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: Latest on leaked Cohen tape | Trump asks 'what kind of lawyer would tape a client' | Pompeo faces grilling on Capitol Hill | What to watch for | Dems struggle in Kavanaugh fight | Trump's Hollywood star attacked with pickax | New ice cream shop has presidents' favorites

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

I'm thinking Michael Cohen may now want to add a 'this call may be recorded for quality assurance' message to his phone line:

CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Kara Scannell and Eli Watkins obtained the audio of a 2016 conversation between candidate Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, where they discussed payments for the rights to the story of a Playboy model who alleged an affair with Trump. https://cnn.it/2Ac9V0Q

Listen to the full audio: http://bit.ly/2LEAq3m

How CNN obtained the audio: From Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis

What the audio confirms: It confirms that 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 did discuss buying the rights to the story to keep the alleged affair secret. 

What Cohen told Trump: “Cohen told Trump about his plans to set up a company and finance the purchase of the rights from American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer. “

The part both sides are disputing: When Cohen discusses financing for the rights to the story, Trump interrupts and mentions paying with “cash.” The audio is muddled at that point, but each side is disputing whether Trump said to pay or not. 

What this means for Trump: Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani had previously confirmed the existence of these tapes, but also said no payment was ever made.

Putting this tape into context in the investigation: “It's the latest breakdown in the decade-long relationship between Trump and Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for the President. Cohen in recent weeks has made clear he is open to cooperating with US prosecutors.” 

Read the full CNN story: https://cnn.it/2Ac9V0Q

 

Then this morning — everyone was obviously eager for the president’s first reaction:

Twelve hours after the audio was released, President Trump weighed in, questioning, “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?” http://bit.ly/2NJO8PV

Trump’s full tweet: “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped — can this be so? Too bad!” http://bit.ly/2NH0Cry

WIKILEAKS TWEETED SOON AFTER: “CNN publishes Trump-Cohen tape fragment. Though the recording reveals little new, its circumstances are extraordinary: Cohen recording his client with a covert pocket recorder; president's lawyer raided by police, recording seized. Police or Cohen then shipping tape to CNN.” CNN’s Jake Tapper responded, adding: “Um.” http://bit.ly/2JZEmHm

 

It’s Wednesday. When. Will. We. See. The. Sun. Again? 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.

  

HAPPENING AT 3 P.M. EDT

Pompeo in the hot seat:

When 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 testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon, he is expected to be grilled by both Republicans and Democrats over President Trump’s controversial foreign and trade policies. Are we expecting a lot of insight?: Not really. There are doubts about how much Pompeo can actually answer. http://bit.ly/2A6d0j6 

WHAT TO WATCH:

  1. What happened in Helsinki?
  2. Round two meeting with Putin?
  3. Status of talks with North Korea?
  4. Trump’s NATO strategy?
  5. Is there an endgame strategy for trade?

Context and details for each: http://bit.ly/2A6d0j6

Keep in mind (!): Pompeo is having lunch with Trump a few hours before Pompeo testifies. And it’s not just any hearing: Pompeo will likely be asked about Trump’s controversial press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Livestream of the 3 p.m. hearing: http://bit.ly/2LF9gK1 

  

IN OTHER NEWS

Breaking -- 'It's a no from me': 

Via The Washington Post's Ann E. Marimow, Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold, "A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump's latest effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments." Now what?: "The plaintiffs now want to interview Trump Organization employees and search company records to determine which foreign countries have spent money at Trump's hotel in downtown Washington." https://wapo.st/2uOFZ5S

 

It’s like scrambling to find dirt on your freshman-year RA in college:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Democrats are struggling to find an opening in their fight to sink Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.” Issues Democrats are focusing on in their efforts: Abortion, ObamaCare and Kavanaugh’s past comments that could translate to the special counsel investigation. Have Democrats gained traction on those issues?: Not yet. How that effort is going: http://bit.ly/2LDMBO6

 

Entertaining read — I mean, I have questioned whether my Uber drivers are spies, so I get it:

Via GQ’s Julie Ioffe, “Last week, as America’s top national security experts convened in Aspen, a strangely inquisitive Uber driver showed up, too. And caused a minor freak-out. Was the mystery woman some kind of covert agent—or simply a figment of these hyper-paranoid times?” It’s worth reading — I read this hanging on to every word: http://bit.ly/2LLt8rn

 

Yikes, the star is pretty much gone:

Last night, a man took a pickax and destroyed President Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He then turned himself in to the police. Photos of the destroyed star — yikes: http://bit.ly/2Lk7rmd

 

David Gregory or Roger Federer?:

Via The Hill’s Caroline Gardner and Jasper Goodman, “Lawmakers, media and Washington celebs teamed up on Tuesday night for a charity tennis event hosted by the Washington Kastles.” The winning team: CNN political analyst David Gregory and Reps. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentGOP House candidate placed on leave from longtime position after sexual misconduct allegation Election handicapper moves GOP leader's race to 'toss-up' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RooneyThomas (Tom) Joseph RooneySenate panel postpones election security bill markup over lack of GOP support Hillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down House Intel lawmakers introduce bipartisan election security bill MORE (R-Fla.), Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanMcCarthy joins push asking Trump for more wildfire aid in California California wildfires prompt deficit debate in Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Calif.) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), as well as D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, Washington Kastles coach Murphy Jensen, Bloomberg’s William Connor and Washington Kastles players Robert Lindstedt and Madison BrengleWho played on the other team and more: http://bit.ly/2LKHFDP

 

Ahhhh, Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Graham knocks South Korea over summit with North MORE was (sort of) right!:

Via Bloomberg's Vernon Silver, remember when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave President Trump a soccer ball during last week's infamous press conference and it started a series of jokes and comments -- including from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) -- that the ball could be a spy device? Well: "It turns out they weren't entirely wrong. Markings on the ball indicate that it contained a chip with a tiny antenna that transmits to nearby phones." The reason -- before we freak out: "But rather than a spy device, the chip is an advertised feature of the Adidas AG ball ... The chip allows fans to access player videos, competitions and other content by bringing their mobile devices close to the ball." https://bloom.bg/2LOK00w

 

Feminist group founder found dead:

Via The Guardian, “Oksana Shachko, one of the founders of the Femen feminist protest movement, has been found dead in her Paris apartment, the group has said. The 31-year-old Ukrainian was found on Monday with a suicide note next to her body, according to Femen activists.” What we know: http://bit.ly/2A7ETae

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Fun fact:

  

What to watch in October:

Back story to the photo: CBS announced that former Secretaries of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton: FBI investigation into Kavanaugh could be done quickly Hillary Clinton urges Americans to 'check and reject' Trump's 'authoritarian tendencies' by voting in midterms EXCLUSIVE: Trump says exposing ‘corrupt’ FBI probe could be ‘crowning achievement’ of presidency MORE, Madeline Albright and Colin Powell will all appear on the next season of "Madame Secretary." It’s unclear what their roles will be. https://fxn.ws/2Og1tR9

  

ON TAP

The House and Senate are in. President Trump has meetings at the White House, and Vice President Pence is spending the day in Montana and North Dakota.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump meets with House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCorey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report GOP super PAC hits Randy Bryce with ad starring his brother Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSanders hits Feinstein over Kavanaugh allegations: Now it’s clear why she did nothing for months 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' McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal MORE (R-Ky.) in the Oval Office.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenInvestigation into FEMA head referred to prosecutors: report Gowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE.

1:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and then holds an expanded bilateral meeting.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House’s full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2jYhqPv

1:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves Billings, Mont., for Grand Forks, N.D.

2:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on amendments. The amendments and the Senate’s full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2A99pRg

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with members of Congress.

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence campaigns for Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerKavanaugh becomes September surprise for midterm candidates The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Overnight Health Care: Work rules set to slash Medicaid rolls | Health groups sue over non-ObamaCare plans | Study finds opioid abuse only down slightly in 2017 MORE (R-N.D.) in Grand Forks, N.D.

5:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

9:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Falling Trump approval worries GOP | Florence nears coast | Trump touts Puerto Rico response The Hill's 12:30 Report — East coast braces for Florence | Trump, Pence mark 9/11 anniversary The Hill's 12:30 Report — White House counsel to depart this fall MORE get back to Washington, D.C.

  

WHAT TO WATCH

12:15 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks about tax cuts at an event in Billings, Mont. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2LKkZDH

3 p.m. EDT: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Details and livestream: http://bit.ly/2LF9gK1 

5:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks to airmen at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2A9ER1z

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day. It’s also National Wine and Cheese Day

 

*Some* of these are making me hungry:

BuzzFeed posted a list of the weird fast food items you can only get in certain states. McDonald's lobster rolls? Hm. I’ll report back the next time I visit New Hampshire. The list: https://bzfd.it/2uPV7jl 

 

Opening Friday — I mean, this is very touristy, but I’m not above it:

Via Eater D.C., a new ice cream shop is opening near the White House and will feature U.S. presidents’ favorite ice cream flavors. For example: “Lincoln’s Salted Caramel Pretzel, Obama’s Strawberry Jubilee, and Nixon’s Cookie and Cream Crumble. President Donald Trump’s preferred variety? Chocolate chip cookie dough.” Duh, everyone knows Lincoln preferred salted caramel pretzel ice cream! ;) Details and address: http://bit.ly/2LNaeAm

 

And because you read this far, here’s a singing dog. I always knew it existed! http://bit.ly/2LPyToe