The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first 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: Debate day arrives | What to watch for | Warren takes center stage on first night | Sights and sounds from Miami | Debate details | Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE to testify on July 17 | Trump's response: 'It never ends' | House panel votes to subpoena Conway over Hatch Act | Photo of drowned migrant father and daughter sparks outrage | Trump heads to G-20 in Japan | Barr plays the bagpipes | Lineups for tonight's Congressional Baseball Game



The man, the myth, the legend:

Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to publicly testify in front of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17, following a subpoena.

Who made the announcement: House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMaloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman House to hold markup Wednesday on marijuana decriminalization bill House to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFive things to know about Tuesday's impeachment hearings Nunes complains Democrats adding extra time for questioning witnesses Volker says he rejected Biden 'conspiracy theory' pushed by Giuliani MORE (D-Calif.) released a joint statement. 

From their joint statement: "Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia's attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign's acceptance and use of that help, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE and his associates' obstruction of the investigation into that attack." 

Screenshot of the letter sent to Mueller with the subpoena:

Keep in mind -- Mueller is a reluctant witness: Mueller has signaled that his 448-page Russia report is his testimony and he has nothing to say beyond what is written. So don't expect much news from Mueller. 



Via The Hill's Olivia Beavers:



"Well, my reaction is it never ends," Trump said during a phone interview this morning on Fox Business Network.


It's Wednesday -- Christmas is officially less than six months away. 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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Whoa, they actually fit everyone and their mother:

Twenty Democratic presidential hopefuls are taking the stage tonight and tomorrow for the first of 12 Democratic National Committee debates. 



1. A Biden pile-on is coming -- Biden will need to stay above the fray for a successful night.

2. An opportunity for Warren -- Warren has been nipping at Sanders's heels in the fight for the progressive base. She is solidly in third place behind Biden and Sanders.

3. Can Sanders recapture his old magic? -- He needs to prove he "wasn't merely a candidate suited for that time and place, but that he's best positioned to take on Trump in the election."

4. Trump looms over the Democratic field -- Trump has been threatening to live-tweet the debate.

5. Long shots look for a moment -- Fifteen candidates are fighting for relevancy with not much to lose, so it could make for a volatile debate. 

Context and details for each from The Hill's Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes:

Here's an interactive look at five topics that could be mentioned: Based on how often each candidate mentions the topics: 



How to watch: 9–11 p.m. EDT on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo


Who is debating tonight, in order of podium placement:

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio knocks Bloomberg over stop and frisk apology Deval Patrick enters 2020 race De Blasio slams Bloomberg run for president: He 'epitomizes the status quo' MORE (D)

Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanThe Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field Tim Ryan endorses Biden for president Strategists say Warren 'Medicare for All' plan could appeal to centrists MORE (D-Ohio)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerKrystal Ball issues warning to Biden supporters Sanders official predicts health care, climate change will be top issues in fifth Democratic debate 2020 Democrats seek investigation into 'toxic culture' at NBC ahead of debate MORE (D-N.J.)

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul MORE (D-Mass.) 

Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeDeval Patrick enters 2020 race O'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' MORE (D-Texas)

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Sanders official predicts health care, climate change will be top issues in fifth Democratic debate Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (D-Minn.)

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Sanders reclaims second place in new 2020 poll New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa MORE (D-Hawaii) 

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE (D)

Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyPoll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Delaney to take message to Iowa voters on Sunday with infomercial MORE (D-Md.)


Who is moderating -- yes, there are five of them (!):

"NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt

"Today" anchor and NBC chief legal analyst Savannah Guthrie

"Meet the Press" anchor and NBC News political director Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddSanders campaign says it reached 4 million individual donations Johnson: I'm writing a letter to 'lay out what I know' about Ukraine aid Patrick says he won't stop super PAC funding for his campaign MORE

"The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowSanders official predicts health care, climate change will be top issues in fifth Democratic debate Krystal Ball accuses Democrats of having 'zero moral authority' amid impeachment inquiry Biden town hall on CNN finishes third in cable news race MORE Show" host Rachael Maddow

"Noticias Telemundo" and "NBC Nightly News Saturday" anchor José Diaz-Balart 


Who didn't make the cut:

Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockDeval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Biden, Buttigieg condemn rocket attacks on Israel Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE, Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonPardoning war crimes dishonors the military The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing We still owe LGBT veterans for their patriotism and service MORE (D-Mass.), Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamThe Memo: What the leading 2020 Dems need to do Wayne Messam raised this quarter for presidential run The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy MORE and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel will not debate on either night.



Warren is visiting a Florida migrant shelter: During a town hall yesterday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced that she is visiting a migrant emergency care center in Florida today. Photos of the facility today 

And Warren brought supporters with her: Warren’s “campaign has organized buses to take her supporters down to the Homestead detention center outside of Miami.” Photo of supporters loading the bus: 

The view from Beto O’Rourke’s podium:

Photo of the crew finalizing the debate stage this morning: No pressure.

How Cory Booker is prepping: He did push ups and bicep curls ... while wearing a tie. (Via NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell) Video of his workout — and tweets mocking his workout gear: 

Spotted: Here's a photo of presidential candidate Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetFox News anchor apologizes for saying Booker dropped out of 2020 race Klobuchar unveils plan to secure elections as president New poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa MORE (D-Colo.) on his flight from Washington, D.C., to Miami:



Late this morning — Subpoenaed:

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to subpoena White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayConway and Haley get into heated feud: 'You'll say anything to get the vice-presidential nomination' NBC signs Mueller 'pit bull' prosecutor Andrew Weissman as legal analyst George Conway and Trump Jr. trade personal insults during impeachment hearing MORE to testify on her alleged Hatch Act violations.

The vote: 25-16. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashTrump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon Hoyer: We are going to move as fast 'as the facts and truth dictate' on open hearings Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote MORE (R-Mich.) was the only Republican to vote with Democrats.

Why Kellyanne Conway did not show up: The White House blocked Conway from testifying, citing “long-standing precedent.” 



Getting traction -- This is absolutely horrendous:

Via The Associated Press's Peter Orsi and Amy Guthrie, "The man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande, his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments."

The significance of the photo: "The searing photograph of the sad discovery of their bodies on Monday, captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States." 

The photo:



Oh, lovey. Yay for us!:



By the way, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP rep predicts watchdog report on alleged FISA abuses will find 'problems' Barr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse MORE can play the bagpipes.

Back story: "At a gathering of U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department, Barr grabbed a set of bagpipes to join the Emerald Society of the New York Police Department's pipe band, which was already performing for the conference."



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is about to leave for Osaka, Japan. Vice President Pence is in Washington, D.C.

1 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Osaka, Japan, to attend the Group of 20 summit.

2 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence swears in the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Edward Crawford

2 – 3 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

3 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with the vice president of Nigeria. 

7:05 p.m. EDT: The annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. Tickets and the lineup: Throwback to former Rep. Ron Paul playing in 1982: Photo:



11 a.m. EDT: President Trump spoke to the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Livestream:



Today is National Coconut Day.


The sky was on fire last night: 

Via PoPville, here are photos of last night's spectacular sunset in Washington, D.C.: 

 And because you made it to Wednesday, here's a dog who trying to reach his itch. You've got this!: