The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia | The Hill

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. TALK OF THE MORNING  …”>

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. TALK OF THE MORNING  …”>

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. TALK OF THE MORNING  …”>

A midday take on what’s happening…”>

A midday take on what’s happening…”>

A Russian law enforcement officer gestures outside the Lefortovsky court after Evan Gershkovich, US journalist working for the Wall Street Journal detained in Russia on suspicion of spying for Washington, was escorted out of it in Moscow on March 30, 2023. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

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.


Russia accuses WSJ reporter of espionage:

A Wall Street Journal reporter working in Moscow has been detained by Russian forces, who have accused him of espionage.  

Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen and reporter in the paper’s Moscow bureau, was on a reporting assignment when he was arrested, the Journal reports

The Journal “vehemently denies allegations against him” and is seeking his immediate release. But a court classified his case as “top secret” and ruled that he be held behind bars while an investigation continues. It’s unclear where Gershkovich is being held, and his next hearing may not come until late May.  

Russian authorities claim Gershkovich was trying to gain access to classified information. He could face up to 20 years on the charge. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the reporter “was caught red-handed,” without elaborating. 

Gershkovich’s most recent assignments have focused on the Russian economy and the country’s invasion of Ukraine and ongoing war. 

The Hill’s Jared Ganns explains more here.

It’s Thursday, March 30. I’m Elizabeth Crisp, filling in for Cate, with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here. Send me your tips, scoops, feedback, etc.: [email protected] and follow me on Twitter: @elizabethcrisp.

In Congress 

Not so fast: Paul blocks Hawley’s TikTok plan: 

Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) butted heads this week over a proposed federal regulation of TikTok.  

Hawley wants to bar TikTok from operating in the United States because of its parent company, ByteDance, which has ties to the Chinese government. 

Paul has argued that a sweeping ban would essentially be an attack on the First Amendment. 

Breaking it down: Both Hawley and Paul are conservative firebrands who have had their eyes on the White House at some point — Paul having sought the GOP nomination in 2016 and Hawley endlessly mentioned as a potential future candidate. 

Hawley has set out on a crusade against TikTok, seeking a ban for several months. He had sought unanimous approval for his proposal when it hit the Senate floor this week. But Paul clearly wasn’t on board and offered a blistering critique of Hawley’s proposal in his objection, calling the First Amendment implications “pretty obvious.” 

“I think we should be aware of those who peddle fear. I think we should be aware of those who use fear to coax Americans to relinquish our liberties,” Paul said on the Senate floor. 


Politico investigated the massive political influence network (or “Team of Avengers”) that TikTok has assembled as it pushes back on government intervention.  

Not just the Senate: Tensions also bubbled up in the House (the upcoming two-week recess can’t get here soon enough for some, it seems!), with Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) getting into a screaming match late Wednesday over gun laws as reporters and others looked on. See the footage via The Hill’s Emily Brooks here.

Giselle Fetterman pushes back on critics’ ‘power hungry’ narrative: 

Giselle Barreto Fetterman is no “power hungry” wife — she just wants to live her life, she argues in an essay she wrote for Elle magazine

The wife of newly elected Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) has become a polarizing figure and target for the right. She writes that “vicious attacks” she’s faced online only increased when the senator checked into Walter Reed Medical Center for mental health treatment last month. 

“When our family first started getting national attention, a lot of people told me I’d have to grow a thicker skin,” Giselle Fetterman writes. “Well, I don’t want a thicker skin. I like my big feelings; the ability to feel so deeply is beautiful. My empathy drives my career and provides me with purpose and hope.” 

RELATED: John Fetterman is hoping to return to the Capitol the week of April 17.

✈️ In the White House 

Biden plans Mississippi trip to survey storm damage, meet with responders: 

President Biden will travel to Rolling Fork, Miss., on Friday to survey the damage from deadly storms that recently tore through the state. 

The president declared an emergency Sunday to make federal funds available for the recovery effort following multiple tornadoes. 

Biden is also scheduled to meet with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in D.C. on Friday, then spend the weekend in Delaware.  

Don’t forget: Biden faced backlash for not making a personal trek to East Palestine, Ohio, after a dangerous train derailment last month. He instead sent transportation and environmental officials to monitor recovery efforts and represent the administration’s commitment.

Harris’ Africa trip winds down after stops in Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia: 

Politico’s Eugene Daniels has been traveling with and observing Vice President Harris on her diplomatic trip across three African countries this week. His takeaway is that Harris’ “trip to Africa once more demonstrated the general relief she and her staff usually feel the further away they get from the political sniping that trails her at home.” 

The trip’s goal: The Biden administration has made a point of strengthening relationships with African countries, an effort largely ignored by the previous administration. President Biden welcomed dozens of African leaders to D.C. in December for a summit that was seen as part of a major pushback against the threat of China and Russia’s growing influence on the continent.  

The summit focused largely on opportunities for partnerships. Similarly, Harris’ carefully curated itinerary had her highlighting the arts and women’s empowerment. Harris is scheduled to return to D.C. on Sunday.

🏃 2024 

Trump takes his message to the voters with an onslaught of slick videos: 

Former President Trump’s campaign for 2024 has been ramping up its direct-to-voter efforts in recent weeks with a series of made-for-social media videos (dubbed Agenda47) featuring the former president musing on topics ranging from the war in Ukraine to Chinese spies to online censorship. In all, 20 such videos have been released since the start of the year. 

The Associated Press’ Jill Colvin reports that Team Trump “sees them as a tool to bypass the traditional news media and speak directly to supporters, and as part of a broader effort to steer Trump toward policy instead of his own grievances and obsessions with the past.” 

“We want to put a focus on policy and do it differently from a run-of-the mill campaign,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told the AP. 

Why it matters: Trump also hasn’t been getting as much media attention in his third run for president as he did in the past two campaigns, but Trump has always given an air of accessibility to his supporters – whether it was back in the day on his unfiltered Twitter account or his massive meandering rallies, which he resumed over the weekend.  

“This is one way to bypass [the traditional media],” Cheung told the AP of the video strategy. “We all know digital video and social media is one way to do that — going directly to the people.” 

MORE GOP 2024:

In another nod to a likely run for the GOP presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is heading to Israel next month.  

The trip comes amid turmoil over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul that had to be delayed as it faced wide-scale protests.  

President Biden, who is expected to seek reelection but hasn’t formally launched a 2024 campaign, has traded barbs with Netanyahu over the judicial plan.

💣 In other news 

They said what?! 2023’s slang, decoded: 

Insider has a fun piece out this week to help you decipher what ~the youths~ are talking about. “Situationship,” “rizz” and “touch grass” are just a few of the slang words and phrases that made the list of things Gen Zers are talking about in 2023 (at least for now…). 

Feeling left out? You’re not alone: “Not only has social media become a new and efficient pathway for the spread of slang, it offers different incentives for the creation of new words,” Insider’s Elana Klein writes on the rapid evolution of slang.

🐥 Notable tweets 

Fox news (that’s news about a fox!): 

Be on the lookout: There’s a fox roaming the Capitol grounds. Politico’s Nicholas Wu tweeted a photo of the vulpine visitor this week. 

“Fox is back on the Hill,” Wu wrote

You may remember: A rabid fox had to be euthanized last spring, along with her kits, after biting nine people near the Capitol, including a journalist and a member of Congress. 

Schumer teams up with Damar Hamlin to promote defibrillators: 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) welcomed Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin to the Capitol this week to highlight the need for defibrillators in schools.  

“What Damar Hamlin is doing is inspiring to us all,” Schumer tweeted along with a video of their confab. “By working to make increase defibrillators in schools, he’s using his voice to turn his story into a life-saving mission for millions of children.”

On tap 

The House and Senate are in session. President Biden is in D.C., and Vice President Harris is on a diplomatic trip to African countries this week.  

  • 9 a.m.: The House convened. 
  • 9 a.m.: The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government began a hearing on federal government influence on social media platforms.  
  • 10 a.m.: The Senate convened. 
  • 10 a.m.: House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and other Democratic leaders held a news conference. 
  • 10:45 a.m.: President Biden received his daily briefing. 
  • 11:45 a.m.: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other GOP leaders held a news conference. 
  • 2 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefs reporters.  
  • 5:35 p.m.: Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers Summit for Democracy closing remarks. 

All times Eastern. 

🧑‍⚕️ In lighter news 

Today is National Doctors Day, a day for honoring physicians and advances in medical technology. 

And because you made it this far, check out this video of ducklings on the move downtown. That’s right … It’s officially duck parade season in D.C. (For the uninitiated, WAMU had a fun story on the ducklings a few years ago that’s worth a read!) 🦆🦆🦆 



Biden Mississippi trip


Morning Report


Rand Paul



Trump 2024

wall street journal

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This post was originally published on The Hill

Share your love