The Hill's 12:30 Report: Wide-ranging Dem probe targets Trump inner circle

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: House Judiciary launches sweeping Trump probe | Document request sent to over 80 people, organizations | Trump faces potential GOP revolt over border emergency | Dems have votes to send measure blocking emergency to Trump | Hickenlooper enters 2020 race | Trump promises 'A Plus treatment' for tornado victims | How House freshmen are forming cliques | 'The Sandlot' returning as TV show | April the giraffe in labor again




So much for the 'me' in 'team,' guys...:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE is facing a potential revolt among Senate Republicans over his decision to declare a national emergency to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall."

The straw that broke the camel's back: Over the weekend, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMarsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial Trump sets record for tweets as president on day House makes impeachment case MORE (R-Ky.) announced that he will oppose President Trump's national emergency declaration.

Why: Paul said he does not support giving the president "extra-constitutional powers." From Paul's Fox News op-ed: "Without question, the president's order for more wall money contradicts the will of Congress and will, in all likelihood, be struck down by the Supreme Court." Read his op-ed:

What this means for the Senate vote: Democrats now have enough votes to block the national emergency. GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Susan Collins asked Justice Roberts to intervene after Nadler late-night 'cover-up' accusation MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum MORE (Alaska) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisProgressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (N.C.) also plan to vote with Democrats, giving them the four votes to send the measure to Trump's desk.

What about the House?: House Democrats already passed the measure.

Yeah, but: Trump will almost certainly veto the measure. Democrats do not have nearly enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Why McConnell can't protect Trump from vetoes:


It's Monday. 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:



Hooooo boy:

"Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee unleashed a sprawling probe of President Trump's family, campaign and administration on Monday, that includes more than 80 requests for documents from associates of the president."

What the probes involve: "...the president's inner circle and family, as well as individuals involved in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting; plans to build a Trump property in Moscow; and a scheme to pay off women to alleged affairs with Trump before the 2016 election." 

A quick look at the those involved:

"-55 men

-6 women

-20 business/gov entities" (Via Politico's Kyle Cheney)

The full list:



Walking off into the sunset:

Via NBC's Julia Ainsleey, former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has left the Justice Department.

Keep in mind: "Whitaker had been serving as a senior counselor at the Justice Department since Attorney General William Barr was sworn in last month.” 

Whitaker's next move: Unclear, but he said he will stay in Washington, D.C. 


To channel Christina Aguilera: Move on over. Move on over, baby

Yiiiikes, this music video is SO 1990s -->

This morning, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for president.

Watch Hickenlooper's campaign announcement video:

My favorite line: "As a skinny kid with Coke-bottle glasses and a funny last name, I've stood up to my fair share of bullies." Pics of the glasses or it didn't happen, governor! ;)

Hickenlooper's first campaign rally: This Thursday in Denver.

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT JOHN HICKENLOOPER: "Hickenlooper turned his success as a brewery owner into a successful political career, becoming the mayor of Denver and then governor. He is known for his willingness to work across party lines and is considered to be a 'moderate problem-solver.'" More about him:


Trump to FEMA -- hook them up:

This morning, President Trump said he directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to give Alabama "the A Plus treatment" after deadly tornadoes ravaged through the state.

Trump tweeted: "FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes. @GovIvey, one of the best in our Country, has been so informed. She is working closely with FEMA (and me!)."

BACK STORY: Over the weekend, at least 23 people, including children, were killed by tornadoes in Alabama. From the Lee County coroner: "We had several families that have probably lost everybody in their whole family."



It's election reform week:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke, House Democrats are expected to pass an election reform bill on Wednesday.

What the bill would do: It "aims to expand voting rights through provisions including the creation of automatic voter registration, increased election security by pushing back on foreign threats and making Election Day a national holiday for federal workers." 

What Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems to present case on abuse of power on trial's third day The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' MORE (R-Ky.) calls the bill: McConnell mocked the bill, calling it the "Democrat Politician Protection Act." 



