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: Breaking - Judge approves immunity for witnesses in Manafort trial | Trump warns Iran in all-caps tweet not to threaten US | Also hits Russia probe, Amazon in tweets | Putin summit puts spotlight back on Trump tax returns | NY Daily News lays off half its staff | Health care, flood insurance top busy week for House

  

TALK OF THE MORNING

Read Trump's tweet.

OK, now reread it, but pretend it's a note from one elementary school-aged kid to a sibling during a fight:

Late last night, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE issued a warning to Iran after its president threatened the United States. http://bit.ly/2LLcN5W

What sparked Trump's tweet -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's threat: "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," Rouhani told a group of diplomats.

Trump's warning "To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!" 

The short version: The U.S.–Iran relationship has been tense for decades, but escalated earlier this year when President Trump announced the United States' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

The evolution of President Trump on Iran:

 

GETTING TRACTION -- A TAKE ON TRUMP'S IRAN STRATEGY: In The Washington Post, Stanford University's Colin H. Kahl and MIT's Vipin Narang write, "Trump thinks his North Korea strategy will work on Iran. He's wrong on both." https://wapo.st/2Ny7p6I

 

It's a dreary Monday after an apocalyptic weekend of rain in the District. 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 MORNING

Breaking -- five Manafort witnesses granted immunity

"With the criminal trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEric Holder: Trump releasing docs on Russia probe is 'dangerous abuse of power' Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Legal expert says Manafort deal could help Trump in short term MOREjust two days away, the judge in the case ordered the testimony of five witnesses granted immunity by special Counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team." Oh and: Manafort is seeking to delay the start of the trial, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday. There hasn't yet been a ruling on that request. http://bit.ly/2JRTTbU

 

A sad day for New York journalism:

The New York Daily News laid off half of its staff and ousted the paper's editor-in-chief, Jim RichSadly, staff new it was coming: "The blog Study Hall reported on Thursday that a large percentage of the staff was to be laid off and that Mr. Rich would not be returning to the newsroom after a vacation. Some News employees started packing last week." https://nyti.ms/2LxBjdW

TWEET FROM THE NOW FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JIM RICH: "If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you." http://bit.ly/2Lk7kqQ

CONTEXT FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES'S GLENN THRUSH: "The @NYDailyNews is not perfect. But it is one of the last remaining bulwarks for working-class New York, with healthy hostility for the preening moneyed classes and all the bullshitters, rascals, thieves, landlords and gonif politicians. The city can't afford to lose it." http://bit.ly/2O7Vb5X

 

When your boss had an extra cup off coffee so you wake up to email after email from them:

President Trump had an active morning on Twitter, hitting Amazon, the news media and special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Read the tweets: http://bit.ly/2LhU325

 

THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS

With visions of August recess dancing in (some of) their heads:
Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke, House Republicans have a busy week as they finalize the lower chamber's work before leaving for August recess at the end of this week. When they will return: September. But what about the Senate...?: The Senate will be in town until Aug. 6, will break for a week and will then be back in session for the rest of August.

Votes expected in the House this week: A series of bills related to health care, a vote to extend funding for the National Flood Insurance Program and potentially a vote related to defense authorization. 

Happening Wednesday -- Pompeo testifies on Russia: Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Graham knocks South Korea over summit with North Shrapnel in Yemen strikes links US-made bombs to 63 civilian deaths: report MORE is scheduled to testify before the Senate Relation Committee -- and is expected to be grilled over President Trump's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Keep in mind: This hearing was originally requested after Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump's VA nominee: The Senate is scheduled to vote on the confirmation of Robert Wilkie, President Trump's nominee for secretary of Veterans Affairs. He's expected to be easily confirmed. Keep in mind: This is Trump's third VA nominee. https://ti.me/2LGvYhz

Trump's Supreme Court nominee: Brett Kavanaugh will continue to meet with senators on Capitol Hill. 

Government funding: The Senate will work on a second government funding package this week. No pressure: "Congress has until Oct. 1 to pass all 12 appropriations bills, iron out the differences and send them to the president's desk for signature."

Context and details for each: http://bit.ly/2mBFWFN 

 

IN OTHER NEWS

An unexpected consequence of Trump's Putin meeting:

Via The Hill's Naomi Jagoda, President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin has put Trump's tax returns back in the spotlight. Why: Trump's comments about Russia have led some lawmakers to wonder if the president has financial ties to Russia. How that could play out: http://bit.ly/2NDrecO

 

Russian ties run deep:

Via Reuters' Sarah N. Lynch, accused Russian agent Maria Butina may have wider ties to Washington than has been reported. Who Butina met with: Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and Nathan Sheets, undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs. Details: https://reut.rs/2A9xDei

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

​Oh look, it's a pigeon amusement park: 

Watch: http://bit.ly/2uLj0Zb

  

ON TAP

The House is in, the Senate is meeting in a few hours, President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence is spending the afternoon in Philadelphia.

Today: President Trump hosts a Made in America Product Showcase on the South Lawn of the White House.

Noon: The House met.

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

1 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves Washington, D.C., for Philadelphia. 

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaObama to hit campaign trail in Pa. for gubernatorial, Senate candidates Poll: Pennsylvania Democrats surging with double-digit leads Poll: Dems hold double-digit leads in Pennsylvania races for governor, Senate MORE (R-Pa.). He then heads back to Washington, D.C.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on VA secretary nominee Robert Wilkie.

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House.  

 

WHAT TO WATCH

2:35 p.m. EDT Vice President Pence speaks about tax cuts at an event in Philadelphia. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2O9b0JH

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate debates VA nominee Robert Wilkie before his confirmation vote. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2LkH1Re

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the Made in America Product Showcase. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2A26aLv

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day!

 

I've been laughing all day reading all of these comments:

A clothing brand published a Facebook post on a rather *unique* piece of clothing. The comments on the post are incredible. For example -- my favorite comment: "When you want folks to know you brought the potato salad with marshmallows and raisins without having to ask." Read the comments: http://bit.ly/2LKfZyL

 

And because you made it to the end, meet Buddy the risk-averse dog, who really doesn't want to run into a glass door again: https://dailym.ai/2Le9pod