The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX launch


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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Breaking — D.C. stay-at-home order lifts Friday |  Disney announces phased reopening for July 11, 15 |  Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral |  SpaceX launch at 4:33 p.m. EDT |  Florida weather looking better for launch |  Twitter fact-checks Trump’s mail-in voting post |  Trump threatens to regulate or ‘close down’ social media platforms |  Speculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy | Engineer builds Ninja Warrior bird feeder course for squirrels |  Inside the closed Disney parks



Zetus Lapetus, we’re going to space!:



Later today, two astronauts are expected to launch into space in the first crewed mission on American soil since 2011. Why today is so important, via Scientific Americanhttps://bit.ly/3enCKXh

The historic part: “It will mark the first time that a private American company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is in charge of sending astronauts into orbit.” https://bit.ly/3c93glR

What time: 4:33 p.m. EDT. 

Where: At the Kennedy Space Center in central Florida.  

Keep in mind about the timing — it may not happen depending on the weather: If the weather conditions are not perfect, the mission will be postponed. “According to the US Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there's now a 60% chance of favorable conditions for a ‘go.’ ” The latest forecast: https://cnn.it/2yzU0JA 

If you’re getting excited now and want a preview: Here is live coverage of the launch. It just started at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Watchhttps://cs.pn/2ZFthX4 

If you’re in Florida, here’s a list of places to watch the launchhttps://bit.ly/36E0GD5

The astronauts are best friends: Via The New York Times’s Kenneth Chang, “Meet Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, SpaceX’s first NASA astronauts: They’re best friends and veterans of the astronaut corps, and each is married to another astronaut.”  https://nyti.ms/3c96V34

Here’s what one of the astronauts had for breakfast this morning:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3cbEWzE

Quarantine fist bump for good luck:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/36HqK0k

What it looks like right now at the Kennedy Space Center:

Here’s a livestream at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Watch https://bit.ly/3dbdMue 



It’s already Wednesday! 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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State of Small Business Report: Insights from 86,000 businesses and employees



A new report from Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable looks at how small and medium-sized businesses are dealing with the impact of COVID-19  — and what they need on the road to recovery.

Go further: Read the full report.



DC will begin reopening on Friday:

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced the city will lift its stay-at-home order on Friday, May 29.https://bit.ly/3dbl6pq 

Reasoning: Bowser said D.C. had a 14-day decline in community spread, meeting the metrics to slowly reopen. 

What this means: “Under the order, nonessential retail businesses can open for curbside pickup, and hair salons can open for appointments only. Restaurants can serve diners outdoors if they already have outdoor seating and tables are six feet apart. Gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned, and Bowser encouraged people to continue staying six feet apart, wearing masks when around others, and washing hands frequently.”

Disney’s announces reopening plans:

Via The Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World just announced its proposed reopening of the parks. https://bit.ly/2TIDA9i

On July 11: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom would open.

On July 15: Epcot and Hollywood Studios would open. 

The precautions: “Both Disney and SeaWorld, similar to Universal’s plans presented last week, said guests and employees will be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Both also said the parks will include changes to promote social distancing and encourage frequent hand-washing by guests and employees.” 

Everything we knowhttps://bit.ly/2TIDA9i


Disney cast members have been tweeting photos of what the parks look like these days. Photoshttps://bit.ly/3d7cct3



Resources and tools to help you and your small business



We know it’s a challenging time for small businesses. Facebook’s Business Resource Hub offers resources to help you manage your business and support your customers and employees through the COVID-19 crisis.

Resources for businesses here.



Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,681,793 

Deaths in the U.S.: 98,933

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

For context: As of this time last week, 1,532,212 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus and 92,128 Americans had died. https://bit.ly/2ZGwHcg


Can you imagine President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE without Twitter??:

President Trump threatened to “close down” social media platforms after Twitter fact-checked the president’s tweets about mail-in voting. https://bit.ly/2M2FjBZ

Trump tweeted: “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that … happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!” Read Trump’s full tweetshttps://bit.ly/2AaVuKQ

Back story: For the first time, Twitter added a “fact-check” label to the president’s tweets yesterday. See the tweets with the fact-check labelhttps://bit.ly/2M0CvoY


Last weekend, The Wall Street Journal’s John D. McKinnon and Alex Leary reported that President Trump is considering making a panel to review anti-conservative bias on social media platforms. https://on.wsj.com/3davAp9

It looks like a beautiful morning at the White House:




This a.m. — the conspiracy theory isn’t going anywhere:

After receiving heavy criticism, President Trump again raised a conspiracy theory about the death of an aide to former Rep. Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughScarborough says comparisons of Capitol riot to summer protests irrelevant Scarborough: 'Pence is in fear for his life because of Donald J. Trump' Can the media regain credibility under Biden? MORE (R-Fla.)  

Trump tweeted at 8:42 a.m. EDT — a few minutes before Scarborough’s MSNBC show “Morning Joe” ended: “Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case. He knows what is happening!” https://bit.ly/2TJqN6B


“There is no cold case involving Scarborough. Trump is referring to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, an aide who worked in his Florida office when Scarborough served in Congress. Klausutis, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head at work in 2001 and was found dead the following morning. Scarborough was in Washington at the time, and the medical examiner ruled her death an accident.” https://bit.ly/2ZJ3kWW


Rumors of a Supreme Court vacancy:

Via The Hill’s John Kruzel, “Just months before Election Day, the question of whether President Trump will get to select a third Supreme Court justice hangs over the final weeks of the court’s term.” https://bit.ly/2X54D0z

Who: “Speculation over a possible vacancy has focused in recent years on the prospect of Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasVernon Jordan: an American legend, and a good friend Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE exiting while Republicans control the White House and Senate, and alternatively on the health of the court’s aging liberal bloc.”

Keep in mind: The 71-year-old justice has adamantly denied claims of his retirement. 

The coronavirus outbreak isn’t helping age concerns: “The justices’ age and health has come into sharper focus amid the coronavirus pandemic, as six of the nine justices are age 65 or older, placing them in a population that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be at risk for serious illness from the coronavirus.” 

How this could play outhttps://bit.ly/2X54D0z


Meanwhile in Germany…:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2Abvz5J

How to get a hat: Burger King responded to a tweet asking where to get a hat by saying, “just take a quick walk to Germany.” https://bit.ly/36CggyZ


The House is in. The Senate is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Florida for the scheduled space launch.

10:30 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceCan a common bond of service unite our nation? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget Pence announces post-White House office, plans to move back to Indiana MORE leave for Cape Canaveral, Fla.

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump meets with New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoAlbany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Another former Cuomo aide accuses him of harassment David Sirota: Media should 'apologize' for early coverage of Cuomo's pandemic handling MORE (D).

12:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMissouri pastor faces backlash after suggesting wives should lose weight, strive to look like Melania Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions MORE leave the White House and head to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

1:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence meet with astronaut families.

1:30 – 5 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House’s full schedule todayhttps://bit.ly/3emCoAf

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpVice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence tour the NASA Crew Quarters and the Orion Capsules, followed by a SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch briefing. 

4:25 p.m. EDT: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpVice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence watch the SpaceX launch.

4:33 p.m. EDT: The scheduled SpaceX launch.

7:30 ­– 10 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

9:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump get back to the White House.

9:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence land in Washington, D.C.


2:30 p.m. EDT: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump White House associate tied to Proud Boys before riot via cell phone data Greene sounds off on GOP after Hill story 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis MORE (D-Calif.) holds a press conference. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/3c6zJt4 

4:33 p.m. EDT: The scheduled SpaceX launch. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2X2PoFr

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks at the Kennedy Space Center. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2Xy4Ic1


Today is National Grape Popsicle Day.

A well-matched fight between a former NASA engineer and squirrels — I am cackling while watching this:

A former NASA and Apple engineer tried several bird feeders that falsely claimed they were “squirrel-proof,” so after a lot of testing, he decided to embrace squirrels’ ingenuity by creating a Ninja Warrior course for squirrels to reach the bird feeder. https://cnet.co/2Af4bng

The four squirrel contestants: Rick, Marty, Frank and Phat Gus 

Watch — it’s incrediblehttps://bit.ly/3epLegF

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog who desperately wants head scratches: https://bit.ly/2B28MJX