The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump slams intel leaders | GOP in no mood for another shutdown | Trump calls Venezuelan opposition leader | Cold snap hits US

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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 slams intel leaders, tells them to 'go back to school!' | GOP in no mood for second shutdown | Trump calls Venezuelan opposition leader | Cold snap hits US | Officials warn of almost instant frostbite | Kid calls 911 for math help | National Croissant Day



'Go back to intelligence school!!' is an insult I could have had fun with in elementary school:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE slammed top intelligence leaders for their assessment on Iran.

He tweeted: "The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but...."

He then added: "....a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"


WHAT SPARKED THESE TWEETS: Yesterday, Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats281 lobbyists have worked in Trump administration: report Former intelligence chief Coats rejoins law firm Remembering leaders who put country above party MORE and CIA Director Gina Haspel testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and seemed to contradict what President Trump has said.

For example: The intelligence officials testified that Iran is not currently trying to develop nuclear weapons and that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is still a threat.


"President Trump on Wednesday spoke with Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition figure the U.S. has recognized as the country's leader."


It's a cold, cold Wednesday. Filing with a hot coffee in hand, 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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Everyone is cold and we are not pleased:

"Officials warned of almost instant frostbite as temperatures in the [Midwest] plunged below zero Wednesday. Some state offices are closed and postal workers won't deliver mail in 10 states. Thousands of flights have been canceled along with dozens of train services -- most of them in and out of Chicago."

Cold-related deaths: At least five deaths have been linked to the cold temperatures.

This is fascinating: It is so cold in Chicago that crews are lighting parts of the train rails on fire to prevent and fix a rail defect caused by the extreme cold. Watch -- wow: The back story to the method:

The best tweet I've seen all day: 

I <3 science:



What, those 35 days of bad headlines, an annoyed country and long TSA lines wasn't a blast for everyone on Capitol Hill?:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Republicans are in no mood to be dragged back into another partial closure in mid-February" and are signaling they are ready to do whatever is necessary to avoid another shutdown. Keep in mind: President Trump and the GOP were blamed for the shutdown more than Democrats, according to polls.


Overheard from a freshman House member -- we've all been there:

"Oh, now I know where we are." (From The Hill's Timothy Cama


Standing to your left in the blue warm-ups:

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria Schumer calls for FDA to probe reports of contaminated baby food How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (D-N.Y.) announced that Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of Georgia last year, will give the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union address. For a refresher: Abrams lost to Brian Kemp (R) in a hotly contested race in November.



I read this entire story with my mouth wide open:

Via The New York Post, "A horrific hospital mix-up left a Brooklyn woman grieving for nine days at the bedside of a brain-damaged man who doctors insisted was her brother -- but who was actually a stranger with the same name, a new lawsuit charges. But only after she gave consent to have her 'brother' taken off life support at St. Barnabas Hospital did Shirell Powell learn the shocking truth: Her real sibling was in jail -- and she had just sent a stranger to his death, her Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit says." The full story -- it's crazy


2020 NEWS

Two checks in the Harris column:

Freshman Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillLawmakers beat reporters in annual spelling bee competition Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Polling director: Young voters swayed by health care, economy, gun control MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuHere's what to watch this week on impeachment Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump MORE (D-Calif.) have endorsed Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Kamala Harris reacts to supporter who got tattoo of her handwriting Even with likely Trump impeachment, Democrats face uphill climb to win presidency MORE's (D-Calif.) bid for president. You may have noticed: Both Dem House members are also from California.


Good, I'm starting to get worried about how many podiums can fit on a debate stage:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) announced he will not run for president in 2020.  From Garcetti: "It may be out of vogue today, but I kind of believe that whenever possible, you should finish the job that you set out to do."


If you've been seeing a lot of coffee tweets:

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he is "seriously thinking of running for president" as an independent candidate. This sparked a lot of coffee #hottakes on Twitter.

Including this one controversial tweet: The New York Times's Sopan Deb tweeted, "Look I don't want to pile on Howard Schultz, but part of the problem here is that coffee, generally speaking, is terrible. it tastes terrible. it tastes like burnt garbage. how did this terrible product become worth billions? hot chocolate guy 2020."

Journalist Yashar Ali responded to that tweet: "People who drink their coffee black with no cream or sugar need to donate their brains to science when they die. I need to understand why you like to be miserable."

Lol, hey John DingellJohn DingellEnergy efficiency cannot be a partisan issue for Washington Polling director: Young voters swayed by health care, economy, gun control McCain and Dingell: Inspiring a stronger Congress MORE: The former Michigan rep. tweeted, "Someone told me that the man behind everyone's favorite cup of coffee might run for President and I just want to wish @TimHortons the very best. You have my support."



I'm sorry, what?:


Why thank you for the update, D.C. Council:

Back story on the 'Giant Tank Parade' comment



Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule. 

9:45 a.m. EST: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

Noon: The Senate meets. 

12:30 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.

Feb. 15: The deadline to avert another partial government shutdown. Op-ed:



2 p.m. EST: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference after the central bank announces its decision on interest rates. Livestream: What to expect:

5:45 p.m. EST Thursday: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) speaks at a Washington Post event. Details and livestream:



Today is National Croissant Day!


Bold, but clearly effective:

A fifth-grader called 911 because he had a bad day at school and did not know how to do fractions. The dispatcher was having a quiet day and decided to help the boy with his math homework. The funny part: "The boy abruptly hung up before she could tell him that next time he should ask a parent or teacher for help rather than call 911."


And to brighten your frigid Wednesday afternoon, here's a dog with dreams of becoming a chef: