The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh, Ford saga approaches bitter end

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report and happy Thursday. This daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!) Jonathan Easley is hosting solo this week while co-creator Alexis Simendinger is out of town. Find him on Twitter @joneasley.

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., featuring interviews with Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany and Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White, who talks about his relationship with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE. http://thehill.com/hilltv

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It used to be that the House was the chamber of Congress that was routinely on the verge of meltdown or calamity.

But now, wracked by outside protests and reeling from a months-long partisan brawl over a swing vote on the Supreme Court, The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes that the Senate is, on the edge of a political precipice, with some lawmakers saying the fight may leave lasting damage.”

“I don’t know how we get back.” – Retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.)

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton can report that the FBI will deliver its supplemental background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate today (The Hill). The White House already has a copy, according to Reuters. The details:

  • Only one copy of the report is being made available to the Senate.
  • Senate Republicans are restricting its viewing to one-hour increments for each party.
  • All 100 senators and a handful of staff will be able to view the report from a “secure compartmented information facility” in the Capitol Visitors Center.
  • Several GOP senators are urging for the report to be made public.

“I’m confident there will be leaks.” – Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (R-Okla.)

Late last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Jon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE (R-Ky.) set a procedural vote to end debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday. If Kavanaugh overcomes that hurdle, the Senate could take a final vote on his nomination as early as Saturday (The Hill).

The Washington Post: In 2:30 a.m. tweets, White House says FBI report supports Kavanaugh confirmation.

It’s been a wrenching week since Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school, testified before Congress.

Both Kavanaugh and Ford have been hit with attacks on their credibility. Kavanaugh’s drinking habits and partying as a young man have come under scrutiny, while conservatives have sought to highlight the missing or conflicting information in Ford’s account. Former friends and classmates from decades ago have come out of the woodwork to support or challenge each of their claims (The Hill).

 

 

 

Political fights are erupting at every turn.

Late Wednesday, Senate Democrats suggested that prior FBI background checks into Kavanaugh had turned up evidence of sexual misconduct (The Washington Post). Senate Republicans say these claims are false.

 

 

The debate over the scope of the FBI investigation is likely to endure, with Democrats believing that the White House blocked the bureau from interviewing key witnesses. The Trump administration insists it did not interfere in the investigation and instead gave free rein to the FBI.

And of course, the president inflamed the situation with his sarcastic mocking of Ford at a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Trump’s taunts angered the trio of GOP senators who will decide Kavanaugh’s fate.

Flake called Trump’s remarks “appalling.” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (Maine) said the president was “plain wrong.” Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Klobuchar, Murkowski introduce legislation to protect consumer health data MORE (Alaska) called the demonstration “unacceptable.”

The Memo: Trump’s shot at Ford seems to backfire.

The Hill: GOP sees Kavanaugh as a boost for the Senate, danger for the House.

Will the FBI investigation satisfy Collins, Murkowski and Flake? Will the report have any explosive or previously unknown allegations about Kavanaugh’s behavior? With polls moving against her reelection bid in deep red North Dakota, is it possible that Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampLobbying World Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA On The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight MORE (D) might vote to confirm? What will Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump takes heat for remarks on help from foreign governments The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle MORE (D- W.Va.) do?

Stay tuned as the final chapter unfolds...

Perspectives

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): Kavanaugh’s righteous anger.

Bonnie Mann: Trump’s taunts and Kavanaugh’s defense show how misogyny rules.

Kirsten Powers: I was sexually assaulted and thought it was my fault. It’s time for a reckoning.

Julie Kelly: Dems risk losing suburban women with Kavanaugh attacks.

Joan Walsh: Women putting their anger into campaigning.

Anneke E. Green: We can believe Ford and confirm Kavanaugh.

Alice Stewart: Democrats want to win Senate confirmation battle at all costs.

Steve Israel: GOP sacrificing women, House Republicans with Kavanaugh plan.

Kelley Paul: An open letter to Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use MORE (D-N.J.).

Eugene Robinson: GOP senators want to put women in their place.

LEADING THE DAY

CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Trump and Vice President Pence have been lavishing attention on Minnesota, believing it will be a battleground state that could potentially provide them with a wider path to the White House when they seek reelection in 2020.

That continues tonight, when Trump holds a fundraiser in Minneapolis followed by a campaign rally in Rochester.

Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBroadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Broadway play 'Hillary and Clinton' closing early due to low ticket sales Facing challenge from Warren, Sanders touts strength against Trump MORE edged Trump in Minnesota by 2 points in 2016.

But Minnesota also factors into the 2018 midterm elections:

Republican Reps. Erik PaulsenErik Philip PaulsenFight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Blue states angry over SALT cap should give fiscal sobriety a try Push for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems MORE and Jason LewisJason Mark LewisInvestigation concludes marijuana, medication impaired driver involved in GOP train crash The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MLB donated to GOP lawmaker who made controversial comments about women, minorities MORE are fighting for their political lives. Both represent seats that The Cook Political Report has rated “lean Democratic.”

There is also a rare opportunity for House Republicans to go on offense in Minnesota, with two open seats currently held by Democrats in rural districts. Trump will be campaigning tonight in the 1st Congressional District, where Rep. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota program will pay homeowners to transform lawns into bee gardens as species inches closer to extinction Minnesota governor signs law making marital rape illegal New governors chart ambitious paths in first 100 days MORE (D) is retiring from Congress to run for governor.

And there are two Senate seats up for grabs this year, although Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use MORE (D) and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithDemocrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Democrats push election security legislation after Mueller warning MORE (D) are favored to win their respective races. Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, earned some positive headlines during the Kavanaugh hearings and could run for president in 2020.

The Washington Post: Trump’s trade wars change the political landscape in Minnesota.

The president is keeping an intensive campaign schedule in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections.

Reuters obtained Trump’s travel schedule, and found that he’ll stop in six states over the next 10 days: Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.

Josh Kraushaar: Battle of the bases will set the tone for 2020.

David Brady and Brett Parker: Will 2018 be a wave election?

 

 

Economist/YouGov: Democrats lead generic House ballot by 5 points, although a new Reuters/Ipsos survey puts the disparity at 12 points.

Fox News: Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom The Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom Overnight Health Care: Liberals rip Democratic leaders for writing drug pricing bill in secret | Dems demand answers from company that shelters migrant kids | Measles cases top 1,000 MORE (R) leads Heitkamp by 12 points in North Dakota; Republicans gain in other top Senate races.

Suffolk University: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) has a small lead over Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyDemocrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democratic challenger to Susan Collins announces Senate bid MORE (R) for Arizona Senate.

Reuters/Ipsos: One-third of voters don’t know the name of their party’s candidate for office.

Vox Populi: Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThere is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Ending the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean MORE (D) leads Republican Bob Hugin by 1 point for New Jersey Senate, although a Quinnipiac University survey puts the margin at 11 points.

Ryan Cooper: Democratic idiocy in New Jersey may cost them control of the Senate.

Reuters: In North Dakota, Kavanaugh debate tests Democratic wave and #MeToo.

In another surprisingly close Senate race, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpEx-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community MORE is heading to Texas to campaign for Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Biden says he will beat Trump in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina MORE (R), who is seeking to ward off a challenge from Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D). The president is expected to do the same later this month.

Michelle Goldberg: O’Rourke offers hope in dark times.

Ed Rogers: Liberal O’Rourke can’t beat Cruz in Texas.

More from the campaign trail…Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonDemocrats face new civil war in primary fight 18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report Keith Ellison: Evidence points to Trump being 'sympathetic' to white nationalist point of view MORE (D-Minn.), who is running for state attorney general amid accusations of domestic violence, might step down from his role as deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (The Hill)…Trump is back in the branding game for 2020 (The Hill)…Senate Democrats are increasingly turning to their own constituents to deliver their message on health care (The Hill)…If Democrats take back the House, they’re vowing to fight Trump on every front except for infrastructure, where there might be common ground (The Hill).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

 

 

 

 

 WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoU.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack U.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE announced Wednesday that the U.S. would terminate the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran (The Hill).

The Trump administration argued that Iran was using the treaty as cover to challenge U.S. sanctions in the International Court of Justice. The move came hours after the United Nation’s highest court ordered the U.S. to lift some sanctions against Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products.

            “The Iranians have been ignoring it for an awfully long time, we ought to have pulled out of it decades ago.”  – Pompeo

The Associated Press takes a look at the history of the deal HERE, noting that the first article reads:

“There shall be firm and enduring peace and sincere friendship between the United States of America and Iran.”

> Trump and the White House lashed out at The New York Times on Wednesday over its bombshell report on the president’s finances, which alleged that Trump inherited millions of dollars from his father and that his family used dodgy business practices and tax strategies to protect their wealth. The report calls into question Trump’s description of himself as a self-made billionaire.

 

 

“It’s a totally false attack, based on an old recycled news story … There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone.” – White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The Times defended its reporting as “unprecedented in scope and precision.”

 

 

The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee is calling on the IRS to investigate the claims in the article and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said the city will look to “recoup” its money.

The Associated Press: Probes of Trump taxes carry potential for millions in fines.

And finally, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpPress: Why do we need a new press secretary? What President Trump needs in his next press secretary  White House mulling restoring daily press briefing with Sanders replacement: report MORE visited a 17 century castle in Ghana that was once a hub of the African slave trade. She described the experience as “very emotional” (NBC News). The first lady is now off to Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

The New York Times: Far from Washington, Melania Trump seems at ease.

 

 

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’s Washington is a dangerous global distraction, by Nic Robertson, CNN. https://cnn.it/2NjjdJD

> Trump and the art of the NAFTA deal, by Jeff Spross, The Week. http://bit.ly/2O29Y63

WHERE AND WHEN

The House is in recess and will reconvene on Nov. 13.

The Senate reconvenes at 11 a.m. and will resume debate on the Kavanaugh nomination.

Trump holds a fundraiser in Minneapolis followed by a campaign rally in Rochester.

Pence will give a speech on China at the Hudson Institute 11 a.m. and then hold separate fundraisers for Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockK Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers GOP lawmaker introduces bill to stop revolving door Ex-lawmakers face new scrutiny over lobbying MORE (R-Va.) and GOP House candidate Danny Tarkanian (Nev.).

ELSEWHERE

> “Rip-roaring hot” jobs market sees private payrolls surge by 230,000 (CNBC).

> Canada relieved trade deal done, won’t forget Trump’s attacks (The Associated Press).

> Steel is surging under Trump. Will workers benefit? (The Washington Post).

> Friends fear for safety of prominent Saudi writer who is missing in Turkey (The Washington Post).

> A year after Weinstein, Hollywood still soul searching (The Associated Press).

> Weird giant may be first known alien moon (National Geographic).


THE CLOSER

And finally…

The Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce the winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Time Magazine has a rundown of the favorites, which include Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who have made strides toward an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula despite Kim’s horrific human rights record.

Time: The favorites to win the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

Let’s test your knowledge on the award, which is given every year to the person or group who has done the most to advance physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economic sciences and peace.…

Forty-nine women have been awarded a Nobel prize since the inception in 1901. Who is the only woman to have won twice?

  1. American writer Toni Morrison
  2. Polish scientist Marie Curie
  3. Mother Teresa
  4. American political activist Jane Addams

Who was the last Pope to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

  1. Pope John Paul II
  2. Pope Pius XI
  3. Pope Benedict XV
  4. No Pope has ever won.

This president is the only one on the list to not win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  1. Theodore Roosevelt
  2. Jimmy Carter
  3. Woodrow Wilson
  4. John F. Kennedy

This existentialist writer is one of only two people to voluntarily refuse a Nobel award.

  1. Soren Kierkegaard
  2. Albert Camus
  3. Jean-Paul Sartre
  4. Friedrich Nietzsche

In 2014, 17-year old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Who was the youngest person to ever win in the physics category?

  1. Carl. D. Anderson
  2. Tsung-Dao Lee
  3. Werner Heisenberg
  4. Lawrence Bragg