The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments

To view past editions of The Hill's 12:30 Report, click here:

To receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox, please sign up here:

--> 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 — Breaking: Federal watchdog recommends Conway be removed for violating Hatch Act | Trump takes heat for remarks on accepting info from foreign governments | Trump defends remarks | Why Manchin is eyeing a Senate exit | GOP worries about potential Amash 2020 bid | Biden shifts to debate prep | House panel subpoenas Flynn, Gates | Why 'Prince of Whales' is trending | Nats Park to get giant Christmas maze | National Cupcake Lover's Day



Kellyanne did whaaaat?!:

The Office of Special Counsel just urged President 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 to remove Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump health chief: Officials actively 'working on' ObamaCare replacement plan Campaign aide: Trump asking questions shared by 'millions of Americans' with Epstein conspiracy theory Former acting solicitor general: 'Literally unfathomable' that Trump would retweet conspiracy theory about Epstein death MORE as White House counselor because of repeated violations of the Hatch Act.

What is the Hatch Act: It bans federal employees from engaging in political campaigns in their official role. 

From the Office of Special Counsel: "Given that Ms. Conway is a repeat offender and has shown disregard for the law, OSC recommends that she be removed from federal service.”

Read the letter to the president:

Immediate reaction from the White House: The White House rejected the office’s recommendation to fire Kellyanne Conway, saying its findings are “deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.” 


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.

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: 




If a foreigner wants to give me the tea, who am I to say no?:

In an interview with ABC's George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosTrump allies defend attacks on Cummings amid Democratic denunciations De Blasio: Democratic debates should address 'why did we lose and what do we do differently' Nadler: Resolution condemning Trump's Cummings tweets 'wouldn't be a bad idea' MOREPresident Trump said he would not commit to contacting the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent.

In Trump's words: "I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening. It's not an interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI." 

Stephanopoulos then noted: That FBI Director Christopher Wray instructed campaigns to contact the bureau if they are contacted by any foreign power. 

Trump responded: "The FBI director is wrong."



From Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump to meet with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Top Foreign Affairs Republican: 'It would benefit all of us' for Omar, Tlaib to visit Israel MORE (R-S.C.), a frequent defender of Trump: "I think that's wrong. That's a mistake. I've been consistent on this. If a public official is approached by a foreign government offering anything of value ... the right answer is 'no.'" Graham also said that: "You accept assistance from a foreign government at your own peril."

From House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTlaib says she won't visit Israel after being treated like 'a criminal' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Republicans offer support for Steve King challenger MORE (R-Calif.) — He was much nicer to Trump: "I've watched this president stand up against these foreign entities and he would not allow any foreign country to interfere in our elections."  Watch his full comments:

From Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.): Pelosi slammed President Trump for his comments and said they "would invite foreign intervention" in future election. "What the president said last night shows clearly, once again, over and over again, that he does not know the difference between right and wrong and that's probably the nicest thing I can say about him," she said. Watch her full comments:



The president tweeted: "I meet and talk to 'foreign governments' every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales [sic], the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about 'Everything!' Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again."


^ I mean, maybe he did meet with the Prince of Whales?:

The president meant, Prince Charles, the prince of Wales, not "Whales." 

Keep in mind: "Prince of Whales" trended on Twitter after the flub. Some of the tweets:



*Cue Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail WinfreyMichelle Obama: 'There's zero chance' I run for president Michael Moore urges Michelle Obama to run against Trump Marianne Williamson: Oprah is 'absolutely not' advising me on presidential run MORE* -- You get a subpoena! And you get a subpoena!:

The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates

The subpoenas: The committee is demanding "documents and other materials" from Flynn and Gates by June 26 and sworn testimony on July 10.

From House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffNew intel chief inherits host of challenges Schiff: Intelligence officials' retirements a 'devastating loss' Deputy intelligence director under Trump resigns MORE (D-Calif.): "As part of our oversight work, the House Intelligence Committee is continuing to examine the deep counterintelligence concerns raised in Special Counsel Mueller's report, and that requires speaking directly with the fact witnesses," Schiff said in a statement. 

Keep in mind: It's unclear whether testimony would be public or behind closed doors. 

What we know so far:



Hey, everyone. You might have annoyed Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws White House eyes September action plan for gun proposals Trump phoned Democratic senator to talk gun control MORE to the point where he may leave: 

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) may leave the Senate before the end of this Congress or after the 2020 elections.

Why this matters: Though Manchin is a Democrat, he has been a centrist actor in the Senate. He is deeply irritated by the lack of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill and in moments of frustration, Manchin has reportedly been telling colleagues he may leave.

Why this could affect Democrats' chances of taking the Senate: If Democrats lose West Virginia in 2020 or 2022, their chances of taking the Senate are even lower. 

What Manchin has been telling Senate colleagues:



"Virtually everyone in the House is running on 4ish hours of sleep. Yesterday was so brutal that Dem leadership did a little shuffling to push back the vote until 11:30 (which will probably last 3+ hours)" (Via Politico's Sarah Ferris



How 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 prepping for the first debate:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes, former Vice President Joe Biden has shifted his focus to preparing for the first Democratic presidential primary debate at the end of the month.

How he is getting ready: "Biden is reading briefing books daily in preparation for the televised showdown, and working with a team of Democratic veterans including longtime allies and Obama administration alumni."  

Biden criticism: "Biden is coming off the rockiest period since his campaign began, having made a very public U-turn on his previous support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortion services. The former vice president has also faced some adverse comments for keeping a much lighter schedule than some of his rivals. The criticism has included insinuations that the campaign is worried about depleting the energy of the 76-year-old candidate." 

What to expect in the next few weeks: An even lighter campaign schedule for Biden as he prepares for the debate. 



You know how people feel about spoilers:

Via The Hill's Scott Wong, 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.), who has been considering a third-party run for president in 2020, says he has no desire in playing "spoiler" for President Trump

He told The Hill: "I have no interest in playing spoiler. When I run for something, I run to win."  

On whether he will run: "I haven't ruled anything out." 

Why Republicans are worried about Amash running in 2020: "If he does run, some of his GOP colleagues worry that the five-term Libertarian-leaning congressman from Grand Rapids could siphon tens of thousands of votes away from Trump in a general election, potentially moving Rust Belt states that Trump won in 2016 -- such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania -- into the Democratic column next year." 



Getting traction in the D.C. area -- this plane flew over Washington yesterday

Back story: President Trump had an F-35 fly over the White House during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday. Poland has ordered more than 30 of the fighter jets.



President Trump and Congress have an opportunity to help strengthen the popular Medicare Part D program by placing an affordable cap on the out-of-pocket costs people on Medicare pay for prescriptions. Click for more on capping Part D.



The House and Senate are in. 

President Trump is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is in Montana today. 

11:30 a.m. EDT: The Senate votes. The Senate's full schedule today:

11:30 a.m. -- 2 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with governors to discuss workforce freedom and mobility. 

2:25 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at Yellowstone National Park.

9:10 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.



4 p.m. EDT: President Trump gives a speech on second-chance hiring. Livestream:



Today is National Cupcake Lover's Day.


I will be THE FIRST PERSON in line:

Nationals Park is transforming into a Christmas winter wonderland starting in November. Think: Ice skating, a Christmas market, holiday lights, caroling, themed drinks and a maze.

This year's theme: "This year's theme is 'The Great Search,' where Santa's reindeer go missing just before Christmas and it takes the entire city (aka YOU) to help him track all nine down throughout the Christmas maze."

Video preview -- wow, I can't wait:


And because it's only fair to share with you, here's a raccoon on a scooter: