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The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi's challenge: Getting Dems back on same page

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Thursday! 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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That didn’t take long.

Two months into their majority in the House, tensions within the diverse Democratic caucus have spilled into the open, dividing the party along generational, racial and ideological lines.

After weeks of enjoying positive press coverage about her grip on the party, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWatchdog: Capitol Police need 'culture change' Julia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback MORE (D-Calif.) is suddenly struggling to keep a young band of rebels in line. Freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMarjorie Taylor Greene wants to debate Green New Deal with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez NY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney What will we get for a multitrillion-dollar energy policy? MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNew York Times defends itself against Project Veritas defamation suit Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBernie Sanders says he disagrees with Tlaib's call for 'no more police' Obama on Daunte Wright: We need to reimagine policing Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed MORE (D-Mich.) figure to be a thorn in the side of leadership going forward.

Ocasio-Cortez has a massive following on social media and has irked her centrist colleagues for her propensity to publicly battle those who don’t share her leftist leanings.

Tlaib joined a rally to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE on Wednesday and will introduce her own articles of impeachment later this month, despite Pelosi’s eagerness to keep a lid on the impeachment chatter.

And Omar, who was born in Somalia and is one of the few Muslim lawmakers in Congress, is accused of using anti-Semitic tropes to make the case that U.S. foreign policy is too beholden to Israel.

The Hill: New cracks emerge in Dem unity.

The Hill: Dem frustrations boil over on both sides.

Omar has been publicly reprimanded by Democratic leaders, who planned a floor vote on a general resolution rebuking anti-Semitism.

Democrats were not counting on full-scale revolt from the left wing of the party, which feels Omar has been unfairly singled out.

Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib have rallied behind Omar, and the Congressional Black Caucus’s defense of the Minnesota Democrat has added a racial component to the intra-party divisions.

Democrats scrambled to water-down any anti-Semitism resolution by adding language to rebuke all forms of racism and bigotry. But the liberal rebellion took on a life of its own and the vote, scheduled for today, has been postponed.

The Hill: Dems under fire put brakes on Omar resolution.

The New York Times: “We have to get past all of this, and quickly,” Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden officials brace for worst despite vaccine data Political fireworks fuel DC statehood hearing Democrats vow to go 'bold' — with or without GOP MORE (D-Md.) said.

The Democratic divisions pit young lawmakers against old, liberals against centrists and white Jews against black Muslims.

Here is some color from a brutal and embarrassing day of infighting:

> At a Democratic caucus meeting, Pelosi became frustrated and said, “Well if you're not going to listen to me, I’m done talking.” She then dropped the microphone and stormed off (Politico).

> Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHillicon Valley: House lawmakers fired up for hearing with tech CEOs | Zuckerberg proposes conditional Section 230 reforms | Lawmakers reintroduce bill to secure internet-connected devices Progressives up pressure on Biden to back COVID vaccine patent waiver House lawmakers fired up for hearing with tech CEOs MORE (D-Ill.) expressed frustration with Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets. “Everyone stop tweeting!” Rep. Juan VargasJuan C. VargasHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president MORE (D-Calif.), the subject of one Ocasio-Cortez tweet, said Ocasio-Cortez “could have come down the hall and asked me what my opinion is” (The Washington Post).

> The fight reached new heights when some lawmakers, such as Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback Scalise carries a milk carton saying Harris is 'missing' at the border Harris to visit Mexico and Guatemala 'soon' MORE (D-Calif.), warned that Omar’s critics were putting her safety at risk. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus shielded Omar from reporters after a meeting on Wednesday.

Perspectives and Analysis

“I think it's inappropriate to just focus on one person. I absolutely do.” — Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassShocking killing renews tensions over police 10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump Lobbying world MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“I disagree with what [Omar] said. And I think there should be an apology.” —  Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), a freshman who represents a swing district.

Noah Rothman: The anti-Semitism monster Democrats can no longer control.

Glenn Greenwald: House Dem effort to rebuke Omar is a total fraud.

Batya Ungar-Sargon: The left is making Jews choose between ourselves and our progressive values.

LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: In the GOP-controlled Senate, Republicans are anxious to bolster Trump on border security while parting company when it comes to his decision to make an end-run around appropriators for a border wall funded by executive fiat. Trying to accomplish both goals is not going smoothly, becoming the latest distraction for the Senate GOP in what is proving to be a distracting year (The Hill).

Vice President Pence, issuing a second warning to senators in as many days, said, “A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote against border security. A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote to deny the real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

The president also turned up the heat.

 

 

Meanwhile, lawmakers dissected Trump’s immigration policies on Wednesday during a rollicking hearing that gave Republicans an opening to back the president’s belief that conditions at the southern border are an emergency, while Democrats asserted that Trump’s policies have made border conditions worse.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenLeft-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' House Republican condemns anti-Trump celebrities during impeachment hearing MORE defended the president’s declaration that conditions are a national security emergency (The Hill).

Testy exchanges between Nielsen and members of the House Homeland Security Committee included differences over barriers, asylum laws and separation of migrant children from their parents and families (The Hill)

Across the Capitol in the Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle On The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Democrats get good news from IRS MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking Democrat Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden's gun control push poses danger for midterms Caitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' MORE (Calif.) sent a letter to the administration seeking an investigation of public allegations of sexual abuse of minor migrants held in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (The Hill).

At the same time, freshman Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArizona state senator announces bid for Kirkpatrick's seat Democratic Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick says she won't seek reelection Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Ariz.) surprised her colleagues and created news headlines on Wednesday with an emotional speech saying she was raped by a military superior while serving in the Air Force.

“I am also a military sexual assault survivor,” McSally said during a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing about sexual assault in the military. She is a former colonel and served in the Air Force from 1988 to 2010. Because of her fear of reprisals, she said she never reported the rape to authorities (The Hill).

On Wednesday, the senator taped an interview with Norah O’Donnell, to be broadcast today on “CBS This Morning.”

Last year, she disclosed that a high school track coach pressured her into unwanted sex when she was 17 (The Washington Post).

McSally, who faces Arizona voters in 2020 in a bid to keep her appointed Senate seat, disclosed a few weeks ago that she returned or dispatched to charity campaign donations she received from supporters who subsequently became publicly embroiled in sexual misconduct and sexual assault allegations (The Washington Post).

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly last month launched a campaign as a Democrat to defeat McSally (Arizona Republic).

> In the House on Wednesday, Democrats continue their investigatory zeal aimed at the president on all fronts.

Trump’s tax returns? House Democrats appear closer to making a formal request to the Treasury Department for the president’s filings (The Hill).

Trump’s business practices and associates? The House Intelligence Committee met on Wednesday for the fourth time with former New York “fixer” Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump Organization adds veteran criminal defense attorney Manhattan DA investigating Trump says he won't seek reelection John Dean: 'Only a matter of how many days' until Trump is indicted MORE.

He reportedly produced documents to bolster his assertion that Trump lawyers conferred with him to create erroneous earlier testimony designed to protect the president. But contrary to his testimony a week ago, it now appears Cohen directed his attorney at the time last spring to inquire about a possible presidential pardon with Trump’s lawyers (The Wall Street Journal).

Cohen will report in May to federal prison to serve a three-year sentence on criminal counts that include lying to Congress (The New York Times).

Lobbying: K Street ramped up its opposition to an ethics reform bill at the center of the House Democrats’ agenda. Any House-passed measure cannot clear the GOP-controlled Senate, but lobbyists want to scuttle changes they perceive as threats to the advocacy business (The Hill). … At a white-collar crime conference in New Orleans on Wednesday, Justice Department officials unveiled more energetic pursuit of foreign influence operations with the appointment of a prosecutor to go after unregistered foreign agents. That prosecutor? Brandon Van Grack, who worked until recently on special counsel Mueller's team (CNN).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) will formally launch his presidential campaign today from Denver, replete with a music performance from local folk artist Nathaniel Rateliff and a “who’s who” of Colorado bigwigs, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Hickenlooper will have a tough time breaking through in the crowded Democratic field, but he raised an eye-popping $1 million in the 48 hours since announcing his plans to enter the race, making him one of only four candidates to reach that benchmark so quickly.

In a Wednesday interview in Denver, Hickenlooper laid out his strategy, telling KDVR that if he doesn’t win the Iowa caucuses and finish in the top two in New Hampshire, it could mean the end of his campaign.

 

 

Meanwhile, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is running as an independent, is staffing up with aides and consultants from both parties. Democrats were already angry with Schultz for running, fearing that he’ll play spoiler and help get Trump reelected. Now Republicans are angry that some GOP operatives would join a campaign for a man who is looking to oust Trump. One thing is certain: the new Schultz hires are being well compensated (The Hill).

Finally, former President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, gave an insightful interview to Bloomberg Radio on Wednesday about the Democratic primary.

A few takeaways…

> It’s still about the economy. Messina said the majority of presidential elections in the modern era have been won on that issue and that if Trump is seen as steering a strong economy, it could very well get him reelected.

> The Democratic presidential field may reach 20 candidates, but Messina said the party shouldn’t fret about a potentially chaotic primary. He said Democrats should instead celebrate their deepest and most diverse field ever.

> Ignore the chatter about what “lane” a candidate occupies. The nominee will be the candidate who builds the broadest coalition of support and makes the most persuasive argument on the economy.

> Expect the field to narrow by the fall of this year, long before the first primary ballots are cast.

> Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse panel approves bill to set up commission on reparations Democrats to offer bill to expand Supreme Court Former Israeli prime minister advises Iran to 'cool down' amid nuclear threats MORE are under no pressure to get into the race at this point. As fundraising juggernauts, they can take their time before entering the race.

“Democrats believe they made a mistake in 2016 by all jumping on the Hillary bandwagon too early, and not having her go through a really tough primary to get ready for a general election. So, I think people are going to wait and see who’s out there, and see who performs in the early debates. And I think that’s really healthy. What we don’t need is an ugly Democratic primary where everyone is smashing one another in March of the off year. We ought to take some time and let the candidates make their decisions and then get into the fall and get ready for Iowa and New Hampshire.” —  Messina

More from campaigns and politics … The Democratic National Committee will not allow Fox News to host a presidential primary debate (The Hill) … Trump responded by threatening to block networks from hosting debates (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

It’s not about collusion; it’s about obstruction and impeachment, by Andrew McCarthy, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2NQaUqM

Trump should not underestimate House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats to offer bill to expand Supreme Court 10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump On The Trail: How marijuana went mainstream MORE (D-N.Y.), by former Rep. Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Overnight Defense: Biden's stalled Pentagon nominee gets major support | Blinken presses China on North Korea ahead of meeting | Army will not return medals to soldier Trump pardoned Former national security officials back stalled Pentagon nominee MORE (D-N.Y.), opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2TjlpZJ

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 10 a.m. Pelosi will hold a press conference at 10:45 a.m.

The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of Eric E. Murphy to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

The president meets with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE at 11 a.m., then has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhy the US needs to clear the way for international justice Tim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa Progressive lawmaker to introduce bill seeking more oversight of Israel assistance MORE. Trump welcomes Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his wife, Monika Babišová, to the White House for bilateral meetings scheduled to last an hour. Trump will meet with Defense Acting Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops' role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee Biden Pentagon pick could make up to .7M from leaving Raytheon Lloyd Austin can lead — as a civilian MORE at 4 p.m, joined by the vice president. He’ll host a photo opportunity with participants in the 2019 Senate Youth Program in the East Room at 5 p.m. Pence also attends.

Attorney General William Barr and senior law enforcement officials will hold a press conference at the Justice Department at 11 a.m. to announce law enforcement actions tied to elder fraud.

Pompeo hosts the annual International Women of Courage Awards at 10 a.m. at the State Department with guest Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Memo: Specter of vaccine hesitancy rises after J&J blow Trump says Prince Philip's death an 'irreplaceable loss' for UK Twitter will not allow Trump account archive on platform MORE.

Economic reports today: U.S. jobless claims at 8:30 a.m.; U.S. labor productivity for the fourth quarter at 8:30 a.m.; U.S. consumer credit for January at 3 p.m.

You’re invited today to The Hill’s History Makers: Women and the 116th Congress, 8-10 a.m., at the Gallup downtown Washington offices. Editor-in-chief Bob Cusack and national political reporter Cate Martel lead the discussion about policy and politics ahead of International Women’s Day joined by freshman and veteran lawmakers, including Reps. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarDemocrat: Ex-Trump aide Miller should be jailed for human rights violations Democrats play defense on border crisis Democrats move smaller immigration bills while eyeing broad overhaul MORE (D-Texas), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxRepublicans argue school accountability waivers overstep Education secretary authority House passes bill aimed at strengthening unions Republicans call for investigation into impact of school closures on children with disabilities MORE (R-N.C.), Deb HaalandDeb HaalandJulia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice MORE (D-N.M.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Carol MillerCarol Devine MillerSix ways to visualize a divided America House GOP campaign arm rolls out new leadership team READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-W.Va.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillGOP lawmakers request briefing on Democrats' claims of 'suspicious' Capitol tours before Jan. 6 Lawmakers question NCAA over 'disparate treatment' at women's championships NJ lawmakers ask Gannett to stop 'union-busting' efforts at 3 state newspapers MORE (D-N.J.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerAnti-Trump foreign policy group releases lawmaker rankings on global affairs On The Money: Inflation rears its head amid spending debate | IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting T | Restaurants fret labor shortage On The Money: Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan | Democrats debate tax hikes on wealthy | Biden, Congress target semiconductor shortage MORE (D-Va.) and Del. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico). RSVP HERE. http://bit.ly/2XapEEW

ELSEWHERE

In the courts: Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortHunter Biden blasts Trump in new book: 'A vile man with a vile mission' Prosecutors drop effort to seize three Manafort properties after Trump pardon FBI offers 0K reward for Russian figure Kilimnik MORE, 69, is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon in a Virginia federal court under criminal indictments brought as a result of Mueller’s Russia probe. It’s one of two sentences Manafort faces, and he could spend the rest of his life in prison (The Hill). His second court appearance is scheduled next week (NBC News) … On Wednesday, a second federal judge blocked a citizenship question from appearing on the 2020 census, ruling that Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossFormer Trump officials find tough job market On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE "ignored" federal law when he "insisted upon adding the citizenship question" (The Hill).

China: The world’s second-largest economy is contracting, and China’s time as an emerging markets outperformer is ending, analysts say (CNBC) … The U.S. trade deficit hit a 10-year high on record imports from China, despite Trump’s tariffs. The trade gap in merchandise is the highest in U.S. history (Reuters). The president calls the imbalances in goods and services “unsustainable” (The Washington Post).

Political advertising: Google, one of the world’s largest digital-advertising companies, decided to block political advertising on its platforms in Canada ahead of elections in response to new transparency restrictions. The company’s solution attracted criticism (The Globe and Mail) … Facebook’s Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg, meet Jean-Jacques Rousseau? Republican legislators target private sector election grants Advocacy group accuses Facebook of fueling anti-Muslim hate MORE says the company is moving toward a “privacy-focused communications platform” (BuzzFeed).

Cherry blossoms!  The National Park Service on Wednesday projected peak viewing opportunities for Washington’s cherry blossoms (weather permitting): April 3-6. Plan accordingly! (WTOP)

THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by the World Wide Web’s 30th birthday, we’re eager for some smart guesses about the internet.

Email your responses to jeasley@thehill.com or asimendinger@thehill.com, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

This month marks three decades since the creation of the World Wide Web, which is widely viewed as having taken its current form back in 1989. Let’s test your knowledge!

Who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web?

  1. Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreHow Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 The information superhighway must be accessible and affordable for all American Rescue Plan: Ending child poverty — let's make it permanent MORE
  2. Nikola Tesla
  3. Tim Berners-Lee
  4. Bill Gates

This early internet giant became ubiquitous for sending free CDs in the mail to get consumers to download its dial-up service.

  1. Netscape
  2. Lycos
  3. America Online (AOL)
  4. Google

What is the largest internet company in the world based on annual revenue?

  1. Alphabet Inc. (parent to Google)
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. Amazon

Before he became famous for his line of electric cars and spaceships, Elon Musk was one of the founders of this pioneering internet company.

  1. PayPal
  2. Netflix
  3. YouTube
  4. eBay