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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 Hill's 12:30 Report: GOP under pressure to release ObamaCare plan | Man arrested in Jewish Center bomb threat case | Spicer's patriotic blazer | Sessions denies Russian ambassador meeting was 'improper' | Pence heading to Paul RyanPaul RyanRepublicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown Trump: 'No doubt' we'll make a deal on healthcare Overnight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board MORE's hometown
BREAKING – YOU DID...WHAT?!: Police have arrested a St. Louis man accused of making at least eight (!) threats against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) and other institutions across the country. Charges: The suspect, Juan Thompson, has been charged by federal authorities for making the threats -- some in his name and some in the name of an ex-girlfriend he's accused of cyber stalking. Where things get weird: Thompson, 31, worked as a reporter for The Intercept before being fired in January 2016 for fabricating stories. But keep in mind: Authorities do not believe Thompson is responsible for the entire wave of bomb threats made against JCCs in the U.S. and Canada. http://bit.ly/2lCQOAp
REACTION FROM THE INTERCEPT: The outlet said in a statement Friday it was "horrified" to learn of Thompson's arrest. "These actions are heinous and should be fully investigation and prosecuted," the statement reads. "We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what was included in the criminal complaint." Full statement: http://bit.ly/2mjtkEj
YIKES -- THIS IMAGE WILL GIVE YOU NIGHTMARES: Check out German magazine's Der Spiegel's new Trump-Putin cover. Please. No. More. Photoshopping. http://bit.ly/2mjwmsx
YOU GUYS KNOW WE DON'T LIKE SECRETS! WHY ARE YOU TORTURING US?!: Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, House Republicans are coming under growing pressure to release their ObamaCare repeal and replace plan. Timing: Committee markups could begin next week (!). At least show the rest of the team: Even some Republican lawmakers are criticizing their party for the lack of access to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's draft bill, which is apparently being kept in a designated room in the Capitol where entry is limited to certain members. http://bit.ly/2mO3Ahp Why not have a big, red button that says "Do Not Touch..."
IT'S LIKE TYING THE WIRES TOGETHER OF TWO TICKING TIME BOMBS: Some congressional Republicans think tying the defunding of Planned Parenthood to an ObamaCare repeal bill could jeopardize the healthcare law rollback that they've been working on for eight years. http://bit.ly/2lHDLP9
BEST PICTURE YOU'LL SEE ALL DAY: The Huffington Post's Eliot Nelson makes an important observation: "...is Sean Spicer's suit jacket lined with an American flag?" That. Is. Awesome. Photo: http://bit.ly/2mO7MgU
SESSIONS'S SIDE OF THE STORY: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsICE chief faces rowdy crowd at Calif. forum Letters: Why is FDA favoring real cigarettes over fake ones? Overnight Cybersecurity: First GOP lawmaker calls for Nunes to recuse himself | DHS misses cyber strategy deadline | Dems push for fix to cellphone security flaw MORE appeared on Fox News last night, where he rebuffed accusations that he acted improperly in meeting with Russia's ambassador during Trump's campaign, forcefully denying ever discussing the election with the diplomat. His words: "I don't recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way," he told Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson. "It was in no way some sort of coordinating of an effort or doing anything improper, and I don't believe anybody that was in that meeting would seen or believed I said one thing that was improper or unwise." http://bit.ly/2lHrWZf
BUT EITHER WAY...: Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. http://bit.ly/2mO7mYa
YIKES -- THIS GOT TENSE: MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes got into a heated argument with Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser on President Trump's campaign team. Why: Allegations that he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at an event during the Republican National Convention. Details, details: "I'm not going to deny that I talked to him. Although I will say that I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland," Page said. "Let's just say that much." The clip is worth watching: http://bit.ly/2mO4Uk6
New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi
Fox News reported on Monday that Sean Spicer deleted Confide. He still shows up in my contacts as of Friday morning. http://bit.ly/2mO82ww
CNN's Leigh Munsil
YOU GUYS John McCainJohn McCainSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown Nunes endures another rough day MORE is on my flight to Arizona http://bit.ly/2m2OAh3
Congress is out for the weekend. The Senate is back Monday; The House is back Tuesday.
Today: Vice President Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceChristie to take on role in Trump's fight against opioids: report 3 reasons Devin Nunes must step away from the Trump probe Pence meets his 'second-favorite Ron and Nancy' MORE visits Janesville, Wis., with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). They will tour Ryan's hometown and discuss ObamaCare with local business leaders at Blain's Farm & Fleet Distribution Center.
1:35 p.m. EST: President Trump tours and meets with teachers and parents at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla. He then heads for West Palm Beach, Fla., for the Republican National Committee Spring Retreat.
2 p.m. EST: Rumana Ahmed, who worked on the National Security Council under President Obama and then briefly for President Trump, chats on the Sidewire app about why she couldn't keep working for Trump's National Security Council. Her back-story: http://theatln.tc/2lHCqYw
7 p.m. EST: President Trump attends the RNC Spring Retreat Dinner at the Four Seasons Resort in West Palm Beach.
WHAT TO WATCH:
6 p.m. EST: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will appear on Fox News's "Special Report with Bret Baier."
9 a.m. EST Sunday: CBS's Norah O'Donnell's sit-down with President Trump's senior advisor Kellyanne Conway airs on CBS "Sunday Morning."
SUNDAY SHOW GUESTS:
NBC's "Meet the Press": Exclusive interviews with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerMcConnell: ObamaCare 'status quo' will stay in place moving forward NRA launches M Supreme Court ad Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral MORE (D-N.Y.) and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will also appear on the show.
CNN's "State of the Union": House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioRepublicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report Week ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's Labor pick Senators introduce new Iran sanctions MORE (R-Fla.). The panel will include Jennifer Granholm, Dana Loesch, Bakari Sellers and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).
CBS'S "Face the Nation": Former CIA Director Leon Panetta; Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerTop Senate Intel Dem: Nunes's meeting on WH grounds 'more than suspicious' Sunday shows preview: Aftermath of failed healthcare bill Devin Nunes has jeopardized the oversight role of Congress MORE (D-Va.); Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Overnight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board Lawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities MORE (R-Maine). The panel will include The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe, National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru, AP's Julie Pace and Slate's Jamelle Bouie.
"Fox News Sunday": Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) is the Power Player of the Week. The panel will include Fox's Dana Perino, The New York Times's Peter Baker, radio host Laura Ingraham and The Washington Post's Bob Woodward.
ABC's "This Week": Sen. Al FrankenAl FrankenWe need congressional debate on Yemen The case against Gorsuch: It’s all about precedent The Hill’s Whip List: 30 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (D-Minn.).
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Mulled Wine Day!
THIS IS AN INTRIGUING HEADLINE: From the Washington Post's Kara Elder, "The crisp, cheese-stuffed, sugar-soaked dessert you'll want to devour." You can get it at a few restaurants in D.C. if you so choose. http://wapo.st/2mU5kFa
And here's a contest of the 15 funniest wild animal pictures, because, well, Happy Friday! http://u.pw/2lBUWAy
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