The Hill’s 12:30 Report: House lawmakers question former Ukraine envoy

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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: Former Ukraine envoy testifies | What to know about Kurt Volker |  Trump calls on Ukraine, China to investigate Bidens | House GOP frustrated by White House handling of impeachment | How impeachment process works | Both sides push for trade deal despite impeachment | Biden to Trump: ‘I’m not going anywhere’ | The Virginia theme park Disney never built | National Soft Taco Day



Say it louder for those in the back:

This morning, President Trump openly urged Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

In Trump’s words: “I would think that if they were honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens.”

On China: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

On Ukraine: “I would say that President [Volodymyr] Zelensky — if it were me, I would recommend they start an investigation into the Bidens.” 


This was an awkward exchange:

President Trump lashed out at a reporter on Wednesday who pressed him about what the president was seeking from the Ukrainian president.

Trump said to Reuters’s Jeff Mason: “Listen, are you ready? We have the president of Finland, ask him a question.”

Mason: “I have one for him. I just want to follow up on the one I asked you, which was…”

Trump: “Did you hear me? Ask him a question.”

Mason: “I will, but…” 

Trump: “Ask this gentleman a question. Don’t be rude.”

Mason: “No, sir. I don’t want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked.” 

Watch the exchange — it gets pretty tense:



President Trump may reach a deal on trade with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) despite the ongoing impeachment inquiry. It’s not certain whether the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) can pass in the House and Senate but both sides see hopeful signs.


It’s Thursday. 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 protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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We’re all *clap* in this *clap* together:

‘Via The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke, House Republicans are voicing concerns about how the White House is handling the impeachment inquiry.

How so: “They say the administration has suffered from an ineffective, inconsistent message with some going as far as questioning whether the White House has a plan at all for taking on the Democrats.” 

From one Republican lawmaker: “Who knows what playbook they are on. [Trump’s] pulling it out of his ass as he goes along.”

From another Republican lawmaker: The party doesn’t “yet have a coherent response. But I think this is currently like every other Trump ‘scandal’ — it might be embarrassing but it isn’t illegal [or] impeachment-worthy.”

From another GOP lawmaker: “There needs to be a deep sense of what this is about and how to respond. So far, this hasn’t come from any part of the leadership in the party. We have to do better. This can’t be only Trump defending himself.”


Happening today — one of the first Trump officials to testify:

Lawmakers from three House committees began questioning Kurt Volker, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Ukraine who resigned last week, behind closed doors. Volker was named in the whistleblower complaint filed against President Trump involving his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

What it’s like on Capitol Hill: “By Thursday morning when Volker’s deposition began, the media presence dwarfed that of the lawmakers trickling into the secure meeting space in the basement of the Capitol.” 



Here’s a helpful read:



Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis



Forty-five percent of Americans polled support impeaching President Trump and removing him from office, according to a new USA TODAY-Ipsos Poll. Thirty-eight percent don’t think the House should vote on impeachment. The full poll:



It me:

Former Vice President Joe Biden told supporters he’s “not going anywhere” during a campaign rally yesterday, hitting back at President Trump.

In Biden’s words: “Let me make something clear to Trump and his hatchet men and the special interests funding his attacks against me: I’m not going anywhere. You’re not going to destroy me. And you’re not going to destroy my family. I don’t care how much money you spend or how dirty the attacks get.” 


‘F’ is for friends who do stuff together, ‘U’ is for you and me, ‘N’ is for anywhere and anytime at all down here in the deep blue sea

Thanks, Spongebob, for the classic –> 😉 

Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is struggling to sell unity as a message in his presidential campaign as Democratic voters are itching for a fight in the most polarized political climate in modern history.

“Some of Booker’s most ardent backers say his pledge to mend raw wounds is exactly why they support him. And, in interviews with nearly a dozen Booker supporters and advisers, many said he has created the infrastructure necessary to catch fire, especially if leading contenders like former Vice President Joe Biden stumble.” 



What a year, what a year:


Meanwhile in my hometown…:




The House and Senate are out.

President Trump is in Florida today. Vice President Pence is in Arizona. 

10 a.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Ocala, Fla. 

10:45 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a roundtable discussion in Scottsdale, Ariz. for Hispanic Heritage Month.

5:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

9:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.



1:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at The Villages in Florida and signs an executive order related to Medicare. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gives a speech on trade in Arizona. Livestream:

5:45 p.m. EDT: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) holds a town hall in Corona, N.Y. Livestream



Today is National Soft Taco Day!


Too bad!:

Via DCist’s Matt Blitz, here is “the story of the D.C.-area Disney park that almost was.” 

Where it would have been: Haymarket, Va., 35 miles east of Washington, D.C.

The park’s would-be theme: It would have had a history theme!

What happened: “On September 28th, 1994, the Walt Disney Company shocked the world by abruptly pulling out from building the $600 million, 3,000 acre Disney’s America, a proposed history-themed park, in Haymarket.” 

The full story:


And to brighten your Thursday afternoon, here’s a dog who struggling to get through the week:


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