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The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Trump’s big return to DC

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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.

HAPPENING TOMORROW 

Trump’s first time back in DC:

Former President Trump is making his big return to Washington, D.C., this week to woo Republicans into supporting his potential reelection campaign. 

The details: Trump will be addressing the America First Policy Institute’s (AFPI) America First Agenda Summit.  

Who else is speaking?: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, 10 senators that include Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The full list of speakers — there are a lot of familiar names
 

Watch former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for the last time: On the day of President Biden’s inauguration — Jan. 20, 2021. The footage 

 ‘TRUMP RETURNS TO D.C. TO PITCH FELLOW REPUBLICANS ON HIS COMEBACK’
From Time’s Philip Elliott 

➤ ALSO MAKING THE ROUNDS:
Former Vice President Mike Pence is speaking today at the Heritage Foundation. Livestream — it starts at 5 p.m. EDT

IT’S MONDAY. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

💻 In Congress 

Joe Manchin has COVID-19

Key centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced on Monday morning that he tested positive for COVID-19. 

How is he feeling?: “Mild symptoms”  

Other Dems with COVID: Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) 

Why this matters: “If other Democrats test positive next week, it could pose an obstacle for passing a health care measure that would lower prescription drug prices and continue enhanced financial assistance under the Affordable Care Act. Manchin is a key vote on the measure in a Senate split evenly between the two parties.” 

^ Plus, Leahy is out: “In an additional potential complication on the vote count, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is recovering from a fractured hip and had an additional surgery last week.”  

More on what this means, via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan 

Week to knock out the laundry list: 

This week the vote is expected to vote on a bill to bolster the production of semiconductors in the U.S. — or the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act. 

Other Senate bills on the docket this week: Senators may also vote on the House-passed bill to codify same-sex marriage rights or on a bill to support Finland and Sweden to join NATO. 

Big cats: The House is expected to vote on a bill to ban private ownership of big cats. Yes, like from the Netflix documentary series “Tiger King.”  

Telehealth: The House is also expected to vote on a bill to codify telehealth policies that were put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Context and details for each, via The Hill’s Mychael Schnell 

➤ ‘DEMOCRATS REV UP HIGH-STAKES FINAL PUSH TO LOWER DRUG PRICES’
Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan

🏛 Jan. 6 

The committee looks at the DOJ, then Trump, then back to the DOJ, then back to Trump:

“Four members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot pushed on Sunday for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to criminally investigate former President Trump.”  

For example — committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “I think that Donald Trump — the violation of his oath of office, the violation of the Constitution that he engaged in — is the most serious misconduct of any president in the history of our nation.”  

Will the committee recommend charges for Trump?: “The committee hasn’t decided yet whether to issue a criminal referral for Trump, which may add public pressure on the DOJ to open a criminal investigation, but Cheney confirmed the panel is still considering the option.”  

The problem with prosecuting a former president: Fellow Republican on the panel, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told ABC’s “This Week” that prosecuting previous administration’s is quite dangerous. “[That’s] what you see in failed democracies …  But there is a massive difference between ‘I’m going to prosecute the last administration for political vengeance’ and not prosecuting an administration that literally attempted a failed coup.”  

A look at the competing pressures the DOJ is facing, via The Hill’s Julia Mueller

📶 Getting traction 

Yikes — ‘FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications’:

Via CNN’s Katie Bo Lillis, “Since at least 2017, federal officials have investigated Chinese land purchases near critical infrastructure, shut down a high-profile regional consulate believed by the US government to be a hotbed of Chinese spies and stonewalled what they saw as clear efforts to plant listening devices near sensitive military and government facilities.” 

A pretty wild example: The Chinese government wanted to build a garden in the Washington, D.C., Arboretum. “But when US counterintelligence officials began digging into the details, they found numerous red flags. The pagoda … would have been strategically placed on one of the highest points in Washington DC, just two miles from the US Capitol, a perfect spot for signals intelligence collection … Also alarming was that Chinese officials wanted to build the pagoda with materials shipped to the US in diplomatic pouches, which US Customs officials are barred from examining.”  

^ That project was killed. 

Read the full CNN report 

Watch Lillis elaborate on her reporting on CNN’s “New Day”

📊 The economy 

 ‘WHO DECIDES IF THE US IS IN A RECESSION?’
A group of eight economists whom you’ve likely never heard of. CNN Business’ Nicole Goodkind explains the process. 

  ‘WHY THE US HOUSING SHORTAGE IS LIKELY TO GET WORSE’
Rising interest rates and economic headwinds, according to The Hill’s Sylvan Lane

A brief explainer: “The Federal Reserve has been working for months to stanch the sting of inflation by raising rates and slowing the housing market. Home sales and construction have fallen off a cliff this summer as a result. Sales of new and existing homes have also fallen for months on end after the Fed drove up mortgage rates. But experts say that these rate hikes, coupled with supply shortages and a historically low inventory will only exacerbate the shortage.” 

What experts predict will happen 

➤ NEW REPORT — ‘AROUND HALF OF OLDER AMERICANS CAN’T AFFORD ESSENTIAL EXPENSES’
From The Hill’s Gianna Melillo

🦠 Latest with COVID 

Republicans’ first target to investigate if they win in November— Anthony Fauci:

Why…?: “Republicans have not been shy about launching probes into the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on the origins of the virus and whether the federal government — and by extension, Fauci — helped fund controversial research that might have played a role in its creation.”  

Why it would matter if Republicans win the House or Senate?: “While Republicans have been in the minority, those investigations have not gained much momentum. But with the majority, the GOP would have the authority to lob subpoenas at the administration to force it to hand over documents.”  

Republicans’ plans to investigate Fauci, via The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel 

 THE COVID-19 NUMBERS 

Cases to date: 89.9 million 

Death toll: 1,021,546 

Current hospitalizations: 36,622 

Shots administered: 601 million 

Fully vaccinated: 67.2 percent of Americans 

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

This must have been terrifying

ABC News tweeted that “a whale struck a fishing boat off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts, with the whale breaching and then landing on the vessel. Fortunately, no one was hurt.” Watch the footage 

On tap 

The Senate is in. The House is out. President Biden is isolating at the White House. Vice President Harris is in Indiana today. 

  • 8:45 a.m.: Harris left for Indianapolis.
  • 9:30 a.m.: Biden received the President’s Daily Brief. 
  • 12:30 p.m.: Biden delivers *virtual* remarks to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Conference. 
  • 2:15 p.m.: Biden holds a virtual meeting with CEOs and labor leaders to discuss the importance of the semiconductor bill. 
  • 3 p.m.: The Senate meets. Today’s Senate agenda. 
  • 3:20 p.m.: Harris flies back to Washington, D.C. 
  • 5:30 p.m.: A Senate cloture vote.  

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch 

  • 11:30 a.m.: Harris convened Indiana state legislators to discuss reproductive rights. Livestream 
  • 3:10 p.m.: White House press secretaryKarine Jean-Pierre and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha hold a press briefing. Livestream

🍨 In lighter news 

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog soaking up his time at the beach

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