The Hill's 12:30 Report: Giuliani says Trump team should be allowed to 'correct' Mueller report | Trump closer to declaring national emergency | Congress approves back pay for federal workers

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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: Giuliani says Trump team should be allowed to 'correct' Mueller report | Day 21 of the shutdown | Trump moves closer to declaring national emergency | Legal challenges await decision | Congress approves back pay for federal workers | Ginsburg to work from home next week | Trump teases changes to H1-B visas | Oprah to interview Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeHegar, West to face off in bitter Texas Senate runoff Bellwether counties show trouble for Trump Colorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton defeated in primary upset MORE | Outrage after Joshua tree cut down at park | Costco selling 27-pound mac 'n cheese jar with a 20-year shelf life



Ok, who wants to tell Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE? -- '1, 2, 3 ... NOT IT!': 

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE's lawyer Rudy Giuliani says that Trump's legal team should be allowed to "correct" special counsel Robert Mueller's final report before Congress sees it.

What does Giuliani mean by "correct?": "As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you -- so we can correct it if they're wrong. They're not God, after all. They could be wrong."

Giuliani's reasoning: "Of course we have to see [the report] before it goes to Congress. We have reserved executive privilege and we have a right to assert it. The only way we can assert it is if we see what is in the report."

On Manafort seeking to share polling data with a Russian associate: "There is no legal protection of polling data. You can give it to anyone. Campaigns leak polling data all the time." Back story on Manafort:

Other highlights from the interview:


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 -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Today is Day 21 of the partial government shutdown.


News this morning -- dealing with the angry travelers should be … interesting:

A Miami airport terminal will be closing early for three days because of a lack of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents during the partial government shutdown.

Why: "Due to an increased number of TSA screeners not reporting to work, we have decided to take this precautionary step and relocate about 12 flights to adjoining concourses in the afternoons," airport spokesman Greg Chin said.

Details: TSA checkpoints in Terminal G are closing at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.


Trump is metaphorically dipping just a toe in the water:

The chances of President Trump declaring a national emergency at the border are higher than ever. If Trump does bypass Congress and build the wall, it will start a firestorm from Democrats as well as serious legal challenges.

What that would mean for the shutdown: It would give Trump an easy escape route to end the partial government shutdown, but still move on building the wall. 

SO, ABOUT THOSE LEGAL CHALLENGES: Via The Hill's Lydia Wheeler, here's a breakdown of the legal obstacles if Trump declares a national emergency to build the border wall.

INTERESTING TIDBIT: "One lobbyist told us that a Trump emergency declaration would open up the potential that his clients could also get their top policy concerns declared national emergencies. Another one, asked about that possibility, said, "S***, I hadn't thought of that, but yeah, sure." (Via The Daily Beast's Lachlan Markay

OK, FORGET THAT PLAN: Via The New York Times's Michael Tackett and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, the Trump administration "considered diverting emergency aid from storm- and fire-ravaged Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California to build a border barrier, perhaps under an emergency declaration." 

That plan quickly fell apart: "But before those negotiations could gain momentum, they collapsed. Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceLouisiana attorney general tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Pence visit to state Larry Hogan's hopes Trump administration extends support for Texas COVID-19 testing sites MORE and other members of Mr. Trump's team let it be known privately that the president would not back such a deal."

THIS MORNING FROM TRUMP: The president tweeted, "Humanitarian Crisis at our Southern Border. I just got back and it is a far worse situation than almost anyone would understand, an invasion! I have been there numerous times - The Democrats, Cryin' Chuck and Nancy don't know how bad and dangerous it is for our ENTIRE COUNTRY."

TIDBITS ON DAY 21 OF THE SHUTDOWN: Now that is insulting: "A National Park Service employee tells me he got a $0 pay stub today." (Via The Hill's Timothy Cama)

Yikes -- photo of a federal worker's pay stub:

Betting jars: Via NBC's Jonathan Allen, there are money jars at Union Kitchen in Washington, D.C., to bet on the length of the shutdown. The betting options: Which will last longer, the shutdown or the milk in your fridge? Photo:


JUST NOW -- THE HOUSE VOTES TO BACK PAY FEDERAL WORKERS: The House just approved a bill to ensure that unpaid federal workers will receive back pay. The vote: "The measure passed with broad bipartisan support, 411-7. All seven votes against the bill came from Republicans." What's next: "President Trump has indicated he would sign the bill, which the Senate passed unanimously on Thursday."



Breaking — Ruth Bader Ginsburg will work from home next week: 

Via The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes, "No remaining signs of cancer for Justice Ginsburg, and no additional treatment required, Supreme Court says. She'll miss next week's arguments but continue to participate in cases from home."


Just announced -- hmmmm,  intriguing…:

Oprah Winfrey will interview former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) in Times Square on Feb. 5.


A path to citizenship for some visa holders:

This morning, President Trump suggested he may change policies for visa holders. He tweeted: "H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S."

What is the H1-B system?: "The H1-B system, which allows U.S. companies to hire temporary foreign workers to fill needs not met by the U.S. workforce, is not intended as a permanent path to citizenship for immigrants coming to the United States." 


Like a game of Jenga:

Via The New York Times's Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Ben Hubbard, "The American military has started withdrawing some equipment, but no troops yet, from Syria as part of President Trump's order to wind down that battleground against the Islamic State, two Defense Department officials said on Friday amid continuing confusion over plans to disengage from one of the Middle East's most complex conflicts."

How many U.S. troops are currently in Syria: Around 2,000.



How prescient:

President Reagan delivered his farewell address on this day 30 years ago.

Excerpt, via Politico's Carla Marinucci: "Shining city on the hill...and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here." 

Video of Reagan's farewell speech:



Well, 2019 is off to a horrendous start:

Remember the livestream yesterday of former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) at a dentist appointment? Here's what one reporter's Twitter timeline looked like. 

Full size photo:


What is wrong with some people?!

More photos of the damage to Joshua Tree National Park

Update: "The government backtracked on its plan to close Joshua Tree National Park today to protect it during the shutdown. The park will open; operations and staff will be funded using visitor fees (which might not be legal)."


He tried: 

Just now from Rep. Cunningham — lol: "Making friends when you’re a freshman is hard and I thought I’d grease the skids with some Lowcountry beer. Thankfully [Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioShould the United States withdraw from the WTO? OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated Republicans score procedural victory on Democrats' infrastructure bill MORE (D-Ore.) got it in the end! Can I join the beer caucus now?"



The Senate is in. The House voted this morning. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

11:30 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence was briefed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Noon: Vice President Pence speaks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters.

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a roundtable with state and local leaders to discuss border security. 



This morning: House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Voter fraud charges filed against GOP Rep. Steve Watkins Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (D-Calif.) met with the new committee chairmen. Fun moment: Pelosi says, "Majority! Majority! Majority!" Watch:

Sunday morning: Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (D-Va.) will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press." 



Today is National Milk Day.



Via People, Costco is selling a 27-pound tub of macaroni and cheese -- that is 180 servings. Normally I'm all for bulk comfort food, but: This mac and cheese has a 20-year shelf life.


Zetus Lapetus!:

Astronomers believe that a recently discovered super-Earth may be able to support life. Details:

Why that is surprising: "The researchers believe that it is an icy desert with no liquid water, a hostile environment where the average surface temperature is around minus-274 degrees Fahrenheit."

Yeah, but: "Beneath its frozen surface, Barnard's star b could have a hot, liquid core of iron and nickel, which could support primitive life with geothermal activity." 


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here are snow monkeys traveling along the power lines to avoid getting snowy. Now that's a traffic jam:


This post was updated at 1:46 p.m.