12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Musk’s Twitter deal rattles Washington

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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. 

TALK OF THE MORNING 

Welcome to the ~*new*~ Twitter:

Twitter has officially accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company for $44 billion and take it private. 

Musk tweeted a statement after the announcement: “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.” Read his full statement: https://bit.ly/3vf0ng6 

CHANGES THAT ELON MUSK HAS HINTED
NPR’s Bobby Allyn has a helpful list of the changes Elon Musk has floated for Twitter: https://n.pr/3OET6O8

1. “Loosen up content rules in the name of free speech.” 

2. “Create an edit button so users can change their tweets.” 

3. “Open up Twitter’s algorithm to the public.” 

4. “Launch a war on ‘bot armies’.” 

5. “Scrap advertisements.”  

6. “And a big unknown: Reinstate Donald Trump?”  

Pros and cons of each: https://n.pr/3OET6O8 

THE BIG QUESTION — WILL TRUMP RETURN TO TWITTER?:
Former President Trump has said he would not return to Twitter, but some of his advisers don’t believe him.  

What we know, via The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, Josh Dawsey and Craig Timberg: https://wapo.st/3Llhqm2

BREAKING 

Kamala Harris has COVID-19

Vice President Harris has tested positive for COVID-19. https://bit.ly/3Knyh6p 

From the White House: “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence. She has not been a close contact to [President Biden] or [first lady Jill Biden] due to their respective recent travel schedules.”  

Read the full statementhttps://bit.ly/3Muw62y 

It’s Tuesday. 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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How free are we talking’?:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter … is stirring alarm among Democrats who are worried former President Trump will return to his onetime favorite social media platform and spread disinformation.” https://bit.ly/3rTlouu

Musk’s chief complaint about Twitter as it is: “Musk has complained that Twitter’s moderators have gone too far in regulating speech on the platform, which he calls ‘the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.’”  

Democrats’ fear: “The news rankled Democrats, who fear there will be fewer restrictions on disinformation and incendiary speech, which former President Obama warned about at a speech this month at Stanford University.”  

More on the anxiety Democrats are feeling right now: https://bit.ly/3rTlouu 

OTHER REACTIONS:

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey approves: “Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness,” Dorsey said in a Twitter thread. Read Dorsey’s full response to the news: https://bit.ly/3Lo9uk7 

VICE’s Melissa Chan points out a potential dilemma: “Elon Musk has a Tesla factory in China and he wants to sell more cars there, as many China observers note. What happens if Beijing leans on him about say, a Uyghur or Hong Kong activist account? Or about Chinese disinformation bots leveraging this platform?” https://bit.ly/3vGM5UA

IN CONGRESS 

They used the p-word — pardon, that is:  

In the leaked tape recording of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) discussing former President Trump’s involvement on Jan. 6, 2021, there is one phrase the committee investigating the riots is scrutinizing over. https://bit.ly/3vgXxad

How so: “The taped recording with McCarthy … not only relays McCarthy’s assertion that Trump bore responsibility for the attack, but could also indicate his concern that some actions the former president took leading up to that day may be criminal.” 

The quote, discussing whether Trump would resign: “Now, this is one personal fear I have. I do not want to get into any conversation about [former Vice President MikePence pardoning.” 

Why that quote is important: “Experts say the committee may want to zero in on that exchange, as the audio shows Republicans at the highest level may have been worried about the legality of Trump’s actions leading up to Jan. 6.”  

No one was happier than Mitch:


Via The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, “Hours after a mob ransacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a bid to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described himself as ‘exhilarated’ about the potential damage to President Donald Trump.” https://wapo.st/3xSvJL6 

How so: “’I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow finally, totally discredited himself,’ McConnell told Jonathan Martin, one of the authors of a new book called ‘This Will Not Pass,’ when asked about his feelings on the violence and the rioters.” 

The full story: https://wapo.st/3xSvJL6 

LATEST WITH COVID-19 

Tidbit — Fauci and Birx reportedly had a resignation pact:

In an interview with ABC News, “The coronavirus response coordinator for President Donald Trump’s COVID task force, Dr. Deborah Birx … said she had a pact with other doctors on Trump’s team – including Anthony Fauci – that if one of them was fired, then they would all resign.”  

Another tidbit: Birx said “she became ‘paralyzed’ when Trump raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant into people to treat the virus.” https://abcn.ws/39iI553 

We’ll take whatever we can get!:

Via CNN’s Donald Judd and Paul LeBlanc, “The Biden administration has secured the purchase of 20 million treatment courses of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral Covid-19 pill, a senior administration official told CNN on Monday.” https://cnn.it/3kwbcUZ 

CASE NUMBERS:  

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 81,045,532

U.S. death toll: 991,629

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

VACCINATION NUMBERS: 

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 572 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 96,738 doses 

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

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

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Going back to flip phones seems like a lot less drama, tbh

Politico’s Burgess Everett tweeted, “Flip phone still going strong: [Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.)] relic just rang on the Senate floor. He opened it up, checked out who was calling, then closed it.” https://bit.ly/3KgaBBa 

This is spot-on:

CBS News’s Kathryn Watson retweeted a photo of a Dachshund dog, adding, “My face when I do the thing my best friends tell me not to do.” Photo that perfectly matches the caption: https://bit.ly/3ENF2NI 

Commander Biden is getting so big

CNN’s DJ Judd tweeted, “Commander Biden is on the White House South Lawn ahead of the President’s event celebrating the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and he got BIG.” Photo of the first pupper: https://bit.ly/3rRFUMl 

ON TAP: 

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

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

1 p.m. EDT: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Accelerated Approvals & The Pathway to Treatments.” Featured speakers: Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y), former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, JDRF’s Cynthia Rice and ALS Association’s Neil Thakur. Details and how to RSVP: https://bit.ly/3L8gXnk   

Wednesday and Thursday: The Hill is hosting a virtual “Sustainability Imperative” event. Featured speakers: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, actress and activist Sigourney Weaver, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, the Minimalist’s Joshua Fields Millburn, Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) and Misfit Market CEO Abhi Ramesh. Details and how to RSVP: https://bit.ly/3MlQO4C 

WHAT TO WATCH: 

10 a.m. EDT: Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies on the Justice Department’s 2023 budget request. C-SPAN livestream: https://bit.ly/3vhqNhb 

3 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Dr. Ashish Jha, coordinator of the COVID-19 response, hold a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3kbWphJ 

IN LIGHTER NEWS: 

Today is National Pretzel Day!  

To celebrate, CNET has a list of where to get free pretzels today: https://cnet.co/3Kjf6L0 

Embed: https://giphy.com/gifs/theoffice-nbc-the-office-tv-YWQm5c5NE4AqTAXus3

And to brighten your day, here is the best welcome crew of all time: https://bit.ly/3EOw5nu

Tags 12:30 Report COVID-19 Donald Trump Elon Musk Jill Biden Kamala Harris Twitter

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