The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says Dems inflated Puerto Rico death toll | House cancels Friday votes | Florence starts to hit coast

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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 says Dems inflated Puerto Rico death toll | House cancels Friday votes as Florence starts to hit coast | Kavanaugh vote delayed one week | Left's hardball tactics on Kavanaugh threaten to backfire | House, Senate get deal on second package of spending bills | Trump finds ally in Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE | What to watch in NY primary



Ready or not, Florence is coming:

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall tonight or tomorrow as a large Category 2 hurricane. The latest forecast from The Weather Channel: https://wxch.nl/2xdCoyE

Where Florence is now: "As of Thursday morning, Florence's eye was located about 170 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, moving northwestward." https://wxch.nl/2xdCoyE

Parts of Florence have already hit the Carolinas: The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have landed on the North Carolina coast. https://wapo.st/2p4eP7z

The infuriating part -- why some people have chosen not to evacuate: CNN has been interviewing residents who have decided to ride out the storm. Here are the reasons: https://cnn.it/2MrCbgS

Anheuser-Busch is canning emergency water: Anheuser-Busch has halted beer production in Georgia and sent 300,000 cans of water to Hurricane Florence victims. https://fxn.ws/2OoHxLm

This is pretty cool -- here's a video from space, getting closer and closer to the hurricane: It looks massive from this angle. http://bit.ly/2Nb2U6n

Tidbit about a local news outlet covering the storm: The last time a major hurricane hit North Carolina, the Raleigh News & Observer had 250 people in the newsroom covering the storm -- and the paper was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news. But this time, there are just 65 journalists. What this means for coverage: https://wapo.st/2NGTyyN

Livestream of the beach in Kitty Hawk, N.C.: http://bit.ly/2Mrmzdl

Video of Jennette's Pier in the Outer Banks: From this morning at 7:30 a.m. http://bit.ly/2NaoQyM 

Full size photos: http://bit.ly/2CNZgdY



The gist: It won't really affect D.C. Via the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, the storm is expected to skirt the DMV, leaving us with a warm, humid weekend with some showers. Remnants from Florence could arrive early next week, though. The full D.C. forecast: https://wapo.st/2x6pPpI

NEW -- House votes canceled for tomorrow: Friday votes in the House have been canceled. The last votes are at 4 p.m. today. http://bit.ly/2N9ZbpD


It's Thursday. 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 cmartel@thehill.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.



Just announced -- we have a Brett Kavanaugh vote date: 

The Senate Judiciary Committee has decided to postpone the committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's nomination until Sept. 20 at 1:45 p.m. Is this surprising?: Not at all. Any one member can move to postpone the vote. http://bit.ly/2p5fOV5

HOW THE KAVANAUGH FIGHT COULD BLOW UP IN DEMS' FACES: Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Hardball tactics are threatening to backfire on the left in the final weeks of the high-stakes fight over Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination. GOP senators blasted Democrats and their liberal supporters on Wednesday over what Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke gives 'a definitive no' to possibility of running in 2020 Vicente Fox endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE (R-Texas) called a 'harassment campaign' against Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who a day earlier revealed a staffer in her office had been threatened with rape by people calling to oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation." Yikes. Other threats to Collins: http://bit.ly/2N6o1XD


Nothing like hashing out a previous natural disaster while waiting for an impending natural disaster:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE accused Democrats of inflating Hurricane Maria's death toll in Puerto Rico "to make me look bad." http://bit.ly/2xb6IK1

He tweeted: "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000." http://bit.ly/2MsCvfc

And 10 minutes late -- this was a long 10 minutes knowing the rest of this thought was coming:  President Trump added, "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!" http://bit.ly/2Qpg2CV

Where the data came from: "2,975 was the number of excess deaths estimated by an independent team of researchers from [George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health] after reviewing government death certificate data." http://bit.ly/2p3GmWP

REACTION FROM SAN JUAN MAJOR CARMEN YULÍN CRUZ: She tweeted, "This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!" Full reaction: http://bit.ly/2MtdAIj

THE NEW YORK TIMES'S MAGGIE HABERMAN WEIGHED IN: "People who have died from 9/11-related illnesses working on the pile died because of the event. Puerto Rico not the first time in history that event-related deaths have been characterized this way." http://bit.ly/2N8LSGi


Shutdowns are more of December thing anyway: 

Via The Hill's Niv Elis, "the House and Senate have reached an agreement on their second package of spending bills and have included a continuing resolution for several other bills in the package to keep those agencies funded through December 7." http://bit.ly/2x8FMeI


Speaking of FEMA...:

Via Politico's Daniel Lippman and Eliana Johnson, "[Federal Emergency Management Agency] administrator Brock Long is the target of an ongoing Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigation into whether he misused government vehicles during his commutes to North Carolina from Washington, according to three people familiar with the matter, including current and former administration officials." https://politi.co/2x6QbYD



The fairly odd couple:

Via the Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has defended President Trump on some of his most controversial moves, going against the prevailing sentiment of the libertarian movement with which he and his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), have long been identified." How Paul is turning into one of Trump's allies: http://bit.ly/2CQlmwE


Happening today -- Politex and the City: 

Votes in New York will decide whether incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) or "Sex and the City" star and liberal activist Cynthia Nixon will win the Democratic nomination for governor. 


  1. Will Andrew Cuomo win, and if so by how much? On paper he doesn't seem to be in political jeopardy.
  2. Can progressives get another victory? Cuomo has a major advantage, but Nixon is hoping to ride out the progressive wave this cycle.
  3. Will Cynthia Nixon's celebrity status help or hurt?
  4. Four women are vying for the Democratic attorney general nomination -- a woman has never been elected New York AG.
  5. If a Democrat wins the attorney general's race in November, it could spell trouble for President Trump in his home state.

Context and details for each: http://bit.ly/2NcZVdK


People are going to have THOUGHTS about this: 

Via The Atlantic's Taylor Lorenz, some students are starting to protest having to give in-class presentations, calling them discriminatory to those with anxiety. Full story: http://bit.ly/2x80pb4



Tidbit from the White House: 



The House is in. The Senate is out. 

President Trump has no public events on his schedule today.

Vice President Pence also has no public events on his schedule today.

1 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House.

4 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

6 p.m. EDT: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaks at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Details: http://bit.ly/2ND8le2



This morning: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Council on Foreign Relations. The topic: Global efforts to battle extremism. Livestream: https://on.cfr.org/2NGWsUd

12:30 p.m. EDT: The House Foreign Affairs Committee discusses a request for the White House to turn over documents in the meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir PutinLivestream: https://cs.pn/2QlsSCl



Today is National Peanut Day.


I didn't see this coming:

Via The Washington Post's Robin Givhan, "Prairie dresses -- yes, prairie dresses -- are the most provocative thing in fashion right now." How so: https://wapo.st/2xfXKML


And to lighten the mood for the impending storm, here's a cockatiel playing peek-a-boo in a newspaper. Ahh hahaha it's voice!: http://bit.ly/2OfsZ0E