The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems raise stakes with talk of 'constitutional crisis'

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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 - Trump says he's 'very surprised' by Senate Intel subpoena for Trump Jr. | Calls for Kerry to be prosecuted for talking to Iran | Pelosi agrees US faces 'constitutional crisis' | Why the GOP is frustrated with Trump's chief of staff | Trump to tackle surprise medical bills | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders team up on bill targeting credit card industry | Justices fuel speculation over key abortion, LGBT rights cases | Red Sox headed to White House | Lawmakers compete in cook-off for March of Dimes



Will the real Don Jr. please stand up? 

I repeat, will the real Don Jr. please stand up?:

Via Axios's Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene and David Nather, the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. as part of the Russia investigation.

Keep in mind: This is the first known subpoena of one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE's children. 

Why this is important: "It's also a sign that the Russia investigations in Congress aren't over despite the conclusion of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's probe and despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE saying it's time to move on from the Russia probe." 

Full report:



Republican lawmakers were not thrilled with the subpoena. For example -- Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (R-Ky.) tweeted: "Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn't get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed."



Axios's Jonathan Swan points out: "Committee sent subpoena several weeks ago, before McConnell declared 'case closed' on Russia probe."


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 follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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Thanks, MICK. You're really helpful, MICK. Really appreciate it, MICK.:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Republicans are getting frustrated with President Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump's latest plan to undermine Social Security Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report MORE

Why: Republicans think Mulvaney is getting in the way of making spending deals. 

For example: The stalled disaster relief package. Republicans worry the tension could still into raising the debt ceiling and avoiding another government shutdown.

Keep in mind about Mick Mulvaney: "Before joining the administration, Mulvaney was a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which rose to prominence after the Tea Party wave of 2010 by opposing spending increases and the implementation of ObamaCare. Some GOP lawmakers worry that Mulvaney has ingrained the Freedom Caucus's staunch conservative worldview to the White House, making it tougher to cut deals with Democrats."


Latest with the Bill Barr contempt vote -- crisis mode:

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeds charge five in international ID theft ring targeting military members, veterans The road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces Correctional officers subpoenaed in Epstein investigation: report MORE in contempt of Congress after Barr refused to give lawmakers an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report.

The vote: 24 to 16 along party lines. 



House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? Pelosi says Dems 'have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children' in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) said she agreed with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPoll: Majority wants Trump out, but not through impeachment Second Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' MORE (D-N.Y.) that the U.S. is facing a "constitutional crisis" after the panel voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

In Pelosi's words: "Yes, I do agree with Chairman Nadler because the administration has decided that they're not going to honor their oath of office." 

Pelosi echoed Nadler's comments yesterday: "We've talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it," Nadler told reporters. "Now is the time of testing whether we can keep a republic, or whether this republic is destined to change into a different, more tyrannical form of government. We must resist this."


Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos, "House Democrats are struggling to find a way to make the Trump administration pay for refusing to cooperate with their investigations."


Happening today — two buzzy names joining forces: 

Via The Washington Post’s Renae Merle, “Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTlaib says Trump 'scared' of 'Squad' The Memo: Dangers loom for Trump on immigration Students retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds MORE will introduce legislation on Thursday to cap credit card interest rates at 15 percent, a steep reduction from current levels.” Details:



Just now — Nobody likes surprises:

President Trump just urged Congress to pass legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills.

How that would work: “Officials told reporters they want Congress to ban balance billing for out of network emergency care. Balance billing happens when out-of-network providers bill patients for the difference between a billed charge and a health plan’s allowed amount. Those charges are often large and unexpected.” 

Livestream of Trump’s remarks:


Breaking — ^ the real surprise at the no surprises press conference ^ 


President Trump just criticized special counsel Robert Mueller, saying Mueller “loves” former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE and claimed there are “hundreds” of photos with Comey and Mueller.

On his son Don Jr.’s subpoena: “Trump says he’s ‘very surprised’ that [Senate Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Trump withdraws Ratcliffe as Intelligence pick MORE (R-N.C.)] issued a subpoena for his son to testify and said “the last thing he needs is Washington, D.C.”

On John KerryJohn Forbes KerryKentucky basketball coach praises Obama after golf round: 'He is a really serious golfer' The enemy of my enemy is my friend — an alliance that may save the Middle East Democratic governors fizzle in presidential race MORE: President Trump just called for John Kerry to be prosecuted under the Logan Act. Why: For talking with Iran.



The Supreme Court is teasing us:

Via The Hill's Jacqueline Thomsen, "The Supreme Court has yet to announce whether it will take up two of this year's most closely watched cases, fueling speculation about the justices' closed-door deliberations."

The first case: The first is a challenge to an Indiana abortion law enacted by then-Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceBill Maher says he's 'glad' David Koch is dead Five things to know about David Koch Former sheriff's deputy files lawsuit claiming he was fired for not wanting to be alone with a woman MORE.

Where it stands: The Supreme Court has put this case on its weekly private list of cases to consider more than a dozen (!) times since January.

The second case: The other case involves an Oregon bakery that was fined for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple.  

Where it stands: The court has included this case on its private list eight (!) times since March.

Why the number of times on the private list matters: "Court watchers said that while the content of the weekly deliberations is secret, it's very unusual for potential cases to be listed for consideration this many times." 

A possible reason: "[Court watchers] also said it's possible that the sensitivity of the topics -- LGBT and abortion rights -- is causing the justices to be overly cautious in deciding whether to hear oral arguments."

What to watch: 



Top Chef: Capitol Hill: 

More than 50 U.S. senators and representatives competed in a cook-off last night in Washington, D.C., for the March of Dimes Gourmet Gala.

Photos of the event:

Here are the lawmakers' recipes: I'm looking at you, Maine lobster stew from Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingBipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year New intel chief inherits host of challenges Senators ask for committee vote on 'red flag' bills after shootings MORE (I-Maine) and his wife, Mary Herman.



Judge's Choice -- Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) (Lobster Stew) 

People's Choice -- Rep. Dean Philips (D-Minn.) (Miriam's Potato Latkes) 

Healthiest Recipe -- Rep. Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalHispanic Democrats: ICE raids designed to distract from Trump ties to Epstein Democrats wary of Trump's 'erratic' approach to Iran WHIP LIST: The 130 House Democrats backing an impeachment inquiry MORE (D-Calif.) (Central Coast Ceviche)

Hometown Hero -- Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) (Johnny Appleseed Crisp)  

Easiest Presentation -- Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersFBI Agents Association calls on Congress to make 'domestic terrorism' a federal crime Senators renew request for domestic threats documents from FBI, DOJ after shootings Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-Mich.) (Michigan Cherry, Goat Cheese and Sage Crostini) 

Best Preparation -- Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischTrump moves forward with billion F-16 sale to Taiwan Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China Overnight Defense: US exits landmark arms control treaty with Russia | Pentagon vows to 'fully pursue' once-banned missiles | Ratcliffe out as intel pick | Trump signs budget deal that boosts defense | Trump defends North Korea's Kim as 'friend' MORE (R-Idaho) (Idaho Baked Potato Sunday)

The event's media sponsors: The Hill, National Journal, Washington Life and the Washington Diplomat.



Trending video -- a little boy describing the shooting in Colorado:

This is gut-wrenching.



Hey, uh, senators...:



The House and Senate are in.

1:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence visits R&J Johnson Farms in Fargo, N.D.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a judicial nomination. The Senate's full schedule today:

4:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence tours Gerdau Ameristeel in Minnesota.

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

9 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

May 16: The Hill is hosting an event on the future of work, "Workers and The Innovation Age." Featured speakers: Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBank watchdogs approve rule to loosen ban on risky Wall Street trades Dayton mayor assigned extra security following verbal spat with Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE (D-Ohio) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSchumer blasts 'red flag' gun legislation as 'ineffective cop out' McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Shaken Portman urges support for 'red flag' laws after Ohio shooting 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:



11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump delivered remarks in the Roosevelt Room on ending surprise medical billing. Livestream:

3:45p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the 2018 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. Livestream:

5:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence delivers remarks at Gerdau Ameristeel. Livestream:



Today is National Butterscotch Brownie Day. It's also National Moscato Day.


For all the scared pups in your life:

Ford Europe has created a noise-canceling kennel for dogs who are scared of loud noises like fireworks and thunder. Photo of the prototype:


And because you made it this far, here's a bear who bribed a dog so it could go through the family's trash:


This story was updated at 1:55 p.m.