The Hill's Morning Report - Dems appear to have votes to counter Trump on emergency




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President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE’s controversial national emergency declaration at the southern border faces its first hurdle today.

The House will vote on a resolution sponsored by Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroHispanics still thriving with the economic growth of Trump era Pelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment MORE, a Texas Democrat, to block the president’s emergency declaration. With Democrats in control of the House, the measure is all but certain to pass.

The White House will be watching to see how many House Republicans break with Trump and join Democrats in supporting the resolution. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashEx-GOP lawmaker pens op-ed calling for Trump to be impeached On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Amash: Some of Trump's actions 'were inherently corrupt' MORE, a Michigan Republican, co-sponsored Castro’s legislation and will be among the GOP rebels.

Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney have the latest whip list identifying where Republicans stand (The Hill).

The Hill: House to push back on Trump.

The Hill: Dems set to challenge Trump during his foreign trip.

But the real drama will take place in the GOP-controlled Senate, which will be forced to vote on the resolution after it passes the House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE (R-Ky.) is on the record supporting the president’s national emergency declaration, but several in his caucus have expressed reservations.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights MORE (R-Maine) has said she’ll vote for the resolution to block the emergency declaration. Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Lawmakers call for investigation after census hired registered sex offender MORE (R-N.C.) announced in an op-ed for The Washington Post last night that he’d vote for the resolution as well. Collins and Tillis are up for reelection in 2020.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski celebrates birthday with electric scooter ride Overnight Energy: Park Service plans to pay full-time staff through entrance fees | Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax | Interior chief takes heat for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change Democrats grill Trump Interior chief for saying he hasn't 'lost sleep' over climate change MORE (R-Alaska) says she’s also “likely” to vote for the resolution.

Senate Democrats, including Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Labor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners MORE (D-W.Va.), appear prepared to stick together to disapprove of Trump’s emergency declaration, meaning Senate GOP leaders can afford only one more defection from their ranks as they try to back the president.

But there are a number of additional Senate Republicans who appear poised to break with Trump, making it increasingly likely that the rebuke will make it the president’s desk.

The Hill: Border rebuke looms for Trump.

Trump is pressing Republicans to stand with him.


The president’s critics have launched their own campaign. A group called “Republicans for the Rule of Law” ran a new ad this morning on one of Trump’s favorite programs, “Fox & Friends,” casting his emergency declaration as an abuse of power (YouTube).

Even if the Senate follows the House to back the resolution of disapproval, it’s unlikely there will be sufficient votes to override what could become Trump’s first presidential veto.

The courts will eventually weigh in. Vice President Pence and Senate Republicans will meet with Department of Justice officials today for a briefing on the legality of the national emergency declaration.


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Trump and Pence have their hands full while navigating national security hurdles on two continents this week.

> Venezuela: The United States, seeking to maintain pressure on Nicolás Maduro to step down from power, announced new sanctions on Monday as Pence and opposition leader Juan Guaidó conferred with members of the Lima Group, a bloc of nations from Argentina to Canada collaborating in search of a peaceful resolution to the Venezuelan crisis (Reuters).

The Hill: The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the governors of four Venezuelan states alleged to be involved in "endemic corruption" and the blocking of critical humanitarian aid.

Pence told reporters the Trump administration and its allies “hope for a peaceful transition” as nations seek to isolate Maduro economically and diplomatically “until democracy is restored.”

Nevertheless, the vice president would not rule out U.S. military intervention as an option, saying such a decision would be Trump’s to make in consultation with a coalition of countries that continue to call on Maduro to formally cede the presidency to Venezuela’s new interim government.

“Let me say again, we remain hopeful that there will be a peaceful transition of power that the judiciary in Venezuela may well step forward and recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly and Juan Guaidó’s role as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.” — Pence



> North Korea: Trump is in Vietnam to meet on Wednesday evening and on Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam, with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. The Wednesday schedule calls for a social dinner among the two leaders, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban' MORE and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Judge rules banks can give Trump records to House | Mnuchin pegs debt ceiling deadline as 'late summer' | Democrats see momentum in Trump tax return fight | House rebukes Trump changes to consumer agency House rebukes Mulvaney's efforts to rein in consumer bureau The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE, plus two Kim advisers, including North Korean intelligence chief Kim Yong-chol.

Kim arrived in Vietnam by train, traveling through China.



The discussions about denuclearization over two days are overshadowed by skepticism among U.S. lawmakers and foreign policy experts, who point to Pyongyang’s history of deception and the lack of progress between the administration and Kim since last summer’s historic summit in Singapore. Rebecca Kheel describes their assessments this week (The Hill).

Niall Stanage reports that naysayers also have the president in mind, noting his boasts of personal chemistry with Kim and what they believe is the president’s unrealistic assessment that Kim embraces prospects for economic expansion if North Korea agrees to forfeit its nuclear capabilities (The Hill).

The Associated Press: Expectations low for summit commitments.

Reuters: Trump says he won’t rush North Korea into a deal.

Reuters: What’s on the summit table?

> China: Trump signaled he’s open to a softer U.S. stance on Chinese company Huawei, even as lawmakers warn the telecom giant's technology poses an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security. The president’s stance is tangled with ongoing trade talks with Beijing and his insistence that China is trying to play a constructive role with Pyongyang towards a goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (The Hill).

> U.S. Budget: The White House and Congress had no sooner ended an appropriations impasse that sparked the longest shutdown in U.S. history before tempers flared anew on Monday over the next budget, including a White House vow to dodge the strictures of caps on defense spending while cutting domestic programs backed by Democrats (The Hill).

The president’s budget chief fired an opening shot over spending on domestic agencies that face sharp budget cuts without a new 2020 budget deal (The Associated Press).

Budget experts worry that the next politically volatile budget battle could impede must-pass legislation to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, which will be necessary by this summer.


POLITICS: Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee will be the hottest ticket in Washington this week.

Cohen, who will begin serving a three-year prison sentence in May, is expected to tell lawmakers what he learned about the Trump Organization during his decade working as the president’s “fixer.”

Reuters: Cohen to testify Trump asked him several times about a proposed skyscraper project in Moscow as late as June 2016, after Trump captured the Republican presidential nomination.

Morgan Chalfant has a rundown of what to watch at the highly anticipated hearing (The Hill). Cohen will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, but that will take place behind closed doors.

The Wall Street Journal: House investigators probe Trump contact with Matthew Whitaker.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the Trump Organization sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) asking him to end an investigation into the company. The Trump Organization says the Judiciary Committee has a conflict of interest because it hired a lawyer, Berry Berke, who once represented the company.

> Democratic candidates are rushing to shore up support from African-American voters, a key constituency that will play a huge role in determining who wins the party’s presidential nomination.

The early-primary state of South Carolina will be in the spotlight in that hunt for votes.

The Hill: Embrace of reparations highlights pivotal Dem contest for black voters.



More politics … Democrats see opportunity, danger in Midwest (The Associated Press) … House Democrats are poised to pass a universal background checks bill, spotlighting a clash between the nation’s most prominent gun control advocacy group and the National Rifle Association (The Hill).

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A plan to denuclearize and develop North Korea, by Joseph Bosco, opinion contributor, The Hill.

Advice for Attorney General William Barr, by Sharyl Attkisson, opinion contributor, The Hill.


The House meets at 10 a.m. to consider a joint resolution to terminate the president's national emergency declaration to build a wall at the southern border. Republican leaders will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Democratic leaders will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. to continue consideration of the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”

The president is in Vietnam for his second summit with North Korea’s leader.

Pence will join the Senate Republican Policy luncheon at 12:45 p.m. in the Capitol.

Barr will speak today at 11 a.m. to mark the Justice Department’s observance of African-American History Month.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies today and Wednesday to present the central bank’s semiannual monetary report to Congress. He appears today at 10 a.m. before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and answers questions before the House Committee on Financial Services tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Castro swears off donations from oil, gas, coal executives Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' MORE discusses the “present moment in politics” with historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham at 3 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Joseph R. Biden Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration.

You’re invited this morning: Join The Hill Events from 8-10 a.m., for Leadership in Action: Criminal Justice Reform, featuring Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinHouse votes to boost retirement savings On The Money: GOP angst grows over Trump's trade war | Trump promises help for 'Patriot Farmers' | Markets rebound | CBO founding director Alice Rivlin dies | Senate to vote on disaster aid bill next week Senators offer bipartisan retirement savings bill MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsConservative filmmakers organizing stage play based on Strzok-Page texts: report The Go-Go's rock the stage at annual 'We Write the Songs' DC concert The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment MORE (R-Ga.), Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Democratic Del. Stacey PlaskettStacey PlaskettChris Evans talks NATO, Marvel secrets on Capitol Hill Dem goes viral for 'eye roll' at Republican during Cohen testimony Clyburn pushes next steps on criminal justice reform MORE from the Virgin Islands. Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack and Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons talk with lawmakers about the future of criminal justice reform following the recent enactment of the First Step Act. RSVP HERE.


Economy: A strong majority of economists believe that the U.S. will enter a recession by the end of 2021 (Bloomberg).

Health vs. religious freedom: After measles outbreaks hit several states, some state lawmakers want to limit or eliminate religious exemptions for children’s vaccinations, including in New York, Washington and New Jersey (The Hill). … Meanwhile, federal lawmakers and public health experts want to curb what they say is dangerous and inaccurate anti-vaccine information circulating on the web. They want to enlist the help of tech platforms (The Hill).

Space: The universe seems to be expanding faster than it should be, intriguing astronomers who are making “a bold and speculative leap into the past” to figure out what’s going on. One theory among many: “cosmic confusion” (The New York Times).


And finally … The anxiety-inducing film “Free Solo” took home the Oscar for “Best Documentary” on Sunday night, putting a spotlight on the extreme sport of free climbing.

For those who don’t know, free climbing is the same thing as rock or mountain climbing, but without ropes to break falls and no equipment other than fingers and toes while attempting ascents.

“Free Solo” captures Alex Honnold’s effort to become the first person to free climb the face of El Capitan in Yosemite. Some have described the feat as among the most incredible athletic achievements in history.

Needless to say, Honnold’s brain is wired differently than most.

“You accept the fact that if anything goes wrong, you’re going to die, and that’s that.” — Honnold

Directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, facing their own challenges as filmmakers, captured his stunning athleticism and steady nerves.

National Geographic: How Vasarhelyi and Chin filmed Honnold’s climb.

Watch ESPN’s six-minute profile HERE describing an elite athlete and the making of the award-winning documentary.