The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Facebook — Republicans rejigger summer convention plans

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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.



Think of the GOP convention as more of an … ‘intimate soirée’ this year:  

Via The Hill’s Justine Coleman and Jonathan Easley, Republicans are scaling back the planned party convention in Jacksonville, Fla., this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. https://bit.ly/2WpOsdg

Who will be allowed to attend: Only the 2,500 regular delegates will be able to attend the first three days of the convention. Alternate delegates will be allowed to attend on the final day — plus delegates can bring a guest.  

Keep in mind: The convention was scheduled to happen in North Carolina but was moved because of coronavirus restrictions. 

Convention dates: Aug. 24 – 27 https://bit.ly/2ZAXqqh

To borrow from Drake — Started from the top, now he’s here: 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE demoted his campaign manager Brad ParscaleBrad ParscaleAides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report MORE yesterday, naming Bill Stepien as his successor. https://bit.ly/3h8LUIq 

Parscale’s new role: He will lead the campaign’s digital strategy and will work as a senior adviser to Trump. 

What to know about Bill Stepien: “Stepien was recently promoted to deputy campaign manager. He previously served as the White House political director during Trump’s first two years in office. Before that, he was the campaign manager for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) two successful statewide campaigns in the Garden State.”  

Read Trump’s announcement on Facebook (!) amid the Twitter outage: https://bit.ly/2ChKuwG  


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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Tune in: Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergDemocrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Hillicon Valley: Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections | Ousted cyber official blasts Giuliani press conference | Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino vote MORE and Dr. Fauci discuss COVID-19 pandemic

Mark Zuckerberg will go live with Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciBiden says staff has spoken with Fauci: 'He's been very, very helpful' Jake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election 24 percent of New Yorkers unlikely to get COVID-19 vaccine: poll MORE, the US’s top infectious disease expert, to discuss the latest efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Watch live: Thursday, July 16 at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT 



Name three buzz words of the era: Russia, COVID-19, hacking:

Via The Hill’s Olivia Beavers, “The U.S., Great Britain and Canada are alleging that Russia is attempting to steal information about a coronavirus vaccine from researchers and organizations in the three countries through cyberattacks.” https://bit.ly/393tlD1

How so: “The three allied countries allege that the hacking group known as APT29, or ‘Cozy Bear,’ which is largely believed to operate as part of Russia's security services, is conducting an ‘ongoing’ cyber campaign to steal intellectual property about a possible COVID-19 vaccine.”


Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama sold record-breaking 1.7 million copies of memoir in first week Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Obama jokes that he's 'scared' of Michelle, Sasha MORE’s life is BECOMING a podcast. See what I did there?: 

^ I know. My jokes can’t all be winners.

Former first lady Michelle Obama is launching a podcast on Spotify. https://cnn.it/3fzKPsR

What to expect: "Hosted by Michelle Obama, the series will bring listeners the former First Lady's most candid and personal conversations, showing us what's possible when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to open up, and to focus on what matters most.”  

Guests to expect: “Guests will include Marian and Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama's mother and brother; late-night host Conan O'Brien; top Obama White House adviser Valerie JarrettValerie June JarrettRichmond says new pandemic relief bill should be passed before Christmas Progressive group Justice Democrats criticizes Biden appointments Richmond chides Trump administration on transition, officially announces new role in Biden WH MORE; journalist Michele Norris; and Dr. Sharon Malone, who is married to former Obama-era Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEx-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results Tyson Foods suspends Iowa plant officials amid coronavirus scandal Money can't buy the Senate MORE. 

When the podcast will debut: July 29


Getting traction — That’s a wild stat:

Almost one-third of Florida children who have been tested for the coronavirus have tested positive. https://bit.ly/396tJ3p

The numbers: “State data indicates that out of 54,022 Florida children tested, 31.1 percent have returned positive results on average. This is higher than the statewide positivity rate, which reads in at about 11 percent.” 

The worry: Health experts are worried about the potential lifelong lung damage for children who have the coronavirus, even without severe symptoms. 

What we know: https://bit.ly/396tJ3p

Georgia governor: ‘You do you!’:

Via The Associated Press’s Jeff Amy and Ben Nadler, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) banned local towns and cities in his state from requiring residents to wear a mask in public. https://bit.ly/393cQa3

How many local governments does that affect?: At least 15 local municipalities around the state had issued mask mandates. Those mandates are now void. 

What Kemp is doing instead: Kemp has been encouraging residents and visitors to wear masks voluntarily, but does not require them.  





Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 3,499,771

U.S. death toll: 137,420

Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y 

For context: This time last week, 3,057,431 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus and 132,360 had died. https://bit.ly/2CKJCQQ

Op-ed: https://bit.ly/2OIYmTr


Tune in: Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Fauci discuss COVID-19 pandemic

Mark Zuckerberg will go live with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, to discuss the latest efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Watch live: Thursday, July 16 at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT




 Hyperlink https://bit.ly/32pyT9m

^ I couldn’t have come up with a better headline if I tried: 

Dozens of public figures’ Twitter accounts were hacked yesterday afternoon, prompting the social media platform to block all verified Twitter accounts for hours while it contained the hack. Everything we know, from the New York Times: https://nyti.ms/2Zxhv0w

What those accounts tweeted: The hacked message told followers to send Bitcoin to public figures and would receive double in return. Screenshot of what the hacked tweet looked like: https://cnet.co/3fLSVyA


“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened. [Blue heart] to our teammates working hard to make this right.” https://bit.ly/390Vp9U 

Dorsey also linked to an update on what Twitter knows about the hack: Here’s the info: https://bit.ly/2Ov2OVt


And it was a pretty interesting evening. Here’s my favorite tweet from the chaos:  


 Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2ZAIvwh 

This made me laugh, too: “um are all the blue checks in blue check jail?” (Via ProPublica’s Al Shaw) https://bit.ly/2WqoGWu



*Picks up jaw* — what did I just watch…?:


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3h3OM9G 

Watch: https://bit.ly/3h3OM9G

Work it, Tony: 



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/399I92P

The full cover — it does not disappoint:https://bit.ly/393nMEo


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

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


10:45 a.m. EDT: House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.) held a news conference. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2WnOoe4

Noon: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRichmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight Drastic cuts proposed to Medicare would hurt health care quality MORE (R-Calif.) held a news conference. Livestream: https://bit.ly/30jChQu

1 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3fCdgGz

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks on rolling back regulations. Vice President Pence will attend. Livestream: https://bit.ly/392fuMX


Today is National Corn Fritter Day.

Popular on TikTok — well, we should have predicted this one:

Via The New York Post, “Teens are dressing up as mask-wearing grandmas to try to score alcohol.” https://bit.ly/2DIsOKU

TikTok videos: https://bit.ly/3957OcM

And because you made it this far, here’s a bear making itself RIGHT at home: https://bit.ly/3h9m9rN

*nervous laugh*