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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: Senate panel releases interviews on Trump Tower meeting | What we learned | GOP leaders warn against immigration vote | CIA nominee advances from committee | Huckabee Sanders says 'leakers' should be fired | Senate voting to preserve net neutrality | Pennsylvania primaries recap | Yanny or Laurel debate goes viral



To the tapes!: 

Don, Jr.: 'Oh, hey guys.'


Via The Hill's Katie Bo Williams, the Senate Judiciary Committee just released the transcripts from interviews with participants of the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016. 

Wait, which infamous meeting?: When Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpBannon: I don’t believe that Trump says things that are not true Giuliani: 'I doubt' Trump knew Roger Stone met with Russian during 2016 campaign The Hill's Morning Report — 'Sobering' IG report damages FBI MORE accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed she had dirt on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonKoch brothers group won't back Stewart in Virginia Giuliani says his demand for Mueller probe to be suspended was for show Poll: GOP challenger narrowly leads Heitkamp in North Dakota MORE

Why this meeting is so big: It's a major flashpoint in the speculation over potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

List of the main players in the meeting: A good explainer of who's who 

READ THE TRANSCRIPTS: Here are the transcripts of interviews with each of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting participants:

^WHAT WE REALLY CARE ABOUT -- READ DON JR.'S INTERVIEW: If you're nosey and want to see how well this will translate into a TV series script:


On the desire for dirt about then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton: "Question: 'What was the "it" that you loved in that e-mail?' 
Trump Jr: 'Potential information about an opponent.' "

On whether Trump Jr. knew if his dad drafted an initial, misleading statement: Donald Trump Jr. told lawmakers he does not know whether his father, President Trump, had a role in drafting his initial statement about the 2016 meeting. Back story: The Washington Post reported last summer that 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 was personally involved with drafting a misleading statement saying that participants at that Trump Tower meeting had "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children."

Trump Jr. on his dad: "He's sort of a big personality, creates sort of a vacuum."


Ahh haha: 


It's a rainy Wednesday in Washington, D.C. 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.



Haspel advances from Lion's Den No. 1 to Lion's Den No. 2: 

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to advance President Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, to the Senate floor for a vote. The vote: 10-5; Two Democrats, Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerWray defends FBI after 'sobering' watchdog report Top Dems: IG report shows Comey's actions helped Trump win election Dem senator: Trump at G-7 made me ‘embarrassed for our country’ MORE (Va.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKaine shares photos of child detention facility: ‘The real Trump Hotel’ Manchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families Manchin touts support for Trump border wall in new ad MORE (W.Va.), sided with Republicans. Warner came out in support of Haspel on Tuesday, clearing the way for her likely confirmation.

INSIGHT INTO WHEN HASPEL'S FLOOR VOTE COULD HAPPEN: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 6B defense bill Poll: Kim Jong Un has higher approval among Republicans than Pelosi The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Outcry raises pressure on GOP for immigration fix MORE (R-Ky.): "There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed & I look forward to advancing it expeditiously following the [Intelligence Committee's] action."


'Funnnn' day for Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittPress: Drain the swamp – of Scott Pruitt Overnight Energy: Supreme Court to rehear Alaska moose hunter case | Greens to sue Trump's Chicago hotel | EPA stops having press aide review grants Supreme court to rehear Alaska moose hunter, hovercraft case MORE -- I.e.: just another Wednesday: 

This morning, EPA head Scott Pruitt testified on his agency's 2019 budget request. Much of the time though has been focused on his many ethical controversies. Livestream:



On his spending scandals: Pruitt sounded conciliatory. "There have been decisions over the last or so 16 months that, as I look back on those decisions, I would not make the same decisions again," he said.

On asking his security detail to use sirens: Pruitt told senators he doesn't "recall" asking his security details to use lights and sirens when driving him around. I get it. That sounds fun


GOP leaders -- don't do itttt:

Via The Hill's Melanie Zanona, "Republican leaders warned rank-and-file members Wednesday not to move ahead with a discharge petition to force an immigration vote, saying the effort would effectively hand over power to the Democrats, according to lawmakers who attended the closed-door meeting." Why: Leaders argue that sticking together as a team is more effective.



You're done here: 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "leakers" in the White House should be fired. Sanders called it "disgusting" and "disloyal" to reveal internal discussions to the news media and said the White House is "focused intensely" on putting a stop to the practice. What Sanders is referring to: White House special assistant Kelly Sadler joking about Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril McCain calls on Trump to rescind family separation policy: It's 'an affront to the decency of the American people' Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE's (R-Ariz.) brain cancer diagnosis. Where Sanders said this: On President Trump's fav TV show -- "Fox & Friends."


Conservatives vs. Planned Parenthood, round 4,716 -- ding, ding:
Via The Hill's Jessie Hellman, the Trump administration may cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood through regulations. Why: Pressure from conservatives and anti-abortion lobbyists. How it would work: The regulations would ban organizations that receive family planning dollars from promoting abortion or referring patients for abortions.



How long until this story appears on GOP campaign commercials?:

Four socialist-backed Democratic candidates won primaries in Pennsylvania yesterday. Who: In the Pittsburgh area, Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato. In Philadelphia, Democrats Elizabeth Fiedler and Kristin SealeKeep in mind: All four women unseated male state representatives.


Oh so we should have been worried about the Olympics, huh:

Via CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak, "just weeks before the Winter Olympics in South Korea that served as a critical diplomatic opening with Pyongyang, the President ordered his top national security officials to prepare to evacuate the families of all US military personnel living in South Korea, four current and former administration officials said. The order was a provocative step that, had it been fully implemented, would have heightened tensions with North Korea and could have sent the region spiraling closer to war."



Whoaaaaaa -- these photos are insane: 

Full size photos:



(This is Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE [R-La.] by the way.)



11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump greets the president of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the White House and has a working lunch.

Noon: The Senate has a vote to reverse the FCC's repeal of the Obama-era net neutrality rules. What to expect: The measure will likely pass the Senate, but doesn't have much of a chance in the House. Democrats though hope to put Republicans on the record over the issue. Details:

1:15 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's schedule today:

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a nomination. The Senate's schedule today:

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump hosts the California Sanctuary State Roundtable.

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a swearing-in ceremony.

4:15 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

May 22: The 6th annual Congressional Soccer Match



2:30 p.m. EDT: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies on his agency's 2019 budget. Livestream:

8 a.m. – 1 p.m. EDT Thursday: BakerHostetler's 29th Annual Legislative Seminar. Featured speakers: 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.), Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies Schiff: ‘Deeply disturbing’ that FBI gave Nunes confidential info on Clinton's emails Schiff: White House using migrant kids’ grief and tears to build border wall MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntErnst, Fischer to square off for leadership post Facebook gives 500 pages of answers to lawmakers' data privacy questions Community development impact remains clear with NMTC post-tax reform MORE (R-Mo.) and House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPelosi, Dems hammer GOP for ‘derailing’ DACA debate Hoyer warns GOP: Don’t dabble with DACA compromise bill Dem House candidate gets pepper sprayed in the face in campaign ad MORE (D-Md.). Agenda and full list of speakers:

12:30 p.m. EDT Thursday: Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report Small business chief touts early impact of tax cuts as other firms looks for benefits MORE speaks at a National Press Club event. Details and livestream:

1 p.m. EDT Thursday: The Wilson Center is holding an event on the Iran nuclear deal. Details and livestream:

May 23: CNN is hosting a town hall with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump digs in amid uproar on zero tolerance policy Trump surprises with consumer agency pick On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump nominates budget official Kraninger for consumer chief | Senate votes to block Trump ZTE deal | Stocks fall on trade tensions | House panel moves to markup budget MORE (D-Calif.).

May 23: Former late-night talk show host David Letterman will guest host "Late Night" on NBC for the first time since he left the program in 1993.



Today is National Barbecue Day.


There is no debate here! The clip says, 'yanny.' We can all go home now:

Americans are divided over what is said in a 4-second audio clip. Some people hear "Laurel" and others hear "Yanny." Think: The audio version of "The Dress" dilemma from 2015.

See for yourself -- listen to the controversial clip:

Disagree that the clip says, 'Yanny?': Well, that means you're wrong, but let me know anyway. ;)

THIS A.M. -- PAUL RYAN (INCORRECTLY) WEIGHS IN: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says he hears "Laurel."


I! Love! Space!:

Astronauts on the International Space Station had a 6.5 hour spacewalk. Yes, there's video:


And to brighten your gloomy Wednesday, here's a terrific compilation of puppies in socks: