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 TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders 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 PompeoOrganizing evacuations during a shutdown The Saudi-Russia oil fight is the last thing the economy needs in a pandemic US intel agencies conclude China has under-reported coronavirus cases, deaths: report 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 GorkaCORRECTED: Cruz scolds reporter who brought up his daughters Trump wants To 'deescalate,' but will his supporters let him? Conservative radio show canceled after host wishes for 'nice school shooting' as impeachment distraction 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 BarrFeds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All eyes on today's unemployment numbers Trump announces enhanced counternarcotics operation at coronavirus briefing 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 DurhamTrump tweets test Attorney General Barr The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms A tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice 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 GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE IS ASKING COUNTRIES TO COOPERATE:

During an interview with Fox News's Sean HannitySean Patrick Hannity74 journalism professors accuse Fox News of spreading coronavirus misinformation Overnight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain pleads for help with outbreak | Pentagon shipment of ventilators delayed | Pompeo urges countries to be more 'transparent' with virus data Well-wishes pour in across media for Chris Cuomo after coronavirus diagnosis 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 PenceMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Kushner makes first appearance at coronavirus briefing Meadows sets up coronavirus hotline for members of Congress MORE are among those ensnared.
  3. Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGoogle to spend .5 million in fight against coronavirus misinformation Hillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike 12 things to know today about coronavirus 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 SchiffPelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response 5 reasons Democrats fear Trump's coronavirus briefings Democrats introduce bill to set up commission to review coronavirus response 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 SandersHuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Schumer: Administration 'must move heaven and earth' to implement new unemployment benefits Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search MORE (I-Vt.) raised $25.3 million in the third quarter.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pence defends response, says Trump never 'belittled' virus threat 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 EsperMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with coronavirus outbreak Esper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients 'if push comes to shove' 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: