The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Dems set stage for fight over security clearances

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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 — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — WH staffer raises 'grave' concerns over security clearances | House panel to vote on subpoena for Mueller report | Trump steps up threats to close border | GOP lawmakers rooting against ObamaCare lawsuit | Biden faces 'Me Too' moment | Elon Musk releases rap single about Harambe | Cherry blossoms at peak bloom



Blink twice if it was you:

A White House staffer told the House Oversight and Reform Committee of "grave" national security concerns about the Trump administration's security clearance process.

Now what: The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced plans to subpoena a former White House official to investigate the security clearance practices. 


Census or senseless, amirite?:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE criticized Democrats for their opposition to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

He tweeted: "Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question," Trump tweeted. "Report would be meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous) that it costs to put together!" 


"Trump's tweet comes a day before the Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee is scheduled to vote to issue subpoenas to Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossRoss in Trump's crosshairs after census loss: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke This week: House Dems voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt MORE and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrACLU says it will 'sue swiftly' over Trump administration ending asylum protections Trump to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants at US-Mexico border This week: House Dems voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt MORE over the administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census."


Fix it:

President Trump urged Democrats to work with Republicans and fix U.S. asylum laws quickly.

He tweeted: "Democrats, working with Republicans in Congress, can fix the Asylum and other loopholes quickly. We have a major National Emergency at our Border. GET IT DONE NOW!"  


"Trump previously sought to unilaterally change asylum laws by signing a proclamation to block some migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally from applying for asylum. Trump's effort was blocked by a court order. Trump regularly complains about U.S. immigration law. He often blames Democrats for a failure to act, despite Republicans controlling Congress for the first two years of his presidency." 


It's April Fools' Day -- be aware. Be very aware.  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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Not the storyline you want a few weeks before announcing:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Biden pitches new subsidies, public option in health care plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE is scrambling to handle the fallout after being accused of inappropriately touching a former Nevada politician.

The incident: Lucy Flores alleges that in 2014 Biden touched her shoulders and kissed the back of her head before a campaign event. 

From Flores: "As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. 'Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?'" Read the op-ed that started this controversy:

Statement from Biden: "I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear," Biden said in a new statement. "But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will." Read Biden's full statement:

When Biden plans to announce his 2020 run: At the end of April. 

From Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Judd Gregg: Counting the costs of Democrats' desires MORE (I-Vt.): "I have no reason not to believe Lucy." On Biden's potential 2020 run: "I think that's a decision for the vice president to make. I'm not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody." Keep in mind: Biden's accuser endorsed Sanders in 2016.


Via The New York Times's Sydney Ember and Jonathan Martin



Happening Wednesday -- a vote on the Mueller report:

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to vote on authorizing a subpoena for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's full report and any related evidence.

Keep in mind: Attorney General William Barr is planning to give Congress a public version of the report. It could be released by mid-April.


When you're secretly rooting for your frenemy to lose:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Peter Sullivan, "Senate Republicans are privately rooting against President Trump in his court battle to strike down the Affordable Care Act." Why: "GOP lawmakers worry that if Trump wins, Congress won't be able to pass anything to replace ObamaCare -- and they'll pay for it at the ballot box." What to expect:


Last week, President Trump told reporters that Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' GOP senator: US should 'reevaluate' long-term relationship with Saudis Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Wyo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidySenate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown Laura Ingraham says her family won't wear Nike again after 'Betsy Ross flag' sneaker canceled GOP sen: Democrats talking about 'Medicare for All' shows they're unhappy with ObamaCare MORE (R-La.) are working on a "spectacular" ObamaCare replacement. Well, a GOP Senate aide said those senators aren't actually working in a group. "I think he just sort of listed names" of senators who frequently work on health care issues. 


What else is happening in Congress this week:

Trump nominees: "Senate Republicans are preparing to push through a rules change that would cut down the amount of time it takes to confirm hundreds of President Trump's nominees."

ObamaCare: "The House is slated to vote Tuesday on a resolution condemning the Trump administration's push to deem the Affordable Care Act invalid in the courts."

Yemen: "The House is likely to take up a resolution breaking with the White House over its support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, paving the way for Trump's second veto."

Disaster aid: "The Senate still needs to wrap up work on a disaster aid package meant to respond to a spate of recent storms, hurricanes and wildfires."

Violence against women: "A bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which provides funding and grants for a variety of programs that tackle domestic abuse, will be considered on the floor. VAWA previously expired after Congress failed to pass an extension in a massive funding bill earlier this year." 

Discharge petition: "House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump Hillicon Valley: Trump rails against 'terrible bias' at White House social media summit | Twitter hit by hour-long outage | Google admits workers listen to smart device recordings Democrats' opposition research got exposed — this time, not by the Russians MORE (R-La.) is slated to introduce a discharge petition on Tuesday aimed at forcing a floor vote on a bill requiring medical care protections for infants born during an abortion." 

Context and details from The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke:



I do NOT encourage any of you to watch this, but I just thought you should know:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped a surprise rap single. Yes, you read that right. It gets weirder: The song, "RIP Harambe," is dedicated to the 17-year-old gorilla who was shot by a Cincinnati Zoo worker after a toddler fell into his enclosure.

The song if you feel so inclined...: I won't tell anyone.



Today is PEAK cherry blossom:

According to the National Park Service, today is the peak date for cherry blossoms this year. What is peak bloom: Approximately 70 percent of the blooms are open.


Because of the good weather, the cherry blossoms could stay in full bloom for much of this week. Details:



Welp, I can't unsee this:


This is a very serious matter:

Lol, I appreciate April Fools' jokes like this. 


Individuals with kidney diseases are living longer and fuller lives, but there’s more to be done. A continued focus on earlier diagnoses and innovative approaches to treatment are critical. Learn more.



11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump's Iran policy proves the primacy of US power — but to what end? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke State Department raises concerns about Sweden's treatment of detained American rapper MORE.

Noon: The House is in.

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

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

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.

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

6:30 pm. EDT: First and last votes in the House.

6:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the BakerHostetler Legislative Dinner at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.



5:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in the 2019 prison reform summit and First Step Act celebration in the East Room of the White House. Livestream:



Today is National Sourdough Bread Day.


Because we're all on high alert today:

Here's a list of some of the best April Fools' pranks of all time:


And because you made it this far, here is the most competitive baby race I've ever seen. That is the most dramatic ending: