The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump meets South Korean leader as questions linger about summit with North

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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 — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump meets South Korean president | South Korea says '99.9 percent change' summit with North happens | How Trump stepped back from a constitutional crisis | Where's Mueller's hacking indictment? | Sinkhole forms outside White House | What to watch in Texas runoffs | New 'bowl food' trend



Moon is in da [White] House:

Throwback to another meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.


At a critical time, President Trump is meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in as Trump prepares to sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnWhy today's meeting is so crucial: North Korea is threatening to cancel the summit, so today's meeting could be the deciding factor on whether the Trump–Kim summit happens.

KEEP IN MIND ABOUT THE POTENTIAL NORTH KOREA SUMMIT: It's currently scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. While North Korea is threatening to pull out, Trump insists the plans are moving forward. Eh, but: Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that Trump is privately asking advisers whether the meeting should still happen.

PENCE WEIGHS IN ON THE N. KOREA MEETING: Vice President Pence warned that North Korea could end up like Libya. Pence said on Fox: "You know, there was some talk of the Libyan model last week. And as the president made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn't make a deal." 

Back story on Libya: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to give up his nukes. Eight years later, he was later forced out of power with the help of NATO allies. He was captured and killed in 2011.

JUST NOW — CHANCES THE NORTH KOREAN MEETING HAPPENS: The national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae In said there’s a “99.9 percent chance” President Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "But we're just preparing for many different possibilities," Chung Eui Yong said.


It's Tuesday. 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, @CateMartel and on Facebook.




OK, it's not a full-blown constitutional crisis. He's just *flirting* with one:

Via The Hill's Niall StanagePresident Trump summoned three top law enforcement officials, including Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinVote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Trump lawyer: NBC interview with Comey firing comments was edited Trump attack on Sessions may point to his departure MORE, to the White House after tweeting he would "demand" a Justice Department investigation on the FBI infiltrating his presidential campaign. Why this is huge: "A president instructing the DOJ to open a criminal probe at his behest would be a startling break with precedent, calling into question the independence of law enforcement from partisan politics."


How the meeting went -- it's like trying couples' mediation before having to get the lawyers involved: 

President Trump and the Department of Justice reached an agreement to investigate conservative claims of FBI wrongdoing in the Russia probe, at least temporarily diffusing the rift. Keep in mind: The Justice Department already referred the matter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Sunday after Trump tweeted his demand.

BACK STORY -- WHO IS THIS FBI SOURCE?: The Washington Post's Robert Costa, Carol D. Leonnig and Shane Harris report that the FBI source in the Trump's 2016 presidential campaign is Stefan A. HalperWhat to know about Halper: He "is a well-connected veteran of past GOP administrations who convened senior intelligence officials for seminars at the University of Cambridge in England."


Interesting read -- wait, what happened to Mueller's hacking indictment?: 

Via The Hill's Morgan Chalfant, "In the year since the start of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, one thing has been notably absent: a public indictment of any Russians for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee." What experts say to read from this: "Experts broadly agreed that the lack of a public indictment should not be interpreted as a sign that charges have not been brought for the hacking." Why?: The charges could be sealed or Mueller might be waiting so he doesn't compromise his methods or sources.

WHAT MUELLER HAS DONE: "Mueller has charged President Trump's former campaign chief, secured guilty pleas from several individuals in Trump's orbit and indicted 13 Russians for an elaborate plot to leverage social media to influence the American electorate."



Coup? What coup? No coup here: 

Via The Hill's Melania Zanona, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign Blue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests MORE (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Calif.) both vehemently denied reports that Republicans want Ryan to step down as House speaker before November.

WHAT SPARKED THE RUMORS: "There is a sense among some Republicans that Ryan's power over the Republican conference has been waning since he announced his retirement in April. Conservatives tanked a GOP farm bill last week, while centrist Republicans are trying to force immigration votes with a discharge petition."


It's 2011 all over again: 

Via Fox 5 New York, gas prices have hit $5 a gallon in New York City. Some context: "AAA says the national average for regular gas is $2.93. That's up 12-cents in the past two weeks." Details:


One point for China:

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' MORE (R-Fla.) says he thinks China is "out-negotiating" the Trump administration on trade. Rubio tweeted: "Sadly #China is out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now," Rubio tweeted. "They have avoided tariffs & got a #ZTE deal without giving up anything meaningful in return by using N.Korea talks & agriculture issues as leverage. This is #NotWinning." Context: The Trump administration is backing off threats to hit China with $150 billion in tariffs. Beijing has promised to buy more U.S. farm and energy products.


Spotted --everyone runs on Dunkin': 

John Podesta, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE's 2016 campaign chairman, was spotted this morning at Dunkin' Donuts in Farragut Square. Old school: Podesta paid in cash. (h/t The Hill's Bob Cusack


Spotted outside the White House -- [insert every sinkhole-at-the-White-House pun]:



Spotted on Capitol Hill -- Scotty P.: 

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE was just seen on Capitol Hill. Bloomberg's Ari Natter tweeted: Pruitt "responded to my questions about his standing with Trump with: 'I'm going to a caucus meeting right now, okay?' "




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This line is cringe worthy:

Now, that's a tagline:


Because of course there is: 



Wow, this is fascinating:



The House and Senate are in.

Noon: President Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the White House and the two have a working lunch.

Noon: The Senate had a roll call vote on a nomination.

12:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons.

12:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House.

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Pompeo’s staff cracks down on ‘correct use of commas’ at State Dept MORE.

4:45 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

Tonight: Polls close in the Texas runoffs. Five races we're watching:

No longer happening this month: The U.S. Air Force has delayed a launch so it can review the SpaceX rocket. When the launch is now expected to happen: October at the earliest.

June: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is speaking at a fundraiser in Iowa. *Cough, 2020, cough*



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

7:30 pm. EDT: President Trump speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Livestream:



Today is National Vanilla Pudding Day.


New trend -- 'Bowl food':

Via The Takeout, guests at the wedding reception for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ate "bowl food." Which leads us to wonder -- what is bowl food?: "As the BBC describes, 'Bowl food is larger than a canapé and around a quarter of the size of a main course. It is served in miniature or hand-sized bowls and comes ready to eat with a small fork.' " Photos:


This is both infuriating and hilarious at the same time:

Via The Associated Press, "A South Carolina woman isn't happy a grocery store censored her honor graduate son's cake, which was supposed to include the Latin phrase 'summa cum laude.' "


And because you read this far, meet Fred, the 10-year-old Labrador who "adopted" nine ducklings. The photos!: