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

  

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

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. http://bit.ly/2U8IOgx

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 TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE criticized Democrats for their opposition to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. http://bit.ly/2YIoPnU

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!" http://bit.ly/2CNVRcy 

TIMING OF THE TWEET:

"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 RossClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Senate Democrats accuse administration of burying climate change reports Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt MORE and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt MORE over the administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census." http://bit.ly/2YIoPnU

  

Fix it:

President Trump urged Democrats to work with Republicans and fix U.S. asylum laws quickly. http://bit.ly/2FQrl42

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!"  

BACK STORY:

"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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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TALK OF THE MORNING

Not the storyline you want a few weeks before announcing:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE is scrambling to handle the fallout after being accused of inappropriately touching a former Nevada politician. http://bit.ly/2CPcMvx

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: http://bit.ly/2uF4XEe

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: http://bit.ly/2FQfPFG

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

From Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Krystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum 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. https://nyti.ms/2HSNBMz

INTERESTING READ ON WHERE BIDEN GOES FROM HERE: 

Via The New York Times's Sydney Ember and Jonathan Martinhttps://nyti.ms/2HSNBMz

  

IN CONGRESS

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 MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE's full report and any related evidence. http://bit.ly/2FH0AOc

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: http://bit.ly/2JYqrX5

REMEMBER TRUMP SAID A GROUP OF GOP SENATORS ARE WORKING ON AN OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT? WELL...:

Last week, President Trump told reporters that Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTo stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US GOP senator: Iran is behind attack on Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Wyo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall 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 ScaliseScalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran On The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes 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: http://bit.ly/2CNkoP8

  

IN OTHER NEWS

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. http://bit.ly/2uEdQOo

The song if you feel so inclined...: I won't tell anyone.  http://bit.ly/2HXpn4b

  

IN LOCAL NEWS

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. http://bit.ly/2uEplpa

HOW LONG PEAK BLOOM SHOULD LAST:

Because of the good weather, the cherry blossoms could stay in full bloom for much of this week. Details: https://wapo.st/2U7dQFL

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

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.

 

ON TAP

11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Senate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions State Department's top arms control official leaving 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.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

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: http://bit.ly/2I128Fg

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

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: https://cnn.it/2FPIvi9

 

And because you made it this far, here is the most competitive baby race I've ever seen. That is the most dramatic ending: http://bit.ly/2JUNvpD