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 CohenJudge rejects Michael Cohen's plea for early prison release amid coronavirus Michael Cohen cites 'absence of presidential leadership' over coronavirus in effort to move to home confinement Free Roger Stone 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 TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' 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 OmarTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Undocumented aliens should stay away as COVID-19 rages in the US The Southern Poverty Law Center and yesterday's wars MORE (D-Minn.) after her controversial remarks about Israel. http://bit.ly/2SMOOpZ

Who: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Trump blasts Schumer over 'incorrect sound bites' on coronavirus Trump warns against 'partisan investigations' after Pelosi establishes select committee on virus response MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless 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 DingellOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Coronavirus stimulus package shouldn't leave out older Americans 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 DingellThe Memo: Trump tests limits of fiery attacks during crisis Overwhelming majority of voters say civility is needed in politics Lawmakers discuss how to work together in midst of impeachment fight 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 McConnellTop Federal Reserve official: Further coronavirus stimulus bill may not be needed How governments around the world are passing laws amid the coronavirus crisis Stephen Moore: We're facing another 'Great Depression' 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 NielsenHillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Sen. Kennedy slams acting DHS secretary for lack of coronavirus answers The 'accidental director' on the front line of the fight for election security 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 SchockFormer GOP Rep. Aaron Schock comes out as gay Now that Aaron Schock is 'out,' he can be a powerful LGBTQ ally Feds formally drop charges against former 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 StoneJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on House Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak Trump 'strongly considering' full pardon for Flynn 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 BustosDemocrats ask Trump for evidence that medical supplies are available Annual Congressional Dinner pushed back to June amid coronavirus concerns Internal Democratic research shows Hispanics energized to vote in November 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 KinzingerLawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Blagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' 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 EscobarTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Hispanic Democrats demand funding for multilingual coronavirus messaging MORE (D-Texas), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxHouse Republicans oppose remote voting during crisis Congress debating ways to help boost economy hit by coronavirus Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus MORE (R-N.C.), Deb HaalandDebra HaalandPressure mounts for national parks closure amid coronavirus We must demand our government decrease emissions from federal public lands Asian Pacific American Caucus vice chair 'shocked and dismayed' GOP leader referred to 'Chinese coronavirus' MORE (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 SherrillBiden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins Elbow bumps, Spock salutes: How Congress is dealing with coronavirus Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal amid coronavirus threat | Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol | Coronavirus emerges as 2020 flashpoint MORE (D-N.J.) and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerJuan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Security contractor Erik Prince reportedly recruited ex-spies to help Project Veritas infiltrate liberal groups Hillicon Valley: Barr offers principles to prevent online child exploitation | Facebook removes misleading Trump census ads | House passes bill banning TSA use of TikTok 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