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 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 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 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.) 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 CollinsSara Gideon wins Democratic race to challenge Susan Collins The Hill's Campaign Report: Key races take shape in Alabama, Texas, Maine Illinois House Republican leader won't attend GOP convention in Florida: 'It's not going to be a safe environment' MORE (Maine)

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiIllinois House Republican leader won't attend GOP convention in Florida: 'It's not going to be a safe environment' Sixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads MORE (Alaska)

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisConservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos MORE (N.C.)

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderIllinois House Republican leader won't attend GOP convention in Florida: 'It's not going to be a safe environment' Conservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (Tenn.)

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe four China strategies Trump or Biden will need to consider The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos MORE (Colo.)

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioChina sanctions Cruz, Rubio, others over Xinjiang legislation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K GOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' MORE (Fla.)

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIllinois House Republican leader won't attend GOP convention in Florida: 'It's not going to be a safe environment' Judge seeks copy of order commuting Roger Stone sentence Top Mueller prosecutor: 'We could have done more' in Russia investigation MORE (Utah)

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE (Utah)

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' probe report Senate Democrats push federal agencies to combat coronavirus scams and robocalls MORE (Kan.)

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP lawmakers push amendment to rescind authority for troops in Afghanistan House GOP lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19 Top White House aide shares cartoon mocking Fauci 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'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 (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 PompeoUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Overnight Defense: Panel approves 4.6B bill addressing border wall funds, Confederate name changes | Navy ship fire rages on Trump says he has no plans to speak with Chinese president 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 CardinCongress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans 1,700 troops will support Trump 'Salute to America' celebrations July 4: Pentagon MORE (D-Md.) and Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondBlack Caucus unveils next steps to combat racism Gaetz tweets photo of teenage adopted son after hearing battle Tensions flare between Reps. Cedric Richmond and Matt Gaetz during police reform hearing 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: