The Hill's 12:30 Report — Takeaways from Trump address | White House says emergency declaration 'on the table' | Dem response becomes a meme

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

--> 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: Takeaways from Trump's prime-time address | Sights and sounds | Dem response becomes a meme | WH says emergency declaration 'on the table' | Rosenstein reportedly leaving after new AG confirmed | Trump tells FEMA not to send money for California wildfires | Ginsburg misses third day | Pompeo makes surprise Iraq visit | Mickey ice cream bars now sold outside Disney parks  



I cannot WAIT for Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Graham says he'll probe Rosenstein's 25th Amendment remarks MORE's tell-all:

How is it on the other side?

Via ABC's Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Karl, John Santucci and Mike Levine, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave his job at the Justice Department once President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE's attorney general nominee, William Barr, is confirmed.

Keep in mind: Rosenstein has overseen special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's probe for more than a year -- since former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump O'Rourke on impeachment: 2020 vote may be best way to 'resolve' Trump MORE recused himself. 

Context to the announcement from journalist Garrett M. Graff: "This is actually one of the most normal things we've seen happen in the Justice Department--and a sign that Rod Rosenstein is confident about the progress of the Mueller probe."


It's Wednesday -- halfway there! 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 -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily:



It me:

During President Trump's first Oval Office address last night, he made his pitch for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border amid a partial government shutdown.


The takeaways:

  1. Trump did not shift the debate.
  2. Trump did not declare a national emergency. 
  3. Both Trump and Democrats accomplished what they needed to accomplish.
  4. Trump's speech was for his base.
  5. Trump succeeded in getting the TV networks to air his address. The pro: Trump kept to his time limit. The con: He did not deliver any major news. 

Context and details for each:



If you noticed the photos placed behind Trump's desk: "As President Trump speaks from the Oval Office, photos of his mother (who immigrated from Scotland) and father (whose family immigrated from Germany) are in the background." (Via The Washington Post's Matt Viser

Takeaway from The New York Times's Maggie Haberman: "I see the president's face but I hear Stephen Miller's voice."

Can someone explain this quote to me?: "This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul."

The New York Times speech fact-check:

Meanwhile from Stormy Daniels -- I can't...: "So Stormy Daniels is in fact folding laundry live on Instagram in her underwear -- as Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' plays. What a country." Screenshot if you're wondering:


FROM THE DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE: Following President Trump's remarks, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRisk-averse Republicans are failing the republic The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump, Saturday Night Live and why autocrats can't take a joke MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (D-N.Y.) delivered a rebuttal. Read their full remarks:

The gist of the news from the Democratic response --> ;)

From Pelosi: "The fact is we all agree we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values."

From Schumer -- ouch: "We don't govern by temper tantrum," Schumer said.



Dem response or hostage video?


Social media caption contest for this setup: 

Lol, 'The Daily Show' is a strong contender for the caption of the night: "We're not mad, we're just disappointed."

Another solid contender: "You heard right. $250,000 of term life coverage, with no exam, for just $14.99 a month."

This one, too: "When you think you can sneak into the house after staying out too late, but Mom & Dad are up waiting for you in the living room."

Their inspiration for this shot: I laughed at this photo.

How one journalist spent her time: The Huffington Post's Ashley Feinberg tweeted, "Tonight was a waste of time for everyone but especially me since i just spent ten minutes doing this." Her image:

This photo comparison is also pretty funny:



Response to the response: After the Democratic response, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses RNC says it raised .6 million in February Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) offered his own response on Facebook Live. Watch:

There was no way AOC would sit this one out: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez fires back at Jamie Dimon after CEO dismisses Green New Deal Inslee: We want world to know 'there is still intelligent life in the US' The importance of moderate voters MORE (D-N.Y.) appeared on MSNBC after the addresses. Quote from AOC: "Those women and children trying to come here with nothing but the shirts on their back to create an opportunity and provide for this nation are acting more in an American tradition than this president is right now."

Oh hello there, John Kasich: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) released a statement. Excerpt: "The President and the Democrats need to learn how to compromise and put the American people first." His full statement:



The White House is keeping a trick in its back pocket:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News this morning that President Trump declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress and build a border wall is "certainly still an option" and "something that's on the table."

JUST NOW — Trump on a national emergency: Via The Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus: "'I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t we might go that route.' Says he has the 'absolute right' to declare an emergency. The 'threshold' for declaring one is if he can’t make a deal."

Fascinating graphic: Here's a Washington Post graphic flyover of the U.S.-Mexico border. See for yourself:

Tidbit -- CNN's Chris Cuomo attended Trump's lunch with journalists today: "The content was off the record, but I will tell you [that President Trump is] much more compelling making his case in person than he was on tel-e-prompter." He then added: "I've never seen [Trump] more confident. I've never seen him more secure in his arguments."

HAPPENING LATER TODAY: The House will vote on Democratic bill to reopen the Treasury Department. Keep in mind: This is one of several upcoming Dem votes to put pressure on Republicans to break with President Trump and reopen the government. 


This morning -- no mo $$:

President Trump announced that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold funding for California until the state improves its forest management to prevent wildfires.

Trump tweeted: "Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"




Justice Ginsburg misses another day on the bench:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed a third day on the court while recovering from a Dec. 21 surgery. What this means for the cases?: Ginsburg will still participate in today's case using briefs and transcripts.


Pompeo's surprise visit:

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight State Department blocks reporters from Pompeo briefing with faith-based media: report MORE met with Iraqi leaders today during an unannounced visit. What they discussed: The United States' Syria strategy and securing the region.


Divorce announcement via Twitter:

Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced their divorce this morning. Excerpt: "As our family and close friends know, after a long period loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends. We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other." Details and full statement on Twitter:



I'm not taking any sides here, but it's beard SZN: 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke raised .1 million from over 128,000 donors on campaign's first day O'Rourke on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 'We don't have the best negotiating partners on either side' O'Rourke: 'I think we can win Texas' in 2020 MORE (R-Texas) is on the left; on the right is his 2018 opponent, former Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeRepublican strategist predicts his 2020 Dem primary final four The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump feuds heat up Kamala Harris: Voters want president who can prosecute 'the case' against Trump MORE (D-Texas).

Beard breakdown from Esquire (lol, yes this is a thing):

This is so well said:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. 

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump signs anti-human trafficking legislation in the Oval Office.

Noon: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

1 p.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence attend the Senate Republican policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol.

1:30–2:30 p.m. EST: First votes on the House.

3 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with congressional leadership. Vice President Pence also attends.

5–6 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.



This morning: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) discussed the shutdown with furloughed workers. Livestream:

2 p.m. EST: Senate Republicans hold a news conference following their weekly caucus luncheon. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: Senate Democrats hold a news conference following their weekly caucus luncheon. Livestream:



Today is National Apricot Day.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Mickey Ice Cream Bars will be sold at grocery stores for a limited time. 


Now is the time to try that new restaurant:

Jan. 14–Jan. 20 is Washington, D.C.'s restaurant week. The list of participating restaurants:


And to break up your Wednesday afternoon, try to spot the puppy in the corn field. It's not easy, let me tell you ;)