The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Woodward book rattles Trump


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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump slams Woodward book, asks why didn’t he immediately report COVID-19 quotes | Acknowledges downplaying COVID-19 | Woodward revelations deepen Trump’s worries | Trump unveils list of potential Supreme Court nominees | Jobless claims steady | 2024 hopefuls emerge in coronavirus relief negotiations | Capitol Lounge closes



Mr. Trump would like to have a word with Bob:



President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE slammed Watergate journalist Bob Woodward for not reporting his quotes about the president sooner talking about coronavirus.

The Woodward quote Trump is referring to: Trump said in early February about COVID-19: "You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” Trump also added: “This is deadly stuff.”

Trump tweeted this morning: “Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”


“He tells me this, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s interesting, but is it true?’ Trump says things that don’t check out, right?” Woodward said in an interview with The Associated Press’s Hillel Italie.  “If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward said.

Woodward said his priority was publishing the book before the November election: “That was the demarcation line for me. Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”


Trump admitted to downplaying the coronavirus: “I wanted to, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump told Woodward.


Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “President Trump’s response to the coronavirus is back in the center of the news agenda — and that spells bad news for a commander-in-chief trailing in his bid to win a second term.” 

Case in point: “The president’s handling of COVID-19 has drawn broad disapproval from the American public, according to polls.”

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 — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Didn’t budge:

Via The Hill’s Sylvan Lane, “In the week ending Sept. 5, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 884,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level of applications.”


Just announced — the Biden campaign is pulling campaign ads for Sept. 11:

Via The Hill’s Alex Gangitano, Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida MORE’s campaign is pulling its television ads tomorrow to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

You like what you see? You wanna see more of it?:

Via The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim and Ann E. MarimowPresident Trump released a list of 20 possible Supreme Court nominees, “reprising a tactic Trump used in 2016 to reassure conservatives, was an attempt to reintroduce the politics of the Supreme Court into the campaign.” 

Tidbit on crafting the list: “Several of Justice Thomas’s former Supreme Court clerks — including Kate Comerford Todd, a deputy White House counsel who herself was included among the 20 — were directly involved in crafting the list, according to a person briefed on the process.” 

The list of potential picks


Exclusive — hey, Congress:

A group of more than 100 national and state organizations signed a letter urging Congressional leadership to negotiate a coronavirus relief package. 

A few of the groups who signed the letter: Amnesty International USA, Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign, Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR) and Citizen Action of New York.

Excerpt of the letter: “The pandemic has exposed long-standing inequities and vulnerabilities in our country. Millions face financial ruin, homelessness, and hunger if our government does not intervene immediately. We expect our elected leaders to rise to this moment and negotiate a package that meets the needs of people and families impacted by this unprecedented pandemic.”

Hmm. I wonder, what do these Senate Republicans have in common? What could it be…?:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, in the weeks of internal negotiations over the coronavirus relief package, a few Republicans emerged as vocal players.

Who: Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat SCOTUS confirmation in the last month of a close election? Ugly The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' MORE (Texas), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Trump faces tricky choice on Supreme Court pick FBI director warns that Chinese hackers are still targeting US COVID-19 research MORE (Mo.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRon Paul hospitalized in Texas The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case MORE (Ky.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power McConnell pushes back on Trump: 'There will be an orderly transition' Graham vows GOP will accept election results after Trump comments MORE (Fla.) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump stokes fears over November election outcome The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Abortion stirs GOP tensions in Supreme Court fight MORE (Ark.) 

What they have in common: They’re most likely to *cough* run for president *cough* in 2024. 

How this is playing out


Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Lawmakers are growing increasingly pessimistic about the chances of passing another coronavirus relief package, warning they don’t believe there will be a deal in the final weeks before the election.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 6,365,595

U.S. death toll: 190,909 

Breakdown of the numbers




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The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., today and is heading to Michigan for a campaign speech. Vice President Pence is in Lexington, Va., this afternoon. 

11:30 a.m. EDT: Four roll call votes in the Senate. Details 

11:35 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Lexington, Va.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize MORE.

5 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Freeland, Mich.

6:20 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence lands in Washington, D.C.

10:05 p.m. EDT: President Trump returns to the White House.

Tuesday: The Hill is hosting an event, “Understanding the Venture Economy: America's Hidden Resilience Factor.” Featured speaker: Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootHomicides spike 52 percent in Chicago amid coronavirus pandemic Chicago mayor says 'suffering' small businesses need access to capital The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Latest with the COVID-19 relief bill negotiations MORE (D). Details and how to RSVP 

September 17: CNN is hosting a town hall in Scranton, Pa., with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.


1 p.m. EDT: House Small Business subcommittee holds a hearing on the economic impact of the coronavirus on rural economies. Livestream 

2:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence addresses the VMI Corps of Cadets at the Virginia Military Institute. Livestream

3 p.m. EDT: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTexas Democratic official urges Biden to visit state: 'I thought he had his own plane' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden on Trump: 'He'll leave' l GOP laywers brush off Trump's election remarks l Obama's endorsements A game theorist's advice to President Trump on filling the Supreme Court seat MORE (D-Calif.) holds a roundtable with Black leaders in Miami. Livestream

7 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks in Freeland, Mich. Livestream


Today is National TV Dinner Day.

And because you made it this far, here’s a cat who plays the piano when it’s hungry: