The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump insists he can tweet about cases in rare break with Barr

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump insists he can tweet about cases in rare break with Barr

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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: Trump insists he can tweet about cases after Barr complains | Stone case brings rare break between AG, Trump | DOJ won't charge McCabe | Sanders surges to 10-point lead in national poll | South Carolina becomes must-win for Biden | Super Tuesday looms large for 2020 Dems | Coronavirus death toll spikes in China | Pentagon prepping for potential pandemic | Trump heading to Mar-a-Lago for long weekend



It's my party, and I'll tweet if I want to:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE argued that he has "the legal right" to weigh in on the Justice Department's handling of criminal cases after Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Barr asks US attorney to further investigate 'unmasking' in 2016 Trump threatens to veto FISA bill ahead of House vote MORE urged him not to tweet.

Trump tweeted: "'The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.' A.G. Barr This doesn't mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!"



In an interview with ABC News, Barr said Trump never asked him to do anything in a criminal case, but also said Trump's tweeting makes it "impossible for me to do my job." Trump on Twitter had criticized the initial sentencing recommendation for his former adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Brzezinski says she arranged call with Twitter CEO to discuss banning Trump Trump taps new prosecutor for DOJ office at center of Flynn, Stone controversies MORE. The Justice Department reversed course and asked a judge for a "far less" sentence than the seven to nine years they first sought but claimed Trump's criticism did not impact the decision.

Watch Barr's full explanation:


Just now — no charges for Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeNew FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election Trump cites 'Obamagate' in urging GOP to get 'tough' on Democrats MORE:

Via The New York Times’s Adam Goldman, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe will not be charged in an investigation about whether he lied to investigators.

Keep in mind: "The president’s relentless criticism of the Justice Department likely complicated the prosecution of Mr. McCabe. His supporters viewed the investigation as politically motivated and inextricably tainted by Mr. Trump’s relentless attacks."

This settles it: This case has been up in the air for nearly two years (!) 



It's Friday. Happy Valentine's Day! 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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PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will be off from Monday through Wednesday next week. We will return on Thursday. Have a great weekend!



New poll -- it's Bernie's world, we're just living in it:

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE (I-Vt.) has a double-digit lead over his rivals, according to a new Morning Consult poll.



Sanders: 29 percent support, up 3 points since the New Hampshire primary

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenLifting our voices — and votes Longtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick Biden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report MORE: 19 percent, down 3 points since N.H.

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report MORE: 18 percent

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE: 11 percent

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor MORE (D-Mass.): 10 percent

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 MORE (D-Minn.): 5 percent

The full poll:



Bloomberg is leading a new St. Pete Polls survey.




The most Super of Tuesdays:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, even as candidates campaign in Nevada and South Carolina, Super Tuesday is looming large over the Democratic presidential candidates.

Why: Fourteen states vote on Super Tuesday, including California with 415 delegates and Texas with 228 delegates. 

How many delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday: 1,357 (!) 

Oh and!: Super Tuesday will be the first time that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on a ballot. 

Breakdown of what to keep your eye on:



Via The Hill's Max Greenwood



Via The Washington Examiner's Byron York:



Coronavirus cases spike:

Via The Associated Press's Ken Moritsugu, China's National Health Commission reported another 5,090 new cases of the coronavirus and 121 new deaths in China.

For context: "There are now 63,851 confirmed cases in mainland China, of which 1,380 have died." 

Keep in mind about the virus numbers: "The acceleration in the number of cases does not necessarily represent a sudden surge in new infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 as much as a revised methodology." 

"Experts also saw it as a reflection of a chaotic crush of people seeking treatment and the struggle to keep up with a backlog of untested samples in Hubei province and its capital city, Wuhan, where the disease first surfaced in December." 


The U.S. is getting its ducks in a row:

Via The Military Times's Patricia Kime, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for Iran nuclear projects | Top Dems says State working on new Saudi arms sale | 34-year-old Army reservist ID'd as third military COVID-19 death Trump marks Memorial Day at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Fort McHenry Pentagon charts its own course on COVID-19, risking Trump's ire MORE approved an executive order to deal with a coronavirus pandemic.

Details: "U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday it has directed the Joint Staff Feb. 1 to commence 'prudent planning' in their assigned role synchronizing the department's plans for pandemic flu and disease. But in no way 'does the planning indicate a greater likelihood of an event developing. As military professionals, planning for a range of contingencies is something we owe the American people,' Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Hatfield said." 




Check out the scoreboard: Here's a photo:


This took me a minute to see, but wow:

By the way, this studio is renting for $3,300 a month.

More photos of the apartment:



The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. Trump leaves for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida later today.

11 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the National Association of Manufacturers Winter 2020 Board of Directors Meeting.

11:45 a.m. EST: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks to National Border Patrol Council members.

4 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX launch The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks MORE leave for the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

Feb. 21: The Senate returns. The Senate's full schedule:



Thursday: Warren held a town hall in Arlington, Va. Livestream:



Today is National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. Makes sense.


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here's an astronaut reuniting with her dog after a year in space:  

(h/t The Hill's Niall Stanage