The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Biden says he's 'not sorry' for past actions

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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 —  Biden addresses controversy | 'Not sorry for any of my intentions' | Offers jokes at speech | Trump says he doesn't see Biden 'as a threat' | Obama quiet as Biden under attack | Trump heading to the border | Accuses Dems of inventing a cover-up over Mueller report | Mnuchin faces test over Trump tax returns | Trump insists law '100 percent' on his side | Strong March jobs report | Trump to skip WHCA dinner

 

JUST NOW

Joe.:

During Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Yang: Standing next to Biden on debate stage would help boost name recognition MORE’s first event since the allegations of inappropriate touching, Biden joked about the controversy. http://bit.ly/2TZTYPU

Omg, this happened: When Biden arrived on stage at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) conference, he shook the hand of the union president Lonnie Stephenson and gave him a brief hug. “I want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie,” Biden joked to the crowd. 

And then: Later in the remarks, Biden invited several children on stage and shook their hands. Then he pulled one of the boys close and put his arm around him.

"By the way, he gave me permission to touch him,” Biden said. 

Watch the back and forth: http://bit.ly/2FQdCsC

For context — here's one opinion on the situation: The Washington Post’s Matt Viser tweeted, “Joe Biden's twice joked about his physical behavior toward others and made asking permission for it seem silly. If anyone's looking for contriteness after the last week, his speech makes clear: Joe Biden is Joe Biden. He’s 76 years old. And love him or hate him, he ain’t changing.” http://bit.ly/2HZBYUr    

BIDEN JUST SPOKE TO REPORTERS:

"'I wouldn't be surprised' if more women come forward to raise concerns about his behavior, Biden tells reporters. ‘But I've had hundreds and hundreds of people who contact me and say the exact opposite... I'm sorry I didn't understand more. I'm not sorry for any of my intentions.’ " http://bit.ly/2I2pxqE

 

Happy Friday!  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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NEWS THIS MORNING

But first, let me take a selfie: 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE spoke to reporters on the White House lawn before departing for California. 

Livestream of Trump’s remarks: https://cs.pn/2CXXVyM

HERE ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS:

On Joe Biden: "I don't see him as a threat. I think he's only a threat to himself. ... He’s been there a long time. His record’s not good. He’d have to run on the Obama failed record." http://bit.ly/2G25Ih1

On Democrats battling to get his tax returns: Trump said the law is “100 percent” on his side. "That’s up to whoever handles it. Hey, I’m under audit. But that’s up to whoever it is. From what I understand the law is 100 percent on my side." http://bit.ly/2IgGvRp

On the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner: He’s not going. "The dinner is boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally.” http://bit.ly/2WQm2al

On the Federal Reserve: “I personally think the Fed should drop rates,” he said, arguing the economy would take off like "a rocket ship” if the Federal Reserve lowered borrowing costs. http://bit.ly/2WR253h

  

Give me a J-O-B-S:

The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, bouncing back from a hiring slowdown in February. http://bit.ly/2VuUlnn

For context: The economy added 311,000 jobs in January and 33,000 in February

The unemployment rate: The unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent and labor force participation rate stayed even at 63 percent.   

 

 

 

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Blame it on the Dem-Dem-Dem-Dem-Democrats
—> http://bit.ly/2Ug0c3c ;)

This morning, President Trump took aim at Democrats who are trying to release Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction 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 special counsel report, accusing them of inventing a cover-up. http://bit.ly/2YUggqa

Trump quoted an editorial in the Wall Street Journal: “Trolling the Mueller Report. Democrats Lost On Collusion. Now They’re Inventing A Coverup," Trump tweeted, tagging the associate editor of The Wall Street Journal's opinion page and Fox Business host Lou Dobbs. http://bit.ly/2WQDXOd

Read the Wall Street Journal editorial: https://on.wsj.com/2YT9xfO

  

Walk it back, now walk it back: 

Via The Associated Press’s Colleen LongPresident Trump withdrew his nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. http://bit.ly/2Uwj5OM

What happened: “The paperwork on Ron Vitiello was sent to members of Congress Thursday, the people said, and the decision was unexpected and met with confusion. Vitiello had been scheduled to travel with President Donald Trump to the border on Friday, but was no longer going, one official said. He will still remain acting director, they said.”

The reason for the withdrawal — conflicting reasons: “One Homeland Security official insisted it was nothing but a paperwork error that had later been corrected. But other, higher-level officials said the move did not appear to be a mistake, even though they were not informed ahead of time.”

  

Hello, rock! 

*waves*

Hello, hard place!:

Via The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda and Sylvan Lane, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns MORE is in a tough spot after Democrats formally requested President Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin will now have to balance his loyalty to the president with a request that many experts say leaves him little wiggle room. How this could play out:  http://bit.ly/2VoTxQD

  

IN CONGRESS

OK, now Democrats’ problem is the first rule of fight club

You don’t talk about fight club:
Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, Democrats are facing pressure from the left to step up and play hardball after Republicans used the “nuclear option” to speed up President Trump’s nominations. http://bit.ly/2VqFWrZ

After Republicans went nuclear: A flurry of Democrats gave angry speeches on the floor, calling it a “sad day” for the Senate. 

For context: “The changes marked the second and third time Republicans have gone “nuclear” since President Trump’s election, leaving progressive groups fuming over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Jon Stewart slams McConnell over 9/11 victim fund MORE’s (R-Ky.) tactics and annoyed at what they see as a lack of a response from Democrats.”

  

Interesting read — ‘What the heck does Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingThe Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates Steve King unveils 'Diamond and Silk Act' named for conservative YouTubers MORE do all day?’:

Via The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, “Shunned by his party’s leadership, bounced from congressional hearings, removed from key parts of the legislative process, and serving in the House minority — the Republican from Iowa has less to do than any congressman in recent history. But he still must do something, right? Does anyone know?”

Oh.: "‘I’m not sure what he’s been up to,’ said Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScalise: I'm glad the administration is taking aggressive cybersecurity action Scalise: I'm glad the administration is taking aggressive cybersecurity action The case for congressional pay raises MORE (R-La.), the minority whip and man in charge of knowing what other Republicans are up to.” 

The full piece: https://wapo.st/2D17wVA

   

NOTABLE TWEETS

Getting traction — *Takes a sip of water and dramatically spits it out*:

President Trump shared an edited version of former Vice President Joe Biden’s apology video. It’s ... something. http://bit.ly/2WHGqdA

Reaction from Biden: "I see that you are on the job and presidential, as always," Biden tweeted in response. http://bit.ly/2UhzKWR

Tidbit — whose voice has been silent throughout the Biden ordeal?: Former President Obamahttp://bit.ly/2FWI3x9

 

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ON TAP

The House and Senate are out. President Trump is in California today and Vice President Pence is in Texas. Trump and Pence both head to Las Vegas tonight. 

12:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence receives a briefing from Homeland Security Investigation and ICE agents in Houston. He then delivers remarks.

2:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with Venezuelan families.

2:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives in El Centro, Calif.

2:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable on immigration and border security at U.S. Border Patrol Calexico Station in California.

4:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump visits the New Border Wall in Calexico, Calif.

5:25 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves El Centro, Calif., for Los Angeles.

7 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at an event honoring the late President George H.W. Bush at his presidential library in College Station, Texas. He then heads to Las Vegas.

7:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with supporters in Beverly Hills, Calif.

8:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at a joint fundraising dinner in Beverly Hills.

12:20 a.m. EDT Saturday: President Trump leaves Los Angeles for Las Vegas. Details: http://bit.ly/2G5IPtn 

Saturday: President Trump and Vice President Pence speak at a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas. 

  

WHAT TO WATCH

This morning: President Trump spoke to reporters before leaving for California. Livestream of his remarks: https://cs.pn/2CXXVyM

11:15 a.m. EDT: Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers conference in Washington, D.C. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2YPO2MW

  

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Caramel Day.

 

Ahahahaha — My abs hurt from reading this:

Politico’s Zoya Sheftalovich, Cristiano Lima and Zack Stanton published a newsletter with an “international” spin — everything Westeros from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” https://politi.co/2FQ5l7V

The title: “Westeros Playbook: Who’s Jonny? — Night King’s landing — Cersei you later.” The best part: It’s written completely seriously. 

For example:Who to watch... In her short time on the scene, Lady Lyanna Mormont has won a reputation as a precocious straight-shooter. Rumor has it she’s less than pleased with Snow bending the knee. If she withdraws her support, he’s in trouble.” 

Omg: BUMP WATCH: Daenerys Targaryen may think dragons are the only children she will ever have, but speculation is building that her relationship with Snow may result in a royal baby.”

OK, this one and I’m done:MIGRATION CRISIS: Many a country has tried to build a wall to keep migrants out. But as the Night’s Watch discovered, bricks and ice can only do so much in the face of thousands of desperate refugees fleeing war and certain undeath — not to mention an ice dragon. In the end, perhaps channeling a leader from another continent, Jon Snow let the Wildlings in.”

Read it — trust me: https://politi.co/2FQ5l7V

 

And to get your weekend off to the right start, here’s a little girl who is extremely honest during the science fair Q&A: http://bit.ly/2G1Ghfs