The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Wild night of primaries reshapes 2018 midterms

 

 

 

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, co-created by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)

There’s still time to make it to The Hill’s Latina Leaders Summit at the Newseum this morning. The power-packed lineup includes White House officials, lawmakers and CEOs. And check out The Hill’s special section on Latina leaders to watch.


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It’s a fascinating time in American politics.

Tuesday night’s primary elections had it all. The results dramatically reshape the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and underscore the deep divisions that exist in both parties in this tumultuous time.

The headline burning up the wires is the primary defeat of Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Democratic caucus who was seen as a potential future Speaker, to a 28-year-old progressive. Crowley’s loss will spotlight an overlooked storyline: There are deep fissures among Democrats and a power struggle between the left and the establishment over the future direction of the party.

The Hill: Crowley stunner tops huge night for the left.

> Down goes Crowley: Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, a former organizer for Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren joins Sanders in support of striking McDonald's workers Kavanaugh allegations could be monster storm brewing for midterm elections      Senate approves 4B spending bill MOREs (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, shocked the political world. Crowley, 56, was viewed by many as the next generation of leadership in the House and a potential successor to House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Pelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor MORE (D-Calif.). He will make way for a younger Latina disruptor within progressive politics.

> A big night for liberals: Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only progressive winner. Former NAACP president Ben Jealous (D-Md.), another Sanders-backed candidate, will face Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the fall. And Dana Balter, a progressive activist, defeated a candidate recruited by national Democrats for the right to challenge Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoCyberattacks are a constant fear 17 years after 9/11 House Republicans push for vote on Violence Against Women Act Protesters confront Ivanka Trump on family separations MORE (R-N.Y.). Still, after some party infighting, national Democrats got their top recruit in Colorado’s 9th District. Army veteran and lawyer Jason Crow will see if he has the right stuff to finally take down Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanOvernight Health Care: Kavanaugh questioned if Roe v. Wade was 'settled law' in leaked email | Senate to vote next week on opioid package | Officials seek to jail migrant children indefinitely | HHS chief, lawmakers meet over drug prices Trump's woman problem may cost the GOP the House Catholic advocacy group to protest Trump tax law at Mar-a-Lago MORE (R-Colo.), whose liberal district is always a top target for Democrats.

"The battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party was on display tonight in New York’s primaries, and progressives notched big wins … In 2018, progressives won't just ride a Democratic wave into power - it will be progressive ideas and candidates who reflect their constituents that maximize a wave by inspiring voters in blue, purple, and red states." - Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

But the action last night was consequential for Republicans as well.

Trump secured his grip on the GOP by backing a couple of primary winners, even if there are deep concerns among Republicans that the president’s immigration policies will energize liberals and that his tariff battles will dampen enthusiasm among his own supporters.

> South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R): This was the big test for Trump on Tuesday night and he passed it. The president and White House invested heavily in McMaster’s reelection, with Trump tweeting nearly a dozen times for him this month and both the president and Vice President Pence holding rallies on his behalf. McMaster, an early Trump supporter in 2016, defeated businessman John Warren in the primary and will be the heavy favorite for reelection in November.

> Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.): Donovan crushed former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), who was seeking to reclaim his Staten Island seat after spending time in prison. Grimm cast himself as the true defender of Trump’s policies, but the president and the Republican establishment backed Donovan, even though he voted against the GOP’s tax-cuts bill and the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace efforts.

> Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPoll: House GOP candidate leads in California swing district Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms Kavanaugh and the 'boys will be boys' sentiment is a poor excuse for bad behavior MORE’s comeback nearly complete: The former Massachusetts governor and the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee will likely get a third act as a U.S senator from Utah. That means Trump is losing some of his most vocal Republican critics in the upper chamber, like Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation Kavanaugh accuser says FBI should investigate before she testifies MORE (R-Ariz.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGrassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing The Memo: Kavanaugh firestorm consumes political world Murkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify MORE (R-Tenn.), but picking up a new one. Romney will be the favorite to replace retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGrand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser MORE (R-Utah) and his interactions with Trump will be a big thing to watch next year.

 

 

More news from the campaign trail … Committees and outside groups are pouring money into the race for the House majority with the midterm election less than five months away (The Hill) … Democrats lead in three key Senate races in Ohio, Arizona and Florida (NBC News/Marist) … Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — 2020 hopefuls lead the charge against Kavanaugh Trump retweets GOP Senate candidate upset by federal pay freeze MORE (R-Va.) trails her Democratic opponent by 10 points (Monmouth University) … here’s a first look at Freedom Partners Action Fund’s new ad backing Republican Adam Laxalt for governor in Nevada (YouTube) … the group is putting $1.5 million behind ads in the state.

Takeaway: We'll hear a lot more about all this tonight in Fargo, N.D., when Trump riffs for the crowd at a reelection rally.

 

 

 

LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS & IMMIGRATION: Is today the day? The House is expected to vote on the so-called compromise immigration bill, although the legislation has been kicked down the road on a near-daily basis due to an apparent lack of support.

Lawmakers, such as Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRussia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh and his accuser will testify publicly Jordan says FBI used 'crushing power of the state' to probe Trump campaign based on dossier MORE (R-Ohio), are doubtful the bill, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” and bar the separation of families at the border, will pass the House.

That means they’ll be on to the next thing — a slimmed down version that only addresses family separations. The Los Angeles Times points out that Congress is set for an extended recess for the Fourth of July, meaning that the schedule will only allow for a few hours to consider the narrow proposal.

New developments on the border controversy…

  • The lawsuits are rolling in. Eighteen Democratic attorneys general filed suit against the Trump administration over family separations, arguing that the president’s executive order reversing the policy is vague and does not go far enough. And a federal judge late Tuesday ordered a halt to separations and demanded families be reunited in response to a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. Democrats in Congress are demanding a plan on how the administration intends to reunite separated families. The Department of Homeland Security insists it’s on top of it.

PBS: Do immigrants have constitutional rights?

PRRI Poll: Strong majorities oppose separating families at the border; U.S. seen as lacking moral leadership.

"Don’t risk your lives or the lives of your children by trying to come to the United States on the road run by drug smugglers and human traffickers. If you can’t come legally, don’t come at all." - Pence on Tuesday in Brazil.

RealClearPolitics: Is doxxing the future of political protest?

The New York Times: We have a crisis of democracy, not manners.

Here is an interesting development … the Justice Department has settled a claim against a landscaping company it says “discriminated against qualified and available U.S. workers” by opting instead to hire temporary workers with visas (DOJ).

But Congress has more on its plate than just immigration:

The House passed legislation on Tuesday to strengthen the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) to review foreign investments in domestic interests (Reuters) … Republicans are taking on environmental groups they believe are acting as agents of foreign governments (The Hill) … Trump’s attacks on Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordMulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost Dems vow to grab Trump tax returns upon taking majority Insurgency shakes up Democratic establishment MORE (R-S.C.) have split the House Freedom Caucus (The Hill) … Bipartisan senators back prison reform (The Hill).

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SUPREME COURT: The Supreme Court delivered a huge victory to the president on Tuesday, upholding his controversial travel ban on nationals from five Muslim-majority countries seeking to enter the U.S. And today ends the term.

The Memo: Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon says the court win vindicates Trump.

The Hill: Supreme Court term ends with retirement speculation.

You can read the travel ban decision HERE.

The vote was 5-4, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the four conservatives. The court’s four liberals dissented. A quick review:

  • Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the president has broad discretion in determining who can enter the country and that the administration had followed a “worldwide, multi-agency review” in determining there was a legitimate national security threat.
  • Kennedy sided with Roberts, but noted in his opinion that the president shouldn’t make public statements that could infringe on protections for freedom of religion.
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent. The words of the president and his advisers create the strong perception that the Proclamation is contaminated by impermissible discriminatory animus against Islam and its followers.”
  • Liberals are furious and vowing to turn out at the ballot box in November to rebuke the president. “The stakes of the 2018 election were already sky-high and, after today's ruling, got even higher,” said Democracy for America spokesman Neil Sroka. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE is succeeding in rotting core institutions of American government from the inside out. This fall's election may be one of our last chances to start the process of saving them."
  • Conservatives celebrated the ruling, with McConnell, who blocked former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in the last election year, taking a victory lap on the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the court.

 

 

Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court hands Trump a deserved victory.

Noah Feldman: It will take the Supreme Court generations to live down this horrible decision.

 

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IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

TRADE & INTERNATIONAL: Trump is playing defense at home over tariffs, but shows no sign of backing down on his trade agenda. Some Republicans in Congress, bolstered by U.S. businesses in a nail-biting midterm year, are looking for a legislative strait jacket they can throw over the administration on trade.

Harley-Davidson – tariffs and jobs: The Hill: Trump is irate about the Wisconsin motorcycle maker’s announcement that U.S. back-and-forth tariffs with trading partners encouraged its decision to move some jobs abroad. Trump tweeted that the company’s implicit criticism of his trade posture is an “excuse.” The president added a warning that Harley-Davidson motorcycles built abroad coming back into the U.S. would require "paying a big tax."

> Shock waves: House and Senate Republicans are discussing legislative avenues that could tie Trump’s hands on tariffs (The Hill), and the business community is urging Congress to apply the brakes to the executive branch (The Hill) ...  Wisconsin’s most prominent lawmaker in the House, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCorey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report GOP super PAC hits Randy Bryce with ad starring his brother Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE, is among those who say they are unhappy. Proud of his party’s tax-cut bill enacted last year, Ryan visited the Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson in the fall to tout the economic benefits. On Tuesday, the Speaker criticized escalating tariffs – not the company. “I think tariffs are basically taxes,” Ryan told reporters at the Capitol. “What ends up happening is you get escalating tariffs and end up raising taxes” (The Hill).

Automakers – tariffs: An automotive trade group plans to tell the Trump administration in formal comments submitted this week that a U.S. threat to impose a tariff of up to 25 percent on imported passenger vehicles under national security grounds would cost American consumers $45 billion annually, or $5,800 per vehicle, Reuters reports.

Mexico – immigration: Mexico will propose a resolution before the Organization of American States on Friday condemning the U.S. policy of separating children from parents who have entered the country illegally, The Associated Press reports. Although the U.S. reversed course on the “zero tolerance” prosecution policy, the Trump administration is still laboring to reunite parents separated from their children. Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray urged other countries in the region to support Mexico.

Turkey: The Hill: Trump on Tuesday phoned President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with congratulations following his reelection, and to affirm the strong bond between the United States and Turkey. Voters there delivered a decisive victory to Erdoğan on Sunday, extending his 15-year rule in the country and giving him sweeping new executive powers.

> Turkey’s president faces challenges, despite his electoral victory (Al-Monitor). “Erdoğan’s outlook is based on a majoritarian understanding of democracy, which means [there’s a] potential for him to become even more authoritarian.”

 ADMINISTRATION: The Department of Veterans Affairs has experienced nearly four months of leadership limbo. Trump’s nominee, under a sudden cloud of controversy, is scheduled for his Senate confirmation hearing today.

Veterans Affairs Department: Robert Wilkie, Trump’s nominee to run the department, answers questions today from the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee during his confirmation hearing at 2:30 p.m. If approved by the Senate, Wilkie would succeed David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinVeterans group sues to block advisers known as ‘Mar-a-Lago Crowd’ from influencing VA Mar-a-Lago insiders provided input on VA policy, personnel decisions: report Ahead of speech, Kansas City newspaper urges Trump to listen to veterans MORE, who was forced out in March. The president had nominated White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson to be secretary, but Jackson subsequently withdrew his name following complaints about his behavior, which are under investigation at the Pentagon.

> Wilkie, who has been acting VA secretary since May, has a record of embracing extreme views voiced by his bosses in the past, and veterans advocacy groups say they are taken aback (The Washington Post)

 

 

State and Treasury departments – Iran oil: The Hill: The administration is pressing other countries to cut all oil imports from Iran by Nov. 4. U.S. officials have traveled to Europe and Asia in recent weeks to garner support for the Trump administration's Iran strategy, telling allies to cut Iran off as a source of petroleum.

Pentagon – leak prosecution: Twenty-six-year-old former Air Force linguist Reality Winner, who was the first to be prosecuted by the Trump administration on charges of leaking classified information, pleaded guilty on Tuesday as part of an agreement with prosecutors (The New York Times). She faces more than five years in prison. Winner was arrested last June for sharing a classified report about Russian interference in the 2016 with the news media.

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

Trump putting booming economy, own popularity in jeopardy, by Liz Peek, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2lAbADb

Why the Red Hen incident is so troubling, by Mark Penn, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2yKPAif

WHERE AND WHEN

The House begins work at 10 a.m. and plans to vote on one or more GOP immigration measures that have been delayed, debated and redrafted without input from Democrats over many weeks. If passed, it’s unclear any measure would clear the Senate. Separately, FBI agent Peter Strzok will testify behind closed doors to two House committees today (The Hill). Follow TheHill.com for breaking news.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the 2019 farm bill.

The president will participate in an event for Face-to-Face with Our Future in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Trump will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Graham knocks South Korea over summit with North Shrapnel in Yemen strikes links US-made bombs to 63 civilian deaths: report MORE. This afternoon, he welcomes Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for bilateral meetings at the White House. In the evening, Trump departs Washington and headlines a reelection rally in Fargo, N.D.

The vice president, traveling today in Brazil, departed Brasilia for Manaus to tour a facility for migrants from Venezuela, and spoke there. He tours the Amazon River, and departs Brazil for Quito, Ecuador, where he visits a cultural site and remains overnight.

Around town with lawmakers: Senate Majority Leader McConnell sits down with Politico during a newsmaker event at 8 a.m. House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' Scalise tells Canada: Make a deal on trade or be left behind GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave MORE (R-La.) will talk at 6 p.m. about immigration and midterm politics during an event at The Washington Post.

ELSEWHERE

> Will Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEric Holder: Trump releasing docs on Russia probe is 'dangerous abuse of power' Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation Legal expert says Manafort deal could help Trump in short term MORE cooperate with Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's Russia probe? Whether Manafort flips may ultimately be more consequential to Manafort than it is to Mueller. Analysis by former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner (NBC News).

> Rising U.S. debt obligations to China and other entities by 2048 could swallow funding needed for Social Security. The Congressional Budget Office has this bleak projection: “The federal government’s net interest costs are projected to more than double as a percentage of gross domestic product and to reach record levels” (The Hill).

> Marijuana addiction is real, and rising, according to public health and medical specialists (The Washington Post).

THE CLOSER

And finally … All over America, pet dogs know exactly how to leap, jump and gain the attention of their humans. But how about that trained rescue dog in Spain that performs CPR? A demonstration video bounded through social media in the last few days, and after watching, we’re pretty sure those adorable doggie kisses and tail wags are also meant to be resuscitating. The purpose of the June 22 Madrid Police Department video? To encourage dog adoptions. Don’t miss the action: https://bit.ly/2MshIZM