The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump ramps up fight by asserting executive privilege

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump ramps up fight by asserting executive privilege
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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: Trump asserts executive privilege over Mueller report | House panel voting to hold Barr in contempt | Trump calls NYT story on his taxes 'highly inaccurate Fake News' | What we know about Trump's business losses | DNC in tough spot as debates near | Trump to hold Florida rally this evening | Prince Harry, Meghan Markle name son Archie



Democrats: This ain't over yet!:

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeehery: Impeachment fever bad for Democratic governing vision Trump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom Supreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration MORE in contempt of Congress.

Why: Because Barr's Justice Department refused to give Congress an unredacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE's Russia report.

Livestream of the hearing:

Live blog of updates:

Tidbit -- five minutes before the hearing started: No Democrats had taken their seats. Photo:



House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.) said Attorney General William Barr should be held in contempt of Congress. What about impeaching Barr?: Pelosi said impeachment of the attorney general is not "off the table."

Pelosi also weighed in on Trump's impeachment: "Every single day the president is making a case -- he's becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things he's doing."



Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, Democrats are trying to convince the Justice Department's inspector general to investigate Attorney General William Barr over his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.


Trump hit the 'Executive Privilege' button:

Via The Hill's Morgan Chalfant and Jordan Fabian, "President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE has asserted executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report and the underlying evidence, the Justice Department said Wednesday."

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter: "We are disappointed that you have rejected the Department of Justice's request to delay the vote of the Committee on the Judiciary on a contempt finding against the Attorney General this morning. ... Accordingly, this is to advise you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials."


It's Wednesday. 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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The New York Times obtained Trump's old taxes and Trump is not pleased: 

The New York Times's Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig obtained President Trump's tax information from 1985 to 1994.

What we know: "Year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 -- more than $250 million each year -- were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years."

And did not have to pay income taxes: "Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years."

Keep in mind: This tax information is not from the years that congressional Democrats are demanding. Democrats want Trump's last 10 years of returns.

Read the full report:



The Times published five takeaways from its own reporting:  

  1. "Mr. Trump was deep in the red even as he peddled deal-making advice.
  2. In multiple years, he appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer.
  3. He paid no federal income taxes for eight of the 10 years.
  4. He made millions posing as a corporate raider -- until investors realized he never followed through.
  5. His interest income spiked in 1989 at $52.9 million, but the source is a mystery."

Explanations for each:


This morning -- the reaction we were all waiting for:

President Trump reacted to the New York Times report, calling the reporting "a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job."

Trump's explanation of the reporting: "Real estate developers in the 1980's & 1990's, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered 'tax shelter,' you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes....almost all real estate developers did -- and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!"



It's almost 2020 debate season:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, with just 50 days until first the presidential primary debate, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is in a tough spot.

The DNC is trying to be accommodating: "Democrats interviewed by The Hill say the DNC has been as transparent and inclusive as possible in putting together the first round of debates -- a far cry from 2016, when the national party was accused of limiting and burying the forums in an effort to pave the way for former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE's nomination."

Yeah, but: "The massive field of contenders vying for the 20 spots on stage next month in Miami has placed the spotlight back on the DNC as it seeks to accommodate the largest and most diverse field of primary contenders in history."



A school shooting in Colorado:

Via The Associated Press, "Two students opened fire Tuesday inside a charter school in an affluent suburb of Denver not far from Columbine High School, killing a teenager, wounding eight and spreading terror before they were taken into custody, authorities said."

The school: "The public charter school that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math has more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through 12th grade." 

Timing: The shooting happened one week after two students were killed and four wounded at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It also happened three weeks after Colorado marked the 20th anniversary of the shooting at the neighboring Columbine High School.



Prince Harry and Meghan Markle introduce their baby boy!:

Earlier today, the former Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stood in a hall at Windsor Castle and introduced their new baby to the world.

Just announced -- the baby's name: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor – That rolls off the tongue.

From Markle: "It's pretty amazing. I have the two best guys in the world, so I'm really happy." She also described motherhood as "magic." 

On the baby's temperament: "He has the sweetest temperament. He's really calm," Meghan said.

^Then Harry jumped in: "I wonder who he gets that from."

Watch the full remarks with their new baby -- this is too cute: 

What a happy little family: 

Photo of the queen meeting baby Archie: Awwwww.

Tidbit: Here's what happens to gifts sent to the new baby:



This has to be a joke:

Here's the back story to the water venture:



The House and Senate are in.

Not happening today: First daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico 2020 is not a family affair, for a change MORE canceled a scheduled appearance in Colorado after a school shooting in the Denver area. 

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump held a Cabinet meeting.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House.

3:25 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves the White House for Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

6:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours areas affected by Hurricane Michael.

12:20 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Trump gets back to the White House.

May 16: The Hill is hosting an event on the future of work, "Workers and The Innovation Age." Featured speakers: Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system Hillicon Valley: Uber vows to defy California labor bill | Facebook, Google, Twitter to testify on mass shootings | Facebook's Libra to pursue Swiss payments license MORE (D-Ohio) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ohio); Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Tim WalbergTimothy (Tim) Lee WalbergPro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate On The Money: Mnuchin signals officials won't release Trump tax returns | Trump to hold off on auto tariffs | WH nears deal with Mexico, Canada on metal tariffs | GOP fears trade war fallout for farmers | Warren, regulator spar over Wells Fargo MORE (R-Mich.); and Megan J. Smith, founder and CEO of Shift7 and former U.S. chief technology officer. Details and how to RSVP:



2:30 p.m. EDT: A Senate Judiciary subcommittee is holding a hearing on border security. Livestream:

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Federalist Society's Seventh Annual Executive Branch Review Conference at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Livestream:

8 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Panama Beach, Fla. Livestream:



Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day.


And because you made it this far, here's one of the best dog smiles I've seen in a while: