The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for Mueller report

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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: Breaking - Mueller report to be released on Thursday | Washington braces | Trump rips Pelosi for defending Omar | Pelosi speaks to Capitol Police about Omar's safety | What to watch on Tax Day | Trump to tout tax law in Minnesota | Trump campaign to report $30M in fundraising | Lori Loughlin pleads not guilty in admissions scam | Secret Shake Shack menu in Valyrian



Everyone in Washington -- take your battle positions:

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's highly anticipated Russia investigation report will be made public on Thursday morning (!), according to an official at the Department of Justice.






Via The New York Times's Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, White House aides plan to skip sections in the report relating to potential criminal conspiracy and only focus on the section addressing why the special counsel was unable to prove that Trump obstructed justice.



Last Tuesday, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP rep predicts watchdog report on alleged FISA abuses will find 'problems' Barr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse MORE told Congress that the Mueller report would be public "within a week." That was six days ago.


Interesting read -- 'The Insiders' Guide to the Mueller Report':

Via Politico's Darren Samuelsohn, here's how experts on both sides are gearing up to speed read the Mueller report:

What the Mueller report is expected to look like: "[Attorney General William Barr] last week told Congress that the document will be color-coded to explain why lawyers for Mueller and DOJ have redacted some of the most sensitive material. But he promised that, for all the gaps, the report won't end up looking totally like Swiss cheese."  


It's Monday -- and it's Tax Day. 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 follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Aunt Becky is fighting the new charges:

Via ABC's Bill Hutchinson and Aaron Katersky, actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are planning to plead not guilty to charges from the nationwide college entrance scam.

The new charge against the couple: Conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

Timing of the new charge: The new charge against Loughlin and Giannulli came one day after actress Felicity Huffman and 13 other defendants pleaded guilty to the cheating scandal.  



What's the refund situation?:

Via The Hill's Naomi Jagoda, this is the first tax-filing season since President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE's 2017 tax law, making this year one of the most closely watched tax days.



  1. Refund sizes -- Earlier in the year, IRS data showed a decline in tax refunds, but agency figures have been revised and now show similar sized refunds.
  2. Number of extensions requested -- Some tax preparers are saying more clients are requesting extensions, but there isn't much data to confirm that yet. 
  3. How the IRS fared -- The government shutdown at the beginning of the year does not seem to have affected processing returns.
  4. GOP, Democratic messaging -- Republicans are expected to tout the new law while Democrats argue it is better for wealthy individuals.
  5. Filing season's influence on public opinion -- Polling for Trump's tax law has not been favorable to Republicans.

Context and details for each:


This morning -- how Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter MORE is celebrating Tax Day:

Hillary Clinton used Tax Day to take a jab against Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms Trump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday The Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today MORE and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

She tweeted: "Millions of Americans will put tax checks in the mail today. Meanwhile, the secretary of the treasury and head of the IRS continue to refuse to turn over Trump's tax returns to Congress for reasons even they can't clearly articulate. #TaxDay."



Safety precautions for Omar:

Over the weekend, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls on Trump to testify as part of impeachment inquiry Sunday shows — Spotlight shifts to Sondland ahead of impeachment inquiry testimony Perception won't be reality, once AI can manipulate what we see MORE (D-Calif.) said she spoke with the sergeant-at-arms of the House to ensure the safety of Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Omar renews claim Stephen Miller is a 'white nationalist' amid calls for him to step down MORE (D-Minn.) after President Trump tweeted a video targeting the congresswoman.

Pelosi said in a statement: "Following the President's tweet, I spoke with the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff. They will continue to monitor and address the threats she faces." She also called on Trump to take down the video. 

The video that Trump tweeted: "Trump on Friday tweeted a video including images of Sept. 11 and comments Omar made regarding the attack and the safety of Muslims in its aftermath. The video featured footage of the burning World Trade Center and was denounced by many Democrats as Islamophobic and as endangering Omar's life. " 

What sparked this news cycle: Omar spoke at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month and said that CAIR was founded because "some people did something" and Muslims "were starting to lose access to our civil liberties." That started a firestorm with critics saying she was downplaying the 9/11 attacks. Omar has said she has received death threats over the controversy.



The president tweeted, "Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made. She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!"



Marc Lotter said on CNN's "New Day: "I don't think it's the president that's putting her in danger, I think it's her ill-thought-out words that she used to describe the greatest terror attack on the history of United States soil, which killed nearly 3,000 Americans."



Muscle contest:

Via The Associated Press's Zeke Miller, President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019. His campaign now has $40.8 million cash on hand.


That number doesn't mean much on its own -- some context:

The average donation: "The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26."

Compared to Obama's 2012 reelection campaign: Former President Obama had under $2 million at this point in his 2012 reelection campaign. Yeah, but: "Trump formally launched his reelection effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in prior years. By contrast, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Democratic race for president may not sort itself out 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter Krystal Ball: Patrick's 2020 bid is particularly 'troublesome' for Warren MORE launched his 2012 effort in April 2011."

2020 Dem rivals: Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat MORE (I-Vt.) has raised the most in the 2020 Democratic field, bringing in $18.2 million. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisIf we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat New poll shows four top-tier 2020 candidates in Iowa The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out MORE (D-Calif.) has raised $12 million, and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeDeval Patrick enters 2020 race O'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' MORE (D-Texas) raised $9.4 million.

^ I.e.: Trump has raised more than the top two Democratic candidates combined. 

Here's an updated list of candidates' fundraising totals:


A story to keep your eye one: 

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren 'fully committed' to 'Medicare for All' New poll shows four top-tier 2020 candidates in Iowa The Democratic race for president may not sort itself out MORE's meteoric rise as a presidential candidate is putting a spotlight on his years as mayor of South Bend, Ind., including his demotion of an African-American police chief."

Why this is timely: "An Indiana judge will rule soon on whether to release five cassette tapes of secretly recorded conversations between South Bend police officers that led to the 2012 demotion of Police Chief Darryl Boykins, the city's first ever black police chief." 



Just now — that was quite the finish at the Boston Marathon:  




The House and Senate are out this week. President Trump is visiting Burnsville, Minn. this afternoon and Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump left Washington, D.C., for Minneapolis.

1:55 p.m. EDT: President Trump arrives at Nuss Truck and Equipment in Burnsville, Minn.

6:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.



2 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a roundtable discussion on the economy and tax reform in Burnsville, Minn. Livestream:

5:30 p.m. EDT: Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWhat economic recession? Think of this economy as an elderly friend: Old age means coming death On The Money: Rising recession fears pose risk for Trump | Stocks suffer worst losses of 2019 | Trump blames 'clueless' Fed for economic worries MORE speaks at Georgetown University. Details: Livestream:

6 p.m. EDT: Presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew YangNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide Saagar Enjeti: Yang's plan to regulate big tech misses the mark MORE holds a campaign rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Livestream:

8 p.m. EDT: Presidential candidate Julián Castro speaks to the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa. Livestream:

9 p.m. EDT: Presidential candidate Pete Buttijieg appears on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow.



Today is National Glazed Spiral Ham Day.


We're not regular parents. We're ~cool~ parents:

Three adult eagles -- two males and one female -- are raising eaglets together in one nest.

The setup: "What might make this all-American family different is that both males are copulating with the mom, whereas earlier examples of a second dad may have been live-in nanny situations, with no role in the reproduction itself, Audubon reports." 

Details and photos:

If you're nosey like me: Here's a livestream of the three birds. Watch:


Is it too much trouble to ask for a livestream of Shake Shack's ordering counter?:

A Shake Shack in New York City has a special menu for fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones." The catch: Customers must order the special menu in Valyrian, the working language created for the show.

Photo of the menu items with Valyrian pronunciations:


And because you made it this far, here's a puppy whose bark sounds more like a seagull to me: