The Hill's Morning Report - Takeaways from the new Dem investigations into Trump

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Tuesday! 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 let loose with a flood of investigations into President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE on Monday, igniting a fierce standoff between the legislative and executive branches and ensuring that the myriad probes circling the White House will be at the forefront of the 2020 election cycle.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued letters to 81 people or entities in Trump’s orbit, demanding documents pertaining to the president’s family business, presidential campaign and administration. You can find a full list of the names HERE.

Nadler’s sprawling investigation will touch on everything from allegations of obstruction of justice, to public corruption and abuses of power.

At the same time, three powerful House Democrats — Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaya Rockeymoore Cummings reports surgery was a success, will return to campaign trail The Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today Maloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump MORE (D-Md.), Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy READ: Top NSC aide Tim Morrison's closed-door impeachment inquiry testimony Top NSC aide puts Sondland at front lines of Ukraine campaign, speaking for Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House Democrats pull subpoena for ex-Trump national security official MORE (D-N.Y.) — announced a coordinated investigation into Trump’s communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The committees are seeking documents from senior members of the Trump administration, such as acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyNew witness claims firsthand account of Trump's push for Ukraine probes Trump files to dismiss lawsuit from Bolton aide on impeachment testimony OMB official to testify in impeachment probe if subpoenaed after others refused MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFive takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony Pompeo: No US response ruled out in Hong Kong Ousted ambassador describes State Department in 'crisis' in dramatic impeachment testimony MORE.

The Hill: Dems sink teeth into Trump.

The Hill: Dems reach deep into Trump orbit.

Trump on Monday said he’d comply with the requests for documents, but tensions between the administration and congressional Democrats are running hot:

“I cooperate all the time with everybody. … You know the beautiful thing — no collusion. It’s all a hoax.”

“The Democrats are not after the truth, they are after the president.” - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Takeaways

> Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLouisiana governor wins re-election Dynamic scoring: Forward-thinking budgeting practices to grow our economy Pelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter' MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday sent a letter to lawmakers cheering the “historic progress” of the new Democratic majority in the House, highlighting the passage of a resolution blocking Trump’s emergency declaration and a bill to bolster background checks on gun purchases.

But this Congress will be consumed by the investigations into Trump, which could grind legislative progress to a halt.

The administration will be swamped with demands for documentation and testimony. Congressional staff will be focused on chasing investigatory threads. And there will be clashes over whether the administration is complying with the demands from Congress. Democrats will have to determine how aggressively to use their subpoena power.

> It’s personal.

Democrats have long taken issue with the president for bringing his family members into the administration. And they know how to get under his skin.

Now the Trump family has been drawn into the web of investigations. Among the people and entities on Nadler’s list: Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpResistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family The Memo: Debate over style vs. substance shadows impeachment hearings Trump hotel sales brochure touts 'tremendous upside potential' of government-related business: report MORE, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpResistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family George Conway and Trump Jr. trade personal insults during impeachment hearing Trump: 'Everybody knows who the whistleblower is' MORE, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump to tour Apple factory with Tim Cook on Wednesday Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family Trump admin preparing to seize private land for border wall: report MORE, the White House, the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization, the Trump inaugural committee, the Trump transition team and the Kushner Cos.

Nadler has asked for documentation from effectively anyone who has or once had influence in Trump world, from old hands, such as Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusFounder of veterans group says Trump Jr. can join the military if he 'really wants to understand what sacrifice is all about' Mulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes Politicon announces lineup including Comey, Hannity, Priebus MORE and Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerThe Hill's Morning Report - Witness transcripts plow ground for public impeachment testimony Sean Spicer eliminated from 'Dancing with the Stars' Trump Jr.: How can Dems beat Trump if they can't boot Sean Spicer from DWTS? MORE, to new ones, such as Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.

The Wall Street Journal: Michael Cohen approached Trump attorneys about a pardon.

The Hill: Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from Russia probe.

> Pelosi doesn’t want to talk about it yet, but the investigations will be used to justify impeachment hearings, if Democrats take that road.

The investigations are aimed at establishing a pattern of corruption to lay the groundwork for an impeachment inquiry.

> Politically, Democrats are looking to bracket Trump ahead of his 2020 reelection bid by making government corruption a core issue, believing it undercuts the president’s arguments about his judgment, instinct, negotiating prowess and competency.

Of course, Trump will also be eager to highlight the investigations by casting himself as the victim of overzealous partisans driven by their inability to accept his 2016 election victory. He has called it “presidential harassment.”

“This is a dramatic overreach by House Democrats, who cannot control their zeal to overturn President Trump’s lawful and legitimate election by any means and process necessary. …These desperate Democrats know they cannot beat President Trump in 2020, so instead they have embarked on a disgraceful witch hunt with one singular aim: topple the will of the American people and seize the power that they have zero chance at winning legitimately.” — Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany

LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: In a startling turnabout for any rookie member of the House, Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Omar renews claim Stephen Miller is a 'white nationalist' amid calls for him to step down MORE (D-Minn.) and her public swipes at Israel and pro-Israel groups have collided with strong objections from many of her Democratic colleagues and triggered a potential public rebuke. 

With Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the lead, the House will vote Wednesday on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in direct response to Omar’s comments, according to a senior Democratic aide (The Hill). Her remarks attracted stern public pummeling from two powerful committee chairs who accused Omar, who is Muslim, of repeating an anti-Semitic trope.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Firestorm erupts over Omar comments last week suggesting supporters of Israel evidence their “allegiance to a foreign country.”

Omar has made a show of her reluctance to shift to a more constructive style of advocacy within her party.

 

 

Meanwhile, Republicans pounced on evident tensions among liberal and centrist Democrats, especially in the wake of high-profile procedural maneuvers by the GOP on the House floor that succeeded in exacerbating the Democratic Party divisions (The Hill).

Nevertheless, Republicans in the Senate are facing their own version of heartburn inside their ranks, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy On The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Top House Democrats ask for review of DHS appointments MORE (R-Ky.) concedes that Trump’s border emergency declaration will be rejected in the GOP-controlled chamber, despite his own and White House efforts to stave off any embarrassing challenge to the president from within his party (The Hill).

"I think what is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House." — McConnell

Alexander Bolton reports why McConnell’s Kentucky colleague, Republican Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Trump: 'Everybody knows who the whistleblower is' Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens MORE, who says he’ll vote to challenge the president’s emergency maneuver to fund a border wall, receives something of a free pass from McConnell and Trump (The Hill).

Paul says “at least” 10 Republican senators are prepared to part company with the president over his declaration of an emergency at the southern border (The Hill).

Although investigations and politics appear to dominate Congress at the moment, some major policies are under a microscope, including data privacy. Both parties say they’re optimistic about crafting the nation's first comprehensive data privacy law. But there are sticking points (The Hill).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Citing a “crisis of division,” former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Monday (The New York Times).

Hickenlooper, a former businessman who founded a popular brewery in Denver, has cast himself as an “extreme moderate.” It will be a challenge for the former two-term governor to compete for air time, money and support in the crowded Democratic field.

Another Democratic governor from out west might follow Hickenlooper into the race. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will hold an event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, this afternoon ahead of a potential presidential bid.

Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter Resistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family MORE, the party’s 2016 nominee, has ruled out running again in 2020 (The Hill). Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Obama celebrates 'great night for our country' after Democrats' victories in Virginia and Kentucky MORE, a close friend of former President Obama’s, has also decided against running for president, as has Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Perry replacement faces Ukraine questions at hearing | Dem chair demands answers over land agency's relocation | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Senate committee advances budget reform plan MORE (D-Ore.) (CNN).

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Reid Wilson writes that Trump’s geographic path to reelection could narrow in 2020 because of demographic shifts (The Hill).

