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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: Breaking - Senate confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court | What we know about Syria strike | Trump reportedly considers ousting Priebus, Bannon | Romney for Senate? | Trump caught on camera next to Darth Vader | National Beer Day (!)
BREAKING -- THE HATERS GONNA HATE, HATE, HATE ... BUT I'M JUST GONNA SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE IT OFF: The Senate just officially confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, capping a year-long bitter political battle that began with Justice Scalia's death -- and ended with the Senate triggering the "nuclear option." Senate vote: 54-45. Of the Dems facing re-election next year in strongly pro-Trump states, Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPicking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Manchin: Trump should make his clothes in West Virginia Sanders supporter to run against red-state Democrat MORE (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyGOP rep to potential Senate rival: Don't run Trump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Senate Dems target potential GOP candidates over ObamaCare repeal MORE (Ind.) voted yes; Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillFive takeaways from the Georgia special election Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Potential McCaskill challenger has .7M: report MORE (Mo.) and Jon TesterJon TesterDems hunt for a win in Montana special election Tester raises M for reelection The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Mont.) voted no. Time to pop some Martinellis: Gorsuch's confirmation gives President Trump the biggest victory of his first 100 days in office. Was it surprising? Ehh, nope. We knew this was coming. But it's official! http://bit.ly/2nLQQXH
A day for the history books: Senators are voting from their Senate seats on the floor. Photo: http://bit.ly/2oalGwC
Happy Friday. SpRiNg BrEaK 2017 starts today for Congress! 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 email@example.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.
BREAKING -- POSSIBLE TERRORIST ATTACK IN SWEDEN: A truck crashed through a department store in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, killing three people in what Sweden's prime minister says appears to be a "terror attack." Reports: Gunshots were fired, people were fleeing the incident, one person was arrested and there are injuries -- but no confirmed deaths so far. Video of people fleeing: http://bit.ly/2o5OQLS
Purpose: This was largely a symbolic move by the U.S. government to deter Assad from using chemical weapons.
Why now: It appears that Assad used nerve gas in a Syrian town. Nerve gas causes victims to suffer horrific pain and potentially death. "When you kill innocent children, innocent babies -- babies, little babies -- with a chemical gas that is so lethal ... that crosses many, many lines," President Trump said in response, adding that the attack had changed his view of Assad. http://ti.me/2ogow3O
Yiiikes!: Here's video of the missiles launching: http://bit.ly/2nLpiC3
What did the strike target?: Aircraft, shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems and radars at the Shayrat airfield, where the gas attack was believed to have originated. Keep in mind: Tomahawk missiles are extremely precise. Not much was left to chance.
Did it kill anyone: Yes -- reportedly at least seven.
Why it is so newsy: The U.S. has conducted air strikes on ISIS in Syria before, but this is the first direct assault on Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.
It was in Syria. What's all the talk about Russia?: Russia has a strong military presence in Syria and backs the Assad regime. Russians were on the ground near the strikes (!), but according to the Pentagon, Russia was notified before the strikes so it could protect its forces. Russia condemned the U.S. attack as an "act of aggression," saying it could endanger anti-terrorist military cooperation with the U.S. in Syria. Russia also suspended a military communication line with the U.S. established after several midair incidents between American and Russian pilots. http://bit.ly/2ogExXh
SYRIA STRIKE REACTIONS:
Trump's reasoning: "It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons," President Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida roughly an hour after the missiles hit their targets. http://bit.ly/2ogqTU7
How Assad took it: Via USA Today, Assad called the attacks on Shayrat Air Base near the city of Homs "irresponsible," "reckless" and "shortsighted." The Syrian army said this action made the U.S. a "partner" of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and other terrorist organizations. http://usat.ly/2oIPS3E
Most lawmakers gave it a thumbs up: The general reaction from Republicans -- and Democratic leadership -- is support for Trump's move. For example: "Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerTrump won't say if he'll sign funding bill without border wall money Priebus: I believe the government will stay open So what if banks push fancy cards? Give consumers the steak they want MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. Schumer's statement was in line with the reaction from most lawmakers. Like others, though, Schumer also warned that further military action by Trump would need Congressional approval. http://bit.ly/2nLcueB
*An animated hand emerges from the Capitol dome and waves at the White House*: While many lawmakers supported it, a number of Democrats (and some Republicans!) called on Trump to seek congressional authority to use military action in Syria. http://bit.ly/2nLcueB
McConnell weighs in: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), though, argued this morning that the Trump administration didn't need to seek congressional approval for military strikes targeting the Syrian government. His reasoning: "We passed [an authorization for the use of military force post-9/11], and the previous president thought that it authorized what we were doing in that part of the world, and I expect this president thinks the same." http://bit.ly/2p9Y20O
How this played internationally: The move was widely praised abroad, with governments in Britain, France, Israel, Italy, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all issuing statements of support. http://bit.ly/2oQNXqj
We're in a new era: Via The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P.: Under pressure to respond to Assad's use of chemical weapons, Trump reached for the same playbook that his predecessor resisted opening." http://theatln.tc/2nStzEm
Looming question: What if Assad uses chemical weapons again?
WELP, I HOPE THEY DIDN'T PRE-PLAN THEIR OUTFITS FOR THE WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS PARTY...: Via Axios's Mike Allen, President Trump is considering ousting both White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon. Why: A "war between the nationalists and the moderates," with an open rift with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior adviser. If their departures happen, it would be part of a big shakeup: http://bit.ly/2ogvxBJ
RELEASED THIS A.M. -- IT'S JOBS DAY: The March jobs' report was released this morning. The bad news: The economy added only 98,000 jobs in March, well below expectations. The good news: The unemployment rate dropped from 4.7 percent to 4.5 percent, its lowest rate since May 2007, before the recession started. http://bit.ly/2oM8Ndx
ROMNEY 4 PREZ 2020! -- JK, BUT ROMNEY 2018 COULD BE A THING: Via The Atlantic's McKay Coppins, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is considering a 2018 Senate run in Utah. How: That would only happen if 83-year-old incumbent Republican Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchChaffetz's campaign arm registers 2028 websites The Hill's 12:30 Report Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE decided not to run for reelection. Romney made it clear that he would not run without Hatch's blessing, but Hatch also said last month he would consider retirement if Romney ran to replace him. http://theatln.tc/2oMwi69
NEW DEVELOPMENT --MCCONNELL TALKS TO ROMNEY: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellFive fights for Trump’s first year Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road AACR’s march on Washington MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters this morning, "I've had some conversations with Mitt Romney. Obviously I'm an Orrin Hatch supporter. Orrin has to decide what he wants to do. If he wants to run again, I'm for him." http://bit.ly/2o5WPs9
BASED ON MY EXPERT INTERPRETATION, THIS DOESN'T *APPEAR* TO BE A BIG MAC: Via USA Today's Gregory Korte, in mid 2015, then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMacron’s success in France signals hope for unifying outsiders French election: Le Pen, Macron ahead in early results Trump: Government 'involves heart,' unlike business MORE promised Fox News's Bill O'Reilly that if the Chinese president ever visited Trump as president, it would not be extravagant. "I would not be throwing him a dinner. I would get him a McDonald's hamburger and say we've got to get down to work because you can't continue to devalue (the Chinese currency)," said Trump. "I would give them probably a double-sized Big Mac." Campaign promise: GONE. Check out the menu for the dinner last night: http://usat.ly/2oKE5l3
Photo of the table and guests: http://bit.ly/2oPgtsw
OK, OK, SO... DONALD TRUMP AND DARTH VADER WALK INTO A BAR: President Trump walked in on the press watching "Rogue One" on Air Force One yesterday. The part the internet is enjoying: It was right when Darth Vader showed up in the movie. http://on.mash.to/2o2SK83
Video of Trump with the movie on: The optics are pretty funny. http://bit.ly/2o37BPV
What a photobomb: http://bit.ly/2of5PNP
Lol: "Nothing to see here, folks. Just President Trump speaking to reporters next to the Darth Vader scene from Rogue One." (From writer Jared Moskowitz) http://bit.ly/2p7n0y3
Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur
Overheard at a panel discussion in DC: "One of the things about the House is that a lot of them aren't very bright." http://bit.ly/2p75IkA
The Hill's Taylor Lorenz (Hahahah)
I said noo-que-ler instead of nu-clear in a [Snapchat] yesterday and have gotten over 250 snap messages, 6 emails, and 3 FB comments correcting me http://bit.ly/2p9n7cg
The Senate is in. The House is out. Recess begins today!
Noon: President Trump has a working luncheon with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. Great analysis of how the visit is going: http://bit.ly/2oatNcN
Tonight: The Newseum is hosting an event to celebrate the cherry blossoms and Japanese culture called "Newseum Nights: In Bloom." Details: http://bit.ly/2o6nnLI
SUNDAY SHOW GUESTS:
ABC's "This Week": Rep. 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 (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.
NBC's "Meet the Press": Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamRussian interference looms over European elections Graham: I’m ‘all in’ for Trump Graham: US on a collision course with North Korea MORE (R-S.C.). The panel will include The New York Times's David Brooks and Helene Cooper; American Enterprise Institute's Danielle Pleka; and National Review's Rich Lowry.
"Fox News Sunday": Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration MORE (R-Texas); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. The panel will include The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol; Georgetown University's Mo Elleithee; High Noon Strategies' Lisa Boothe; and Fox News's Juan Williams.
CBS's "Face the Nation": Sen. John McCainJohn McCainKasich: 'I think political parties are on their way out' Five fights for Trump’s first year Trump wall faces skepticism on border MORE (R-Ariz.); former national security adviser Tom Donilon; and Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA. The panel will include The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus; National Review's Ramesh Ponurru; The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe; and Time magazine's Michael Duffy.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS": Retired Gen. David Petraeus, former CIA director and commander of U.S. Central Command.
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Beer Day! It's also National Coffee Cake Day.
NEXT WEEK WE CAN SOUND HIP AND TRENDY BECAUSE WE 'SIPPED LOCAL CRAFT BEERS': Next week is D.C. Beer Week. More than 10,000 brewers and industry workers are coming to the convention center from Monday through Thursday. Expect a lot of happy hours and events throughout the week. List of events: http://wapo.st/2oJ3gEK
A HEADLINE THAT MADE ME WANT TO SIMULTANEOUSLY WEEP FOR OUR SOCIETY AND SMASH MY HEAD THROUGH MY COMPUTER: From Refinery 29, "Honey Boo Boo Thinks Mama June Is Jealous Of Her Boyfriend." Oh and in case you aren't familiar (lol), Honey Boo Boo is 11 years old... http://r29.co/2oJgj9i
And because, well, Friday (!), here's a parrot with some insanely good impressions -- and I don't say that lightly. http://bit.ly/2nSqjZJ
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