The Hill's Morning Report — Are Pelosi’s Democratic detractors going too far?

 

 

 

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Today, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency 2020 candidates keep fitness on track while on the trail Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE celebrates his 75th birthday!

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House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.) is on track to be the next Speaker when Democrats take over in January, despite the rumblings from a small but vocal minority within her caucus who say they are hell-bent on electing a new leader.

The New York Times: Pelosi prepares for her final battle.

On Monday, the full extent of the Democratic rebellion against Pelosi was revealed to be 16 House members, including two who have not officially been elected yet because their races remain too close to call (The Hill).

In a letter spearheaded by Rep. Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch Democrat offers measure to prevent lawmakers from sleeping in their offices MORE (D-N.Y.), the dissenting Democrats detailed why they believe voters sent them to Washington to upend the status quo.

“Democrats ran and won on a message of change. Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington. We promised to change the status quo and we intend to deliver on that promise.”

Pelosi is all but assured to win a majority of Democratic support when the caucus votes behind closed doors next week. The real challenge will come in January, when every House member votes for Speaker.

But the insurgents have a few problems.

Depending on how the outstanding House races shake out, Pelosi can afford to lose between 14 and 18 Democrats and still be elected Speaker if no Republicans vote in her favor. President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE has said Pelosi deserves to be Speaker and some Republicans have mused about voting for her, even if it is out of the belief that she’s a worthwhile foil for the GOP.

The main problem for the dissenters is that no challenger has emerged to turn this into an actual race. The only member who appears to be considering it is Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHarris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge The Hill's Morning Report — DOJ's planned executions stir new debate Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Ohio), who has talked about it but hasn’t taken the plunge.

National Democrats and liberal advocacy groups are growing tired of the drama, believing it to be an unnecessary distraction that could weaken Pelosi and set back the Democratic agenda.

David Axelrod: Democrats should think twice before rejecting Pelosi.

The Atlantic: The opposition to Pelosi stumbles.

Robert Creamer: Pelosi should be elected Speaker and she will be.

Pelosi has largely waged the battle for Speaker behind-the-scenes, but her liberal allies have become increasingly aggressive in going after the rebels, noting that only two women were among the letter’s 16 names and using the hashtag #fivewhiteguys to cast the dissenters as sexist.

 

 

Rice, who spearheaded the letter, has pushed back, noting that she is among those leading the charge and that Fudge is weighing a challenge. Fudge did not sign the letter.

 

 

 

 

Still, many of those who signed the letter campaigned with a vow to seek new leadership in the next Congress, potentially putting them in a sticky spot with constituents.

 

 

There’s one liberal star who might be able to help Pelosi slam the door shut on the opposition.

Melanie Zanona and Scott Wong are reporting that Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is warming to the idea of backing Pelosi’s bid for Speaker, even after spending her first day on Capitol Hill protesting outside Pelosi’s office (The Hill).

Support from the 29 year-old Ocasio-Cortez would go a long way toward burnishing Pelosi’s credibility with the next generation of liberals.

The Associated Press: The big question for House Dems: Will you back Pelosi?

The Boston Globe: Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) takes heat for Pelosi rebellion.

 

LEADING THE DAY

WHITE HOUSE: U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar in California barred the Trump administration on Monday from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order after hearing arguments in a request from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights  (The Associated Press).

Meanwhile, some of the 5,800 U.S. troops sent to the southern border to deal with the migrant caravan will be sent home as early as next week, according to the general overseeing their deployment (Politico).

This comes as the migrant caravan — which Trump warned about relentlessly in the run-up to the midterm elections — draws closer to the United States through Mexico.

In recent days, the Department of Homeland Security has taken drastic steps it said were necessary to secure the border from immigrants seeking to enter illegally.

Over the weekend, U.S Customs and Border Protection shut down traffic flowing into the country at a key point of entry on the southern border. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenWhite House fires DHS general counsel: report Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network DOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful MORE said the traffic lanes were shut down because a large number of migrants "were planning to rush the border" illegally (The Hill).

Monmouth University: Public divided over whether migrant caravan poses a threat.

Military: Trump attracted the anger of top former military officials and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle following his attacks against retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Hill: Trump stokes new and unlikely feud.

The Associated Press Fact Check: Trump presents himself as the Paul Revere of the terrorism age. Not quite. 

McRaven has been critical of the president’s rhetoric toward the news media, provoking Trump to declare that the decorated admiral should have killed bin Laden sooner.

 

 

The Hill’s Brett Samuels writes:

“The president's attacks on individual service members or their family members are at odds with the pro-military persona he has attempted to cultivate by touting reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs, securing additional funding for the armed forces and stocking his Cabinet with former military officers.”

Across the political spectrum, supporters of McRaven came out in force. They include Robert O'Neill; the former Navy SEAL who is said to have killed bin Laden, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Fla.); Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.);  Leon Panetta; the CIA director at the time of the mission; and retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who resigned as the nation’s top military commander in Afghanistan in 2010 after remarks he made critical of former Vice President Joe Biden.

 

 

 

 

Trump and the Republican National Committee cast McRaven as a partisan, claiming that he supported Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE in 2016. McRaven denied backing Clinton and noted that he served under both former President Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark: I served under eight commanders in chief. Trump doesn’t grasp the role.

Email: Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico 2020 is not a family affair, for a change MORE, an unpaid senior adviser to her father in the White House, used a personal account to send hundreds of emails about government business in violation of federal records rules (The Washington Post). Trump famously dubbed Clinton “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account and private server while in government.

Latin America: The Trump administration is preparing information to add Venezuela to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a punitive designation sought by Rubio (The Washington Post). Venezuela is the fourth-largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States. 

Media: The White House is dropping its effort to strip CNN’s Jim Acosta of his press credentials but says it’s implementing new guidelines governing reporter behavior at future press briefings (The Hill).

The new rules would limit each reporter to one question with follow-ups coming "at the discretion of the president or other White House officials taking questions." Reporters would then have to yield the floor and the microphone.

"Should you refuse to follow these rules in the future, we will take action in accordance with the rules set forth above. The president is aware of this decision and concurs." – the White House in a letter to Acosta

The White House Correspondents’ Association released a statement saying it expects reporters will continue to ask follow-up questions.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CONGRESS: In a move legal experts believe may be legally flawed, Senate Democrats who are members of the Judiciary Committee filed suit on Monday to try to block Trump appointee Matthew Whitaker from serving as attorney general. It was the fourth effort questioning Whitaker’s appointment moving now through the courts. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Senate GOP pledges to oppose any efforts to 'pack' Supreme Court Senate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility MORE (D-R.I.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocratic senators introduce bill to block Trump 'public charge' rule Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator MORE (D-Hawaii) filed their suit through the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (The Hill). Some legal analysts question whether they have standing to sue the Justice Department.

Trump suggests he feels no sense of urgency to nominate an attorney general to be confirmed by the Senate, either this year or early in 2019. Senate Republicans, however, have urged Trump to move quickly to name a replacement for former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media Nadler considering holding Lewandowski in contempt Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE, who resigned at Trump’s request on Nov. 7.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (R-Ky.) is almost single-handedly blocking action this year on bipartisan criminal justice changes backed by the president and worked out by his son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Democrats set for Lone Star showdown Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Arrests at southern border drop to 64K in August MORE. Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyWe've lost sight of the real scandal Grassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel State Dept sent explosive-detection dogs to Jordan despite evidence of mistreatment: report MORE (R-Iowa) is trying to pressure McConnell to move the bill in this year’s lame-duck session, with little evident success (The Hill). But other Senate conservatives, including Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant Cotton2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration Meadows, Cotton introduce bill to prevent district judges from blocking federal policy changes MORE of Arkansas, are opposed to the measure.

Kushner: “The First Step Act … seeks to strengthen recidivism reduction and evidence-based reentry programs for inmates in federal prisons. We continue to work with the law enforcement and faith and business communities to find ways to get people leaving prison properly reintegrated into society” (USA Today Op-Ed).

Meanwhile, Grassley, who is expected to be chairman of the Senate Finance Committee next year, is likely to get tough with the pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma is losing an ally in retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) (The Hill).

 

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

Go ahead, Democrats. Fight over Nancy Pelosi. Just get it out of your systems now, please, by Michelle Cottle, The New York Times opinion.

Bipartisan criminal-justice reform could happen soon — if the 1990s wing of the GOP gets out of the way, by The Los Angeles Times editorial board.

WHERE AND WHEN

The House and Senate are out for the holiday week.

The president says he’ll receive findings from the CIA about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 killing. He and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump introduces Mariano Rivera for Medal of Freedom ceremony with Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' Trump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE participate in the annual presidential pardon of Thanksgiving turkeys “Peas” and “Carrots.” This afternoon, they depart for Florida for the remainder of the week, arriving at Mar-a-Lago this evening.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the State Department at 12:30 p.m.

The government reports U.S. housing starts for October at 8:30 a.m.

The 17th annual “Trot for Hunger” road race and festival takes place on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, in Washington, D.C. There’s still time for runners and couch potatoes to preempt the tryptophan on the holiday by signing up to support So Others Might Eat (SOME). A 5K run and walk begins at 9 a.m., and the fun run for families and children starts at 8:30 a.m. Register HERE.

The Hill’s newsmaker event "Preparing for a Treatment: Alzheimer's Diagnosis and Care" on Nov. 28 features Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGreta Thunberg scolds Congress on climate action: 'I know you are trying but just not hard enough' Obama meets with Greta Thunberg: 'One of our planet's greatest advocates' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Mass.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration MORE (R-N.C.). Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack talks with lawmakers and experts about groundbreaking advancements in the treatment of Alzheimer's. Registration is HERE.

 

 

ELSEWHERE

> Retirement: A turbulent stock market is forcing some older workers and retirees to re-evaluate savings strategies (The Associated Press).

> Olympics: Fewer cities seek to host future Olympics. On Monday, Calgary City pulled out of its 2026 Winter Olympics bid after a majority of voters opposed it (The Associated Press).

> Brrrrrrr: Washington chalked up a wet summer and early fall, minor snow in mid-November, and now parts of the East Coast are being warned to bundle up, check the thermostat and the pipes, find the cocoa and the marshmallows, and lug home some firewood. The newest regional weather maps are colored blue and red, and we’re not talking politics: Coldest Thanksgiving in decades possible in Washington from Arctic blast.” (The Washington Post).

 

 

THE CLOSER

And finally … The Rolling Stones … forever on stage. The band plans 13 live concert dates in the United States in 2019 as part of its “No Filter” tour, including a performance in Washington, D.C. Other stops will be in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois. The tour kicks off in Miami on April 20 (The Associated Press).

Perhaps 75 is the new 55: both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who have been bandmates since 1962 and brawlers about each other for decades, are still at it. They’ll both be three-quarters of the way to a century old at the time of the band’s spring swing.

As Richards said during an interview early this year, “Mick and I live off of this fire between us” (The Wall Street Journal).