The Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Friday! 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.

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House Democrats will introduce a joint resolution today to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE’s emergency declaration, kicking off round two of the border wall fight that has consumed Washington for months. 

The resolution will be introduced by Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroJulián Castro endorses Rep. Cuellar's primary opponent in Texas Harris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller As Mexico abuses migrants under Trump's orders, where is Congress? MORE, a Democrat from Texas. At only one page long, the resolution gets straight to the point:

“The national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019 … is hereby terminated.”

It will take several weeks to move the resolution through committee and several days after that to get it to the House floor for a vote. There is no rush for Democrats, who are united on this front and happy to allow additional time for GOP divisions to spill into the open.

On Thursday, GOP Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherPelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei Hillicon Valley: Tech confronts impact of coronavirus | House GOP offers resolution to condemn UK over Huawei | YouTube lays out plans to tackle 2020 misinformation GOP lawmakers introduce resolution denouncing UK's Huawei decision MORE (Wis.), who hails from a Trump friendly district, said he doesn’t believe that the emergency declaration is the right course of action.

“The problem is the president came to Congress asking for something. Congress said no. Our system doesn't then allow the president to say, 'Ok 'I'm just going do it anyway through some sort of cheat code’.” - Gallagher 

Once the resolution passes the Democratic-controlled House, the GOP-controlled Senate will be required to vote on it. Senate Democrats could introduce an identical resolution as early as today.

Democrats need to pick up at least four Republicans in the Senate for it to pass. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe new American center Democratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump MORE (R-Maine) this week became the first GOP senator to say she would vote in favor of the resolution. Several others have publicly criticized Trump’s emergency declaration.

The GOP senators to watch: Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump budget includes proposal for US Consulate in Greenland Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Alaska), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTop GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate Democratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January MORE (N.C.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Tenn.), Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner8 people arrested outside Trump rally in Colorado for 'obstructed traffic' Trump seeks to boost vulnerable GOP senator with Colorado rally Nonpartisan election forecaster moves Colorado Senate race to 'leans Democratic' MORE (Colo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight Peace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela MORE (Fla.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyProgressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory Texas woman sentenced for illegal voting faces deportation after parole Trump campaign buys top advertising spot on YouTube for Election Day MORE (Utah), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Ky.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (Kan.).

If the resolution passes the Senate, it could lead to Trump’s first veto.

If Congress can’t override the veto, there are about a half-dozen lawsuits working their way through the courts at the moment. If Congress votes overwhelmingly to rebuke Trump, it could damage the administration’s arguments in court.

Poll: Most Americans believe Trump’s emergency declaration will be struck down.

The Hill’s editor-in-chief Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's Editor-in-Chief: Can Michael Bloomberg erase his terrible debate performance? The Hill's review of John Solomon's columns on Ukraine Hill's Editor-In-Chief: Are Joe Biden donors panicking? MORE handicaps the potential outcomes:

Chances House passes resolution of disapproval: 99 percent.

Chances Senate passes resolution of disapproval: 60 percent.

Chances Congress overrides Trump veto: 3 percent. 

If that’s not enough drama for you, the federal debt surpassed $22 trillion this month.

The U.S. will hit the debt ceiling on March 1. Republicans and Democrats are contemplating how to use the borrowing limit to extract concessions from one another, so another brutal fiscal fight is on the horizon.

More from Congress … Don’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall (The Hill) … Senators are hoping to get the government funding process back on track after the months-long fight over the border wall (The Hill).

LEADING THE DAY

WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Trump-Kim summit: The United States hopes to make rapid progress with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnWe should listen to John Bolton Donald Trump: Unrepentant, on the attack and still playing the victim Trump's 'two steps forward, one step backward' strategy with China MORE at the upcoming summit with Trump next week in Vietnam. The U.S. aim is to nail down agreement with Pyongyang to forfeit its nuclear arsenal, rather than more prolonged discussions about incremental steps. The Trump administration wants a full accounting of North Korea’s nuclear forces and facilities, which the United States was unable to get in the past year and a half, but a marker of progress seen by analysts as necessary in order to verify any steps the country takes to disarm (Bloomberg). … Meanwhile, North Korea has warned it faces food shortages (Reuters).

Venezuela: The Trump administration next week will send Vice President Pence to Colombia, across the border from Venezuela, to reinforce the international call for Nicolás Maduro to step down from the presidency in Caracas. The vice president’s trip on Monday will be his fifth to Latin America to represent the administration (McClatchy). On Thursday, Maduro, whose authoritarian grip on power helped spark a mass exodus from a nation in economic crisis, shut Venezuela’s vast border with Brazil to prevent international food and other humanitarian aid from entering. He says he may do the same with Venezuela’s border with Colombia (NBC News).

China trade: Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He meet today at the White House for an Oval Office meeting analysts believe is a sign of momentum for ongoing trade talks between the two countries. U.S. and Chinese negotiators in Washington are discussing Beijing’s proposal to purchase $30 billion more in U.S. agricultural imports, including soybeans, corn and wheat, as part of a broader deal to avert escalating tariffs threatened by Trump (Bloomberg).   

Labor secretary: A U.S. district court judge ruled Thursday that former federal prosecutors — among them Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaFlorida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena MORE, who at the time was the U.S. attorney in Miami and is now secretary of Labor — broke federal law by approving a plea agreement with a wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein, and concealed the agreement from more than 30 of his underage victims (The Miami Herald). The decision follows the newspaper’s series, “Perversion of Justice,’’ which in November detailed how federal prosecutors worked in concert with Epstein’s lawyers to arrange the deal. Epstein was released from prison in 2009. … Reacting to the judge’s ruling, Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseOvernight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Behind the scenes of McConnell's impeachment drama MORE, a key overseer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on the Justice Department “to reopen its non-prosecution agreement so that Epstein and anyone else who abused these children are held accountable.”

Immigration: In 2017, the Trump administration vowed to end a federal program that provided work permits to spouses of certain immigrants. That change now appears imminent. The policy of granting permits to the spouses of some H-1B skilled guest workers is to be eliminated under a proposed rule sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review Wednesday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Bloomberg).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

INVESTIGATIONS: Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan 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 could turn over his report to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Attorney General Barr is in a mess — and has no one to blame but himself Maxine Waters: Gang members have 'more integrity' than 'street player' Trump MORE any day now, bringing an end to the two-year investigation into Russia’s election interference.

The Hill: White House braces for Mueller report.

Following that, an entirely new fight will begin to make Mueller’s full findings public.

Barr has said he expects to summarize the report he gets from Mueller and submit the summary to Congress.

That’s not going to cut it for many lawmakers. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is already threatening to subpoena the full Mueller report if Barr does not hand it over to Congress.

The Associated Press: Mueller report may be short on details.

More from the investigations front … Judge imposes full gag order on Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Attorney General Barr is in a mess — and has no one to blame but himself Maxine Waters: Gang members have 'more integrity' than 'street player' Trump MORE (The Hill) … IRS analyst charged with leaking Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFree Roger Stone Trump calls the Russia investigation 'bulls---' CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE’s financial records to Michael Avenatti (The Hill) … Trump’s inaugural staff scrambled to defend staff and record haul (Bloomberg) … Five takeaways from Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Attorney General Barr is in a mess — and has no one to blame but himself Barr to attend Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday MORE’s allegations against Trump (The Hill). 

 

 

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CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHouse to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg unveils billboards to troll Trump ahead of campaign stops John Legend joining Warren in South Carolina next week: report MORE (D-Mass.) have come out in support of reparations for African-Americans. Former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Trump dismisses reports of Russian meddling, labels them Democratic 'misinformation campaign' The new American center MORE did not support reparations as presidential candidates, underscoring how in 2020 the Democratic presidential field is gravitating toward more race-conscious policies (The New York Times).

Democrats are also embracing a tax-the-rich ethos after years of ducking it, Bloomberg reports.

Max Greenwood writes that Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Prominent Texas Latina endorses Warren Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' MORE (I-Vt.) will face an early test in the crucial early primary state of New Hampshire. Both senators hail from New England and will be viewed as having the home-field advantage. Adding to the pressure on Sanders — he defeated Clinton there in 2016 (The Hill).

Meanwhile, Amie Parnes reports that Sanders’s Democratic critics are already warning that he’ll be a weak general election candidate because of his affinity for policies grounded in socialism (The Hill).

Time: Biggest field yet. A divided base. Welcome to the Dem primary.

More from campaigns and politics … In a startling decision, North Carolina board calls for new election in contested House race (The Hill) … Calling it a “kamikaze mission,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) says he won’t launch a primary challenge against Trump unless something dramatic happens (The Associated Press) … Hogan also blasted the Republican National Committee for shielding Trump from a primary challenger (The Washington Post) … Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday Pompeo expects US-Taliban agreement to be signed on Feb. 29 The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday MORE has ruled out a run for Senate in Kansas (The Hill).

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

What the Jussie Smollett story reveals, by John McWhorter, The Atlantic. http://bit.ly/2Elmo27

Hillary Clinton looms over the 2020 race, by Joel Payne, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2SiHDFN

WHERE AND WHEN

The House and Senate are not scheduled to vote during recess this week.

The president meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office at 2:30 p.m. Trump speaks to the Republican Governors Association this evening in Washington 

Secretary Pompeo meets Didier Reynders, Belgian deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and European affairs, at 10 a.m. at the State Department. Pompeo meets with Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek at 3 p.m.

The National Governors Association’s annual winter meeting begins this weekend in Washington, Feb. 22-25. Today, the vice president and Karen PenceKaren Sue PencePence to make swing through New Hampshire on eve of primary The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats gear up for crucial New Hampshire debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge MORE plan to host a luncheon for invited governors at their residence.

The Hill will hold a Leadership in Action: Criminal Justice Reform panel on Tuesday featuring Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength Senate Democrats queasy over Sanders as nominee Schumer: Trump address 'demagogic, undignified, highly partisan' MORE (D-Md.) and Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondJuan Williams: Don't count Biden out Beleaguered Biden turns to must-win South Carolina Biden, Warren on ropes after delegate shutout MORE (D-La.) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsTrump says he is considering four candidates for intelligence chief Doug Collins not interested in national intelligence role despite Trump interest The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday MORE (R-Ga.). Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack and Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons will moderate the panel on the future of criminal justice reform and what comes next after the passage of the First Step Act. RSVP here

The Attorney Poker Tour is having its first charity poker tournament at MGM National Harbor on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the poker room. The event benefits the charity Protect Our Defenders, which advocates against sexual violence in the military. Although this is an event for the Washington legal community, anyone can play, and all are invited. Details are on the site: www.attorneypokertour.com

ELSEWHERE

Jussie Smollett: The Chicago Police Department held a press conference on Thursday detailing how the “Empire” actor allegedly staged a hate crime against himself. Smollett, who is accused of paying two men to pretend to attack him and mailed a racist letter with white powder to himself because he was unhappy with his compensation, is charged with one felony count of filing a false police report. The actor had claimed Trump supporters attacked him and tied a noose around his neck (The Associated Press). 

Trump on Thursday said Smollett insulted “tens of millions of people” with his “dangerous” claims. Democratic Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHouse to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues Democrats praise Romney for breaking with GOP on convicting Trump MORE, an African-American representing a district in Chicago, called Smollett’s behavior “brazen, devious and disgraceful.” Several Democrats who initially stood by Smollett are deleting or revisiting their initial tweets about the attack.

 

 

 

The New York Times: How top Democrats initially reacted to the Smollett case.

The Hill’s In The Know: Smollett controversy roils political world.

The Associated Press: Smollett reactions epitomize polarized state of U.S. politics.

Catholic Church: Pope Francis proposed a 21-point plan for punishing sexual predators and protecting children at a landmark summit of church leaders to address sexual abuse among the clergy (The Associated Press). Victims of abuse also testified at the conference (Reuters).

Sports: A panel is considering adding breakdancing, surfing, climbing and skateboarding to the roster of Olympic sports in 2024 (CNN).

THE CLOSER

And finally … Kudos to this week’s Morning Report movie buffs and quiz masters!: David Bond, William Chittam, Heather Ciandella, Milt Mungo, Mary Vita P. Treano, Joel Brill, J.D. Piro, Peter Smith, Peter J. Sprofera, Carol Katz, David Straney, Jekka Garner, Jim Sanders, Faye Rees, Stephen Richard Staronka, Carolyn Dixon, Sandy Sycafoose, Jim Beech, John Gill, Laura Van Duyn, Rosemarie M. Soriano, Dave Evans and Kevin Dent.

They knew that Katharine Hepburn won more “Best Actress” awards than anyone, edging out Meryl Streep, who has the most nominations.

“Titanic,” “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and “Ben Hur” tied for capturing the most Oscars in an awards year, at 11. “Forrest Gump” won six, including for “Best Picture.”

Tatum O’Neal is the youngest person to win an Oscar, honored as “Best Supporting Actress” for her performance in “Paper Moon” at age 10. Editor’s Note: Some eagle-eyed readers noted that Shirley Temple was given an honorary Academy Award when she was 6, so we accepted that answer, too.

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win “Best Director” in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker.”

The last actor to win back-to-back Oscars was Tom Hanks in 1993 and 1994 for his roles in “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.”

*** More movie trivia this week … The most memorable Oscar speeches in Academy history (Variety) ***