The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump attacks second accuser | Trump UN speech takes hard line on Iran | Allies urge Trump not to fire Rosenstein

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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 — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump addresses UN | Speech takes aim at Iran | Audience laughs when Trump boasts about achievements | Trump attacks second Kavanaugh accuser | Calls charges a Dem 'con game' | Why Kavanaugh's fate rests with Sen. Collins | Allies urge Trump not to fire Rosenstein | High-stakes meeting set for Thursday | Six Flags' 30-hour coffin challenge | National Lobster Day



Why are you laughing?:


During an address at the United Nationals General Assembly, an audience of world leaders laughed when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE boasted of his achievements while in office.

The line that made leaders laugh: "In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than any administration in the history of our country." And when the audience laughed, Trump said: "I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK." Watch:

What's getting traction in Trump's address: Trump took aim at Iran and called on world leaders to isolate the country over its "aggression." His full comments on Iran:

And he praised Kim Jong Un: "I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done," Trump said, hailing North Korea's efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Livestream of the address:


It's Tuesday. Anyone else miss seeing the sun? According to the Capital Weather Gang, D.C. has only had three (!) sunny days in September.

I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and your favorite umbrella to, @CateMartel and on Facebook.


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It basically comes down to one senator:
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's fate all comes down to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate Murkowski wants senators to 'really hear the case' before deciding on impeachment witnesses Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Maine).

Why Collins?: Several senators are waiting to see what Collins decides before announcing their own opinions about Kavanaugh.

How Democrats are handling the situation: "Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has asked centrist members of his caucus to keep their powder dry on Kavanaugh until they know where all Republicans stand."

Is it surprising it comes down to Collins?: Collins has built a reputation as a moderate swing-vote. 

WHO ARE THE OTHER REPUBLICANS TO WATCH ON THIS VOTE: Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski wants senators to 'really hear the case' before deciding on impeachment witnesses Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (Alaska) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 Poll: Democrat Mark Kelly leads incumbent McSally in Arizona Senate race MORE (Ariz.). This morning, Murkowski said an FBI investigation would "clear up all the questions" surrounding Kavanaugh.

REPUBLICANS HAVE SWITCHED STRATEGIES: Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian, Republicans launched an intense counterattack on behalf of Judge Brett Kavanaugh yesterday. What to expect: The GOP will likely move forward with Kavanaugh's nomination. Who is leading this new counterattack?: Kavanaugh himself.

OH AND -- THE WHITE HOUSE IS OPEN TO KAVANAUGH'S OTHER ACCUSER TESTIFYING: On ABC's "Good Morning America," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House is open to Deborah Ramirez testifying. "Certainly we would be open to that and that process could take place on Thursday. The president's been clear -- let them speak but let's also let Brett Kavanaugh speak and let's let him tell his side of the story."


Latest development -- American politics feels like a trashy Bravo show these days:

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Kavanaugh, sat down with Fox News's Martha MacCallum to respond to the sexual assault allegations.  

Watch the full Fox News interview:

The line that's getting traction: Kavanaugh defended himself by saying he was a virgin in high school and college. From Kavanaugh: "I've never sexually assaulted anyone. I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. ... The girls from the schools I went to and I were friends."

A CNN panel's reaction to the details: Screenshot of their reactions -- it's pretty funny:



Happening Thursday -- oh to be a fly on that wall:

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' MORE faces a high-stakes meeting with President Trump amid reports that Rosenstein may be ousted.

TRUMP CRITICS AND ALLIES ACTUALLY AGREE: Don't fire Rosenstein! Their reasoning:


An American diplomat was found dead in Madagascar: 

A suspect has been arrested in the death of a U.S. Foreign Service officer in Madagascar. What happened: The details are still unclear and the names haven't been release. From police: A man "was caught trying to jump the perimeter fence fleeing from the house" after what may have been the attack.


Behind-the-scenes of the Trump tax law -- that health-care hangover: 

After Republicans' seven-year quest to repeal ObamaCare failed, the GOP was in disarray. From House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyConservative groups aim to sink bipartisan fix to 'surprise' medical bills Trump economic aide says new tax proposal could be unveiled this summer Hoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Texas): "When health care failed in the Senate so publicly, several times, I think that those were the toughest days because it appeared to the rest of the world that Republicans couldn't unite behind our agenda. But in looking back, those were probably the days that contributed the most to tax reform's success." How so:

Keep in mind: This is part two of a seven-part series diving into how President Trump's tax bill got passed. 





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Full size photos:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in New York for the U.N. General Assembly. 

11:20 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with the president of Colombia.

12:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at an event about regional migration in Venezuela. 

1 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

2:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate has two roll call votes. The Senate's full schedule today:

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump attends a Security Council presidency reception in New York. 

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

9:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

Wednesday: The Hill's Newsmaker Series: Leadership in Action, featuring Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingLawmakers introduce bill taxing e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaigns Democrat who opposed Trump, Clinton impeachment inquiries faces big test House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues MORE (R-N.Y.). Editor-in-chief Bob Cusack will sit down with the congressmen to discuss their visions for bridging the gaps between political parties, especially at a time when the country is seen as being its most partisan. Details and how to RVSP:



10:15 a.m. EDT: President Trump spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Livestream:



Today is National Lobster Day! 

FYI, Red Lobster is giving out free lobster pizza today to celebrate. Details:


What could go wrong here?!:

Six Flags St. Louis is hosting a 30-hour coffin challenge for participants to compete for prizes. Details: Contestants must remain in the coffin for 30 hours. They are allowed brief bathroom breaks and can bring their own pillows and blankets. Participants are given a phone charger, meals and snacks. What they win: Two season passes and entry to a $300 raffle.


Trending -- I did not see this coming:

A 7-year-old belted out the national anthem at an MLS game in Los Angeles. If you only want to watch a few seconds, start at the 50-second mark. Watch -- wow:


And because you made it to the end, here's a clingy penguin: