12:30 Report — First Biden-Trump debate is on the books

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

12:30 Report — First Biden-Trump debate is on the books


12:30 REPORT

It’s Wednesday. There was a big upset in the Westminster Dog Show when a miniature poodle named Sage won best in show. But more importantly, The Washington Post’s Maura Judkis wrote that Post reporters “tried to pet all 200 breeds” at the show. Enjoy. OK, back to politics:

This morning started with President Biden challenging former President Trump to two debates — and by 11 a.m., a June 27 debate was on the books. That escalated quickly.
Biden trolled Trump by suggesting they debate on a Wednesday, the day his hush money trial takes a break each week. The former president responded, saying he’s “ready to rumble!” Oh man, I feel like I’m writing a bad “Veep” episode.Former NFL quarterback Tom Brady says he regrets participating in the Netflix roast.


I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send tips, commentary, feedback and cookie recipes to cmartel@thehill.com.Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.  

🎤 Talk of the Morning

‘Well make my day, pal!’

Early this morning, President Biden challenged former President Trump to two debates — one in June and another in September — ignoring the schedule set by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Trump quickly agreed to debate Biden and by 11 a.m., a CNN debate was scheduled!


At 8 a.m.: Biden posted a 14-second video challenging Trump to two debates. The video is pretty funny. “So let’s pick the dates, Donald. I hear you’re free on Wednesdays.” 😅 (That’s referring to Wednesdays as Trump’s day off from the hush money trial.) Watch it below:

At 8:43 a.m.: Trump said yes. “I am Ready and Willing to Debate Crooked Joe at the two proposed times in June and September,” Trump posted on Truth Social this morning. “Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!”


At 11 a.m.: CNN announced it will host a presidential debate between Biden and Trump on June 27 in Atlanta.


Keep in mind — this is what the Biden campaign wants to be different about these debates:

The debates would be sooner than the dates proposed by the commission.They would happen in a TV studio *without* an in-person audience.Biden and Trump would have microphones that automatically cut off after their time elapses.
No Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or other third-party candidates. (The New York Times)

🗽In Manhattan

Wednesdays are for trial breaks

An army of eager Republicans showed up at the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday to support their unofficial boss, former President Trump, in his hush money trial. So much so that The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Zach Schonfeld describe Trump’s New York trial as “the hot new GOP club.”


Trump is clearly loving the praise, saying he has “a lot of surrogates” who are “speaking very beautifully.”


Why this is notable: When the trial began, Trump came with just a small entourage of lawyers and campaign aides. Now he has a much higher turnout after adult film star Stormy Daniels’s bruising testimony.


Read more: ‘The hot new GOP club is at Trump’s New York trial’


Plus: ‘Trump VP race creates army of surrogates while he’s tied up in court’

Oh, yes. Don’t leave off any names, please:

A list of former President Trump’s “close contacts” was shown during the trial last week when a former White House aide testified.


Some names that stood out to me: Former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, former New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, tennis star Serena Williams and media tycoon Rubert Murdoch.


🔎 More names on Trump’s top 50 close contacts


The full list of Trump’s close contacts

🗳️ The Campaign Trial

Maryland could have its first Black female senator:

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks won the Maryland Senate Democratic primary on Tuesday, setting up a general election match-up against the state’s popular former Gov. Larry Hogan (R).


Five takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries, via The Hill’s Caroline Vakil


By the way: Once again, Republican Nikki Haley won an eye-catching number of votes despite dropping out in March. She received 20 percent of the Republican vote in Maryland, 18 percent in Nebraska and 9.4 percent in West Virginia.


💡Why this matters: It shows a lack of unity within the Republican Party. Haley did not endorse Trump when she dropped out, and these high numbers fuel speculation over her next move.


Tidbit: Axios reported last weekend that “a day after sources told Axios that Nikki Haley was under active consideration by Donald Trump’s campaign to be his running mate, he stepped in and nixed the idea.”


The Hill’s Cheyanne M. Daniels spoke with Maryland Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks for The Switch Up podcast.  


🎧 Listen to the podcast episode 


The Hill’s Al Weaver and Amie Parnes report that Democrats are increasingly worried about President Biden’s low swing-state polling and how he could drag down their Senate candidates.


The good news: “The good news for Democrats is that their candidates in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada, which are all expected to host tight Senate races, are doing better than Biden.”


The bad news: “The bad news is that Biden is down double digits to Trump in Arizona and Nevada, according to recently released polling by The New York Times and Siena College, which means Democrats in those states will really need to outperform the Democratic president unless things change. Worse, Democrats also certainly need to win Senate seats in Montana and Ohio to keep their Senate majority. Those are Republican states Trump is expected to win in the fall.”


Read more: ‘Biden’s weakness becomes bigger and bigger worry for Democrats’


‘In a new poll of battleground states, 17 percent of voters blame President Biden for the end of Roe v. Wade.’: The New York Times
‘Burgum’s stock rises in Trump veepstakes’: The Hill‘Here’s how Donald Trump loses the 2024 election’: Op-ed in The Hill

🐝 Internet Buzz

🍫 Celebrate: Today is National Chocolate Chip Day!


🎮 If, like me, you don’t know who ‘Roaring Kitty’ is: The Hill’s Sylvan Lane explains who the “Roaring Kitty” is and why he caused a GameStop stock surge.


🤔 As it turns out, three hours of hearing vulgar jokes about your dad and mom isn’t great: Former NFL quarterback Tom Brady says he regrets participating in the live Netflix roast. “I liked when the jokes were about me. I thought they were so fun. I didn’t like the way they affected my kids,” Brady told The Pivot Podcast. Watch Brady’s podcast interview — he discusses the roast at the 50-minute mark.


🌮?🥪? And there you have it. An answer to the burning philosophical question.: Is a taco a sandwich? Well, a judge in Indiana ruled that “tacos are Mexican-style sandwiches.” Backstory to the case, via WANE News


🐩 I love an upset: A miniature poodle named Sage won the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, beating dogs who had been favored to win. (The New York Times)

🗓️ On The Agenda

The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington (all times Eastern)

Today: Opening statements in Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) federal bribery and obstruction trial. 📝 What we know

Noon: Biden speaks at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. 💻 Livestream

1:30 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefs reporters. 💻 Livestream

1:30 p.m.: First House votes. Last votes are expected at 5 p.m. 📆 Today’s agenda

2:15 p.m.: Two Senate confirmation votes. Another vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. 📆 Today’s agenda

2:45 p.m.: Biden and Harris receive the President’s Daily Brief.

4:30 p.m.: Biden hosts the Joint Chiefs and Combatant Commanders for a meeting in the Cabinet Room.

6:30 p.m.: Biden and first lady Jill Biden host a dinner for Combatant Commanders and their spouses at the White House.

👋 And Finally…

Let’s end this on a motivational note. This dog is trying out a potential career as a statue. How do you think he’s doing?

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