The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Next 24 hours critical for stalled funding talks




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report, and it’s Monday! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Co-creators are Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger (CLICK HERE to subscribe!). On Twitter, you can find us at @joneasley and @asimendinger.


Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesExperts warn Georgia's new electronic voting machines vulnerable to potential intrusions, malfunctions Georgia restores 22,000 voter registrations after purge Stacey Abrams group files emergency motion to stop Georgia voting roll purge MORE (R-N.C.), a GOP rebel and critic of the war in Iraq, died last night on his birthday at the age of 76.


Washington is barreling toward another partial government shutdown, with border security negotiations at an impasse and the clock ticking down to a Friday deadline.

Lawmakers have been adamant they would avoid another government closure after the record 35-day shutdown cost the economy billions of dollars and provoked chaos at the nation’s airports and parks.

But with only five days to go to reach a deal that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says inviting Russia to G7 'a question of common sense' Pentagon chief does not support invoking Insurrection Act Dershowitz: Does President Trump have power to declare martial law? MORE, negotiations have hit a rut over the number of beds that can be funded in border detention facilities.

“As long as the goalposts continue moving, there’s really no way we can lock in on an agreement.” — Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Republican Tom Graves announces retirement from House Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms MORE (R-Ga.), a member of the negotiating committee, on ABC’s “This Week.”

The Hill: Border talks stall as another shutdown looms.

Bloomberg News: Congressional talks on border security have broken down.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHouse pushes back schedule to pass spending bills Top Republican says Trump greenlit budget fix for VA health care GOP senators not tested for coronavirus before lunch with Trump MORE (R-Ala.) put the odds of a deal at 50-50.

The president was damaged politically by the prior shutdown, but the White House is signaling Trump would be ready to endure another.

“Is a shutdown entirely off the table? The answer is no.” — Acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney12 things to know today about coronavirus Mulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic MORE on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”




Amid that backdrop, Trump will kick off his 2020 reelection campaign tonight from El Paso, Texas, the bustling border town that the White House has cited as an example of how border walls reduce the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. Afterward, the president will be interviewed by Laura Ingraham on Fox at 10 p.m.

Trump’s Texas visit will be a spectacle.

In addition to Trump’s rally, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who lost his Senate bid in November, will lead a counter demonstration nearby. El Paso is O’Rourke’s hometown and the Texas Democrat, who will announce his presidential plans at the end of the month, is himself a powerful draw on the campaign trail.

The infamous Trump “baby blimp” is expected to make an appearance after a GoFundMe campaign launched by protesters reached its fundraising goal.

The Associated Press: Trump tries to turn border debate his way with El Paso rally.

The Hill: Trump, Dems have reasons to work together but tensions are boiling over.






POLITICS & 2020: Two U.S. senators joined the Democratic presidential field over the weekend and a third is considering joining the race.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen Biden wins DC primary Warren asks Pentagon IG to probe military role in Trump's protest response MORE (D-Mass.), the progressive firebrand, launched her campaign from Lawrence, Mass., with a focus on low and middle-class earners struggling to make ends meet.

The Boston Globe: Warren makes it official.

Warren enters the race as a top contender but badly damaged by her claims, since retracted, of Native American ancestry. The Massachusetts Democrat has apologized and tried to put the controversy behind her, but allegations that she sought to advance her career while maintaining she was a member of a minority group could haunt her campaign.



Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharWebb: The modern age of dissent versus riot Bottom line Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not MORE (D-Minn.) also made it official, announcing her presidential run in the snow in Minneapolis. She’ll be interviewed today on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and appear later today on MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show."

The Hill: Klobuchar jumps into 2020 race.

Klobuchar’s image as a salt-of-the-earth Midwesterner has taken a hit in recent days, with a string of stories alleging that she treats her staff abusively. She conceded on Sunday that she can “be tough,” but pointed to staff members who have been with her for years (The Hill).

BuzzFeed: Staffers, documents show Klobuchar’s wrath toward her aides.



Warren and Klobuchar may be joined soon by another of their Senate  Democratic colleagues, Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetWarren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Congress headed toward unemployment showdown MORE of Colorado, who hinted at a run in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I think having one more voice in that conversation that’s focused on America’s future, I don’t think would hurt.” — Bennet

Meanwhile, the rolling political disaster for Democrats in Virginia continues.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) says he will not resign and has embarked on an apology tour, although he still denies that he was photographed in blackface or wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume. In an interview with CBS News, anchor Gayle King corrected Northam for using the term “indentured servants” instead of “slavery.”

CBS News: Northam vows to remain in office despite calls to resign.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who would be next in line to succeed Northam, is also refusing to resign after two women accused him of sexual assault, allegations he denies. Democrats in the state are in a bind over whether to impeach him (The New York Times). There does not appear to be much momentum toward impeachment with the legislative session coming to a close at the end of the month (The Associated Press).

The Associated Press: Black Virginia voters feel betrayed, left in no-win scenario.

The Hill: Virginia scandals pit Democrats against their message.

Perspectives and Analysis

Steven Pearlstein: Democratic politicians are tripping over one another to demonstrate progressive bona fides, including a wealth tax, 70 percent tax rates and "Medicare for all."

David Von Drehle: Democrats’ Green New Deal has some seeing only red ink.

The National Journal: Democrats are boosting Trump’s reelection prospects.

The Hill: Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism.


CONGRESS: Late Sunday, freshman Minnesota Democrat Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAmash readying legislation allowing victims to sue officers Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Black Caucus member unveils bill to create commission addressing legacy of slavery MORE ignited a new controversy on Capitol Hill when she suggested GOP support for Israel is driven by campaign donations from AIPAC, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group (The Hill). House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen Top GOP lawmakers invite Blue Dogs to meet with China Task Force Top GOP lawmakers invite Blue Dogs to meet with China Task Force over coronavirus probe MORE (R-Calif.) and other Republicans have criticized Omar before and after her election based on her negative comments about Israel (Politico).

> The House will soon face a floor vote on impeachment, the first since Democrats won the majority, according to Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Miami mayor worries about suicide and domestic violence rise; Trump-governor debate intensifies Overnight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers urge assistance for oil and gas workers MORE (D-Texas), an outspoken proponent of Trump’s ouster. The ongoing political crisis in Virginia presents a backdrop for Democrats to decry bigotry “by starting at the top” in the White House, he said, offering a new rationale for the president’s impeachment. His views divide his party (The Hill).

> Senators from both parties say they have modest expectations for Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The lowered bar comes after Trump’s first summit with Kim failed to yield a concrete agreement and negotiations since June delivered no tangible headway toward denuclearization (The Hill). … The president imagines a second summit will still be much-watch TV, lauding a theme of “good vs. evil,” according to one unnamed confidant (The Associated Press).

> Senate Republicans sparked new tensions last week when they advanced more than 40 judicial nominations, including several who did not have support from home-state senators. Democrats are fuming (The Hill).

> GOP lawmakers who authored the 2017 tax bill with Trump’s enthusiastic signature are beginning to be confronted by individual tax filers who are upset as they discover they owe the IRS or will not receive refunds they expected (NBC News). Here’s how the new tax law will impact returns (NBC News). Disappointment and more questions are expected before the April 15 tax filing deadline, and there may be some political unease about the reactions to the new law.

> Former Rep. John D. Dingell Jr. (D-Mich.), who died last week at age 92, will be eulogized today in Dearborn, Mich. A funeral mass will take place Tuesday in Dearborn, and his casket will be driven past the U.S. Capitol in Washington later in the day. The House will hold no roll call votes on Tuesday.



Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Majority 'sympathetic' to protesters, disapprove of Trump's response In a year like no other, we'll hold the election of our lifetime The Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen MORE, Rep. John LewisJohn LewisPelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Tim Scott: Trump's 'shooting,' 'vicious dogs' tweets 'are not constructive' MORE (D-Ga.) and Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonBipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments Bipartisan bill aims to help smallest businesses weather the coronavirus crisis Lawmakers press HHS for answers on coronavirus drug distribution MORE (R-Mich.) will speak to honor Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress from 1955 to 2014, during the service in Dearborn.

On Thursday, a funeral service also is scheduled in Washington at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTop Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP How Obama just endorsed Trump Trump, Biden signal how ugly the campaign will be MORE, former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBottom line Bottom line Pelosi, Trump slide further into the muck MORE (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Hoyer wins Maryland House primary Hoyer: Gassing of protestors 'worthy' of Trump censure MORE of Maryland will speak. Dingell, a veteran of World War II, will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery (Roll Call).


INVESTIGATIONS: Will Democrats turn on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE if they’re unsatisfied with his findings?

So far, Democrats have defended the integrity of Mueller’s investigation against Trump’s attacks.

But in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.) suggested that Mueller might not be able to prove there was a crime of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

And he took a swipe at Mueller, saying that the scope of the special counsel’s investigation is not broad enough.

“There has been reporting that when it was alleged that the special counsel had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, that the president moved to fire Mueller. And the way they talked him off the ledge was by promising that that reporting wasn't true, that the special counsel hadn't subpoenaed Deutsche Bank. Well, if the special counsel hasn't subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, he can't be doing much of a money laundering investigation.” — Schiff

There is mounting speculation that the special counsel probe is winding down, just as Schiff is ramping up his own probes into the 2016 campaign and the president’s personal business empire.

Democrats are heavily invested in proving that some of the heaviest allegations against the president are true.

If Mueller doesn’t deliver the goods on that front, Schiff is positioning himself to take up the torch. He’s been casting a wide net in building a team of outside consultants, investigators and lawyers and has brought on at least one former member of Trump’s national security team, who also served in the Obama administration.

The Memo: Trump allies fret as legal troubles multiply.

The Washington Post: Schiff voices concern that Mueller’s scrutiny of Trump is inadequate.

Reuters: Schiff questions if Mueller probing Trump-Deutsche Bank link.

The New York Times: Comments by one of Mueller’s lead prosecutors, disclosed in a transcript of a closed-door hearing, point to continued interest in whether Moscow eyed the Trump campaign as a route toward relief from U.S. economic sanctions.

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I’m from the same generation as Northam and Herring. Their behavior is mind-boggling, by former Democratic Rep. Donna F. Edwards of Maryland, opinion contributor, The Washington Post.

The case for Amy Klobuchar, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, who talks about air transport risks, should there be another federal shutdown; House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald Nunes Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (R-Calif.); and author of a new book about social justice, Noah Rothman.

The House convenes at noon. 

The Senate meets at 3 p.m. and resumes consideration of the Natural Resources Management Act.

The president receives his intelligence briefing and has lunch with Vice President Pence. Trump will sign an executive order at 3 p.m. about maintaining U.S. competitiveness in artificial intelligence. Later, the president will fly to El Paso, Texas, for a rally that begins at 9 p.m.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE is in Afghanistan today to support Kabul’s role in peace talks to end 17 years of war (Reuters).

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen Trump signs order directing State Dept., USAID to take action on global religious freedom Pompeo criticizes China on Tiananmen Square anniversary amid US protests MORE will travel to Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belgium and Iceland beginning today through Feb. 15.


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> Media: The attorney for the CEO of American Media Inc., denied allegations that the parent company of the National Enquirer attempted to extort and blackmail Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos using compromising photographs, lawyer Elkan Abramowitz told ABC’s “This Week,” on Sunday. Bezos’s investigators suggested last week that the Enquirer’s coverage of his extramarital affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez was driven by dirty politics, and the high-profile clash now pits the world’s richest man against David Pecker, the leader of America’s best-known tabloid and a Trump ally (The Washington Post).

> Neuroscience: Researchers think they’re getting closer to an audacious goal — a device implanted into the brains of severely depressed people to detect the early signs of downward spirals in order to prevent them (Science News)

> Demographics and Rx: Who buys prescribed medications? Higher income is a predictor of who is most likely to pay for pharmaceuticals for certain serious health conditions and mental health maladies, as well as lifestyle problems (The New York Times).

> Grammy awards: Country music’s Kacey Musgraves won four Grammys Sunday night including album of the year for “Golden Hour,” in a tie for four wins with rap star Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” the song of the year (The Washington Post). … Lady Gaga, captured three Grammy awards, including one for the best pop/group performance shared with Bradley Cooper for the song “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.” … Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama celebrates seniors, tells them to 'breathe deep and dance your heart out' at virtual prom The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Michelle Obama working with 31 mayors on increasing voter participation MORE made a surprise appearance during a show opener from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The former first lady was greeted with screams when she joined Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez to talk about what music meant to her while growing up in Chicago. “Whether we like country, rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves,” said the bestselling author of the memoir “Becoming” (Associated Press). Women were strongly represented among nominees at Sunday’s Grammys, in contrast with last year’s ceremony, where male acts dominated (The Associated Press). And fashion was a big part of the night, including a pro-Trump border wall dress worn by singer Joy Villa (Variety).


And finally … gender equality in big-wave surfing. The New York Times Magazine on Sunday took readers into the elite world of monster-wave competition to describe women surfers who enjoy big reputations in one of the most dangerous sports on Earth.

Over the past two years, Bianca Valenti, Keala Kennelly, Andrea Moller and Paige Alms have argued for the right to risk their lives in a competition that men enjoy — and for equal pay. As the Times reports, they have been more successful than they ever imagined.

Outside magazine put Valenti on its 2018 list of the most accomplished athletes, and USA Today recently featured these women and their daring achievements.



“You’re in this silent glass world of water, and you’re in so much risk, and yet you’re so driven that it almost feels like there’s a pause,” says Moller as she recalls a wave growing until it blocked out the rising sun and kept expanding. That vision never left her. “That’s the wave of your life,” she says, “the wave that, years later, you can still go back to.”