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The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Primary results give both parties hopes for November

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and happy Wednesday! Our daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. This week, Alexis Simendinger is holding down the fort while co-editor Jonathan Easley is on vacation. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)



On the Super Tuesday of the 2018 primary calendar, Democrats had a good night in contests that crisscrossed eight states, involved 85 House races, five gubernatorial contests, five Senate seats and hundreds of other state and local races.

But Republicans turned in a good showing, too, avoiding calamity that could have cost them several seats in the House. The Hill’s Reid Wilson, reporting from California in the wee hours, provides six takeaways:

  • The Golden State’s peculiar jungle primary was not a disaster for Democrats, as many had feared. They appear to have secured at least a second-place finish in every race they targeted.
  • California Republicans were happy to gain a gubernatorial candidate, John Cox, now securely on the general election ballot against Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The matchup can bring GOP voters to the polls in November.
  • Democratic success in November increasingly rests on the shoulders of female candidates, after another primary night in which women rolled to party nominations in state after state, in some cases by surprisingly large margins.





LEADING THE DAY

CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Check out TheHill.com for additional reporting about the primary results Tuesday in eight states.

The president signs the “VA Mission Act” at the White House today, a measure that passed 92-5 in the Senate, with plenty of credit going to sponsor, Democratic Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report Trump on 'I love you' from rally crowd: 'I finally heard it from a woman' Patagonia makes its first election endorsements with two Western Democrats MORE (Mont.). Has the president invited the Montana rancher, who’s up for reelection, to the signing ceremony? He blamed Tester for disclosing damaging information from unnamed witnesses that helped scuttle Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ronny Jackson to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. (On the other hand, the president last week included Democratic Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyConservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Donnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B MORE (Ind.), a sponsor of legislation to help the terminally ill get experimental medications, among White House signing-ceremony guests.)

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House - Northern Virginia: The Hill’s Lisa Hagen reports on the half a dozen Democrats who are locked in a tight primary battle June 12 to take on vulnerable Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockElizabeth Warren’s DNA test sounds more like ‘identity theft’ The Memo: Trump chats up media ahead of midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race MORE (R-Va.), whose swing seat turned deep blue in Virginia’s statewide election last year. Comstock’s Northern Virginia district has never attracted this many viable Democratic candidates, but Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans bail on Coffman to invest in Miami seat Katy Perry praises Taylor Swift for diving into politics Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue MORE’s double-digit margin in 2016 prompted a surge in candidates and pushed Comstock’s seat to the top of Democrats’ target list.

Senate - Virginia: State delegate Nick Freitas, running for a U.S. Senate seat, was endorsed Tuesday by the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, which will invest in grass-roots mobilization, digital ads and phone calls leading up to Virginia’s June 12 primary.

> Koch brothers: BuzzFeed: David Koch, 78, will step down from his company and political organizations, citing ill health, according to his brother Charles Koch. The billionaire brothers have influenced conservative politics for decades.

House Democrats: The Hill: Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonGOP lawmaker once belittled sexual harassment: 'How traumatizing was it?' Dershowitz: Obama, Ellison have 'special obligation' to condemn Farrakhan Ellison accuses ex-wife of physical abuse, divorce records show: report MORE (D-Minn.) made it official Tuesday, filing to run for attorney general in his home state just hours before the deadline. Ellison held the second-in-command spot at the Democratic National Committee. His decision to return to Minnesota politics is a sign, some observers say, of impatience with Washington’s Democratic leaders and younger progressives’ ambitions to rise.

2020 Democrats: The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that on the heels of the 2016 election, Democrats have been rallying around the idea of new faces and new leadership. But one Democrat has seemed to run counter to that idea: former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Clinton aide: Chances 'highly unlikely' but 'not zero' Hillary will run for president again 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.

Summit for progressives: On June 13 in Washington, progressive political groups and activists will convene a one-day “We the People Summit” to hear from featured progressive lawmakers, many of whom seem to be weighing their political futures. (Biden was not on the guest list.)

Hosts include Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Demos Action, MoveOn, People’s Action, 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, PICO National Network, Caring Across Generations, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Faith in Action Fund, Sierra Club, 350 Action, Indivisible and United We Dream.

Speakers are to include Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Kamala Harris rallies voters in South Carolina MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Bernie Sanders' age should not disqualify him in 2020 Small-dollar donations explode in the Trump era MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDNA is irrelevant — Elizabeth Warren is simply not Cherokee 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 Clinton aide: Chances 'highly unlikely' but 'not zero' Hillary will run for president again MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa Kamala Harris rallies voters in South Carolina On The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit MORE (D-Calif.), plus Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalElection Countdown: Midterm fight heats up over Kavanaugh | McConnell sees energized base | Dems look to women to retake House | How suburban voters could decide control of Congress | Taylor Swift backs Tennessee Dems | Poll shows Cruz up 5 in Texas Dems look to women to take back the House after Kavanaugh fight Wrong for Democrats to call for more Kavanaugh investigations MORE (D-Wash.)

 

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CONGRESS: Immigration continues to roil House discussions, while the Senate decided its to-do list requires the cancellation of a one-month summer break from the nation’s capital during an election year.

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Investigations: CNN: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeFBI investigated media leak of McCabe comment about Flynn and Trump Clinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request Rod Rosenstein must recuse himself MORE wants committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October MORE (R-Iowa) and other members of the panel to grant him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying next week at a hearing focused on how senior officials at the FBI and Justice Department handled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, according to a letter obtained by the network.

 

Immigration: The Hill: The number of House lawmakers who hope to force floor action on immigration expanded to 215 on Tuesday, just three short of the 218 needed to override the reluctance among GOP leaders. A let’s-talk-it-over meeting among all House Republicans is scheduled Thursday.

 

> The Hill: House Republican leaders say a compromise immigration bill might be able to quell an internal rebellion and attract 218 GOP votes. Leaders plan to pitch some of the ideas to rank-and-file members Thursday, and those working on the alternative will meet again today. The GOP measure would include a fix for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, border security, limiting family-based migration and ending the diversity visa lottery program.

 

Senate - Trade: The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Schumer: Fight for Senate is 'neck and neck' Nikki Haley powerfully rebuts Trump MORE (R-Ky.) says he’s open to a legislative effort to try to counter Trump’s controversial trade tariffs on steel and aluminum, which go into effect July 1. Support among Republicans has grown for legislation backed by Sens.Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation Schumer: Fight for Senate is 'neck and neck' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) that would give Congress power to authorize or reject any new tariffs imposed because of national security concerns. McConnell doesn’t want to risk a confrontation with the president but also wants to be responsive to the concerns of colleagues who think Trump’s trade agenda is misguided, senators say.

 

Senate to work in August: The Hill: As expected, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced he’ll keep the Senate in Washington longer this summer, citing the pending workload heading into the fall, and the high volume of nominees awaiting confirmation votes. “Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled," McConnell said in a statement. The House is not following suit (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

House - Transgender: USA Today: More than 120 lawmakers called on the administration to reverse the Pentagon’s ban on transgender troops.

 

House Democrats - Agenda: The Hill: If Democrats take control of the House next year, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Democratic candidate denounces attack ads on rap career MORE (D-Calif.) says her party will abide by pay-as-you-go rules, despite pressure from liberals to throw out those restrictions, given the budgetary impact of the GOP tax changes enacted in 2017.

 

Senate - Surveillance: The Hill: Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK MORE (D-Ore.) is demanding action from the Federal Communications Commission and private phone companies to better protect Americans from being spied on and digitally tracked. Fresh concerns about privacy and security are mounting amid revelations of potential surveillance activity in the D.C. region.



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IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

 WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Group of Seven summit: The Hill: The annual G-7 economic summit this week, hosted by Canada, is shaping up to be a lion's den for Trump, who will meet with allies just a week after he imposed controversial tariffs on most of the countries in attendance June 8-9. In addition to the U.S., attendees include the heads of state from Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

 

> Referencing the upcoming G-7 gathering, conservative Koch-backed groups Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity and The Libre Initiative urged Trump to “rescind all tariffs on steel and aluminum among our nation’s trading partners.” The June 5 letter, shared with The Hill, warned the president that U.S. tariffs “are already having the opposite effect of the 2017 tax cuts, raising prices on consumers and businesses that buy imported goods for consumption or use in production.” The Koch Network has announced a campaign to promote free trade and combat the administration’s tariffs posture (Bloomberg).

 

Trump & culture wars: Niall Stanage explores in The Memo how Trump draws the nation's attention to conservative issues with roots in Washington, sports, health care and abortion, education, and in faith-based communities. The president sees political advantage in speaking directly to socially conservative voters who often feel maligned – by other politicians ("deplorables"), the news media and a broadly liberal popular culture.

 

 

 

 

White House communications: CNN: West Wing communications aide Kelly Sadler is no longer working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., a Trump spokesman confirmed. The Hill was the first to report in May that Sadler dismissively mocked Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms MORE (R-Ariz.) as “dying anyway” during discussions among colleagues. Sadler apologized to the McCain family but not publicly. Her last day in the White House was Tuesday.

 

Commerce Department: Reuters reports the Trump administration and Chinese manufacturer ZTE Corp. reached an agreement in principle designed to lift a department ban on buying from U.S. suppliers, allowing the telecommunications equipment maker to return to business.

 

> Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel MORE (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement that if the reporting about ZTE’s deal is correct, the administration’s decision is a “huge mistake” because the U.S. intelligence community determined ZTE poses a national security threat.

 

Justice Department: The Hill: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE on Tuesday defended the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their families, arguing during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the policy promotes border security, and that the children are "well taken care of."

 

Medicare: The Hill: Medicare trustees forecast insolvency by 2026 in the federal health care program, years earlier than projected. As they have in the past, they urged immediate action. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia | Treasury releases guidance on 'opportunity zone' program | Maxine Waters gets company in new GOP line of attack Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance Treasury releases guidance on 'opportunity zone' program created by Trump tax law MORE said the administration's agenda of lower taxes and federal regulatory changes will lead to the economic growth needed to secure the Medicare and Social Security programs in the future. The secretary’s confidence, which did not address the aging beneficiary population and rising health care costs, has been challenged by economists and nonpartisan experts.

 

Pentagon contracting: The Hill: Google’s decision not to renew a controversial artificial intelligence contract with the Pentagon has reignited a debate about what Silicon Valley’s role should be when it comes to the U.S. military and warfare.

 

Education Department: The Hill: Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosO'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate Charter schools’ ‘Uberization’ of teaching profession hurts kids too Court rules Obama-era student loan regulations must take effect MORE reversed her previous testimony, telling senators on Tuesday that she doesn’t believe schools can report undocumented students to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for enforcement. A month ago, the American Civil Liberties Union strongly challenged the legal underpinnings of DeVos’s earlier assertion that local schools and communities are free to make those decisions.

 

> Politico: DeVos also testified that the president’s school safety commission established after a shooting at a Florida high school will not study potential changes to gun laws.

 

INTERNATIONAL: North Korea: The summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, a rollercoaster for planners and logistics, will take place at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore on June 12.

 

“A lot of relationship being built. A lot of negotiation going on even before the trip. But it looks like it’s coming along fine. We’ll see what happens. But, very important. It’ll be a very important couple of days,” Trump told reporters.

 

 

 

 

One Der Spiegel correspondent identified two of the location’s VIP attractions:

 

 

 

 

Russia: CNBC: Russian President Vladimir Putin says he and Trump speak regularly.

 

Iran: The Associated Press: Iran informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it will increase its nuclear enrichment capacity within the limits set by the 2015 agreement with world powers. The modest steps appeared to signal that Iran could resume its drive toward industrial-scale enrichment if the nuclear accord, from which the United States has withdrawn, comes unraveled with the remaining nations that backed it.

 

Mexico trade: Reuters: Mexico, unhappy with Trump’s trade policies, announced retaliatory duties Tuesday on steel, pork, bourbon, fruit and other agricultural products and motor boats, among others. The products chosen are meant to send a message to states in which the president enjoys political support.



The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley jeasley@thehill.com & Alexis Simendinger asimendinger@thehill.com. Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!



OPINION

Could North Korea use cryptocurrency to dodge international sanctions? by Martin Weiss, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2LWLOFj

 

There is no economic boom in sight, by Robert Shapiro, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2LoAiRQ



WHERE AND WHEN

The House and Senate meet this morning. In the House, the Education and the Workforce Committee at 9:45 a.m. hears from Secretary Alex Azar about policies managed by the Health and Human Services Department.

The president will sign the “VA Mission Act” at the White House midday. This afternoon, Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe 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 CNN's Acosta sends private message to former Melania Trump aide: 'F--- you' Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns MORE visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to attend a briefing about federal preparations for hurricanes and natural disasters. Later in the afternoon, the president meets with GOP senators in the Cabinet Room. Trump will host the White House iftar dinner, the traditional meal that ends the Ramadan fast.



ELSEWHERE

> How to fix your complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple (a clickable consumer guide), by Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Washington Post.

 

> Hundreds of Illinois children languish in psychiatric hospitals after they’re cleared for release. Psychiatrists and mental health experts say circumstances in Illinois are among the most dire in the nation, by Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica co-published with The Atlantic.

 

> The sweet sounds of accent-riddled podcasts, by Virginia Heffernan, Wired.



THE CLOSER

And finally … Would you buy a used car (online) from a vending machine? You heard that right.

 

Not far from Washington, D.C., in Gaithersburg, Md., and in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, Carvana dispenses pre-owned automobiles from glass towers, offering customers a “coin” the size of a beverage coaster, which mechanically releases the vehicles. “Completely automated.” No unctuous salespeople and triplicate forms. Free auto delivery to homes or offices. (The company calls its approach a “novelty experience.”)