The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump, Biden headed to dueling Iowa rallies

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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 — Presented by MAPRx — Trump, Biden headed to dueling Iowa rallies | Biden to hit Trump as 'existential threat' | White House calls remark 'laughable' | Pelosi says Dems 'not even close' to impeachment | Warren's rise threatens Sanders | Amash exits Freedom Caucus | Dems pull bill on lawmaker raises amid controversy | John Dean signs Watergate swag | 'Cooler-than-normal' summer on tap for DC |



New report -- deny, deny, deny:

Via The New York Times's Annie Karni and Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanTrump lashes out at NYT reporter over Dayton, El Paso coverage Trump falsely claims his events have never 'had an empty seat' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump calls off Iran strike at last minute MOREPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies MORE has been using his old personal cellphone to call aides late at night, telling them to deny internal polling that shows former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Support for Sanders among college students reaches highest level since April Obama has taken active interest in Biden's campaign: report The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE is leading in key states.

"And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical Rust Belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well." 

Which key states: Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania, for example. 



President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are both campaigning in Iowa today.

Where Biden will be: In Ottumwa, Mount Pleasant and Davenport today -- and Clinton tomorrow.

Where Trump will be: Council Bluffs and West Des Moines.


It's Tuesday. 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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Ha, ha-HA-ha:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is giving a speech in Iowa today to call President Trump an "existential threat to America."

Read Biden's speech:



White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersSarah Sanders: Democrats should 'quit lying and do their jobs' Biden pledges return to daily press briefings as president Sarah Sanders: I will walk out of the White House 'with my head held high' MORE Sanders called Biden's speech theme "truly laughable." In Sanders's words: "The idea that he would say that the president poses any type of threat is truly laughable, considering he was part of the administration that allowed Russia to interfere in our election." 



Just now from Pelosi -- sooo, where do they actually stand on impeachment?:

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' MORE (D-Calif.) just told CNN's Manu Raju that House Democrats are "not even close" to supporting impeachment proceedings against President Trump

Raju asked Pelosi whether she would back impeachment if more than half of Democrats did: "It's not even close in our caucus," Pelosi responded. "Why are we speculating on hypotheticals? What we're doing is winning in court. We won a victory getting the documents from the Justice Department today for fear of further going to court." 

Yeah, but she did say: Impeachment is "not off the table." "I don't think you should impeach for political reasons and I don't think you should not impeach for political reasons." Watch


Voting on your own salary raise, not weird at all:

Via The Hill's Cristina Marcos, "House Democrats are pulling a spending bill that would give lawmakers a pay raise for the first time in a decade amid a backlash from swing-district freshmen."

Why a raise: Members of Congress have had their pay frozen since 2009, but some lawmakers are pushing to return to an annual cost of living adjustment.  

What members of Congress earn now: "Rank-and-file members of Congress currently earn $174,000 per year. Members of leadership earn more, with the Speaker making $223,500 annually and the House majority and minority leaders earning $193,400." 

If members still had an annual cost-of-living increase: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that members would be making $210,900 in 2019. 

Reasons for and against a salary increase:


Declaring freedom from Freedom:

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashLawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Sanford headed to New Hampshire amid talk of challenge to Trump MORE (R-Mich.) has decided to leave the House Freedom Caucus in the wake of supporting impeachment proceedings against President Trump

Keep in mind: After Amash announced his support for Democrats moving ahead with impeachment proceedings, the House Freedom Caucus voted to condemn his remarks but did not force him out of the caucus. 



Swords are back in their scabbards, well for now:

"House Democrats and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday de-escalated tensions in Washington for the first time in months by striking a deal that will provide lawmakers with critical documents underlying special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE's report on Russia's election interference."



Republicans: Whew, dodged that:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, GOP lawmakers are feeling relieved to dodge a major trade battle with President Trump after a deal averted a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports.



Via The New York Times's Ana Swanson and Jeanna Smialek, "President Trump has concluded his tariff threat worked and forced Mexico to stop the flow of migrants. On Monday, he pivoted back to his trade fight with China and vowed to hit Beijing with more tariffs if it did not accede to America's trade demands."



This campaign ain't big enough for the both of us:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren unveils Native American policy plan Poll: Support for Sanders among college students reaches highest level since April Obama has taken active interest in Biden's campaign: report MORE (D-Mass.) is on the rise in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and it poses a big threat to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Support for Sanders among college students reaches highest level since April The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE (I-Vt.).

For example: A new CNN-Des Moines Register-Mediacom poll in Iowa shows that Warren is tailing Sanders by just 1 point, 16 to 15 percent.

Why Warren's rise matters (!): "If Warren were to pull ahead of Sanders, she would become the leading left-wing alternative to Biden -- a shift that would fundamentally alter the dynamics of the race." 

How Warren's campaign feels about this: "There have been some signs that Sanders's camp is rattled by Warren's apparent acceleration. A U.S. News and World Report story published Friday included a quote from an unnamed Sanders adviser asserting, 'Warren fundamentally fails a basic threshold question: Can she beat Trump?'"



Lol, 'John Dean superfans': 

Keep in mind: John Dean served as White House counsel to President Nixon. Democrats called Dean to testify on Monday on the Mueller report.


Oh man, a phone case will brew an espresso:

RIP to humanity -- and probably our phones, too. 



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The House and Senate are in. President Trump is campaigning in Iowa today. Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence participated in a trade roundtable in the White House. 

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Council Bluffs, Iowa.

12:30 -- 2:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons. The Senate's full schedule today:

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

3:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

3:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump tours the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs.

3:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.  

4 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on nominations.

7:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa's annual dinner in West Des Moines. 

11:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.



4:15 p.m. EDT: Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Davenport, Iowa. Livestream:

4:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks on renewable energy. Livestream:

6:30 p.m. EDT: "NBC Nightly News" interviews Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Support for Sanders among college students reaches highest level since April Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Fox News poll shows Trump losing to Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris MORE (D-Calif.) for a new series, "My Big Idea."



Today is National Corn on the Cob Day.



Via The New York Times's Geneva Abdul, "London Zoo Defends Return of Late-Night Parties Among the Animals." The story:


You guys, he drained the swamp!!:

The Capital Weather Gang is predicting "the first cooler-than-normal summer in a decade" in Washington, D.C. The full prediction:


And because you made it this far, here's a dog practicing her audition tape for "American Idol":