The Hill's 12:30 Report — Manafort pleads guilty | Deal involves 'cooperation agreement' | Florence makes landfall

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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: Manafort pleads guilty to federal charges | Plea deal includes 'cooperation agreement' | WH says deal has 'nothing' to do with Trump | Florence makes landfall | 200 rescued from flooded NC town | Women candidates setting records | How Booker is dealing with his 'Spartacus moment'



Even though a second trial sounds like a blast: 


President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Mueller probe figures use fame to pay bills Mueller subpoenas former Cambridge Analytica employee MORE is pleading guilty to two federal charges and has reached a "cooperation agreement" in his plea deal.

The charges he's pleading guilty to: One count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering.  

Why a plea deal now?: Manafort will avoid a second, likely explosive trial later this month.

FROM THE JUDGE -- WHAT THE AGREEMENT INVOLVES: Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Paul Manafort has agreed to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with the special counsel investigation. What the judge says that will include: Interviews with the special counsel and providing relevant documents.

REACTION FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly responded, "This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 presidential campaign," Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Friday, first reported by ABC News. "It is totally unrelated."



It's finally Friday.  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.



Go home, Florence:

As of this morning, more than 200 people have already been rescued and at least 150 people are still waiting to be rescued in New Bern, N.C., where a significant storm surge has flooded the area. Details and video of the rescues:

Video of the storm surge overnight in New Bern -- this is terrifying

^And what it looks like this morning:

Where Florence is now: Hurricane Florence's eye made landfall around 7:15 a.m. today. Here's an interactive map of where the storm is and where it's going:

Trending -- one of the coolest graphics I've ever seen: The Weather Channel posted a short video explaining what the storm surge might look like. It has over 4 million views since yesterday. Watch -- I'm worried for the reporter and I know it's just a graphic:

Whoa -- the storm surge knocked over a photographer: Here's video of the storm surge knocking over a photographer. He handles the situation pretty well, tbh. Watch:

This video is an emotional rollercoaster: 


If you haven't seen this flag video yet: People have been following the American flag at Frying Pan Tower, 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina, as it's slowly disintegrating because of the hurricane. Video -- the flag started out looking normal:

Meanwhile, here's what the Georgetown waterfront in Washington, D.C., looks like today:

^For reference, here's what it usually looks like:



'I am not Spartacus! (I consider myself more of a Gannicus anyway)': 

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Jussie Smollett case shows media villainizing Trump and his supporters, without proof — again MORE (D-N.J.) told The Hill Thursday that he did not intend to compare himself to Spartacus during last week's Supreme Court confirmation --a moment that put him squarely in the political spotlight but also led to some mockery.  Booker, who is widely seen as preparing for a White House run in 2020, says he has no regrets about his 'Spartacus moment.'"

Tidbit: "A film crew with Showtime's 'The Circus' camped in the hallway outside Booker's office on Thursday to shoot an impromptu interview with him." 


Dozens of Massachusetts homes went up in flames:

Via's Philip Marcelo, "A series of gas explosions an official described as 'Armageddon' killed a teenager, injured at least 10 other people and ignited fires in at least 39 homes in three communities north of Boston on Thursday, forcing entire neighborhoods to evacuate as crews scrambled to fight the flames and shut off the gas." What was the cause??: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said it could take days or weeks to figure out what happened. Details form last night:

Photos of the fires and what the neighborhoods looks like now:


Getting traction -- they must be ~really~ nice curtains:

Via The New York Times's Gardiner Harris, as the State Department went through big budget cuts and a hiring freeze last year, the department spent $52,701 on new custom curtains for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyFour names emerge for UN position: report Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job United Methodist churches may cut ties with denomination over push to allow LGBT ministers MORE

Why it's so nice: Haley's residence is used for entertaining officials. 

I mean, the apartment sounds beautiful: "The full-floor penthouse, with handsome hardwood floors covering large open spaces stretching nearly 6,000 square feet, was listed at $58,000 a month."

Where Haley's predecessors lived: In the Waldorf Astoria hotel, which was recently bought by a Chinese company with "a murky ownership structure," so the State Department decided to find a new residence for security reasons.

Keep in mind about the curtains: "A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said." 


Who run the world? Girls.: 

Via The Hill's Reid Wilson, "More women have won major party primaries for offices up and down the ballot than in any other year in American history, setting up a midterm election likely to be defined by sky-high energy among female voters across the country." What to expect:

LAST NIGHT'S PRIMARY RESULTS: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) beat challenger Cynthia Nixon in his reelection campaign. Five takeaways from The New York Times:


Happening in the White House this morning -- Happy birthday!: 



Well this sounds like an...informative broadcast: 



Lol, I mean, at least they're being honest:





The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are both in Washington, D.C., with light public schedules. 

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an emergency preparedness update in the White House Situation Room. Vice President Pence joins.

Oct. 7–8: The "Meet the Press" Film Festival in Washington, D.C. Details:



This morning: House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDonald Trump proved himself by winning fight for border security Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season MORE (D-Calif.) held a press conference about hurricane preparedness. Livestream: Op-ed:

Sunday morning: Veteran journalist Bob Woodward will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" to discuss his new bombshell book on the Trump presidency. 



Today is National Cream Filled Doughnut Day.


This is horrifying, even though nothing actually happened:

A man flew from Germany to Russia with 20 snakes in his bag. *Insert 'Snakes on a Plane' joke here*  Why the--?: The man said he bought the snakes in Germany. Where are the snakes now?: Quarantined in Moscow because they lack the proper documents.


And because you read this far, here's a dog who could really use a weekend. It sure is tiring being man's best friend: