The Hill's 12:30 Report: Schumer to force votes on impeachment witnesses

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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: Impeachment latest — Schumer vows to force votes on witnesses | McConnell gets GOP votes to block Dem demands | Bolton shakes up impeachment debate | Iran crisis threatens to overtake agenda | Trump meets Saudi official | Pompeo clashes with NBC's Mitchell at presser | Trump threat to Iranian cultural sites sparks outrage | US-Iraq ties frayed after strike | Snow in DC this afternoon (!) | National Tempura Day | Starbucks adds plant-based drinks 

 

THIS MORNING

Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Trump administration sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses WHO sets up independent panel to assess global coronavirus response MORE is here to elaborate:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a news conference this morning amid escalating tensions in the Middle East after the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike.

Livestream of Pompeo's news conference: https://cs.pn/2ZXi42m

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

On the threat that Soleimani posed: "We know what happened at the end of last year in December, ultimately leading to the death of an American. So, if you are looking for immanence, you need to look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani." Watch: http://bit.ly/37HNlck

To NBC's Andrea Mitchell: 'You're not really wondering Andrea': Pompeo clashed with Mitchell when she questioned whether the secretary would push back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE over his threat to bomb Iranian cultural sites. Pompeo's response: "You're not really wondering Andrea, you're not really wondering. http://bit.ly/2ZZighz

Pompeo continued -- on hitting cultural sites: "I was unambiguous on Sunday. It is completely consistent with what the president has said, every action we take will be consistent with international law and the American people can rest assured that that's the case." http://bit.ly/2ZZighz

  

TIDBIT -- A TRUMP MEETING THAT WASN'T ON HIS PUBLIC SCHEDULE: 

President Trump met with the Saudi vice minister of defense Prince Khalid bin Salman yesterday in the Oval Office amid rising tensions in the Middle East. http://bit.ly/37Iygan

How we know: Khalid posted photos from the meeting. The meeting photos: http://bit.ly/2QUXoE3

Who else attended: National security adviser Robert O'Brien, deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' On The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress MORE.

 

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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

 

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily: http://bit.ly/2kjMNnn

  

️️️❄❄❄: Snow is expected in the Washington, D.C., area this afternoon! According to the Capital Weather Gang, precipitation is expected between noon and 7 p.m. and could slow down the evening commute. The latest forecast from the Capital Weather Gang: https://wapo.st/2sLn91O

  

LATEST WITH IRAN

'Cultural sites' changes it a bit:

Via The Hill's Morgan Chalfant, President Trump is threatening to target Iran's cultural sites if Tehran retaliates over the killing of a top military official -- but legal experts argue that would violate international law. http://bit.ly/2N2yS2Q

How Trump's advisers are handling the threat: "Top aides have tiptoed around the president's statements, saying the administration would act lawfully and that Trump wasn't definitively saying that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Tehran escalates the current situation." 

From Trump all Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate MORE (R-S.C.): "Cultural sites, religious sites are not lawful targets under the law of war unless they've been weaponized by the enemy. Putting cultural sites on the table as a military target, I think, undercuts what we're trying to do."

Ah ha -- there might be a loophole: White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwaySources say DeSantis undercutting fundraising for Republican National Convention because of personal dispute: report Democrats see victory in Trump culture war Kellyanne Conway on Trump niece's book: 'I believe family matters should be family matters' MORE told reporters that "many" of Iran's military sites could also be considered cultural sites.

^ What legal experts have to say about that: "Legal experts said that while there could be exceptions for cultural sites that serve a dual purpose as strategic military sites, they doubted that military officials would carry out an order that goes against international rules." 

 

HOW TRUMP IS RISKING A NUCLEAR CRISIS WITH IRAN:

http://bit.ly/2N4y8tT

 

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE U.S.-IRAQ RELATIONSHIP: 

http://bit.ly/36xNQFB

 

'Should I stay or should I go now?'

--> http://bit.ly/2upb9mR

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Top general says military must take 'hard look' at Confederate symbols on installations | Milley vows to 'get to bottom' of Russia bounty intel | Woman to join Green Berets for first time Top general vows to 'get to the bottom' of Russia bounty intel Top general: US military needs to take 'hard look' at Confederate symbols MORE denied that U.S. troops are leaving Iraq, claiming that a circulated letter implying that troops are leaving was a "draft" and a "mistake." http://bit.ly/2ZZHCft

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters: "That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released. Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That's not what's happening."

 

LATEST WITH THE IMPEACHMENT

'Annnnnd we're done here.': 

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse chairman asks CDC director to testify on reopening schools during pandemic Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Pelosi says House won't cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protections MORE (R-Ky.) has enough votes to block Democrats' demands to have additional witnesses testify in President Trump's impeachment trial. http://bit.ly/2s2Lj7v

The tipping point: Moderate Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report Sixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-Alaska) are supporting McConnell's stance to defer the decision of calling more witnesses until later in the process. I.e.: Follow the precedent of former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonKanye West says he had coronavirus The Hill's 12:30 Report- Presented by Facebook - Trump threatens schools' funding over reopening Fox News apologizes for 'mistakenly' cropping Trump out of photo with Epstein, Maxwell MORE's impeachment trial. 

 

^ Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerA renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Trump may be DACA participants' best hope, but will Democrats play ball? MORE disagrees:

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerA renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Trump may be DACA participants' best hope, but will Democrats play ball? MORE (D-N.Y.) said he will force votes on witnesses at the beginning of the impeachment trial, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has enough votes to delay the decision. http://bit.ly/2FseeEX

In Schumer's words: "Make no mistake, on the question of witnesses and documents, Republicans may run but they can't hide. There will be votes at the beginning on whether to call the four witnesses we've proposed and subpoena the documents we've identified." 

Schumer also added: "If every Republican senator votes for a rigged trial that hides the truth, the American people will see that the Republican Senate is part of a large and awful cover-up." 

 

HOW JOHN BOLTON HAS SHAKEN UP THE IMPEACHMENT DEBATE:

http://bit.ly/2QAc8JL

 

INTERESTING READ -- WILL THE IRAN CRISIS SIDELINE THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS?:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage: http://bit.ly/2T2ohsC

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Happening this afternoon:

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

12:15 p.m. EST: The Senate holds a confirmation vote on Jovita Carranza to lead the Small Business Administration. The Senate's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/35w1Zlt

12:30 ­– 2:15 p.m. EST: Senators meet for weekly caucus luncheons. 

2 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpStatue of Melania Trump set on fire in Slovenia The Memo: Trump gambles on school push The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook- Schools weigh reopening options MORE meet with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece and his wife at the White House. 

2 p.m. EST: The House meets.

2:40 p.m. EST: President Trump holds an expanded bilateral meeting with Greece's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Vice President Pence also attends.

6:30 p.m. EST: Postponed votes in the House. The House's full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2tAW2Xe

  

WHAT TO WATCH

2 p.m. EST: Senate Republican leaders hold a news conference. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2MYhTi7

2:30 p.m. EST: Senate Democratic leaders hold a news conference. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2QTzLf9

6:30 p.m. EST: Lester Holt interviews former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' Trump says he'll wear mask during upcoming trip to Walter Reed Latino group 'Mi Familia Vota' launches M voter turnout campaign targeting swing states MORE on "NBC Nightly News." 

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Tempura Day.

  

More ways to complicate your Starbucks order ;) 

Starbucks is adding new plant-based milk alternative drinks to its permanent menu. Details: http://bit.ly/2T0k1tq

The new drinks: Almondmilk Honey Flat White and Coconutmilk Latte

 

And to break up your Tuesday afternoon, here's a dog and a cat who are the best of friends: http://bit.ly/2FvrU2e