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 TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails 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 CastroLawmakers argue for national Latino museum The Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising 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 GallagherHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters On The Money: Fed officials saw rising risk of recession | Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz blast NBA for 'outrageous' response to China | Prospects dim for trade breakthrough with China 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 CollinsOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes 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 MurkowskiMulvaney defends decision to host G-7 at Doral: Trump 'considers himself to be in the hospitality business' Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe MORE (Alaska), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTillis says impeachment is 'a waste of resources' GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising MORE (N.C.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGOP braces for impeachment brawl McConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows GOP senator: 'Inappropriate' to discuss opponents, but impeachment a 'mistake' MORE (Tenn.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists GOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' The Hill's Morning Report - Dem debate contenders take aim at Warren MORE (Colo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours Erdoğan got the best of Trump, experts warn MORE (Fla.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump urges GOP to fight for him Overnight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Romney earns rants and raves for secret Twitter name MORE (Utah), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul confronted over 'Republican bullshit' in restaurant This week: Tensions flare over Schiff, impeachment inquiry Turkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate MORE (Ky.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Furor over White House readout of Ukraine call | Dems seize on memo in impeachment push | Senate votes to end Trump emergency | Congress gets briefing on Iran Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall 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) CusackHill editor-in-chief: 'Hard to imagine' House leadership without Cummings The Hill's Editor in Chief Bob Cusack: Warren must have an answer on medicare for all, why impeachment is dangerous for Dems The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's impeachment jeopardy deepens 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 UnUS proposed helping North Korea build tourist area amid nuclear talks: report Kim poses for photos on white horse on sacred mountain, plans 'great operation' Beware the 34th month of Trump's presidency 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 AcostaThe 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 Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene' 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 Sasse NBA commissioner says China asked league to fire Rocket's GM Lawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip Hong Kong protesters trample, burn LeBron James jerseys in wake of comments 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 MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE could turn over his report to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPelosi releases 'fact sheet' saying Trump has 'betrayed his oath of office' Federal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe 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 StoneJudge rules prosecutors can't show 'Godfather' clip at Roger Stone's trial Meet Trump's most trusted pollsters 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (The Hill) … IRS analyst charged with leaking Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump offers condolences on frequent foe Cummings: 'Very hard, if not impossible, to replace' Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public 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 McCabeFederal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report Brendan Gleeson lands Trump role in CBS miniseries based on Comey memoir Judge tells DOJ to charge McCabe or drop investigation MORE’s allegations against Trump (The Hill). 

 

 

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CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Poll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax 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 ClintonSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Saagar Enjeti: Clinton remarks on Gabbard 'shows just how deep the rot in our system goes' 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 SandersWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' 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 PompeoDiplomat who raised Ukraine concerns to testify in Trump impeachment probe Overnight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Mulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes 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 PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — House Dems subpoena Giuliani associates Trump feud with Minneapolis mayor to take center stage at rally Karen Pence launches an Instagram account 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 CardinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump has had a rough October Senate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' Democrats vow to push for repeal of other Trump rules after loss on power plant rollback MORE (D-Md.) and Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Election security funds caught in crosshairs of spending debate Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE (D-La.) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Hillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets Graham huddles with House Republicans on impeachment strategy 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 Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries 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) ***