The Hill's 12:30 Report: Cohen back on the hot seat

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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: Cohen back on Capitol Hill | DHS chief Nielsen defends border emergency | Border emergency vote puts McConnell in tough spot | Prosecutors drop charges against former Rep. Schock | Dems delay vote on anti-Semitism resolution | Progressives defend Omar | House Dem campaign chief pours cold water on 'Medicare for all' | Rep. Dingell hands out 3K Polish doughnuts | National Oreo Day

 

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

New reporting on the Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenCohen challenges Sekulow to testify about Trump Tower meetings George Conway contrasts Trump denying 'cover-ups' with check to Michael Cohen Avenatti indicted for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels MORE payments

Where do I sign?:

Via The New York Times's Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, "On a busy day at the White House, President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE hosted senators to talk about tax cuts, accused a Democratic congresswoman of distorting his condolence call to a soldier's widow and suffered another court defeat for his travel ban targeting Muslim countries."

"And at some point on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, Mr. Trump took the time to sign a $35,000 check to his lawyer, who had made hush payments to prevent alleged sexual misconduct from being exposed before the 2016 presidential election. It was one of 11 occasions that Mr. Trump or his trust cut such checks, six of which were provided this week to The New York Times."  https://nyti.ms/2J5NHBU

 

Maggie Haberman then discussed her reporting on CNN:

The New York Times's Maggie Haberman: "What people close to the president said is they are not sure he actually knew what the payments were going toward. That he thought he was getting a legal fee to repay Michael Cohen." 

CNN host Alisyn Camerota: "That's absurd, Maggie..." 

Haberman shot back: "It's not absurd, I don't agree."

Camerota: "$35,000 and to not know. This is a man who didn't even pay his vendors when they completed work for him. This is somebody who doesn't part with $35,000."

Haberman: "I'm just doing this for a theoretical here, let's say he thought he was reimbursing Michael Cohen for other things that he may not want people to know about. I'm talking specifically about the Stormy Daniels thing. So, no, I disagree that it's absurd."

Watch the back and forth -- it's pretty awkward: Via Mediaite: http://bit.ly/2EOZD6Y

 

It's Ash 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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ON CAPITOL HILL

Michael Cohen is getting to know the Capitol well:

Watchhttp://bit.ly/2Tk30vQ 

Keep in mind: Michael Cohen was supposed to report for prison today. His sentence has been postponed until May 6.

 

Rep. Omar is forming her squad:

Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos, progressives are running to the defense of Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIt's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Omar hits Trump on 'stable genius' claim: 'Deranged, bizarre, incoherent, sad' Carson invokes abortion in Twitter response to jab from Omar MORE (D-Minn.) after her controversial remarks about Israel. http://bit.ly/2SMOOpZ

Who: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez defends Dem lawmaker who said child migrant deaths were 'intentional' On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Murkowski celebrates birthday with electric scooter ride MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSteyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess Tlaib urges Mnuchin to seek personal legal advice Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment MORE (D-Mich.).

The House will likely vote tomorrow: The House is preparing to pass a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism. The vote was scheduled for today, but House Democratic leaders postponed it. http://bit.ly/2EHKPWH

Keep in mind: The resolution does not mention Omar by name. 

 

Tidbit -- Mardi Gras was in full swing on Capitol Hill:

Via Politico's Sarah Ferris, "Rep. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellDemocrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure Dems walk Trump trade tightrope Pompeo, Army chief of staff attend ceremony honoring Bob Dole MORE delivered a huuuge spread of Polish doughnuts to the press gallery today for Fat Tuesday, carrying on a tradition started by her husband." http://bit.ly/2EFxE8I

Back story: Her late husband, Rep. John DingellJohn DingellMcCain and Dingell: Inspiring a stronger Congress Pelosi should take a page from Tip O'Neill's playbook Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE (D-Mich.), started handing out paczki over 40 years ago to honor his Polish heritage. How it started: http://bit.ly/2IXe5xX

 

LATEST WITH THE BORDER EMERGENCY DEBATE

Seeking any and all ideas:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, the GOP is struggling to find a unified strategy ahead of next week's floor fight over President Trump's national emergency declaration to build a border wall. http://bit.ly/2Hjd8xq

Where the Republican debate stands: "Republicans are discussing the possibility of alternative measures that would let the caucus lay out its position on border security and offer a counterpoint to a House-passed resolution of disapproval blocking Trump. But instead of bringing Republicans together, they are struggling to agree on what an alternative would look like -- underscoring the deep divisions sparked by Trump's action."

What to expect: http://bit.ly/2Hjd8xq

HOW THE BORDER WALL DEBATE HAS SNOWBALLED IN THE SENATE: It puts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE (R-Ky.) in a tough spot. The measure is expected to pass the Senate, but McConnell also wants to avoid what could be an embarrassment for Trump. http://bit.ly/2VEQ3sY

 

Happening this morning -- let's talk it out:

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenCongressional Hispanic Caucus demands answers on death of migrant children Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post Kobach gave list of demands to White House for 'immigration czar' job: report MORE is testifying about border security before the House Homeland Security Committee. 

The highlight: Nielsen defended President Trump's national emergency declaration. From her opening statement: "Although we may disagree on solutions, I hope there can be a consensus that the current system isn't working and that this is an emergency." http://bit.ly/2VIzIDU

On whether the declaration is necessary: "I give [Trump] the operations reality," she said. "Here's what we're facing, here's what we're seeing, here are the facts. By my read of it, it is an emergency." http://bit.ly/2VIzIDU

Livestream: http://bit.ly/2C5XEtg

Liveblog of updates: https://cnn.it/2VHj1Zq

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Just now — Schock charges dropped:

"Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they would defer prosecuting former Rep. Aaron SchockAaron Jon SchockThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Cohen back on the hot seat Prosecutors drop charges against former Rep. Aaron Schock Supreme Court won't hear appeal from ex-Rep. Aaron Schock MORE (R-Ill.) in return for an agreement that he repay more than $100,000 in misappropriated funds." http://bit.ly/2C6eesU

Details: "Prosecutors said Schock had agreed to repay $42,000 to the Internal Revenue Service and $68,000 to his campaign account. Instead of facing felony charges, Schock would agree to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of improperly reporting expenses."

Back story: "He resigned from Congress a month after a Washington Post profile reported that he had decorated his congressional office in the style of the hit show 'Downton Abbey' at taxpayer expense."

 

Yikes, this is bold:

"Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneDOJ plans to show Senate Intel less-redacted Mueller report, filing shows Roger Stone considers suing to discover if he was spied on by FBI Stone claims unfair prosecution by Mueller MORE, an associate of President Trump, admitted in open court that a volunteer had given him two or three photos of [District Judge Amy Berman Jackson] to choose from, and for an Instagram post he picked the one that appeared to show the crosshairs of a rifle scope behind Jackson's head. 'You had a choice?' Jackson asked, incredulous after Stone's admission." Details of the hearing: http://bit.ly/2TBCSvu

 

I.e.: 'You're doing amazing, sweetie':

Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, "The House Democrats' new campaign chief on Tuesday poured cold water on the progressive Medicare for All plan, dismissing it as just 'one idea' out there and warning that its estimated $33 trillion price tag was 'a little scary.'" http://bit.ly/2IV7VhG

Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosHit singer Andy Grammer says 'unity' more important than any political party The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes DCCC chair Bustos pulls out of fundraiser for anti-abortion rights Democrat MORE (Ill.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told The Hill: "What do we have -- 130 million-something Americans who get their health insurance through their work? The transition from what we have now to Medicare for all, it's just hard to conceive how that would work. You have so many jobs attached to the health care industry."

Back story to the 'you're doing amazing, sweetie' meme: http://bit.ly/2Tt9rfj

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

This pup is quite fashionable: 

A photo from Tilly the pup's Instagram: http://bit.ly/2EQPqai

  

I have so many questions: 

Read the full description -- wow:

Another fun fact: "Three world leaders gifted Trump photos or portraits of himself in 2017, per State Department." Read the descriptions: http://bit.ly/2VHfquq

  

ON TAP

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

1:15 p.m. EST: The House votes.

2 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Danny Burch, an American citizen who was held hostage in Yemen. Back story: https://nyti.ms/2TyD1zZ

2:45 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerOvernight Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds Trump taps new Air Force secretary The Hill's 12:30 Report: Alabama abortion bill revives national debate MORE (R-Ill.). 

4 p.m. EST: The Senate votes.

March 12: The House will hold a hearing on the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The deal has come under criticism from progressives. Details: https://reut.rs/2XH9bbJ

  

WHAT TO WATCH

This morning: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified on border security before the House Homeland Security Committee. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2SK3LJb

12:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2TxXyog

4 p.m. EST: President Trump participates in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2IYkt8a

8 a.m. EST Thursday: The Hill is hosting an event, "History Makers: Women & the 116th Congress." Featured speakers: Reps. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHouse Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Democrats who support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump Overnight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military MORE (D-Texas), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxThe GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House When disaster relief hurts Lobbying World MORE (R-N.C.), Deb HaalandDebra HaalandOvernight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military House Dem's bill would require ride-hailing companies to cover drivers' Social Security costs MORE (D-N.M.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Carol MillerCarol Devine MillerKerry goes after Trump over climate on Capitol Hill Overnight Energy: Interior pick heads toward Senate confirmation | Dems want probe into nominee's role on pesticide report | House climate panel holds first hearing Newly-formed House climate panel holds first hearing MORE (R-W.Va.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillHouse Dems launch Servicewomen and Women Veterans caucus Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (D-N.J.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language Senators offer bipartisan bill to help US firms remove Huawei equipment from networks Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers seek 'time out' on facial recognition tech | DHS asks cybersecurity staff to volunteer for border help | Judge rules Qualcomm broke antitrust law | Bill calls for 5G national security strategy MORE (D-Va.) and Del. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico). Moderated by: The Hill's Bob Cusack and Cate Martel. Details and livestream: http://bit.ly/2NEZJkI

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Oreo Day!

 

And because you made it this far, here's a puppy who keeps forgetting not to eat his best friend: http://bit.ly/2H4r8fk