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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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 PompeoLatest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong 63 killed in blast at Afghan wedding as Taliban, US negotiate troop withdrawal Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan 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 DentThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps The Hill's 12:30 Report: Muller testimony dominates Washington Lawmakers, press hit the courts for charity tennis event MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RooneyThomas (Tom) Joseph RooneyHouse Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Hill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons MORE (R-Fla.), Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanDemocrats see window closing for impeachment Appetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps 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 GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan 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 ClintonLewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate Progressive Democrats' turnout plans simply don't add up 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 RyanEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Ex-Parkland students criticize Kellyanne Conway Latina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report 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 NielsenTrump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Trump taps Texas Rep. Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as top intelligence official 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 CramerEPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects GOP senator held up Trump aide's confirmation to get info on border wall contracts Overnight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault 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 PencePence on battling critics: 'Spend more time on your knees than on the internet' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta resigns amid controversy over Epstein plea deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives 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