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: High stakes for Trump on election day | What to watch in Ohio special election, other primaries | Day 2 of Gates testimony against Manafort | Former associate says he helped Manafort commit crimes | Ryan says he helped avoid tragedies under Trump | LSAT prep book removes anti-Trump questions | Broadway stars protest outside White House | Uber for the Amish



I guess the secret handshake doesn't trump a federal trial: 

Richard Gates, the longtime business associate of former Trump campaign chairman 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, testified as a witness for the prosecution in court. The biggest news: Gates testified that he helped Manafort file fraudulent tax returns and conceal overseas accounts.

The gist of the prosecution's case: "Manafort concealed millions of dollars from the IRS for work he did as a political consultant and lobbyist for pro-Russia officials in the Ukraine. They say he hid his income in overseas accounts in order to maintain a life of luxury."

Why Gates testified for the prosecution: He pleaded guilty and made a deal with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE. His prison time would be shortened if he testifies truthfully under oath. Keep in mind: Gates also testified that he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort. This will be key for Manafort's defense, which will seek to paint Gates and his testimony as untrustworthy.

What to expect from the defense: "The defense is likely to hammer Gates on the stolen funds when the trial resumes Tuesday morning. Prosecutor Greg Andres told Judge T.S. Ellis he expects to question Gates for another three hours. The defense will then have the opportunity to cross-examine."

Live blog with the latest trial updates:


It's an August recess 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 and on Facebook.



Primary day!:

Via The Hill's Max Greenwood and Lisa Hagen, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington are holding primary elections today. Oh and: Today is the special election in Ohio.


  1. Will 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' MOREpull out a win in Ohio?
  2. Can Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren joins Sanders in support of striking McDonald's workers Kavanaugh allegations could be monster storm brewing for midterm elections      Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE (I-Vt.) and up-and-coming star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez be Democratic kingmakers?
  3. Can progressive candidates prevail in red states?
  4. Is 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.) still an effective target for the GOP?
  5. Will there be more evidence that this is the year of the woman?

Context and details for each:




Fox News correspondent Conor Powell announced that he is resigning from the networks after nine years.

Why: Powell said that people who know him know the reason why, but a source told The Wrap that he was "uncomfortable with the direction of the news organization in recent months. Fewer news shows. More opinion shows. Less resources for reporters to report."

Powell said in a post: "After nearly 9 years I have decided to resign from Fox News. Those of you who have spoken to me in recent months, you will understand why I am leaving [Fox News Channel]. To my many friends at the channel I wish you the best of luck. If anyone knows of any jobs in media and journalism please contact me. Atia, Arian and I will be back in the USA in the coming days."


I'm shocked this even made it through tbh:

Via The College Fix, an LSAT prep book publisher is removing questions that refer to President Trump as "unfit" and "racist" -- and suggests Trump "manipulated" the tax system. The full question -- I'm sure you're as curious as I was:



Whenever there's a new Mark Leibovich profile, you know everyone will be tweeting about it:

In The New York Times Magazine, Mark Leibovich wrote a feature about 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's (R-Wis.) exit from Congress.


Trump's nickname for Ryan wasn't a compliment: "Trump used to call Ryan 'Boy Scout.' 'I thought it was a compliment,' said Ryan, a former altar boy and habitual people-pleaser. But after the Republican-controlled Congress passed a few bills Trump announced to Ryan that he would stop using the nickname. 'So I guess he meant it as an insult all along,' the speaker said. 'I didn't realize.' Ryan shrugged." 

Paul Ryan, tragedy preventer -- I'm very intrigued by this: "Ryan prefers to tell Trump how he feels in private. ... the 'Trust me, I've stopped this from being much worse' approach. 'I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy,' Ryan tells me. 'I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal.' I locked in on the word 'tragedy.' It sets the mind reeling to whatever thwarted 'tragedies' Ryan might be talking about. I asked for an example. 'No, I don't want to do that,' Ryan replied. 'That's more than I usually say.' "

What happened to Ryan's infamous P90X workouts?: Leibovich writes that Ryan begins his day with a yoga and spin class. 

Ouch -- when you put it that way...: Leibovich writes, "It has to be deflating, on some level, to spend years fashioning yourself as one of the Republican Party's thought leaders, only to see your position routed by a troll with a killer Twitter following."

The full feature -- it's an interesting read:



Do you hear the protesters sing? Singing the songs of angry men:

Comedian Rosie O'Donnell led a group of Broadway performers in a protest outside the White House. Songs the Broadway group sang: "America the Beautiful," "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from "Les Miserables," "Let The Sun Shine In" from "Hair" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from "The Sound of Music."

Livestream of the musical protest:

To set the scene for you a bit: 



Lol, this tweet got a lot of traction:





The House and Senate are out. 

President Trump is at his golf club in New Jersey. 

Keep in mind: Via MSNBC's Kyle Griffin: "This is Trump's 183rd day at a Trump property as president and his 140th day at a Trump golf club as president."

Vice President Pence has no public events on his calendar.

7:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has dinner with business leaders at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Just announced -- Wednesday: Vice President Pence travels to Duluth, Minn., followed by a visit to Grand Rapids, Mich.

[Insert the Duluth Trading Company commercial voice

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Noon Thursday: Former clerks of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, talk about their time working with him during a Heritage Foundation event. Details and livestream:



Today is National Raspberries and Cream Day. And as a heads up, tomorrow is International Beer Day!


'The Amish now have their own Uber' -- *click*:

Via CNN, "Tim Hochstedler heard about Uber's success, but realized it didn't operate in his town in southern Michigan. So he got out his horse and buggy and put up a sign." Watch:


Call the royal family PR crisis team:

Via Time's Melissa Locker, "Perfect royal couple status nearly compromised by gaping hole in Prince Harry's fancy shoe." Pic or it didn't happen:


And because you made it this far, here's a bird who slowly realizes its passion for drumming. The process is hilarious: