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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: Make-or-break day for Pruitt | Trump calls into 'Fox & Friends' for wild interview | Trump on Cohen: 'Nothing to do with me' | Dems grill Diamond and Silk | Panel approves bill to protect Mueller | Senate poised to confirm Pompeo | VA pick withdraws | Macron's surprise DC lunch spot | National Pretzel Day



You know what sounds like fun? Having to remember every excruciating detail of the last year in front of not one, but two congressional panels:

EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittNew disclosures show Pruitt spent nearly K on 'tactical' pants and polos: report Overnight Energy: Inhofe defends Pruitt after criticisms | Agency releases study on water contaminant | Trump rescinds Obama ocean policy Hollywood goes low when it takes on Trump MORE has a make-or-break day as he testifies in back-to-back congressional hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's 2019 budget. The hearings though are being dominated by the numerous ethical controversies swirling around Pruitt and the EPA. Livestream and live blog:


Pruitt on his learning process: "I have nothing to hide as it relates to how I've run the agency for the past 16 months. I'm not afraid to admit that there's been a learning process."

On the infamous 'privacy booth': Pruitt blamed the EPA's career, non-political lawyers for the controversy over his $43,000 soundproof privacy booth, saying that the attorneys believed it was legal. Keep in mind: The Government Accountability Office ruled last week that the expenditures were illegal.


The vibe -- Pruitt's demeanor: "Pruitt is speaking so fast that he's stumbling over his words." (From NBC's Rebecca Shabad

The gist -- it was pretty tense: "Ooof, this [Pruitt] hearing is getting rough. Dems going for jugular as Pruitt dodges and weaves around yes/no questions. This pattern is likely to continue all day." (Comment from Mashable's Andrew Freedman)

Next up -- Pruitt testifies in the afternoon: Here's a livestream of Pruitt's 2 p.m. hearing.


If you need a refresher:

Via CNN, here's a list of all the controversies Scott Pruitt is embroiled in. Think: Traveling first class, security expenses and a questionable D.C. rental from a lobbyist. Bullet-point list:

THE UNEXPECTED THORN IN PRUITT'S SIDE: Via The Hill's Timothy Cama, Scott Pruitt's biggest threat to his tenure at the EPA could be a government official little known outside of Washington: Arthur Elkins, the EPA's inspector general. How so:


Meanwhile -- In another room on Capitol Hill, Pelosi is wooing a very young audience: 


It's Thursday. Today is Bring Your Kids to Work Day -- hope your have your earplugs and fun-sized candy bars ready! 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 on Facebook.



When I'm having a bad day, I also call into 'Fox & Friends,' so I get it:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE called into "Fox & Friends" this morning for a freewheeling interview. Here are the highlights:


President Trump downplayed his ties to his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, saying he has no legal exposure to Cohen. "This has nothing to do with me," Trump said. "I've been told I'm not involved. ... I don't his know business … I have nothing to do with his business." Keep in mind: Cohen has worked as a lawyer, fixer and executive at the Trump Organization for more than a decade.

What to know about Cohen: Michael Cohen now plans to assert his Fifth Amendment rights in the lawsuit filed against him by adult-film star Stormy DanielsDetails:


President Trump said he did spend the night in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest in 2013. He also accused former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Senate Intel requests more testimony from Comey, McCabe The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix MORE of lying in memos detailing their conversations. Why this is newsy: Comey's memos alleged that President Trump told him he hadn't stayed the night in Russia during that trip.


"Trump tells Fox & Friends that he decided to call into their show because it's Melania's birthday. So, what did he get the First Lady? 'Maybe I didn't get her so much. I got her a beautiful card.' "

" 'We're running out of time' Doocey says to Trump. On what planet would a TV host end a freewheeling interview with a president?" (Comment from Mic's Emily C. Singer




Peace out, Ron Jack: 

This morning, White House physician to the president Ronny Jackson withdrew as President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Why: Mounting accusations of misconduct.

Senate Democrats released a new batch of allegations yesterday, including claims that he provided a "large supply" of opioid painkillers to a White House military staffer and wrecked a government vehicle after getting drunk at a Secret Service going-away party. Jackson denied wrecking a car, saying that he had "no idea" where that story came from.




This video is adorable!:




The Senate Judiciary Committee just approved legislation to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE from being fired. The vote: 14-7 in a bipartisan vote. Why this is newsy: This is the first formal measure to protect Mueller that has advanced.

Republicans who voted for the bill (4): Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Senate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill Congress must confront sexual abuse of military children MORE (N.C.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump says he will sign executive order to end family separations Trump backs narrow bill halting family separations: official Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (S.C.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFlake threatens to limit Trump court nominees: report On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Markets roiled by Trump's new tariff threat | Trump lashes out at Canada over trade | Warren looks to block Trump pick for consumer agency The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Defiant Trump meets with House GOP amid border blowback MORE (Iowa) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake threatens to limit Trump court nominees: report Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary GOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border MORE (Ariz.).

Republicans who voted against the bill (7): Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending Senators hammer Ross over Trump tariffs Top Finance Dem wants panel to investigate Trump Foundation MORE (Utah), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Another chance to seek the return of fiscal sanity to the halls of Congress Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril MORE (Utah), John CornynJohn CornynSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump GOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis MORE (Texas), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border All the times Horowitz contradicted Wray — but nobody seemed to notice Senate Dems want watchdog to probe if SEC official tried to pressure bank on gun policies MORE (Idaho), Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Defiant Trump meets with House GOP amid border blowback Sasse: Trump should end 'wicked' family separation policy MORE (Neb.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Senate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill Hollywood goes low when it takes on Trump MORE (Texas) opposed it.

Will this bill actually pass in Congress? Eh, probably not: The bill doesn't have the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate, and has even less of a chance to pass the more conservative House. It also would be unlikely to win the two-thirds support needed to override a veto. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFlake threatens to limit Trump court nominees: report Senate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending MORE has said there is no need for the legislation and that the upper chamber will not take it up.

Photo from the room:


Pompeo's week is getting better and better: 
The Senate is voting to confirm CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoMattis 'not aware' of North Korea taking any steps to denuclearize Tiananmen anniversary a time to revisit China's human rights record The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by Delta Air Lines - Trump says he will sign 'something' to end family separations MORE as the new secretary of State. Livestream:


This hearing is nuts:

Via The Hill's Ali Breland, Democrats clashed with pro-Trump YouTube megastars Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson-- better known as "Diamond and Silk" -- over alleged social media bias against them during a Congressional hearing today. Just trust me, you'll want to see this:



This is confusing: 



The House and Senate are in.

Noon: The Senate will hold votes on nominations, including Mike Pompeo for secretary of State. 

1 p.m. EDT: Former acting Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesIG report doesn’t fault Comey for ‘partisanship,’ but it should have for his incompetence Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Health chief grilled on Trump drug pricing plan, ObamaCare case Those who tout Trump’s ‘obstruction’ misrepresent the concept MORE speaks at a Georgetown Law event. Details

1:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence joins Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) for a jobs announcement. Pence then leaves Indianapolis for Washington, D.C.

4 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House.

Just announced -- July 13President Trump will visit the United Kingdom to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May



10:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump spoke at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride in the East Room of the White House. Livestream:



Today is National Pretzel Day!


I think about this 'Matilda' chocolate cake scene way too often: 

Prime Video got the actors from Matilda to recreate the scene where Ms. Trunchbull made Bruce Bogtrotter eat the chocolate cake. Wow, everyone in this scene has aged well! Watch:


Just in case your day was *too* productive: 


And because you made it this far, here are laugh-out-loud funny photos of pets: