The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems fight with Barr escalates

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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: Breaking - Trump says Moore withdrawing from Fed consideration | Pelosi accuses Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress | DOJ fires back at 'baseless attack' | House Dems blast Barr for skipping hearing | Dem brings fried chicken to mock AG | Rift opens between Mueller, Barr | Bennet jumps into 2020 race | Buttigieg gets 'First Family' Time cover | Japan's PM installs beaver door knocker | Wendy's introduces Frosty cookie sundae 



Barr. William BarrBill BarrClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day Redeeming justice: the next attorney general MORE

Do we have a William Barr? 

That's 'William Barr':

Attorney General William Barr refused to testify for his planned House Judiciary Committee hearing today, arguing that Democrats have put "unprecedented" conditions on his appearance. Barr's refusal sets up a major clash between Barr and House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.  http://bit.ly/2GPj7s6

To call attention to his absence: The House Judiciary Committee left an empty chair in the committee room to highlight Barr's absence. http://bit.ly/2PKK7wP

Funny tidbit -- this is all of us: "Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenDe Blasio mum on whether he'll block sale of Mets to controversial investor Two ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL MORE (D-Tenn.) just arrived to the Judiciary hearing with a bucket of KFC fried chicken. He is eating the chicken. It is not even 9am yet." (Via Politico's Andrew Desideriohttp://bit.ly/2IVjaGl



Democrats blasted Barr for skipping his testimony. "Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) tore into Barr, accusing him of failing to check President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE's 'worst instincts' and misrepresenting Mueller's findings." How other Dems reacted: http://bit.ly/2GXKamk



Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Democrats are hoping the criticisms of Attorney General William Barr will sideline him from future decisions about investigating President Trumphttp://bit.ly/2vxM6eD


THE RIFT MIGHT EXTEND TO BARR'S LONGTIME FRIEND, Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE:

William Barr and special counsel Robert Mueller are good friends, but the public disagreements over the handling of the Russia investigation report is causing some strain on their relationship. How that could play out: http://bit.ly/2VHoIu2


It's Thursday. 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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Now let's talk about the hearing that ~did~ happen:

Attorney General William Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday to answer questions about his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report. http://bit.ly/2vASBNL



  1. Democrats found new impetus -- "Democrats have new wind in their sails following the revelation that Mueller had written in protest to Barr in March, soon after the attorney general released a four-page document outlining the special counsel's principal conclusions."
  1. Barr's credibility took more hits -- "It wasn't only the contacts with Mueller that caused the attorney general problems. His own answers at times undercut his credibility."
  1. 2020 Dems delivered a mixed performance in grilling Barr -- "The committee includes three Democrats who are running for president: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Biden can rebuild trust in our justice system by prioritizing prosecutorial reform Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence MORE (Calif.), Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (Minn.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE (N.J.)"
  1. The GOP is circling wagons on Barr-- "The attorney general can take solace from the fact there is no sign at all that Republicans are weakening in their support for him." 
  1. All eyes are on Mueller-- "Democrats no longer believe -- if they ever did -- that Barr's word can be trusted. That means they are ardent about hearing from Mueller himself."

Context and details for each: http://bit.ly/2vASBNL


Just now -- Pelosi accuses Barr of committing a crime:

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime by lying to lawmakers. http://bit.ly/2V8lb8u

Pelosi said during her press conference this morning: "What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime." 

Immediate reaction from the Department of Justice: "Speaker Pelosi's baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible, and false."

Watch Pelosi's reasoning: http://bit.ly/2V8lb8u


Breaking -- For the first time in nearly a decade:

House Democrats just passed the first climate bill in nearly a decade. http://bit.ly/2PExYte

The vote: 231-190 -- three Republicans supported the bill. 

What the bill would do: The bill "seeks to block the Trump administration from exiting the Obama-era Paris climate agreement, among other actions. Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the measure." http://bit.ly/2PExYte

What's next: The bill heads to the Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAs Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year MORE (R-Ky.) says the bill "will go nowhere." 

Tidbit: "that was a very long vote series and there will be a lot of 'hold the plane!' action happening at DCA today" (Tweet from Politico's Sarah Ferrishttp://bit.ly/2GQJmOR



Breaking -- Stephen MooreStephen MooreSunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Trump ally Stephen Moore: President 'going to leave the office triumphant' Sunday shows - Election results, coronavirus dominate headlines MORE withdraws: 

President Trump just tweeted, "Steve Moore, a great pro-growth economist and a truly fine person, has decided to withdraw from the Fed process. Steve won the battle of ideas including Tax Cuts and deregulation which have produced non-inflationary prosperity for all Americans. I've asked Steve to work with me toward future economic growth in our Country." http://bit.ly/2Y45Nad

Just a half hour ago, Stephen Moore told The Wall Street Journal that he is not withdrawing from consideration to be on the Federal Reserve Board. https://on.wsj.com/2H1uIWt

Earlier today, Moore told Bloomberg News, "I'm all in." He said: "I talked to the White House yesterday. They're all in." Photo of Moore this morning via Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs: http://bit.ly/2Y4T2wi


Started from the bottom, now we're here:

President Trump's approval rating on the economy is at an all-time high, according to a new CNN poll. http://bit.ly/2LrXu6S

The numbers: 56 percent of respondents said they approve of Trump's handling of the economy; 41 percent disapproved. 

Trump's last record high: In March 2017, 55 percent approved of his handling of the economy. 

Read the full CNN poll: https://cnn.it/2WoCIpK



OK, seriously guys. Not everyone can run for president:

Colorado Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Hickenlooper ousts Gardner in Colorado, handing Democrats vital pickup Lobbying world MORE (D) announced he is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. http://bit.ly/2VA8Qtj

Bennet's reasoning: "My plan is to run for president ...  I think this country faces two enormous challenges. One is a lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government ... We cannot be the first generation to leave less to our kids, not more. That's why I'm running for President." 

Photo of Bennet's campaign logo: Yep, that's a standard campaign logo. http://bit.ly/2GQY08U


Speaking of Buttimentum: 

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly MORE and his husband Chasten Buttigieg made this week's cover of Time Magazine: http://bit.ly/2WiWanx

Photo of the cover: "First Family: Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Unlikely, Untested, Unprecedented Presidential Campaign." http://bit.ly/2Wqw4iN

He hasn't changed much:



You get as many calls as you want:

New York City is becoming the first major city in the United States to make phone calls from jail free. http://bit.ly/2PH7abN

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioMacy's will still hold Thanksgiving Day Parade amid pandemic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday New York City to add COVID-19 checkpoints at bridges, crossings MORE said in a statement: "For too long have people in custody faced barriers to basic aspects of everyday life that can help create more humane jails." 



Just what my doorway needs -- an adorable beaver door knocker!:

The prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, installed the door knocker. 

For context: "The Japanese really are the world's most polite people. Almost any other world leader would have 'forgotten' the gift in the hotel room." (Tweet from The Atlantic's David Frum) http://bit.ly/2VEaM3U



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

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with Republican members of the Senate.

5 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceSpaceX capsule arrives at International Space Station The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - World reacts to news of second COVID-19 vaccine with 90 percent efficacy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down MORE participate in a Young America Foundation event.

Sunday: Cinco de Mayo.

Monday: Golfer Tiger Woods will visit the White House and receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to reports. https://es.pn/2DJwCbQ



This morning: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report. Attorney General William Barr did not show up. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2GRhF8u

10:45 a.m. EDT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held a press briefing. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2PK4hr2

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony MORE, Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence participated in the National Day of Prayer Service in the Rose Garden. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2IVdYlQ

12:30 p.m. EDT: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight MORE (R-Calif.) holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/2GXyyzx



Today is National Chocolate Truffle Day.


A D.C. summer lawn without the humidity:

Via DCist, the National Building Museum is creating a summer exhibit, "The Lawn." http://bit.ly/2DLEWIq

What to expect: "The experience starts at the entrance with a two-story mural of the sky, which can be climbed for dramatic views of the interior. An indoor trail then leads visitors to a sloping lawn with lounging areas. Hammocks suspended from the ceiling of the vast Great Hall will feature hidden speakers with audio tales of summertime memories from 'prominent American storytellers.' Kids will be able to chase augmented reality fireflies. You better believe there will be yoga on the lawn (which is actually a recyclable surface made out of sugarcane), along with movie nights and other summer-y events." 


Okayyyyy, Wendy's. I'm picking up what you're putting down:

Wendy's just debuted a new Frosty cookie sundae with Ghirardelli chocolate sauce. Photo -- yuuuuup: http://bit.ly/2WfbyBo


And because you made it this far, here's a viral seagull auditioning to be a traffic reporter: http://bit.ly/2GQfbYb