The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by FICO — Trump’s election day gamble on Iran





Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and happy Tuesday! This daily email, a successor to The Hill’s Tipsheet, is reported by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger to get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE will announce one of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his administration today as voters cast primary ballots in key races that will offer the clearest signs to date about how the November midterm elections will shake out.

At 2 p.m., Trump will address the world from the White House, where he’ll announce whether the U.S. will remain in the nuclear deal the Obama administration struck with Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Germany.

Trump and his advisers have given every sign that they intend to rip up former President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.

But U.S. allies in France, Germany and the U.K. are hopeful the president will recertify the deal one more time to buy negotiators more time to hammer out an agreement they think will satisfy the president’s demands to crack down further on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

As Trump speaks about Iran, voters will be at the polls in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia as primary season gets underway for the 2018 midterm elections.

Republicans will find out whether they’re saddled with a former convict who has made racist remarks as their Senate candidate in West Virginia, which would otherwise be a prime pickup opportunity for the GOP.

Democrats, meanwhile, will be electing a candidate they hope will succeed Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) in what has turned into yet another bitter establishment versus grass roots primary.

It’s a lot to digest, so let’s get into it …





NEW YORK Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned on Monday night following detailed accusations published hours earlier by The New Yorker of physical assault and threats against four women.

    The New York Times: Schneiderman, 63, resigns while denying the allegations; Manhattan district attorney opens investigation.

    The Hill: Schneiderman issues a statement: "While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct ... they will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time."

Takeaway: Schneiderman’s exit marks a stunning fall for the former Democratic powerhouse, who had fashioned himself as a Trump critic and ally of the "Me Too" movement.

CAMPAIGNS:  Key primary before election day — The most interesting and consequential primary contest on Tuesday will take place among Republicans in West Virginia.

The national party is doing everything it can to sink former coal CEO Don Blankenship’s candidacy.

The Hill:  GOP nightmare looms in West Virginia.

The Hill: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Flake says he and his family got death threats 'from the right' Trump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona MORE (R-Ariz.) says he’ll donate to Democrat if Blankenship wins.


Republicans believe that if Blankenship tops Rep. Evan JenkinsEvan Hollin JenkinsTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Jenkins resigns from House, is sworn in on W.Va. Supreme Court More than 50 Dem House challengers outraise GOP incumbents MORE and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the primary, he is certain to lose to incumbent Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Early ballots pouring in with 15 days to the midterms Manchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia MORE (D-W.Va.), who is otherwise among the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2018.

Trump is doing his part.



But Blankenship, who has described himself as “Trumpier than Trump,” is swinging back.

“We all really like President Trump's policies, but we know he doesn't get things right. He recommended people vote for a guy that was basically accused of pedophilia in Alabama.” – Blankenship on WZTS in West Virginia on Monday.

Blankenship was referring to former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreFormer campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer Mellman: When questions don’t mean what they say CNN's Toobin: It's Trump's ‘nature’ to not believe accusations of sexual assault MORE, who lost the special election for Senate in Alabama. Trump stood by his endorsement of Moore after decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers surfaced in the final weeks of the campaign. Democrat Doug Jones now holds the seat.

How do the polls look? Alarming, if you’re a mainstream Republican or the president.

The Weekly Standard: Two West Virginia internal campaign polls show Blankenship narrowly edging GOP rivals.

Takeaway: After the Jones mess, Trump needs to show he has some sway, or at the very least, some newly acquired political savvy about contests that aren’t his own.

The Hill’s Lisa Hagen has a rundown of all the other primaries to watch today, too.

One notable race is taking place among Democrats in Ohio, where former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayDems go on offense against GOP lawsuit on pre-existing conditions Trump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas MORE will square off against former Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the governor’s race primary. Cordray has establishment support — and backing of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren wants probe into whether former U.S. soldiers worked as assassins for UAE 'Broad City' stars urge Clinton not to run again Big Dem donors stick to sidelines as 2020 approaches MORE (D-Mass.) — while Kucinich has the backing of a group affiliated with Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHarris presses young people to vote early in Iowa trip Dems lower expectations for 'blue wave' Election Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout MORE (I-Vt.).

Election day odds and ends:

Reuters: Republicans in key election races turn down the volume on Trump’s tax cuts.

The Atlantic: Incumbency is toxic in GOP primaries.

NPR: GOP fears about holding the Senate start to sink in.

The Associated Press: From prison to politics, Chelsea Manning runs for U.S. Senate.

The New York Times: California Republicans an endangered species.

The Hill: N.C. Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Kavanaugh accuser Ford offers gripping testimony | Sights and sounds from Capitol | Hearing grips Washington Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump caps UN visit with wild presser | Accuses China of election meddling | Pentagon spending bill clears House | Hawks cheer bill | Lawmakers introduce resolution to force Yemen vote MORE (R) faces an opponent today who seeks to frame his independent streak as evidence of disloyalty to Trump.

The Hill: How social pressures drive the partisan education gap.

INTERNATIONAL: From nuclear agreements to negotiations on trade, the administration is mighty busy today.

IRAN — The president has described the Iran nuclear deal as a “disaster” negotiated by the Obama administration. It delivered, in his view, too little risk reduction for the world, in exchange for too much sanctions relief for Tehran.

Bolstered by Israel, as well as his new national security adviser, John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWarren wants probe into whether former U.S. soldiers worked as assassins for UAE Slain Saudi columnist upends 'Davos in the Desert' Koreas, UN Command pulling weapons, guard posts inside DMZ MORE, Iran hard-liners, Trump is expected this afternoon to describe the next steps for the U.S. and the impact of his policy approach.

The New York Times: European diplomats said Trump appeared inclined to scrap the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran that were suspended in July 2015.

BBC: What did the provisions of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal include? A refresher.

The Washington Post: All the different ways the president could go on the Iran deal.

The Washington Post: The legality of the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion cash deal with Iran, explained by the Fact-Checker.

CHINA Bloomberg: U.S. trade talks with China, which produced no breakthroughs last week in Beijing, continue next week in Washington, the White House announced Monday. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, will meet with top U.S. officials.

DIPLOMACY The Associated Press: State Department says the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, doesn’t represent U.S. foreign policy.

INVESTIGATIONS: Trump and conservative media appear emboldened by recent developments surrounding special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe:

  • A federal judge rejected the prosecutor’s request to delay the first hearing in a criminal case against 13 Russian individuals and three Russian entities accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Fox News: Cracks in Mueller investigation.

Alan Dershowitz: Federal judge rightly rebukes Mueller for questionable tactics.

Washington Examiner: Time to end the crazy secrecy of the Trump-Russia investigation.

  • Conservatives say newly unredacted details from a House Intelligence Committee report raise questions about why law enforcement officials approached Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and whether he was wrongly pressured into pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

The National Review: Outrageous redactions to the Russia report.

The Wall Street Journal: The mystery of Michael Flynn’s guilty plea.

Trump is getting in on the act, too.



The Hill’s Niall Stanage reports that the sum total of these developments is that the president appears less and less likely to sit for an interview with Mueller.

The Associated Press: Trump grows frustrated with Giuliani.

The Hill: GOP leaders ponder holding Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Support for legal marijuana hits all-time high: Gallup Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE in contempt.


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BUDGET: The Hill — The White House today will ask Congress to cancel $15 billion out of $1.3 trillion in recently enacted spending, which will start a 45-day period for action. House GOP lawmakers, appealing to midterm voters, seek to trim “wasteful spending.” The Senate is unlikely to take up a rescissions measure this year, according to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, but he will get pressure from Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch, which has pitched the White House on a $45 billion rescissions deal.

VETERANS AFFAIRS: The Hill — The House Veterans Affairs’ Committee is scheduled today to consider a controversial GOP health-care measure. The White House on Monday urged the House to approve a bill addressing a private-care “choice” program and its funding before the end of this month.     


CIA: Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee to lead the nation’s spy agency, will answer senators’ questions tomorrow during a confirmation hearing the White House is working to support.

The Hill: Administration bears down in late push for CIA nominee.

The Hill: The White House assures lawmakers that Haspel is committed to the CIA director post, should she be confirmed.

The Hill: The CIA delivers classified materials to Congress about Haspel’s more than three decades with the agency.

IMMIGRATION: The Wall Street Journal  Tighter U.S. approach to illegal border crossings unveiled last week will separate families. Under a new policy, adult migrants may be detained while asylum cases are considered.

The Hill: The Pentagon is untangling details of the president’s surprise decision in April to send National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border. At least 1,000 guardsmen have been deployed, and lawmakers seek answers about costs, necessity and lengths of deployments. 

SEC: The Hill — The longest-tenured Republican on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Monday that he will retire in July, creating a potential deadlock at the financial watchdog agency.

FIRST LADY: The HillMelania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump to host screening of 'Wonder' for National Bullying Prevention Month Jake Tapper to Trump after tweet about Florida governor debate: ‘Thanks for watching CNN!’ The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis MORE announced Monday she will travel and showcase “Be Best” initiatives that aim to help children impacted by the opioid crisis, cyberbullying and other risks to their well-being. She offered no policy details.

         The Hill – The White House denied reports of a frayed relationship between the first lady and the president, as well as rumors the first lady lives for periods outside the White House with her parents.

         CNN: The first lady is the most popular Trump, according to a recent poll.


War on the right, by Jonah Goldberg, The National Review. https://bit.ly/2wlX3mX

Mar-a-Lago is an embarrassing cash grab, by Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubSolicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits News station criticized for publishing 'smear' about man killed in his apartment by off-duty officer Former ethics chief, a vocal Trump critic, joins watchdog group MORE, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2I70fo1


The House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning debate and at noon for legislative business.

The Senate will reconvene at 2:30 p.m. to debate the nomination of Kurt Engelhardt for U.S. 5th Circuit Court judge. Senate Democratic leaders will unveil a report accusing Republicans of raising health care costs on the middle class. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and conservative leaders will hold a press conference at 4:15 p.m. to address government funding and Congress’s work pace.

The president meets with GOP members of Congress, then has lunch with Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceIn midst of political violence, America greatly needs unity O'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump, Obama head to swing states with Senate majority in balance MORE and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-lawmaker urges Americans to publicly confront officials Migrant caravan expands to 5,000 DHS to 'closely monitor' caravan of migrants headed for US border MORE. He delivers remarks about the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. In the evening, Trump hosts a reception for the Federal Judges Association in the East Room.

The vice president is having lunch with the president and will attend his afternoon remarks regarding Iran.


> Controversial Iran-Contra figure Oliver North to become NRA president, by Lisa Marie Pane, The Associated Press. https://bit.ly/2jCNoiy

> Trump made high price drugs his issue. Democrats think they can take it back, by Erica Werner and Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2jGxZxU

> The FBI is in crisis. It’s worse than you think, by Eric Lichtblau, Time magazine. https://ti.me/2rrqlvk

> How Ebola entered the American consciousness: A Trump tweet, by Reid Wilson, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2I1OK0P


In appreciation of eye-catching newspaper ledes this morning: “PARIS — The most uncomfortable thing about being naked in a museum, it turns out, is the temperature.” (The New York Times, by Thomas Rogers, describing his participation in the first nudist tour of the Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art museum. Shoes permitted. And yes, the article included photos.)

And finally … residents of Hawaii’s Big Island are displaying some serious pluck and fortitude as the planet’s molten core consumes houses, cars, roadways and tropical acreage near active volcano Kilauea. In history, many believed Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, took many forms, including molten lava. On Monday, some of that angry fire reached skyward to the height of the Statue of Liberty. Take a look at some startling photos here.