The Hill's 12:30 Report — Shutdown enters Day 17 | Trump to visit border | Ginsburg misses court session | Warren raises stakes for 2020 Dems

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here: 

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

 --> 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: Shutdown enters Day 17 | Trump to visit border amid wall fight | New confusion over Trump's Syria plans | Warren raises stakes for 2020 field | Ginsburg misses court session for first time | Trump knocks press as 'crazed lunatics' | White House may try to block parts of Mueller report | Biden reportedly nearing 2020 decision | 'Big Bang Theory' ending



The wall shall be a work of modern art:

Remember when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE said the wall will be "artistically designed" and "beautiful?"


President Trump is now pushing for a steel barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border, instead of a concrete wall. Why: Trump suggested the material switch might appease Democrats.

Ah, negotiations: "They don't like concrete, so we'll give them steel," Trump said. 

What's the difference -- In Trump's words: "[Steel] will be less obtrusive and stronger," Trump told reporters. 

JUST ANNOUNCED: President Trump will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders just announced on Twitter.

TRUMP'S BACKUP PLAN FOR BUILDING THE WALL: Bypassing Congress by declaring a national emergency to start building the wall. 

Why this plan is raising eyebrows: Questions over the legality of declaring an emergency to get the wall built.

TRUMP ON THE FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKERS: When asked if he can relate to the pain of federal workers who can't pay their bills, Trump said, "I can relate. And I'm sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. And they'll make adjustments. People understand exactly what's going on. But many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I'm doing." Watch Trump's response:


It's Monday. 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 follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily:



RBG is working from home today:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will miss a session today for the first time ever.

Why: She is recovering from her Dec. 21 surgery to remove cancerous nodules in her left lung.

What about today's arguments?: The Supreme Court spokeswoman says Ginsburg will work from home and will follow the cases with briefs, filings and oral argument transcripts.  



The White House has become Ben Stiller in 'Happy Gilmore':


Actual footage of the White House communicating with investigators --> ;)

Via Bloomberg's Chris Strohm and Shannon Pettypiece, when special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE completes his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the White House may try to block some of the findings from being shared with Congress.

When the report may be finalized: As soon as February. 

What would happen: Mueller will submit his findings to the Justice Department. The Trump administration may try to block the findings from being released. House Democrats can be expected to demand the findings be released. This fight would likely end up in the Supreme Court. 


Getting traction -- You may have to wait for the Syria withdrawal:

Via The New York Times's David E. Sanger, Noah Weiland and Eric Schmitt, "President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, rolled back on Sunday Mr. Trump's decision to rapidly withdraw from Syria, laying out conditions for a pullout that could leave American forces there for months or even years."

THIS A.M. -- REACTION FROM TRUMP: President Trump denied that he backtracked on Syria. He tweeted: "The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria. No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!" 


This morning -- stop it, you're making me blush!

This morning, President Trump ramped up his attacks on the media, calling journalists "crazed lunatics."

The gist of his tweets: "The Fake News will knowingly lie and demean in order [to] make the tremendous success of the Trump Administration, and me, look as bad as possible. They use non-existent sources & write stories that are total fiction. Our Country is doing so well, yet this is a sad day in America!" Read the full tweets:


IT'S 2020 -- MONTH 1 OF 24

Joeyyyyyy B:

Via The New York Times's Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden: 'We've learned in the last two years, it doesn't take much to awaken hate' 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president MORE is deciding whether to run for president and plans to make his decision within the next two weeks. According to Democrats close to Biden: Biden is leaning toward running. What to know:


Anthem for any 2020 Democrat who isn't Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems seize on MLK Day for campaign messaging Kamala Harris staffer mocks O'Reilly for saying Harris 'lost' his vote for president Kamala Harris announces presidential campaign MORE:

Via The Hill's Max Greenwood, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) early presidential bid is raising the stakes for other Democrats who are considering running.

How so: "The early entrance not only gives Warren a head start on hiring campaign staff and raising money, which will be crucial in a potentially long and crowded primary season, but it also provides ample opportunity for her to set the tenor of the nominating contest by staking out positions that could define the Democratic field."



Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke, here's what else is happening in Congress this week:  

Syria: The Senate is gearing up to rebut the administration on Syria, after Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops caught lawmakers off guard. McConnell has set up an initial vote on Tuesday take up legislation that would impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and bolster cooperation with Israel and Jordan."

Another senator is getting sworn in: Sen.-elect Rick Scott (R-Fla.) will be sworn into the Senate tomorrow. Why Scott wasn't sworn in with other new senators: A weird scheduling quirk in Florida's Constitution. 


Spotted near Sen. Collins's D.C. home:

A poster about the government shutdown appeared on Capitol Hill, addressed to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Maine), who lives nearby. Photo:



Would you quit Facebook for $1,000?:

Via CNBC's Yoni Blumberg, a new study shows that it would take $1,000 or more to get the average Facebook user to quit the platform. The study:



Well said:

The recipe, if you feel so inclined...:



The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpOvernight Defense: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown on track to become longest ever | Military begins withdrawing equipment from Syria | Bolton taps new deputy Bolton names replacement for deputy who clashed with first lady The Hill's Morning Report — Groundhog Day: Negotiations implode as shutdown reaches 20 days MORE arrived at the White House last night after spending 10 days at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EST: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing. 

3 p.m. EST Tuesday: The Senate meets.

Noon Thursday: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Details:



9:30 a.m. EST Thursday: The Washington Post is hosting an event on artificial intelligence. Details:



Today is National Tempura Day.


Drama, science, history, they unraveled all the mysteries:

"The Big Bang Theory" will end after 12 seasons. From the show's star Jim Parsons: "Not that we couldn't keep doing it, but it feels like we've chewed all the meat off this bone." 

Oh, and he apparently never liked the T-shirts: "I'm firmly in my middle age now. I don't know how much longer I can wear [the T-shirts] without looking really long in the tooth."


And to brighten your Monday afternoon, here's a golden retriever spaghetti eating contest: