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

 

 

 

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Today, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report Biden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP MORE celebrates his 75th birthday!

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House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls on Trump to testify as part of impeachment inquiry Sunday shows — Spotlight shifts to Sondland ahead of impeachment inquiry testimony Perception won't be reality, once AI can manipulate what we see 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 RiceProgressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising Marijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch 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 TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report 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 FudgeHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions House Democrats introduce new legislation to combat foreign election interference Harris wins endorsement of former CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge 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 backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations Top House Democrats ask for review of DHS appointments Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary 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 RubioGOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump Paul's demand to out whistleblower rankles GOP colleagues MORE (R-Fla.); Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll 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 ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter 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 reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family 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 WhitehouseDemocratic senators seek documents on Trump's alleged call for Barr press conference Senate committee advances budget reform plan Bipartisan Enzi-Whitehouse budget bill a very bad fix for deficits MORE (D-R.I.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocratic senators introduce bill to block funding for border wall live stream Overnight Energy: Perry replacement faces Ukraine questions at hearing | Dem chair demands answers over land agency's relocation | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine 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 SessionsTo understand death behind bars, we need more information White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE, who resigned at Trump’s request on Nov. 7.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms Impeachment battle looms over must-pass defense bill 'Saturday Night Live' presents Trump impeachment hearings with 'pizzazz' of soap opera 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 KushnerTrump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family Trump admin preparing to seize private land for border wall: report MORE. Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBooker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens 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 CottonTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Schumer concerned by Army's use of TikTok, other Chinese social media platforms Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising 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 awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese 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 reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family Trump to attend NATO leaders meeting 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 PompeoImpeachment battle looms over must-pass defense bill Five takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony Pompeo: No US response ruled out in Hong Kong 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 MarkeyHillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill Democratic senators introduce bill to block funding for border wall live stream MORE (D-Mass.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Trump rules out total rollback of Chinese tariffs 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).