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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: Rosenstein impeachment push divides GOP | Jordan to announce bid for Speaker | Trump, Cohen feud gets personal | More than 100 Cohen tapes reportedly seized | Trump avoids media due to 'bad weather' despite clear skies | Deadline today to reunite migrant families | Disney gets rid of plastic straws



Trump has 99 problems -- and one more:

​​Via The Washington Post's Philip Rucker, Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Ashley Parker, the government has seized more than 100 Trump-related tapes. Including: Conversations with 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 and discussions with people about Trump and his businesses. How Cohen recorded the conversations: "Cohen appeared to make some recordings with an iPhone -- without telling anyone he was taping them." Are there full discussions with Trump?: Not really. Little snippets of conversations, but yesterday's big audio release is the only full conversation between Cohen and Trump.



It's Thursday -- the sun has finally emerged! 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.



The 'I' word is the ultimate threat:

Via The Hill's Olivia Beavers, conservative Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsGraham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests Graham: Obama, not Trump, politicized DOJ and FBI MORE (R-N.C.), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRussia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly Jordan says FBI used 'crushing power of the state' to probe Trump campaign based on dossier MORE (R-Ohio) and nine co-sponsors have introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE

WHAT THE IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES ALLEGE: "They charge that Rosenstein has a conflict of interest in [special counsel Robert Mueller's] probe, stating that he is a 'witness' who could be called to testify in the ongoing investigation into potential surveillance abuse since he signed off on an FBI surveillance renewal application to wiretap Carter Page, a former adviser to the Trump campaign."


Breaking from 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: Come onnnn:

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rejected the conservative push to impeach Rosenstein. From Ryan: "I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or this term," he said, referring to impeachment. "I don't think this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors."

REACTIONS FROM OTHER HOUSE REPUBLICANS: Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn 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' Scalise tells Canada: Make a deal on trade or be left behind GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave MORE (R-La.) said he would vote in favor of impeachment; Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE(R-Calif.) would not say how he would vote. 

REACTION FROM DEMOCRATS: Statement from Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe 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 Trump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe MORE (D-Calif.): "It is a panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates."


More news from Jim Jordan this morning:

This afternoon Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will announce his run for House Speaker. Is this surprising?: Nah, Jordan has been floated as a possible replacement since Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced his upcoming retirement. Who else is interested in the speakership: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

WHY IT'S NOT GREAT TIMING: "In recent weeks, Jordan's bid for Speaker has been hampered by allegations from former wrestlers at Ohio State University (OSU) claiming that Jordan turned a blind eye to reports of sexual abuse when he coached at the university."


Some pretty funny quotes:

The Hill's Scott Wong and Melanie Zanona have an interesting piece about 10 dark horse candidates for speaker of the House.

MY TWO FAVORITE QUOTES: Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopLand and Water Conservation Fund is good for business Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Looking to the historic leasing program to alleviate the maintenance backlog in national parks MORE (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee: "If I were running, the country would have to be in really, really bad shape," Bishop, who is known for his dry sense of humor, joked. He did acknowledge that some Republicans have tried to recruit him.

Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse GOP bill a mixed bag for retirement savers China imposes new tariffs on billion of US goods: report Trump announces tariffs on 0B in Chinese goods MORE, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee: "Just as The Hill asked whether Brady could be convinced to run for Speaker by his colleagues, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), as if on cue, interrupted the interview to heap praise on Brady. 'He is the most brilliant man,' Meadows said as he walked by, prompting a laugh from Brady. 'If I had his intelligence and his looks, I'd be somebody.' " 

The full list of dark horse candidates for speaker:



We'll be telling our grandchildren about plastic straws and they will have no idea what we're talking about:

The Walt Disney Company is eliminating plastic straws and single-use stirrers from all of its locations. Timing: By mid-2019.

TIDBIT -- SAY WHAAAT?: Santa Barbara passed an ordinance allowing big fines -- and possibly even jail time -- for violating the city's plastic straw ban.


Happening today -- it's the migrant children reunification deadline: 

Via The Texas Tribune, a federal judge ordered that all children who were separated from their families on the U.S.-Mexico border must be reunified by today.

THE SITUATION: Children who have been reunified: "538 more parents have been cleared to be reunified with their children, meaning reunification is likely. All told, that's significant progress since the government's last update on Friday, when just 450 reunifications for the age group had taken place."

The current situation for children who haven't been reunified: "Still, the circumstances remain murky for more than 1,000 other parents. There are 217 parents squarely in the 'maybe' category because they have already been released into the United States, making them more difficult for government officials to locate." 

TODAY IN WASHINGTON: The "I am a child" march in Washington, D.C. Livestream:


We're excited, but let's not jinx anything:

Via The Hill's Reid Wilson and Lisa Hagen, "Almost 100 days before November's midterm elections, Democrats and Republicans are certain of one thing: An energized electorate across the country is poised to lead to a surge in turnout at the polls. But in a dynamic news atmosphere and with billions of dollars in candidate and outside spending yet to be spent, both parties are nervous about their own prospects, almost fearful of what is still to come." How each party is expecting this to play out:


Today in awkward mishaps:

One of Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Arming teachers: Bad for students, bad for spending DeVos decries lack of free speech on campuses, says US has 'abandoned truth' MORE's yachts became untied from a dock in Ohio and drifted into another dock, causing $5,000-10,000 in damage. Now what: Investigators are hoping surveillance footage will show who untied the boat. Details:



This is pretty interesting -- here's a detailed map of the 2016 electorate:

The full graphic:




Agreed, Leigh. AGREED.:

Ugh, why?: Video of the mayo ice cream:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is spending the day in Iowa and Illinois. Vice President Pence is spending the day in West Virginia. 

11:35 a.m. EDT: President Trump arrived in Peosta, Iowa. 

How Trump ducked the media this morning by claiming bad weather (the skies in D.C. are bright blue, by the way):

1:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Wheeling, W.Va.

3:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours Granite City Works -- Hot Strip Mill in Granite City, Ill.

5:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in an National Republican Senatorial Committee event in West Virginia. He then heads back to Washington, D.C.

7:05 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.



10 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable in Peosta, Iowa. He then heads to Granite City, Ill. Livestream:

3:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks about tax cuts at an event in Wheeling, W.Va. Livestream:

3:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks on trade in Granite City, Ill. Livestream:

4:10 p.m. EDT: 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 holding a news conference on religious freedom. Livestream:



Today is National Chili Dog Day. It's also National Coffee Milkshake Day.


Too. Far.:

Via NBC's Maggie Fox, "A mind-controlling parasite found in cat feces may give people the courage they need to become entrepreneurs, researchers reported Tuesday. They found that people who have been infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite are more likely to major in business and to have started their own businesses than non-infected people."


And because you made it to the end, here's a fully-grown golden retriever who is too scared to take the escalator. His owner's reaction is pretty great: