The Hill's 12:30 Report

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

Sign up to receive the 12:30 Report right to your inbox:

--> 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: Reported Mueller questions for Trump revealed | Trump blasts 'leaked' questions as 'disgraceful' | Ex-Mueller aide points finger at Trump camp | Trump allies want midterms to be 'impeachment' referendum | Kelly denies report he called Trump an 'idiot' | Cosmic Coolata at Dunkin' Donuts | New baby eagle in DC



How long until someone markets these '50 questions for Trump' as a D.C. trivia game...?: 

Can't you just *hear* Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's sigh? Credit | Getty


This morning, special counsel Robert Mueller's former assistant Michael Zeldin said he believes President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE leaked the list of nearly 50 questions that the special counsel wants to ask Trump. What Zeldin thinks happened: "I think these are notes taken by the recipients of a conversation with Mueller's office where he outlined broad topics and these guys wrote down questions that they thought these topics may raise." 

Reasoning: "Because of the way these questions are written ... lawyers wouldn't write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper," he continued. "So, I don't see this as a list of written questions that Mueller's office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions."

BACK STORY: Last night, The New York Times's Michael S. Schmidt reported that special counsel Robert Mueller has around 50 questions for President Trump

READ THE LEAKED LIST OF QUESTIONS: The list is pretty interesting.

HOW TRUMP REACTED: President Trump called the questions "disgraceful." He tweeted: "So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were 'leaked' to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!" He later tweeted -- there's the phrase 'witch hunt': "It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!"

It's Tuesday -- Happy May! 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.



All I can picture when reading reports that John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE may have called Trump an idiot 

Via NBC's Carol E. Lee, Courtney KubeKristen Welker and Stephanie Ruhle, White House chief of staff John Kelly has recently vocalized his frustrations with working for President Trump, even "casting himself as the savior of the country." The $$ line: Kelly has reportedly referred to Trump as "an idiot" on several occasions. How so, from White House sources: "Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government."

KEEP IN MIND: Chief of staff John Kelly adamantly denies this report. In Kelly's words: "I spend more time with the president than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship. He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS."


A few conservatives felt left out of this impeachment talk: 

A group of conservative House lawmakers has begun drafting articles of impeachment against ... Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinGowdy: House will use 'full arsenal' of constitutional weapons to get DOJ, FBI compliance on subpoenas Bannon says Trump should fire Rosenstein if he doesn’t comply with subpoenas James Comey's higher disloyalty to America MOREHow serious is this?: So far, it's not very serious. There has been no indication that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Mark Sanford’s troubles did not begin with Trump NY Post blasts Trump, GOP over separating families at border MORE (R-Wis.) will act on the measure. The allegations: They involve the handling of documents. The conservative lawmakers allege that Rosenstein broke the law by refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas for information on FBI surveillance during the election. Details:



How did all of these Ronny Jackson allegations come out so quickly? Hint: They didn't: 

Via CNN's Manu Raju, last September, Vice President Pence's doctor raised concerns he had with White House physician to the president Ronny Jackson's behavior. Details of the incident: Jackson "may have violated federal privacy protections for a key patient -- Pence's wife, Karen -- and intimidated the vice president's doctor during angry confrontations over the episode." Why this is newsy: Red flags were raised months before the Trump administration nominated Jackson to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs and repeatedly defended his professionalism.



Veteran Trump allies want to throw a 'Hail Mary' pass: 

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, key allies of President Trump want to use "impeachment" as a tactic to bring conservatives out to the polls. Who specifically: Corey LewandowskiCorey R. Lewandowski If Congress takes no action, the Social Security trust fund will become depleted in 2034 Five things to know about the lawsuit against the Trump Foundation New York attorney general sues to dissolve Trump Foundation MORE, David Bossie and Stephen Bannon. The gist of their argument: "Democratic enthusiasm in the elections is likely to be sky-high ... the best way to counteract that ... is to make the stakes high enough to draw hordes of conservative voters to the polls. If those voters believe Democrats want to throw Trump out of office -- the most dramatic negation of the 2016 result imaginable -- they might rally to his side." How this could play out:

WHY TRUMP IS ESPECIALLY NERVOUS ABOUT THE MIDTERMS: Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "President Trump wants to step up efforts to protect Republican control of the House in hopes of avoiding an impeachment debate and congressional investigations if Democrats seize the chamber, according to GOP sources."

HOW SERIOUSLY ARE DEMOCRATS CONSIDERING IMPEACHMENT?: "While Democratic leaders in the House are playing any talk of impeachment very carefully, the idea of impeaching Trump has strong support within the party's liberal base."


It's the Kevin and Paul show: 

Via The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Outcry raises pressure on GOP for immigration fix Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase McCarthy: 'The Mueller investigation has got to stop' MORE (R-Calif.) are planning to appear together at fundraising events before the midterm elections. Is this normal?: Nope. It is "an unusual arrangement that could both boost Republican coffers ahead of the November midterm elections and also solidify McCarthy's bid to succeed Ryan as speaker."



Welcome to the world. You're going to hate it (love it) here in Washington, D.C. ;)
Via WTOP Radio's Mike Murillo, the popular bald eagles at the U.S. National Arboretum have a new baby eagle. The first egg has hatched and the second is expected to hatch sometime in the next day.

Video of the first eagle hatching:

Livestream of the Eagle Cam -- the next egg should hatch soon!



*Perks up* -- I heard barbecue!: 





Congress is out.

Just announced -- this month: President Trump just declared May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Read the White House announcement:

Today–Wednesday: The Milken Institute's 21st annual Global Conference in Los Angeles. Full agenda:

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the passengers and crew of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 at the White House. Keep in mind: An engine blade failed on this flight, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing. One woman died.

8:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference. 

10 a.m. EDT Wednesday: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference. 

Wednesday: The World Health Care Congress is holding an event in Washington, D.C. Featured speakers: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma



Noon: President Trump presents the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in the Rose Garden to the U.S. Military Academy football team. Livestream:

Just announced -- 1:15 p.m. EDT: Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump directs Pentagon to create 'Space Force' | Lawmakers say new branch needs their approval | Senate passes 6B defense policy bill | Pentagon suspends planning for 'war game' with South Korea Pompeo: China's calls for trade openness, globalization 'a joke' A mandate for change in Armenia MORE will address State Department employees. Livestream:

2 p.m. EDT: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a Newseum event. Details and livestream:

2:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders give a press briefing. Livestream:



Today is National Chocolate Parfait Day.


should say this sounds gross, but in all seriousness I'm pretty intrigued: 

Dunkin Donuts just unveiled a new line of space-related menu items. Details: "The two new frozen drinks are the pink Cosmic Cotton Candy Coolatta and the yellow Cosmic Pineapple Coolatta, both topped with blue raspberry. A Comet Candy doughnut is decorated with white icing and new pink, blue and purple cotton-candy-flavored bits."


And because you read this far, here's a police dog that won't go to work until he gets a belly rub: