The Hill’s Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Washington grapples with civility, protests in charged political times
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Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., today features Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and John Solomon of The Hill, who discusses reporting in his opinion article about Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and the FBI. http://thehill.com/hilltv
The House is preparing to vote on a so-called compromise immigration bill amid ongoing backlash against the Trump administration over the treatment of families arrested for crossing into the country illegally.
The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers,” partially fund the border wall and prevent families from being separated at the border.
GOP leaders pulled the same bill from consideration last week because it lacked the votes to pass. Lawmakers are doubtful that it will have enough support to clear the House today.
The Hill: Immigration bill on life support in the House.
If the compromise bill fails, expect lawmakers to consider a narrow bill aimed at enshrining into law President Trump’s executive order preventing children from being separated from their parents at the border.
The Hill: Vulnerable House GOP leader takes lead on family separations bill.
That controversy has now dragged into its second week of angry debate and protests that have split the country.
The Memo: Trump suffers early damage on separations.
A second debate is also raging — this one more political in nature — about civility and public confrontations with government officials.
The inciting events:
- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was denied service at a Lexington, Va., restaurant called The Red Hen over the weekend.
- Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is calling on protesters to confront government officials in public. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) are among those who have been drummed out of public spaces at recreational stops in the past week. Demonstrators protested outside of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s home last night.
Conservatives are warning that someone could get hurt.
“We are allowed to disagree but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm. And this goes for all people regardless of politics … the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.” – Sanders.
Government Executive obtained this internal DHS memo from over the weekend:
“In recent days, DHS has determined there may be a heightened threat against DHS employees in response to U.S. government actions surrounding immigration. This assessment is based on specific and credible threats that have been levied against certain DHS employees and a sharp increase in the overall number of general threats against DHS employees — although the veracity of each threat varies.” – acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Claire Grady.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it is “not American” to harass political opponents. Waters is digging in, saying she’s calling for “peaceful” protests. Democrats are largely separating themselves from Waters’s remarks — but many are blaming Trump for setting the tone of the debate.
Indeed, after the president attacked The Red Hen’s paint job, he shot back at Waters with a threat of his own.
The takeaway: The Trump administration protests that began with the Women’s March and continued after the Muslim ban have reignited in opposition to the policy of separating children from their parents. These protests have been effective and undoubtedly played a role in the administration’s swift reversal and efforts to reunite families. But denying service to government officials or screaming at them as they venture out with friends or family and posting it on social media does not resolve anything.
The Hill: Trump seeks upper hand on civility – to the chagrin of Democrats.
The Hill: GOP lawmaker introduces measure to censure Waters.
The New York Times: As activists confront Trump officials, Democrats confront Democrats.
LEADING THE DAY
The president has been on a Twitter tear … he’s attacking Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who was overheard joking with some Democrats that for another glass of wine he’d spill the beans on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe … Trump is demanding the hearings involving FBI agent Peter Strzok, who played a key role in investigations into Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, take place in public … and he’s asking American companies like Harley-Davidson for patience amid his escalating trade war.
CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Trump campaigned in Columbia, S.C., last night on behalf of Gov. Henry McMaster (R), who faces a tough primary challenge today from businessman John Warren.
“Please get your asses out to vote.” – Trump.
The Associated Press: Trump’s clout with GOP on the line in Tuesday’s elections.
There, the president paid tribute to GOP House candidate Katie Arrington, who is in critical but stable condition after a car accident on Friday night.
“Katie is a very special person, she was out there right from the beginning, and here’s the good news – she’s going to recover 100 percent. Katie, we’re all pulling for you and praying for your swift recovery.” – Trump.
Arrington defeated Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in the 1st District primary earlier this month. Sanford has been a vocal critic of the president. Trump referred to Sanford as “a guy I’ve never liked too much” and jabbed at him over the scandal from 2009 when he was governor and secretly left the state for Argentina with his mistress.
It was the second stop in a week that is heavy on campaigning for the president, who travels from Nevada and South Carolina to North Dakota and Wisconsin over the course of five days.
Meanwhile, voters head to the polls today for primary elections in Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah.
The Washington Post: Up to 80,000 voters in Maryland may have to file provisional ballots because a programming error has left them off the voter rolls.
There is intrigue on both sides, with New York taking the spotlight.
Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) will try to avoid becoming the next GOP lawmaker to lose a primary as he squares off against former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who is seeking to reclaim his old seat after being released from prison.
And The Washington Post reports that four New York Democrats will be looking to beat back liberal challengers in Tuesday’s primary.
Looking ahead to 2020, The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Reid Wilson take a look at the dynamics taking shape on the left.
The Hill: Democrats near decision on superdelegates.
The Hill: Caucus states mull primaries ahead of 2020 Dem fight.
From the campaign trail … Wealthy donors ride to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) rescue (Washington Examiner) … Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) backs state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wis.) in the GOP Senate primary (The Hill) … Virginia GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart made some controversial remarks about slavery (Hill.TV) …
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) says Democrats must buck the establishment to win (Hill.TV) … Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) leads Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) by 5 points (Texas Tribune) … Up to 80,000 Maryland voters will have to vote with provisional ballots if they participate today because of state errors (The Washington Post).
SUPREME COURT: It was a busy day at the Supreme Court, with two key rulings handed down on partisan gerrymandering.
The Hill’s Lydia Wheeler was on top of the action…
Texas electoral maps: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas Republicans, reviving congressional and legislative districts that were struck down by a lower court for being tilted against black and Hispanic voters.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor authored a scathing dissenting opinion:
“It means that, after years of litigation and undeniable proof of intentional discrimination, minority voters in Texas — despite constituting a majority of the population within the State — will continue to be underrepresented in the political process.”
North Carolina electoral maps: The Supreme Court effectively punted here, but instructed a lower court to reconsider its decision to strike down a Republican-drawn redistricting plan in light of rulings handed down in other states. In this case, Republicans did not dispute that they drew the maps in their favor but argued that there was nothing unconstitutional about it.
Religious liberty: The Supreme Court threw out a lower court ruling that found a florist had discriminated against a same-sex couple by refusing to make a flower arrangement for their wedding. The justices ruled earlier this month in favor of a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a cake for a same-sex couple.
Antitrust: The court sided with American Express, upholding a provision in its contract that prohibits merchants from persuading shoppers to use credit cards with lower swipe fees. Ten states had argued that the policy violates federal antitrust laws by restricting trade.
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IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
➔ TRADE & INTERNATIONAL: The effects of an escalating trade war are being felt from U.S. production lines to Wall Street, and at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
Tariffs – U.S. production: Harley-Davidson plans to move production jobs overseas to offset European Union tariffs, The Wall Street Journal reports. The motorcycle manufacturer said tariffs of 31 percent enacted last week by the EU would raise the cost of each motorcycle it ships there from the United States by about $2,200.
Trade war: The Hill: Five things to watch as the president’s escalation of tariffs on goods coming into the United States prompts reciprocal levies abroad and economic fears at home.
Trade – U.S. coal: Coal mining companies say they worry their export businesses will be harmed by Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods, which resulted in China’s decision to put U.S. coal and other energy products on its own tariffs list (Reuters).
Trade – investor reactions: On Monday, Reuters reported that an escalating trade dispute between the United States and other leading economies and uncertainty about the Trump administration’s policy moves battered U.S. stocks, handing the S&P 500 and Nasdaq their steepest losses in more than two months.
Trade – Senate: The Hill: Worried about an escalating trade war between the United States and its international partners, Senate Finance Committee Republicans are weighing legislation to narrow the statutory justification pegged to national security used by Trump against longtime trade allies. Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the president hasn’t heard the last from Congress after a proposal championed by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was greeted earlier this month with pushback from the White House and among some conservatives.
> Stephen Moore, opinion contributor with The Hill: “A tit-for-tat trade war hurts everyone, but it hurts our rivals far more than it hurts us … given that the U.S. economy is booming.”
North Korea – denuclearization: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to contradict a senior defense official on the question of whether the administration has a timeline in mind for ironing out specific denuclearization goals with Pyongyang. Pompeo told CNN during an interview broadcast Monday that he and Trump plan to assess progress as measured against the discussions at the Singapore summit. “I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months. We are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,” he said (Reuters).
Trump – Putin summit: Sources tell CNN a mid-July summit (in Vienna) between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely, according to the network. Before a summit takes shape, a group of Republican senators will head to Russia this week, CNN learned, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to welcome his Russian counterpart in the coming days, according to The Wall Street Journal. Trump is planning to travel to Brussels and London next month.
Cybersecurity – satellites: The Hill: Satellites, which transmit global positioning system (GPS) locations, cellphone signals and other sensitive information present opportunities for malicious cyber intruders. Hacking risks rise with the prevalence of aging satellite systems, which are easier targets. A China-based cyber espionage group last week targeted satellite, telecom and defense companies in the United States and Southeast Asia.
White House – Colombian cocaine: The Hill: The White House sent Colombia a warning on Monday: “The record growth in cocaine production must be reversed,” Jim Carroll, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy said in a statement accompanying a report. “We will continue to work with [Colombia’s government] to reduce drastically the production of cocaine destined for the United States.”
➔ ADMINISTRATION & WHITE HOUSE: Investment restrictions, more talks with China, and Trump’s standing in recent polling:
Treasury Department – foreign investments: The Trump administration is planning to impose new curbs on foreign investments in the United States, including Chinese investments, in an effort to protect U.S. innovations and technologies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin disputed reporting early Monday by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg that the restrictions are primarily aimed at national security threats posed by Chinese investments. He said via Twitter that the administration’s restrictions do not specifically name Beijing, but rather “all countries that are trying to steal our technology” (The Wall Street Journal).
> Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Asia, saying he’s determined to present a listening-first posture in talks with China about shared security interests. A key topic of the discussions in Beijing are the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the role China can play (CBS News). “I want to go in right now without basically poisoning the well at this point. I’m going there to have a conversation,” Mattis told reporters on his plane on Sunday.
Environmental Protection Agency: The Hill: Administrator Scott Pruitt sought help from the private sector to recruit top executives from oil and gas firms and trading groups to fill jobs within the agency, according to emails obtained by the Sierra Club through an Freedom of Information Act request. (It is common for administrations of both parties to recruit candidates from the private sector who share their agendas to work in government.)
Trump – latest polls: The president’s job approval rating took a dip to 41 percent, a drop from his personal best of 45 percent, according to Gallup (The Hill) … A majority of Americans for the first time said they approve of the president’s handling of the economy, according to a CNBC All-America Economic Survey (CNBC) … Americans give Trump high ratings on intelligence and low marks on his ability to work across the political aisle, Gallup reports (The Hill).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley firstname.lastname@example.org & Alexis Simendinger email@example.com. Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
If not family separation or family detention, then what?, by Lindsay Stark and Cyril Bennouna, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2Khx1qL
Washington, D.C., the psychopath capital of the world, by Derek Robertson, Politico. https://politi.co/2KcbvQL
Harvard is wrong about Asians, Wesley Yang, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2MY6zks
WHERE AND WHEN
The House convenes at noon. The House Judiciary Committee plans to mark up two resolutions: one would direct Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide documents to Congress related to the decisions made by the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation tied to the 2016 election; and a second would ask Trump and Sessions to turn over documents pertaining to the president’s exercise of pardons. Separately, House lawmakers are to meet with Trump today at the White House.
The Senate meets today at 10 a.m. to debate the 2019 farm bill. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will testify before the Senate Finance Committee at 9:30 a.m. about “Prescription Drug Affordability and Innovation: Addressing Challenges in Today’s Market.”
The president meets this morning with the Associated Builders and Contractors’ national executive committee. Trump will lunch with members of Congress at the White House. Trump will meet with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, whose family owns coal interests in the state. Later, he’ll present the Medal of Honor to Army 1st Lt. Garlin M. Conner, who fought in World War II and died in 1998 (Northern Kentucky Tribune has all the details).
Vice President Pence is in Brasilia, Brazil, where he’ll meet with Brazilian President Michel Temer, make remarks afterward, and participate in a working lunch with government officials.
The Hill hosts an event at 8:30 a.m. about “Mergers and Innovation: Measuring Performance and Patient Care,” with speakers including Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), and Eric Hargan, deputy secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. The discussion, sponsored by 3M, takes place at the 3M Innovation Center, 1425 K St. NW.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett will be interviewed beginning at 9:30 a.m. at The Washington Post during an event focused on the GOP tax law and the economy.
> Food and Drug Administration approves a marijuana-based drug for seizures called Epidiolex, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy that begin in childhood. It’s a milestone that could spur more research (The Associated Press).
> No biological difference exists between male and female brains, according to the latest science (Atlantic Monthly). Here’s the money quote from a neuroscientist: “The brain is a unisex organ.”
> New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, and the future of the Democratic Party (Vogue interview). She’s challenging Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley for his seat in Congress in today’s primary. … Political newcomer shakes up New York Democratic primary race (The Wall Street Journal).
And finally … In memoriam … Donald Hall, a former U.S. poet laureate, essayist, writer and memoirist, died Saturday at age 89 with his New Hampshire shelves full of prestigious national awards, plus a new book, “A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety,” set for release on July 10.
Engaging and celebratory obituaries recounted Hall’s “sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past” (The Associated Press); about his decision in the mid-1980s to write poems with ambition to be not just “publishable but Immortal. And after all, that is the only thing worth thinking about” (The Boston Globe); and his arc from wanting to be a writer at age 12 to becoming “one of his generation’s most celebrated and durable poets” (The Washington Post).
“The writing is what matters” – Donald Hall
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