The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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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: Senate panel declines Flynn's immunity offer for now | Trump decries Flynn 'witch hunt' | Dems to watch in Gorsuch fight | Hillary returns to DC for speech | Cruz gets Senate challenger | Goodbye, Twitter eggs

JUST NOW: ​'BET-ON BETO' -- PSH, PEOPLE SHOULD HIRE ME FOR CAMPAIGN SLOGANS: Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) just officially jumped into the race to take on Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzGOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Cruz: Jokes about me in Franken's book 'obnoxious' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Texas) in 2018. Well, first: Before he can take on Cruz, O'Rourke will need to win the Democratic primary. Fellow Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro (D), a rising star in the party, is still considering a bid. His political director said he will make a decision "in the coming weeks."

Happy Friday! Tomorrow's April Fool's Day, so have your radar out! 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 and on Facebook.

TALKED ABOUT ON THE MORNING SHOWS -- JUST A LIL' INFO, NUDGE, Y'KNOW, BETWEEN FRIENDS: Via The Wall Street Journal's Shane HarrisCarol E. Lee and Julian E. Barnes, President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has reportedly told the FBI that he is willing to testify about the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Flynn's lawyer's statement: "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit."

BREAKING -- SENATE SAYS HOLD YOUR HORSES: The Senate Intelligence Committee has turned down former national security advisor Michael Flynn's request for immunity in exchange for his testimony in the panel's investigation into Russian interference in the election, at least for now (this last phrase is key.)

FLASHBACK: Flynn in September on NBC's "Meet the Press": "When you are given immunity, that means that you've probably committed a crime." Video:

ANOTHER FLASHBACK: Trump (as a candidate) in September 2016: "If you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?"

TRUMP REACTS -- IT'S SALEM ALL OVER AGAIN, I TELL YA: President Trump is defending former national security adviser Michael Flynn's offer to testify in probes of Russian interference in the election in exchange for immunity, calling the investigation "a witch hunt." Tweet: "Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!"

NOW WHEN YOU MEET TYWIN LANNISTER, JUST REMEMBER -- THERE SHALL BE NO EYE CONTACT: Via The Washington Post's Anne Gearan and Carol Morello, diplomats meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been instructed to avoid eye contact with him. "Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly -- or even make eye contact."

FUNNIEST THING I'VE READ ALL DAY -- THE QUEEN OF SOCIAL MEDIA STALKING: In Gizmodo, Ashley Feinberg did some serious investigating and found what she claims is FBI Director James Comey's secret Twitter account. What the account is tweeting:

WHO TO WATCH -- WHICH DEMS WILL BE SEEING A LOT OF PEARLY WHITES FROM COLLEAGUES: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, several key Democrats are keeping their votes to themselves days before a showdown over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation. Remember: Gorsuch needs 60 to end a filibuster. Here are the key unknowns: Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinFeinstein: Comey memos 'going to be turned over' Judiciary chair may call for meeting with Mueller Dem senators accuse Trump of purposefully holding back information MORE (D-Calif.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySessions postpones Senate testimony on DOJ funding GOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges GOP bill would create mandatory minimums for crimes against police MORE (D-Vt.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerFive takeaways from a busy day of Russia hearings Senate Intel panel issues subpoenas to Flynn businesses Overnight Cybersecurity: Flynn refuses to comply with Senate subpoena | Chaffetz postpones hearing with Comey | Small biz cyber bill would cost M | New worm spotted after 'Wanna Cry' MORE (D-Va.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillTechnology's role in human trafficking cannot be ignored Five things to know about Joe Lieberman Senate GOP short on ideas for stabilizing ObamaCare markets MORE (D-Mo.), Michael BennetMichael BennetSenators introduce lifetime lobbying ban for lawmakers Undocumented activist living in church gets stay of removal Overnight Regulation: Senate confirms SEC pick | House GOP passes 'comp time' bill | MORE (D-Colo.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsDOJ pitches agreements to solve international data warrant woes Overnight Defense: Trump hits back over special counsel | US bombs pro-Assad forces | GOP chairman unveils proposed Pentagon buying reforms Special counsel appointment gets bipartisan praise MORE (D-Del.), Jon TesterJon TesterCongress should act on measure to help Medicare, small businesses GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Senators introduce lifetime lobbying ban for lawmakers MORE (D-Mont.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyUpdated fuel regulations would modernize options at gas pumps Mnuchin mum as Dems press for answers on tax reform, Dodd-Frank Overnight Defense: Senate passes funding bill | Trump to get Afghan war plan next week | Concerns grow over Army nominee MORE (D-Ind.) and Angus KingAngus KingMedicare’s billion challenge: preventing older adult falls Intel chief has not talked with Trump about reported disclosure of classified info Angus King: Russia probe ‘a duty,’ not ‘witch hunt’ MORE (I-Maine).

LATE THIS MORNING -- AN APPEARANCE FROM DONALD'S #1 FAN: During a speech this morning at Georgetown University, Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHannity on attempted advertiser boycott: 'Nobody tells me what to say on my show' Overnight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants Budowsky: GOP summer of scandal MORE (she's baaack) blasted the White House's budget in a Friday speech, warning that cuts to diplomacy and international aid could have devastating effects. "This administration's proposed cuts to international health, development, and diplomacy would be a blow to women and children and a grave mistake to our country," she said. Keep in mind: The Trump administration's top-line budget calls for cutting State's budget by more than 25 percent. 

ON THIS SEASON OF 'THE WHITE HOUSE VS. XX': Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, "April Ryan says the press is under attack from the Trump administration and she's doing all she can to defend it.  The veteran White House correspondent made headlines this week after she squabbled with White House press secretary Sean Spicer during the daily briefing." Interview with Ryan on how she's handling it



The National Law Journal's Cogan Schneier (*Head tilt* huuuuh?)
Stuff I learn from DOJ press releases: juvenile eel trafficking is a thing and it is illegal 

The Hill's Taylor Lorenz
During a meeting in Priebus' office about Walsh leaving a staffer tried to say the White House is just "in beta" 

Context: President Trump's deputy chief of staff, Katie Walsh, is leaving the White House to work with outside groups tasked with promoting his agenda.


ON TAP -- not much: 

The House and Senate are o-u-t, out. 

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the director of the National Institutes of Health.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump signs executive orders on trade in the Oval Office.

3:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with U.S. Navy submarine junior officers and their spouses.

4:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney



1:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Livestream:



NBC's "Meet the Press": Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerGOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill McConnell: CBO analysis for House bill will repeat 'things we already know' Congress urges Trump administration to release public transit funding MORE (D-N.Y.); Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellBorder-adjustment tax proposal at death’s door McConnell on Trump: 'We could do with a little less drama' New CBO score triggers backlash MORE (R-Ky.). The panel will include GQ's Robert Draper; The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson; MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren; and The Cook Political Report's Amy Walter. 

CNN's "State of the Union": Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffOvernight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants Ex-Trump aide Carter Page says he'll testify for House Russia probe House intel panel will subpoena Flynn businesses: Top Dem MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The panel will include Nina Turner; Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.); the Center for American Progress's Neera Tanden; and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)

"Fox News Sunday": The panel will include radio host Laura IngrahamJulie Pace of The Associated Press; Jones Group International's Gillian Turner; and The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib.



Today is National Clam Day.

SORRY, DOMINOS LOVERS: The Fiscal Times ranked the 11 worst fast food restaurants in America based on Consumer Reports' grade. Hint: It involves a lot of fast food pizza.

OMG, THIS IS THE UPSIDE DOWN FROM 'STRANGER THINGS': The blackest material every created, Vantablack, is now in spray paint form. Basically, when sprayed on something, the item loses the appearance of being 3-D and absorbs 99.8 percent of light. Insane video of Vantablack in use: Ugh, it definitely sends you to an alternate universe

WHOA IF TRUE -- NO MORE TWITTER EGGS: Twitter is replacing its iconic eggs – for people who do not have Twitter photos – with a plainer graphic. (h/t The Hill's Taylor Lorenz)

And because it's Friday, here's a stag deer roaming around with a bra stuck to his head. As Mashable explained it, "this stag ... has some serious explaining to do."


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