Today, Vice President Pence will look to shore up the administration’s support with the business community in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in Phoenix. Pence will join a roundtable with Small Business Administrator Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonIvanka Trump urges support for groups that 'uplift' Baltimore amid father's criticism of city Trump campaign describes Corey Stewart super PAC as 'unconscionable' Pro-Trump group plans to spend 0M in six battleground states MORE and NAM’s executive council.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), mentioned as a potential primary challenger to Trump, was in Iowa yesterday, but he downplayed his presidential ambitions (The Des Moines Register).

More from the campaign trail … North Carolina’s election board has set new dates for primaries and a general election for the contested House race in the 9th Congressional District (The Washington Post) … Trump once donated to Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide Harris gets key union endorsement amid polling plateau MOREs (D) campaign for attorney general in California. Now she wants his job (The Sacramento Bee) … Koch-backed group pushes for new limits on Trump’s tariffs authority (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

Republicans are wrong. Transparency is possible in the Mueller investigation, by former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyChris Wallace on Yovanovitch testimony: 'If you're not moved, you don't have a pulse' Day one impeachment hearings draw 13.1M viewers, down 32 percent from Comey hearings There are poor ideas, bad ones and Facebook's Libra MORE, opinion contributor, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2NKzxVQ

Don’t try to reason with vaccine-skeptic parents. Scare them, by Robyn Urback, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada, like Washington state and Texas, is experiencing a measles outbreak). https://bit.ly/2UnbfDG

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at noon.

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of Allison Jones Rushing to be a judge on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing at 10 a.m. about vaccines and recent outbreaks of preventable diseases, including measles.

The president participates in a signing ceremony at 1:45 p.m. for an executive order titled “National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide.”

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpResistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family Trump to attend NATO leaders meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings MORE concludes her two-day “Be Best” initiative on the road, with an event in Las Vegas.

The Treasury Department releases its monthly budget statement at 2 p.m.

YOU’RE INVITED to newsmaker events with The Hill:

 

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius chats with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor in 1989 of the World Wide Web, about the rise of disinformation and censorship, threats to digital privacy, and his efforts to help people secure ownership of their data. Location: The Washington Post, 9 a.m. Livestream details: https://wapo.st/2XDMNzO

The Internet Innovation Alliance hosts a discussion with lawmakers and experts from 10 a.m. to noon at Top of the Hill in Washington called “Internet Privacy and Net Neutrality: Make Tech Policy Bipartisan Again.” Details HERE.

ELSEWHERE

Federal disaster aid: NPR reporters Robert Benincasa and Rebecca Hersher crunched the numbers inside federal disaster aid efforts and report the programs consistently choose winners and losers. Because federal aid after disasters is allocated based on cost-benefit calculations meant to minimize taxpayer risk, not on need, wealthier applicants benefit more than those with fewer resources. As climate-driven disasters become more frequent and severe, that trend is likely to accelerate. NPR’s exclusive report airs on “Morning Edition,” “Up First,” and “All Things Considered” today and Wednesday, and can be found at NPR.org HERE.

Medicine: Scientists have discovered a technique to study the DNA codes of individual cells, a development that could lead to audacious new medical breakthroughs (The Associated Press) … Researchers believe that a cure for HIV is possible after curing a second patient (The New York Times).

Media and government: The Fox News White House, by Jane Meyer (The New Yorker).

Supreme Court: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recovery prescription? Plenty of opinions (The Associated Press).

THE CLOSER

And finally …    Rapprochement for the raptors! Washington’s celebrity bald eagles, Liberty and Justice, are back together after what DCist (and other news outlets) termed “a harrowing wildlife drama.” The area’s longest-known bald eagle couple has apparently stuck it out after Justice took a sabbatical fly-away from his mate of at least 14 years during a “tumultuous mating season” this winter.

But aha! They were intimately partnered again on Saturday.

We know this because the eagles are like the Kardashians — videotaped, photographed and over-shared with wingless masses who are forced to do their fishing with opposable thumbs.

Check out the live eagle-cam (especially early in the morning, midday and evenings) HERE.