The Hill's 12:30 Report: AOC unveils Green New Deal measure | Trump hits Virginia Dems | Dems begin hearings to get Trump tax returns

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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: AOC unveils Green New Deal measure | Pelosi leaves Ocasio-Cortez off of climate panel | Trump hits Virginia Dems | House Dems begin hearings to get Trump tax returns | Why Pelosi doesn't expect another shutdown | Trump eases gun export rules | 2020 Dems walk fine line on 'Medicare for all' | Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty MORE spotted at White House | Pats' Belichick mic'd up during Super Bowl



Yeah, I wouldn't say this is Virginia's ~best~ look:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE ripped into top leaders Virginia as the state's Democratic leaders are embroiled in controversies.

Trump tweeted: "Democrats at the top are killing the Great State of Virginia. If the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken. Virginia will come back HOME Republican) in 2020!"

NEW DEVELOPMENT: A DEM LAWMAKER LEARNED OF THE FAIRFAX ALLEGATIONS A YEAR AGO: Via ABC's Kaitlyn Folmer and John Verhovek, "Virginia Democratic Congressman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottLabor Department official steps down amid ethics questions: report The Congressional Black Caucus: America stands to lose a lot under TrumpCare House passes Paycheck Fairness Act MORE was made aware of allegations of sexual assault against now-Lieutenant Governor Justin  Fairfax over a year ago by the alleged victim herself, ABC News has learned."

EDITORIAL FROM THE RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH: "Virginia's leaders are not serving its citizens" Read the editorial:


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

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This morning -- gun rules eased for manufacturers:

Via NBC's Josh Lederman, "Semi-automatic weapons, flamethrowers and even some grenades will become easier for U.S. weapons manufacturers to export overseas under new rules being put in place by the Trump administration and obtained by NBC News." 

How so: "Under the new rules, set to take effect in just under a month, gun makers will no longer need licenses from the State Department to sell dozens of types of weapons to other countries, including the popular AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle that's been employed in many of America's worst mass shootings." What sellers will need instead: A no-fee license from the Commerce Department.


Spotted — look who's back!:

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was just seen outside the White House. "No tie, no suit. Beard." Photo:



A new Morning Consult poll shows that President Trump had his worst approval rating of his presidency last month. Approval: 40 percent. Disapproval: 55 percent. How many Republicans said they approved of Trump: 83 percent (!), but that's lower than it's been in months. Full breakdown:



Oh good!:

Via Politico's Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris and John Bresnahan, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Pelosi accuses Barr of 'single-minded effort' to protect Trump against Mueller report Dems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings MORE (D-Calif.) predicted there won't be another government shutdown. Pelosi sounded confident: "There will not be another shutdown. ... No, it's not going to happen." Other highlights from the interview:



AOC's new climate resolution:

Via The Hill's Miranda Green, "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWarren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Ocasio-Cortez knocks Republican over Kentucky trip: 'GOP thought they could catch us with a bluff' Ocasio-Cortez releases 'Green New Deal' short film MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday introduced a new climate change resolution with aims to bring the progressive Green New Deal to life legislatively and push the U.S. to take a lead role in reducing carbon emissions through the economy." Details:

ALSO THIS MORNING -- SHE DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday named eight Democrats to the new special climate change committee, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) was not among them."


Happening at 2 p.m. -- Dems are foaming at the mouth:

The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee is holding a hearing today to try to secure the tax returns of President Trump and Vice President Pence. What to watch:

Hearing details:

AND HAPPENING AT 2 P.M.: The Senate Judiciary Committee is voting on William Barr's nomination to be attorney general. Details:


Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz:

Via The Hill's Lisa Hagen and Max Greenwood, after one of the best-received State of the Union rebuttals, Democrats are buzzing over whether Stacey Abrams should run for Senate. Keep in mind: Abrams has appeared to close the door on a 2020 presidential run.

REACTION FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP: Via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trump said, "I think it's a mistake for her to run against him because I don't think she can win. David Perdue is an incredible senator, if you remember, and will be very hard to beat."

^ ABRAMS HAS THOUGHTS: "I do not take political advice from Donald Trump." Watch:


How far *clap* can you go? *clap clap* How far *clap * can you go?:

Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have to walk a fine line on how far to go in "Medicare for all." How so: "Stopping short of Sen. Bernie Sanders's fully government-run system risks alienating progressives but embracing the Vermont Independent's bill opens up lines of attack around eliminating the private insurance coverage most people already have." The delicate dance for each candidate:



You are correct, NYPD: 





11:45 a.m. EST: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

12:45 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump admin announces new restrictions on travel to Cuba Russia is gaining influence in Libya: How will Washington respond? Trump reverses policy, allows lawsuits against businesses in Cuba MORE.

12:45 p.m. EST: The Senate Judiciary Committee votes on William Barr's nomination to be the next attorney general. Details: Op-ed:

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump participates in a signing to launch the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.

1:45 -- 2:45 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

11 a.m. EST Saturday: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Defense: Reports detail effect of transgender military ban | Watchdog auditing 8 billion submarine program | Warren questions top general on climate change Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 MORE (D-Mass.) makes a 2020 announcement in Lawrence, Mass. Details:



This morning: President Trump spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton. Livestream

This morning: Vice President Pence delivered remarks about drug trafficking. Livestream:

1 p.m. EST: Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at Purdue University. Livestream:



Today is National Fettuccine Alfredo Day.


This is pretty interesting:

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and a few players were mic'd up during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The highlights:


And to get you through your afternoon, here's a windswept golden retriever: