The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump's pre-debate COVID-19 test sparks criticism

Former President Trump

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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.


Via The Guardian's Martin Pengelly, former President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his 2020 presidential debate with then-candidate Joe Biden, Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows reveals in his new book.


Sept. 26: Trump tested positive, followed by a negative test. Meadows said he looked “a little tired” and like he had a “slight cold.”

Sept. 27: “Meadows says Trump did little – except playing golf in Virginia and staging an event for military families at which he 'spoke about the value of sacrifice.'”

Sept. 28: “Trump staged an event at which he talked with business leaders … He also held a Rose Garden press conference …”

Sept. 29: Trump debated now-President Biden on stage. “Meadows says, Trump looked slightly better – 'emphasis on the word slightly. ” Was Trump tested at the debate?: No, he arrived late, so organizers relied on the honor system, according to Fox News's Chris Wallace.

Oct. 2: Trump announced that he and his wife were positive.

More snippets from Meadows's book:


“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” former President Trump said in a statement. “In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”

Tidbit: The New York Times's Maggie Haberman tweeted, “two sources with knowledge tell me it's true.”

Trump at Cleveland debate


Happy December!! 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.

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The conservative-leaning Supreme Court is listening to oral arguments today in the Mississippi case that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

Why this is so big: “[This case is] the most significant abortion case in decades, throwing into doubt the future of Roe v. Wade and other longstanding rulings that have upheld the right to an abortion.” More from CNBC's Kevin Breuninger:

Livestream of the Supreme Court today:

The New York Times's live blog with highlights from the arguments:


Via The Hill's John Kruzel, “A majority of Supreme Court justices appeared poised to consider setting new limits on the right to abortion during oral arguments Wednesday over a Mississippi law that takes direct aim at the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.”

An indicator today: This morning, “the court's conservatives, who constitute a six-member majority on the bench, posed sharp questions about how firmly rooted Roe's viability standard is in the Constitution.”

More from the arguments:


Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, “President Biden's social and climate spending bill is facing another hurdle as Democrats try to get it across the finish line: the Senate parliamentarian.”

What Dems are doing about it: “Democrats are holding formal meetings with [parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough] this week, with aides and senators warning that those discussions and rulings from the Senate referee could bleed into at least next week.”

What we're expecting:

Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos, “House Republicans can't seem to stop fighting with each other, despite potentially being less than a year out from winning the majority in the 2022 midterm elections.”

The latest in the saga: “The GOP drama on Tuesday was the nasty Twitter fight between Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), with Greene calling the swing-district lawmaker 'trash' for condemning Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). Mace fired back by using emojis to label Greene as 'batshit crazy.' “

Another recent example: “Just two weeks ago, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urged Republicans to stop attacking each other after 13 moderate GOP lawmakers were marked as traitors by some of their conservative colleagues over their votes for the bipartisan infrastructure bill championed by President Biden.”


Via The Hill's John Kruzel, “A pair of rulings by separate federal judges Tuesday temporarily halted parts of the Biden administration's mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for certain workers.”

The first ruling: “One ruling, issued by a Louisiana-based federal judge, effectively blocked a vaccine mandate for health workers across the country at hospitals that receive federal funding.”

The second ruling: “A second ruling, by a Kentucky-based federal judge, paused the administration's vaccine mandate for federal contractors in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.”


Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Anthony Fauci has taken GOP anger with him to a new level by stating that Republicans who criticize him are 'really criticizing science because I represent science.'”


From infectious disease expert Amesh Adalja at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security:


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 48,570,017

U.S. death toll: 780,345

Breakdown of the numbers:


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 461 million shots have been given.

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.12 million doses

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.

Breakdown of the numbers:


Via The New York Times's Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin, CNN has indefinitely suspended host Chris Cuomo over his efforts to help his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with sexual harassment allegations.

Didn't we know this already?: Yes, Chris Cuomo already apologized for advising his brother following the allegations. But the New York attorney general released thousands of pages of evidence showing Cuomo's further involvement.

What changed?: “[Chris Cuomo] made efforts to track down the status of pending articles at other news outlets, including Politico and The New Yorker, that concerned [his brother.]” Cuomo also agreed to check his “sources” about a pending article.

More examples of Cuomo using his role to help his brother:


Here is the story from CNN Business's Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter:


Capitol basement gets festive


Hips don’t lie



The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

The full House agenda for today:

9:30 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President's Daily Brief.

Noon: The Senate meets. The Senate's full agenda today:


Today: The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Mississippi abortion case. Livestream:

12:35 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks on the supply chain and inflation. Livestream:

1:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris convenes the administration's inaugural National Space Council meeting. Livestream:

1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen Psaki and chief medical advisor to the president, Anthony Fauci, hold a press briefing. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks to commemorate World AIDS Day. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra also speaks. Livestream:

5:30 p.m. EST: President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff participate in a Menorah Lighting celebration. Livestream:


Today is National Pie Day!

And because you read this far, here's a dog with admirable perseverance:

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