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

 
TALK OF THE MORNING

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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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. http://bit.ly/2U0bGn8

He tweeted: "The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!"  http://bit.ly/2SN03DM

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!" http://bit.ly/2TZoqdG

 

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. https://nyti.ms/2Sffgbe

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: https://nyti.ms/2Sffgbe

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: http://bit.ly/2SRUVyh

 

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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and  Facebook.

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LATEST WITH THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION

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. http://bit.ly/2T6c32r

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 PelosiAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib In Hong Kong, the need for peaceful persistence 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: http://bit.ly/2tvLbdF

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (Maine)

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Congress kicks bipartisan energy innovation into higher gear MORE (Alaska)

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Gun reform groups to pressure GOP senators with rallies in all 50 states To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (N.C.)

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (Tenn.)

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (Colo.)

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (Fla.)

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE (Utah)

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeMcConnell, allies lean into Twitter, media 'war' Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (Utah)

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Olympic athletes in response to abuse scandals Overnight Defense: Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sales | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan | Senators tee up nominations, budget deal ahead of recess Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sale MORE (Kan.)

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (Ky.)

Why each of these Republicans could break with Trump: http://bit.ly/2tvLbdF

 

IN LOCAL NEWS

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: http://bit.ly/2XgNYFx

Thundersnow has been reported in a few areas: http://bit.ly/2T44Z6h

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: https://wapo.st/2T5baHm

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." https://on.wusa9.com/2NfozHy

'Neither rain nor snow': Here's video of the USPS in Vienna, Va. http://bit.ly/2IrFaJv

Closures: Schools and the federal government are closed in the area. https://wapo.st/2BKfIsZ

 

IN OTHER NEWS

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. http://bit.ly/2DXlS9e

 

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

Via CNN's Eric Bradner, former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeHillicon Valley: O'Rourke proposal targets tech's legal shield | Dem wants public review of FCC agreement with T-Mobile, Sprint | Voters zero in on cybersecurity | Instagram to let users flag misinformation O'Rourke proposes holding tech platforms accountable for hate speech The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape 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." https://cnn.it/2tr7W2y

 

Yikes:

Via Cleveland.com, "Man punches his lawyer in the face after being sentenced to 45 years in prison." http://bit.ly/2VaJRca

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

'Hero' is correct: 

Back story: https://wapo.st/2XeFNsZ

  

This is a great chart:

Full size photo: http://bit.ly/2TZRHoH

  

ON TAP

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 PompeoTrump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan Japan's Hormuz dilemma The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? 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 CardinAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction Financial aid fraud is wrong — but overcorrection could hurt more students Democrats denounce Trump's attack on Cummings: 'These are not the words of a patriot' MORE (D-Md.) and Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondHouse Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Democratic lawmakers support Bustos after DCCC resignations 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: http://bit.ly/2Ip4yzj

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: http://bit.ly/2NftXug

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

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: http://bit.ly/2Sf6WIJ

 

And because you made it this far, here's a dog who is happy to become a giraffe: http://bit.ly/2TXUDlF