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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: Fallout from Giuliani bombshell | Trump defends Stormy Daniels payment | Says such deals 'very common' among celebs | Decision on Trump, Mueller sit-down could be 'weeks away' | How a Mueller subpoena for Trump could set off a historic fight | Trump marks National Day of Prayer | White House preps talking points to defend CIA pick | DC embassies open to public

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

Today in coincidences: 

White House email from 9:04 a.m., I kid you not: 'President Donald J. Trump Proclaims May 3 as a National Day of Prayer': 

 

Trump: 'See what I did there?'

 

And via CBS News, Here’s how the National Prayer Day celebration went: https://cbsn.ws/2rjo9Gc 

 

Today summed up in one tweet:

 

It's Thursday and Washington, D.C., has officially decided to skip spring. Hello summer. https://wapo.st/2FDI8nt 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 cmartel@thehill.com@CateMartel and on Facebook.

 

Stormy's baaack:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE reimbursed his personal attorney Michael Cohen the $130,000 paid to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to stay quiet about their alleged affair. Why this is huge deal: It was a startling admission that directly contradicts Trump's statement that he did not know about the payment. http://bit.ly/2jnUZkZ

Full transcript of Giuliani interview with The Washington Post: https://wapo.st/2JPHN3w

OH AND GIULIANI UNLOADED ABOUT Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Khashoggi disappearance tests US-Saudi relationship The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | How Trump could work with a Dem House | Trump heads to Florida to view hurricane damage Virginia judge calls Manafort’s plea deal ‘highly unusual,’ but is it? MORE: During an interview on Fox News, Rudy Giuliani said men like senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner are "disposable," but it would cross the line for the special prosecutor to go after first daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | How Trump could work with a Dem House | Trump heads to Florida to view hurricane damage Watchdog files Hatch Act complaint against Sanders for picture with Kanye in MAGA hat The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy MOREFull quote: "Jared is a fine man, you know that," Giuliani said. "Men are disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on." http://bit.ly/2I9LhAB

ANDDD ON STORMY’S LAWYER: Giuliani tore into Stormy Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, accusing them of fabricating allegations for monetary gain. The $$ line: Giuliani referred to Avenatti as an "ambulance chaser." http://bit.ly/2w9drqH

 

This morning: The moment we've all been waiting for --Trump responds: 

President Trump defended the hush money paid to adult-film actress Stormy DanielsKeep in mind: These comments are Trump's most extensive comments to date about the payment. 

How Trump defended his payment to Cohen: Trump said he reimbursed his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, through a retainer that had "nothing to do with the campaign." 

How Trump defended the Stormy Daniels agreement: Trump said the nondisclosure agreement "was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair," adding that such arrangements "are very common among celebrities and people of wealth."

He tweeted: 

Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayHatch mocks Warren over DNA test with his own results showing '1/1032 T-Rex' Conway responds to Warren DNA test: 'Junk science' that 'really doesn't interest me' Watchdog files Hatch Act complaint against Sanders for picture with Kanye in MAGA hat MORE's husband, George Conway, tweeted the Federal Election Commission rules about personal gifts and loans. It's pretty interesting. Read the full rule: http://bit.ly/2HLGJBg

HOW STORMY DANIELS'S LAWYER REACTED: "I have to tell you -- I am rarely, as your viewers know, rendered speechless -- but I am absolutely speechless at this revelation and this admission," Daniels's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said on MSNBC. http://bit.ly/2weJWnE

 

This tidbit is fascinating: 

  

LATEST WITH THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION

Team Trump on sitting down with Mueller: That's a tomorrow problem: 

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) told The Hill that President Trump's legal team was still "several weeks away" from determining whether the president would consent to an interview with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MOREThe determining factor: "The more objective [Mueller] is, the more likely we would be willing to cooperate. The less objective, then we would be foolish to do that," Giuliani said. http://bit.ly/2rhaBuU

TIMING OF GIULIANI'S COMMENTS: Giuliani spoke to The Hill just a few hours after it emerged that Ty Cobb would leave his role as the primary White House counsel on the Russia investigation. http://bit.ly/2rhaBuU

IF MUELLER SUBPOENAS TRUMP -- IT COULD GET UGLY: Via The Hill's Katie Bo Williams, special counsel Robert Mueller's threat to subpoena President Trump in the Russia investigation sets up a potentially historic clash that could reach the Supreme Court, legal experts say -- and it's not clear who would prevail. How it could play out: http://bit.ly/2KzHUkT

IT'S A NO FROM US: The Department of Justice has denied a request from House conservatives to review a document on the scope of Robert Mueller's investigation. Reasoning, from the assistant attorney general: It would "threaten the integrity" of the investigation. http://bit.ly/2IadTd7 

 

IN OTHER NEWS

They are the champions, my friends:
Last night, The Hill hosted a trivia night for staffers. The winnersErika Burnett, Niv Elis, Adam Hainsfurther, Naomi Jagoda, Rebecca Kheel, Ellen Mitchell and Jenn Sharkey. Congrats! ​ And I thought you’d enjoy this: The best team name was "How I Met Your Mueller." 

 

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Oh snap:

 

Lol: 

  

ON TAP:

Congress is out.

Noon: President Trump receives his daily intelligence briefing. 

Canceled -- May: Vice President Pence postponed his planned trip to Brazil. Why: From Pence's press secretary, Alyssa Farah: "in order to ensure all diplomatic and national security resources are available" to Trump ahead of the talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Unhttp://bit.ly/2w8ek2J

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

Scoop: Via The Hill's Olivia Beavers, the White House has prepped a 27-page memo of talking points defending Haspel, the CIA's deputy director. The five talking points: http://bit.ly/2w67Kdi

Keep in mind: The White House is expecting a close vote on Haspel's confirmation: http://bit.ly/2IhyDzw

This month: Conservative groups are planning to release a new ObamaCare replacement. Yeah, but: There's almost no chance this bill would move through Congress. Why the plan?: It's an effort to keep the repeal push alive. http://bit.ly/2rgJBvo

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump attended the National Day of Prayer in the Rose Garden. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HQxTOw

Noon: The Heritage Foundation is hosting an event on the Iran nuclear deal. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HMZe46

2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HLlTBN

2 p.m. EDT: The American Enterprise Institute is hosting an event on President Trump's strategy in the Americas. U.S. Ambassador to Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo will speak. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HS4lzV

3:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a swearing-in ceremony for the U.S. ambassador to Germany. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2HMK3fc

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Chocolate Custard Day.

 

Weekend plans: 

Via The Washington Post's Going Out Guide, here are 14 events this weekend in the D.C. area. For example: More than 40 embassies in D.C. are open to the public, featuring cultural food, music and art. Details: https://wapo.st/2rhPJTC

 

I laughed out loud at this: 

 

And because I want you to awkwardly contain your laughter in quiet offices, here are parrots that can seriously drop a beat: http://bit.ly/2jqSgag