--RAND PAUL ENDS FILIBUSTER AGAINST NSA'S CONTROVERSIAL DATA COLLECTION PROGRAM AFTER 10 HOURS: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, wrapped up his so-called "filibuster" over the National Security Agency's controversial bulk collection of Americans' phone records just before midnight Thursday. Paul's talk-a-thon on the Senate floor lasted exactly 10 and a half hours. "The bulk collection must end, and I think we have the votes to do it now," Paul said. Armed with binders full of material, Paul started his lengthy speech opposing the PATRIOT Act at 1:18 p.m. Wednesday. Provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including Section 215, which authorizes the NSA's controversial bulk collection of phone records, is set to expire on June 1. Paul, known for his libertarian leanings, has said he does not want the program to be reauthorized, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. In 2013, Paul famously filibustered for nearly 13 hours against drone strikes on U.S. citizens on foreign soil. http://abcn.ws/1FoivT5
--WHAT TEAM RAND IS SAYING: "Because of Senator Paul's ten and a half hour filibuster, the Senate adjourned late last night without moving to proceed to the reauthorization of the Patriot Act."
--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: Who's standing with Rand this time? Sen. Rand Paul didn't get the same backing from his Republican colleagues than the last time he talked his way through legislative deadlines -- but that's part of the point. This was a stunt that was about his 2016 candidacy, if the campaign merchandising push and online trolling of Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton didn't make that clear. It shows, again, that Paul will inject a strain of national-security thinking into the GOP debates that will push his rivals in uncomfortable ways. It's possible that his timing is off; the march of ISIS, with scenes of beheadings seared into memories, might change the tone of any discussion inside the Republican Party. But Rand standing alone will make him stand out, for better or worse.
--HUCKABEE TO SKIP IOWA STRAW POLL: "I have concluded this year's Iowa Straw Poll will serve only to weaken conservative candidates and further empower the Washington ruling class and their hand-picked candidates," Mike Huckabee wrote in an opinion piece published today in The Des Moines Register, according to ABC's BEN GITTLESON. Huckabee placed second in the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and won the Iowa caucuses the following year. "It's clear that pitting conservative candidates with limited resources against each other in a non-binding and expensive summer straw poll battle, while allowing billionaire-backed establishment candidates to sit out, will only wound and weaken the conservative candidates who best represent conservative and hard-working Iowans," Huckabee wrote, according to the Des Moines Register article.
--TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's CHRIS GOOD: The latest GOP cattle-call will start today in Oklahoma City, where the Southern Republican Leadership Conference will see speeches from 11 Republican contenders between now and Saturday. Today, we'll hear from Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry (plus Reince Priebus and Gov. Mary Fallin).
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
WE PLAYED 2016 PRESIDENTIAL WORD ASSOCIATION WITH DONALD TRUMP AND THIS IS WHAT HE SAID. Business and reality television mogul, Donald Trump, who is perhaps most famous for uttering the words "you're fired," had a few words for some of the candidates he may face should he run for president in 2016. Speaking with ABC News from inside the Old Post Office Building in Washington, DC -- soon-to-be the site of a luxury downtown Trump International Hotel -- we asked Trump to tell us the first thing that came to mind about a few big names, ABC's ALI DUKAKIS and RICK KLEIN report. http://abcn.ws/1K1NrcO
with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
HAPPENING TODAY -- - IS THE TRADE BILL IN JEOPARDY? All eyes will be on the Senate this morning to see whether there will be enough votes to invoke cloture on the bill providing President Obama with the "fast-track" authority to negotiate trade deals, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. Sixty votes are needed and it is expected to be very close. One issue at play is reauthorization of the Export-Import back. Expect there to be a lot of arm twisting on the Senate floor during this morning's vote as supporters of the trade bill try to secure enough votes to invoke cloture. If the Senate fails to invoke cloture on the trade measure, it would be a stinging defeat for President Obama -- and a victory for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who staked out a position against this bill from the very beginning.
HERE'S HOW CRAZY IT GETS WHEN HILLARY CLINTON AVOIDS THE MEDIA FOR A MONTH. After 28 days of not taking questions from the press, Hillary Clinton finally did on Tuesday -- even answering a question about not answering questions! -- and the spectacle that ensued overshadowed any answer she actually gave. ABC's LIZ KREUTZ gives us an inside look the bike shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa, when Clinton walked over to her (pent up) press corps for the first time in four weeks. http://abcn.ws/1ScZTfE
WHY WASHINGTON IS ARGUING OVER CUBA'S AIRBNB PROLIFERATION. Both criticism and praise were bipartisan yesterday in a Senate hearing over the Obama administration's normalizing of relations with Cuba, as a new round of diplomatic discussions between senior officials from both countries is set to begin Thursday. The hearing touched on everything from reported political detentions by the Castro regime since negotiations began, to Airbnb, a website where users can post private rental accommodations, used by many Cubans recently, ABC's ALEXANDER MALLIN reports. GOP 2016 presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio, who has hardly been shy in his opposition to the negotiations, said he was mainly opposed to the idea that any tourist dollars from Americans who gain the ability to visit would go to the Cuban military. "In essence, when you travel to Cuba and stay in one of these hotels, not only are you putting money in the hands of the Cuban government, you're trafficking in stolen goods," Rubio said. http://abcn.ws/1HtX5om
TERROR FILES: WHAT'S ON OSAMA BIN LADEN'S BOOKSHELF.' The U.S. government Wednesday released dozens of documents recovered from the special operations raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, including now declassified material and 39-English language books. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the documents online yesterday, calling them "Bin Laden's Bookshelf," after what it called a "rigorous interagency review" in an effort to "align with the President's call for increased transparency..." The material includes think tank reports, software and technical manuals for computer programs, and Arabic-language letters to bin Laden's apparent associates, including other suspected terrorists wanted by the U.S. ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ and LEE FERRAN have more. http://abcn.ws/1R3gIrQ
CAPITOL POLICE OFFICERS GET BATHROOM TRAINING AFTER LEAVING FIREARMS IN RESTROOMS. U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine says his officers are receiving potty training (get it?) after three separate incidents this year when officers left firearms unattended in the Capitol's public restrooms. "We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom," Dine told lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON writes. Dine said a first-time offender would be suspended for five days under current policy for leaving a weapon unattended, but he is considering toughening the penalty to 30 days or even potential termination for a first offense because of the seriousness a single error can carry. "There are no excuses for these mistakes," he stressed. http://abcn.ws/1IQdOUn
@amyewalter: Huckabee was singing a very different tune on value of IA Straw Poll in 2011 via @njhotline http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-presidential-primary/176757-huckabee-knocks-romney-perry-for-skipping-straw-poll …
@Alex_Roarty: Club for Growth goes there in new ad against Bill Shuster (in spot ostensibly about ex-im that also targets 3 others) http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/conservative-group-launches-ads-against-republicans-20150520 …
@ByronTau: By printing emails, Hillary Clinton forced the State Department to spend 5 weeks putting them back in digital form http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/05/20/the-bizarrely-slow-process-of-releasing-hillary-clintons-e-mails-explained/ …
@thehill: Hillary Clinton received email from Sidney Blumenthal blaming Benghazi on "Internet video": http://hill.cm/inl7iiz