The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems press Barr on Mueller report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Barr faces questions on Mueller report | Says report will be released 'within a week' | Defends effort to overturn ObamaCare | Mnuchin still reviewing request for Trump tax returns | Fight over returns heating up | Stephen Miller's influence grows | GOP worries Trump will bring back family separations | Trump feuds with Nadler



OK, have we ~completely~ ruled out the possibility that John Goodman and William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP DOJ, Commerce slam House Dems contempt vote as 'political stunt' White House blasts 'shameful and cynical' Barr, Ross contempt vote MORE are the same person?: 

Attorney General William Barr is testifying on Capitol Hill this morning about his 2020 budget request and on his four-page summary of 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 Russia report.

Photo of photographers waiting for Barr to arrive: Or as Politico's Kyle Cheney puts it, "The Bill Barr welcoming committee." Photo:

Livestream of the hearing:

Live blog of updates:



When the Mueller report will be released: Within a week. Barr's explanation: "The process is going along very well. My original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands. ...  Within a week, I will be in a position to release the report to the public and then I will engage with the chairman of the Judiciary committees."

What is currently happening with the report: "DOJ is working with the special counsel's office and DOJ will color code the report and add explanations for the basis of each redaction of the report."

On whether Barr knew what the Mueller report would say: "Barr confirms he 'had an inkling' of what Mueller was going to conclude because of briefings and conversations before Mueller filed his report."

Was the Mueller team involved with the four-page summary?: No. "Bill Barr reveals that Mueller team DID NOT have a role in drafting his letter to Hill outlining the top-line conclusions of Mueller report. Mueller team was offered a chance to review it but declined." 

^On deciding what information will be public: "I am relying on my own discretion to make as much public as I can," Barr said.

On Trump's efforts to strike down ObamaCare in court: Barr was asked why the DOJ would take such "dramatic and drastic action." Barr replied: "Do you think it's likely we're going to prevail? ...  We are in litigation and we have to take a position. If you think it's such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do its job."

^Barr also said: "I'm a lawyer. I'm not in charge of health care." 


It's a beautifully warm Tuesday in D.C. 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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The big man on campus:

Via The Hill's Brett Samuels, "Stephen Miller's power in the White House is on the rise with the departure of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele Nielsen Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer Four heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities Chuck Todd on administration vacancies: 'Is this any way to run a government?' MORE, giving the influential immigration adviser a stronger hand in reshaping President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE's border security team."

How so: "The senior White House staffer's name has been linked to recent upheaval in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the president seeks more like-minded allies in enforcing immigration law and curbing the flow of migrants into the country. Over the past four days, Trump has withdrawn his nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced Nielsen's resignation and ousted the head of the Secret Service."



Here's a profile of Miller from Vanity Fair's William D. Cohan:


This a.m. -- airing dirty laundry:

President Trump slammed Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) this morning on Twitter.

Trump tweeted: "Congressman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE fought me for years on a very large development I built on the West Side of Manhattan. He wanted a Rail Yard built underneath the development or even better, to stop the job. He didn't get either & the development became VERY successful. Nevertheless, I got along very well with Jerry during the zoning and building process. Then I changed course (slightly), became President, and now I am dealing with Congressman Nadler again. Some things never end, but hopefully it will all go well for everyone. Only time will tell!"



The Washington Post's Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey published an article yesterday on the feud between President Trump and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is leading investigations into the president. The gist: "Trump's feud with Jerry Nadler rooted in decades-old New York real estate project."



What is keeping Republicans up at night:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, if President Trump decides to renew his past policy of separating families who are detained on the U.S.-Mexico border, he will be picking a fight with Senate Republicans.

Why now: Trump reportedly fired Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen after she resisted returning to the policy of separating children. Trump is now expected to choose an immigration hard-liner to replace Nielsen.



Trump's tax returns might as well be red meat:

Via The Hill's Naomi Jagoda, "Tensions are mounting in the fight over President Trump's tax returns, as the deadline for when Democrats said the IRS must provide them to Congress approaches."

Two officials feeling the pressure today: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMnuchin says White House, Pelosi have deal on top-line budget numbers The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Administration pushes back on quick budget deal: 'We have a way to go' MORE and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who are both testifying on Capitol Hill today.




Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it would be "premature" for him to comment on Democrats' request for President Trump's tax returns. In Mnuchin's words: "I think it would be premature at this point to make any specific comments other than, as I've been consistent before in saying, it is being reviewed by the legal departments and we look forward to responding to the letter."


Two arrested for vandalizing a slave memorial:

Via The Daily Tar Heel's Taylor Buck, two people were arrested on charges of vandalizing a slave memorial at the University of North Carolina. Who: 50-year-old Nancy McCorkle and 31-year-old Ryan Barnett

Oh: "McCorkle and Barnett were also issued a criminal summons for removing the UNC-system flag, valued at $585, on UNC's campus and raising a Confederate flag at the UNC System Building." 



Oh mannnn:

Close-up of the dressed-up Peeps:



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

Noon: President Trump meets with the president of Egypt. 

12:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons. The Senate's full schedule today

12:35 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds an expanded working lunch with the president of Egypt. Vice President Pence attends.

2 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

4:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.



This morning: Attorney General William Barr testifies on the Justice Department's 2020 budget. Livestream:

This morning: The Senate Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on the southern border. Livestream:

This morning: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on hate crimes. Livestream:

2 p.m. EDT: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies on the state of the international financial system. Livestream:

10 p.m. EDT: CNN is holding a town hall with presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally First responder calls senators blocking 9/11 victim funding 'a--holes' Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE (D-N.Y.). 



Today is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day.


How accurate is this chart?:

New York-based artist Mari Andrews created an illustration outlining popular foods by decade. For example: Watermelon with feta in the 2000s, mango salsa in the 1990s and mason jar prohibition-era cocktails in the 2010s. Photo of the trend chart:


And because you made it this far, here's a dog who has correctly figured out how to go for walks: