12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Biden raises eyebrows with Putin comments

President Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.
Associated Press/Petr David Josek
President Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Biden is in Poland for the final leg of his four-day trip to Europe as he tries to maintain unity among allies and support Ukraine’s defense.

To view past editions of The Hill’s 12:30 Report, click here: https://bit.ly/30ARS1U  

To receive The Hill’s 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: https://bit.ly/3qmIoS9 


–> 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.





This line has been getting traction

In President Biden’s remarks in Warsaw, Poland, over the weekend, he raised some eyebrows with his comment toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.   

In Biden’s words: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” 

So, what does that mean? The White House has already walked that back: Via The Associated Press’s Chris Megerian, Vanessa Gera and Aamer Madhani, “Before Biden could even board Air Force One to begin the flight back to Washington, aides were clarifying that he wasn’t calling for an immediate change in government in Moscow.”  

Reaction from Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov: “It’s not up to the president of the U.S. and not up to the Americans to decide who will remain in power in Russia.”  

More on Biden’s escalation in rhetoric against Russia: https://bit.ly/3wZBuGD  

Via The Washington Post, “Ukrainian and Russian delegations are arriving in Istanbul for another round of in-person talks — putting NATO member Turkey, which has ties to both Kyiv and Moscow, in the spotlight as an intermediary in the deadly conflict grinding into its second month.” https://wapo.st/3qDVXMY  

@MaximEristavi tweeted, “[M]ariupol residents slaughtered by [R]ussians while cooking food over an open fire in the yard of their own apartment building. please, don’t look away.” Photo – I’ll warn you, it’s pretty graphic: https://bit.ly/3NsRypP 


It’s Monday of what seriously feels like a mid-January morning in Washington, D.C. What happened to spring?? 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

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill’s 12:30 Report in your inbox daily: https://bit.ly/3qmIoS9 



Senate Republicans are creating some distance from Trump:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t use their marathon question-and-answer session with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to challenge her about two high-profile decisions she issued that went against former President Trump.” https://bit.ly/3NrnA5G  

What to read from that move: “Instead, their focus was on other issues, a shift that marks the latest sign that Senate Republicans see Trump as more of a liability than an asset heading into the 2022 midterm elections.”   

More on the significance of Republicans distancing themselves from Trump: https://bit.ly/3NrnA5G   

Happening this week:

The House will likely pass a bill to legalize marijuana: “House Democrats are set to pass legislation this week to legalize marijuana at the federal level.” Yes, but: “[M]arijuana legislation is expected to hit a wall in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes, including the support of at least 10 GOP senators if every Democrat backed it, in order to advance.” https://bit.ly/3tISzm2 

China competitiveness: “The House and Senate are expected to vote to formally go to conference as soon as this week to work out a deal on their dueling China competitiveness bills.”

Russia: “Two Russia-related bills are facing a logjam in the Senate after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked quick votes on legislation to end normal trade relations with Russia and a separate bill to ban Russian oil imports.” 

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation: “Jackson’s nomination will be on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda for the first time on Monday.” Yes, but: “Jackson’s nomination is expected to be held over for a week, with the committee vote taking place April 4.”  

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Jordain Carney: https://bit.ly/3tISzm2



[[{“fid”:”254738″,”view_mode”:”wysiwyg”,”fields”:{“format”:”wysiwyg”,”alignment”:””,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Actor Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:false,”field_url[und][0][value]”:”AP/Chris Pizzello”,”field_free_html[und][0][value]”:””,”field_free_html[und][0][format]”:”full_html”},”link_text”:null,”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“1”:{“format”:”wysiwyg”,”alignment”:””,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Actor Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:false,”field_url[und][0][value]”:”AP/Chris Pizzello”,”field_free_html[und][0][value]”:””,”field_free_html[und][0][format]”:”full_html”}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”Actor Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock”,”height”:363,”width”:645,”class”:”media-element file-wysiwyg”,”data-delta”:”1″}}]] 


The ~*~magic~*~ of live television

During the Oscars last night, Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock across the face after Rock made jokes about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett SmithThe full story, via Yahoo’s Taryn Ryder: https://yhoo.it/3IMCAHZ  

What happened: While Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary, he said, “Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”  

Why this angered Smith: “Actress Demi Moore famously shaved her head for her role in the film ‘G.I. Jane’ and Pinkett Smith has a close haircut because she suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.” More from CNN: https://cnn.it/3IKZW0o  

Most of the incident was muted on U.S. television: But here is the uncensored video. Watch: https://bit.ly/3JPhzNR  


After the incident: The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg tweeted, “During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side.” Watch Feinberg’s video on Twitter: https://bit.ly/3qI31s0  

Is Chris Rock pressing charges?: No, according to The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). https://bit.ly/3iJWkkE 
Ah interesting: “Will Smith and Chris Rock have a history that predates the Oscars slap.” Explanation from CNN’s Lisa Respers France: https://cnn.it/3IKZW0o  

Check out the front page of The New York Post: https://bit.ly/3uAIVkp  



Well, that’s a great question.:

The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel writes, “How do you convince a skeptical public to get a fourth shot?” https://bit.ly/3JLaPAL  

Where things stand: “The expected green light for a second coronavirus booster shot poses a challenge to the Biden administration, which will need to work overtime to convince a public that has largely decided to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

This didn’t help: “Chaotic and at times disparate messages from administration health officials culminated in a complicated set of recommendations about who should be getting booster shots, and why, which experts said helped depress enthusiasm.”



Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 79,954,968

U.S. death toll: 976,705

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



Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 559 million shots have been given.  

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 99,957 doses  

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

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



Well said:

@OverheardWDC tweeted about the swarm of tourists visiting the cherry blossoms: “At the Tidal Basin: ‘It’s like walking through Costco!’ ” https://bit.ly/3uC34qm   


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

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.  

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.  

5:30 p.m. EDT: Two roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/3urwszt  

6:30 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/3JP4Mej 

1 p.m. EDT Tuesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Driving Tomorrow: EVs & AVs.” Featured speakers: Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi and Lion Electric’s Marc BedardDetails and how to RSVP: https://bit.ly/3uBrPDe  

1 p.m. EDT Wednesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “The Hill’s Future of Defense Summit.” Featured speakers: Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen HicksRobert GatesJames Clapper, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, DARPA Director Stefanie Tompkins, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) Details and how to RSVP: https://bit.ly/3uCeMBk  



2:45 p.m. EDT: President Biden announces his 2023 budget. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3IFz55W  

3:30 p.m. EDT: White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young, Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse and national security advisor Jake Sullivan hold a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3DhwKwR 



Today is National Black Forest Cake Day.


And because you made it this far, here’s a line of dogs: https://bit.ly/35fS6OC  

What a crew.

Tags 12:30 Report Adam Smith Biden Putin comments Cecilia Rouse Chris Rock Donald Trump Gary Peters Jake Sullivan James Clapper Joe Biden kathleen hicks Ketanji Brown Jackson Oscars Oscars smack President Biden Rand Paul Russia Shalanda Young Smith smack Ukraine Vladimir Putin Will Smith

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video