The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — How long can a Trump-DOJ accord survive?

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and happy Tuesday! This daily email, a successor to The Hill’s Tipsheet, is reported by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger to get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for this one…

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE met with Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down US judge rejects Russian company’s bid to dismiss Mueller charges Falwell Jr.: Sessions and Rosenstein ‘deceived’ Trump into appointing them and should ‘rot’ in jail MORE, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsStudy: 3 of every 10 House candidate websites vulnerable to hacks West Virginia set to allow smartphone voting for those serving overseas GOP congressional candidate: Trump focused on providing 'digital and physical' security to U.S. MORE on Monday amid a high-stakes showdown between the White House and Justice Department (DOJ).

The Memo: Trump flirts with constitutional crisis.

The parties appeared to come to a detente, but how long it will last is anyone’s guess.

The Hill: DOJ, Trump reach deal on expanded Russia review.

The Hill: Pressure rising on GOP after Trump-DOJ fight’s latest turn.

What’s new

  • The Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz will investigate the president’s claims that the FBI spied on his campaign for political purposes. Right now, those claims appear to be an exaggeration, although recent media reports confirm that an FBI informant met with three Trump advisers as part of a counterintelligence investigation during the 2016 campaign.

  • White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE will meet with Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill to review classified material, although it’s unclear what materials they’ll be allowed to review or how the viewing will take place. It’s also unclear why the DOJ and FBI are suddenly willing to make these documents available, as Wray has warned that doing so could endanger the informant’s life.

How did we get here?

What now?

  • The saga is just getting started. Democrats and the intelligence community are enraged that the identity of an informant is making its way around the internet. Trump appears increasingly emboldened to dictate orders to the FBI and DOJ. The story will play out in leaks to the media, over Twitter and through grave warnings from both sides about a constitutional crisis.

Benjamin Wittes: Trump has created a genuine crisis.

David Harsanyi: Let’s find out if the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign.

Elsewhere on the investigatory front…Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation has been going on for a year and we’re still in the dark about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (The Hill)… New inspector general report to fault FBI for delay in Clinton probe (The Associated Press).

 

LEADING THE DAY

INTERNATIONAL:   

North Korea: Trump today meets at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, hopeful he can clarify Kim Jong Un’s intentions in advance of a June 12 summit that remains in limbo.

The Hill: The president meets with Moon in what was originally scheduled to be a sit-down to develop a denuclearization strategy in advance of a historic planned Singapore summit. U.S. officials say they are unclear how Kim expects to proceed. Trump and Moon today will confer about whether a summit should take place, and to what end.

Reuters: Vice President Pence, during an interview with Fox News, repeated that Trump is serious about walking away, if necessary, from any planned meeting with Kim.

Reuters: Western and Chinese news organizations arrived in North Korea today to witness the closure of a nuclear test site, an indication that the pledged North Korea shutdown proceeds amid renewed diplomatic uncertainty.

China: The Hill — Reacting to what the Trump administration describes as a pause while trying to rectify trade imbalances between the U.S. and China, Beijing on Monday praised a recent agreement with the U.S. to call off tariff threats.

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. and China agreed on a broad outline to settle the ZTE controversy. The agreement would lift the ban on U.S. sales of parts and software to the Chinese telecom company and require ZTE to institute major management changes.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary Florida questions Senate chairman over claim that Russians have ‘penetrated’ election systems MORE (R-Fla.) panned the administration’s trade posture with China this morning:

 

 

 

 

 

The Hill: Free traders applauded Trump as a threat of tariffs with China ebbs.

The New York Times: The president defended his trade stance with China in a series of tweets on Monday (The Hill). Trump also repeated his contention that the Obama administration “did nothing” to improve trade with China during his predecessor’s two terms (The Hill).

Iran: The Hill — During a major speech on Monday, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts Turkish president: US set deadline to release detained pastor MORE promised the strongest sanctions in history on Iran following the president’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. He described wholesale changes in Iran policies that the Trump administration seeks (The Associated Press).

Venezuela: The Hill — Trump sanctioned the government of Venezuela on Monday using an executive order that bars U.S. financial “or other” dealings with the government of Venezuela. The executive order followed Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s election to a second term in what U.S. officials called a rigged contest.

On Twitter, Vice President Pence blasted the government of Venezuela.

 

 

Congo/Ebola: The Hill — Vaccine medication to respond to a deadly outbreak of Ebola in Congo arrived in the African nation as the death toll mounts and international health organizations work to curb the virus’s spread.

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CAMPAIGNS:  Trump will address the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List tonight, where he’ll receive the Pro-life Distinguished Leader Award from the group, which opposes abortion rights.

Trump’s presidency has been a triumph for the religious right and influential groups like the SBA List intend to reward him at the ballot box.

The SBA List is mobilizing in eight states where Senate Democrats face reelection in states Trump won in 2016. They’re working to elect a filibuster-proof GOP Senate majority that can propel the president’s anti-abortion agenda.

“President Donald Trump is governing as the most pro-life president in our nation’s history… and we look forward to the many victories we can achieve together.” — SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Evangelicals and anti-abortion voters believe Trump has delivered for them where other Republicans have only talked. They’ll stick by him regardless of the moral questions that might arise about his past behavior.

It’s primary day…

Voters head to the polls today for primary elections in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky.

The Hill: Five races to watch in Texas.

The Hill: Dems expand 2018 message to include “drain the swamp.”

The Hill: Freedom Caucus bruised but unbowed in GOP primary fights.

Ed Rendell: Primaries foretell “Year of the Woman.”

Meanwhile, a ghost from the West Virginia primary is haunting Republicans. Don Blankenship, the ex-convict who lost his bid to be the GOP Senate candidate, is planning to run as a third-party candidate. That’s bad news for Republican Patrick Morrisey in his effort to unseat Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinProgressives fume as Dems meet with Brett Kavanaugh Woman throws stuffed lips at Doug Jones, says he 'can kiss my ass' if he backs Kavanaugh Trump’s big wall isn’t going anywhere — and the polls show why MORE, who is among the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection.

The Hill: Progressives on the rise.

Doug Schoen: Democrats must choose electable candidates to win big in November.

The Hill: Democrats may suffer from California’s top-two system.

SPONSORED CONTENT

Sponsored by PhRMA

 

New analysis from IHS Markit shows providing access to discounted medicine prices at the pharmacy could save seniors with diabetes more than $350 annually. Sharing negotiated rebates could also save Medicare nearly $1,000 annually for every senior taking diabetes medication, reducing total health care spending by approximately $20B over the next 10 years. Seniors share the cost. They should share the savings.

 

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CONGRESS: House Leadership: The Hill — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans have spent .5 million at Trump properties since he took office: report Trump ally suspends reelection campaign Dems seek GOP wipeout in California MORE (R-Calif.) denies he discussed a plan to force Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Ironworker and star of viral video wins Dem primary for Speaker Ryan's seat Live results: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut hold primaries MORE (R-Wis.) out of the top leadership role in advance of Ryan’s plans to leave Congress in January. Ryan has endorsed McCarthy to succeed him as Speaker in a House race that could be upended by November if Republicans believe they are struggling to retain majority control. Reporting Monday by The Weekly Standard described a potential “coup,” and prompted McCarthy’s public denial.

House - Immigration: The Hill — A sponsor of a conservative immigration measure is pitching changes to his bill and reaching out to House moderates. It remains unclear if Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteHouse GOP prepares to grill DOJ official linked to Steele dossier Goodlatte's son 'embarrassed' his father's 'grandstanding' got Strzok fired Top GOP lawmaker’s son gives maximum donation to Dem running for his seat MORE (R-Va.) is coordinating his outreach with leadership to try to slow momentum behind a rare discharge petition, which with a few more GOP signatures could result in floor votes to weigh a reprieve for young “Dreamers.”

Senate - Drug Prices: The Hill — Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Lawsuit challenges Arkansas Medicaid work requirements | CVS program targets high-cost drugs | Google parent invests in ObamaCare startup Oscar Archivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Kavanaugh recommended against Clinton indictment in 1998: report MORE (R-Iowa), chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, is negotiating with major drug manufacturers in search of a deal that might curb drug prices in exchange for other industry concessions. Breaking this morning...the conservative group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), backed by billionaire donors Charles and David Koch, will key vote Right to Try legislation in the House...AFP has been running ads pressuring lawmakers to pass the experimental drug bill.

House Turnstile: The HillFormer Rep. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentElection handicapper moves GOP leader's race to 'toss-up' The Hill's 12:30 Report Lawmakers, media team up for charity tennis event MORE (R-Pa.), who recently retired from Congress rather than seek reelection, joined CNN this week as a paid analyst.

➔  WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Medicaid: The Hill — The Trump administration is surprising some red states that seek to get approval for Medicaid changes. State officials are finding that their requests for some of the strictest proposals to alter the federal-state Medicaid program, such as lifetime limits and partial expansion, are being denied.

CFPB Auto- Lending Guidance: The Hill — Trump signed a joint congressional resolution to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s guidance issued during the Obama administration supporting nondiscrimination in auto lending. The change was part of the GOP’s deregulatory agenda.

Trump’s Twitter Ghostwriters: Behind the scenes, West Wing aides intentionally recreate suspect grammar, misspellings and exaggerated punctuation while serving as Trump ghostwriters for Twitter to mimic the president’s style and ape for his base what the White House hails as Trump’s “common touch,” according to reporting by The Boston Globe.

Lobbying & Influence: A new cache of emails obtained by The Associated Press reveals an ambitious, secretive lobbying effort to isolate Qatar and undermine the Pentagon’s long relationship with the Gulf country.

Economy & Public Opinion: Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S., the highest percentage in 17 years of Gallup polling. Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percentage points since Trump was elected, the polling firm reported Monday.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley jeasley@thehill.com & Alexis Simendinger asimendinger@thehill.com. Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!

OPINION

Pompeo raises the bar on a deal with Iran, by Benjamin Ben Taleblu, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2ICh26m

Americans have not forgiven Wall Street for the financial crisis, by Brad Miller, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2IFunXQ

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets for legislative business at 11 a.m.

The Senate will vote on Dana Baiocco to be commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission at noon, before breaking for weekly conference meetings.

President Trump will host meetings and a working lunch with Moon of South Korea. Later he’ll meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In the evening, the president will speak at the Susan B. Anthony List’s 11th annual “Campaign for Life” gala at the National Building Museum in Washington.

The Hill hosts a newsmaker event this morning, “America’s Opioid Epidemic: Youth Awareness and Prevention,” featuring Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination Vulnerable Dems side with Warren in battle over consumer bureau MORE (D-Ohio) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoSenate GOP battles for leverage with House on spending Lawmakers, media team up for charity tennis event The Hill's Morning Report — Trump picks new fight with law enforcement, intelligence community MORE (R-W.Va.), to be moderated by Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack at 8 a.m. at Washington’s Newseum. Sponsors: EVERFI and the Prescription Drug Safety Network.

ELSEWHERE

> Supreme Court upholds agreements that prevent employee class-action suits, by Lydia Wheeler, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2kfALdK

> They saw the Earth from space. Here’s how it changed them, by Nadia Drake, National Geographic magazine. https://on.natgeo.com/2FALxVw

> The State Department dropped a plan to declare Russia a state sponsor of terror following a lethal nerve agent attack in London, by Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica. https://bit.ly/2rXeyV8

THE CLOSER

In the old days, former presidents figured to cash in on the speaking circuit, on their door-stop memoirs, and by joining corporate boards. Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaDems ready to move past Michelle Obama’s ‘go high’ message Obamas greeted by screaming fans at Martha's Vineyard Kamala Harris tied with Bernie Sanders as betting favorite for 2020 Dems MORE are doing most of that, and also just landed a multi-year deal for original content with online streaming behemoth Netflix. The terms of the contract were not disclosed, but the Obamas’ new production company is called Higher Ground Productions.

 

 

And finally … it’s tradition for plebes at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., to band together to shimmy up a lard-covered stone obelisk annually. Once at the top of the 21-foot Herndon Monument, a grease-coated winner marks the official end of the year with a swapping of hats. This industrious ritual took more than two hours to complete on Monday...