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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: McGahn defies subpoena | Move inflames Dem divisions on impeachment | Nadler claims witness intimidation | Pelosi under new pressure to launch proceedings | Trump mocks Amash as a ‘loser’ | Buzz over Amash challenging Trump | Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for top immigration post | Officials to brief lawmakers on Iran | Budget talks begin | How the trade fight kept the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale off-air in China
NOT HAPPENING THIS MORNING
‘Donald F. McGahn II. Do we have a Donald F. McGahn II?’
Former White House counsel Don McGahn defied his congressional subpoena this morning by failing to show up for a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
So the committee left an empty chair for McGahn in his absence: http://bit.ly/2VAliVH
Why McGahn did not show up: instructed McGahn to not testify before Congress. http://bit.ly/2HKCnaq
Why McGahn is important: McGahn was a key witness in special counsel ‘s investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice.
During the hearing — House Judiciary Committee Chairman (D-N.Y.) accused Trump of witness intimidation: “He took to Twitter to call Mr. McGahn a liar. His lawyers went on cable television to do the same. In short, the president took it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal obligation to be here today. This conduct is not remotely acceptable.” http://bit.ly/2Em0sUo
How the committee is reacting: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is expected to schedule a vote to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress.
Tidbit — from Rep. (R-Ga.): “I just am glad to see we don’t have chicken on the dais,” Collins said during the hearing. What he’s referring to: When Attorney General did not show up for his hearing, Rep. (D-Tenn.) brought a bucket of fried chicken and a rubber chicken to mock Barr. http://bit.ly/2VYNYwU
Livestream of the hearing: https://cs.pn/2wd0Xvv
PRESSURING IS BUILDING FOR PELOSI TO IMPEACH:
Via Politico’s Heather Caygle, John Bresnahan and Sarah Ferris, “House Democratic leaders sparred internally on Monday over whether to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with Speaker and her allies rejecting the call to move forward for now, according to multiple sources.” https://politi.co/2HLF4ZB
It’s Tuesday. 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 [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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TALK OF THE MORNING
Amash is running amok:
Rep. (R-Mich.) doubled down by saying President Trump should be impeached for obstruction of justice after becoming the first Republican to break with the party. http://bit.ly/2Hul26S
What to know about Amash: This is not out of character for Amash. The 39-year-old House Freedom Caucus co-founder has a history of challenging Republican Party leadership.
Reaction from The House Freedom Caucus: The conservative caucus that he co-founded voted to condemn Amash’s call for impeachment. Will he be ousted from the caucus?: It’s unlikely. http://bit.ly/2WU46fb
Reaction from Trump: “I’ve known him, and he’s been against Trump from the beginning,” the president told reporters. “He probably wants to run for some other office. I don’t think he’ll do very well. He’s been a loser for a long time. Rarely votes for Republicans, and personally I think he’s not much.” http://bit.ly/2HUQzy3
AMASH ~IS RUNNING~ AMOK — GET IT, GET IT?:
Via The Hill’s Jonathan Easley, buzz is growing on whether Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) would challenge President Trump by running as a third-party candidate for president in 2020. http://bit.ly/2VRb34z
Keep in mind about Amash’s House seat — it could be redistricted: “Michigan currently has 14 members in the House, but the state’s population is shrinking and it’s likely it will lose a seat when new maps are drawn after the 2020 census. Most expect Amash’s district to be redrawn in a way that will make it tough for him to win reelection to the House. He drew a Trump-supporting primary challenger on Monday.” http://bit.ly/2VRb34z
‘OK, kids. Raise your hand if you know what ‘obstruction’ means!’
‘Here’s your assignment. Go home and read pages 1–448 of the Mueller report’:
Wow: @justinamash is NOT backing down. He is now talking to a school group on steps of the Capitol about why Trump impeachment proceedings should begin. “Really dangerous for our country” when ppl don’t tell the truth pic.twitter.com/JYhKMtjhuk
— Bo Erickson (@BoKnowsNews) May 21, 2019
What this means for Amash’s career: Via contributor Bill Press: http://bit.ly/2HtYD9J
HAPPENING ON CAPITOL HILL TODAY
No. 1 — Giving Congress the low-down on Iran:
White House officials are briefing the House and Senate today on the Trump administration’s Iran policy as tensions escalate. http://bit.ly/2Wi7CmE
Timing: The briefings are happening after President Trump threatened that war could mean “the official end of Iran.” The debate on Capitol Hill has started to shift to potential military action.
Which Trump officials will do the briefing: Acting Defense Secretary , Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Why this is important for lawmakers: It’s the first time for many lawmakers to evaluate the intelligence related to Iran. Congressional leaders and only a few lawmakers have been briefed.
HERE’S A PRIMER ON WHAT TO KNOW IN IRAN:
No. 2 — A come to Jesus meeting on spending:
Congressional leaders met with White House officials this morning to discuss a possible two-year budget deal. http://bit.ly/2LVBi54
Which White House officials are involved: Treasury Secretary , White House acting chief of staff and acting White House budget director Russell Vought.
Which congressional leaders are involved — the big guns: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader (R-Calif.).
Keep in mind: Republicans oppose additional nondefense spending but GOP leaders really want to avoid another government shutdown and could concede.
Also being discussed: Raising the debt ceiling. Last month, White House officials floated separating the debt ceiling debate from the budget debate to fast track raising the debt ceiling, but lawmakers think it makes more sense to combine the two.
ALSO ON CAPITOL HILL TODAY:
The ninth annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days on Capitol Hill today, tomorrow and Thursday. Details: http://bit.ly/2JStMp3
Spotted on Capitol Hill:
— Former House Speaker (R-Ohio) (via Politico’s Sarah Ferris) http://bit.ly/2WfGB3q
— Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the House side of the Capitol. (via CQ Roll Call’s Kellie Mejdrich) Photo of her existing with a police escort: http://bit.ly/2JScloA
— MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host interviewing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (via Politico’s Melanie Zanona) Photo of the two: http://bit.ly/2M24vvg
— “Yellow roses being handed out in GOP & Dem conference meetings this morning to commemorate 100 years of women’s suffrage.” http://bit.ly/2VGe2rx
— A House Lannister banner was spotted at a house near the U.S. Capitol. Interesting choice… (via The Daily Caller’s Christopher Bedford) Photo: http://bit.ly/2JwOc7M
Tidbit — AOC says she often sees lawmakers almost in tears:
Rep. (D-N.Y.) opened up on the pressures of being in Congress. http://bit.ly/2we3oxH
She posted on Instagram: “As a member of Congress you’re not ‘supposed’ to talk about these things because it can easily be construed as complaining and detractors are quick to say ‘you signed up for this.’ But I do see members on the brink of tears quite often because of the time they’re missing from their kids, or the lack of sleep, or the unfair attacks and relentless pressure.” See the post — click her profile picture on the top right to read the post: http://bit.ly/2HscBca
IN THE WHITE HOUSE
A new immigration head in town:
Via The New York Times’s and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, President Trump is expected to nominate former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli, an immigration hard-liner for the top immigration job at the Department of Homeland Security. What to know: https://nyti.ms/2YEy3QX
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
To quote the wise Miley Cyrus 😉 — ‘There’s always gonna be another mountain … it’s the climb’:
Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “President Trump faces a steep uphill climb to a second term, even if it’s far too early to count him out.” http://bit.ly/2Wc5b5f
One of the biggest reasons: “His polarizing approach looks to be more hindrance than help. In four separate polls over the past month, more than 50 percent of respondents said they would not vote for him again or were unlikely to do so. The percentage who said they would vote for him never rose higher than 38.”
What could help Trump: “Trump’s salvation could lie in the idiosyncrasies of the Electoral College. Trump lost the popular vote to Democratic nominee by 2.1 percentage points in 2016, even as he triumphed in the Electoral College 306-232.”
States Trump’s campaign manager thinks Trump could take: Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Nevada are states that voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 but that Trump’s campaign thinks could switch in 2020.
IN OTHER NEWS
“Man charged with hitting British politician Nigel Farage with milkshake.” http://bit.ly/2VSwnGz
Yeah, there’s video: http://bit.ly/2M0YBdX
The series finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” did not air in China because of the ongoing trade tensions with the U.S. http://bit.ly/2VG9dhV
What happened: “Tencent Video, which has exclusive streaming rights to HBO content in China, reported ‘transmission medium problems,’ telling viewers ‘we will notify you of another broadcasting time.’ “
Reaction from Chinese viewers: “Viewers on Chinese social media demanded refunds on their annual fees of 198 yuan, or about $28.61, and threatened to cancel their accounts and delete the app.”
Full report in The Wall Street Journal: https://on.wsj.com/2HNOP9s
Dressbarn is going out of business:
All 650 locations of Dressbarn are shutting down, citing issues with “profitability in today’s retail environment.” https://on.today.com/30x7HCi
When: No timeline has been announced.
Keep in mind: The parent company of Dressbarn said its other brands — Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice — will not be affected.
This is painfully awkward to watch:
Steve Doocy tries to talk to New Yorkers, and New Yorkers are not having it. pic.twitter.com/6ng5eTUsoc
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) May 20, 2019
The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.
11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence met with the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power.
11:30 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a farewell ceremony for Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
12:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.
2:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds an expanded bilateral meeting with the leaders of the Freely Associated States.
2:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on a judicial nomination. The Senate’s full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2QdBsU0
2:30 p.m. EDT: First and last votes in the House. The House’s full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2HFXJGa
WHAT TO WATCH
10 p.m. EDT: Former Rep. (D-Texas) participates in a CNN town hall in Des Moines, Iowa.
July 4: Season three of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” New trailer: http://bit.ly/2JS28sg
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…
Today is National Strawberries and Cream Day.
Interesting read — the New York Public Library has 7 empty floors:
Via The New York Times’s Winnie Hu, “Why the New York Public Library Has 7 Floors of Stacks With No Books.” https://nyti.ms/2JUG9Rm
The gist: “The space cannot protect irreplaceable books from the elements and theft.”
And because you made it to the end, here’s a dad who found an innovative way to do his daughter’s hair in the morning: http://bit.ly/30AVDQw