The Hill's 12:30 Report: White House official testifies he warned about Trump pressure on Ukraine

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Key White House witness testifying | Army officer says he reported concerns about Trump pressuring Ukraine | Trump questions officer's credibility | House to vote on impeachment procedures | GOP says vote is too little, too late | Impeachment boosts Dem hopes for taking Senate | Judge blocks Alabama abortion law | Dog that aided al-Baghdadi raid goes viral | World Series Game 6 preview | Taco Bell's free tacos



Happening today -- the testimony is getting personal:

The Ukraine expert on the National Security Council is testifying today that he heard President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE and that he twice reported his concerns to his superiors.

Who: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer and White House official.

Read his opening statement, obtained by The Hill:

From his opening statement: "I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government's support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained." 

Video of Vindman arriving on Capitol Hill:

Photo of Vindman walking through security:

Photo of Vindman walking into the hearing:



The president tweeted, "Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call 'concerned' today's Never Trumper witness. Was he on the same call that I was? Can't be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!"

More of his tweets against the impeachment inquiry this morning:



Via CNN's Jeremy Diamond, "The House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump are seeking testimony from Robert Blair, an assistant to the President and senior adviser to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, a source familiar with the request told CNN.

Keep in mind: Blair was on the infamous July 25 call between Trump and the president of Ukraine. 


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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Happening on Thursday -- the first House impeachment-related vote:

House Democrats are voting on impeachment procedures on Thursday to cut off Republican arguments about what they call an unfair process.

Why now: Democrats insist that a vote to open an impeachment inquiry is not necessary, but the White House and Republicans argue they do not have to cooperate with the probe because it was never officially opened. Democrats continue to argue that a vote to open the inquiry is not required, so instead, this vote will establish procedures related to the impeachment process.

Reasoning: "As a result, it could be an easier vote for centrist lawmakers who do not want to take a formal vote on launching an impeachment investigation. Pelosi has steadily sought to protect such members. All the same, it could also be used by Democrats to push back at GOP arguments over the process of impeachment."

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (D-Calif.) explained her reasoning in a letter to House Dems: "We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives." 

When to expect the text of the resolution: House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) plans to introduce the resolution today before tomorrow's committee markup.  



To quote Jojo, "it's just too little, too late."





Federal judge temporarily blocks Alabama's abortion ban:

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Alabama's near-total abortion ban that would have taken effect next month.

Why: Judge Myron Thompson wrote that the law "contravenes clear Supreme Court precedent" and "defies the United States Constitution."

The judge also added: "It violates the right of an individual to privacy, to make 'choices central to personal dignity and autonomy.'"

Keep in mind: The ban would not have excepted cases of rape or incest and doctors who performed the procedure illegally would face up to 99 years in prison.

Read the court documents



Expect a lot of loudly typed angry emails about this:

Via The Hill's Rebecca Kheel, "Democrats are furious they were not told ahead of time about the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and are now pressing for a full briefing on what happened."

The White House's defense: "Trump and his deputies have defended the decision not to notify Democrats, accusing them of leaking. And two of the president's top Republican allies said Monday they too were not told in advance of the raid." 

Democrats are angry about the pattern: "But Democrats say Trump's failure to brief them ahead of the operation is part of a pattern evident since he announced he was withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria earlier this month." 

From Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures MORE (D-N.Y.): "For almost a month now, we've been requesting an all-senators briefing from the administration on its Syria policy.  And according to reports, the Trump administration gave Russia and Turkey some kind of advanced notice of the raid of al-Baghdadi but, seemingly by deliberate choice, neglected to notify the leaders of Congress as is custom in this case."



Yesterday, a top Pentagon official said he did not know where President Trump got the details about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death that he shared during his news conference.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters: "I know the president had planned to talk down to the unit and unit members. But I don't know what the source of that was. I assume it was talking directly to unit and unit members."


What this means for President Trump:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, "President Trump scored a significant success with the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday. But political experts on both sides of the partisan divide say it is unlikely to reshape his domestic fortunes."

Analysis from Republicans and Democrats:




The Senate could be in play next year:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Impeachment is raising the likelihood that the Senate will be a real battleground next year, and that Democrats could regain the majority."

What would need to happen party control to switch: "Much will need to go right for Democrats to take back control. They would need to net three seats and the White House, and that's with many in the party expecting to lose Sen. Doug Jones's (D) seat in Alabama. Yet Democratic hopes are rising given the steady series of negative headlines surrounding President Trump, which have put Republicans on the back foot." 

Why it's a tough time for Republicans: "GOP senators are likely to have to vote on Trump's impeachment before voters go to the polls next November, which could be a problem for vulnerable incumbents such as Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (Colo.), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyProgressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' MORE (Ariz.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation MORE (Iowa) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Progressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (N.C.). Four of them were outraised by their Democratic opponents in the third quarter of 2019 and all five have higher disapproval than approval ratings in their home states, according to a Morning Consult tracking poll." 



12/10 would give all my treats to:



The House and Senate are in.

10 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with veterans in Fort Hood, Texas.

12:30–2:30 p.m. EDT: The Senate meets for weekly caucus luncheons. The Senate's full schedule today:

12:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony Five bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony MORE.

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the 2019 recipients of the Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking.

1:45 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

2:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

2:45 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at a fundraising luncheon in Austin, Texas.

4:45 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House.

6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters at Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.

6:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.

7:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at a joint fundraising committee reception.

2 a.m. Sunday: The clocks turn back one hour. 



10:40 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence delivers remarks to service members and veterans at Fort Hood. Livestream:

2 p.m. EDT: State Department officials testify before a House subcommittee on the policy in the Middle East. Livestream:

8:07 p.m. EDT: Game 6 of the World Series. game preview:



Today is National Oatmeal Day.



Taco Bell is giving away free Doritos Locos Tacos Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. EDT.

Why: "Washington Nationals Trea Turner stole second base during game one of the series... hence everyone getting a taco." 


And to break up your Tuesday afternoon, here's a high tech way to keep your dog out of the kitchen: