The Hill's Morning Report — Ryan dodges disaster on immigration

 

 

 

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, co-created by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)

 

The Hill TV launches this morning with Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton as co-hosts of a new digital program, “Rising.” @HillTVLive ... Check it out! Today's guests include Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzRussia raises problems for GOP candidates Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate O'Rourke calls for Trump's impeachment over Putin summit MORE (R-Texas), who tips his hand on his ambitions to serve on the Supreme Court, iconic director and liberal activist Rob Reiner on life in Hollywood during the Trump era, and former Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, one of the few Americans ever to negotiate with the North Koreans. The show airs live at 8 a.m. EDT online at hill.tv/rising.

***BREAKING LAST NIGHT*** Shortly after 10 p.m., House Republicans announced they would bring a pair of immigration bills to the floor for a vote next week … The announcement effectively squashes — for now — a rebellion from centrist Republicans who had sought to use a discharge petition to force a vote on four immigration bills against the wishes of Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWhy the rush to condemn a carbon tax? House votes to go to conference on farm bill House backs resolution expressing support for ICE MORE (R-Wis.) and GOP leadership.

The Hill (a late-night triple byline from Melanie Zanona, Juliegrace Brufke and Mike Lillis): GOP will vote on immigration next week, sinking discharge petition.

The last-minute agreement between GOP leaders and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsFreedom Caucus lawmakers call on DOJ to probe Rosenstein allegations House GOP questions FBI lawyer for second day Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus MORE (R-N.C.) came less than two hours before a midnight procedural deadline. If they had missed that deadline, more Republicans likely would have signed on to the discharge petition, forcing what would have been an embarrassing vote for Ryan. As it is, the discharge petition fell a few votes short, although Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloMueller indictments: Congressional candidate asked Russian operatives for info on opponent Lawmakers discuss efforts to boost Latino entrepreneurship On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump suggests China is easing pressure on North Korea because of trade fight | Mulvaney taps top aide as No. 2 at consumer bureau | House Republican to offer bill to curtail Trump's trade powers MORE (R-Fla.), who is leading the effort, said he remains committed to it.

What’s next: The House will vote on one immigration bill authored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteLots of love: Charity tennis match features lawmakers teaming up across the aisle Dems try to end hearing on bias against conservatives in tech Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans MORE (R-Va.), and a separate compromise bill. The Goodlatte bill is almost certain to fail. The compromise bill is the one to watch.

LEADING THE DAY

NORTH KOREA: While President TrumpDonald John TrumpIran claims it rejected Trump meeting requests 8 times ESPY host jokes Putin was as happy after Trump summit as Ovechkin winning Stanley Cup Russian ambassador: Trump made ‘verbal agreements’ with Putin MORE was flying back to Washington from Singapore, the world analyzed a one-day summit that made history primarily for opening the door to continued talks between the United States and North Korea, as well as with South Korea, Japan and China.

As he landed at Joint Base Andrews this morning, the president offered his own assessment.

 

 

 

Kim Jong Un accepted Trump’s invitation to visit Washington, according to a statement Tuesday night from North Korea’s state media (The Hill). Today, state media played up Trump’s concessions to Kim on military exercises, a potential end to sanctions and the prospects for peace on the Korean Peninsula (Reuters).

The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel reports five takeaways from the Trump meeting with Kim, beginning with what Pyongyang gained, and noting that continued meetings are seen as a welcome substitute for months of back-and-forth fears of nuclear annihilation.

The New York Times explained its 10 takeaways drawn from Singapore.

The Hill’s Niall Stanage pulls the whole extraordinary drama together in The Memo, noting that many foreign policy experts think it’s impossible to judge success or failure now.

Instant analyses were everywhere, including in the Capitol on Tuesday. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that Senate Republicans expressed cautious optimism, appraising the Trump-Kim summit as a historic “first step.”

But among puzzles in Washington and Seoul on Tuesday was what Trump actually promised North Korea by offering to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea while negotiations with Pyongyang continue (The Hill). The Pentagon assured journalists that Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisCourt rules against Trump administration on transgender military ban George Will calls Trump ‘sad, embarrassing wreck of a man’ Trump meeting with Putin is the right thing for America MORE, who was not in Singapore with Trump, was not surprised by the president’s commitment (The Hill). But South Korean officials indicated they were taken aback.

So were some Republican senators who were interviewed by The Hill. The anxiety prompted some to demand that Congress vote on any U.S. denuclearization deal that may be reached. Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting MORE (R-Ky.) agreed that any eventual agreement should be submitted to Congress (The Hill).

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) accused the president of lending legitimacy to a “brutal and repressive dictatorship” (The Hill).

Vice President Pence sought to clarify the congressional anxiety about the pause in “war games,” as Trump called them, during discussions Tuesday with conservatives, prompting additional confusion and explanations after lawmakers repeated what they heard to journalists and Pence’s spokeswoman responded via Twitter.

 

 

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CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS:
Voters in Virginia, Nevada, Maine and South Carolina went to the polls on Tuesday, and an emerging trend to watch these days: many GOP candidates are appealing to voters with their support for the president, and prospering.

In the Palmetto State, GOP Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordTrump endorses Kemp in GOP gubernatorial runoff GOP lawmaker renews call for Trump to release tax returns after Putin summit Once a Trump critic, Ala. rep faces runoff with his support MORE (R), the former governor of South Carolina, lost his primary bid, hours after Trump used his Twitter sway to support the congressman’s challenger, state Rep. Katie Arrington.

Sanford has been a vocal Trump critic, and Arrington made that a campaign issue.

 

 

 

Elsewhere, Republicans in Virginia nominated Corey Stewart, the controversial chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, to face Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Election Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race Green Day's 'American Idiot' climbs UK charts ahead of Trump visit MORE (D) in November.

Stewart is a magnet for controversy and despised by many mainstream Republicans, although his self-described “ruthless” campaign style could help turn out conservative voters. Kaine is the heavy favorite, although Trump tweeted this morning that Stewart is being underestimated.

 

 

And in Virginia’s 10th District, Democrats nominated State Sen. Jennifer Wexton to run against Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockDemocrats can kiss swing voters goodbye with progressive ballot The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Dramatic battle looms after Kennedy’s retirement Election Countdown: Kennedy retirement shakes up midterms | Big primary night for progressives | Fallout from Crowley's defeat | Trump flexes his muscles in GOP primaries | The Hill's Latina Leaders spotlights 2018 candidates MORE (R), who is among the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in the House. Comstock’s district has been in GOP hands for years but Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE carried it by 10 points in 2016, making it a top target for Democrats.

The Hill’s Ben Kamisar and Reid Wilson have five takeaways from this week’s round of primary elections. At the top of their list: Republican voters are making clear that support for Trump is a key litmus test (The Hill).

From the campaign trail … Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Senate Dems lock in million in TV airtime MORE (D-Mo.) said she was touring Missouri in a RV but used her private plane for part of the trip (Politico) … Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), who voted against the GOP’s tax-cut bill and the ObamaCare repeal and replace effort, is hoping Trump’s endorsement propels him to victory over former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) in the GOP primary (The Hill) … Pence headlines a fundraiser tonight for House Republicans (Politico).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CONGRESS:  There was more intraparty strife on the GOP side on Tuesday after Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeNew EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs Senate moves to start negotiations on defense policy bill MORE (R-Okla.) blocked an amendment put forth by Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump’s damage control falters Trump says Russia doesn’t pose threat, contradicting intelligence director Fed Chair Powell's charm offensive touts a booming economy MORE (R-Tenn.) to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Corker was trying to attach an amendment that would rein in the president’s authority to levy tariffs.

Inhofe said he’d work to get the amendment attached to a different bill, potentially setting up a showdown between congressional Republicans and Trump. But he argued that the NDAA was not the appropriate spot for it (The Hill).

Corker, who is retiring, unloaded on Republicans for not standing up to Trump on the issue of tariffs.

“ ‘We might poke the bear.’ That’s the language I’ve been hearing in the hallways. ‘The president might get upset.’ ” — Corker.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeHillicon Valley: EU hits Google with record B fine | Trump tries to clarify Russia remarks | Sinclair changing deal to win over FCC | Election security bill gets traction | Robocall firm exposed voter data Overnight Defense: More Trump drama over Russia | Appeals court rules against Trump on transgender ban | Boeing wins Air Force One contract | Military parade to reportedly cost M Senate resolution backs intelligence community on Russian meddling MORE (R-Ariz.), another retiring GOP Trump critic, similarly lashed out at his colleagues.

 

 

Meanwhile, Democrats think they have a winning electoral issue in the Justice Department’s (DOJ) decision not to defend the most popular part of ObamaCare — protections for people with pre-existing conditions (The Hill).

Quote of the day:

"Everybody I know in the Senate — everybody — is in favor of maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions. There is no difference in opinion about that whatsoever.” — McConnell

Elsewhere around Capitol Hill … Two female GOP senators are vying to become the first woman in eight years to be elected by their peers to a Republican leadership position (The Hill) … Democrats are inviting the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the Capitol after Trump declined to extend an invitation to the White House (The Hill).

INVESTIGATIONS: Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinKey GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Trump's Russia remarks put intel chiefs in tough spot MORE plans to call on the House to investigate its own committee staff, reports CNN. Rosenstein and Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesRussia raises problems for GOP candidates GOP lawmaker regrets appearing on Alex Jones's radio show Freedom Caucus lawmakers call on DOJ to probe Rosenstein allegations MORE (R-Calif.), the embattled House Intelligence panel chairman, are at loggerheads, and not for the first time.

Across the Capitol, former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe, who is accused of lying to the FBI about his contacts with the media, appears in federal court today.

Wolfe’s saga has it all. As part of an investigation into leaks about the “Steele dossier,” the DOJ seized phone and email records between Wolfe and New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. The two were romantically involved for some time, including while Watkins covered the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Elsewhere, The Associated Press reports special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s team has asked a federal judge to impose limits on what they have to share with the targets of a criminal investigation.

Prosecutors say they’re worried that their evidence, which pertains to Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s chef” because his restaurants are known to be a hangout for the Russian president, will be shared with the Kremlin.

And in the case involving Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJudge rejects Manafort motion to suppress evidence seized from residence Mueller probing Roger Stone following Russian hacker indictment: report Judge rejects Manafort's bid to move trial further from DC MORE, a federal judge has given Mueller’s team until the end of the week to identify everyone they believe was involved in Manafort’s Ukrainian lobbying efforts. It’s a rare courtroom win for Manafort, Politico reports.

Finally, the inspector general report on the FBI and DOJ’s election-year criminal investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified material is almost here. It will drop on Thursday, which just so happens to be the president’s birthday.

The Hill’s Katie Bo Williams has the primer (The Hill). The report may be critical of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIntelligence officials showed Trump classified proof Putin ordered election interference: report FBI director says Russian influence efforts are ‘very active’ Ex-Clinton press secretary Fallon rejects Comey endorsement of Democrats in midterms MORE and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Regardless, Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigations have already uncovered what many believe to be politically motivated actions by senior FBI brass, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeBuck Wild: 'Is President Trump paranoid or is the Deep State out to get him?' Why does Congress keep playing political games on FBI oversight? FBI confidence in leaders sank after Comey was fired: report MORE, agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page.

The Associated Press: McCabe sues DOJ over documents related to his firing.

MERGERS: The Hill: A federal judge approved the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger on Tuesday. The decision will be analyzed closely across multiple industries.

> Following favorable ruling on AT&T -Time Warner merger, a Comcast offer for Fox expected (The Associated Press)

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

A radical trade prescription from the Federal Reserve: Stop complaining about China, and pay U.S. workers better, by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Michael Hiltzik, The Los Angeles Times

War is too deadly for Congress to keep dodging its duty on declaring it, by Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2LJJtfP

The world should welcome Trump’s bold move on North Korea, by Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2JxMV0n

WHERE AND WHEN

The House convenes at 10 a.m. and first votes are expected around 1:30 p.m.

The Senate will debate $716 billion for defense programs and policies for 2019. The Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee begins marking up a 2018 farm bill at 9:30 a.m.

The president arrives back at the White House from his Singapore trip shortly before 6 a.m. There are no public events currently on his schedule.

Pence speaks in Dallas at 11 a.m. to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Federal Reserve this afternoon concludes a two-day meeting; Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on producer prices at 8:30 a.m.

ELSEWHERE

> Seattle reverses course on business tax after Amazon pressure, by Reid Wilson, The Hill

> The federal government may still be paying women less than men for the same work, 55 years after the Equal Pay Act became law, by Niv Ellis, the Hill

> Google’s social media platform, Google Plus, is home to white nationalist and neo-Nazi trolls. Objectionable and prohibited posts by groups have remained on the site for months and even years without enforcement, despite Google Plus’s user policy, by Ali Breland, The Hill

THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s a vibrant season for street art with “Beyond the Streets,” an exhibit in Los Angeles, celebrating “vandalism as contemporary art, or contemporary art as vandalism, depending on how you want to look at it," says curator Roger Gastman, co-author of “The History of American Graffiti” (NPR includes photos and interviews).

The show includes contemporary works by “risk takers,” renegade urban artists from everywhere who have helped shape (and shake up) the art world today — Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, TAKI 183, Jenny Holzer, SWOON, and photographers Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper, plus many works by newer artists. The show, which fills 40,000-square feet of warehouse space, is open through July 6.