POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Akin Gump Corner Office Suddenly Available As Rubio Reconsiders Senate Run

John Cornyn says he won’t talk about Donald Trump until after the election, at which point he will apologize to president-elect Trump. The Senate voted to include women in the draft, because women haven't been dragged into enough men's mistakes. And Marco Rubio is reconsidering leaving the Senate, because another balding, middle-aged guy with slightly-above-average public speaking skills is just the thing the GOP needs going forward. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 15th, 2016:

GOP OBAMACARE REPLACEMENT BILL NOT VERY SERIOUS, IT TURNS OUT - We are shocked. Peter Sullivan: "The plan, set to be released next week, will include a tax credit to help people afford insurance and a cap on the current exclusion of employer-based health insurance plans from taxation. However, it will not include specific dollar amounts on how large the tax credit would be, nor will it note which employer health insurance plans would be subject to taxation, lobbyists and aides said." [The Hill]

RUBIO RECONSIDERING RUN - Mike DeBonis: "Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who pledged for months not to seek re-election to the Senate as he waged an ill-fated campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, said Wednesday that he is rethinking that decision and could enter the race as soon as next week. Rubio said his decision followed a Sunday conversation with his friend Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R), who is running to succeed him in the Senate, on the sidelines of the scene of the terror attack in Orlando. 'Obviously, I take very seriously everything that’s going on — not just Orlando, but in our country,' Rubio said. 'I enjoy my service here a lot. So I’ll go home later this week, and I’ll have some time with my family, and then if there’s been a change in our status I’ll be sure to let everyone know.'" [WaPo]

TRUMP CHANGES POSITION ON OBAMA'S TERRORIST SYMPATHIES - The presumptive Republican nominee for president implied Wednesday that he was right all along to suggest President Barack Obamasympathizes with Islamic terrorists. Donald Trump, who has long promoted the false conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, tweeted Wednesday that he was right to raise the possibility a few days ago that Obama secretly sympathizes with radical Muslim terrorists... Trump received a barrage of criticism for his baseless insinuation. Later, he seemed to deny having made it, growing incensed when The Washington Post reported that he had said the thing he said. [HuffPost]

He has also changed his position on the thickness of his own skin.

DEMOCRATS PROTEST LACK OF GUN CONTROL MOVEMENT - Mike McAuliff: " Led by the senators who represent Newtown, Connecticut — where a gunman fatally shot 26 people, including 20 children, in 2012 — Democrats took control of the Senate floor Wednesday and vowed to keep talking until lawmakers start doing something about gun violence. 'Newtown is still putting itself back together, probably will be for a long time,' said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who launched the filibuster-style takeover, declaring it was time for the Senate to do something about gun violence beyond the usual ineffective debates…Murphy interrupted consideration of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act. Among other things, it funds the Justice Department, and Democrats had already planned to try to add amendments related to gun violence to it. The first was expected to be a measure that would bar people who are on the terrorism watchlist from buying guns." [HuffPost]

Strange bedfellows: "Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday he will meet with the National Rifle Association about not allowing people on a terrorist watch list to purchase guns." [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER - The Federal Reserve says "the pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed while growth in economic activity appears to have picked up. Although the unemployment rate has declined, job gains have diminished." The good news is that realizing this means the Fed will not deliberately stomp on the economy right now. [FederalReserve.gov]

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CLINTON CAMPAIGN TAKING OVER DNC - "The majority of Hillary Clinton's campaign staff has transitioned immediately to the payroll at the Democratic National Committee, two sources familiar with the change tell The Hill. The move telegraphs that the general election has officially begun for Clinton, and that the DNC is shifting its focus to November even as Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continues to compete in the Democratic Primary. 'The DNC is becoming Hillary for America, essentially,' one source familiar with the change said.. Sources familiar with the transition, a common practice in general election cycles, say the move will ensure that party building functions — including field, data and political operations — in states will be paid out of the DNC. The shift is meant to ensure that the money the Clinton campaign raises and spends can be used for such items as advertising and candidate travel." [The Hill]

SENATE VOTES TO INCLUDE WOMEN IN DRAFT - Congress giving women the opportunity to once again have people ask for their number whether they like it or not. Jen Bendery: "The Senate voted Tuesday to require women to register for the draft, an action with little practical impact anytime soon — the U.S. has relied on an all-volunteer military force for decades — but one that reflects a growing consensus that women are just as capable of serving and leading in the military as men. The provision was tucked into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed 85-13. It’s weird that the issue is being debated since the draft, also known as Selective Service, hasn’t been in use since 1973. What’s also surprising is that lawmakers who rarely agree with each other on anything are all for requiring women between the ages of 18 and 25 to sign up to serve their country...The Obama administration lifted the ban on women in serving combat units in late 2015. Since then, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has endorsed expanding the draft to women, and the Congressional Budget Office found that doing so would actually reduce federal spending." [HuffPost]

"LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!" update: "Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Tuesday went a step further than McConnell, telling POLITICO he will no longer talk about Trump until after Nov. 8."

CLINTON SPEAKS WITH HUFFPOST - Having apparently not blacklisted us, the Democratic nominee spoke with Sam Stein. Among an array of topics, she discussed a possible all-woman ticket, supported most vociferously by Harry Reid: "Well, I think it is a great comment, and I really always appreciate Senator Reid’s candor and his observations. I’m going to be diving into the issue I face about choosing someone to be the vice presidential candidate, and we have a lot of great potential candidates, including women. I’m delighted that we have such a deep bench of Democrats who could not only hold the position and become a great partner but become president if necessary." [HuffPost]

TRUMP NOT BOLSTERED BY BOTS - The vileness of the person aside, that a self-professed billionaire somehow managed to develop a true grassroots following is pretty remarkable. Darren Samuelsohn: "According to an analysis obtained by POLITICO that matches Twitter handles to public voter data, seven out of every 10 of @realdonaldtrump’s followers appear to be his supporters. The report, produced by San Antonio database marketing agency Stirista, also found that nearly 90 percent of Trump’s followers are reliable turn outs at the ballot box; roughly 11 percent of Trump’s followers should be classified as first-time presidential voters." [Politico]

So much for Maryland and its 10 electoral votes: "Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said emphatically Wednesday that he does not plan to vote for Donald Trump, his party’s presumptive — and divisive — presidential nominee. Although the first-term governor has repeatedly said he does not support Trump, he had never before stated whether he would vote for him in the general election." [WaPo's Ovetta Wiggins]

HOUSE OVERSIGHT CENSURES IRS OFFICIAL - AP: "A Republican-run House committee Wednesday voted along party lines to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, saying he failed to provide information demanded by Congress and lied under oath as lawmakers investigated allegations the agency targeted tea party groups that had applied for tax-exempt status. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Koskinen had made untrue statements to investigators examining the IRS' treatment of conservative groups, including testimony the agency had turned over emails requested by Congress when it had not… The 23-15 party-line vote doesn't mean the measure will get a floor vote, however. Two other committees have jurisdiction and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has not rushed to embrace the idea." [AP]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dancing toddler.

A LOOK AT D.C.'S PRIMARY - Alas, Jason Cherkis is still not mayor. Will Sommer: "Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander lost her seat by double-digit margins to Vince Gray, the former mayor and her former mentor. Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May, in Marion Barry’s old seat for just a year, was chucked out by rival Trayon White. In the surprise of the night, At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange lost to challenger Robert White by two percent of the vote. Even Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, re-elected again in the mayor’s home ward with her endorsement, couldn’t clear 50 percent of the vote…After three of her D.C. Council allies went down Tuesday night, Mayor Muriel Bowser now has to face new councilmembers who won by running against her, newly emboldened Council veterans who aren’t so afraid of her, and a chunk of voters that apparently doesn’t like her very much. Forget whether there are any members left on the Green Team—Bowser now has to consider emboldened challengers waiting to take her on in 2018." [WCP]

COMFORT FOOD

TWITTERAMA

@KatyTurNBC: Trump: "They either love me or they hate me"
Man behind me: "I love you!" (pause) "manly love."

@leahfinnegan: my barista quit in the middle of making my americano to work for vice

@MEPFuller: [in House barbershop]

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.): "...but I think I'm losing Lego Land."

Tom Rooney's kid: "You're losing Lego Land??!!!"

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