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 TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election 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 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 probe and despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy On The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Top House Democrats ask for review of DHS appointments 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 PaulGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Trump: 'Everybody knows who the whistleblower is' Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens 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 MulvaneyNew witness claims firsthand account of Trump's push for Ukraine probes Trump files to dismiss lawsuit from Bolton aide on impeachment testimony OMB official to testify in impeachment probe if subpoenaed after others refused 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 BarrBarr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: 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 PelosiLouisiana governor wins re-election Dynamic scoring: Forward-thinking budgeting practices to grow our economy Pelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter' MORE (D-Calif.) said she agreed with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution 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 SandersSinger Neil Young says that America's presidents haven't done enough address climate change New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide MORE and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLouisiana governor wins re-election White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations Ocasio-Cortez voices support for Taylor Swift in artist's battle to perform her songs 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 ComeyChris Wallace on Yovanovitch testimony: 'If you're not moved, you don't have a pulse' Day one impeachment hearings draw 13.1M viewers, down 32 percent from Comey hearings There are poor ideas, bad ones and Facebook's Libra 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 BurrGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy North Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Saagar Enjeti claims Pelosi's impeachment strategy could hurt 2020 Democrats 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 KerryGrowing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal 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 PenceREAD: Foreign service officer Jennifer Williams' closed-door testimony from the House impeachment inquiry Top NSC aide puts Sondland at front lines of Ukraine campaign, speaking for Trump White House releases rough transcript of early Trump-Ukraine call minutes before impeachment hearing 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 KingOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members Senators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing 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 CarbajalOvernight Energy: Lawmakers show irritation over withheld Interior documents | Republican offers bipartisan carbon tax bill | Scientists booted from EPA panel form new group GOP congressman introduces bipartisan carbon tax bill Hispanic Democrats: ICE raids designed to distract from Trump ties to Epstein MORE (D-Calif.) (Central Coast Ceviche)

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

Easiest Presentation -- Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersAdvocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Warren doubles down — to Democrats' chagrin, and Trump's delight Senators urge Trump to fill vacancies at DHS MORE (D-Mich.) (Michigan Cherry, Goat Cheese and Sage Crostini) 

Best Preparation -- Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate Foreign Relations chair: 'Best' not to pass Turkey sanctions bill 'at this moment' Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House 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 BrownOn The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Warren, Brown press IRS on study reviewing Free File program Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (D-Ohio) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWhy Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump GOP lawmakers fear Trump becoming too consumed by impeachment fight 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.