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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: FBI chief to testify publicly on Russian interference | Trump tax returns -- what to know | Ryan says health plan was written with Trump | Fed interest rate decision at 2 p.m. | Chelsea fuels talk over political future
BREAKING -- COMEY TO DA HOUSE: FBI Director James B. Comey and National Security Agency Head Adm. Michael Rogers will testify publicly in the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the US election, Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said this morning. When: The panel is holding its first public hearing into the matter March 20, the same day the Senate is set to begin considering the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court. http://bit.ly/2nnKGS9
BACK-STORY -- R ON R FIGHTING: Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown GOP torn over what to do next MORE (R-S.C.) says the Senate will stall on confirming President Trump's deputy attorney general if the FBI refuses to provide evidence of wiretaps against Trump. "We'll hold up the deputy attorney general's nomination until Congress is provided with information to finally clear the air as to whether or not there was ever a warrant issued against the Trump campaign." http://bit.ly/2mZDj2i
ALSO BREAKING -- EVIDENCE, SCHMEVIDENCE: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) also said that his panel has not received any evidence that President Trump was wiretapped during the election campaign. "In fact, I don't believe just in the last week of time, the people we've talked to, I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower." http://bit.ly/2mOqV4n
BREAKING: WHAT BAD PR TIMING -- EVERYONE USES YAHOO FOR THEIR MARCH MADNESS BRACKETS: The Department of Justice indicted two Russian intelligence officers and two other people, in connection with a conspiracy to hack into Yahoo's networks. Details: The defendants, including two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, were able to gain information about "millions of subscribers" at Yahoo, Google, and other webmail providers, the Justice Department said. http://cnb.cx/2mtaqIq
WE WERE UP. WE WERE DOWN. WE LAUGHED. WE CRIED. WE HAD A PANIC ATTACK. THEN WE SNOOZED: Last night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow teased that she had obtained leaked documents with some details of President Trump's income and taxes in 2005. Lol, but wait: A few minutes before MSNBC was set to broadcast their findings, the White House preemptively released details of that same tax return -- slamming MSNBC in the process. http://bit.ly/2mIRhDe
The dirt: President Trump paid roughly $38 million in taxes on $150 million in income in 2005, according to partial tax returns obtained by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston of DCReport.org. Spelling that out: Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid $5.3 million in regular federal income tax plus $31 million in the alternative minimum tax -- originally created to prevent tax avoidance by wealthy filers. He also paid nearly $2 million in self-employment taxes.
What to know: This disproves speculation that Trump didn't pay taxes since 1995 after suffering major business losses. Trump's income and taxes aren't that surprising. Tax rate: Trump's effective tax rate was about 25 percent.
Trump's reaction: "Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, 'went to his mailbox' and found my tax returns? NBC News FAKE NEWS!" http://bit.ly/2mZq7KI
Fueling the rumor mill: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough is accusing President Trump of leaking his own 2005 tax returns in an effort to "distract from Russia hearings and the Trumpcare meltdown." http://bit.ly/2nEPC0R
INTERESTING READ -- THE FEELING AT 1600 PENN --> http://gph.is/2lZWSbm: Via Politico's Alex Isenstadt and Ken Vogel, "A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies--inside their own government. ... They're turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. ... Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they've been read, or are leaving their personal cell phones at home."
JUST ANNOUNCED -- WELCOME, BUT DON'T GET TOOOOOO ATTACHED: About 12.2 million people signed up for ObamaCare plans during the 2017 enrollment period, the Trump administration announced this morning. Context: The total falls short of the Obama administration's projected signups of 13.8 million people and is slightly down from the 2016 enrollment period, when 12.7 million people signed up for plans. The figures come as Republicans move to repeal and replace ObamaCare. http://bit.ly/2nEybxp
ON HEALTHCARE, WHO'S WHERE, WHEN AND WHY: Here's The Hill's constantly updated Whip List of where each Republican stands on the ObamaCare repeal plan. http://bit.ly/2mBvyiw
TIMING: House GOP leadership's ObamaCare repeal plan was written with President Trump, Speaker 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 (R-Wis.) said Wednesday. House conservatives are pushing Trump for changes to the plan, but Ryan said they shouldn't expect anything major. "Obviously, the major components are staying intact because this is something we wrote with President Trump," Ryan told Fox Business. http://bit.ly/2msOhdy
IT'S ALL IN THE FAMILY: Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Chelsea Clinton has been fueling speculation over her own political ambitions. "Clinton has only stoked the rumors further, particularly on Twitter, where she has repeatedly gone after President Trump and his associates since Inauguration Day. On Sunday, she also took the opportunity to rail against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for racially charged comments about immigrant babies." http://bit.ly/2msKlt7
The Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery (Yikes.)
A friend/fellow journalist just posted this [experience about an immigration officer in the Tampa, Fla. airport]. She's American but lives in Zurich with her Swiss husband. Ridiculous. http://bit.ly/2m0deAG
Twitter user @_youhadonejob1 (Hahah, this screenshot!)
Damn, she's good. http://bit.ly/2mOnURy
The Senate is in. The House will be in later today.
RealClearPolitics' James Arkin: "Senate leaving for the week just after 2pm. House coming in session for the week at 4:30pm. It's Wednesday. Ah, Congress." http://bit.ly/2m0FJOR
12:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks to the Republican Study Committee on Capitol Hill.
1:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
1:55 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with CEOs and union workers at the American Center for Mobility, during his trip to Michigan.
2 p.m. EDT: The Federal Reserve is expected to release a policy statement on interest rates. It's widely expected to raise rates.
2:30 p.m. EDT: Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a press conference.
2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the American Center for Mobility. He's expected to announce steps to roll back Obama-era auto emissions rules.
2:30 p.m. EDT: A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on Russia "undermining democracies throughout the world." http://bit.ly/2nECfhe
4:30 p.m. EDT: The House meets.
5:25 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home in Tennessee, where he'll lay a wreath and make remarks.
6 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks to the GOP conference.
6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally (sigh) in Nashville, Tenn. http://bit.ly/2mnwLWW
6:30 p.m. EDT: The House votes.
7:35 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the American Ireland Fund 25th Annual National Gala at the National Building Museum.
Thursday: President Trump sends his budget to Capitol Hill.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Tonight: NBC's Matt Lauer sits down with United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley on "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt."
9 p.m. EDT: Fox News's Tucker Carlson interviews President Trump.
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Peanut Lovers' Day!
THIS GUY IS DOING PARENTING CORRECTLY: This dad had planned twin-themed pranks ever since he and his wife found out they were having identical twin girls. Now, the 4-year-old girls are totally in. The pranks are pretty funny: http://bzfd.it/2nnyKj0
PSA FOR THE WEEKEND: Via Popville, Lyft is offering $20 in free rides for St. Patrick's Day with SoberRide. http://bit.ly/2nEA2Cw
And because you read this far, here are some of the funniest uses of social media: http://bzfd.it/2mIQ1zW
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