The Hill's Morning Report — McConnell tells Pence shutdown must end

The Hill's Morning Report — McConnell tells Pence shutdown must end
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***BREAKING NEWS … President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE’s former adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCounterprotesters outnumber far-right extremists at DC rally Judge orders Roger Stone to file rebuttal to allegation he violated gag order Federal prosecutors allege Roger Stone violated gag order with Instagram posts MORE has been indicted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE on charges of witness tampering and lying to Congress. Read the indictment HERE.***

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***

Republicans are wavering as the partial government shutdown reaches 35 days and polls show President Trump absorbing the bulk of the blame. 

On Thursday, six GOP senators peeled off to vote in favor of a bill to reopen the government with no additional wall funding, compared to only one Democrat who voted in favor of Trump’s proposed immigration deal. Both “messaging votes” failed in the Senate, as expected (The Hill). 

But the real drama happened behind closed doors, where GOP senators – from Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat Democrats should say about guns This week: House Dems voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller MORE (R-Ky.) on down – vented their frustration to Vice President Pence and demanded that Trump bring the shutdown to an end as soon as possible.

From The Hill’s Alexander Bolton:

One of the most remarkable moments during the Senate luncheon came when McConnell told Pence that shuttering the government to try to secure funding for a border wall was not a smart approach.

“McConnell talked about how we need to bring this process to a close; we should never have had a shutdown; they don’t work; I’ve said this numerous times; I don’t know how many times I’ve told you there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” said a GOP source familiar with the meeting.

The Washington Post: GOP senators clash over shutdown blame.

Here’s where things stand:

 

The White House

Pressure is growing on Trump after his proposal went down in the Senate and GOP senators vented their frustration to the vice president.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump shares Graham quote calling Ocasio-Cortez 'anti-America' Graham: Trump should focus on policy, not personal attacks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE (R-S.C.) says he spoke to the president on Thursday and urged him to consider temporarily reopening the government while negotiations over wall money continue.

Trump said he would consider a three-week continuing resolution – if it includes “some sort of pro-rated down payment on the wall.” White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBiden pledges return to daily press briefings as president Sarah Sanders: I will walk out of the White House 'with my head held high' Trump directs Pentagon to develop policy allowing service academy athletes to go pro right away MORE Sanders said the down payment would have to be “large.”

Senate Democrats and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets 'obviously not racist' On the USMCA, Pelosi can't take yes for an answer MORE (D-Calif.) shot that down immediately.

“This is not a reasonable agreement.” – Pelosi

Trump also said he has “other alternatives” he’s considering. One of these options is to declare a national emergency.

 

The Senate

McConnell and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence MORE (D-N.Y.) huddled immediately after the dueling bills went down in the Senate, a sign of the sudden urgency to find a compromise.

A bipartisan group of moderates is pitching a three-week stopgap bill, hoping that Trump will agree to temporarily reopen the government while negotiations continue (The Hill).

There was also some talk about “broadening negotiations” in hopes of finding new incentives that could lead to a way out.

“I actually think the president will have moved this process forward … by beginning the process of expanding it so that we can reach a conclusion.” – Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP balks at White House push for standalone vote on debt ceiling Republicans say they're satisfied with 2020 election security after classified briefings GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges MORE (R-Mo.) 

Either way, Senate Republicans are growing restless and are eager to bring an end to the impasse, with wall money or not.

“You can’t [resolve the border dispute] when the government is shut down.” – Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiFinally, GOP lawmakers prove conservation and conservatism go hand-in-hand Alaska political mess has legislators divided over meeting place Republican lawmakers on why they haven't read Mueller report: 'Tedious' and 'what's the point?' MORE (R-Alaska)

“Compromise is not a dirty word. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.” — Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans make U-turn on health care Children urge Congress to renew funds for diabetes research Justice Democrats issues 3 new endorsements for progressive candidates MORE (R-Maine)

 

The House

Pelosi is riding it out.

There was talk from some top Democrats about a counteroffer to Trump that would include billions of dollars for “smart wall” technology but nothing for a physical barrier.

Pelosi disputed reports that House Democrats are preparing to offer anything additional to Trump (The Hill).

“That’s not true. That’s not true. That’s not true.” – Pelosi

The Hill: Dems strengthen hand in shutdown fight.
The Hill: Trump, GOP losing shutdown fight in court of public opinion.

Federal workers impacted by the shutdown will miss their second consecutive paychecks on Friday. Tax filing season begins on Monday and could get messy (CNBC).



LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed former Trump lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFeds unlikely to charge Trump Organization execs in campaign finance case: report Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE to testify in February and he will comply, Cohen’s lawyer said.

Cohen pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress in 2017 and will be asked by senators to correct the record about matters related to his previous testimony (CNN). He is due to report to federal prison in March.

The Senate committee’s hearings about Russia and matters that intersect with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation have to date been conducted behind closed doors, a likely scenario with Cohen.

The man who once called himself Trump’s “fixer” postponed his public testimony scheduled Feb. 7 before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, citing “threats” he said Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani made about him and his family.

The chairmen of the House Oversight and Intelligence committees have said they will continue to pursue testimony from Cohen, but dates and details, and whether subpoenas will be issued, remained unclear on Thursday.

Meanwhile, progressive groups want Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTlaib blasts Foreign Affairs Committee's anti-BDS bill as 'unconstitutional' Top Republican offers resolution following Trump tax return lawsuit Taxpayer advocate heading to greener pastures MORE (D-Mass.), the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, to request from the Treasury Department copies of the president’s tax returns, which Trump maintains are under IRS audit and will not be made public (The Hill).

Neal is defending his approach at the outset of the new Congress (Bloomberg).

“This has to be part of a carefully prepared and documented legal case,” the chairman told reporters Thursday.

Many Democrats in 2016 objected in principle to candidate Trump’s decision not to disclose his business and personal tax filings. Others continue to assert that as president, Trump seeks to obscure financial details he believes might be politically or legally injurious. Analysts recently told Hill.TV that most Americans want to see the president’s tax filings.

Profiles: Meet Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarLA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' NYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN Foreign-born lawmaker: Trump's not going to tell me to 'go back to my country' MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibKasich calls on Republicans to condemn 'deplorable' Trump tweets LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' NYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN MORE (D-Mich.), the first Muslim women to serve in Congress. They’re attracting unusual scrutiny from Republicans and conservative media outlets during their early weeks in Washington (The Hill). … And The New York Times profiles Pelosi as “tough as nails.”



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: The 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are fanning out across the country to lay out their platforms, defend past positions and shape their biographical stories.

> The Washington Post reports that Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Amazon warehouse workers strike on Prime Day Elizabeth Warren backs Amazon workers striking on Prime Day MORE (D-Mass.) will propose a “wealth tax” on Americans with $50 million or more in assets.

> Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Biden pitches new subsidies, public option in health care plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE, who has taken heat from the left for giving a paid speech last year in support of a GOP incumbent who was in a tight House race with a Democrat, says he’s unmoved by the criticism (The Daily Beast).

“I read in The New York Times today that one of my problems is, if I ever run for president, I like Republicans. Well, bless me, father, for I have sinned.” — Biden

> Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Judd Gregg: Counting the costs of Democrats' desires Buttigieg: 'Medicare for all,' free college tuition are 'questionable on their merits' MORE’s (D-Calif.) past has come into focus for her relationship with then-San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown when she was an up-and-coming prosecutor (Politico).

> Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetCongress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand George Will says Democrats should nominate Bennet to beat Trump in 2020 MORE (D-Colo), who was under consideration to be Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton responds to Trump tweets telling Dem lawmakers to 'go back' to their countries The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur: Here's how to choose a president MORE’s vice presidential nominee, ginned up his own presidential buzz on Thursday with a fiery floor speech denouncing the shutdown (The Washington Post).

> Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSanders praises Gen Z for being 'profoundly anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic' Next Generation foreign policy: Time for the Democrats to embrace restraint 3 reasons billionaire activist Tom Steyer is running for president MORE (D-Hawaii) released a new presidential campaign ad highlighting her military service and warning against “interventionist regime change wars.

Gabbard has a lot of enemies on the left. The Daily Kos announced Wednesday they’ll back her primary challenger in the House, citing Gabbard’s “problematic history on abortion rights, her support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and her refusal to join her Democratic colleagues in the House in backing progressive priorities like an assault weapons ban.”

More from the campaign trail … The Koch network, which holds a retreat for donors this weekend, decided to stay out of the 2020 presidential race and will not back Trump for reelection (The Washington Post) ...Young voters keep moving to the left on social issues, including Republicans (The New York Times).

And spotted at last night’s Washington Wizards game…

 

 

 

 

 

Pelosi watched her hometown Golden State Warriors beat the Wizards 126 to 118 last night at Capital One Arena. Shortly before the game, the Warriors hung out with former President Obama. Obama and Warriors star Stephen Curry are golf buddies.

 

 

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley & Alexis Simendinger. We want to hear from you! @jeasley@thehill.com and @asimendinger@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!

OPINION

White House immigration agenda hurts Senate Republicans in 2020, by Jordan Bruneau, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2FWXzed

Venezuela’s curse is nearing his end, by Carolyn Kissane of New York University, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2MuY4NV



WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets for pro forma purposes at 2 p.m.

The Senate meets at noon for pro forma business.

The president has lunch with Pompeo at 12:30 p.m. At 1:45 p.m., Trump hosts a discussion with U.S. mayors about the economy, and at 2:45 p.m. he holds a roundtable with Hispanic pastors.

ELSEWHERE

> Venezuela: The United States is shifting its financial support for the Venezuelan people to the interim government of Juan Guaidó (Reuters). However, during a press conference on Thursday top military brass in Caracas vowed to back President Nicolás Maduro amid continued national unrest (The Associated Press). Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump's Iran policy proves the primacy of US power — but to what end? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke State Department raises concerns about Sweden's treatment of detained American rapper MORE urged allies in Latin America and in Europe to support Guaidó (Reuters).

“The Venezuelan people rose up to take back their country.” — Pompeo, interviewed on Fox News

“What we’re focusing on today is disconnecting the illegitimate Maduro regime from the source of its revenues.” — White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonWill Iran 'break out' for a nuclear weapon, and what can Trump do? Hillicon Valley: FTC reportedly settles with Facebook for B fine | Trump calls to regulate Facebook's crypto project | Court rules Pentagon can award B 'war cloud' contract | Study shows automation will hit rural areas hardest Trump again considering dismissing intelligence chief Dan Coats: report MORE 

 

 

On Thursday, the State Department ordered non-emergency U.S. government employees to leave Venezuela and advised all other Americans in the country to consider departing for safety reasons.

> Khashoggi murder: A United Nations expert will lead an international inquiry into the October killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (Reuters). Meanwhile, at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week, participants from Saudi Arabia attempted to move beyond the Khashoggi slaying, which was committed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, during events in the Alps with international peers (Reuters). 

> Media: BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Gannett wrestled this week with announcements of employee layoffs, citing ongoing struggles to find revenue models that can sustain the digital news and newspaper companies. This week alone, the media industry nationwide lost about 1,000 jobs (CNN). “Profits have proved elusive in an advertising market dominated by two giants — Google and Facebook,” wrote The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi about challenges faced inside digital news outlets.

 

 

> Manafort: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTop Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller Trump, Mueller, the issue of 'guilt' and a do-nothing Congress MORE is due back in court today as prosecutors and defense lawyers argue over whether he lied to investigators (The Associated Press).

> Alzheimer’s: Researchers have found a strong link between toxic enzymes produced by bacteria in gum disease and patients with Alzheimer’s, raising hopes for diagnostic tests and possible treatment (Science News).

> Sleep: Lack of sleep is hazardous to human health and may shorten life, scientists warn (The Washington Post). … Rocking motion puts adults to sleep faster, makes slumber deeper and improves memory, scientists report. Beyond swaying in a hammock, rocking beds are a thing (Science News).

 



THE CLOSER

And finally … Kudos to Morning Report quiz winners!

We were inspired by the anniversary of the first sales of Macintosh computers in 1984 and want to congratulate the quiz masters this week who correctly answered five questions tied to news about Apple: Milt Mungo, William Chattam, David Straney, Barbara Gary, Rosemary Morretta, Carolyn Dixon and Sandy Sycafoose.

They knew that Wall Street analysts trimmed projections this month for the price of Apple stock because iPhone sales are projected to decline in 2019 (The New York Times and Investors.com).

In 1984 when Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh in California, the price tag was $2,500 (watch his presentation HERE).

Apple stirred some controversy last year when it introduced the latest Apple Watch and boasted it can detect cardiac performance akin to a medical electrocardiogram (The New York Times).

Apple’s now-famous and award-winning “1984” commercial for the Macintosh computer, which aired once during the 1984 Super Bowl, was the work of film director Ridley Scott, who was already hailed at that time for 1979’s “Alien” and 1982’s “Blade Runner.” (During an interview HERE, Scott said he envisioned the Macintosh commercial as a mini-film drawn from ad agency Chiat/Day’s story boards and script.) 

Apple CEO Tim Cook last week advocated for greater consumer privacy online with a proposal for a clearinghouse of data brokers, to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, which he argued could allow consumers to delete their data (TIME and WIRED).