The Hill's 12:30 Report: All eyes on Pelosi as calls for impeachment grow

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem calls for impeachment grow | John LewisJohn LewisObama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial John Lewis to miss Martin Luther King Jr. Day event MORE backs impeachment proceedings in floor speech | Pressure on Pelosi | Speaker to meet with caucus this afternoon | Trump calls impeachment talk 'nonsense' | Trump confirms he held up Ukraine aid | What to know about whistleblower complaint | Latest on spending fight | Senate GOP bill offers $5B for Trump wall | Warren tops Biden in new Iowa poll | Senate panel advances Labor pick Scalia



Like a kindergarten relationship, if they're mean to you that means they like you:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE scoffed at House Democrats calling for the president's impeachment.

Trump told reporters as he arrived at the United Nations: "I think it's ridiculous. It's a witch hunt. I'm leading in the polls. They have no idea how they stop me, the only way they can try is through impeachment. ... It's nonsense, and when you see the call, when you see the readout of the call, which I assume you'll see at some point, you'll understand. That call was perfect."

Livestream of Trump's remarks:



On China: "The American people are absolutely committed to restoring balance to our relationship with China. ... But as I have made very clear, I will not accept a bad deal for the American people."

Watching from the audience: The president's adult children attended the address. Photos:

Omg, is Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossThe Hill's Morning Report - Report of Bolton tell-all manuscript roils Trump defense 'In any other administration': Trump's novel strategy for dealing with scandal Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms MORE sleeping?: Here is video of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in the audience. Watch: 

To immigrants: "If you make it here you will not be allowed in ... you will not be released into our country."


It's Tuesday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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New detail -- withholding the check:

Via The Washington Post's Karoun Demirjian, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima and Carol D. Leonnig, a week before President Trump's call with the president of Ukraine, he instructed acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Bolton upends Trump impeachment trial  Bolton sparks internal GOP fight over witnesses MORE to withhold the $400 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Details: "Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an 'interagency process' but to give them no additional information -- a pattern that continued for nearly two months, until the White House released the funds on the night of Sept. 11." 



President Trump confirmed that he withheld funds from Ukraine, arguing he wanted Europe to contribute more aid. "I want other countries to put up money. I think it’s unfair that we put up the money. Then people called me and said, 'oh let it go,' and I let it go," Trump told reporters. "Those funds were paid. They were fully paid but my complaint has always been – and I’ll withhold again and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine, because they're not doing it.”



  1. The whistleblower statute is supposed to protect classified information.
  2. Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence (DNI), found a loophole to keep the whistleblower complaint from Congress.
  3. Legal experts warn this episode could subvert the process for handling whistleblower complaints.
  4. The politicization of the case is putting whistleblowers in a tough spot.
  5. Congress has several tools to compel the DNI to hand over the complaint.

Context and details for each:



Breaking — John Lewis now backs impeachment: 

Longtime Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) just called for impeachment proceedings to begin against President Trump

Lewis just said on the House floor: “I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come. To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”

He also said: “We cannot delay. We must not wait. Now is the time to act. I have been patient while we tried every other path and used every other tool. We will never find the truth unless we use the power given to the House of Representatives and the House alone.” 

Keep in mind: Lewis is one of the most powerful House Democrats to support impeachment.

Politico’s Sarah Ferris pointed out: “Lewis gets applause from the few members and aides in the chamber -- Annie Kuster, Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Democrats worry party is squandering political opportunity on ObamaCare Overnight Health Care — Presented by Rare Access Action Project — Court ruling reignites ObamaCare fight for 2020 | Congress expands probe into surprise billing | Health industry racks up wins in year-end spending deal MORE, Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe Memo: Will Iran crisis sideline impeachment process? Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely GOP set to make life difficult for Democrats on impeachment MORE.”


Floodgates open - More Democrats threatening impeachment: 

Connecticut Reps. John Larson John Barry Larson Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan The Hill's 12:30 Report: All eyes on Pelosi as calls for impeachment grow More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE (D) and Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroSome kids will spend Christmas in border cages On The Money: House approves Trump USMCA deal in bipartisan vote | Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump's desk | Why budget watchdogs are howling over the spending deal House approves Trump's USMCA trade deal amid shadow of impeachment MORE (D) announced they will back impeachment proceedings if the Trump administration blocks the investigation into whether President Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to find dirt on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE

What to know about the lawmakers: "Both DeLauro, a close ally of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions MORE (D-Calif.), and Larson, the former head of the Democratic Caucus, have previously rejected impeachment in favor of the investigative strategy favored by Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders.

Why their shift matters: "By sounding a warning that they're on the cusp of supporting the liberal impeachment push, they've sent a signal that the allegations of Trump recruiting a foreign power to help his 2020 bid could be a tipping point in the impeachment debate." 



This morning, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on the House to start an impeachment committee. From his statement: "I am calling today for a House Select Committee to investigate and move forward with impeachment proceedings against the President. I reached this decision with sadness, but also anger. ... Congress must demand accountability. ... At this moment, the threat to the rule of law and our democracy has reached a new height and requires all of us to step forward."


Let’s put this into context — 154 (!) House Democrats back impeachment:

More than half of the Democratic caucus is calling for an impeachment inquiry for President Trump

What it would take to impeach Trump: It would take 218 votes in the House to impeach Trump.

Then what: It would then take 67 votes in the Senate to convict him. 

Here’s the whip list of which Democrats support impeachment:


How Republicans are reacting:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Senate Republicans are scrambling to contain the political fallout from reports that President Trump pressured a foreign leader to investigate his leading Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden."

Give us the deets: Several Republican senators are calling on President Trump to release more details on the Ukraine call.

What about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — CDC, State Department warn against travel to China | Biden says Trump left US unprepared for epidemic | Justices allow Trump 'public charge' rule to move forward Progressive group targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment witnesses MORE (R-Ky.)?: On the Senate floor yesterday, McConnell said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is working to get the inspector general who received the whistleblower complaint to speak. McConnell urged lawmakers to keep the matter bipartisan.



You may pass go:

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced President Trump's Labor secretary nominee, Eugene Scalia

The vote: "The panel approved his nomination 12-11 with no Republican senators voting against the nominee. Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP Iowa senator suggests Trump impeachment defense could hurt Biden at caucuses On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Sanders launches first TV ads in Nevada MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Overnight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change MORE (D-Mass.), two presidential candidates who sit on the panel, were not present at the markup but voted against Scalia by proxy."

What's next: Scalia's nomination will advance to the Senate floor, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority. It does not appear that any Republicans will vote against Scalia. 


$5 billion for you:

This morning, Senate Republicans unveiled a new spending proposal that includes $5 billion for President Trump's border wall.

Why this could be sticky: Democrats are likely to oppose the funding. I.e.: One step closer to another government shutdown.  



Shake it up, shake it up:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes and Niall Stanage, "A new poll showing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa has shaken up the Democratic nomination battle -- and insiders across the party are gaming out what it all means."

The new poll: According to the well-respected Des Moines Register–CNN–Mediacom poll, Warren has 22 percent support while Biden has 20 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came in third with 11 percent support. 

How this could play out:



In local news -- whooops:

Watch -- that is a lot of smoke!:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in New York City.

11:15 a.m. EDT: President Trump met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

11:30 a.m. EDT: The Senate held a cloture vote on nominations. The Senate's full schedule today:

Noon: The House meets.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump is meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

12:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence is meeting with the deputy prime minister of Japan.

12:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets for weekly caucus luncheons.

1 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the secretary-general of the United Nations and attends a luncheon.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of Iraq.

5:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

6:30 p.m. EDT: Votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:



10:15 a.m. EDT: President Trump addressed the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Livestream:



Today is National Cherries Jubilee Day.


I looove the pettiness here. Seriously, well played.:

Via Washingtonian's Elliot Williams, whenever former Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper strikes out this week, &pizza will give out $3 pizzas. Details:


And because you made it to the end, here's a dog with a terrifying Halloween costume: