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 Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again 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 CummingsCummings on Conway Hatch Act violations: 'This is about right and wrong' House panel votes to subpoena Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act testimony TSA to send hundreds of workers to southern border to enforce immigration policies MORE (D-Md.), Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate Democratic lawmaker: Mueller testimony 'doesn't have to go beyond' report to be 'really damning' for Trump 'Fox & Friends' co-host: 'I don't think' Mueller knows the details of Mueller report MORE (D-Calif.) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelTop Democrats demand State Department's legal analysis on potential Iran military action Bipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval Top Democrat accuses White House of obstructing review related to Trump-Putin communications 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 MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? On The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard Pompeo2 US service members killed in Afghanistan after Pompeo visit The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? State Department need not be at odds with itself on Republic of Cyprus policy 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 PelosiSenate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House Pelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July Trump says he spoke to Pelosi, McConnell on border package 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 TrumpEric Trump says he was spit on by employee at high-end Chicago bar Democrats seek to ban federal spending at Trump businesses The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race MORE, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDemocrats seek to ban federal spending at Trump businesses Republicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerJared Kushner, Ivanka Trump to appear at fundraiser for Jim Jordan: report Trump puts the cart before the horse in Palestine Negotiators face major obstacles to meeting July border deadline 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 PriebusOvernight Defense: Inside the 3B House defense policy bill | Senators take new tack to challenge Saudi arms sales | Raytheon, United Technologies to merge Former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus officially joins Navy The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by MAPRx - Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs MORE and Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerIn Arizona, Trump's new press secretary battled reporters Who is new White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham? Stephanie Grisham to take over as White House press secretary 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 OmarThe four House Democrats who voted against the border funding bill Ocasio-Cortez: It was easier to get elected to Congress than pay off student loan debt Progressive group endorses three House freshmen 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 McConnellPelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July Adam Scott calls on McConnell to take down 'Parks & Rec' gif Trump says he spoke to Pelosi, McConnell on border package 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 PaulSenate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House Senate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs Senate GOP to defeat proposal requiring approval for Iran attack 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 Clinton'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Ocasio-Cortez on Biden: 'I think that he's not a pragmatic choice' MORE, the party’s 2016 nominee, has ruled out running again in 2020 (The Hill). Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe most important pledge Democratic presidential candidates can make Congress and contempt: What you need to know The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? MORE, a close friend of former President Obama’s, has also decided against running for president, as has Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions Congress unlikely to reach deal on Trump border bill before break Chaos within the EPA exposes Americans to toxins like asbestos 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 McMahonTrump campaign describes Corey Stewart super PAC as 'unconscionable' Pro-Trump group plans to spend 0M in six battleground states XFL signs TV deals with ESPN, Fox, ABC for 2020 launch 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 HarrisPoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' 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 ComeyBiden is the least electable candidate — here's why Top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann lands book deal Trump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president 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 TrumpMika Brzezinski to Ivanka and Melania: 'You will go down in history as having done nothing about' conditions for migrant children The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? In Arizona, Trump's new press secretary battled reporters 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.