The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says impeachment articles coming 'soon' as pressure builds

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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: Pelosi says impeachment articles coming 'soon' | Trump, Republicans attack Pelosi for delay | Trump calls articles 'fraudulently produced' | Dems, Trump to clash over Iran war powers | House voting today to restrict Trump on Iran | GOP Sens. Lee, Paul rip Iran briefing | Is Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE 2020's Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Democratic demolition derby Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out Candidates in Obama's orbit fail to capitalize on personal ties MORE? | 2020's five most vulnerable senators | Celebrities react to Prince Harry, Meghan MarkleMeghan MarkleMegxit, Trump and the generational divide Prince Harry blames 'powerful' media for stepping away from royals Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles, no longer receive money from royal family MORE news

 

NEWS THIS MORNING

Soon, young grasshopper:

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMalaysia says it will choose 5G partners based on own standards, not US recommendations Pelosi warns allies against using Huawei Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Calif.) said she will probably send the articles of impeachment to the Senate "soon," even as she has not won any concessions from Republicans. Pressure has been building on Pelosi, who declined to send over the articles or name the impeachment managers after the House vote on impeachment last year. http://bit.ly/35wgCoU

In Pelosi's words: "I'm not holding them indefinitely. I'll send them over when I'm ready, and that will probably be soon."

Livestream of Pelosi's press conference this morning: http://bit.ly/2tFfylt

  

Earlier this morning from Trump -- Fraud! Fraud!:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE slammed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this morning for holding the articles of impeachment. http://bit.ly/36Huu0U

Trump tweeted: "Pelosi doesn't want to hand over The Articles of Impeachment, which were fraudulently produced by corrupt politicians like Shifty Schiff in the first place, because after all of these years of investigations and persecution, they show no crimes and are a joke and a scam!" http://bit.ly/36yHEgF

  

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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LATEST WITH IRAN

Just now -- Trump speculated on the Ukrainian plane crash:

After reports that some are speculating that Iran may have shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet by accident, President Trump weighed in on Thursday and said "somebody could've made a mistake." http://bit.ly/37REgOg

In Trump's words: "It's a tragic thing when I see that. It's a tragic thing. But somebody could've made a mistake on the other side … It was flying at a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could've made a mistake."

 

TWO U.S. OFFICIALS AGREE -- SAY IT'S 'HIGHLY LIKELY' A MISSILE DOWNED THE JETLINER: 

Via Associated Press, "Two U.S. officials said Thursday it was 'highly likely' that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board." http://bit.ly/2T9vFT4

 

TIMING OF THE PLANE CRASH: 

"The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week." http://bit.ly/2T9vFT4

 

Happening today -- Democrats try pulling on the reins: 

House Democrats are voting today to curb President Trump's war powers on Iran. http://bit.ly/36CZak1

What exactly they are voting on: A war powers resolution that would force Trump to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran.

What to expect today: Basically a brawl between President Trump and Democrats. 

What next: If the resolution passes the House, Senate Democrats would need four Republicans to get 51 votes to pass a war powers resolution from Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' Democratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students MORE (D-Va.).

And then: If the resolution passes both chambers it would go to President Trump's desk for a signature, where it would likely be vetoed. Democrats are far from the votes needed to override a presidential veto. 

 

HOW TRUMP IS CLAIMING IRAN VICTORY WHILE TURNING DOWN THE HEAT: 

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage: http://bit.ly/2QU2zE8 

 

SooOooOo, uh, that went well:

Republican Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Ky.) ripped the administration for its closed-door Iran briefing yesterday and announced their support for a resolution to rein in President Trump's war powers. http://bit.ly/39SGY7L

Mike Lee told reporters: "It was probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate." 

Lee also said: "I find this insulting and demeaning ... to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States." 

Rand Paul on the administration using a 2002 war authorization to justify last week's airstrike: "I see no way in the world you could logically argue that an authorization to have war with Saddam Hussein has anything to with having war with people currently in Iraq." 

 

BACKSTORY:

"Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperPeace deal with US to be signed by months' end, Taliban says US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Trump defense chief hits 'predatory' China as rising global threat MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo promotes economic ties, takes aim at corruption in Africa visit Russian foreign minister says he sensed 'more constructive' approach after meeting with Pompeo Donald Trump: Unrepentant, on the attack and still playing the victim MORE, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley were dispatched to brief both the House and Senate on Wednesday amid days of concerns from lawmakers that Trump was on a path to war with Iran, which on Tuesday night launched missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops." http://bit.ly/39SGY7L

 

Oh snap!: 

Watch: http://bit.ly/2N73v7a

  

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Interesting read -- is Joe Biden this cycle's Hillary Clinton?:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, "When Joe Biden was asked last week at an Iowa town hall if he was running a better campaign than Hillary Clinton had in 2016, it highlighted a question on the minds of some Democrats: Is Biden this cycle's Clinton? The question is becoming more significant as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE (I-Vt.) gains traction." http://bit.ly/305D4nz

"While the much bigger field of candidates and strong campaigns from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE make the 2020 primary different than the one four years ago, Democrats are also seeing some parallels. And some would just as soon avoid them."

The comparison: http://bit.ly/305D4nz

  

THE FIVE MOST VULNERABLE SENATORS IN 2020:

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.)

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Impeachment fallout threatens to upend battle for Senate MoveOn targets vulnerable GOP senators with ad campaign following impeachment MORE (R-Colo.)

Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyEleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats brace for New Hampshire results McConnell: GOP has 'internal divisions' on bill to lower drug prices MORE (R-Ariz.)

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Toward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates Trump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment MORE (R-Maine)

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday Coronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 MORE (R-N.C.)

Reasoning for each: http://bit.ly/39WBclB

  

HARRY AND MEGHAN SURE RUFFLED SOME FEATHERS

You can pretend you scrolled past this section. No one has to know ;)

Yesterday, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, announced that they plan to step back as "senior members" of the royal family and "become financially independent," sending shockwaves around the world. 

Read Harry and Meghan's announcement: http://bit.ly/2FwI0bK

The Queen was reportedly 'blindsided': Royal analyst Victoria Arbiter said on NBC's "Today": "When they got back (from Christmas in Canada), they did have a discussion with the queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, saying, 'Look, we want to do something different here,' but I don't think any of this information certainly that's been listed on their website was shared with the senior members of the royal family, and that's where they were blindsided." https://on.today.com/36Bja6A

 

KEEP IN MIND -- TODAY IS KATE MIDDLETON'S BIRTHDAY: 

In honor of the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday, Kensington Palace released a new photo of Kate with a birthday message. The photo: http://bit.ly/2FAJ1j6

Tidbit: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex commented on the post, "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!" http://bit.ly/2FAJ1j6 

 

CELEBRITY REACTIONS TO THE NEWS:

Piers Morgan: "People say I'm too critical of Meghan Markle - but she ditched her family, ditched her Dad, ditched most of her old friends, split Harry from William & has now split him from the Royal Family. I rest my case." http://bit.ly/35xVQVS

Amy SchumerAmy Beth SchumerCelebs call on studios to stop backing politicians supported by the NRA The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says impeachment articles coming 'soon' as pressure builds Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash MORE: "Chris and I are formally stepping down from our royal duties. We appreciate your support." Bahaha, the photo with her post is greathttp://bit.ly/2QDsd1m

Bette Midler: "What a sad story. They hounded and bullied her until it was no longer tenable to stay, just like Diana.  They'll never learn until it hits them in the wallet.  I hope she bankrupts them all." 

Jameela Jamil from "The Good Place": "And that folks, is what power looks like." 

More reactions via Fox News's Tyler McCarthy: https://fxn.ws/304Jljv

  

THE QUESTION EVERYONE IS WONDERING -- HOW WILL THEY BECOME 'FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT?': 

Via CNN's Lianne Kolirin, "The couple are unlikely to struggle when it comes to their private income -- whether it might be through sponsorship, speaking tours or the like ... Besides his income from the Duchy of Cornwall, Harry inherited several million from the Queen Mother, and a few million more was left to him in trust by his late mother, Princess Diana." https://cnn.it/2Fzc6vh

Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2T7SNBi

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Getting traction -- I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.: 

Watch: http://bit.ly/39V18hJ

  

ON TAP

The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C., and are both heading to Toledo, Ohio, this afternoon for a campaign rally.

11 a.m. EST: One roll call vote in the Senate. The Senate's full schedule todayhttp://bit.ly/2T5UTBt

1:15 p.m. EST: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2FzP3jY

2 p.m. EST: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence leaves for Toledo, Ohio.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves for Toledo, Ohio.

4:15 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House. 

9:10 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

10:40 p.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House.

  

WHAT TO WATCH

11 a.m. EST: President Trump announced proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations. Livestream: http://bit.ly/304RrZg

7 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. Vice President Pence also speaks. Livestream: https://cs.pn/35FYh8S

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Apricot Day.

  

And because you made it this far, here's a dog who refuses to sleep alone: http://bit.ly/2FzZsfw