12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden’s public moment of frustration

AP-Andrew Harnik


Presented by Facebook


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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.



Whoops, Joe Biden got the ‘Elf’ quote wrong!:



President Biden was overheard on his microphone yesterday calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch.” https://bit.ly/3AEiq0k  

Doocy yelled at Biden: “Will you take a question on inflation? … Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”  

Biden was then heard mumbling to himself: “No, it’s a great asset,” he mumbled sarcastically. “More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” 

Watch the hot mic moment: Video from C-SPAN’s Jeremy Art: https://bit.ly/35rOiK9


The White House didn’t pretend it never happened: The hot mic moment was included in the White House transcript. Screenshot from Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein): https://bit.ly/33N8KEF  

Lol: CBS News’s Kathryn Watson tweeted, “My colleagues and I spent all this money on journalism school so we can debate whether “son of a b****” is one word or four” https://bit.ly/3FXYAht  

CNN’s Jake Tapper defends Doocy: In an interview on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last night, Tapper said he doesn’t think “any president should be calling any journalist a dumb son of a bitch … And to be fair to Peter Doocy, the question was fairly anodyne.” More from Mediaite: https://bit.ly/3rRTWfQ 


In an interview on Fox News’s “Hannity,” Peter Doocy said President Biden called him after the incident. https://fxn.ws/3rQw2BC 

How that conversation went — from Doocy’s perspective: “He said ‘It’s nothing personal, pal.’ And we went back and forth, and we were talking about just kind of moving forward, and I made sure to tell him that I’m always gonna try to ask something different than what everybody else is asking. And he said, ‘You got to.’ And that’s a quote from the president, so I’ll keep doing it.”  

More from the conversation — Hannity pushed Doocy to answer whether or not Biden apologized: https://fxn.ws/3rQw2BC

It’s the last Tuesday of the month! 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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Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations, including Section 230



Aaron is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook.

Hear more from Aaron on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internet’s most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.



A group of lawmakers is going to Ukraine today:

Via The Hill’s Laura Kelly, “Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine today, according to a congressional source.” https://bit.ly/32tUQXg  

Is this the first trip like this?: No. “The visit by members of Congress marks a third trip by lawmakers, including a bipartisan Senate delegation that traveled to Kyiv early last week, and a bipartisan House delegation in December.” 

Keep in mind: Details of these trips are kept secret for security reasons. 


Via Military Times’s Meghann Myers, Leo Shane III and Philip Athey: https://bit.ly/3AvE2f6 

Oh, good, Russia is blaming the US for the tension. That makes sense … :

Via The Washington Post’s Robyn Dixon, Rachel Pannett and David L. Stern, “Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the United States on Tuesday of ‘building up tension’ over Ukraine, as Russia launched simultaneous military exercises across the country involving thousands of troops, warplanes, naval ships, tanks and short-range ballistic missiles.” https://wapo.st/3KIoBot


If Russia does invade Ukraine, here’s what to expect:



Russia is estimated to have more than 100,000 troops near the border of Ukraine,  

Via The New York Times’s Andrew E. Kramer in Svitlodarsk, Ukraine, here’s what could happen: https://nyti.ms/3rVrqKC  

How it would likely start: “If an incursion does come, most military analysts agree it won’t begin with a massive show of force — tanks rolling over the border or a sudden and devastating strike from the air. Rather, it would start with a more ambiguous, limited action that Moscow would use as justification for a wider intervention.”  

For example: “Such an action, American and Ukrainian officials say, could come in many different forms — the seizure by Russian-backed separatists of a disputed piece of infrastructure, like an electrical plant, for instance.”  

Another possible scenario: “It could even start invisibly, with gas wafting through the air, if Russia decided to stage an accident at an ammonia plant in this area, and then send in troops under the guise of bringing it under control. That possibility was raised this month by Ukraine’s military intelligence agency.”   

More from the perspective of Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines: https://nyti.ms/3rVrqKC


“The question is whether there is real potential for compromise in three distinct areas: Russia’s demand for ironclad assurances that Ukraine won’t enter NATO; that NATO won’t further expand; and that Russia can somehow restore some approximation of its sphere of influence in the region to before the strategic map of Europe was redrawn in the mid-1990s.” More from The New York Times’s David E. Sanger: https://nyti.ms/3nWp2SD


“He alone can make the choice to bring Europe back from the brink of a major war.” Read the full take from The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols: https://bit.ly/3qZhyQt


In Democrats’ minds, it’s a ‘when’ more than an ‘if’:



Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Democratic lawmakers, aides and strategists believe it’s just a matter of time before the Senate filibuster is substantially changed to limit the minority’s ability to stop legislation, despite a defeat on the matter last week.” https://bit.ly/33U7PlI 

The thinking: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will possibly be the last two Democratic senators to oppose changing the filibuster.  

“Democratic activists predict such a position will be unworkable soon for any Democrat, whether they are a liberal or centrist.”  

Keep in mind — other centrist senators are on board with changing the filibuster: “Centrists including Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have now gone on record as supporting a rule change that would require opponents to actively hold the floor with debate in order to block voting rights legislation.”  

How this could play out in the next few years: https://bit.ly/33U7PlI



Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations, including Section 230



Aaron is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook. 

Hear more from Aaron on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internet’s most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.



An omicron-specific vaccine is in the works:

Via CNN’s Amanda Sealy, “Pfizer and BioNTech have begun a clinical trial for their Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine candidate, they announced in a news release on Tuesday.” https://cnn.it/3GWlerQ  

Timeline: Pfizer’s CEO “said last month that if a new vaccine is needed for the Omicron coronavirus variant, the company will have one in March. However, a Pfizer spokesperson confirmed that the company has already begun to manufacture this vaccine.”  

This is worth watching — what a unique perspective:

CBS News’s David Begnaud tweeted, “Meet Alan Hawes, the former photojournalist turned critical care nurse who has the unique ability to tell the intimate stories of the COVID patients he sees & treats. I can’t count how many doctors & nurses have told me: if only the public could see what we see. Alan shows us.” Watch: https://bit.ly/3qZVWUk


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 71,720,055 

U.S. death toll: 869,250 

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


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 535 million shots have been given.  

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 522,580 doses  

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.  

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH


The SATs we took are the SATs of the past:



Via The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson, “The SAT college admission exam will soon go fully digital, ditching paper test booklets and answer sheets, and get much shorter, shrinking from three hours to two.” https://wapo.st/3nTdm2Q


Seems legit to me?:

The University of Washington School of Law’s Ryan Calo tweeted a photo of a letter he received from his daughter’s school. His caption: “I have concerns regarding the authenticity of this note.” Photo of the school note in question: https://bit.ly/3fTri8P

The president-elect of Chile is a Taylor Swift fan and I’m so here for it:



Gabriel Boric Font, the president-elect of Chile responded to a Taylor Swift tweet, in which Swift slammed a critic accusing her of not writing her own songs.   

Boric Font’s tweet: “Here in Chile you have a huge group of supporters who knows that you write you own songs from the heart. Dont take seriously guys that need to insult or lie to get attention. Hugs from the south Taylor” https://bit.ly/33SHvZf  

Here is Taylor Swift’s tweet that Boric Font replied to: https://bit.ly/3KG6r70


The House and Senate are out. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.  

10:15 a.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief. 

Feb. 4: The opening ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. More info: https://bit.ly/3AvSwvy


12:15 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3H2J9pw  

2 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris delivers remarks to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3fW6VYv  

3 p.m. EST: State Department spokesperson Ned Price holds a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3rOPONL 


Today is National Irish Coffee Day

I PROMISE my intention was not to make this a bird-themed newsletter, but … :



A rare eagle has been seen in Maine (!) Details from The Associated Press’s Patrick Whittle: https://abcn.ws/3qXP49M

And to keep you entertained this afternoon, here’s a squirrel working on its ‘Dancing with the Stars’ audition: https://bit.ly/3fXELwg 

^Make sure your sound is on.

Tags 12:30 Report Angus King Biden-Putin relations Chris Coons COVID-19 Gregory Meeks Jake Tapper Jen Psaki Jimmy Kimmel Joe Biden Joe Manchin Jon Tester Kyrsten Sinema Mark Kelly omicron Russian aggression Taylor Swift

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