The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Trump taps William Barr as new AG | Nauert picked to replace Haley at UN | Washington waits for bombshell Mueller filing

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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 taps William Barr as new AG | Nauert picked to replace Haley at UN | Washington waits for bombshell Mueller filing | House GOP to grill Comey | CNN reports Kelly expected to resign in days | Trump signs stopgap delaying shutdown | Merkel to speak at Harvard graduation

 

NEWS OF THE MORNING -- TWO NEW HIRES

Psh, this job seems boring and uneventful:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE announced this morning that he will nominate William Barr to lead the Justice Department as the next attorney general. Barr served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush and will replace former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy MOREhttp://bit.ly/2QC92ps

Why this is such an important position: The attorney general oversees the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I.e.: He will be right in the center of the fight over the Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE probe. 

Why Barr's confirmation process won't be smooth sailing: Barr will likely face tough questions about the Justice Department's independence from the White House and about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigations.

What Barr has said about the Russia investigation: "Barr's past commentary has played down the severity of the allegations against Trump -- on both the collusion and obstruction-of-justice fronts -- and he has also suggested the Clintons should be in more trouble." What Barr has said: https://wapo.st/2Um0y4G

Until Barr is confirmed: Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will continue to lead the Justice Department. Whitaker is pretty controversial choice as he has been a vocal critic of the Russia investigation. http://bit.ly/2UjMEjs

Throwback: Barr was unanimously confirmed as Bush 41's attorney general in 1991. Photo and video -- wow, Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Warren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE looks young!: http://bit.ly/2RFVmXG

 

Nikki out, Nauert in:

President Trump announced that he will name State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. http://bit.ly/2E7MCWf

Why Nauert's promotion is big: Nauert is considered relatively inexperienced for the position. He has served as the State Department spokeswoman since April 2017 and was a Fox News anchor before that. 

What to expect in her confirmation process: "The former Fox News host's precipitous rise since arriving at the State Department in 2017 sets the stage for a potentially tough Senate confirmation hearing, where Democrats will likely grill Nauert on her qualifications for the position." https://cnn.it/2RHZXII

Why Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWall Street firm predicts stock market would rally if Trump resigned Poll shows Michelle Obama would lead in New Hampshire if she entered 2020 Democratic race Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble MORE's departure is big: "Haley, with whom Trump had built a close relationship, was seen as a steady and moderating voice within the administration. Her departure has been widely viewed as a loss within Republican circles." 

  

Happy 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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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NEWS THIS MORNING

First Friday morning of the month -- you know what that means!?:

Via The Hill's Vicki Needham, the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in November, below expectations, but the labor market is continuing to gain momentum. The unemployment rate: 3.7 percent, the lowest level since 1969. The number of jobs expected this month: 190,000. Keep in mind: The economy has added jobs every month since October 2010. http://bit.ly/2L2AE1x

 

HAPPENING TODAY IN THE SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATION

A teaser for the season finale…:

Plotline No. 1 -- Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 Perry says Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine with Giuliani: report Cuomo signs measure allowing New York to press charges despite presidential pardon MORE:  

Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to file a bombshell report that will explain how President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, violated his plea deal with federal prosecutors. Keep in mind: It's unclear how much of the filing will be public. http://bit.ly/2Pkw0N3

 

Plotline No. 2 -- Michael Cohen:

Special counsel Robert Mueller has until 5 p.m. EST to weigh in on whether President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen should serve jailtime. https://nyp.st/2L1kGoo

Cohen's charges: Cohen has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws. And last week, Cohen admitted to lying to Congress about his Russian contacts. 

When Cohen is expected to be formally sentenced: Wednesday. 

MEANWHILE FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP: This morning, President Trump went on a Twitter tirade against special counsel Robert Mueller, blasting him as conflicted and biased. His tweets: http://bit.ly/2Uobej8

  

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

The president's chief of staff and the president are no longer on speaking terms -- oh.:

Via CNN's Kaitlan Collins, White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE is expected to resign in the next few days. https://cnn.it/2QHlzrs

Why: Their relationship is no longer seen as productive and they have stopped speaking in the past few days, the report claims.

How long Kelly has been chief of staff: Seventeen months. Kelly was brought in to stabilize the chaotic West Wing. 

Trump's top replacement: Vice President Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers is a top pick. https://cnn.it/2EjnFbg

 

Happening this weekend -- Trump attends the Army-Navy game:

President Trump will attend the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia Saturday. 

Keep in mind: Trump is the 10th sitting president to attend the game. Trump attended 2016's game as president-elect, but this is the first game attended by a sitting president since former President Obama in 2011. http://bit.ly/2zMjQYr

When and where: 3 p.m. EST Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. It will be broadcast on CBS.

  

ON CAPITOL HILL

This morning -- Comey in the House:

Ousted FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCNN's Jeffrey Toobin says he regrets role in playing up Clinton email story Federal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report State cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review MORE is meeting with House Republicans behind closed doors today before Democrats take over the House. Why: For Republicans to grill Comey on allegations of bias at the Justice Department. http://bit.ly/2RG94cZ

Timing: "It comes after months of wrangling between House Republicans and Comey, who last week asked a federal court in D.C. to quash a subpoena issued by House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.) that ordered him to testify behind closed doors."  

Video of James Comey arriving on Capitol Hill: http://bit.ly/2rlSALI

Trump's early morning tweet that Comey was referring to: "Robert Mueller and Leakin' Lyin' James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest. And bye the way, wasn't the woman in charge of prosecuting Jerome Corsi (who I do not know) in charge of 'legal' at the corrupt Clinton Foundation? A total Witch Hunt." http://bit.ly/2rpGTDy

  

IN OTHER NEWS

Merkel should hold a diplomatic meeting to talk some sense into the Harvard professor who said a serving of french fries should be six fries:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named as Harvard University's commencement speaker on May 30. Details: http://bit.ly/2E8pTti

 

The attack on Pearl Harbor happened 77 years ago today:

"About 20 survivors are expected to gather at Pearl Harbor on Friday to pay tribute to the thousands of men lost in the Japanese attack 77 years ago. The youngest of the veterans are in their mid-90s. The Navy and National Park Service will jointly host the remembrance ceremony at a grassy site overlooking the water and the SS Arizona Memorial." https://nyti.ms/2zQ2UQD

Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2SBMFxJ

 

SPONSORED CONTENT - THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

New education and health initiatives launched alongside the 2019 Special Olympics World Games will have a lasting impact on social inclusion in the UAE and the region. Learn more.  

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Same, Cookie Monster. SAME..:

 

Whoa: 

Listen: http://bit.ly/2G1PPsT

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out. President Trump is speaking in Kansas City, Mo., and Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

9:20 a.m. EST: President Trump left for Kansas City, Mo.

11:55 a.m. EST: President Trump arrives at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center.

2:15 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves Kansas City for Washington, D.C. 

4:40 p.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House.

7:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump breaks ground on new White House tennis pavilion Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices | Supreme Court abortion case poses major test for Trump picks | Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown Kroger to stop sales of e-cigarettes at stores MORE have dinner with senior White House staff in the East Room.

3 p.m. EST Saturday: President Trump attends the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.

Dec. 21: The new deadline for Congress to fund the government to avoid a partial government shutdown. https://n.pr/2L4PBjJ

  

WHAT TO WATCH

12:50 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2PohdRp

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Cotton Candy Day! And just in case that isn't enough sugar for you, tomorrow is National Brownie Day and Sunday is National Pastry Day

 

I'm intrigued:

A 500-year-old body was found in the London river wearing thigh-high boots. Hmm: "Leather was an expensive commodity in Tudor times, and it is unlikely someone would be buried wearing such a highly prized item, according to MOLA Headland, the firm leading the project -- meaning the man's demise was likely premature." Photos and full story: https://cnn.it/2L22ICm

 

And because you made it this far, here's a puppy who does NOT trust the cat -- and will probably sleep with its eyes open tonight: http://bit.ly/2QBK5KI