


Yikes, I really failed at this quiz:

Morning Consult published a fascinating quiz on how many calories are in each of these entrees. It's fascinating:


And to break up your Thursday afternoon, here's a baby giraffe that is seriously struggling to take its first steps. You can do it!: