The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy

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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 -- Presented by Citi -- Trump calls into 'Fox & Friends' | Vows to overrule Sessions on criminal justice reform | Latest on Hurricane Michael | 2 deaths reported | Storm moves over Georgia toward Carolinas | Trump defends holding campaign rally | Kanye to have lunch at White House | GOP split over potential 2020 Supreme Court vacancy | Some ObamaCare premiums to drop



Trump's Fox News show audition:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE called into "Fox & Friends" for an interview lasting nearly an hour. 


On Republicans losing the House majority: "If we lose the majority in the House, which is always a possibility, we will probably just have to fight it out, and it's a shame. It would be a shame because we'd be wasting a lot of time. But we'll just have to fight it out because there are a lot of haters and they're just absolute haters."

On Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Mueller closes in on Trump Mueller's findings don't matter The Hill's Morning Report — Trump shakes up staff with eye on 2020, Mueller probe MORE -- you know this can't be positive: Trump said if Attorney General Jeff Sessions tries to oppose criminal justice reform, "then he gets overruled by me."  Trump added: "There has to be a reform because it's very unfair right now. It's very unfair to African-Americans. It's very unfair to everybody. And it's also very costly."

On Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesComey’s confession: dossier not verified before, or after, FISA warrant GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet MORE: Trump praised House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) for his efforts to push back on the Russia investigation. "If this turns out as everyone thinks it will, Devin Nunes should get the Medal of Honor." Keep in mind: The Medal of Honor is awarded to military service members recognized for acts of valor during war. Later in the interview: Trump referenced the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom.

The last question for Trump: "Fox & Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt ended by asking Trump to wish her father a happy birthday. "Today is my father's birthday. I forgot to send him a present, I had it on the agenda. But if you wish him a happy birthday, that will be the best birthday present I will ever be able to get him." Watch the back and forth:

How Fox News host Steve Doocy ended the interview: "Go run the country."


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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.




Ugh, the damage so far looks to me more like a tornado than a hurricane: 

Where Michael is headed: Northeast towards the Carolinas. It should head out to sea by Friday. The latest forecast:

Deaths: At least two people have been killed in the storm, including a child in Georgia.

Power outages: More than 900,000 homes and businesses don't have power.



Yikes, this is the scariest video I've seen of the storm: Here's a house in Alabama as the storm surge rolls in. Watch:

Wow, this photo of the hurricane's destruction at sunset:

Aerial footage of Panama City, Fla., after the hurricane: It looks more like a tornado hit. Watch

Remember our dear friend, the flag livestream during Hurricane Florence?: It's back! Watch:

This would be about the time I questioned my career choice


THIS A.M. -- TRUMP DEFENDS HOLDING A CAMPAIGN RALLY DURING THE STORM: "Trump defends decision to campaign in Pennsylvania amid destruction from Hurricane Michael in Florida, says he didn't want to disappoint 'thousands and thousands' of people in PA and claimed that in some cases, there were people waiting 'a day-and-a-half' just to enter the arena."



The things I would do to see President Trump wearing some Yeezys:

President Trump is having lunch with rapper Kanye West and football Hall of Famer Jim Brown at the White House todayTrump's daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpIvanka and Jared Kushner could profit from developer tax break they advocated: report Scaramucci calls Trump's hiring of Kelly a 'mistake,' slams his own firing as 'nonsensical' Kushner: Trump will make chief of staff decision 'when he’s ready' MORE and her husband Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerIvanka and Jared Kushner could profit from developer tax break they advocated: report The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Dem leaders spar before cameras at meeting over border wall | Senate to vote on criminal justice bill | Google chief gets grilling Jared Kushner: The White House’s results-driven tactician MORE will also attend. What they will discuss: "[M]anufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago."

Details of the meeting:




The most fascinating story I've read in weeks:

New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi was working on a story about how White House Chief of Staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE has kept his job. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asked Nuzzi to come back to the White House Tuesday, leading to as Nuzzi writes, "My Private Oval Office Press Conference With Donald Trump, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time On The Money: Trump, Dems battle over border wall before cameras | Clash ups odds of shutdown | Senators stunned by Trump's shutdown threat | Pelosi calls wall 'a manhood thing' for Trump MORE, John Kelly, and Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump, Dem leaders fight before cameras over border wall | GOP skeptical of having military build wall | US spars with Russia, Venezuela over bomber deployment Russia, Venezuela lash out after US criticisms of bomber deployment Our deep divide over nuclear disarmament MORE." Read it -- trust me:


Just in case we don't have enough political disputes, let's start arguing over hypothetical ones:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Early lines of division are opening up among top Senate Republicans over a potential 2020 Supreme Court fight. Days after the Senate confirmed Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughThe case for reauthorizing VAWA Kamala Harris to keep seat on Judiciary Committee Planned Parenthood president 'deeply concerned' about Kavanaugh presence on Supreme Court MORE to the court, key GOP lawmakers are giving different answers over whether they'd fill a Supreme Court seat if there is an opening in 2020, the next presidential election year." How this could play out:


If you like your stamp prices, you can keep them:

Via USA Today's Ashley May, the U.S. Postal Service is considering the biggest stamp price hike since 1991. The difference: From 50 cents to 55 cents for a stamp. Yeah, but: "USPS said the change would also reduce the additional ounce price of letters." Details:


ObamaCare premiums could drop:

Via The Hill's Nathaniel Weixel, "Average premiums for the most common "silver" level insurance plan sold under ObamaCare will fall 1.5 percent in 2019, according to the Trump administration, the first time rates have fallen since the law took effect. In contrast, average premiums for the same mid-level plans increased by 37 percent between 2017 and 2018 and by 25 percent between 2016 and 2017."


This is well done:

The New York Times published a feature, "What does life look like for girls turning 18 in 2018? We gave young women photographers around the world an assignment: Show us 18 in your community. This is 18 -- through girls' eyes."





This is mesmerizing:



The Senate is in. The House is out.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump signed two bills.

12:10 p.m. EDT: The Senate is voting on a nomination. The Senate's full schedule today:

12:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence has lunch with Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueTrump administration to return refined grains to school lunches Trump turned California’s tragic fires into a shameless logging campaign Trump administration's shameless opportunism on forest fires MORE.

1:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a briefing on Hurricane Michael.

Dec. 1: Vice President Pence will attend the inauguration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador




2 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Annual Meeting. Livestream:



Today is National Sausage Pizza Day.


This is important:

Via Bon Appetit, here's a list of the best cheeses at Trader Joe's.


Getting traction -- I feel ya, kid. It's a tough life being the birthday boy:

ABC's "Good Morning America" posted a video of a little boy, named Walter, on his birthday. Clearly Walter is not a morning person. Watch:


And because you made it this far, here are penguins playing with bubbles: