The Hill's 12:30 Report: Capitol Hill's new normal

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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: Capitol’s new normal | Trump says coronavirus task force will continue ‘indefinitely’ after Pence remarks | Says the task force will evolve | New discoveries shift coronavirus timeline | Supreme Court hears birth control case by teleconference | RBG hospitalized with infection | Hearing oral arguments from hospital | Trump takes underdog role against Biden | Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Russian space chief: Elon Musk's plan to bomb Mars is a cover to put nuclear weapons in space The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill MORE’s unusual baby name



Capitol Hill is looking a bit different these days:



The Senate is holding a confirmation hearing this morning for the nomination of 37-year-old Judge Justin Walker to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. What to know about Walker:  

Meanwhile, a House subcommittee is holding a hearing on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Livestream of the Senate confirmation hearing

Livestream of the House coronavirus hearing


What a socially distanced House hearing looks like: “Attending the first socially-distant House subcommittee hearing today, on pandemic response. Lots of space between seats. Everybody in masks, but members are taking them off to speak.” (Via MSNBC’s Garrett HaakePhoto

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyHouse punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA Frustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  MORE (D-Vt.) is joining by teleconference: Here’s a photo:

Ugh, agreed: “This is the grimmest looking confirmation hearing I've ever seen,” The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery tweeted. Photos

Oh, interesting. The foam board could be multipurpose!



Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley, Leahy urge Roberts to permanently air Supreme Court arguments Democrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (R-Iowa) is sporting a nice, blue mask

Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE is wearing a mask: Here’s a photo of the Senate Majority Leader entering:

It’s Wednesday. 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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Should I stay or should I go?:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE said this morning that the White House Coronavirus Task Force will not be dismantled entirely, but will shift its focus.

Trump tweeted: “The Task Force will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN. We may add or subtract people .... to it, as appropriate. The Task Force will also be very focused on Vaccines & Therapeutics. Thank you!” Read Trump’s full Twitter threat on the task force


Yesterday, Vice President Pence’s office said it was in the early stages of dismantling the White House Coronavirus Task Force.


Wow, this photo is stunning: Via The New York Times’s Doug Mills, here’s a photo of President Trump walking off Air Force One yesterday:


From his tour of protective equipment: “The president is wearing safety goggles but no mask on his tour of Honeywell PPE manufacturing line.” (Via The Associated Press’s Zeke MillerPhoto


Stocks had a good morning:

The stock market rose this morning as President Trump and more than 30 governors push the United States toward reopening.

The numbers: “The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 100 points Wednesday, rising 0.5 percent for its third consecutive day in the green. The Nasdaq rose 1.1 percent, and the S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,206,303

Deaths in the U.S.: 71,152

Breakdown of the numbers


The coronavirus was circulating several months longer than we thought:

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, “The coronavirus that has exploded into a pandemic has almost certainly been circulating for several months longer than public health experts first suspected, masked by asymptomatic cases or illnesses incorrectly diagnosed.”

Timing: “Scientists believe the first known case of a patient contracting the coronavirus happened in mid-November, in a 55-year-old resident of China's Hubei province. That was six weeks before the World Health Organization's (WHO) surveillance network picked up reports of a cluster of atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan, the province's largest city.” 

What we know about the outbreak’s timing


The ‘Never Trumpers’ are getting under Trump’s skin:

Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, the feud between President Trump and the so-called “Never Trump Republicans” is back on display.

What happened now: Anti-Trump Republicans of The Lincoln Project, including George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayFormer Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project George Conway group lines up body bags in ad hitting Trump on coronavirus deaths Overnight Defense: Trump to withdraw US from Open Skies Treaty | Pentagon drops ban on recruits who had virus | FBI says Corpus Christi shooting terror-related MORE, released an ad slamming the president. Watch the ad, ‘Mourning in America’

Trump then tweeted: “A group of RINO Republicans who failed badly 12 years ago, then again 8 years ago, and then got BADLY beaten by me, a political first timer, 4 years ago, have copied (no imagination) the concept of an ad from Ronald Reagan, ‘Morning in America’, doing everything possible to … get even for all of their many failures.” Read Trump’s full Twitter threat on the ad

Why Trump’s reaction is note-worthy: “Trump’s volcanic reaction made clear that the TV ad got under his skin. But whether that means such criticism can hurt his electoral chances is a very different question.” 

Via The Hill’s Jonathan Easley



RBG is working from the hospital:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSpeculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy Supreme Court divided over fight for Trump's financial records   Pandemic proves Justice Thomas does have something to say MORE has been hospitalized to treat inflammation of her gallbladder.

How is she feeling?: The Supreme Court said she is “resting comfortably” and will likely be in the hospital for one to two days.

The Supreme Court said in a statement “Following oral arguments on Monday, the Justice underwent outpatient tests at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., that confirmed she was suffering from a gallstone that had migrated to her cystic duct, blocking it and causing an infection.”


This is THE most relevant pop culture reference to COVID-19:




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

Noon: A roll call vote in the Senate. The Senate’s full schedule today

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump signs a proclamation in honor of National Nurses Day.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R). 

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Situation Room.


This morning: The Supreme Court hears the oral argument in a birth control case. Livestream

11 a.m. EDT: The Supreme Court hears the oral argument in “Barr, Attorney General v. American Association of Political Consultants, Inc.” Livestream

11:30 a.m. EDT: New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus Cuomo: New York City on track to start reopening week of June 8 MORE (D) gives an update on his state’s coronavirus outbreak. Livestream

4 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing. Livestream


Today is National Crepe Suzette Day.

*Blank stare*:

Elon Musk and singer Grimes had a baby boy, which they named X Æ A-12 Musk. Really. 

How it’s pronounced: It’s unclear, but “one of the most popular theories is that the baby's name is X Ash Archangel.”

Grimes posted an explanation of the name: Yet, I’m even more confused now.



And to lighten your Wednesday afternoon, here’s a video of Nacho and Goat, two penguins at the Oregon Zoo, going for a hike:

Are they holding hands...err, flippers?! Photo