The Hill's 12:30 Report — Wild start to Kavanaugh hearing | Kyl to replace McCain in Senate | Excerpts from Woodward's new book

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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 - Former Sen. Jon Kyl to replace McCain | Wild start to Kavanaugh hearing | Dems interrupt to try and force adjournment | Cornyn blasts Dems for 'mob rule' | Protesters dress as 'handmaids' | Bob Woodward's new book paints troubling portrait of White House | Dems hold big leads in generic House ballots | What to watch with Congress back | BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE sings in Labor Day video



Calling this a circus would be insulting to circuses:

Democrats repeatedly interrupted the first day of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday, arguing the confirmation process should be delayed so they could review tens of thousands of documents related to Kavanaugh's long career in Washington. Amid jeers from protesters, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley extends deadline for Kavanaugh accuser to decide on testifying Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Kavanaugh accuser seeks additional day to decide on testimony MORE (R-Iowa) rejected the requests for an adjournment.

Why the chaos?: Hours before the hearing, former President George W. Bush's lawyer turned over 42,000 pages related to Judge Brett Kavanaugh's work in the Bush administration. Democrats argue there was no way to read and process these documents in time.

Livestream of the hearing -- it doesn't disappoint:


It's Tuesday -- welcome back!  We really have been fully thrown into September. 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.




Cornyn says the hearing is run by 'mob rule': Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (R-Texas) slammed Democrats on the Judiciary Committee for their decorum during the hearing. "This is the first confirmation hearing that I've seen basically according to mob rule. We have rules in the Senate. We have norms for decorum," Cornyn said. 

Kavanaugh calls Justice Anthony Kennedy a 'mentor' and 'friend': During Kavanaugh's opening statement, he praised retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who he is hoping to replace. From Kavanaugh's opening statement: "To me, Justice Kennedy is a mentor, a friend, and a hero. As a Member of the Court, he was a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the Judiciary. And he was a champion of liberty." 



Nine. Minutes. Into. The. Hearing.: "Police just removed 3 protesters from the back of the hearing room, one carried by her feet and hands."


If you're wondering how disruptive the protesters are: Here's video of the one of the arrests. This has been happening all morning. Keep in mind: The hearing doesn't stop for these disruptions, so it gets pretty loud. Watch:

Spotted in a front row seat at the hearing: Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Rosenstein: 'I never pursued' trying to record Trump Trump vows to get rid of 'stench' at DOJ, FBI MOREPhoto:

Getting traction -- there are handmaids lining the committee hearing room: Offred, is that you? Photo of the 'handmaids' protesting:

Bad news for anyone on Capitol Hill for the hearing: "Senate carry out is already out of coffee. Gonna be a long day." (From The Huffington Post's Igor Bobic)

Tidbit -- serving in the Supreme Court is good for your life expectancy: "Wanna live for a really long time? Become a Supreme Court justice. Since 1970, only one justice has died before their 80th birthday-- Scalia, who was 79." 

What the hearing invitation looks like: Here's a photo:

Live blog of updates:



How long will the confirmation hearing go?: Today's hearing is just opening statements. It is expected to last until around 2:15 p.m. 

Will the hearing continue after today?: Yes. Kavanaugh's questioning will happen tomorrow and Thursday, starting at 9:30 a.m. and lasting until the evening. Then, outside witnesses will testify on Friday.

^^ Uhh, actually, this hearing could go longer: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley extends deadline for Kavanaugh accuser to decide on testifying Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Kavanaugh accuser seeks additional day to decide on testimony MORE (R-Iowa) said the hearing could be extended. "We hopefully get that done Friday but if we have to go into Saturday and Sunday, we'll go Saturday and Sunday until we get it all done." 

Can Democrats block Kavanaugh's confirmation?: No, not on their own. Republicans have a 50-49 majority and nominations only need a simple majority. 

Why Democrats can't filibuster: Republicans nixed the filibuster last year to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

Five topics that will likely come up: Executive privilege, abortion, ObamaCare, civil rights and the Second Amendment. Context and details for each:



John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ MORE’s replacement is chosen:

Via The Arizona Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Maria Polletta, former Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) will return to Washington, D.C. to replace late-Sen. John McCain R-Ariz.) When this will be announced: 1 p.m. EDT by Arizona Gov. Doug Doucey
Reaction from McCain’s widow Cindy McCain: "John Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John's. It's a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona."

Keep in mind — the news cycle always comes full circle: Kyl is the "Sherpa" for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to help him through the confirmation process.



I'm not sure I've ever cringed more while reading an article: 

The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa detail some of the revelations from veteran journalist Bob Woodward's forthcoming tell-all of the Trump White House. The full piece:



John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE sounds like he's having SO MUCH fun: White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told colleagues he thought President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE was "unhinged," according to Woodward's book. "In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: 'He's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We're in Crazytown. I don't even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I've ever had.' " 

Wow, this is how an adviser tried to stop Trump's trade moves: To prevent President Trump from withdrawing from trade deals, his former top economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnPoll: Majority believes Woodward book and NY Times op-ed about Trump admin Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president On The Money: Trump announces new China tariffs | Wall Street salaries hit highest level since 2008 | GOP bets the House on the economy MORE stole a paper off the president's desk. 

Yikes, Trump called Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump vows to get rid of 'stench' at DOJ, FBI NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions House Judiciary on NY Times article: I intend to subpoena 'McCabe Memos' MORE 'mentally retarded': Trump told an aide that he thinks Attorney General Jeff Session was a "traitor" for his recusal in the Russia investigation. "Mocking Sessions's accent, Trump added, 'This guy is mentally retarded. He's this dumb Southerner. ... He couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.' " 

Aides compared Trump to Nixon: "Learning of the appointment of [special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE] in May 2017, Trump groused, 'Everybody's trying to get me'-- part of a venting period that shellshocked aides compared to Richard Nixon's final days as president." 

Trump wanted to assassinate Assad: According to Woodward, Trump called Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE after Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad attacked civilians with a chemical weapon and said, "Let's fucking kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the fucking lot of them." 

On condemning white supremacists after the Charlottesville rally: Trump said, "That was the biggest fucking mistake I've made." 

Read the full piece:  

WHEN WOODWARD'S BOOK WILL BE RELEASED: A week from today -- September 11, 2018. See the book on Amazon:

BY THE WAY, TRUMP CALLED WOODWARD: About a month ago, President Trump called Woodward and told him he wanted to participate in the book. The problem: The manuscript had already been completed. Here's the transcript of how that phone call between Trump and Woodward went down:



September really is the Monday morning of the year:

How House members look returning after August recess -->

How Senators look returning this morning -->

The House is returning today after the chamber's month-long August recess, while the Senate canceled recess and worked for much of the month.

The two major battles for Congress: Senators are bracing for a weeklong confirmation fight over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And lawmakers have 26 days to prevent a third (!) government shutdown of the year. 

What else is happening on Capitol Hill this week: The Senate is working on nominations, and the House is expected to vote on the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act on Tuesday. 

Context and details for each:



Yes, this is newsy:

President Trump hasn't tweeted all morning. His last tweet was at 6:20 p.m. yesterday. See for yourself:

^HAHA, A FEW MINUTES AFTER I WROTE THIS: He's baaaaack. Right before 11 a.m., the president broke his 17-hour silence and tweeted a threat to NBC's broadcasting license. His tweet: "NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under intense scrutiny over their killing the Harvey Weinstein story, is now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct. I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards-worse than even CNN. Look at their license?"


Pelosi's facial expression in this story's photo is spot on:

According to a new Washington Post–ABC News poll released this morning, Democrats have retaken a clear lead over Republicans in the race for the House. The numbers: Democrats have a 14-point advantage, 52 to 38 percent. This is 4-points higher than April. More from the poll:

BOOKMARK THIS PAGE: Morning Consult has a helpful midterm tracker. The graphics are interesting.



*Insert 'so he's running' jokes here*: 



Ahh hahaha -- former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Ohio) is having a jolly ol' time: 

Watch -- amazing:



The House and Senate meet later this afternoon. President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C.

11:15 a.m. EDT: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

1:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with CEOs from the United States Travel Association.

2 p.m. EDT: The House meets. Welcome back! The House's full schedule today:

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets. The Senate's full schedule today:

4:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a Trump nominee.

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House. 

Just announced -- Friday, September 14: Vice President Pence is headlining The Washington Post's summit on space. Details and full speaker list:



Today: Day 1 of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. Livestream:



Today is National Macadamia Nut Day.


Sign. Me. Up.: 

Via Washingtonian's Jessica Sidman, a BYOB paddleboat bar is opening on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Photos and details:


And because you made it through the morning slog, here's a little boy and a duck who are the best of friends: