The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Trump caves under immense pressure — what now?




Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and happy Thursday! 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!)

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., has a packed lineup this morning: Tune in for White House communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHill.TV poll: Majority of Republicans say Trump best represents the values of the GOP Meadows says FBI made 'right' decision firing Strzok Republicans have spent .5 million at Trump properties since he took office: report MORE (R-N.C.), Trump confidant Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneHillicon Valley: Omarosa drops bombshell claim about Trump, WikiLeaks | Dems turn up heat over fake FCC cyberattack | Uber hires ex-NSA official to improve security | FBI boosts cyber team Omarosa claims Trump knew about hacked emails prior to WikiLeaks release Roger Stone shares image of himself and Trump as ‘Space Force’ wearing swastikas MORE, Rep. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveUtah newspapers slam GOP’s Mia Love for 'deliberately deceptive' mailers 10 dark horse candidates for Speaker of the House Overnight Energy: Proposed rule would roll back endangered species protections | House passes Interior, EPA spending | House votes to disavow carbon tax MORE (R-Utah) and The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack


President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE buckled under pressure on Wednesday, giving in to global outrage over his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border.

The Hill: Trump backs down in rare reversal.

READ the document the president signed here:

The president’s hastily drafted executive order will keep in place the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy against illegal border crossings but will allow children to remain with their parents in detention. Trump asked the Justice Department to expedite immigration cases involving families and to provide additional space for family units.

“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.” — Trump.

Indeed, the images of crying children sleeping under foil blankets in warehouses provoked outrage from all corners, uniting in incredulity and disapproval Pope Francis, Trump-aligned Christian groups, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, governors, mayors and heads of state, groups representing stakeholders, citizen protestors, plus commentators in the entertainment and news media.

The Memo: Negative images, family pressure lead Trump to cave (Reporting here from The Hill’s Niall Stanage captures the internal backbiting and hand-wringing surrounding an uncommon and swift retreat by the president).

Trump cited internal pressure from 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 and daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpJustice Dept sues Ivanka’s former business partner in fraud case Steve Schmidt: Trump revoking Brennan's clearance shows his 'autocratic fetish' Trump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin MORE for the reversal.

“Ivanka feels very strongly. My wife feels very strongly about it. I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. We don't like to see families separated.”


Of course, a controversy this hot takes time to cool.

Democrats said the Trump order doesn’t go far enough. They continued to protest on the floor of the Senate.





And there are questions about whether Trump’s order conflicts with existing law.

Reuters: Trump immigration order may not prevent some family separations.

As The Hill’s Jordan Fabian notes, under a 1997 court settlement, children who are accompanied by parents cannot be held in custody for more than 20 days.

The president has asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSantorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI 8,000 new ways the Trump administration is undermining immigration court independence Watergate's John Dean rips Trump: I doubt you have any idea what McGahn told Mueller MORE to request from a federal court a change to the 1997 settlement that would allow migrant families to be detained together with minor children for a longer period. New lawsuits are all but certain.

The Associated Press: Trump’s immigration order sparks confusion, deep concern.

The New York Times: Children who have already been separated from their parents won’t be immediately reunited.

Trump’s reversal comes after he and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTo solve the southern border crisis, look past the border Cybersecurity: Cause for optimism, need for continued vigilance The Hill's Morning Report — Dems split on key issues but united against Trump MORE claimed, incorrectly, that the president was powerless to act. They spent most of Tuesday demanding action in Congress and blaming Democrats and the media for the backlash.

The Washington Post: The Trump administration’s wildly contradictory statements on family separation.

Many Republican senators believe legislation is still needed to address the issue, but The Hill’s Jordain Carney and Alexander Bolton report that 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.) may have no interest in revisiting the explosive issue during an election year:

“It remains to be seen if McConnell will want to tackle immigration again in the wake of Trump's executive order. McConnell is co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Republicans on Wednesday but if immigration fades from the headlines, he could opt to move to other matters — such as voting on Trump's pending nominees.”

The Hill: Senate moving ahead with border bill despite Trump.


Sponsored by PhRMA


As a Medicare Part D Cliff looms for seniors, the program’s successful structure is also in jeopardy. Congress can act now to protect seniors from the donut hole suddenly increasing by more than $1,200, and secure the program for the future by fixing changes that undermine its successful competitive structure.


CONGRESS: Meanwhile, the House is set today to consider separate immigration measures distinct from the “zero tolerance” backlash. It’s possible neither has the votes to pass, and the reluctance of Senate Republicans to act before the November elections means there is almost zero chance that proposed changes, for instance to help so-called Dreamers, become law in 2018.

Senate GOP – immigrationThe Hill: Senate Republicans say legislation is still needed to address the overflow of detained immigrants at the border after Trump’s executive order on Wednesday. GOP senators, however, would need support from Democrats to get a bill to the president’s desk. They assert this is unlikely.

House GOP – immigrationThe Hill: Ahead of critical votes scheduled today in the House, the president, Cabinet officials and Republican leaders launched a full-court press for an immigration measure designed to win backing from centrist Republicans and perhaps some conservative members. Passage is uncertain. Rank-and-file members initially spearheaded the push as a way to challenge House GOP leaders, hoping to force floor action to help beneficiaries of the embattled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The votes got off to an inauspicious start on Wednesday, when Meadows got into a heated exchange over immigration with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree scenarios for how leadership races could play out in the House New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders House Dem: Party's aging leaders is 'a problem' MORE (R-Wis.) on the House floor (The Hill).

Senate – spendingThe Hill: Trump lost his bid, supported with gusto by some House conservatives, to cancel government spending approved and enacted several months ago. The Senate on Wednesday narrowly rejected a proposal to claw back roughly $15 billion in spending approved by Congress earlier this year. Conservatives hoped the plan might enhance the GOP’s appeal to voters as the fiscally conservative party.

Congress – rules changesThe Hill: The centrist No Labels organization wants the next House Speaker to pledge to back changes to congressional rules that might foster more bipartisanship and participation by rank-and-file lawmakers. No Labels plans to unveil its good-government proposals and is pitching ideas to lawmakers, looking to 2019.

Congress - insulinThe Hill: Rising insulin costs have attracted bipartisan scrutiny in Congress. Three companies control 99 percent of the world's insulin, leading to calls from lawmakers for greater transparency and federal oversight in the market for a drug needed by more than 30 million people in the U.S. with diabetes.

Congress – Chinese research in U.S.The Washington Post reports that members of Congress want the Education Department and Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosTrump’s gag orders undermine the First Amendment Bolton open to privatizing military operations in Afghanistan Hillicon 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 MORE to investigate Chinese research partnerships at U.S. colleges and universities to determine if they pose national security risks. A bipartisan group of 26 lawmakers want to know more about Chinese telecom company Huawei’s research partnerships and other relationships with several dozen American colleges and universities.

Congress – Space ForceThe Hill: It will be up to Congress to weigh Trump's renewed push for a military "space force." But the idea, which requires statutory approval, is facing roadblocks in Congress and at the Pentagon.


CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Trump rallied supporters in Duluth, Minn. last night. It was a campaign rally, so the president predictably attacked the “elites,” the “fake news” media, taunted a protester and oversaw a crowd chanting “CNN sucks.”

But it was also a big event attended by thousands in a state that Trump nearly won in 2016.

Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the state by just more than 1 point and Republicans have a major pick-up opportunity in the House in the 8th District, where Trump visited.

The president brought on stage Republican Pete Stauber, who is running for the open seat in a district that Trump carried by 16 points in 2016. The Cook Political Report rates that race a toss-up.

There are also two Senate races in Minnesota this year, although Cook has both leaning Democratic.

“We need more Republicans, we gotta get out there in the midterms.” – Trump.



The rally comes as The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports that voters are more energized about showing up at the polls this November than they have been for any recent midterm election (The Hill). A lot of that energy is coming from the left in opposition to the president.

A few polls…

CNN: Support for Democrats ticks up and they retain enthusiasm advantage.

Monmouth University: Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDems to challenge Kavanaugh for White House records 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 Manchin hits opponent on ObamaCare lawsuit with new ad MORE (D-W.Va.) leads his GOP rival by 9 points.

From the campaign trail … Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) will spend $80 million this election cycle, most of it going to help congressional Democrats retake the House (The New York Times) … Arizona’s Senate GOP primary is pushing Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight States are stepping up to end animal testing in cosmetics while federal legislation stalls GOP Senate candidate truncates Trump tweet in campaign mailer MORE to the right on immigration (The Hill) … Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has resigned from his post as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee (ABC News) … Republican National Committee chairwoman, Labor secretary cancel on Latino conference (Politico).


Sponsored by PhRMA


As a Medicare Part D Cliff looms for seniors, the program’s successful structure is also in jeopardy. Congress can act now to protect seniors from the donut hole suddenly increasing by more than $1,200, and secure the program for the future by fixing changes that undermine its successful competitive structure.



U.S. Census BureauThe Hill: New census figures show booming growth among minority populations, while the white-alone population declines, hastening a demographic overhaul that is reshaping the face of America. One other trend: the Midwest is getting notably younger.

Labor and Education Departments: The administration is expected today to propose a government reorganization that would merge the Labor and Education departments into one federal agency, The Washington Post reports. The government overhaul plan would shrink some departments, such as the Office of Personnel Management, and propose altering some of the bureaucracy, including consolidating federal safety net programs for the poor. The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations also sought to reorganize elements of the federal bureaucracy, with limited success, because Congress has to approve the ideas, along with federal unions. In the Trump administration, the Office of Management and Budget is spearheading the proposals.

State Department - Trade: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell brought to the Trump administration on Wednesday a proposal from Berlin for an industry trade pact. Germany’s leading automakers have thrown their support behind scrapping all import tariffs for cars between the European Union and the U.S. in an effort to find a peaceful solution to a brewing trade war. 

Environmental Protection AgencyThe Hill: Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court orders EPA to enforce chemical safety rule | Dem says Zinke would 'sell' his grandkids for the oil industry | EPA reportedly poised to unveil climate rule replacement Court throws out EPA delay of Obama chemical plant safety rule The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE is still the recipient of public warnings from GOP backers on Capitol Hill, who are concerned about the investigations and media attention his management decisions have sparked. Fellow Oklahoman Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofePence announces first steps in establishing 'Space Force' EPA chief: Obama car rule rollback would save consumers 0B EPA’s Wheeler gets warmer welcome at Senate hearing MORE (R) says Pruitt got the message and has changed his ways. “There are probably times when he displayed questionable judgment,” said the senator, who met with his longtime friend on Tuesday evening.

West Wing – Middle EastThe Hill: Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerAxios: Trump said one-state solution would mean future Israeli PM would be named Mohammed Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Justice Dept sues Ivanka’s former business partner in fraud case MORE met with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss a Middle East peace plan. Kushner was joined by U.S. Middle East envoy Jason GreenblattThe Associated Press: Trump’s Mideast team gets close-up view of peace obstacles.

West Wing - Russia: National Security Adviser John Bolton plans to travel to Moscow to prepare for a likely meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir PutinReuters reports, citing information reported today by the Interfax news agency. Both leaders have said they would like to meet soon, likely next month (The Hill).

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


The science behind how family separation harms children, by Katharine Yun, pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, opinion contributor with The Hill.

What the news media aren’t telling you about immigration, by Kayleigh McEnany, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, opinion contributor with The Hill.


The House convenes at 9 a.m. Votes are expected on two GOP-drafted immigration measures.

The Senate convenes at 9:45 a.m. and resumes consideration of the appropriations measure on Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction and VA.            

The president holds a meeting of his Cabinet. He has a working lunch with invited governors. In the afternoon, Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran vows new US action group won’t topple government Bolton wants to see 'seriousness' from North Korea on denuclearization Trump: ‘Nothing bad can happen' from meeting with foreign leaders MORE, followed by Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisBomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report Mattis says he'll dispatch Navy hospital ship to help Venezuelan migrants Pentagon, GOP breathe sign of relief after Trump cancels parade MORE. (The White House picnic for Congress and family members, scheduled tonight on the first day of summer, was “postponed” on Wednesday by the president. A new date was not announced.)


> German Chancellor Angela Merkel approaches a moment of reckoning, The Financial Times opinion. “On the big issues of the day — eurozone reform and migration — there is little room left for Germany’s chancellor to procrastinate, and all of her options are politically risky.”

> U.S. prepares for return of war dead remains from North Korea, by Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press. “More than 36,000 U.S. troops died in the conflict, including those listed as missing in action. Close to 7,700 U.S. troops remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, and about 5,300 of those were lost in North Korea.”

> The `Holy Grail’ of baseball cards will be on display next month in ColoradoThe Denver Post. Condition is what makes this particular Mickey Mantle card worth millions of dollars to memorabilia collectors.



And finally … this week’s Morning Report QUIZ CONTEST reflects Washington’s sudden preoccupation with hearts. See if you can match these speakers with their immigration-related statements, and those of you with correct answers will take a bow in tomorrow’s newsletter as particularly astute news consumers this week. Email guesses to or, and please put “Quiz” in the subject line.

  1. A)  Melania Trump, through her spokeswoman
  2. B)  Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz calls out O'Rourke for supporting NFL players' protests during anthem Beto O’Rourke: Term limits can help keep politicians from turning into a--holes Election 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' MORE (R-Texas)
  3. C)  President Trump
  4. E)  Former first lady Laura Bush
  5. G) Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTo make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Election 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' MORE (D-N.Y.)
  1. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
  2. “We need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart.”  
  3. “There’s no doubt the images that we’ve seen of children and children being separated from their parents are heartbreaking. They were heartbreaking when Obama was president.”  
  4. "Mr. President, have a heart for a change. Take that goddamn pen of yours and do away with this horrendous, inhumane policy of yours that rips children from the arms of their parents."
  5. "You have people that want absolute security and safety, and you have people that do look at the children, and then you have people like me, and I think most of the people in this room, that want both. We want the heart, but we also want strong borders, and we want no crime. We don't want crime in this country. We don't want people coming in."