Emergency declaration: The Senate appears to have enough votes to pass a resolution to block President Trump's emergency declaration to build a border wall. When is the vote?: "The Senate is expected to vote on the measure before lawmakers leave town for a weeklong recess on March 15, but GOP aides predict it's more likely to come up on the floor next week."

Michael Cohen: President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen will continue testifying this week.

Nominations: "McConnell has teed up votes on three of Trump's circuit court picks, as Republicans fill vacancies on the key appeals bench at a record pace."

Family separation: "The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on the administration's policy for detaining immigrant families along the U.S.-Mexico border after two children died in U.S. custody."

Context and details for each:


Ain't nobody messing with my clique, clique, clique, clique

Via Politico's Melanie Zanona, Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle, House freshmen are forming cliques for influence and friendships in Congress. Details

" 'I had that split-second moment, like, do I choose an office I haven't seen ... or give up on your friends?' [Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerHouse Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts House passes bills to gain upper hand in race to 5G The biggest political upsets of the decade MORE (D-Va.)] recalled in an interview. Spanberger stuck with the group, solidifying the ties of former CIA agents, Marine Corps vets and a Navy helicopter pilot who have become one of the most visible crews of freshmen roaming the House. They now text every day in a group chat, sit together on the House floor and eat Chinese food while waiting for late-night votes." 



*Cue a collective Gen Z gasp*:

JetBlue is hosting a contest for free flights for a year. How it works: To enter, customers must delete all of their Instagram posts (!), then upload a template from JetBlue as their only post. Details:

Full rules: 



We've all been there, kid:



The House is out. The Senate meets later today.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump met with the 2018 Division I Football Championship Subdivision national champions, the North Dakota State Bison. 

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

1:45 p.m. EST: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump signs an executive order on "Supporting the Transition of Active Duty Service Members and Military Veterans into the Merchant Marine." 

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets.            

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the National Association of Attorneys General. Vice President Pence also attends.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes.

March 6: The Hill is hosting an event, "Overcoming Obstacles: Patient Access to Innovation." Featured speakers: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. Moderated by: The Hill's Bob CusackDetails and how to RSVP:

March 7: The Hill is hosting an event, "History Makers: Women & the 116th Congress." Featured speakers: Reps. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Overnight Defense: Dems raise pressure on Esper to block border wall funds | Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate | Day one dominated by fight over rules Democrats press Trump administration to stop DNA collection from detained migrants MORE (D-Texas), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxCourt ruling reignites ObamaCare fight for 2020 Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' House GOP unveils alternative drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote MORE (R-N.C.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Carol MillerCarol Devine MillerGOP women's super PAC blasts 'out of touch' candidate in NC runoff GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates Kerry goes after Trump over climate on Capitol Hill MORE (R-W.Va.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillOvernight Defense: Dems raise pressure on Esper to block border wall funds | Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate | Day one dominated by fight over rules House Dems express 'deepening concern' over plans to take .2B from Pentagon for border wall How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment MORE (D-N.J.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Del. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico). Moderated by: The Hill's Bob Cusack and Cate Martel. Details and how to RSVP:



Thursday: Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) holds his first campaign rally. Where: Denver.



Today is National Pound Cake Day.


You're killing me, Smalls!:

The 1993 film "The Sandlot" is returning as a TV show with the original cast. 

What we know about the premise: From writer-director David Mickey Evans: "It takes place in 1984, when they're all like 33 years old and they all have children of their own, and that's all I can tell you."

Keep in mind about the original film: The 1993 film was set in 1962.


Everyone's favorite giraffe is giving birth again:

Internet star April the giraffe is about the give birth again.

How to follow: Here's the livestream -- oh and you can sign up for text alerts (?!)


And to make you laugh, here's a dog trying to be as sneaky as possible. It's actually a good effort: