The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Democrats deal with Mueller fallout

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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 tweets, then denies, that Russia helped him win | Questions linger over Mueller probe | Dems face tough decisions | Former Sen. Cochran dead at 81 | Senate GOP fears intraparty 2020 fight | Trump defends 'well-meaning' officials behind USS McCain order | 2020 Dems boast few legislative wins | National Spelling Bee finals



I don't know, I say a lot of things



Early this morning, 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 acknowledged for the first time that Russia aided with his campaign, but then denied it a few minutes later.

The line from Trump's tweet that is getting traction: "I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected."

But when Trump was asked about that tweet 20 minutes later, he contradicted himself: "No, Russia did not help me get elected," Trump told reporters before leaving for Colorado Springs, Colo.


For context -- here are Trump's full tweets: "Russia, Russia, Russia! That's all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax...And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn't exist. So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media, say he fought back against this phony crime that didn't exist, this horrendous false accusation, and he shouldn't fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn't find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!"


Sooooo, what now?:

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 gave a statement yesterday to wrap up his work on the Russia investigation.



  1. Will Dems subpoena Mueller?
  2. Did this help or hurt Democrats' impeachment push?
  3. Without the Justice Department's guidance, would Mueller have charged Trump?
  4. What will 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 will do next?
  5. Will Congress heed Mueller's warning on election interference?

Context and details for each:


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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Out of sight does not mean out of mind:

Via The Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Ballhaus and Gordon Lubold, "The White House wanted the U.S. Navy to move 'out of sight' the warship USS John S. McCain ahead of President Trump's visit to Japan, according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal." 

What to know about the ship: "The ship was named after the father and grandfather of the late senator--a war hero who became a frequent target of Mr. Trump's ire--and the senator's name was added to the ship in 2018."



Last night, the president tweeted that he "was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan."

And then this morning: Trump told reporters that whoever made the order was "well meaning." In Trump's words: "I didn't know anything about it. I would never have done that. ... Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him. And they were well-meaning, I will say."



Keep in mind about the 2020 Democrats:

Via The Hill's Reid Wilson and Max Greenwood, "Among 2020 Democrats who have worked in Congress, few have worked solo on meaningful legislation."

The evidence: "The Hill's analysis of past legislative activity shows the vast majority of Democratic candidates who have served or still serve in the House and Senate have passed few pieces of legislation on their own."

For example: "Neither Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate Gillibrand unveils mental health plan MORE (D-N.Y.) have ever seen one of their bills signed into law unaltered. Former Reps. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Stocks sink as Trump fights with Fed, China The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic field narrows with Inslee exit MORE (D-Md.) and Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate MORE (D-Texas) left Congress without a single one of their bills signed into law."

What about Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE?: "In six years in the Senate, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has introduced more than 150 bills and dozens more amendments. More than a dozen of those measures are now the law of the land -- but, in a reflection of the way Congress does business today, none of the bills that were signed actually carry her name as a chief sponsor."

What this means for 2020:



Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Senate Republicans are facing a potential intraparty brawl as they fight to hold on to the chamber next year." What to expect:


Tidbit from the campaign trail -- what a pretty basement:



HuffPost's Kevin Robillard published an interview with Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-N.J.),  The story's dateline: "SOMEWHERE ON US-218 BETWEEN MOUNT PLEASANT AND KEOKUK, Iowa"



Rest in peace, senator:

Former Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBiden has a lot at stake in first debate The Hill's Morning Report — Trump turns the page back to Mueller probe Trump praises Thad Cochran: 'A real senator with incredible values' MORE (R-Miss.) died this morning at the age of 81. Cochran served in Congress for more than 45 years and resigned in April 2018 because of health concerns.

His family said in a statement: "Cochran's family extends its gratitude for the support shown to the Senator by Mississippians over the years." 

About his tenure: "Cochran was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving three terms in the House. At the time, he was the first Republican elected statewide in Mississippi in more than 100 years."

Cochran's obituary in The Washington Post:

This photo of Cochran will make you smile:

Read Cochran's farewell statement to the Senate in 2018:


It's a disaster bill. A disaster bill, I tell you.:

Via The Hill's Niv Elis, "A $19.1 billion disaster aid bill has been repeatedly tripped up in the House by conservative Republicans, creating an embarrassment for a House GOP coming under fire from Democrats and some of its own members for delaying a package meant to help stricken communities."

Bad timing: "To make matters worse, the bipartisan package is being delayed as a series of tornadoes and floods devastate the Midwest and South." 




This is pretty wild:



Now we have the perfect stock photo for all future scooter-related stories:




The House and Senate are out. President Trump is in Colorado today and Vice President Pence is in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceFormer sheriff's deputy files lawsuit claiming he was fired for not wanting to be alone with a woman Pence on battling critics: 'Spend more time on your knees than on the internet' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta resigns amid controversy over Epstein plea deal MORE arrive in Ottawa.

11:55 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participates in a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauHere are the US allies that have been caught in Trump's crosshairs Five things to watch as Trump heads to G-7 summit Biden blasts Trump's 'embarrassing' actions heading into G-7 summit MORE

12:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the Canadian Council for United States-Mexico-Canada Advisory Council.

1:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence delivers joint remarks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

6:30 p.m. EDT: 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 (I-Vt.) holds a town hall in East Las Vegas, Nev. Details:

7:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence arrive back in Washington, D.C.

8:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

June 11: The Hill is hosting an event titled "Affordable Housing & the American Dream." Featured speakers: Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Republicans offer support for Steve King challenger The United States broken patent system is getting worse MORE (R-Ohio). Details and how to RSVP:

June 26–27: The first official 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates. 



Happening now: The Scripps National Spelling Bee finals. How to watch: On ESPN2 or this link:

12:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the 2019 U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony in Colorado. Livestream:

10 p.m. EDT: Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries MORE (D-Colo.) participates in a CNN town hall.



Today is National Mint Julep Day.


You guys, the dog mayor is wearing a tie:

"A town in California has a dog for a mayor and you can request a meeting with him."

Amazing: "Phyllis Mueller is Max's human companion, or owner as some people might say. But she answers her phone with the greeting, 'Office of the mayor,' and calls herself his chief of staff."

The full story -- I promise it doesn't disappoint:


Trending -- What a sad frog cake: 

The story about an Australian grocery store botching a three-year-old's frog birthday cake is trending again. Photo of the cake -- oh wow:


And because you made it this far, meet Arthur, the dog who can play the piano: