The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP spars with FBI agent at tense hearing

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Tense hearing as FBI agent defends anti-Trump texts | Strzok won't answer questions on Russia probe | Hearing devolves into partisan fighting | Trump claims NATO allies will raise defense spending | Dems face tough bind over Kavanaugh | Officials complete first round of child reunifications | Ocasio-Cortez accuses Crowley of third-party bid | Manafort mugshot released 


Today in 'this sounds like a miserable way to spend your morning':


Republicans on Capitol Hill grilled FBI agent Peter Strzok at a tense hearing this morning about anti-Trump texts he sent while working on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE's investigative team. Why this is important to Republicans: Republicans want to prove political bias in the FBI to discredit the Russia investigation.


How the hearing is going -- yikes: "Strzok hearing now a complete circus, quickly descending into a heated back-and-forth between the two sides about whether he can answer questions about an ongoing investigation as instructed by the FBI. Goodlatte warns of holding Strzok in contempt, Nadler moves to adjourn."

Dems applauded Strzok: "FBI Agent Peter Strzok applauded by Democratic members of House Oversight Committee after passionate response to Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyCNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate The Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions Trump says Gowdy can't join his legal team 'for a couple months' MORE, saying Gowdy's accusation 'deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.'" Watch

Oh fun fact: Dems tried to subpoena Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonStephen Bannon: Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg may still run in 2020 Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump The specter of Steve Bannon may loom over 2020 Trump campaign MORE: During the hearing, Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellDemocratic lawmaker: Expelling Turkey from NATO 'should be on the table' Top State Department official arrives for testimony in impeachment probe 2020 Presidential Candidates MORE (D-Calif.) called for a vote to subpoena Steve Bannon. The panel quickly voted it down along party lines. 

Is security around just in case they actually brawl?: The hearing turned chaotic after a question from House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy(R-S.C.). Strzok declined to answer Gowdy’s question about how many interviews he conducted during the first week of the Russia probe. Full back and forth:

Photo of Strzok arriving -- So. Many. Cameras.:

Live blog with updates:

Livestream of the hearing:

BEFORE THE HEARING BEGAN -- President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE WEIGHED IN: President Trump weighed in on the back and forth over FBI lawyer Lisa Page's subpoena, questioning how Page has not been forced to testify before Congress. Page traded messages with Strzok, with whom she was having an affair. Background: Page dodged a subpoena on Wednesday, and her lawyer said they are talking to lawmakers about arranging an interview. Trump tweeted: "As I head out to a very important NATO meeting, I see that FBI Lover/Agent Lisa Page is dodging a Subpoena & is refusing to show up and testify. What can she possibly say about her statements and lies. So much corruption on the other side. Where is the Attorney General?"


It's Thursday! 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 ruffled some feathers:

President Trump said NATO allies have agreed to "substantially up" their defense spending commitments. The full quote: "Tremendous progress has been made. Everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment. They're going to up it at levels that they've never thought of before." The context of the quote: During a press conference after the NATO summit. But hold on: It's unclear if there were any promises made to accelerate spending. French President Emmanuel Macron said allies were just sticking with their previous goals.

Watch Trump's full explanation:

DID TRUMP THREATEN TO PULL OUT OF NATO?: Some news organizations are reporting that President Trump threatened to pull out of NATO over the spending fight, but French President Emmanuel Macron says Trump did not threaten to leave the alliance.

FROM THE NATO CHIEF: From NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg: "The important thing now is that we need to invest more. We need to get more money. And the good thing is that, very much because of that very clear message from President Trump on this meeting, I think that allies understand there is a need to do that. There's an urgency, there's a sense of urgency when it comes to delivering on that commitment."

THE PEOPLE LOVE ME, THEY REALLY LOVE ME: Trump downplayed the expected protests in London, where he arrived after the NATO summit. In Trump's words: "I think it's fine. I think they like me a lot in the U.K. I think they agree with me on immigration."

IF YOU HEAR THIS LINE, IT'S JUST FACTUALLY NOT TRUE: For the third time, President Trump falsely claimed that President Reagan didn't win Wisconsin during his 1984 reelection bid. In Trump's words: "One of the states we won -- Wisconsin -- I didn't realize this until fairly recently, that was the one state that Ronald Reagan didn't win when he ran the board his second time." What really happened: Reagan *did* win Wisconsin in 1980 and 1984. Minnesota was the only state Reagan didn't win in 1984.

What a decorative idea:

Close-up photos of the performer suspended in the air -- they do not disappoint --> 

Photos of the commemorative coins released after Trump's NATO summit:



Just announced -- who wants to make festive Russian vodka drinks and watch with me?:

Fox News's Chris Wallace has an exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. Where: From Helsinki, Finland, following President Trump's summit with Putin.


Another one bites the dust:

Via Politico's Matt Nussbaum, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short is leaving by July 20. Timing: Short is leaving right as the Supreme Court confirmation heats up and before the midterm elections. Short's new gig: He will teach at the University of Virginia's business school and will work at Guidepost Strategies consulting firm.

MARC SHORT'S REPLACEMENT: Via The Hill's Jordan Fabian, Megan R. Wilson and Juliegrace Brufke, "Shahira Knight, a top White House economic adviser who was instrumental in advancing President Trump's tax-cut law, will become the president's next emissary to Capitol Hill, according to three sources familiar with the move."



D vs. D brawl:

New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), who defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley (D), is accusing Crowley of refusing to concede the race and of planning to run as a third party candidate against her. She tweeted: "[Crowley] stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy. Instead, he's stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls."

HOW CROWLEY REACTED: He tweeted, "Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together. I've made my support for you clear and the fact that I'm not running. We've scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I'd like to connect but I'm not willing to air grievances on Twitter."

DEMS' DIRTY LAUNDRY IS BEING AIRED: Via The Hill's Mike Lillis, "House Democrats are struggling to show a united front as the shocking ouster of their Caucus chairman rekindles tensions about the future of the party -- and who is best suited to lead it into the crucial 2020 cycle."

MEANWHILE - HOW BRETT KAVANAUGH'S CONFIRMATION PROCESS IS GOING: Pretty well for Kavanaugh. But Democrats are in a tough bind now on how to block Kavanaugh's nomination. Leaders have to balance between red-state Dems worried opposing Kavanaugh could hurt them in the midterms and progressives who want an all-out attack.


Mueller orders subpoenas like most people order books of stamps:

Special counsel Robert Mueller is asking a federal court for 100 more blank subpoenas before the trial of Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter He who must not be named: How Hunter Biden became a conversation-stopper Schiff should consider using RICO framework to organize impeachment MORE, President Trump's former campaign chairman. The subpoenas: Would require people to testify on July 25 -- when Manafort's trial starts. Keep in mind: Last month, Mueller had asked for 150 other blank subpoenas.


How the family reunification is going:

Via CNN, the Trump administration says most of the youngest children who were separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border have been reunified. But not all children: Dozens of young children are still unable to be reunified. The numbers: 57 of the children under the age of 5 have been reunified; 46 have not.


Spotted -- time to celebrate:

Via The Hill's Judy Kurtz, Washington insiders celebrated the launch of Hill.TV at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Spotted: President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani; Reps. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyNew York Democratic congresswoman hospitalized Cast and crew of 'Unbelievable' join lawmakers to advocate for reducing DNA, rape kit backlog O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.), Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellPelosi focused on narrow impeachment probe on Ukraine: report Pelosi announces launch of formal impeachment inquiry into Trump More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE (D-Mich.), Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveFormer GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets have to stop Congressional Women's Softball team releases roster The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (R-Utah); former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiLewandowski told by Fox Business host he was being 'a little slurry' during interview The Hill's Morning Report - New impeachment battle: Pompeo vs. House Dems Lewandowski: 'Fair' to say Senate run might not happen MORE; The Hill's chairman, James Finkelstein; The Hill's vice president of digital video and head of Hill.TV, John Solomon; Airlines for America's Rebecca Spicer; The Hill publisher Jack RotherhamPam Stevens; The Hill editor-in-chief Bob Cusack; GOP strategist Ron BonjeanAdam FalkoffErin McPike; BGR Group's Jeff BirnbaumRebecca Cooper; FP1 Strategies' Lauren Zelt; New York Post's Nikki Schwab; and Brendan Kownacki





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Just released — yep, that's a mug shot: 


Getting traction -- #Investigation:


And a follow-up from Mike Sakasegawa: "I'm sorry I can't respond to everyone individually. Just to answer a couple questions that have been asked a bunch: the lemon stopped rolling because we got to the bottom of the hill. The lemon is still intact, in my kitchen, and I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet."



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is in the United Kingdom and Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence did a series of interviews with local news outlets. 

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

1:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a confirmation. The Senate's full schedule today:

1:55 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump breaks ground on new White House tennis pavilion Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices | Supreme Court abortion case poses major test for Trump picks | Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown Kroger to stop sales of e-cigarettes at stores MORE leave London for dinner in Oxfordshire, England.

3:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend a gala dinner in Oxfordshire, England. They then head back to London.

5:15 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

Monday: President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Op-ed:



10 a.m. EDT: FBI agent Peter Strzok testified about the Russia investigation. More specifically: The anti-Trump text messages he shared with FBI lawyer Lisa Page during the 2016 presidential race. Livestream:



Today is National Pecan Pie Day.


Because everyone knows how I much I love puns: 

Actors Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler released a video of crafty puns to promote their new crafting competition show. Watch:


And because you made it to the end, here's an adorable video of a girl who wants no part of her ballet recital. Her dad has the best reaction: