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 PelosiNYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets 'obviously not racist' On the USMCA, Pelosi can't take yes for an answer MORE (D-Calif.) is suddenly struggling to keep a young band of rebels in line. Freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHillary Clinton responds to Trump tweets telling Dem lawmakers to 'go back' to their countries Trump doubles down after telling Democratic congresswomen to 'go back' to their countries #RacistInChief takes off on Twitter after Trump tells Dems to go back where they 'came from' MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarLA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' NYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN Foreign-born lawmaker: Trump's not going to tell me to 'go back to my country' MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibKasich calls on Republicans to condemn 'deplorable' Trump tweets LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' NYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN 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 John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates 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 Young Turks' Cenk Uygur: Here's how to choose a president Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy NYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr 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 SchakowskyDemocrats rush to support Pelosi amid fight with Ocasio-Cortez Pelosi says she's done talking about fight with 'Squad' Democrats voice confidence Pentagon bill will survive party squabbling MORE (D-Ill.) expressed frustration with Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets. “Everyone stop tweeting!” Rep. Juan VargasJuan C. Vargas ICE does not know how many veterans it has deported, watchdog says Pelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment On The Money: Congress, White House aim to include debt limit increase in spending deal | McConnell optimistic budget deal near | Carson defends HUD eviction plan | Senate votes to undo tax hike on Gold Star families 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 Devi HarrisTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Judd Gregg: Counting the costs of Democrats' desires Buttigieg: 'Medicare for all,' free college tuition are 'questionable on their merits' 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 BassBooker prison reform bill would give older prisoners a 'second look' House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta House panel weighs easing federal marijuana laws 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 NielsenFour heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities Chuck Todd on administration vacancies: 'Is this any way to run a government?' Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy 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 GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyAdvocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform Trump drug pricing setbacks put pressure on Congress Hillicon Valley: Trump rails against 'terrible bias' at White House social media summit | Twitter hit by hour-long outage | Google admits workers listen to smart device recordings MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking Democrat Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip Senate confirms Trump's 9th Circuit pick despite missing blue slips 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 McSallyTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Democratic challenger to McConnell raises .5 million on first day of campaign Mark Kelly raised .2M for Arizona Senate bid 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 CohenFeds unlikely to charge Trump Organization execs in campaign finance case: report Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel 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 BidenTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Biden pitches new subsidies, public option in health care plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke 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 NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.), by former Rep. Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe real estate tycoon meets Iran How to unite the nation once more This is how the debates will play out 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 Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP struggles to find backup plan for avoiding debt default Pelosi calls for spending parity in budget agreement MORE at 11 a.m., then has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump's Iran policy proves the primacy of US power — but to what end? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke State Department raises concerns about Sweden's treatment of detained American rapper 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 ShanahanThiel calls for federal investigation of Google Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran Senators urge Trump to sanction Turkey for accepting Russian missile shipment 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 TrumpDesigner defends Melania Trump statue: 'People may laugh but the context still resonates' Melania Trump heading to West Virginia to discuss opioid epidemic Wood-carved statue of Melania Trump erected in her Slovenian hometown 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 EscobarOcasio-Cortez defends being sworn in at hearing on conditions for migrants Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy Pelosi takes fire from progressives over border MORE (D-Texas), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann Foxx58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill The GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House When disaster relief hurts MORE (R-N.C.), Deb HaalandDebra HaalandSnoop Dogg says US women's soccer team deserves same pay as 'sorry ass' men's team Bipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval Native American groups press Congress to rescind Wounded Knee medals MORE (D-N.M.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Carol MillerCarol Devine MillerGOP women's super PAC blasts 'out of touch' candidate in NC runoff GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates Kerry goes after Trump over climate on Capitol Hill MORE (R-W.Va.), Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillDemocrats voice confidence Pentagon bill will survive party squabbling Freshman members form bipartisan task force on election vulnerabilities ahead of 2020 Hillicon Valley: White House to host social media summit amid Trump attacks | Pelosi says Congress to get election security briefing in July | Senate GOP blocks election security bill | Pro-Trump forum 'quarantined' by Reddit | Democrats press Zuckerberg MORE (D-N.J.), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerKatherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent Democrats 'shooting holes in their own boat' with single-payer plan Hillicon Valley: Trump gets pushback after reversing course on Huawei | China installing surveillance apps on visitors' phones | Internet provider Cloudflare suffers outage | Consumer groups look to stop Facebook cryptocurrency 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 ManafortTop Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller Trump, Mueller, the issue of 'guilt' and a do-nothing Congress 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 RossRoss in Trump's crosshairs after census loss: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke This week: House Dems voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt 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 ZuckerbergBorder Patrol chief was member of secret Facebook group for agents: report Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak urges Facebook users to delete their accounts Trump's legal battles over census go public 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 GoreSanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College Warren reintroduces bill mandating climate disclosures by companies Political world mourns death of Ross Perot 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