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 - Facebook finds evidence of campaign to influence midterms | Kelly reportedly staying through 2020 | Manafort trial begins | Official likens detention centers to 'summer camp' | Trump makes midterms all about him | Trump 'looking into' 3D plastic guns | US embassies' yard sale | Stolen baby shark found alive | How an ESPN analyst fueled Bryce Harper trade rumors | Where to get free guac on National Avocado Day



This feels like an appropriate time to remind you that Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's doppelganger is 'Law and Order's' Jack McCoy: 

Special counsel Robert Mueller, aka, 'Law & Order's' Jack McCoy / Credit: Getty

Via USA Today, "Jury selection begins Tuesday in former Trump campaign chief 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 MORE's trial. He is facing 18 counts of bank fraud and tax evasion charges in Virginia and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted."

Livestream outside the courthouse:

How Manafort is pleading: Not guilty to all charges.

Photo of protesters outside the Alexandria, Va., courthouse:

New -- a judge rejected Manafort's appeal to be released: A D.C. appeals court ruled that Paul Manafort must remain in jail ahead of his trial in D.C. When is this separate trial?: September.

Ouch: "The Paul Manafort photo on Wikipedia is his prison mugshot." Screenshot:

Interesting context about the trial: "From a conversation I had with a friend a short time ago, if the June 7th prep meeting did happen, it's actually more important than the collusion meeting on June 9th itself, especially for Jared and Manafort. It's the difference between heat of passion murder and premeditation." (From Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall) Full series of tweets:


It's Tuesday. 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



Breaking -- 2018 is the new 2016:

Via The New York Times's Nicholas Fandos and Kevin Roose, "Facebook is preparing to announce that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity ahead of November's midterm elections, according to three people briefed on the matter." Details:


Also breaking -- John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE agrees to stay: 

Via The Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus, Byron Tau and Peter Nicholas, "White House chief of staff John Kelly told staff on Monday 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 had asked him to remain in his post through the 2020 election, White House officials said, a request that comes as tensions between the two men have eased in recent months." How Kelly responded: Kelly agreed to stay. Keep in mind: Monday was Kelly's one-year anniversary in the job.


Attention, MoviePass subscribers:

The movie theater subscription service MoviePass is increasing its monthly subscription from $9.95 per month to $14.95 per month. Another change to the service: Customers are unable to use the service to see movies in their first two weeks in theaters. What sparked this: The service ran out of money last week, which caused the app to shut down on July 27.


You know how legal collusion is? THE MOST LEGAL: 

Criticizing the special counsel investigation this morning, President Trump echoed his lawyer Rudy Giuliani's claim -- that collusion is not a crime. Trump tweeted: "Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn't matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!"


I bet you can also download a sick water balloon gun:

This morning, President Trump said he is looking into 3D-printed plastic guns and that he has spoken to the National Rifle Association about it. He tweeted: "I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!"

BACK STORY: Yesterday, eight states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration for allowing the distribution of 3D-printed guns.

KEEP IN MIND: Via the BBC, thousands have already downloaded the blueprints to create 3D-printed guns even before the designs were made public. When designs will actually be made public: Wednesday.

JUST NOW -- STATEMENT FROM LEADER PELOSI: House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Pelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor MORE (D-Calif.) released this statement. "This decision is a death warrant for countless innocent men, women and children. For the sake of all our safety and lives, it must be reversed immediately."


Oh this quote should go over well:

During a congressional hearing this morning, a top U.S. immigration compared family detention centers to summer camps. Who: Matt Albence, an executive associate director at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. How this came up: Albence was pushing back at claims that immigrants have suffered abuse. In Albence’s words: "With regard to the [family detention centers], I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp.” Services he referenced: Education, basketball courts, exercise classes, soccer fields, and health care.



