The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Trump floats testifying in impeachment hearing

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The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Trump floats idea of testifying in impeachment inquiry | Says he will 'strongly consider' it | Washington braces for busy week of hearings | High stakes for Sondland testimony | What to watch for | Congress expected to pass short-term funding bill | New poll shows Buttigieg leading in Iowa | Dems prep for Wednesday debate | National Apple Cider Day



Trump could actually testify in the impeachment inquiry

It would be the perfect, most eloquent, beautiful, terrific testimony you’ve ever heard on Capitol Hill:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE tweeted that he will “strongly consider” testifying in the House impeachment inquiry, despite refusing to cooperate in the investigation.

How he would testify: Either through written or in-person testimony. 

He tweeted: “Our Crazy, Do Nothing (where’s USMCA, infrastructure, lower drug pricing & much more?) Speaker of the House, Nervous Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Social Security emerges as flash point in Biden-Sanders fight | Dems urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency | Trump to sign USMCA next week Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address MORE, who is petrified by her Radical Left knowing she will soon be gone (they & Fake News Media are her BOSS), suggested on Sunday’s DEFACE THE NATION ... that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt. She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”

Keep in mind: The White House has been instructing officials not to comply with the probe.



The president’s lawyer tweeted, “After 3 witnesses no evidence has been presented of any offense. The first two permanent diplomats had no direct knowledge just overhearing things. The third one had no knowledge not even hearsay. This is a travesty.” 



President Trump met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinCommerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Mnuchin says officials working on new tax cuts | Watchdog charges former execs over Wells Fargo accounts scandal | Study questions Biden, Sanders tax plan claims MORE

He tweeted: “Just finished a very good & cordial meeting at the White House with Jay Powell of the Federal Reserve. Everything was discussed including interest rates, negative interest, low inflation, easing, Dollar strength & its effect on manufacturing, trade with China, E.U. & others, etc.”


It’s Monday. Welcome back! 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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Prepping Thanksgiving menus … and impeachment hearing questioning: 

The House Intelligence Committee is gearing up for its second week of impeachment inquiry hearings against President Trump



 On Tuesday morning:

–      ­Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the leading Ukraine expert on the national security council

–      ­Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, 


On Tuesday afternoon: 

–      Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerSekulow vows Bidens, Ukraine will be part of Trump impeachment defense GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid MORE

–      ­Timothy Morrison, a Ukraine and Russia expert on the national security council 


On Wednesday:

–      ­Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandPompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map Pompeo to meet with Zelensky in Ukraine amid impeachment trial Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union

–      Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs

–      Diplomat David Hale


On Thursday: 

–      ­Fiona Hill, a former top NSC staffer who covered Europe and Russia



Gordon Sondland’s testimony. Republicans have been arguing that witnesses have only had secondhand information. “That argument may not work much longer, because lawmakers are about to hear from crucial witnesses who had direct contact with the president, including Gordon D. Sondland, a donor to and an ally of Mr. Trump who served as his liaison to Ukrainian officials while the president withheld — but later released — $391 million in military aid to Ukraine.”

Republicans’ new Trump defense: Trump did nothing wrong because while he tried to have Ukraine dig up dirt on the Bidens, nothing came out of it.  Via The New York Times’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg, here is how Republicans are shifting their defense::

Why the stakes are so high for Sondland’s testimony: Via The Hill’s Cristina Marcos:



“Although it is becoming increasingly clear that President Trump attempted to use military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE, the bottom line for Republicans is that it doesn’t reach the threshold to remove President Trump from office.” How so, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton:


This morning from Schumer:

“Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge Liberal super PAC to run digital ads slamming Trump over Medicare comments MORE (D-N.Y.) is pushing the Pentagon for details on how its protecting officials from retaliation after they testify as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.”

How so: “Schumer sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Veterans group seeks Trump apology for comments on brain injuries | Pentagon says dozens of troops suffered traumatic injuries after attack | Trump unveils Space Force logo Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Dozens of US troops suffered traumatic brain injuries after Iran missile strikes MORE on Monday asking for details on how the department is protecting two officials set to testify this week, as well as requesting the Pentagon formally notify personnel about their ability to share information with Congress.”

Read the letter: 



So close to Thanksgiving, I can almost smell the stuffing:

Government funding extension: “Lawmakers are expected to pass a short-term spending bill this week ahead of Thursday’s deadline to prevent the second shutdown of the year ... The short-term spending bill, which as of Sunday evening had not been released by appropriators, is expected to go through the House first, before being sent to the Senate before Thursday’s deadline.”

Addressing workplace violence: “The House is slated to take up legislation that would require the Department of Labor to ‘address workplace violence in the health care and social service sectors.’” 

Nominations: The Senate will vote on three nominations before leaving for Thanksgiving. Who: Robert Luck’s and Barbara Lagoa to be judges on the Eleventh Circuit — plus Adrian Zuckerman to be the U.S. ambassador to Romania. 

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke:



Started from the bottom, now we’re here:

Via The Des Moines Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel, “Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: 68 percent of Democrats say it 'makes no difference' if a candidate is a billionaire CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary Poll shows tight general election battle between Trump and top Democrats MORE has rocketed to the top of the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll in the latest reshuffling of the top tier of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.”

The numbers: 25 percent of likely caucusgoers in Iowa said they support Buttigieg. Sixteen percent support Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKlobuchar plans campaign rallies across Iowa despite impeachment trial Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Warren pledges to release Trump records if elected MORE (D-Mass.) and 15 percent back former Vice President Joe Biden

For context: That is a 16-point increase for Buttigieg since the CNN/DMR September poll. 

The full poll:

What this means for the 2020 presidential race:



10 presidential candidates will debate on stage. What to know: 



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Lol, the coordination isn’t bad!: 




The House is in. The Senate is meeting this afternoon. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

Noon: The House meets.

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

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map Huawei endangers Western values The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge MORE

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes. The Senate’s full schedule today:

6:30 p.m. EST: The House votes. The House’s full schedule today:



Tuesday morning: The House Intelligence Committee is holding the next public impeachment hearing. Livestream:

9 p.m. EST Wednesday: The next Democratic presidential debate. Details: 



Today is National Apple Cider Day.


And because you made it to the end, here’s a turtle who is exhausted from the weekend: