12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — FBI conducts another search amid Biden document probe

President Biden
Greg Nash
President Biden walks to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 23, 2023 after returning from Rehoboth, Del., for the weekend.

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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. 


The FBI is getting cozy at presidents’ houses these days

Federal investigators conducted a search of President Biden’s Rehoboth, Del., vacation home this morning as part of the ongoing investigation of sensitive documents. 

Is this search with Biden’s blessing?: Yes, Biden’s personal lawyer said the search is happening with “the President’s full support and cooperation.”  

Were any classified documents found at Biden’s Rehoboth house?: That’s unclear. 

What we know about the search 

The FBI searched the Penn Biden Center in November after 10 documents with classified markings were discovered. The full story from CBS News’s Adriana Diaz and Arden Farhi 

It’s Wednesday — Happy February! The DC-area got its first dusting of snow of the season this morning! ❄️  I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here. 

🏈 🐐 Talk of the sports’ world 

I’m super, super, SUPER serious about it this time:

Seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady announced this morning that he is retiring from football “for good.”  

Watch Brady’s 53-second retirement announcement video 

^ Why my headline was a leetle bit snarky: Brady announced last February that he was retiring but changed his mind 40 days later. 

Is there something special about Feb. 1?: Brady made his first retirement announcement on Feb. 1, 2022. He made his next announcement on Feb. 1, 2023. 

Read ESPN’s story on his retirement

🕺 The debt ceiling 

The Dragonpit Summit

President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are meeting today to discuss the looming default on the U.S.’s debt. 

Why this is rare: “Biden and McCarthy have had few in-person interactions so far at the White House. Since McCarthy became Speaker in January — a 15-vote process Biden at one point called ’embarrassing’ — the White House has issued frequent statements criticizing him and GOP House members, while McCarthy’s conference has moved ahead with congressional investigations into Biden and his family.”  

Yes, but: Biden and McCarthy must come to an agreement to prevent an economic catastrophe if they do not raise the debt ceiling. Republicans want spending cuts in exchange for a debt limit raise; Democrats want a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling.   

More of the dynamics at play in today’s meeting, via The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Alex Gangitano 

Ah ha, there might be a loophole

House Democrats may have found a way around Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) spending cut demands, which he wants in exchange for avoiding a federal loan default. 

There’s this little procedural tool called a ‘discharge petition’: This tool could “force a debt-limit hike to the floor without the accompanying cuts McCarthy is demanding, according to sources familiar with the closed-door discussions. That would align House Democrats with President Biden, who is insisting on a ‘clean’ debt-ceiling increase absent any other budget changes.”  

The nitty gritty details get complicated, though: “The timing is crucial — and complicated — since the archaic rules governing discharge petitions dictate they can be considered only on certain days of the month, and only after the underlying legislation has sat in committee for at least 30 legislative days. Those eyeing that calendar expect they’ll have to launch the process sometime in March to avoid a default over the summer.”  

The Hill’s Mike Lillis explains how this obscure procedural tool would work 

🚪 In the White House

Progressives are not thrilled with the switcheroo

“White House chief of staff Ron Klain’s forthcoming departure from office has concerned liberals who have come to know him as a crucial ally in President Biden’s Washington.”  

Why progressives love Klain: “Klain, one of Biden’s oldest confidants, has worked to ease the Democratic Party’s divide, serving as connective tissue between progressives and the establishment figures closest to the president, while often offering a sympathetic ear to the left.”

What about his successor?: “Progressives now fear his impending exit, and the entrance of his successor, Jeff Zients, could break the critical link between their flank and moderates as they adjust to being in the minority in Congress and have to rely more on the executive branch to get things done.”  

Why some progressives are concerned about his ideological fitness for the job, via The Hill’s Hanna Trudo 

President Biden is hosting an event to thank outgoing White House chief of staff Ron Klain and welcome Jeff Zients into the role. Livestream — it starts at 5 p.m. 

Vice President Harris is attending the funeral of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who was beaten by Memphis, Tenn., police officers and later died. Details from CNN’s Jasmine Wright and Sonnet Swire 

🏃‍♂️ 2024 

Nikki Haley is on the diving board, stretching and getting ready to jump

The Post and Courier’s Schuyler Kropf reports that former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is planning to announce her 2024 bid for president this month.

When?: On Feb. 15 

What we know 

🦠 The COVID-19 numbers 

Cases to date: 102.1 million 

Death toll: 1,103,615 

Current hospitalizations: 23,832 

Shots administered: 668 million 

Fully vaccinated: 69.2 percent of Americans 

CDC data here. 

🐥Notable tweets 

You’ve piqued my interest

@OverheardWDC tweeted, “At The Roost: Guy at the bar to friends from out of town: ‘So basically everyone who says they work for the Department of Agriculture is a spy.’”  

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Twitter account replied: “ 👀 ” 

The senator from Hawaii miscalculated the situation

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted a photo of his flip flops covered in snow this morning. “I miscalculated,” he tweeted. Photo 

Amtrak’s official Twitter account tweeted an incredible, albeit passive aggressive suggestion. “if someone is talking in the quiet car, just airdrop them this pic.” Photo of Amtrak’s suggested airdrop 

On tap

The House and Senate are in. President Biden is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Harris is in Memphis, Tenn., today.

  • 8:30 a.m.: Harris left for Memphis, Tenn. 
  • 9 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing. 
  • 10 a.m.: The Senate met. Today’s Senate agenda 
  • 11:30 a.m.: Harris attended the funeral of Tyre Nichols
  • 1:30 p.m.: First House votes. Today’s House agenda 
  • 3:15 p.m.: Biden meets with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the Oval Office. 
  • 4:05 p.m.: Harris returns to Washington, D.C. 
  • 4:30 p.m.: Last House votes of the day. 

All times Eastern. 

📺What to watch 

  • 1:15 p.m.: Biden convenes a meeting of his Competition Council to discuss competition in the American economy and lowering prices. Livestream 
  • 2 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing. Livestream 
  • 2:30 p.m.: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell holds a news conference. Livestream 
  • 5 p.m.: Biden hosts an official transition event to thank outgoing White House chief of staff Ron Klain and officially welcome Jeff Zients into the role. Livestream

🍫 In lighter news 

Today is National Dark Chocolate Day

Look up tonight

A rare, green comet will be visible in the sky tonight! Details from ABC News 

And to leave you on a happy note, here’s a dog with the PERFECT costume.

Tags 12:30 Report 2024 Biden Biden-McCarthy meeting chief of staff debt ceiling FBI Jeff Zients Kevin McCarthy Nikki Haley Tom Brady Tom Brady

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