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

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

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: 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 MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 NadlerTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Nadler demands answers from Barr on 'new channel' for receiving Ukraine info from Giuliani Trump predicts Ocasio-Cortez will launch primary bid against Schumer MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTop intelligence community lawyer leaving position Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump 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 TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister 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.

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:



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 BlasioBloomberg compared civil libertarians, teachers union to NRA 'extremists' in 2013: report De Blasio endorses Sanders for president While Klobuchar surges, Warren flounders MORE (D)

Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocrats tear into Trump's speech: It was a 'MAGA rally' Democrats walk out of Trump's address: 'It's like watching professional wrestling' Trump set to confront his impeachment foes MORE (D-Ohio)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Conway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments MORE (D-N.J.)

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Bloomberg making debate will show how other candidates handle 'an egomaniac billionaire' Klobuchar campaign gets first super PAC HuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination MORE (D-Mass.) 

Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeKrystal Ball: Voters are coming to their own judgements about who is electable Warren campaign to host series of events in Texas Democrat attacks Trump's rhetoric, policies in Spanish-language State of the Union response MORE (D-Texas)

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar campaign gets first super PAC Sanders leads among Latino voters: poll How the media fall in and out of love with candidates MORE (D-Minn.)

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardWhere the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll Yang: NYC should implement universal basic income MORE (D-Hawaii) 

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeAndrew Yang ends presidential bid Bloomberg, Steyer focus on climate change in effort to stand out Our government and public institutions must protect us against the unvaccinated MORE (D)

Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyLobbying world The Hill's Campaign Report: Four-way sprint to Iowa finish line John Delaney drops out of presidential race, Krystal and Saagar react 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 ToddCandidates make electability arguments, talk Bloomberg as focus turns to more diverse states Biden says he has to do 'really well' in South Carolina Biden urges Sanders to take accountability for supporters' threats on culinary union MORE

"The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowTlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech Schiff: Bolton 'refused' to submit affidavit on Trump's involvement in Ukraine controversy Tlaib says mention of Kavanaugh was 'trigger' to walk out of Trump speech 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 BullockStates, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash Democrats redefine center as theirs collapses Democratic governors worried about drawn-out 2020 fight MORE, Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonTrump set to confront his impeachment foes Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa The DCCC's 'blacklist' protects a white male political status quo MORE (D-Mass.), Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Wayne Messam suspends Democratic presidential campaign 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum 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 BennetToward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates Trump seeks split-screen moments in early primary states Sanders calls James Carville 'a political hack' 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 ConwayBrazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record Conway: Reported sexist Bloomberg remarks 'far worse' than what Trump said on 'Access Hollywood' tape Candidates make electability arguments, talk Bloomberg as focus turns to more diverse states MORE to testify on her alleged Hatch Act violations.

The vote: 25-16. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashBarr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump 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 BarrTrump says he has 'total confidence' in Barr In defense of William Barr Trump suggests he may sue over Mueller investigation 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!: