The Hill’s Morning Report — Cheney trounced; Murkowski advances
A Republican Party dominated by former President Trump was mostly pleased with primary results in Wyoming and Alaska last night, while President Biden, eager to slide his party’s message into today’s news coverage, said at a White House bill signing ceremony that “Democrats sided with the American people and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests.”
In Wyoming, Rep. Liz Cheney (R), who knew she was in an uphill climb while asking primary voters to look past her strident opposition to Trump, was soundly defeated by GOP challenger Harriet Hageman, who embraced Trump’s falsehoods about a stolen 2020 election and leveraged his endorsement in a deep red state (The Hill). NBC News and CBS News both called the race shortly after 10 p.m. ET on primary night.
The ouster of Cheney was anticipated. Polls for months showed that Hageman was the heavy favorite — and they were proven right. As of this morning, Hageman won 66 percent of the vote, more than double Cheney’s total.
After conceding to Hageman, the three-term lawmaker addressed supporters in Jackson, Wyo., telling them that she will do “whatever it takes” to deny Trump a second White House term.
“Two years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the votes. I could easily have done the same again, the path was clear, but it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election,” Cheney said. “It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel a democratic system and attack the foundations of our Republic. That was a path I could not and would not take.”
“The primary election is over,” Cheney continued. “But now the real work begins”(The Hill).
Cheney has not ruled out her own 2024 presidential bid, either as a Republican or an independent. “In coming weeks, Liz will be launching an organization to educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our Republic, and to mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president,” Cheney’s spokesman told Politico Playbook.
She will continue as the vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee, which will resume investigative hearings next month before submitting a final report due before the end of the year.
Cheney’s defeat also means that only two of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in 2021 will appear on general election ballots in November (The New York Times).
▪ The New York Times: Cheney, Trump’s chief antagonist, loses in a landslide.
▪ Politico: How Team Trump systematically snuffed out Cheney’s reign in Congress.
▪ The Hill: Five questions about Liz Cheney’s political future
▪ Philip Bump, The Washington Post: Cheney’s loss is suddenly an afterthought in the GOP embrace of Trump.
▪ The Hill: Key takeaways from Cheney’s loss in Wyoming.
In Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), another Trump critic who supported his impeachment, advanced to the November general election after finishing at least in the top two of an all-party primary in a bid for a fourth full term in office (The Hill).
Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, the Trump-backed candidate in the race, both secured spots in the general election. As of this morning, Murkowski raked in 43.7 percent of the vote, with Tshibaka winning 40.4 percent with 65 percent of precincts reporting. No other candidate has garnered more than 6.2 percent.
Unlike a traditional primary contest, Alaska has a new system in place this year where the top four candidates regardless of party affiliation advance to the November general election, where the winner will be determined by ranked-choice voting. This has bolstered Murkowski’s chances as her chances of winning another term would be diminished in a normal system.
The incumbent Republican is the lone GOP senator standing for reelection after voting to convict Trump last year for his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
On the House side, Democrat Mary Peltola leads the special election contest to replace the late Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). According to the latest numbers, she leads with 37.8 percent backing to 32.1 percent for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). Republican Nick Begich sits in third with 28.6 percent with 64 percent of precincts reporting.
The winner would serve out the remainder of Young’s term this year.
However, a Peltola win does not necessarily spell the end of Palin’s comeback. The three candidates all separately advanced to the general election to fill Young’s seat for the next term. Peltola leads Palin, who Trump endorsed, by a 3.7-percentage point margin (The Hill).
The Hill: FBI search cements Trump’s hold on GOP.
Biden on Tuesday swept into the White House from South Carolina en route to Wilmington, Del., and gathered some Democratic lawmakers who made it possible to sign into law the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which attracted zero Republican support in Congress this month (The Hill).
The law includes provisions to lower some prescription drug costs, hold down health insurance premium increases under the Affordable Care Act, raise some taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and battle climate change. Biden, who handed maverick-minded Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) a pen he used to sign the compromise law, called its provisions “historic” (The Washington Post).
Biden, lawmakers, members of the Cabinet and advocacy groups have begun what they say will be a coast-to-coast effort to explain the law’s benefits to voters, hoping they can hammer home a persuasive midterm storyline that Democrats delivered for everyday families while the GOP sought to block changes opposed by “special interests.”
“We’re delivering results for the American people,” the president said. “We didn’t tear down. We built up. We didn’t look back. We look forward.”
The Wall Street Journal: What’s in Democrats’ bill on climate, health and tax policy?
▪ USA Today: The Justice Department on Tuesday said it was returning two expired and one active diplomatic passport to Trump from its Aug. 8 search at Mar-a-Lago.
▪ The New York Times: The FBI interviewed Trump White House lawyers about federal documents the former president took with him to Florida in 2021. “It’s not theirs, it’s mine,” Trump told advisers who sought to turn materials stored at Mar-a-Lago over to the National Archives.
LEADING THE DAY
➤ MORE POLITICS
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer, is scheduled to appear before a special grand jury today in Atlanta after finding out he is a target of a probe into 2020 electoral interference.
Giuliani, who headed up Trump’s push to remain in the White House despite losing the 2020 contest, has become a top target in the investigation by Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney. A lawyer for the ex-Trump lawyer said that Giuliani is likely to invoke attorney-client privilege if asked questions about his conversations with the former president.
“If these people think he’s going to talk about conversations between him and President Trump, they’re delusional,” said Robert Costello, Giuliani’s lawyer (The New York Times).
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill: Trump’s declassification claim may offer limited defense.
In Maryland, Biden will headline a Democratic National Committee event Aug. 25 to kick off the final, autumn lap in the election cycle and offer his endorsement for Wes Moore, the Democratic nominee to become the next governor of the state, according to the The Washington Post.
▪ The New York Times: Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) campaign pitch: A man can’t do my job.
▪ The Hill: Democrats, Republicans equally angry ahead of midterms: poll.
An issue that galvanizes some progressive voters, including in red states where Republicans dominate, is abortion rights. Biden, who casts himself as a Catholic who supports “a right to choose,” prefers to describe protecting basic freedoms and reproductive rights rather than use the word abortion.
Vice President Harris this summer spoke to state legislators and other advocates in favor of a federal codification of Roe v. Wade and strategized about restrictive state abortion laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn a constitutional right to abortion.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), another Catholic who has spent years navigating around abortion issues (including when he was a vice presidential nominee in 2016), is supposed to be his party’s lead sponsor to restore Roe in the Senate, which members of his party find an awkward fit, The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports.
“The idea that a pro-life white male Senator has emerged as the face of the Democratic response by pushing legislation that falls far short of codifying Roe and still has no chance of passing is just impossible to justify,” said one Democratic operative. “It would be one thing if he were actually able to move legislation, but everyone knows he can’t, and it’s an extreme example of how inept Democrats are at offense.”
▪ The Associated Press: South Carolina lawmakers consider near total abortion ban.
▪ NBC News: No NBA games will be played on Election Day, Nov. 8. The absence of games on that date is an attempt by the multibillion-dollar professional basketball league to increase voter participation in this year’s midterm elections.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
The Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule on Tuesday to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, a move the Biden administration says will lower the high costs and improve access to the devices for all ages. Hearing aids are expected to start being sold over the counter at drug and retail stores by mid-October.
“This action makes good on my commitment to lower costs for American families, delivering nearly $3,000 in savings to American families for a pair of hearing aids and giving people more choices to improve their health and wellbeing,” Biden said in a statement (The Hill).
🦠 First lady Jill Biden on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19 while vacationing in South Carolina with members of the Biden family. With “cold-like symptoms” that began on Monday and a positive PCR test on Tuesday, the first lady, 71, began taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid. The White House said she will isolate from others in South Carolina for at least five days and return home after two consecutive negative tests. The president recently experienced a bout with COVID-19, and then a rebound case after taking Paxlovid while the first lady remained in Delaware before both left for a Kiawah Island vacation (The Wall Street Journal).
■ Liz Cheney and other jilted lovers need to move on from the GOP, by Gary Abernathy, contributing columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3pqYKbg
■ Hopeful signs for Democrats in the 2022 midterms, by William A. Galston, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3K1ouV2
■ Future remote workers need to network more — in college, by Conor Sen, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3QsGcTT
WHERE AND WHEN
The House will meet on Friday at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session. It will reconvene on Sept. 13.
The Senate convenes on Friday at 2:30 p.m. for a pro forma session during its summer recess, which ends Sept. 6.
The president has no public events scheduled. He is in Wilmington, Del.
The first lady is in South Carolina at a private residence while isolating with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and cold-like symptoms.
The vice president has no public events. She and second gentleman Doug Emhoff are in Kauai, Hawaii.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks at 11 a.m. at a State Department event to mark anniversaries of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship, and Foreign Affairs IT Fellowship Program.
Economic indicator: The Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. will report on U.S. retail sales in July, a key data point eyed by the Federal Reserve and many economists.
➤ POLIO, POX, PANDEMIC & HEALTH
Back to school alert: Polio vaccines are effective and required for children entering kindergarten in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, although states allow medical exemptions and, in some cases, religious or philosophical exemptions. Which states are highest and lowest for inoculation rates among kindergarteners? Highest: Mississippi and Louisiana. Lowest: Idaho and Washington, D.C. (NBC News).
State and local health authorities are facing new obstacles in the monkeypox response in the week since the Food and Drug Administration authorized Jynneos vaccine doses to be divided into fifths to expand the available supply using intradermal inoculations (injections under the skin). Clinicians, scientists and public health specialists question whether the technique, which requires skill and practice, can be performed effectively in all settings and with speed to try to expand the available supply of medication to a larger at-risk population (The Hill).
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,037,970. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 415, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Axios: Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act sees new life in holdout states such as North Carolina, Georgia, Wyoming, Alabama and Texas.
A suspected Ukrainian attack on Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people in what is believed to be the second attack on the peninsula in a matter of days. Moscow labeled the attack on Mayskoye, a Crimean village, an “act of sabotage.” Kyiv did not take responsibility for the blast (The Associated Press).
The Ukrainian energy agency responsible for the oversight and safe operation of the nation’s nuclear power plants said on Tuesday that Russian hackers had launched an ambitious but failed cyber attack. The Ukrainian power grid and the company’s oversight of the nation’s 15 working nuclear reactors were not disrupted (The New York Times).
Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged on Tuesday that the U.S. is using Ukraine as a proxy in order to maintain its standing in the world. “They need conflicts to retain their hegemony,” Putin said during a security conference that included military officials from Latin America, Asia and Africa. “That’s why they have turned the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder. The situation in Ukraine shows that the United States is trying to drag the conflict out, and it acts in exactly the same way trying to fuel conflicts in Asia, Africa and Latin America” (The Associated Press).
▪ The Washington Post: Road to war: U.S. struggled to convince allies, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, of risk of invasion.
▪ The Washington Post: Interview with Zelensky.
In the United Kingdom, inflation topped 10 percent in July (up from June) in a record not seen since 1982. Economists expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates again next month (Reuters).
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro and challenger and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is leading in all polls and wears a bulletproof vest for all appearances, on Tuesday campaigned among fears of violence. Bolsonaro, the far-right leader and a former army captain, has raised concerns that he could reject results if he loses the October vote. His candidacy was endorsed months ago by Trump (The Associated Press).
The sweeping legislation signed by Biden on Tuesday is hailed as Congress’s first meaningful action to curb climate change, but it’s a law that also props up fossil fuels at a time of high gasoline prices and election-year economic pressures. The Hill’s Rachel Frazin explains what’s in the new law to reduce greenhouse gasses and move to alternatives to fossil fuels.
The federal government had to step in when seven states along the Colorado River missed a federally imposed deadline to develop a new water-sharing agreement amid a 22-year drought (The Hill). … The federal Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday spared those states from imminent water cutbacks with renewed warnings that drastic conservation is needed to protect dwindling reservoirs from overuse and severe drought exacerbated by climate change (Reuters).
▪ The Associated Press: Arizona and Nevada will face cuts next year in the amount of water they can draw from the Colorado River if changes are not made, federal officials announced Tuesday. Western states have thus far failed to respond to a federal ultimatum to figure out how to cut their water use by at least 15 percent.
▪ The Associated Press: The Columbia River’s salmon in the state of Washington are at the core of ancient religion.
And finally … For 72 years, eight brides in one family have said “yes” to the same wedding dress, a tradition that began at a Chicago department store in 1950 (The Washington Post).
Adele Larson Stoneberg was the original, 21-year-old bride who selected a classic white satin dress at Marshall Field’s and invested $100. She loaned her gown to her two sisters when they married. Then, as the years went on, her daughter and three nieces asked if they could wear it as they walked down the aisle. Her granddaughter, Serena Stoneberg Lipari, wore the dress in the same Chicago church for her wedding on Aug. 5.
“There was no question that I would become the eighth bride to wear the dress,” Lipari, 27, said about the long-sleeved gown with a floor-length train, high collar and tiny elegant buttons down the back.
“When I started to walk down the aisle and thought about my grandmother also wearing the dress, the emotion hit me,” Lipari said. “I felt a special connection to her on my wedding day.”
Julie Frank Mackey, a cousin who in 2013 became the seventh bride to wear the dress, says it’s the best kind of “borrowed” talisman for generations of brides. “Everyone who has been married in the dress has had a long-lasting, healthy marriage, so we like to think it brings good luck,” she said. “We hope to continue to preserve the dress — and the tradition — for many weddings to come.”