The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Pfizer — Trump accuses Mueller team of secret 'conflicts of interest'

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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: Trump accuses Mueller's team of 'unrevealed conflicts of interest' | Says he is 'fighting back,' not obstructing justice | First lady to unveil her policy initiatives | Polls show Blankenship up in West Virginia Senate primary | Rise worries GOP | Trump rips Blankenship | Senate preps for net neutrality vote



Let's play -- 'Everyone, tell us your unrevealed conflict of interest'
I'll start -- I can usually be bribed with chocolate and prefer dogs to cats: 

Ok, your turn ;)


This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpAl Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'n-word' don't exist Trump wanted to require staffers to get permission before writing books: report MORE accused special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's team of "unrevealed conflicts of interest." He tweeted: "The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice...and just wait 'till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!"

TIDBIT ABOUT MUELLER'S INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo, who was recently questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller's team, said every question investigators asked, they already knew the answer. Watch Caputo's account:


Shmobstruction of schmustice: 

This morning, President Trump criticized the suggestion that he has obstructed justice in the Russia investigation. The gist: Trump says he is simply "fighting back." He tweeted: "The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility. House Intelligence Committee found No Collusion, Coordination or anything else with Russia. So now the Probe says OK, what else is there? How about Obstruction for a made up, phony crime. There is no O, it's called Fighting Back"

WHAT SPARKED THIS TWEET -- BEEP, BACK UP: Last Friday, a federal judge expressed skepticism that the charges against Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortRoger Stone: 'No circumstance' where I would testify against Trump Hillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down Prosecutors rest their case against Manafort MORE were actually related to Robert Mueller's collusion probe. The judge questioned prosecutors if the Mueller indictment was solely intended as leverage against the president. What that means:


It's Monday -- hope everyone is feeling alright after Cinco de Mayo. 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.




Trump: 'Kansas, it's a no from me': 

Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, the Trump administration just announced that it is rejecting Kansas's request to impose lifetime limits on Medicaid benefits. Details of Kansas's request: Kansas's proposal would have limited Medicaid coverage to three years, at which point people would lose access to Medicaid forever. Keep in mind: The Trump administration already approved work requirements for Medicaid recipients, but decided that a lifetime limit on the benefits was going too far.


Another member added to the roster: 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanVulnerable Republicans include several up-and-coming GOP leaders Trump ally suspends reelection campaign Congress should prohibit members from serving on company boards MORE (R-Wis.) is swearing in Rep.-elect Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) to Congress today. Keep in mind: Via The Hill's Melanie Zanona, Lesko is expected to join the House Freedom Caucus.




Neutralizing the net: 

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke, the Senate is preparing for a showdown this week on the future of the internet. Why: Democrats are expected to force a vote to reinstate net neutrality regulations. Once the petition is on the floor: The resolution is then subject to 10 hours of debate.

The vote count: With Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Trump signs 7B defense policy bill into law | Rips McCain hours after signing bill named after him | Green Beret killed in Afghanistan blast Tapper thanks McCain for his service ‘since President Trump would not do it’ Trump rips McCain hours after signing bill named after him MORE (R-Ariz.) absent as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, the GOP majority is effectively capped at 50 votes. Also: Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing NRA will spend M to support Kavanaugh for Supreme Court: report Planned Parenthood launches six-figure Supreme Court ad campaign MORE (R-Maine) has said she will vote to restore the Federal Communications Commission regulations, which would result in a 50-49 vote in favor. If McCain returns, Democrats would need to pick up an additional Republican senator in order to be successful in the Senate. Yeah, but: Even if Democrats are successful in the Senate, good luck in the House, where conservatives oppose the measure to restore the regulations.



Context and details for each:

Chaplain controversy: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is slated to meet with Chaplain Patrick Conroy early this week after the Jesuit priest rescinded his resignation on May 3. Ryan said he requested that Conroy step down, arguing he didn't believe members' pastoral needs were being met.

CIA confirmation hearing -- expect fireworks: CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will be testifying on Capitol Hill for her nomination to be CIA director. Why it will be tense: Haspel's involvement with the CIA's brutal interrogations of terrorism suspects in the post-9/11 era will be under scrutiny.

Keep in mind: Via The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig, Shane Harris and Josh Dawsey, Gina Haspel considered withdrawing her nomination on Friday, but was talked out of it. Full story:

Nuclear waste: The House is expected to vote on the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018 on Thursday.

Car loans: The House is scheduled to vote on Tuesday to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's guidance on auto-loan finance.

Judicial nominations -- hold on to your hat!: Senate Republicans are expected to quickly run through Trump's judicial picks this week, confirming them at record pace.


Two contentious GOP Senate primaries on Tuesday. Where: Indiana and West Virginia. 

Why the GOP is nervous: Internal Republican polls show ex-coal CEO and former convict Don Blankenship in the lead a day before West Virginia's Republican Senate primary, prompting more GOP fears about a Blankenship surge.

Throwback -- if you didn't see it last week, do yourself a favor and watch it now: Remember last week when I referenced one of the strangest political ads I've ever seen? Yep, that was Blankenship. Watch the ad -- if you missed it or if you just really want to see it again (I get that):

This a.m. -- Trump also seems nervous: President Trumps lammed Blankenship this morning. He tweeted: "To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can't win the General Election in your State...No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!"



Moving on:
Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) president and CEO Mark Merritt is stepping down from his post at the end of the year. Keep in mind about Merritt: He helped establish and implement the Medicare Part D drug benefit program. From Tim Wentworth, chairman of the PCMA board: "Mark leaves big shoes to fill. When he came aboard in 2003, he started from scratch and built PCMA into one of the most effective advocacy and lobbying groups in American health care." Full statement:




Back story: In March, The Washington Post reported that "President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers ... when he congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection -- including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating 'DO NOT CONGRATULATE.' "




Congress is back today. 

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump received his daily intelligence briefing. That's the only event on his schedule today.

Noon: The House meets. The House's schedule today:

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets. The Senate's schedule today:

3:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the United Kingdom's secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes. 

6:30 p.m. EDT: The House votes.

Tuesday: President Trump speaks at a Federal Judges Association reception.

Noon Wednesday: The National Press Club is hosting an event, "Seven Surprising Secrets of Best-Selling Female Authors." Details:

Saturday: President Trump's deadline to make a decision on whether to withdraw from the Iran deal. Where Trump stands:

June 12: Hard deadline for Democrats to force a vote on the net neutrality rules. Why June 12: Dems have a 60-day window to force a vote under the Congressional Review Act to reinstate the rules.



1:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks during a meeting at the Organization of American States. Livestream:

What to expect: Via Reuters, Pence is expected to announce new sanctions on Venezuela. What we know:

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

3 p.m. EDT: First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump's office pushes back on Omarosa claims Omarosa book: Melania uses her fashion choices to ‘punish’ Trump Melania Trump family immigration lawyer praises so-called chain migration MORE launches her initiatives as the first lady. Livestream:

Keep in mind: From The Hill's Morning Report, "Her focus will be on the well-being of children, a White House source told us Sunday, and she wants her portfolio to be a bit broader than the single initiatives often identified with previous first ladies."

Wednesday: The Senate Intelligence Committee holds a confirmation hearing for controversial CIA nominee Gina Haspel



Today is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day.


Today in 'things we definitely shouldn't be eating, but still want to try': 

Via BuzzFeed, a restaurant in Dallas, Texas has the ultimate hangover breakfast sandwich. So. Many. Layers.


And because you made it this far, here's an uncoordinated manatee who runs into the glass at an aquarium: