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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breaking - Trump reportedly considering military action in Syria | Senate goes ‘nuclear’ | Nunes steps aside on Russia probe | Chinese leader heads to Mar-A-Lago | O'Reilly's ratings rise amid controversy
BREAKING – SENATE NUKES THE FILIBUSTER: Senate Republicans just voted to strip Democrats of the power to filibuster President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, invoking the so-called nuclear option. http://bit.ly/2o6SfeV
Vote count: 52-48 along party lines to change the Senate’s precedent, lowering the threshold for advancing Neil Gorsuch from 60 votes to a simple majority.
How you know it's big: Many senators, who usually walk around the Senate floor or leave after they vote, stayed seated as they cast their votes from their desks -- a move normally reserved for historic votes.
Future trivia question: Fun fact – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted no, a procedural move that will allow him to bring back up Gorsuch's nomination.
Oh, hello there!: "[Former House Speaker John] BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE strolls by the Senate chamber, offering a jovial hello, as the nuclear option vote kicks in." http://bit.ly/2oF3igM
Spotted: "Top White House aide Marc Short is on the Senate floor right now" (From Guardian's Ben Jacobs) http://bit.ly/2o1wOKP
What else could change: Separate from the filibuster vote, Republicans are also considering broader changes to Senate rules. Why: To more quickly confirm President Trump's nominees. What they're considering: http://bit.ly/2oIbTPw
Because knowing the backstory makes it that much more interesting: Check out the newly released episode of The Hill's Historycast with the fascinating history of the filibuster. http://bit.ly/2oEQvei
It's a dreary Thursday in Washington, D.C. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, @CateMartel and on Facebook.
BREAKING -- POTENTIAL MILITARY ACTION IN SYRIA: Via CNN's Dana Bash, "President Trump has told some members of Congress that he's considering military action in Syria." http://bit.ly/2oNqwOA
BACKSTORY -- TO OUST OR NOT TO OUST, THAT IS THE QUESTION: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump indicated an abrupt change in his administration's policy toward Syria Wednesday -- but left questions about specifics hanging in the air. The confusion: The administration had signaled as recently as last week that the ouster of the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, was no longer a priority. But Trump's comments yesterday suggest the removal of Assad is once again on the table. But he did not say that explicitly, leaving Washington wondering what will come next. http://bit.ly/2oMKbOZ
SURPRISE! -- A BIG "PRE-RECESS" ANNOUNCEMENT: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) will "temporarily" (key word!) step aside in the investigation into Russia's meddling with the 2016 presidential election. Reasoning: Nunes said in a statement he thinks it is in the "best interests" of the committee. "Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The charges are entirely false and politically motivated." Who takes over: Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas). Keep in mind: Nunes stepping down has come as a big surprise. http://bit.ly/2odqkL0
Full statement from Nunes: http://bit.ly/2oduYbQ
Top Dem's reaction: House Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (Calif.) said that Nunes made the right decision to step down. Statement: "He did so in the best interests of the committee, and I respect that decision. I look forward to my continued work with the chairman on the whole host of other important issues." http://bit.ly/2o1qanA
Throwback to a fun fact: Via The Dallas Morning News, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the new leader of the Russia probe, once compared Russian hacking to Mexican singers campaigning for Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPoll: 85 percent of Clinton supporters would vote for her again OMB director: Government shutdown not a 'desired end' Poll: Almost half say Trump off to poor start MORE, saying they both showed "foreign influence." http://bit.ly/2nOsk9p
We out: "After Nunes recusal, new healthcare amendment, House raced through last vote before recess. 'One and done' said one Rep. as he ran for elevator." (From BuzzFeed's Alexis Levinson) http://bit.ly/2oNc0qq
Spotted: Reps. Mike Conaway and Adam SchiffAdam SchiffDems knock Trump on Earth Day Five questions for the House's new Russia investigator Schiff: Trump breaking Iran deal ‘a grave mistake’ MORE were spotted talking in the Dem cloakroom. (From Politico's Jake Sherman) http://bit.ly/2nOIdfX
'LOOK! LOOK RIGHT THERE! SEE THAT SCRIBBLE? YA YA, WE DID THAT!!': House Republicans will move Thursday to add an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill as a way to show progress before recess, despite the lack of a major breakthrough. Details: The amendment to be added would appropriate $15 billion to insurers over 9 years to help pay for the costs of patients with costly medical conditions. http://bit.ly/2oIzkZ9 Livestream of the markup at 12:30 p.m. EDT: http://cs.pn/2oIr5vU
HEADS UP FOR CONGRESS MEMBERS HEADING OUT OF TOWN: "Departure delays [at Reagan National Airport] running around 50 minutes due to rain." (From ABC7's Molly Cochran) http://bit.ly/2oFdbuW
TALK OF THE MORNING -- JUST A BUNCHA NEW YAWKERS SITTIN' AROUND A TABLE TAWKIN' POLITICS: The New York Times's Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush sat down with President Trump yesterday for a wide-ranging interview. Audio: http://nyti.ms/2odpHkt
TRUMP ON INFRASTRUCTURE: Trump floated tying infrastructure to another bill. "'Infrastructure is so popular that I might want to use it for another bill,' said Trump, who is in need of a legislative win after the humbling defeat of his health care bill last month." http://nyti.ms/2oEPQtq
FUNNIEST BACK AND FORTH: The president discussing Susan Rice -- "Trump: Take a look at what's happening. I mean, first of all her performance was horrible yesterday on television even though she was interviewed by Hillary Clinton's P.R. person, Andrea Mitchell [the NBC News journalist]. Course you've been accused of that also.
Haberman: Mostly by you, though.
Trump: No, no, no. Mostly by a lot of people."
INTERESTING EXCHANGE -- SO, WHAT'S THE FIRST?: Trump talked about Democratic priorities when asked if he could count on their support on infrastructure. "Trump: No, because [Democrats] are desperate for infrastructure. That's the thing that they want second to -- that would be their second number -- that would be their second request.
Haberman: What do you think their first is?
Trump: I know it, but I can't tell you it."
WELP, THEY WON'T BE SHARING A CHARCUTERIE BOARD ANYTIME SOON: The Trump administration has escalated its feud with the Obama administration, creating a virtually unprecedented situation in which the current and former U.S. executive branches are openly fighting. What's the issue this time?: Trump's claim, offered without proof, that Obama national security adviser Susan Rice may have committed a crime by requesting the identities of Trump associates who were incidentally swept up in surveillance. http://bit.ly/2odCe7A
NEW THIS MORNING -- PROOF THAT ALL PRESS IS GOOD PRESS: Via The Hill's Joe Concha, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's ratings have sharply increased since a Saturday report that five women who accused him over the years of sexual harassment were paid a combined $13 million. How much of an increase?: More than 3.76 million people watched "The O'Reilly Factor" at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, a 20 percent jump from the Tuesday edition one week prior, according to Nielsen Research. http://bit.ly/2o6AUD2
MEANWHILE -- THE FALL FROM THE TOP IS A STEEP ONE: Dozens of companies have announced that they are pulling their commercials from "The O'Reilly Factor" following the sexual harassment settlement reports. As of Wednesday afternoon: Thirty companies have pulled ads. http://bit.ly/2oN2off
TO OUST OR NOT TO OUST, THAT IS THE QUESTION: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, President Trump indicated an abrupt change in his administration's policy toward Syria yesterday -- but left questions about specifics hanging in the air. The confusion: The administration had signaled as recently as last week that the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad was no longer a priority. Trump's comments suggest the removal of Assad is once again on the table. But he did not say that explicitly, leaving Washington wondering what will come next. http://bit.ly/2oMKbOZ
100th ANNIVERSARY: 100 years ago today, the United States entered World War I. http://bit.ly/2o12n7a
JOB MOVES: CLS Strategies has a hired former National Security Council senior director under President Obama, Mark Feierstein, to serve as a senior adviser. http://bit.ly/2oF1bcV
The Huffington Post's Matt Fuller
The phrase "doin' tweets" is so on-brand for Jim Jordan, who has a flip phone and does not do tweets. http://bit.ly/2oERfjO
The House is in. The Senate is also in, setting up a vote on the nuclear option to push through confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
This morning: Astronaut John Glenn was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Livestream of the ceremony: http://bit.ly/2oNcdtG
This morning: Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanPelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion Five fights for Trump’s first year Sunday shows preview: Trump stares down 100-day mark MORE (R-Wis.) held his weekly press conference earlier then usual. RECESS!
2:35 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives in West Palm Beach, Fla.
6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have dinner with President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China at the Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Tomorrow night: The Newseum is hosting an event to celebrate the cherry blossoms and Japanese culture called "Newseum Nights: In Bloom." Details: http://bit.ly/2o6nnLI
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Caramel Popcorn Day!
TRENDING -- SHOW ANY OF THESE PHOTOS TO ANY MOTHER OUT OF CONTEXT FOR AN ENTERTAINING REACTION: Via Mashable's Brian Koerber, a dad photoshopped his baby daughter into dangerous situations. They're incredibly well done -- especially the one walking on a ledge. http://on.mash.to/2od7bIO
And because you read this far, here's a video of Tian Tian, a giant panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo dangling from a tree while trying to climb it. Yiiiikes: http://bit.ly/2p5tk9f
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This story was updated at 12:51 p.m.