The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times

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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 steps up attacks after NYT report | Calls paper the 'enemy of the people' | 10 GOP senators who could break with Trump over wall emergency | Why Dems think they are winning the fight | Thundersnow in DC | Survey finds DC-area drivers among worst in rain, snow


Public enemies No. 2 and 3: frozen yogurt and turkey bacon:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE slammed The New York Times as false but without refuting specific details after a report detailing how he has sought to influence the investigations into his presidency.

He tweeted: "The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"

Trump also tweeted this morning: "The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today. Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don't even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!"


What sparked this tweet -- I repeat: step away from the investigation:

Via The New York Times's Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. SchmidtPresident Trump asked former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker whether an ally could take over the widening investigation into hush-money payments made to two women in 2016. I.e.: The investigation into Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Specifically, which ally did Trump want in charge?: Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York 

Matthew Whitaker's response to Trump: Whitaker told Trump that Berman had already recused himself from the investigation. 

How Trump reacted to Whitaker: "The president soon soured on Mr. Whitaker, as he often does with his aides, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president's many legal problems go away." 

Read the full New York Times report:

INTERESTING TIDBIT -- THE NEW YORK TIMES'S MAGGIE HABERMAN ON HER TEAM'S REPORTING: Maggie Haberman describes when and how she reached out to the White House before the article was published. Watch the 45 second clip:


It's a snowy Wednesday! 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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Why Democrats are loving the fight:

Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, Democrats are fighting President Trump's emergency declaration to bypass Congress and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but also see this debate as political gold.

Why Dems see it as political gold: It was a highly controversial move by Trump, and early polls indicate it was unpopular with voters. The move has also divided congressional Republicans.

How Democrats are reaping the benefits: House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push The Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) has been raising money off the executive action. 


The 10 Republicans who may awkwardly avoid eye contact with Trump and casually stand next to the other team:

No Republican senators have said they will vote for a resolution of disapproval of the executive action, but 10 senators have reasons to defect:

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Women's civil rights are not a state issue MORE (Maine)

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCongress must press Interior secretary to act on climate change Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Women's civil rights are not a state issue MORE (Alaska)

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisCollins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Lawmakers call for investigation after census hired registered sex offender Dem Senate campaign arm hits GOP lawmakers over Trump tax law MORE (N.C.)

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderCollins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday It's time for Republicans to lead (again) on climate MORE (Tenn.)

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE (Colo.)

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAnother VPOTUS tries for POTUS: What does history tell us? Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress MORE (Fla.)

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Alabama state senator introduces bill to repeal state's abortion ban Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — McConnell, Kaine offer bill to raise tobacco buying age to 21 | Measles outbreak spreads to 24 states | Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad blitz to protect Dems MORE (Utah)

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech Fix the climate with smaller families MORE (Utah)

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls GOP senator calls for resolution of trade dispute: 'Farmers and ranchers are hurting' Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran MORE (Kan.)

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash's impeachment comments Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran MORE (Ky.)

Why each of these Republicans could break with Trump:



In the traffic circle we can build a snowman:

It's a snowy morning in the Washington, D.C., area. 

So majestic: Here's video of the snow at the U.S. Capitol:

Thundersnow has been reported in a few areas:

The latest forecast: It is still snowing in D.C., but is turning to sleet southwest of the city. The full Capital Weather Gang forecast:

DMV drivers are not great in the snow: According to an Allstate survey, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia drivers are some of the worst in rain and snow. The numbers -- ouch: "The 2018 report identifies which of the 200 largest U.S. cities and their surrounding suburban metropolitan areas have the safest drivers. Of those 200 cities, Baltimore, Maryland ranked the worst, the District ranked the third worst and Alexandria, Virginia is the eighth worst."

'Neither rain nor snow': Here's video of the USPS in Vienna, Va.

Closures: Schools and the federal government are closed in the area.



To the private sector!:
White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters is leaving her role and heading to a public relations company in the coming months. Keep in mind: Walters has been with the administration from its start. Where she's heading: Edelman Public Relations.


SoOoOo, what's Beto up to these days?:

Via CNN's Eric Bradner, former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Opposition research requests for O'Rourke 'have completely died off': report MORE (D-Texas) is considering running for president and for Senate in 2020 and will make his decision by the end of the month. In Beto's words: "I'm trying to figure out how I can best serve this country -- where I can do the greatest good for the United States of America. So, yeah, I'm thinking through that and it, you know, may involve running for the presidency. It may involve something else."



Via, "Man punches his lawyer in the face after being sentenced to 45 years in prison."



'Hero' is correct: 

Back story:


This is a great chart:

Full size photo:



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

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Overnight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds MORE.

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Sebastian Kurz, the chancellor of Austria. Vice President Pence also attends.

Tuesday: Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOn The Money: GOP angst grows over Trump's trade war | Trump promises help for 'Patriot Farmers' | Markets rebound | CBO founding director Alice Rivlin dies | Senate to vote on disaster aid bill next week Senators offer bipartisan retirement savings bill Top Finance Dem offers bill to help those repaying student loans save for retirement MORE (D-Md.) and Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondJudiciary Committee Dem: Impeachment should be considered Biden makes hard push for African American vote Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Google face tough questions on white nationalism | Nielsen's exit raisers cyber worries | McConnell calls net neutrality bill 'dead on arrival' | Facebook changes terms for EU data MORE (D-La.) and Doug Collins (R-Ga.) speak at an event for The Hill, "Leadership in Action: Criminal Justice Reform." Details and how to RSVP:

Sunday, Feb. 24: The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable Charity Bike Ride is being held in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The ride was organized by CBS "Face the Nation" executive producer Mary Hager in honor of her sister Anne Harrington, who recently died of colon cancer. Details:



Today is National Cherry Pie Day.


Attention, Mambo Sauce fans:

Papa John's has added Mambo Sauce wings to its Washington, D.C.-area menus. Details and where to find it:


And because you made it this far, here's a dog who is happy to become a giraffe: