The Hill's 12:30 Report: First debate, fundraising shake-up 2020 Dem rankings

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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: Washington hit by flash floods | White House basement leaks | Latest 2020 Democratic rankings | Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking involving minors | Lawmakers return to DC | GOP to deal with Amash drama | Iran passes enrichment cap in nuke deal | Trump to deliver speech on environment  



Anything can be true if we use our…  *cue Spongebob Squarepants*


--> ;) 

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE shared a fictitious quote from former President Reagan predicting Trump's own presidency.

The tweet, before it was deleted: "Trump retweeted a two-year-old post from an account with 13 followers, which included a 1987 photo of Reagan and Trump. The photo is real, but there is no evidence that Reagan actually delivered the prediction. The quotation with the photo states: 'For the life of me, and I'll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president.' " Trump then added: "Cute!"

Keep in mind -- this image was removed from Facebook: "The image was shared widely on Facebook earlier this year before it was flagged as part of the company's efforts to root out false information and news from its news feed, according to PolitiFact, which rated the supposed Reagan claim 'pants on fire.' " 


It's a wildly rainy Monday in Washington, D.C.  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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Iran is testing us:

Iran announced this morning that it has exceeded the 3.67 percent uranium enrichment cap that was set in the Obama-era nuclear deal.

Keep in mind: The United States abandoned the nuclear agreement from 2015.

Reaction from President Trump: Trump told reporters yesterday that "Iran better be careful."


Jeffrey Epstein's charges:

Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has been charged with allegedly abusing and sex trafficking "dozens of minor girls" from 2002 to 2005, according to newly unsealed charges from federal prosecutors.

Read the unsealed charges:

Epstein's arrest: Epstein was arrested on Saturday after flying back to the U.S. from France. 

About the timing: "Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a once-secret plea deal, the U.S. government is taking another run at putting the wealthy sex offender behind bars with new sex-trafficking charges that law enforcement officials say involve allegations dating to the early 2000s."

Why the case is so controversial: Epstein has a number of political contacts, including past connections with President Clinton and President Trump. Critics say that led prosecutors to treat him leniently.



Everything is fine. Nothing to see here: 

Dangerous flash flooding hit the Washington, D.C., area during today's morning commute. 

Video of flooded city streets:

All lanes on I-495 North were closed: A tree fell on a car this morning on the highway.

The Metro elevator near the Pentagon is flooded: Video:

Video of Constitution Ave. this morning: Yikes.:

Video of water rushing into an Old Town, Alexandria parking garage:


It appears that the White House has another ... leak.

I'll show myself out:

Update from CNBC's Eamon Javers: "swamp draining in progress. [White House] leaks appear contained. Press pool dry." Photo of the water removal:



Happening at 4 p.m. -- should I stay or should I go?


Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellKey takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Kent, Taylor say they're not 'Never Trumpers' after Trump Twitter offensive Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing MORE (D-Calif.) is holding a press conference this afternoon amid speculation that he could drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Where he is holding the news conference: At his Dublin, Calif., headquarters.

Timing: Swalwell canceled two days of campaign stops in New Hampshire last week and has been struggling to gain traction.

Livestream of Swalwell's 4 p.m. EDT news conference: 


Read this aloud with your best horse-race caller voice:

The Hill's Niall Stanage has been ranking 2020 Democratic contenders monthly by their likelihood of winning the Democratic nomination for president. 

Today's new ranking:

  1. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Following school shooting, Biden speaks out: 'We have to protect these kids' MORE (D-Mass.) -- ranked No. 3 in May.
  2. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California MORE -- ranked No. 1 in May.
  3. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement MORE (D-Calif.) -- ranked No. 4 in May.
  4. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.) -- ranked No. 2 in May.
  5. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field MORE-- ranked No. 5 in May.
  6. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro-- ranked No. 9 in May.
  7. Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement Krystal Ball: Patrick's 2020 bid is particularly 'troublesome' for Warren 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting MORE (D-N.J.) -- ranked No. 7 in May.
  8. 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) -- ranked No. 6 in May.
  9. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal MORE (D-Minn.) -- ranked No. 8 in May.
  10. Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardPanel devolves over new Russian accusation about Tulsi The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE (D-Hawaii) -- not ranked in May.

Reasoning for each candidate's placement: Think second quarter fundraising totals and debate performance:



Here is RealClearPolitics's polling average of each 2020 Democratic candidate:



Lawmakers return to a long to-do list:

Amash leaves the GOP: Lawmakers return to Washington this week for the first time since Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashWhat are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office? Trump 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 MORE (Mich.) announced he was leaving the Republican Party. What happens now: "A two-thirds vote within the House GOP conference would be required to expel him from conferencing with the party ... It remains unclear what will happen to his committee assignments in the wake of his decision." 

Dems go on offense to protect ObamaCare: "Democrats are going on offense as ObamaCare faces a lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, seeking to overturn the entire health care law."

Defense spending: "The House is poised to take up a massive defense bill that could allow Democrats to push back on elements of Trump's defense and foreign policy."

Prepping for 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's testimony: "The House will dig in further this week into the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe on Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Friday morning entitled 'Constitutional Processes for Addressing Presidential Misconduct.' " 

A nomination: The Senate will take up the nomination of Daniel Bress to be an appeals court judge for the Ninth Circuit. 

Context and details for each from The Hill's Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke:



This is pretty wild: 

The latest with the earthquakes in California:



The Senate meets this afternoon. The House is out until tomorrow. 

11:30 a.m. EDT: President Trump participated in a credentialing ceremony for new ambassadors.

Noon: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

3 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets.

5:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes to invoke cloture on a nomination. The Senate's full schedule today:

7:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump attends a dinner for the amir of the State of Qatar.

Tuesday: The House meets.



11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence delivered remarks on Iran at Christians United for Israel's annual summit in Washington, D.C. Livestream:

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump gives a speech on environmental leadership. Livestream:

July 18: CNN is holding a live drawing to pick the lineup for the Democratic National Committee debates on July 30–31.



Today is National Chocolate with Almonds Day.


And because you made it this far, here's a cat that doesn't know what hit him: