The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington riveted by Cohen testimony

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

--> 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: Michael Cohen testifies on Trump | Washington riveted by testimony | Cohen calls Trump a 'conman' and 'racist' | Alleges Trump knew about Stone, WikiLeaks talks | Cohen says he has no direct evidence of collusion | Giuliani calls testimony 'pathetic' | DC bars open early for hearing | Trump meets Kim in Vietnam | Touts their 'great relationship' | Some reporters barred from Trump-Kim dinner | What was on the menu



'Prison Mike' makes an appearance:

 --> ;)

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 former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is giving explosive and scathing testimony on Capitol Hill about Trump


Live blog of updates:



Yikes, lots of buzzwords in his opening statement: "I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneOverwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Trump seizes on poll that shows half agree Mueller investigation is a 'witch hunt' Judge sets Roger Stone trial for early November MORE was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of [Democratic National Committee] emails." Read Cohen's full opening statement: 

Read Cohen's evidence:

One of Cohen's biggest regrets: "[Trump] asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. ... Lying to the first lady is one of my biggest regrets. She is a kind, good person. I respect her greatly and she did not deserve that."

Cohen apologizes: "Over the past year or so, I have done some real soul searching," Cohen said. "I am sorry for my lies and for lying to Congress. And to our nation, I am sorry for actively working to hide from you the truth about Mr. Trump when you needed it most." 

Cohen was asked about the @WomenForCohen Twitter account: "We were having fun during a stressful time," Cohen said. 

Cohen on being disbarred: "As of yesterday, I am no longer a lawyer."

Trump apparently referred to his campaign as an infomercial: "Mr. Trump would often say this campaign was going to be the greatest infomercial in political history. He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign for him was always a marketing opportunity."

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan, Meadows backed by new ads from pro-Trump group: report Jordan jokes that sport coats inhibit him during heated hearings Attorney previously in contact with Cohen pushes back on pardon narrative to CNN MORE (R-Ohio) tore into Cohen: The back and forth:

On whether Trump colluded with Russia: "Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia," Cohen said. "I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions."



Photo of the Trump check for the Stormy Daniels payment:

Cohen's arrival on the Hill: He (unsurprisingly) has quite the police escort. Photo: 

Republicans decorated the room: "Republicans have put up posters in the hearing room with quotes critical of Michael Cohen." Photo from NBC's Frank Thorp V:

Oh, hello there: Trump ally Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrump: I told Republicans to vote for 'transparency' in releasing Mueller report House votes for Mueller report to be made public Matt Gaetz jabs Don Lemon while talking to Chris Cuomo on CNN MORE (R-Fla.), who is not a member of the Oversight and Reform Committee. Gaetz apologized yesterday after a tweet directed at Cohen that raised questions of witness tampering. Photo:

Before the hearing began: "Some members of the crowd waiting in the hallway to get into the Cohen hearing cheered when [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez fires back at Jamie Dimon after CEO dismisses Green New Deal Inslee: We want world to know 'there is still intelligent life in the US' The importance of moderate voters MORE (D-N.Y.)] walked into the committee room." (Via The Hill's Olivia Beavers

Photo of a just part of the long line to get into the hearing:

If you want an idea of the interest: Here's a photo of all the networks airing the hearing. "Four broadcast networks. Three cable news networks. Plus international and Spanish-language networks." 

You have a last-minute 'doctor's appointment': Here's a list of bars in Washington, D.C., where you can watch the Cohen hearing: 



From Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani: Giuliani told The Washington Post, "It's pathetic. This is a lawyer who [taped] his own client when he claimed he was being loyal. If you believe him you are a fool."

From Trump’s informal adviser: "Roger Stone in a text to The Hill on Wednesday denied Michael Cohen’s allegation that President Trump knew that Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks about the release of damaging Democratic emails ahead of the 2016 presidential election." His text: "Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true.” (From The Hill’s Jacqueline Thomsen


It’s a wild Wednesday in Washington. Filing from Capitol Hill, 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.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily:



Welcome to season two of the Trump-Kim show!:

President Trump had his first full day of meetings in Hanoi, Vietnam.



U.S. print reporters were not allowed into the dinner: "North Korean reporters were allowed in the Trump-[Kim Jong Un] dinner tonight. US print reporters were blocked by the White House after shouted questions at an earlier event. Needless to say, the North Korean reporters do not shout questions." (Via The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey

Why the U.S. reporters were excluded: Reuters' Jeff Mason and The Associated Press's Jonathan Lemire shouted questions about denuclearization and Michael Cohen during a photo-op with President Trump and Kim Jong UnStatement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

^ Stepping back -- why this is important: The New York Times's Maggie Haberman tweeted, "To be clear, the reporters are being excluded by an official from the US government, not foreign officials, in one of the more outrageous moves by this White House."



Ever tried to agree to split two entrees with a friend? Imagine a foreign dictator: "A source close to the planning of tonight's dinner in Hanoi with Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un says it has been a struggle to get the menu approved by the US and North Korea. If they had a hard time negotiating what's for dinner, what does that say about denuclearization talks?!" (Via CNN's Will Ripley

The dinner menu -- YUM, lava cake: "Trump dinner menu with Kim Jong-Un included Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled Sirloin with Pear Kimchi, and Chocolate Lava cake"

The dinner location: Here's a photo of the Hotel Metropole Hanoi, the site of the Trump-Kim dinner:

This is pretty funny to hear ~about~: "White House pool van has a malfunctioning horn that is constantly going off as we wind our way through Hanoi." (Via The Associated Press's Jonathan Lemire




Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerIvanka Trump, Jared Kushner treat reporters during Jewish holiday of Purim NYC official accuses Kushner Cos. of illegally operating buildings without certification Trump to host Netanyahu at White House MORE met with the Saudi Crown Prince:

"President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met this week with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.: Keep in mind: The White House statement did not mention the murder of Khashoggi.  


A limit on a key deduction:

Via The Hill's Naomi Jagoda, "Nearly 11 million taxpayers may be subject to the limits on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction in President Trump's tax law, a Treasury Department watchdog estimated in a report released Tuesday."



Meanwhile in Oregon...:

I hope the llama paid, just like everyone else.

The full story in The Oregonian:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is in Hanoi, Vietnam. Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

8:55 a.m. EST: President Trump finished his day in Hanoi. It's 8:55 p.m. in Vietnam.

2:15–3:15 p.m. EST: The House votes. 



This morning: President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen testifies on Capitol Hill. Livestream:

3 p.m. EST: A House hearing on transgender military service. Livestream:



Today is National Strawberry Day. It's also National Kahlua Day.


And to pull your away from all of the news today, here's the journey of a duck helping her ducklings out of a pool: