The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate

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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 — Breaking: DNC debate lineups | Biden, Sanders, Harris to share stage | Warren to appear other night | Trump does damage control on election interference remarks | GOP in tough spot | Dems skeptical of polls showing Biden landslide | Trump says he won’t fire Conway despite Hatch Act | Why Centrist Dems are wary of $15 minimum wage | New outdoor DC food market | National Strawberry Shortcake Day

 

TALK OF THE MORNING

When you’ve dug yourself into a hole...

Just keep digging, digging, digging:

In an attempt to do damage control, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE clarified his comments about not committing to contacting the FBI if a foreign power offered damaging information on a political opponent. http://bit.ly/2MK1uQy

Trump’s latest comments — he was asked what he would do if he were given that information: “If I was, and of course you have to look at it because if you don’t look at it you’re not going to know if it’s bad. How are you going to know if it’s bad? But, of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that. But of course you do that, you couldn’t have that happen with our country and everybody understands that.” https://washex.am/2KjmjR0  

 

WHY THIS PUTS TRUMP IN A TOUGH SPOT WITH REPUBLICANS: 

“Republicans were left shaking their heads Thursday over what many of them saw as a sloppy gaffe by the president, who didn’t appear to understand that what he was suggesting was against the law. Several GOP lawmakers quickly denounced Trump’s comments, hoping to bury them and allow the controversy to blow over as soon as possible.” https://washex.am/2KjmjR0

Including Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTwo-thirds of Republicans support 'red flag' gun laws: NPR poll Red flag laws won't stop mass shootings — ending gun-free zones will Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (R-S.C.), a frequent defender of the president: Graham said he had to explain to Trump over the phone that accepting campaign help from a foreign country is a violation of the law. 

In Graham’s words: “What the president is saying is, ‘I didn’t say I’d take it.’ I said, ‘Well, Mr. President, here’s what the law is.’ You’ll have a conversation with somebody that’s pulling for you or wants to help you, you can say, ‘No you can’t, you’re not an American citizen.’ ... If somebody is trying to give you documents from a foreign government, you can’t take them.” https://washex.am/2KjmjR0

 

MORE REACTIONS:

From former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden Panel: Jill Biden's campaign message MORE: "President Trump is once again welcoming foreign interference in our elections. This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security. An American President should not seek their aid and abet those who seek to undermine democracy.” http://bit.ly/2MNtaEi

From Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE (R-Utah): Romney said it would “be wrong and unthinkable that any candidate for president would accept such information” that might influence an election from foreign sources. http://bit.ly/2ZjcDt8

 

It’s Friday! Today is President Trump’s 73rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. President! 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.

 

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BREAKING

The lineup for the first DNC debate:

Yesterday, the Democratic National Committee announced the 20 presidential candidates who have qualified for the first primary debate. NBC just did a random selection to split the top tier candidates int two nights. https://cnn.it/2ZvR74x

Night one: Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden Panel: Jill Biden's campaign message MORE, Beto O’Rourke, Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE, John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyDelaney shakes up top campaign staff Poll: Nearly 4 in 5 say they will consider candidates' stances on cybersecurity Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE, Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment The US can't seem to live without Afghanistan MORE, Julian CastroJulian CastroCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Castro releases animal welfare plan as part of presidential campaign Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE, Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Tim Ryan jokes he's having 'dance-off' with Andrew Yang The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE, Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio brushes off low poll numbers: 'The vast majority of Democratic voters are going to make their decision late' NYPD fires officer in Eric Garner case Senate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility MORE and Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeCastro, Steyer join pledge opposing the Keystone XL pipeline Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Andrew Yang promises mass pardon to those imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana offenses MOREhttp://bit.ly/2IePhz3 

Night two: Bernie SandersBernie SandersHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' The exhaustion of Democrats' anti-Trump delusions Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden MORE, Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden Sanders leads Democratic field in Colorado poll MORE, Joe Biden, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders leads Democratic field in Colorado poll Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado Castro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates MORE, Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE, Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonWilliamson unveils plan to create Cabinet-level Department of Peace Marianne Williamson says she will remove Oval Office portrait of Andrew Jackson if elected Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE, Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHickenlooper ends presidential bid Scenes from Iowa State Fair: Surging Warren, Harris draw big crowds Nadler hits gas on impeachment MORE, Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries 2020 Democrats react to NYPD firing of officer in Garner case: 'Finally' MORE, Andrew YangAndrew YangCastro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE and John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperPoll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MOREhttp://bit.ly/2IePhz3

The candidates who did not qualify: Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Sunday shows - Recession fears dominate Bullock: Putting Cuccinelli in charge of immigration 'like putting Putin in charge of election security' MOREMassachusetts Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur Moulton2020 Democrats react to NYPD firing of officer in Garner case: 'Finally' Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE and Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin Messam2020 Democrats release joint statement ahead of Trump's New Hampshire rally The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump claims support in Congress for background checks Moulton campaign makes formal case to DNC to be added to debate stage MORE

 

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

She stays.:

During an interview on “Fox & Friends” this morning, President Trump said he is not firing White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Florida first lady to miss Women for Trump event due to planned execution Trump adopts familiar mantra on possible recession: fake news MORE for violating the Hatch Act. http://bit.ly/2Zns3wj

In Trump’s words: “No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person.” 

Trump also said: “It looks to me they’re trying to take away her right from free speech and that’s just not fair.” 

 

BACK STORY:

Yesterday, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) submitted a 17-page report to the White House with findings that Kellyanne Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act. http://bit.ly/2IdOCxJ

What is the Hatch Act?: It bans federal employees from using their official role to help or hurt political campaigns.  

How she violated the Hatch Act: By “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity” in more than half a dozen television interviews and tweets, according to the report.

How the White House is defending Conway: The White House argues that the OSC applied the law too broadly and that her actions are within her First Amendment rights.

  

IN CONGRESS

$15 may not be the magic number everywhere:

Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos and Niv Elis, as House Democrats move forward with a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, 29 Democrats — mostly centrist — have concerns about the measure. http://bit.ly/2RgnuRI

Their concerns: The major boost in a short period of time could have negative effects in rural areas. 

For example — from Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsThis week: House Democrats voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt New CBO report fuels fight over minimum wage Unglamorous rules change helps a big bill pass MORE (D-Minn.): “I am concerned about the fact that $15 is an arbitrary number that means a lot more in certain parts of the country than it does another. I believe there are better mechanisms by which we can ensure that by providing incentives to enterprises who take better care of people.” 

Timing of the bill: House Democrats are hoping to bring the bill to the floor in July and say they are close to the 218 votes needed.

  

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Whoa, Republicans and Democrats agree on something

Did we not learn anything about the polls in 2016?!:

Via The Hill’s Jonathan Easley, “Democrats and Republicans alike are skeptical of early polls predicting a landslide victory for Democrat Joe Biden over President Trump on Election Day 2020.” http://bit.ly/2F6xojR

Both sides have come to the same conclusion: “Both sides think a close race in 2020 is likely and that surveys showing Biden and other Democrats with huge leads aren’t likely to reflect Election Day’s reality.” 

From a Democratic pollster: “Anyone who believes that the Democratic candidate is headed for a landslide victory right now is doomed to repeat the tragic history of 2016. It’s a fundamental mistake for anyone to believe that reality can be projected or predicted based on these polls this far out from the general election.”

Yeah but not all pollsters agree — from another Democratic pollster: “We are beyond the ‘grain of salt’ phase on these polls. These are not just small leads for Biden against Trump. They are substantial and confirmed in key states. While polls may move around they are relevant in that it shows Trump’s weakness in getting reelected. He has lost key support that he had at the end of 2016 and there is no denying that.”

How this could play out: http://bit.ly/2F6xojR

  

NOTABLE TWEETS

Lol

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out.

12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCotton warns China: Crackdown on Hong Kong would be 'grave miscalculation' Pompeo expresses concern over North Korea missile tests Pompeo acknowledges 'places where ISIS is more powerful today' MORE.

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosTrump aides pushed for states' ability to block migrant kids from enrolling in public schools: report Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid Buttigieg to Detroit audience: Don't judge Indiana by Pence and we won't judge Michigan by DeVos MORE.

Today: The 244th birthday of the U.S. Army. Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2X6ca03

June 25: The Hill is hosting an event at the Newseum to discuss "Cost, Quality and Care: The Medicare Equation." Featured speakers: Reps. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieOvernight Health Care — Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Poll finds Trump vulnerable on health care in battleground states | HHS must respond to petition on abortion referral ban by Thursday | Wyden presses health officials about CBD regulations Lawmakers map out path forward on Medicare Part D The Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations MORE (R-Ky.) and Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiLobbying World House bill would make World Cup funds contingent on equal pay Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Calif.). Details and how to RSVP: http://bit.ly/2WJsnYC

 

SPONSORED CONTENT - PRESENTED BY MAPRx

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.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump gives a speech on health care for small businesses. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2MLprHe

6:30 p.m. EDT: "NBC Nightly News" interviews former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro for the series "My Big Idea."

Sunday morning: Sound Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) and House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseManchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Sunday shows - Trump's Epstein conspiracy theory retweet grabs spotlight Sanders: Trump doesn't 'want to see somebody get shot' but 'creates the climate for it' MORE (R-La.) will appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. And for planning purposes, tomorrow is National Lobster Day!

 

Filming in D.C. this weekend:

Expect road closures in downtown Washington, D.C., this weekend for the filming of a TV miniseries. Sooo, what’s the show?: The name of the project has not been released yet. Details and a list of road closures: http://bit.ly/2KjPEe8

 

Opening tomorrow: 

Via DCist, “Smorgasburg, an outdoor food market billing itself as the world’s largest, opens in D.C.’s Navy Yard on Saturday, offering a weekly platform to a swath of food entrepreneurs. More than 30 food entrepreneurs have signed on to prepare their meals in booths onsite at the free, family friendly Smorgasburg DC running every Saturday at least through October.” Details and a list of food vendors: http://bit.ly/2IKiDEm

 

And to get your weekend off to the right start, here is the most chill alpaca: http://bit.ly/2WGYtFj