The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis

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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 says Turkish offensive 'not our problem' | GOP to move on Turkey sanctions | Takeaways from Dem debate | Warren draws fire | A rough night for Biden | Sights and sounds from debate | Ex-Pompeo aide testifying in impeachment inquiry | Fourth man arrested in probe of Giuliani associates | Nationals make the World Series (!) | Caps' team dog celebrates



Next up in the conveyer belt of impeachment depositions:

Michael McKinley, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial MORE who resigned last week, is on Capitol Hill today to testify in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

What to expect from McKinley's testimony: McKinley "is slated to discuss issues surrounding Pompeo's role in the administration's pressure campaign to get Ukrainian leaders to investigate one of Trump's leading political opponents, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers MORE." 

What to know about McKinley: "McKinley, a career diplomat who resigned last week, had been serving as U.S. ambassador to Brazil in 2018 when Pompeo brought him back to Washington to serve as an informal liaison between the agency brass and the department's career diplomats. His resignation was reportedly in protest of Pompeo's failure, as perceived by a growing number of State Department employees, to protect diplomats from the administration's Ukraine operations amid allegations that they were politically motivated." 

Keep in mind about Pompeo: Mike Pompeo was reportedly on the July 25 call when President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Photo of Michael McKinley arriving:

And here is video of McKinley walking through the rain with his entourage:


It's a dreary Wednesday in Washington. 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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Biggest takeaway from last night: three hours is wayyyy too long for a debate:

Twelve Democratic presidential candidates debated last night in Ohio.



  1. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Krystal Ball rips Warren's 'passive-aggressive' swipes at rivals MORE was in the firing line
  2. It was a bad night for Joe Biden -- again
  3. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Reject National Defense Authorization Act, save Yemen instead MORE bounced back -- with Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez to hold campaign rallies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas Overwhelming majority say social media companies have too much influence: poll MORE's help
  4. Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Krystal Ball rips Warren's 'passive-aggressive' swipes at rivals Buttigieg: I share a lot of the same values as people protesting my fundraisers MORE seized his moment
  5. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders revokes congressional endorsement for Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate New poll finds Sanders surging to within 7 points of Biden in South Carolina MORE misfired with her attack on Warren

Explanation for each from The Hill's Niall Stanage:



South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "Buttigieg had a strong night and might have emerged as the winner of the debate. The performance is well-timed for Buttigieg, who burst out of the gate but has stagnated in recent months." 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): Warren "faced a barrage of attacks from several of her rivals over some of the most defining issues of her presidential campaign. And she came out largely unscathed." 

Tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangAmerica's real 'freedom dividend': Hard work and pro-business policies The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Booker says he will not make December debate stage MORE: "For a candidate who was once seen as a longer-than-long shot for the Democratic nomination, former tech executive Andrew Yang scored a handful of wins on Tuesday night." 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Booker says he will not make December debate stage Yang: 2020 rivals in Senate should be able to campaign amid impeachment MORE (D-Minn.): "Klobuchar has at times struggled to stand out in the crowded field of big personalities, but on Tuesday night she left a mark with a string of surprise attacks against Warren."

Former Vice President Joe Biden: "The longtime front-runner was not a winner or a loser on Tuesday night, largely melting into the background of a debate that centered around Warren. That might not be a bad place for Biden to be, considering his poll numbers dipped after previous debates in which he was the focus of attacks." 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): "Two weeks after suffering a heart attack that raised new questions about his health and age, Sanders needed a debate performance that showcased his vigor and vitality. For the most part, he appeared to rise to the challenge." 

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocrats set early state primary debates for 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Gabbard news items generating more social interactions than other 2020 Democrats: study MORE (D-Hawaii): Gabbard had a few strong moments, but "it's unclear whether there's a big enough cross-section of Democrats to propel her into the next debate, particularly in a field that is flush with outsiders, including Yang and Sanders." 

Full reasoning for each:



The line to get into the debate: This was 45 minutes before the debate started.

Photo of Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Booker cancels NH activities, campaign says he has the flu Trump neck and neck with top 2020 Democrats in Wisconsin: poll MORE kissing his girlfriend Rosario Dawson for good luck: Aw.

The view for reporters at the debate:

More importantly, here's the candy situation for reporters:

Lol: Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur tweeted, "Spotted at the hotel in Ohio last night: @rosariodawson and some random people." The photo of the 'random people': 

Does anyone else think Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerKrystal Ball: Influx of billionaire cash in 2020 contest is 'deeply corrosive' to 'civil society' Booker says he will not make December debate stage Democrats set early state primary debates for 2020 MORE looks like John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Impeachment enters new crucial phase Bullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate 2020 hopes rise for gun control groups after Virginia elections MORE?: One off the debate stage, another on. Photo comparison: 



Pelosi has said no:

During a last-minute press conference last night at the Capitol, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Sherrod Brown backs new North American trade deal: 'This will be the first trade agreement I've ever voted for' Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices MORE (D-Calif.) said she will not hold a House vote to officially launch an impeachment inquiry.

Why Republicans want a formal vote to begin the investigation: "They believe it would grant the GOP more power and influence in the process, including the ability to call and subpoena their own witnesses." The absence of a floor vote has been a key talking point for Republicans to defend President Trump

For example -- from Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulConservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Texas GOP congressman calls on governor to postpone execution of Rodney Reed MORE (R-Texas), the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee: "The minority has been shut out of the process. It is being done in a ... classified briefing room behind closed doors when it should be in front of the American people so that all can see in a very transparent way the testimony of these witnesses."



Health care.


Calm it down now:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Congressional Republicans are moving forward with a plan to slap additional sanctions on Turkey amid bipartisan outrage over Ankara's invasion of northern Syria."

Timing: "The push for legislation comes even as the Trump administration unveiled its own plan to penalize Turkey and try to find an offramp to the current military incursion after days of high-profile criticism from Republican allies."


This morning from President Trump -- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯:

"President Trump said Wednesday that Turkey's offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria is 'not our problem,' defending his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region amid criticism."

Trump told reporters: "If Turkey goes into Syria, it is between Turkey and Syria. It's not our problem ... the Kurds are much safer right now, but the Kurds know how to fight, and as I said, they're not angels. They're not angels. You take a look ... but they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us, and that's OK." 

On Russia: "If Russia wants to get involved with Syria, that's really up to them. They have a problem with Turkey. They have a problem at a border. It's not our border, we shouldn't be losing lives over it."



"There will be an all House classified briefing tomorrow at 3:45 pm on Turkey and Syria per sources. Briefers TBD." (Via NBC's Alex Moe)




Aha! They found him!:

Via The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett, the fourth defendant in the case around business associates of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDOJ releases memos backing Trump immunity claims ahead of impeachment vote Giuliani to Trump after Ukraine trip: I got 'more than you can imagine' Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' MORE has been arrested at an airport in New York City airport.

The charge: David Correia "has been charged with participating in a scheme to use foreign money to build political support for a fledgling recreational marijuana business in Nevada and other states, according to an indictment unsealed last week that also charged Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman with making false statements to election regulators and conspiracy.

Keep in mind: "The other three defendants were quickly arrested by the FBI, but Correia's whereabouts have been unclear until Wednesday morning." 



World Series, here they come!:

"Fifty years after the franchise was founded and 15 after it moved to Washington, the Nationals are headed to their first World Series."

Video of "Baby Shark" playing at Nats Park

^ HAHA -- If you zoom in on the crowd...:

^ Oh and there is literally a shark:


The Washington Capitals' dog is especially excited:






The House and Senate are in.

10:15 a.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of Italy.

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

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

2-3 p.m. EDT: The House votes. The House's full schedule today:

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

4:15 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes on nominations. The Senate's full schedule today: 

6 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves for Ankara, Turkey.

October 23: The Hill is hosting an event, "Innovation Runway: The Cutting Edge of Aviation." Details and how to RSVP:



Noon: President Trump holds a joint press conference with the president of Italy. Livestream:

6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at a reception in honor of Italy. Livestream:



Today is National Liqueur Day.


And because this made me smile, here's a dog with a rather impressive Halloween costume: