The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pompeo, Barr drawn into Ukraine web

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

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump pushes to question whistleblower | Pompeo rejects Dem demands over impeachment inquiry | Barr asked other countries to help with Russia inquiry | Red-state Dems worry about impeachment fallout | Schiff becomes public face of impeachment drive | Third quarter fundraising – Sanders raises $25M, Buttigieg brings in $19.1M | Watchdog says DEA allowed opioid production to increase despite overdoses |  Mouse falls from White House ceiling | National Homemade Cookies Day



I just wanna talk:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE said he wants to meet with the whistleblower whose complaint started a House impeachment inquiry.

Trump tweeted: "So if the so-called 'Whistleblower' has all second hand information, and almost everything he has said about my 'perfect' call with the Ukrainian President is wrong (much to the embarrassment of Pelosi & Schiff), why aren't we entitled to interview & learn everything about the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave all of the false information to him. This is simply about a phone conversation that could not have been nicer, warmer, or better. No pressure at all (as confirmed by Ukrainian Pres.). It is just another Democrat Hoax!"



Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week MORE rejected demands from House Democrats for five current and former State Department officials to testify.


Pompeo's reasoning: Pompeo said there is "no legal basis" for the committee's threat for the officials to testify and said it raised "significant legal and procedural concerns." 

Pompeo wrote in a letter: "I'm concerned with aspects of your request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career Foreign Service Officers."  



Former White House aide Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Gorka: Why is the left worried that I'm traveling with Pompeo? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pompeo, Barr drawn into Ukraine web MORE is traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his trip to the Vatican. How: NBC News is reporting that Gorka is traveling as a member of the media.


Literally ~in the White House~ this morning:  

Insert rat jokes here.

Here's a photo of the mouse hunt that ensued: This is pretty funny.


It's Tuesday. It is officially October!  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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It wasn't just Ukraine

William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump MORE asked other countries to help:

Via The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett, Shane Harris and Matt Zapotosky, "Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies' examination of possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter."

Which countries: Italy, Australia and the U.K.

Read the full Washington Post report:



During a recent phone call, President Trump asked Australia's prime minister to assist Attorney General William Barr in gathering information to help the president dispute the special counsel's Russia investigation.

And after the call: "The White House curbed access to a transcript of the call -- which the president made at Mr. Barr's request -- to a small group of aides, one of the officials said. The restriction was unusual and similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry."



The Department of Justice (DOJ) said President Trump contacted foreign countries at the request of Barr to ask for help with the origins of the Russia investigation.

From Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec: "As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Trump denies knowledge of Barr meeting in Italy, says it would be appropriate Cornyn makes waves with tweet about Justice investigating Biden MORE is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr's request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials." 


Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Graham: 'Stupid' for Trump to ask China to investigate Biden Turkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate MORE IS ASKING COUNTRIES TO COOPERATE:

During an interview with Fox News's Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityMegyn Kelly appearance on Fox News draws more than 4 million viewers Mulvaney admission deals blow to White House impeachment defense Hannity knocks 'dumb' Mulvaney after White House press conference MORE yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he is sending a letter to ask other countries to cooperate with the Justice Department's probe.

In Graham's words: "Barr should be talking to Australia. He should be talking to Italy. He should be talking to the U.K. to find out if their intelligence services worked with our intelligence services improperly to open up a counterintelligence investigation of Trump's campaign. If he's not doing that he's not doing his job. So I'm going to write a letter to all three countries ... asking them to cooperate with Barr." 

Watch Graham's appearance:



  1. Democrats are zeroing in on the call memo and whistleblower complaint.
  2. William Barr, Mike Pompeo and Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Clinton trolls Trump with mock letter from JFK to Khrushchev White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week MORE are among those ensnared.
  3. Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHurd: No Ukrainian officials have told State Department 'they felt like their arms were being twisted' House Democrat pledges 'there will be open hearings' in impeachment inquiry Combatting fake news on social media will take a village MORE is also playing key role.
  4. Trump is keeping his focus on the two Bidens.
  5. The White House and Democrats are both moving swiftly.

Context and details for each:



Playing the role of punching bag for the right ... Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Trump's insult-comic act enters danger zone  White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE:

Via The Hill's Morgan Chalfant, "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has become the public face of the House Democratic impeachment drive, making him a focal point of President Trump's attacks on the effort."

For example: Trump called on Schiff to resign for "treason" after paraphrasing part of Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Schiff is in the center of the drama: Schiff has had a key role in making the whistleblower complaint public. 

How many times Trump has tweeted about Schiff since Thursday: Roughly a dozen.



Why Senate Democrats are getting worried about the impeachment inquiry:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Democrats who represent red states are worried the House's impeachment inquiry will hurt any chance of the Democratic Party winning the Senate next year.

Democrats' reasoning: "These Democrats hope the House keeps its impeachment focus on the Ukraine controversy, and that Democrats act relatively quickly. If they do not, the red-state Democrats warn Trump could turn the tables on them." 



Opioid production increased as overdoses rose:

"The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) allowed drug makers to increase production of opioids even as overdose deaths were skyrocketing, according to a government watchdog's scathing report released Tuesday."

Details: "While opioid overdose deaths grew by 71 percent per year between 2013 and 2017, the DEA authorized manufacturers to produce 'substantially larger amounts of opioids,' reads a report from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General."

Read the report:


A net neutrality ruling:

"A federal appeals court on Tuesday delivered a mixed ruling for net neutrality supporters and opponents alike, allowing the Federal Communications Commission's 2017 repeal to stand but striking down a provision blocking states from implementing their own open internet rules."



Show us the money:

Presidential campaigns have started releasing third quarter fundraising numbers.



Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' Warren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (I-Vt.) raised $25.3 million in the third quarter.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision Buttigieg says he wasn't comfortable with Clinton attack on Gabbard Buttigieg: Trump undermining US credibility 'is going to cost us for years and years' MORE raised $19.1 million in the last three months.



“Campaigns have until Oct. 15 to file their fundraising and spending reports with the Federal Election Commission, though many candidates are expected to release fundraising totals beforehand.”



This video is a wild ride:

It already has more than 10 million views.



I'm sorry, what?:

The Washington Post article:



The House and Senate are out.

President Trump is in Washington, D.C.

Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

4 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperTrump: 'We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!' Amash rips Trump over move to send troops from Syria to Iraq Defense chief says US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq MORE

Today: The 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. 



Today is National Homemade Cookies Day.


Billy McFarland is behind this. I just know it: 

This weekend's Nova Mac and Cheese Festival has been canceled due to "challenges that would have impacted the overall quality of the event." Details:


And because you made it this far, here's an alpaca in the mood to dance: