The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation builds for Mueller report

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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: Washington awaits Mueller report | Trump calls for 'witch hunt' to end | House Dems plan Tuesday vote against Trump emergency | One Republican backs bill | Senate looks to avoid fall shutdown drama | Latest on Smollett: Character cut from season's last episodes | Patriots owner charged in prostitution ring | Nats say they have 'moved on' from Harper | Oscars preview | National Margarita Day deals



It's almost witch hunt time:

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE is reportedly preparing his final report on the Russia investigation, which could be given to the Justice Department as early as next week.

Who will receive the final report: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE's newly confirmed attorney general, William Barr

Why the report will give the White House headaches: Lawmakers will push to make the report public. Democrats are likely to look further into any stray leads.

What to expect:

HELPFUL LIST -- IF YOU WANT TO FEEL TOTALLY CAUGHT UP ON THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION: Here are the answers to nine questions you may have about the special counsel investigation: 


This morning from Trump -- take a sip whenever you see a Trump tweet with 'witch hunt' this weekend:

President Trump slammed the special counsel investigation, calling it a "witch hunt."

He tweeted: "Highly respected Senator Richard Burr, head of Senate Intelligence, said, after interviewing over 200 witnesses and studying over 2 million pages of documents, 'WE HAVE FOUND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA.' The Witch Hunt, so bad for our Country, must end!"


It's Friday! And more importantly, it's National Margarita Day! 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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Breaking — Robert Kraft has been charged in a prostitution ring:

Via WPTV West Palm Beach, as part of a human trafficking investigation, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with soliciting a prostitute. Full report:

How many people have been charged: Kraft is one of 25 people who are reportedly facing charges.

Keep in mind: There is video evidence of two instances that involved Kraft, according to Jupiter, Fla. police. 

The full list of who has been charged:

What we know:


Jussie Smollett's character cut from season's last episodes:

The executive producers of "Empire" announced they are cutting Jussie Smollett's character from the last two episodes of the season.

The producers said in a statement: "The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our 'Empire' family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. ... While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season."

BACK STORY: "Empire" star Jussie Smollett was arrested for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself. Details:


Just so he knows they are NOT on his side:

House Democrats introduced a resolution to block President Trump's use of a national emergency to fund a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sponsors: Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroJulian Castro hints at brother Joaquin's Senate run Dems prepare next steps after Trump's veto Joaquin Castro closing in on 2020 Senate bid: report MORE (D-Texas) introduced the bill with at least 225 co-sponsors. Including at least one Republican: Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP lawmaker tells party to 'do better' after O'Rourke St. Patrick's Day post The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Trump: I told Republicans to vote for 'transparency' in releasing Mueller report MORE (Mich.).

Why some Republicans are not on board with Trump's declaration: "Several GOP senators have expressed opposition to Trump's emergency declaration, warning it could set a precedent for a future president to declare an emergency to circumvent Congress on another issue, such as climate change or gun control." 

But even if Dems can pull a few Republicans on board: "Trump would likely then veto the resolution, and it is not expected that the House and Senate would have the two-thirds majorities needed to override a veto." 


WHERE HOUSE REPUBLICANS STAND: Via The Hill's Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, "Few House Republicans appear ready to defy President Trump by backing a resolution that would stop his emergency declaration to build a wall on the Mexican border."



Coast Guard officer accused of plotting hit list denied bail:

Via CBS News, "A Coast Guard officer suspected of drawing up a hit list of top Democrats and TV journalists spent hours on his work computer researching the words and deeds of infamous bombers and mass shooters while also stockpiling weapons, federal prosecutors said Thursday."

Who: 49-year-old Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, a self-described white nationalist, according to his writings that were obtained by the government.

Where: Hasson worked at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., and lived in Silver Spring, Md. 

He will remain in jail: Hasson was denied bail yesterday. 

Photo of the arsenal found in his home:

Who was on his hit list: House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRisk-averse Republicans are failing the republic The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump, Saturday Night Live and why autocrats can't take a joke MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand shows off 'just trying to get some ranch' t-shirt Rubio to introduce legislation to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight MORE (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 Big Tech is not the enemy, Sen. Warren MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Citizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Booker opens up about relationship with Rosario Dawson MORE (D-N.J.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJ.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes to host Kamala Harris fundraiser Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 MORE (D-Calif.), MSNBC's Chris Hayes, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, CNN's Chris Cuomo and CNN's Van Jones.

The full back story:


But what even is the fall without shutdown threats?!:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, senators are plotting to get the government funding process back to a normal schedule to avoid another shutdown brawl in the fall. How they plan to do that:



The most entertaining thread I've read all morning:

Read the responses below: 


@Chelsea_5512: "Apparently I didn't take my first steps in front of any adults. I crawled to another room, practiced until I got the hang of it, and THEN walked out."

@SketchesbyBoze: "In middle school I used to have private awards ceremonies for the books I had read that year, like an Oscars for books, and would make up speeches for all the characters to say ... I remember Hemingway, accepting his award for The Old Man and the Sea, plugging the *next* book he had written. (I was such a dork omg)."

@AshleyMason739: "I didn't speak until I was over two years old, causing my mother to worry for a long time that I might be deaf. When I finally did speak it was when my parents had friends over for dinner; my first words, addressed to the person next to me, were 'would you like some more cake?'"



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

Today -- Monday: The National Governors Association winter meeting begins in Washington, D.C. Details:

Noon: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PencePence hosts openly gay Irish prime minister and his partner for breakfast The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Senate GOP clash over Yemen, border security Karen Pence leads US delegation to Special Olympics in UAE MORE host National Governors Association members for lunch.

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to discuss trade. Details:

7:35 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the Republican Governors Association event at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday: Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Overnight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Democrats offer legislation to counter White House climate science council MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsNearly 40 advocacy groups press lawmakers over NSA call records program Trump: Strzok transcript 'devastating' for FBI, DOJ, CIA House Judiciary Republican releases transcript of ex-FBI agent Strzok's testimony MORE (R-Ga.), Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Del. Stacey PlaskettStacey PlaskettChris Evans talks NATO, Marvel secrets on Capitol Hill Dem goes viral for 'eye roll' at Republican during Cohen testimony Clyburn pushes next steps on criminal justice reform MORE (D-Virgin Islands) speak at an event for The Hill, "Leadership in Action: Criminal Justice Reform." Details and how to RSVP:

Next week: President Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam. Preview from Foreign Policy:

Newly announced -- July 2021: Release date for "Space Jam 2" with Lebron James



7:30 p.m. EST: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at a New Hampshire Democratic Party dinner in Manchester, N.H. Livestream:

8 p.m. EST Sunday: The Oscars. Quick catch-up: 



Today is National Margarita Day

Nationally: Here's where to get the best margarita deals today:

In D.C.: Here are the best marg deals in the D.C. area today:


Time to get a new Nats jersey?:

Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner said he has not heard from Bryce Harper and Scott Boras in months.

Lerner told NBC Sports this morning: "Nothing's certainly changed on our end. We've moved on. As I said back then and we had to. There was no way we could wait around. Bryce, I'm sure will make his decision hopefully in the next few days, but we've filled out our roster and like I said, we wish him nothing but the best."


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here's a one-year-old who is living her best life: