The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts




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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE heads to upstate New York today, where he’ll sign the National Defense Authorization Act at Fort Drum and then hold a fundraiser for Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration 13 House Republicans who bucked Trump on emergency declaration House votes to overturn Trump's emergency declaration MORE (R-N.Y.), who in 2014 was the youngest woman elected to Congress.

The president will also fly to Utica to raise money for freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), whose district is rated as a toss-up by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report (WWNYTV).

Stefanik’s district, which shares long stretches of the border with Canada, is the kind of deep-red district that Republicans would not typically worry about. Trump carried the 21st Congressional District by 14 points in 2016 and Stefanik ran well ahead of him, defeating her Democratic challenger by 35 points

But in 2018, GOP lawmakers are being counseled to treat every seat as competitive and they’re seeking every advantage as they try to defy the odds and hold on to a majority in the House.

The Hill: Vulnerable Republicans include several up-and-coming GOP leaders.

The Associated Press: Democrats look to longshot territory for midterm gains.

Meanwhile, across the state in Western New York, Republicans have a more urgent election crisis on their hands.

Rep. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Don’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall MORE (R-N.Y.) announced over the weekend that he changed his mind over a 24-hour period and will retire from Congress this year rather than seek reelection after he was indicted on insider trading charges.

The Hill: Collins suspends campaign over insider trading allegations.

That creates a huge mess for the GOP in what should be a safe Republican district that Trump carried by 24 points in 2016.

At least a half-dozen Republicans have expressed interest in running to replace Collins, but the deadline to get on the ballot was in April.

It’s unclear whether Collins’s name can be removed from the ballot or whether someone else’s name can be put in his place.

The only thing that seems certain at this point is that Democrat Nate McMurray will be on the ballot.

The whole situation is bizarre, but I welcome it.” – McMurray to The Associated Press

That’s bad news for Republicans, as the most optimistic GOP strategists think the balance of power in the House could come down to one or two seats.

Regardless, Democrats have already begun using this latest scandal surrounding a top Trump ally to argue that Republicans have abused their majority for personal gain.

The Associated Press: Dems pounce on GOP lawmaker’s downfall, blast ‘cesspool’

Democrats are pointing to indicted former Trump campaign and administration officials, including Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFox's Chris Wallace challenges Nadler on whether no more indictments means no 'criminal collusion' Nadler willing to go to Supreme Court to obtain Mueller report End of Mueller probe a boost for Trump, a warning for Democrats MORE and Michael Flynn, as well as the string of controversies and resignations that have dogged the president’s Cabinet officials to argue that it’s time for a change.

Of course, scandals and allegations of corruption are not unique to one party or the other. But scandals are problematic for the party in power and contribute to voters growing frustrated with the status quo.

Elsewhere, we’ve been highlighting for you over the past week some of the data that suggest Democrats could be in store for big gains in the House this year, from closer-than-expected special elections and liberal enthusiasm to relevant trends in election history.

But there’s one data point that has been overlooked that seems to be moving in the GOP’s direction:

The generic congressional ballot, which showed Democrats with a nearly 8 point advantage in the RealClearPolitics average less than a month ago, now has Republicans trailing by fewer than 4 points.

When Democrats picked up 30 seats and seized control of the House during former President George W. Bush’s administration in 2006, they entered Election Day with an 8-point advantage in the generic ballot. In the 2010 midterm elections, when the GOP picked up 63 seats in the House, the GOP entered election day with a 7-point advantage.

Democrats need to pick up 23 seats to flip the House in 2018 and would prefer their generic ballot advantage be in the 7-8-point range entering Election Day.

Douglas Schoen: Latest primary elections point to Democratic gains in November.



CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Vote counting in the Kansas GOP primary for governor will enter its final stage on Monday, as election officials decide which provisional ballots will count toward the final outcome. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is backed by Trump, presently leads Gov. Jeff Colyer by about 110 votes (The Associated Press).

> There were two noteworthy comebacks in the Hawaii primary elections over the weekend. Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) triumphed over Rep. Colleen HanabusaColleen Wakako HanabusaHawaii New Members 2019 Ige wins second term as Hawaii governor The Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts MORE (D), despite having mishandled a missile scare in January that put his reelection in question (The Hill). And former Rep. Ed Case (D) is the projected winner in the primary for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District after having been out of office for more than a decade (The Hill). Finally, Republican Ron Curtis emerged from the GOP Senate primary and will face Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoCitizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Warren, Harris, Gillibrand back efforts to add justices to Supreme Court Liberal commentator: Trump's warning that supporters could play tough is a 'violent dog whistle' MORE (D) in the fall (The Associated Press). Hirono is completing her first term in the Senate and is the country’s first Asian-American female senator.

> The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports on what might be the nastiest primary in the country as Democratic candidates fight it out in hopes of taking on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who is seeking a third term in office (The Hill).

> National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar reports from Nogales, Ariz., where the Democratic primary for governor features a front-runner who is embracing the identity politics of the left and a challenger who is betting on an issues-oriented campaign (National Journal).

More from the campaign trail … Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonKeith Ellison: Evidence points to Trump being 'sympathetic' to white nationalist point of view Trump: Media 'working overtime to blame me' for New Zealand attack Democrats upset over Omar seeking primary challenger MORE (D-Minn.), who is running for state attorney general, is denying allegations of abuse made by his ex-girlfriend (The Associated Press) … Meet Ayanna Pressley (D), a progressive who is running to oust veteran Rep. Michael CapuanoMichael (Mike) Everett CapuanoDems seek to stifle primary challenges to incumbents Ex-Dem lawmaker Capuano joins law and lobbying firm Freshman Dem lawmaker says Trump brought dishonor to his office with shutdown MORE (D-Mass.) in a primary (The Hill) … Fifty-one Democratic candidates say they are not ready to support House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Omar controversies shadow Dems at AIPAC Five things to watch as AIPAC conference kicks off MORE (D-Calif.) as the next Speaker of the House (NBC News) … Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is demanding Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonEx-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances The Hill's Morning Report - Trump budget reignites border security fight 2020 party politics in Puerto Rico MORE (D-Fla.) explain his claims that Russians hacked the state’s election infrastructure in a marquee Senate match-up (The New York Times).

More political coverage of note ... CBS’s “This Morning” kicks off a three-part series beginning at 7 a.m. on the impact of young women on the midterm elections … Democrats are all but acknowledging that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice (The Washington Post) … Justice Department shifts stance on voting rights to embrace states’ limits and restrictions (The New York Times) … Tensions flare as hackers root out flaws in voting machines (The Wall Street Journal) … Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying World Lobbying World Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down MORE (D-Ind.), called “the accidental senator” by some of his colleagues, thinks his low-key style can help him win reelection in a red state (Politico).


INVESTIGATIONS: Prosecutors in the trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort are expected to complete their arguments on Monday, the 10th day of the trial.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s team was originally expected to wrap up on Friday, but there was a mysterious delay after the prosecution and defense huddled privately with Judge T.S. Ellis III.

The Hill: Manafort trial behind schedule as third week approaches.

Assuming there are no further delays, the defense will call its witnesses and the case could be sent to the jury by mid-week.

Jonathan Turley: Judge in Manafort trial creating big problems for Mueller.

NPR: Mueller runs into ‘time trouble’

Andrew McCarthy: Of course, there is such a thing as a ‘perjury trap.’



ADMINISTRATION & WHITE HOUSE: Over the weekend, Trump, Vice President Pence, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpFive things we know about Dems' sprawling Trump probe Kushner to cooperate with Judiciary document requests Hillicon Valley: Kushner accused of using WhatsApp, personal email for official work | White House rejects request for Trump-Putin communications | Facebook left 'hundreds of millions' of passwords unsecured | Tech pressured to root out extremism MORE, as well as White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayWhy do so many Democrats embrace hate speech? George Conway: Trump 'thinks he needs to be re-elected to avoid indictment' The Memo: Trump can't let go of McCain grudge MORE condemned racism in tweets and statements ahead of Sunday’s much-anticipated and much-hyped demonstrations near the White House and in Charlottesville, Va. Their comments were an unusual public relations necessity to mark a year since violence erupted in a clash in Virginia between white nationalists and their critics.

On Sunday in Washington, an estimated 30 white supremacists showed up during a peaceful series of events in which they were vastly outnumbered by the news media, police officers and hundreds of counterprotesters before a thunderstorm doused the city at dusk (The Washington Post).



Racism, it turns out, was one of the incendiary accusations lobbed at Trump by controversial former White House aide Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanBlack journalists' group places CNN on 'special monitoring list' Juan Williams: Racial shifts spark fury in Trump and his base Omarosa: There's a ‘big red line’ for Trump in Cohen's testimony MORE during interviews over the weekend to accompany her new tell-all book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the White House.”

Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities,” she told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

“Lowlife,” Trump called his former colleague from “The Apprentice” on Saturday. “She’s a lowlife.”

The Hill: Manigault Newman says she was offered hush money to stay quiet after being fired from the West Wing staff by chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE. And she recorded Kelly while being fired in 2017.

West Wing: The president returns later today to a spruced-up, plumbing-enhanced White House following his 10-day vacation in New Jersey. Last week, his aides referred to “extensive ongoing renovations” while he was away (upgrades are customary at the White House each summer). CNN tracked down those changes

Interior Department: The administration is using recent wildfires in California as well as the farm bill to bolster its rationale for more logging and clear-cutting, a debate also before Congress (The Hill).

> Six large new wildfires erupted in the United States, pushing the number of major active blazes across the nation to more than 100, with more expected (Reuters).




HHS - ObamaCare and states: State regulators are increasingly opposed to the administration’s policy to expand the sale of non-ObamaCare insurance plans (The Hill). Insurance commissioners are arguing with the Department of Health and Human Services that the less expensive and temporary insurance plans are “junk,” and will be restricted in some states.

Treasury – business taxes: More high-earning business owners than anticipated by tax experts will be eligible for “pass-through” benefits after the Internal Revenue Service issued official guidance last week (The Hill).

State Department – Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFive things to watch as AIPAC conference kicks off US sanctions Venezuelan bank after Guaidó aide's arrest The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE is succeeding in ways his immediate predecessor at Foggy Bottom failed (The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius).

DOJ – Russia probe: The Hill: On Saturday, the president again slammed Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report MORE in a tweet dealing with Trump’s frustrations with the ongoing probes about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Sessions is recused from that investigation.


INTERNATIONAL: Turkey, Russia, Iran: Trump is embracing financial-market pain to get what he wants around the world, showing again the penchant for turmoil that is his trademark in U.S. politics (Bloomberg).

Turkey: Trump’s doubling of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey on Friday sent that country’s economy, currency and markets into a free fall (The Associated Press).

> Turkey drafted an economic action plan and will start implementing it today to ease investor concerns, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Sunday, after the lira plunged to a new record low in early Asia Pacific trade (Reuters).

> World markets shuddered Monday as Turkey’s worsening currency crisis persuaded investors to dump equities and emerging markets and flee to safer assets such as government bonds and the dollar (Reuters).

Russia: Russia will further decrease its holdings of U.S. securities in response to new sanctions against Moscow but has no plans to shut down U.S. companies in Russia, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on state TV (Reuters).

Iran: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the government on Monday of economic mismanagement, arguing for changes to sustain the country in the face of U.S. sanctions (Reuters).

North Korea: The rival Koreas announced Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang sometime in September. Officials from both countries also discussed Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament efforts and international sanctions. It is to be the leaders’ third summit this year (The Associated Press).

Mexico: Despite Trump’s weekend tweet expressing optimism and encouragement, the outcome of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) auto talks with Mexico remain a question mark. (Reuters). Talks about the future of NAFTA are set to drag into this week, as auto industry officials pointed to new sticking points over Trump’s threat to impose steep automotive tariffs.

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Trump administration aims to roll back regulations. It’s having a big impact just by ignoring them, by Steven Mufson (Washington Post Outlook)

‘Medicare for all,’ the new ‘repeal and replace,’ by Megan McArdle (The Washington Post)


The House is out until after Labor Day.

The Senate gets back to work on Wednesday.

The president will be in upstate New York today, where he’s holding a public ceremony at Fort Drum at 2:15 p.m. to sign the annual National Defense Authorization Act and headlining a fundraiser for Stefanik.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma will speak this afternoon about “how private companies can leverage claims data to serve the Medicare population,” during a conference held at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building. White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination Chris Liddell will also speak to attendees.


> GDP growth is slowing across the globe. It’s one more risk in financial markets. Many major forecasting firms see 2018 as a near-term peak for growth rates (Market Watch).

> Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million to a man who said the commonly used weed killer, Roundup, caused his cancer. The company said it will appeal (Reuters).

> Lawsuits filed Friday accused Tesla Inc. and Elon Musk of fraudulently engineering a scheme to squeeze short-sellers, including through Musk’s proposal to take the electric car company private (Reuters).

> Californians who are seeking to rebuild after devastating wildfires find construction costs soaring because of Trump-imposed tariffs on imported lumber (The Associated Press).

> `Touch the sun’: NASA spacecraft hurtles toward Earth’s star to arrive by November (The Associated Press). Great photos of the Sunday night launch HERE (


And finally … Okay, quick, which creatures prospered during the summer heat?

Answer: Flamingos! For the first time since 2003, a rare flock of Andean flamingos laid some eggs in the United Kingdom. Fifteen years was a long time to wait, and thanks to Chilean flamingos, the international tale took on even more plumage … (The Associated Press).