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 PompeoCoronavirus response reveals deep fractures in global partnerships Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike COVID-19 intensifies the case for blacklisting Khalifa Haftar  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 TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' 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 KushnerFirst federal airlift to NY tri-state area includes millions of gloves, masks White House preparing to promote malaria drugs on online platform to combat coronavirus: report Politics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried 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 GrahamGraham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus 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 ConwayThe Memo: Economic disaster poses danger for Trump Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Overnight Health Care: Senate passes coronavirus aid bill, sending it to Trump | First lawmaker tests positive for coronavirus | Trump invokes defense law to boost response | Lawmakers push for surprise medical bill fix in package 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 EsperDefense industrial base workers belong at home during this public health crisis An insecure America and an assertive China Overnight Defense: Pentagon grapples with coronavirus outbreak | Aircraft carrier docks in Guam after more sailors test positive | Army hospitals to reach NY on Friday 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 McConnellMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Louisiana Republican: People upset at 'spending porn on pet projects' in latest stimulus bill Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner 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 CollinsGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC Schumer: Senate should 'explore' remote voting if coronavirus sparks lengthy break Turning the virus into a virtue — for the planet 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 ClintonClintons send pizza to NY hospital staff treating coronavirus Budowsky: President Trump, meet with all former living presidents Why Klobuchar should be Biden's vice presidential pick MORE's impeachment trial. 

 

^ Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJoe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing MORE disagrees:

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJoe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing 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 TrumpUK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus Trump defends million in Kennedy Center funding in coronavirus stimulus Budowsky: President Trump, meet with all former living presidents 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 BidenCoronavirus makes the campaign season treacherous for Joe Biden Biden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll Unions urge Chamber of Commerce to stop lobbying against Defense Production Act 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