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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: Trump calls on Sessions to end Russia probe 'right now' | Asks who was treated worse: Manafort or Al Capone? | Dems see Russia behind new Facebook influence operation | Sanders, Warren question if Dem primary is big enough for both of them | Ryan discovers Jewish roots | Comey sees 'Hamilton' | Baseball reporter's hilarious typo

  

LATEST WITH THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

This morning -- why send an email when you can get thousands of retweets?:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE called for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Support for legal marijuana hits all-time high: Gallup Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE to stop the Russia investigation, calling it a "Rigged Witch Hunt." He tweeted: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA." http://bit.ly/2n0Fwcf

 

The FBI and DOJ are definitely on the president's hit list:

President Trump slammed the Department of Justice and the FBI for not warning his presidential campaign that Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFormer Trump lawyer: Mueller probe is not a witch hunt Manafort appears in wheelchair at court hearing Manafort to be sentenced in Virginia in February MORE was under investigation at the time. He tweeted: "Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion -- a Hoax!" http://bit.ly/2M9jCyC

LATE THIS MORNING -- TRUMP THEN ADDED: The president tweeted, "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and "Public Enemy Number One," or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?" http://bit.ly/2KiLsGP

 

MEANWHILE AT THE MANAFORT TRIAL:

Read the opening statements: https://to.pbs.org/2NYWqDM

How the prosecution started: During the opening statement, prosecutor Uzo Asonye said, "All of these charges boil down to one simple issue: that Paul Manafort lied. Manafort placed himself and his money over the law."

How the defense is fighting back: Defense attorneys for Manafort are claiming that the real culprit behind the alleged fraud is his longtime business partner Richard Gates. During the opening statement, defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said, "Gates had his hand in the cookie jar," accusing him of embezzlement. While Manafort was out of town, he put Gates in charge and Gates took advantage, "lining his own pockets," Zehnle alleged. http://bit.ly/2v6F2pt

 

It's officially August -- happy Wednesday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and outdoor happy hour ideas to cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

NEWS THIS MORNING

Happening now -- Apple is extremely close to being the first $1 trillion company:

When Apple's stock price hits $203 a share, the market value of the company will officially hit $1 trillion. How close are we?: Late this morning, Apple's stocks were trading over $201 a share. Details: https://cnnmon.ie/2KhN9El

Watch Apple's stock: https://yhoo.it/2LKbDfd

 

Mazel! -- I feel like this ALWAYS happens on ancestry shows: 

Via The Associated Press, in an upcoming segment on PBS's "Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.," House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout Will the Federal Reserve make a mistake by shifting to inflation? Sanders: Democrats ‘absolutely’ have chance to win back rural America  MORE (R-Wis.) uncovers that he is 3 percent Jewish. From host Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Ryan's reaction: "You could have knocked him over with a feather and then he was very proud of it." http://bit.ly/2OBMGQK

Reaction from Ryan: 

Watch the full gif — it's pretty funny:  http://bit.ly/2LK7pV2

 

Trending -- Watch out if you've been shopping at Trader Joe's or Kroger:

Via Time, some salads and wraps sold at Trader Joe's, Kroger, Gordon Food Service and Walgreens may have been contaminated. What to avoid: "Certain beef, pork and poultry salads and wraps" sold at those stores. The contamination: "Cyclospora, a parasite that can cause gastrointestinal illness." Details: https://ti.me/2OvIv9c

 

One committee passes the family separations torch to another:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, the Senate Judiciary Committee has stalled on negotiations to fix family separations on the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will try to hash out the issue. Happening today: GOP Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator seeking information on FBI dealings with Bruce Ohr, former DOJ lawyer Election Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms Senate Homeland chair vents Mueller probe is preventing panel from receiving oversight answers MORE (Wis.) is convening committee members to negotiate. http://bit.ly/2O39yYC

  

IN OTHER NEWS

Follow-up to yesterday's breaking news -- yes, Putin, we're looking at you: 

Democrats suspect Russia is behind a new campaign to influence November's midterm elections. Well, is it Russia?: Facebook hasn't been definitive about who is to blame, but Democrats immediately accused Russia. http://bit.ly/2LQTATN

SEN. KING IS ALSO PRETTY CONFIDENT: Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel People have forgotten 'facade' of independent politicians, says GOP strategist Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight MORE (I-Vt.) said he is "reasonably confident" Russia is behind the influence attempt. http://bit.ly/2AvRog5

BACK STORY: Yesterday, Facebook revealed it removed 32 pages and accounts of a coordinated campaign to influence the 2018 midterm elections. The initial report: https://nyti.ms/2vrdJFI

 

This town ain't big enough for the both of us:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHarris presses young people to vote early in Iowa trip Dems lower expectations for 'blue wave' Election Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren wants probe into whether former U.S. soldiers worked as assassins for UAE 'Broad City' stars urge Clinton not to run again Big Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches MORE (D-Mass.) are both debating running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, but some Democrats say that only one of them should run. How the Sanders-Warren rivalry is growing: http://bit.ly/2LRug00

 

Oops -- 'Massachusetts may have just accidentally banned horse racing': 

Via WGBH, "State law authorizing live and simulcast horse racing expired July 31st, the last day of lawmaker's formal sessions for the year. A bill that would have extended racing's legality into 2019 seems to have been lost in the shuffle at the end of the session and wasn't enacted before lawmakers broke from significant legislative work for the rest of the year." Why this is especially awkward: "The Plainridge Casino has a race set for Thursday and Suffolk Downs races on Saturday." http://bit.ly/2LVCtQK

 

Alexander Hamilton!:

Former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Former FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016 Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE attended the Broadway hit "Hamilton" in Washington, D.C. Photo of Comey with the cast: http://bit.ly/2M84aCM

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Interesting graphic:

Full size graphic: http://bit.ly/2O2wEi0

Other similar Bloomberg graphics and details: https://bloom.bg/2vlroOG

 

Wooow, this Twitter thread:

  

ON TAP:

The Senate is in. The House is out because ... August. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence is in Hawaii.

11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD official quits amid Interior Department watchdog controversy Inspector general: Zinke used taxpayer-funded travel for his wife Overnight Energy: Inspector general finds Zinke used taxpayer-funded travel for family | Interior says Trump appointee won't be new watchdog | EPA chief says agency taking climate report 'very seriously' MORE

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with inner city pastors.

2:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Republican senators.

Thursday–Sunday: Lollapalooza. Details: http://bit.ly/2vacSde

  

WHAT TO WATCH

1 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2AyfkQ4

Keep in mind: "There have been 3 [press briefings] in July equaling a total of 58 minutes." (h/t CNN's Allie Malloy) http://bit.ly/2O24rYB

7:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence delivers remarks at an Honorable Carry Ceremony for the remains of American service members who died in the Korean War. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2n2gbia

   

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day.

 

I wish you could see how big my eye roll is through the screen:

Via The Wall Street Journal's Sarah E. Needleman, parents are hiring coaches to help their kids in the popular video game Fortnite. https://on.wsj.com/2Oydvp6

Lol, well said: Needleman tweeted, "Dugout dads, meet videogame parents." http://bit.ly/2Kh83DK

 

Damn you, autocorrect!:

An ESPN reporter has been mercilessly mocked for a typo that explained an MLB game delay. He tweeted: "@Rangers and @Dbacks delayed in downtown Phoenix because a baboon went through town and overloaded the grid, knocking some lights out." What he meant: Haboob (a type of dust storm). The internet had a lot of fun with this: http://bit.ly/2LZq3Yp

FOR EXAMPLE -- WELL DONE, EVERYONE:

 

And to break up your Wednesday afternoon, here's a Pomeranian who looks like a legitimate pet bear: https://bzfd.it/2v9ZKEW