The Hill's 12:30 Report: Mueller breaks silence in surprise statement

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here: http://bit.ly/1M1mIfw

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/1Tt4hqN

--> 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 breaks silence in dramatic appearance | Says charging Trump with a crime was 'not an option we could consider' | Mueller says he will not testify before Congress | Trump says 'nothing changes' | New pressure on Democrats | Nadler vows House will take action | Booker calls for impeachment | How a huge Dem field is boosting Biden | Trump calls Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreGOP Senate candidate 'pissed off' at Trump over health care for veterans Durbin says he has second thoughts about asking for Franken's resignation Alabama GOP senate candidate says 'homosexual activities' have ruined TV, country's moral core MORE unelectable | Duke's Grocery opening new location

 

BREAKING

So that's what 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 voice sounds like: 

 

Special counsel Robert Mueller made a surprise statement late this morning to conclude his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. http://bit.ly/30U24hC

The gist: Robert Mueller said he believed he was unable to charge President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE with a crime because of Justice Department guidelines but highlighted that he was not exonerating the president. 

Livestream of Robert Mueller's remarks: http://bit.ly/2JMdFdg

  

NEWS FROM THE HEARING: 

(!) On whether Trump committed a crime: "If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not however make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime." http://bit.ly/30KUYMm

ADVERTISEMENT

(!) Mueller said charging Trump with a crime was not an option: "Charging the president with a crime... was not an option we could consider." Why: Because of a Justice Department guideline that states a sitting president cannot be indicted. Mueller’s team interpreted that as meaning his team could not bring a charge against Trump as they investigated him for obstruction of justice. http://bit.ly/30U24hC 

^What Mueller did not clarify: Whether his office would have charged President Trump with a crime had the Department of Justice guidance not been in place: http://bit.ly/30U24hC

Why Muller said accusing Trump of a crime without charging him would have been unfair: "It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge." http://bit.ly/2wtwdqi

Mueller also said he will not testify before Congress: "I hope and expect that this will be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself -- no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter." He then highlighted: "The report is my testimony." http://bit.ly/2QC75qA

I.e.: "Robert Mueller, more or less: If forced to testify I will make it boring." http://bit.ly/2wrqnFV

Robert Mueller said he has completed his tenure: "I am resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life." http://bit.ly/2wt8iqY

 

REACTIONS TO MUELLER’S STATEMENT:

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSecond Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death MORE (D-N.Y.) said that Congress will take action: "Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump – and we will do so." Read Nadler’s full statement: http://bit.ly/2QtqYQm

President Trump says ‘case closed’: “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.” http://bit.ly/30RA3aq

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate Sanders targets gig economy as part of new labor plan MORE (D-N.J.), a 2020 contender, called for impeachment: “Robert Mueller’s statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately.” http://bit.ly/2HICcxA

  

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: 

When the news dropped that Mueller would speak: 9:30 a.m. today. Read the email announcement: http://bit.ly/2wtTTup

Great cable networks think alike!: "Cable news appears to agree not only on the story of the day, but also on how to chyronize it." Photo of the matching chyrons: http://bit.ly/30QAZMn

Lol, listen to camera shutters: http://bit.ly/2IbRbiC

SERIOUSLY -- the real reason Mueller's statement is important: Journalist Kelly Cohen pointed out, "thank god we will finally get new stock photos of robert mueller." http://bit.ly/2QtHdNx

Timing -- Mueller loves recess: The Mueller report was released during Congress's two-week Easter recess. Now he made his statement during Congress's Memorial Day recess.

Where Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr says he has seen 'nothing' to undercut Epstein autopsy findings Prosecutors are mainly to blame for the criminal justice crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes MORE is: In Anchorage for the Alaska Native Justice Roundtable this afternoon. http://bit.ly/2YVzJWE

Photo of the media section: Congrats to the journalist who arrived first: http://bit.ly/2Wtxk7T

  

THE MEMES LEADING UP TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE WERE ENDLESS:

"Mueller's just gonna reiterate that he thinks the Aladdin remake was really unnecessary." http://bit.ly/30QrQDx

"(Robert Mueller steps up to podium) Mueller: Jon Snow being a Targaryen never mattered. (steps away from podium)" http://bit.ly/2JKqKnp

"oh hi, im bob 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. you may remember me from such mueller reports as the mueller report." http://bit.ly/2JLeG5j

Mueller: <clears throat> "Literally everyone had a better story than Bran." http://bit.ly/2QwfED8

  

JUST ANNOUNCED -- BARR IS SPEAKING ON FRIDAY:

Attorney General William Barr will appear exclusively on CBS's "This Morning."

 

It's already Wednesday -- gotta love holiday weeks! 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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily: http://bit.ly/2kjMNnn

  

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

I believe this was meant in what we call the 'nana booboo' dialect:

Yesterday evening, President Trump offered what appeared to be a tongue-in-cheek defense of his criticism of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Giuliani says he discussed Biden with Ukrainian official MORE while traveling in Japan, which triggered bipartisan blowback against the president. http://bit.ly/2VXN66A

Trump tweeted: "I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil. Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnRomney: 'Putin and Kim Jong Un deserve a censure rather than flattery' Pompeo expresses concern over North Korea missile tests State Dept. extends travel ban to North Korea MORE called him a 'low IQ idiot,' and many other things, whereas I related the quote of Chairman Kim as a much softer 'low IQ individual.' Who could possibly be upset with that?"

 

WHAT SPARKED THIS TWEET: 

President Trump sided with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's reference to Biden as a "fool of low IQ." https://nyti.ms/2I66gCw

 

BIDEN CAMPAIGN OFFICIAL KATE BEDINGFIELD RESPONDED TO TRUMP'S ATTACKS:

Bedingfield called Trump's attacks "beneath the dignity of the office" and said "to be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former vice president speaks for itself."

 

HOW DEMOCRATS ARE WORRIED Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE COULD BE A SPOILER:

http://bit.ly/2Wtt4W6

 

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

The more the merrier -- Joe Biden should be personally recruiting more 2020 candidates:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, "Democratic front-runner Joe Biden has an unusual advantage in the 2020 race: the sheer size of the field." http://bit.ly/2W0KPHY

The problem for other Dems: The intraparty splits are dividing the 2020 Democratic field. For example: 

  • Black candidates: "The presence of two major black candidates, Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), could prevent African American support coalescing behind either one."  

How this all helps Biden: "By contrast, Biden's niche -- relatively moderate, purportedly electable, popular with older voters -- is not particularly crowded." 

How this could play out: http://bit.ly/2W0KPHY

  

Naaah, dawg: 

President Trump signaled that he is opposed to Roy Moore running for Senate in Alabama again.

Trump tweeted: "Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama. This time it will be for Six Years, not just Two. I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win. But he didn't, and probably won't. If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating....Judges and Supreme Court Justices!" http://bit.ly/30Rsh0p

  

Joe Biden's accuser is launching a talk show: 

Via The Hollywood Reporter, former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores (D), who accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriately touching her, is starting a talk show for Latinx millennials. http://bit.ly/2Wb3gPd

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

This seems terrible:

  

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence met with Monsignor Abelardo Mata.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump swore in the new president of the Export-Import Bank. Vice President Pence also attended.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoChina threatens to sanction US firms over sales of F-16s to Taiwan Trump moves forward with billion F-16 sale to Taiwan Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE.

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

Friday morning: CBS's "This Morning" has an exclusive interview with Attorney General William Barr.

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Biscuit Day.

  

Oh how I love this burger:

Duke's Grocery is opening a new location on Thursday in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Details: http://bit.ly/2IaLdii

 

KEEP IN MIND:

Duke's famous proper burger was named the 5th best burger in the United States, according to Thrillist's top 100 list. The top 100 list: http://bit.ly/2zW567j

 

And because you made it this far, here's a dog with a camera attached to his chest and heart rate monitor around his neck -- a photo is taken every time he gets excited! The photos: https://cnet.co/2XfltHF