The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Primary results give both parties hopes for November

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and happy Wednesday! Our daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. This week, Alexis Simendinger is holding down the fort while co-editor Jonathan Easley is on vacation. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)



On the Super Tuesday of the 2018 primary calendar, Democrats had a good night in contests that crisscrossed eight states, involved 85 House races, five gubernatorial contests, five Senate seats and hundreds of other state and local races.

But Republicans turned in a good showing, too, avoiding calamity that could have cost them several seats in the House. The Hill’s Reid Wilson, reporting from California in the wee hours, provides six takeaways:

  • The Golden State’s peculiar jungle primary was not a disaster for Democrats, as many had feared. They appear to have secured at least a second-place finish in every race they targeted.
  • California Republicans were happy to gain a gubernatorial candidate, John Cox, now securely on the general election ballot against Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The matchup can bring GOP voters to the polls in November.
  • Democratic success in November increasingly rests on the shoulders of female candidates, after another primary night in which women rolled to party nominations in state after state, in some cases by surprisingly large margins.





LEADING THE DAY

CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Check out TheHill.com for additional reporting about the primary results Tuesday in eight states.

The president signs the “VA Mission Act” at the White House today, a measure that passed 92-5 in the Senate, with plenty of credit going to sponsor, Democratic Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Pearl Jam criticized for poster featuring dead Trump, burning White House Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad MORE (Mont.). Has the president invited the Montana rancher, who’s up for reelection, to the signing ceremony? He blamed Tester for disclosing damaging information from unnamed witnesses that helped scuttle Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ronny Jackson to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. (On the other hand, the president last week included Democratic Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyThe Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Schumer to meet with Kavanaugh on Tuesday Supreme Court nomination reignites abortion fights in states MORE (Ind.), a sponsor of legislation to help the terminally ill get experimental medications, among White House signing-ceremony guests.)

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House - Northern Virginia: The Hill’s Lisa Hagen reports on the half a dozen Democrats who are locked in a tight primary battle June 12 to take on vulnerable Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket Closing diversity gaps in patenting is essential to innovation economy MORE (R-Va.), whose swing seat turned deep blue in Virginia’s statewide election last year. Comstock’s Northern Virginia district has never attracted this many viable Democratic candidates, but Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton‘Prosperity and peace’ is the winning Republican theme for midterms Mueller recommends Papadopoulos be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison Poll: Dem opponent leads Scott Walker by 5 points MORE’s double-digit margin in 2016 prompted a surge in candidates and pushed Comstock’s seat to the top of Democrats’ target list.

Senate - Virginia: State delegate Nick Freitas, running for a U.S. Senate seat, was endorsed Tuesday by the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, which will invest in grass-roots mobilization, digital ads and phone calls leading up to Virginia’s June 12 primary.

> Koch brothers: BuzzFeed: David Koch, 78, will step down from his company and political organizations, citing ill health, according to his brother Charles Koch. The billionaire brothers have influenced conservative politics for decades.

House Democrats: The Hill: Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice Ellison#BelieveAllWomen, in the Ellison era, looks more like #BelieveTheConvenientWomen Ellison ex-girlfriend details abuse allegations Dem requests DOJ probe on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology MORE (D-Minn.) made it official Tuesday, filing to run for attorney general in his home state just hours before the deadline. Ellison held the second-in-command spot at the Democratic National Committee. His decision to return to Minnesota politics is a sign, some observers say, of impatience with Washington’s Democratic leaders and younger progressives’ ambitions to rise.

2020 Democrats: The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that on the heels of the 2016 election, Democrats have been rallying around the idea of new faces and new leadership. But one Democrat has seemed to run counter to that idea: former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream Biden: Aretha Franklin was 'part of the soul of the civil rights movement' Biden to Trump: If you think revoking Brennan's clearance will silence him, 'you just don't know the man' MORE.

Summit for progressives: On June 13 in Washington, progressive political groups and activists will convene a one-day “We the People Summit” to hear from featured progressive lawmakers, many of whom seem to be weighing their political futures. (Biden was not on the guest list.)

Hosts include Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Demos Action, MoveOn, People’s Action, 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, PICO National Network, Caring Across Generations, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Faith in Action Fund, Sierra Club, 350 Action, Indivisible and United We Dream.

Speakers are to include Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream Democrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSunday shows preview: Trump stokes intel feud over clearances Boogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems RealClearPolitics editor: Moderate Democrats are losing even when they win Sanders tests his brand in Florida MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems Overnight Health Care: Senate takes up massive HHS spending bill next week | Companies see no sign of drugmakers cutting prices, despite Trump claims | Manchin hits opponent on ObamaCare lawsuit Elizabeth Warren and the new communism MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream Overnight Health Care: Arkansas Medicaid work rules could cost thousands coverage | Record number of overdose deaths in 2017 | Dems demand immediate reunification of separated children MORE (D-Calif.), plus Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalRecord numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress Liberal Dems lay groundwork to push 'Medicare for all' Dems seek probe into EPA head’s meetings with former clients MORE (D-Wash.)

 

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CONGRESS: Immigration continues to roil House discussions, while the Senate decided its to-do list requires the cancellation of a one-month summer break from the nation’s capital during an election year.

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Investigations: CNN: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTrump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report White House drafts docs for Trump to revoke more security clearances: report Strzok firing a needed first step to restoring credibility and fairness to the FBI MORE wants committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFive things to know about Bruce Ohr, the DOJ official under fire from Trump Democrats question if Kavanaugh lied about work on terrorism policy The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE (R-Iowa) and other members of the panel to grant him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying next week at a hearing focused on how senior officials at the FBI and Justice Department handled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, according to a letter obtained by the network.

 

Immigration: The Hill: The number of House lawmakers who hope to force floor action on immigration expanded to 215 on Tuesday, just three short of the 218 needed to override the reluctance among GOP leaders. A let’s-talk-it-over meeting among all House Republicans is scheduled Thursday.

 

> The Hill: House Republican leaders say a compromise immigration bill might be able to quell an internal rebellion and attract 218 GOP votes. Leaders plan to pitch some of the ideas to rank-and-file members Thursday, and those working on the alternative will meet again today. The GOP measure would include a fix for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, border security, limiting family-based migration and ending the diversity visa lottery program.

 

Senate - Trade: The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) says he’s open to a legislative effort to try to counter Trump’s controversial trade tariffs on steel and aluminum, which go into effect July 1. Support among Republicans has grown for legislation backed by Sens.Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances White House weighs clawing back State, foreign aid funding Rand Paul to ask Trump to lift sanctions on Russian leaders MORE (R-Tenn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) that would give Congress power to authorize or reject any new tariffs imposed because of national security concerns. McConnell doesn’t want to risk a confrontation with the president but also wants to be responsive to the concerns of colleagues who think Trump’s trade agenda is misguided, senators say.

 

Senate to work in August: The Hill: As expected, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced he’ll keep the Senate in Washington longer this summer, citing the pending workload heading into the fall, and the high volume of nominees awaiting confirmation votes. “Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled," McConnell said in a statement. The House is not following suit (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

House - Transgender: USA Today: More than 120 lawmakers called on the administration to reverse the Pentagon’s ban on transgender troops.

 

House Democrats - Agenda: The Hill: If Democrats take control of the House next year, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders MORE (D-Calif.) says her party will abide by pay-as-you-go rules, despite pressure from liberals to throw out those restrictions, given the budgetary impact of the GOP tax changes enacted in 2017.

 

Senate - Surveillance: The Hill: Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGroup files lawsuit to force Georgia to adopt paper ballots Treasury releases proposed rules on major part of Trump tax law Rubio slams Google over plans to unveil censored Chinese search engine MORE (D-Ore.) is demanding action from the Federal Communications Commission and private phone companies to better protect Americans from being spied on and digitally tracked. Fresh concerns about privacy and security are mounting amid revelations of potential surveillance activity in the D.C. region.



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IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

 WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Group of Seven summit: The Hill: The annual G-7 economic summit this week, hosted by Canada, is shaping up to be a lion's den for Trump, who will meet with allies just a week after he imposed controversial tariffs on most of the countries in attendance June 8-9. In addition to the U.S., attendees include the heads of state from Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

 

> Referencing the upcoming G-7 gathering, conservative Koch-backed groups Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity and The Libre Initiative urged Trump to “rescind all tariffs on steel and aluminum among our nation’s trading partners.” The June 5 letter, shared with The Hill, warned the president that U.S. tariffs “are already having the opposite effect of the 2017 tax cuts, raising prices on consumers and businesses that buy imported goods for consumption or use in production.” The Koch Network has announced a campaign to promote free trade and combat the administration’s tariffs posture (Bloomberg).

 

Trump & culture wars: Niall Stanage explores in The Memo how Trump draws the nation's attention to conservative issues with roots in Washington, sports, health care and abortion, education, and in faith-based communities. The president sees political advantage in speaking directly to socially conservative voters who often feel maligned – by other politicians ("deplorables"), the news media and a broadly liberal popular culture.

 

 

 

 

White House communications: CNN: West Wing communications aide Kelly Sadler is no longer working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., a Trump spokesman confirmed. The Hill was the first to report in May that Sadler dismissively mocked Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Rand Paul’s Russia visit displays advancement of peace through diplomacy MORE (R-Ariz.) as “dying anyway” during discussions among colleagues. Sadler apologized to the McCain family but not publicly. Her last day in the White House was Tuesday.

 

Commerce Department: Reuters reports the Trump administration and Chinese manufacturer ZTE Corp. reached an agreement in principle designed to lift a department ban on buying from U.S. suppliers, allowing the telecommunications equipment maker to return to business.

 

> Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases Top Republican: Senate panel not ready to wrap up Russia probe The Memo: For Trump, this week has been anything but sleepy MORE (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement that if the reporting about ZTE’s deal is correct, the administration’s decision is a “huge mistake” because the U.S. intelligence community determined ZTE poses a national security threat.

 

Justice Department: The Hill: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller Watergate's John Dean: White House counsel is 'doing right' by cooperating with Mueller MORE on Tuesday defended the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their families, arguing during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the policy promotes border security, and that the children are "well taken care of."

 

Medicare: The Hill: Medicare trustees forecast insolvency by 2026 in the federal health care program, years earlier than projected. As they have in the past, they urged immediate action. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTurkish president blasts ‘economic coup’ amid heightened tensions with US Overnight Defense: Trump cancels military parade, blames DC for cost | DC mayor hits back | Pentagon warns China 'likely' training for strikes against US | Turkey refuses to release US pastor On The Money: Trump asks SEC to consider ditching quarterly reports | Turkish court refuses to release US pastor | Russia sanctions hearing, vote on consumer chief next week MORE said the administration's agenda of lower taxes and federal regulatory changes will lead to the economic growth needed to secure the Medicare and Social Security programs in the future. The secretary’s confidence, which did not address the aging beneficiary population and rising health care costs, has been challenged by economists and nonpartisan experts.

 

Pentagon contracting: The Hill: Google’s decision not to renew a controversial artificial intelligence contract with the Pentagon has reignited a debate about what Silicon Valley’s role should be when it comes to the U.S. military and warfare.

 

Education Department: The Hill: Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosHillicon Valley: Trump escalates feud with intel critics | Tesla shares fall after troubling Musk interview | House panel considers subpoena for Twitter's Jack Dorsey | Why Turkish citizens are breaking their iPhones Erik Prince denies back channel communication with Putin-linked official in ‘incidental’ meeting Report: Trump considering plan to privatize Afghanistan War MORE reversed her previous testimony, telling senators on Tuesday that she doesn’t believe schools can report undocumented students to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for enforcement. A month ago, the American Civil Liberties Union strongly challenged the legal underpinnings of DeVos’s earlier assertion that local schools and communities are free to make those decisions.

 

> Politico: DeVos also testified that the president’s school safety commission established after a shooting at a Florida high school will not study potential changes to gun laws.

 

INTERNATIONAL: North Korea: The summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, a rollercoaster for planners and logistics, will take place at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore on June 12.

 

“A lot of relationship being built. A lot of negotiation going on even before the trip. But it looks like it’s coming along fine. We’ll see what happens. But, very important. It’ll be a very important couple of days,” Trump told reporters.

 

 

 

 

One Der Spiegel correspondent identified two of the location’s VIP attractions:

 

 

 

 

Russia: CNBC: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he and Trump speak regularly.

 

Iran: The Associated Press: Iran informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it will increase its nuclear enrichment capacity within the limits set by the 2015 agreement with world powers. The modest steps appeared to signal that Iran could resume its drive toward industrial-scale enrichment if the nuclear accord, from which the United States has withdrawn, comes unraveled with the remaining nations that backed it.

 

Mexico trade: Reuters: Mexico, unhappy with Trump’s trade policies, announced retaliatory duties Tuesday on steel, pork, bourbon, fruit and other agricultural products and motor boats, among others. The products chosen are meant to send a message to states in which the president enjoys political support.



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

Could North Korea use cryptocurrency to dodge international sanctions? by Martin Weiss, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2LWLOFj

 

There is no economic boom in sight, by Robert Shapiro, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2LoAiRQ



WHERE AND WHEN

The House and Senate meet this morning. In the House, the Education and the Workforce Committee at 9:45 a.m. hears from Secretary Alex Azar about policies managed by the Health and Human Services Department.

The president will sign the “VA Mission Act” at the White House midday. This afternoon, Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpComedian who impersonated prime minister appointed to the job in Melania’s home country Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report Trump replaced furniture Melania picked out before she moved into White House: NYT MORE visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to attend a briefing about federal preparations for hurricanes and natural disasters. Later in the afternoon, the president meets with GOP senators in the Cabinet Room. Trump will host the White House iftar dinner, the traditional meal that ends the Ramadan fast.



ELSEWHERE

> How to fix your complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple (a clickable consumer guide), by Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Washington Post.

 

> Hundreds of Illinois children languish in psychiatric hospitals after they’re cleared for release. Psychiatrists and mental health experts say circumstances in Illinois are among the most dire in the nation, by Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica co-published with The Atlantic.

 

> The sweet sounds of accent-riddled podcasts, by Virginia Heffernan, Wired.



THE CLOSER

And finally … Would you buy a used car (online) from a vending machine? You heard that right.

 

Not far from Washington, D.C., in Gaithersburg, Md., and in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, Carvana dispenses pre-owned automobiles from glass towers, offering customers a “coin” the size of a beverage coaster, which mechanically releases the vehicles. “Completely automated.” No unctuous salespeople and triplicate forms. Free auto delivery to homes or offices. (The company calls its approach a “novelty experience.”)