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The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Trump caves under immense pressure — what now?

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and happy Thursday! Our daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch, co-created by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., has a packed lineup this morning: Tune in for White House communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Fusion GPS co-founder will invoke 'constitutional rights not to testify': lawyers House panels postpone meeting with Rosenstein MORE (R-N.C.), Trump confidant Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel The Hill's Morning Report — Where the Kavanaugh nomination stands The Mueller investigation: Where it stands at the midterms MORE, Rep. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveElection Countdown: Florida candidates face new test from hurricane | GOP optimistic about expanding Senate majority | Top-tier Dems start heading to Iowa | Bloomberg rejoins Dems | Trump heads to Pennsylvania rally Dems see blue 'tsunami' in House as Senate path narrows Cook Political Report shifts 7 more races towards Dems MORE (R-Utah) and The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusackhttp://thehill.com/hilltv

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE buckled under pressure on Wednesday, giving in to global outrage over his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border.

The Hill: Trump backs down in rare reversal.

READ the document the president signed here: https://bit.ly/2JSzEzH

The president’s hastily drafted executive order will keep in place the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy against illegal border crossings but will allow children to remain with their parents in detention. Trump asked the Justice Department to expedite immigration cases involving families and to provide additional space for family units.

“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.” — Trump.

Indeed, the images of crying children sleeping under foil blankets in warehouses provoked outrage from all corners, uniting in incredulity and disapproval Pope Francis, Trump-aligned Christian groups, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, governors, mayors and heads of state, groups representing stakeholders, citizen protestors, plus commentators in the entertainment and news media.

The Memo: Negative images, family pressure lead Trump to cave (Reporting here from The Hill’s Niall Stanage captures the internal backbiting and hand-wringing surrounding an uncommon and swift retreat by the president).

Trump cited internal pressure from first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania spokeswoman calls for boycott of TI over video The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | How Trump could work with a Dem House | Trump heads to Florida to view hurricane damage The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump travels to hurricane-ravaged Florida, Georgia MORE and daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | How Trump could work with a Dem House | Trump heads to Florida to view hurricane damage Watchdog files Hatch Act complaint against Sanders for picture with Kanye in MAGA hat The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy MORE for the reversal.

“Ivanka feels very strongly. My wife feels very strongly about it. I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. We don't like to see families separated.”

 

Of course, a controversy this hot takes time to cool.

Democrats said the Trump order doesn’t go far enough. They continued to protest on the floor of the Senate.

 

 

 

 

And there are questions about whether Trump’s order conflicts with existing law.

Reuters: Trump immigration order may not prevent some family separations.

As The Hill’s Jordan Fabian notes, under a 1997 court settlement, children who are accompanied by parents cannot be held in custody for more than 20 days.

The president has asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFBI investigated whether McCabe leaked info about Flynn and Trump to media Ex-Senate Intel staffer pleads guilty to lying to feds over contacts with journalists House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE to request from a federal court a change to the 1997 settlement that would allow migrant families to be detained together with minor children for a longer period. New lawsuits are all but certain.

The Associated Press: Trump’s immigration order sparks confusion, deep concern.

The New York Times: Children who have already been separated from their parents won’t be immediately reunited.

Trump’s reversal comes after he and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTop Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows Hillicon Valley: Officials warn of Chinese influence efforts | Dow drops over 800 points | Tech stocks hit hard | Google appeals B EU fine | James Murdoch may be heading for Tesla | Most Americans worried about election security MORE claimed, incorrectly, that the president was powerless to act. They spent most of Tuesday demanding action in Congress and blaming Democrats and the media for the backlash.

The Washington Post: The Trump administration’s wildly contradictory statements on family separation.

Many Republican senators believe legislation is still needed to address the issue, but The Hill’s Jordain Carney and Alexander Bolton report that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJuan Williams: Trump’s policies on race are more important than his rhetoric It’s Mitch McConnell’s Washington – and we’re just living in it Trump makes new overtures to Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) may have no interest in revisiting the explosive issue during an election year:

“It remains to be seen if McConnell will want to tackle immigration again in the wake of Trump's executive order. McConnell is co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Republicans on Wednesday but if immigration fades from the headlines, he could opt to move to other matters — such as voting on Trump's pending nominees.”

The Hill: Senate moving ahead with border bill despite Trump.

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As a Medicare Part D Cliff looms for seniors, the program’s successful structure is also in jeopardy. Congress can act now to protect seniors from the donut hole suddenly increasing by more than $1,200, and secure the program for the future by fixing changes that undermine its successful competitive structure.



LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: Meanwhile, the House is set today to consider separate immigration measures distinct from the “zero tolerance” backlash. It’s possible neither has the votes to pass, and the reluctance of Senate Republicans to act before the November elections means there is almost zero chance that proposed changes, for instance to help so-called Dreamers, become law in 2018.

Senate GOP – immigrationThe Hill: Senate Republicans say legislation is still needed to address the overflow of detained immigrants at the border after Trump’s executive order on Wednesday. GOP senators, however, would need support from Democrats to get a bill to the president’s desk. They assert this is unlikely.

House GOP – immigrationThe Hill: Ahead of critical votes scheduled today in the House, the president, Cabinet officials and Republican leaders launched a full-court press for an immigration measure designed to win backing from centrist Republicans and perhaps some conservative members. Passage is uncertain. Rank-and-file members initially spearheaded the push as a way to challenge House GOP leaders, hoping to force floor action to help beneficiaries of the embattled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The votes got off to an inauspicious start on Wednesday, when Meadows got into a heated exchange over immigration with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight Paul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans GOP super PAC pushes back on report it skipped ad buys for California's Rohrabacher, Walters MORE (R-Wis.) on the House floor (The Hill).

Senate – spendingThe Hill: Trump lost his bid, supported with gusto by some House conservatives, to cancel government spending approved and enacted several months ago. The Senate on Wednesday narrowly rejected a proposal to claw back roughly $15 billion in spending approved by Congress earlier this year. Conservatives hoped the plan might enhance the GOP’s appeal to voters as the fiscally conservative party.

Congress – rules changesThe Hill: The centrist No Labels organization wants the next House Speaker to pledge to back changes to congressional rules that might foster more bipartisanship and participation by rank-and-file lawmakers. No Labels plans to unveil its good-government proposals and is pitching ideas to lawmakers, looking to 2019.

Congress - insulinThe Hill: Rising insulin costs have attracted bipartisan scrutiny in Congress. Three companies control 99 percent of the world's insulin, leading to calls from lawmakers for greater transparency and federal oversight in the market for a drug needed by more than 30 million people in the U.S. with diabetes.

Congress – Chinese research in U.S.The Washington Post reports that members of Congress want the Education Department and Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDeVos will no longer seek to delay Obama-era student loan regulations Kavanaugh secures votes needed for Senate confirmation Collins to announce Kavanaugh position on Friday afternoon MORE to investigate Chinese research partnerships at U.S. colleges and universities to determine if they pose national security risks. A bipartisan group of 26 lawmakers want to know more about Chinese telecom company Huawei’s research partnerships and other relationships with several dozen American colleges and universities.

Congress – Space ForceThe Hill: It will be up to Congress to weigh Trump's renewed push for a military "space force." But the idea, which requires statutory approval, is facing roadblocks in Congress and at the Pentagon.

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CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Trump rallied supporters in Duluth, Minn. last night. It was a campaign rally, so the president predictably attacked the “elites,” the “fake news” media, taunted a protester and oversaw a crowd chanting “CNN sucks.”

But it was also a big event attended by thousands in a state that Trump nearly won in 2016.

Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the state by just more than 1 point and Republicans have a major pick-up opportunity in the House in the 8th District, where Trump visited.

The president brought on stage Republican Pete Stauber, who is running for the open seat in a district that Trump carried by 16 points in 2016. The Cook Political Report rates that race a toss-up.

There are also two Senate races in Minnesota this year, although Cook has both leaning Democratic.

“We need more Republicans, we gotta get out there in the midterms.” – Trump.

 

 

The rally comes as The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports that voters are more energized about showing up at the polls this November than they have been for any recent midterm election (The Hill). A lot of that energy is coming from the left in opposition to the president.

A few polls…

CNN: Support for Democrats ticks up and they retain enthusiasm advantage.

Monmouth University: Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (D-W.Va.) leads his GOP rival by 9 points.

From the campaign trail … Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) will spend $80 million this election cycle, most of it going to help congressional Democrats retake the House (The New York Times) … Arizona’s Senate GOP primary is pushing Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate Sinema campaign launches effort to target undecided GOP voters MORE to the right on immigration (The Hill) … Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has resigned from his post as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee (ABC News) … Republican National Committee chairwoman, Labor secretary cancel on Latino conference (Politico).

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As a Medicare Part D Cliff looms for seniors, the program’s successful structure is also in jeopardy. Congress can act now to protect seniors from the donut hole suddenly increasing by more than $1,200, and secure the program for the future by fixing changes that undermine its successful competitive structure.


IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

 WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION:

U.S. Census BureauThe Hill: New census figures show booming growth among minority populations, while the white-alone population declines, hastening a demographic overhaul that is reshaping the face of America. One other trend: the Midwest is getting notably younger.

Labor and Education Departments: The administration is expected today to propose a government reorganization that would merge the Labor and Education departments into one federal agency, The Washington Post reports. The government overhaul plan would shrink some departments, such as the Office of Personnel Management, and propose altering some of the bureaucracy, including consolidating federal safety net programs for the poor. The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations also sought to reorganize elements of the federal bureaucracy, with limited success, because Congress has to approve the ideas, along with federal unions. In the Trump administration, the Office of Management and Budget is spearheading the proposals.

State Department - Trade: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell brought to the Trump administration on Wednesday a proposal from Berlin for an industry trade pact. Germany’s leading automakers have thrown their support behind scrapping all import tariffs for cars between the European Union and the U.S. in an effort to find a peaceful solution to a brewing trade war. 

Environmental Protection AgencyThe Hill: Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports Suspended EPA health official: Administration’s actions mean ‘kids are disposable’ Overnight Energy: Interior reprimands more than 1,500 for misconduct | EPA removes 22 Superfund sites from list | DOJ nominee on environment nears confirmation MORE is still the recipient of public warnings from GOP backers on Capitol Hill, who are concerned about the investigations and media attention his management decisions have sparked. Fellow Oklahoman Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGraham: 'Game changer' if Saudis behind journalist's disappearance GOP senators ask EPA to block states that have 'hijacked' rule to stop fossil fuel production Pentagon releases report on sexual assault risk MORE (R) says Pruitt got the message and has changed his ways. “There are probably times when he displayed questionable judgment,” said the senator, who met with his longtime friend on Tuesday evening.

West Wing – Middle EastThe Hill: Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Khashoggi disappearance tests US-Saudi relationship The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | How Trump could work with a Dem House | Trump heads to Florida to view hurricane damage Virginia judge calls Manafort’s plea deal ‘highly unusual,’ but is it? MORE met with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss a Middle East peace plan. Kushner was joined by U.S. Middle East envoy Jason GreenblattThe Associated Press: Trump’s Mideast team gets close-up view of peace obstacles.

West Wing - Russia: National Security Adviser John Bolton plans to travel to Moscow to prepare for a likely meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir PutinReuters reports, citing information reported today by the Interfax news agency. Both leaders have said they would like to meet soon, likely next month (The Hill).

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

OPINION

The science behind how family separation harms children, by Katharine Yun, pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2lpc1jQ

What the news media aren’t telling you about immigration, by Kayleigh McEnany, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, opinion contributor with The Hill. https://bit.ly/2K2GD8L

WHERE AND WHEN

The House convenes at 9 a.m. Votes are expected on two GOP-drafted immigration measures.

The Senate convenes at 9:45 a.m. and resumes consideration of the appropriations measure on Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction and VA.            

The president holds a meeting of his Cabinet. He has a working lunch with invited governors. In the afternoon, Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight GOP strategist says Trump is taking 'appropriate stance' with Saudi Arabia Saudi Embassy in DC cancels National Day celebration amid uproar over missing journalist MORE, followed by Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisMattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration Overnight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Americans are safer from terrorism, but new threats are arising MORE. (The White House picnic for Congress and family members, scheduled tonight on the first day of summer, was “postponed” on Wednesday by the president. A new date was not announced.)

ELSEWHERE

> German Chancellor Angela Merkel approaches a moment of reckoning, The Financial Times opinion. “On the big issues of the day — eurozone reform and migration — there is little room left for Germany’s chancellor to procrastinate, and all of her options are politically risky.”

> U.S. prepares for return of war dead remains from North Korea, by Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press. “More than 36,000 U.S. troops died in the conflict, including those listed as missing in action. Close to 7,700 U.S. troops remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, and about 5,300 of those were lost in North Korea.”

> The `Holy Grail’ of baseball cards will be on display next month in ColoradoThe Denver Post. Condition is what makes this particular Mickey Mantle card worth millions of dollars to memorabilia collectors.

 

THE CLOSER

And finally … this week’s Morning Report QUIZ CONTEST reflects Washington’s sudden preoccupation with hearts. See if you can match these speakers with their immigration-related statements, and those of you with correct answers will take a bow in tomorrow’s newsletter as particularly astute news consumers this week. Email guesses to jeasley@thehill.com or asimendinger@thehill.com, and please put “Quiz” in the subject line.

  1. A)  Melania Trump, through her spokeswoman
  2. B)  Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBeto O'Rourke will not share million he raised with other Dem Senate candidates Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight Donald Trump Jr. blasts Beto O’Rourke: ‘Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic’ MORE (R-Texas)
  3. C)  President Trump
  4. E)  Former first lady Laura Bush
  5. G) Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.)
  1. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
  2. “We need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart.”  
  3. “There’s no doubt the images that we’ve seen of children and children being separated from their parents are heartbreaking. They were heartbreaking when Obama was president.”  
  4. "Mr. President, have a heart for a change. Take that goddamn pen of yours and do away with this horrendous, inhumane policy of yours that rips children from the arms of their parents."
  5. "You have people that want absolute security and safety, and you have people that do look at the children, and then you have people like me, and I think most of the people in this room, that want both. We want the heart, but we also want strong borders, and we want no crime. We don't want crime in this country. We don't want people coming in."