If you like your right fielder, you can keep him:

The MLB trade deadline is at 4 p.m. today and there are rumors that Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper could be headed to another team. Here are the latest rumors from Sports Illustrated:

TIDBIT -- THIS WAS NOT A GOOD SIGN IF YOU'RE A NATS FAN: "Welp, [ESPN's Buster Olney] just said if he had to bet the family farm in Vermont, he'd bet that Bryce Harper is on another team by the end of the day." (Tweet from NBC's Mike Memoli)

BUT THEN LATER IN THE MORNING -- BUSTER MAY LOSE HIS FAMILY FARM: ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted, "Heard the same as [The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes] heard first: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says Bryce Harper will not be traded today."


You guys, the U.S. government is actually having a yard sale...:

Via The Guardian's Emine Saner, U.S. embassies are auctioning off products they no longer need, with proceeds going to the U.S. Treasury. For example: 1,200 rolls of toilet paper, a circular saw, five broken vacuum cleaners and a Volvo.

See the actual auction -- it's worth checking out:


SoOo, what happens if the government shuts down again in October...?: 

Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Juliegrace Brufke, "President Trump's surprise move to threaten a government shutdown if Congress fails to fund his border wall shows he is embracing the hard-line messaging of the House Freedom Caucus and not the more careful approach of GOP leaders ahead of the midterm elections." If there is a shutdown: "It's possible Republican majorities in both chambers could pay a heavy price, which is why GOP leaders have sought to tamp down any talk of a government closure." How this could play out:


HM, SO WHAT IS IT?: Via The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Kristina PetersonPresident Trump has privately agreed to delay the border wall fight until after the November midterms, despite his public threats.



A familiar duo at Dog Tag Bakery in:

Former President Obama and former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: Presume the 'essence' of sexual assault accusations are 'real' Sanders, Warren ask whether there’s room for both in primary Kavanaugh hires attorney amid sexual assault allegations: report MORE had lunch at Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown yesterday. Video of Obama and Biden ordering:


At the Citi Taste of Tennis last night:

Citi held a Taste of Tennis event at the Hamilton Live stage last night to celebrate the start of the Citi Open tennis tournament in the nation's capital. Spotted: U.S. tennis pro and Maryland native Frances Tiafoe, celebrity chef Edward Lee, WJLA news anchor Nancy ChenManny Ortiz of Vantage Knight and Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein. (h/t The Hill's Bob Cusack



The senator's throwing some "Sasse":


*Confused head tilt*: 

Reaction from House 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.): "This attack on @FLOTUS is disgraceful. Comments like these have no business on any platform. This account should be banned ASAP." McCarthy also tagged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in the tweet. 



Full size photo:



The Senate is in. The House is out for August recess. 

12:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate has a vote on extending the National Flood Insurance Program. Senators then break for weekly caucus luncheons. The Senate's full schedule today:

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence and 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.

2:15 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 leave Washington, D.C., en route to New York City.

2:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate holds a confirmation vote.

3:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Tampa, Fla.

5:35 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and Karen Pence leave New York for Honolulu.

11 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives at the White House.

Just announced -- Sep. 11: Veteran journalist Bob Woodward releases a new book on the Trump White House. Keep in mind: This is just a few weeks before the midterms.



4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Summit in New York. Livestream:

6:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump gives a speech on workforce development at Tampa Bay Technical High School. He also signs the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Livestream:

7 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla. Livestream:



Today is National Avocado Day! 

Big day: Chipotle is giving out free guacamole today to celebrate. How to get it: Order online using the code "AVOCADO."


How does one even? But they? In a?:

Via KSAT News, three people stole a shark at the San Antonio Aquarium by disguising it as a baby in a stroller. From the police chief: "When we first got the call, we thought it was kind of a hoax being that it was Shark Week last week. But it turns out someone actually went inside the aquarium there in Leon Valley and stole a horn shark." Watch the surveillance footage of the heist -- it starts at the 49-second mark:

UPDATE -- MISS HELEN HAS BEEN RETURNED: The shark, named Miss Helen, has been found alive and unharmed. A suspect confessed and charges are expected for the other two suspects.


And because you made it this far, here's how a golden retriever puppy wakes up its favorite human every day: