The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems, GOP dig in for public impeachment hearings

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

--> 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: Dems, GOP dig in for public impeachment hearings | GOP unveils defense strategy | Dems sharpen message | White House looks to get in sync | Mulvaney drops subpoena lawsuit | Latest from Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneAuthorities prepared to hand over Roger Stone records to media: report Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump 2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics MORE trial | Trump to deliver economic speech in NYC | Sanford drops out of presidential race | Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterPolitical science has its limits when it comes to presidential prediction Mellman: Democrats — Buckle up for a wild ride Trump and Obama equally admired? Eight things popularity polls tell us MORE recovering from brain surgery | Disney Plus hit with tech issues as it goes live



Don't expect to hear 'quid pro quo' anymore: 

Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, "In a last-minute move, Democrats are shifting their impeachment rhetoric and talking points just days before the first public hearings into President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE's handling of foreign policy in Ukraine."

The phrase Democrats are dropping: The Latin phrase "quid pro quo," a phrase the party has been using for nearly seven weeks. 

And instead: Democrats are using legal terms such as "extortion" and "bribery" to make it easier for the public to digest in a short period of time.

Reasoning from Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesTwitter users invoke Merrick Garland after McConnell, Graham comments on impeachment trial Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers This week: Impeachment inquiry moves to Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Conn.), a senior member of the Intelligence Committee: "When you are trying to persuade the American people of something really pretty simple, which is that the president acted criminally and extorted in the way a mob boss would extort somebody, a vulnerable foreign country, it's probably best not to use Latin words to explain it."




It's a dreary Tuesday in Washington. 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.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily:



Republicans, here are your talking points:

Republicans on the House committees that are conducting the impeachment inquiry are circulating a memo about how to defend President Trump

The gist: "[E]vidence gathered does not establish an impeachable offense."

Republicans' stance: "President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call; The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call; and President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 -- both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump's political rivals."

Read the memo that Republicans are circulating:




This a.m. from Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Senate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Collins breaks with GOP on attempt to change impeachment rules resolution MORE -- jk about that lawsuit: 

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reversed his plans to file a lawsuit about his congressional subpoena.

Instead: Mulvaney will ignore the subpoena, per instructions from President Trump



Yesterday, "Mulvaney ... told a federal judge that he is withdrawing from his effort to join a former White House aide's lawsuit against House Democrats and intends to file his own case in an effort to fight a subpoena as part of the impeachment inquiry."


Meet me on the same page:

A day before the public impeachment hearings are set to begin, the White House is still struggling to get in sync on messaging.

For example: "Trump's use of his own megaphone to drive the message against impeachment has at times undermined arguments coming from his White House and Republican allies on Capitol Hill." 

Why this is especially important now: "[T]hings don't appear to be improving in the hours before House committees prepare to receive public testimony from officials who are expected to offer damaging accounts of efforts by the president's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSenate rejects subpoenaing Mulvaney to testify in impeachment trial GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid Citizens United put out a welcome mat for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman MORE to press for investigations by Ukraine. The hearings are likely to receive wall-to-wall coverage on cable news." 



No Stone left unturned:

^Man, the Mueller investigation was a gold mine for puns...:

Via The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner, "The federal trial of self-described dirty trickster Roger Stone is set to resume Tuesday as former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates is expected to testify for the prosecution and the focus returns to calls Stone made to members of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's election operation."

Photos outside the courthouse:


FROM Rick GatesRick GatesTreasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort Vin Weber returns to lobbying firm Mercury The Hill's Morning Report - Trump set to be impeached in historic vote MORE'S TESTIMONY:

President Trump's former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates testified that Roger Stone gave the Trump campaign updates on the WikiLeaks email dumps. Details:



Via Law Fare Blog's Mikhaila Fogel



Just now — Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE dropped out:

Via The Post and Courier’s Caitlin Byrd, Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) just announced that he dropping out of the presidential race, just two months after he announced his candidacy.

Why: “The move came after Sanford failed to collect much of a following, especially as President Donald Trump remains the favorite of most Republican voters nationally and while Washington is gearing up for impeachment hearings. Sanford said the impeachment inquiry surrounding the president had sucked the proverbial oxygen out of the 2020 debate.” 



Jimmy Carter had brain surgery:

Former President Jimmy Carter is recovering from brain surgery to relieve pressure caused by bleeding.

How he is doing: According to the Carter Center, he is recovering "with no complications" and will remain in the hospital for observation.

Read the full statement from the Carter Center:



Wow, this came from the Tidal Basin:



The House and Senate return this afternoon. President Trump is in New York today. Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

1:55 p.m. EST: President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters in New York, N.Y.

2 p.m. EST: The House meets.

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at a fundraising committee reception in New York City.

2:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with the U.S. ambassador to France, Jamie McCourt.

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets.

5:25 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE get back to the White House.

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate has one roll call vote. The Senate's full schedule today:

6:30 p.m. EST: Postponed votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

7:05 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate receives impeachment articles as trial opens The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week MORE attend the Kuwait-America Foundation 2019 Gala Dinner. 

8 a.m. EST Wednesday: The Hill is hosting an event, "Aspirations: Arab Youth & the Modern Dream." Details and how to RSVP:



Noon: President Trump speaks at the Economic Club of New York. Livestream:

Noon: Vice President Pence speaks at the 2019 National Adoption Month Celebration at the Department of Health and Human Services. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: Democratic leaders hold a press conference on the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program following the Supreme Court's oral arguments. Livestream:



Today is National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day. That is oddly specific.


Would one say the app is ... 'Frozen?' 

I'll see myself out now:

Via The New York Times's Nancy Coleman, the highly anticipated Disney Plus streaming service is live today, but users are reporting technical difficulties.

The extent of the glitch: "More than 8,000 Disney Plus subscribers appeared to be affected by the outage around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, according to For others, the platform appeared to be working just fine." 

From a Disney Plus spokeswoman: "The consumer demand for Disney Plus has exceeded our high expectations. We are pleased by this incredible response and are working to quickly resolve the current user issue. We appreciate your patience."

By the way, here is what is on the streaming service: Nearly 500 movies and 7,500 episodes of TV shows.


And to break up your Tuesday afternoon, meet Cinderblock, a 25 lb. cat who is trying to lose weight. His workout routine has gone viral: