The Hill's Morning Report - A rough week for House Dems

The Hill's Morning Report - A rough week for House Dems
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Democrats will try to put an embarrassing week behind them when the House votes today on an election reform and anti-corruption bill that is a top priority for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Pelosi accuses Barr of 'single-minded effort' to protect Trump against Mueller report Dems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings MORE (D-Calif.).

The For the People Act was the first piece of legislation Democrats introduced when they took the majority in the House. H.R. 1 addresses everything from redistricting and money in politics to voting reforms, such as making Election Day a national holiday.

Democrats will celebrate the bill’s passage, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release McConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS MORE (R-Ky.) has already said it will not get a vote in the upper chamber.

The Hill: McConnell works to freeze support for Dem campaign finance effort.

But that vote has been completely overshadowed by the controversy and divisions among Democrats that spilled into the open this week.

The House voted 407-23 last night on a broad resolution condemning all types of bigotry and racism.

The resolution was originally meant as a rebuke to one of their own: Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGeorgia freshman Dem does not list Omar donation on election filing O'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign Dem candidate in contested North Carolina race refunds donation from Omar campaign MORE (D-Minn.), whose remarks about Israel were widely viewed as anti-Semitic. 

Rahm Emanuel: Omar’s comments are anti-Semitic and deeply hurtful.

Bill de Blasio: Omar’s remarks are unacceptable.

Several Democratic leaders publicly rebuked Omar and demanded an apology, but Omar’s liberal allies rallied to her defense.

Freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWarren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Ocasio-Cortez knocks Republican over Kentucky trip: 'GOP thought they could catch us with a bluff' Ocasio-Cortez releases 'Green New Deal' short film MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Mueller report coming Thursday | YouTube adds 9/11 info to Notre Dame fire video | New details on case against Assange | Thousands sign petition to ban Trump on social media | Conservatives side with big tech in GOP fight Dems rally behind Omar as Trump escalates attacks It's time for a 'Congressional Jewish Caucus' MORE (D-Mich.), both of whom command huge followings on social media, accused Omar’s critics of singling her out.

Democrats quickly backtracked and ultimately watered down the final resolution, which did not mention Omar by name and was not limited to condemning anti-Semitism.

The divisions among Democrats cut along generational, racial and ideological lines. Going forward, Pelosi will have to grapple with these new dynamics and with the rebellious young lawmakers, who represent the ascendant left wing of the party.

The Associated Press: A different kind of freshman marks Pelosi’s new majority. 

The final vote was a disappointment to some Democrats, who felt they needed to clearly rebuke Omar in order to maintain the moral high ground when it comes to dealing with President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE and his myriad racially tinged controversies. 

Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchCongress won't get Mueller report until after Barr press conference Deutch in fiery address rips GOP over seeking to make Israel 'wedge issue' House ignores Trump veto threat, approves bill ending US support for Yemen war MORE (D-Fla.) voted for the resolution, but said after:

"I feel let down by some colleagues who seem to have questioned those of us who feel the weight of history when we hear classic anti-Semitic language — history that has led to targeting Jews, expelling Jews from their countries, violence against Jews, and attempts to exterminate the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is worthy of being condemned, singularly. I hope this painful week is never repeated in this Congress."

The controversy also ensnared House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who came under fire for telling The Hill that Omar’s experience in a refugee camp was "more personal" to her than the experiences of people whose parents suffered through the Holocaust. Clyburn later released a statement saying he did not intend to minimize Jewish suffering (The Hill).

No Democrats voted against the resolution, but 23 GOP lawmakers did, including Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRep. Cheney: Socialism 'driving the agenda of the Democratic Party' Dem lawmaker offers tool for 'filling in the blanks' of Green New Deal Judd Gregg: In praise of Mike Enzi MORE (Wyo.), the third-ranking Republican in the House. Those GOP lawmakers promptly clubbed Democrats for backing down on the resolution. Some demanded that Omar be removed from her post on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“If a Republican member was pushing the anti-Semitism that Rep. Omar keeps peddling, this resolution would name names, and be solely, emphatically focused on anti-Semitism and that member would be removed from their committee assignments. The double standard motivating this decision by the Speaker and the moral equivalency filling this watered down text is spineless and disgusting.” — Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinCo-founder of Israel boycott movement denied entry to US: report GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure Stacey Abrams says Stephen Miller shows 'vestiges of white nationalism' MORE (R-N.Y.)

LEADING THE DAY

INVESTIGATIONS: Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFederal judge considers setting ex-Obama counsel's trial for August: reports Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump Ex-Obama counsel pleads not guilty to charges tied to Ukraine lobbying MORE, Trump’s campaign chairman and a veteran GOP influence peddler whose work in Ukraine and ties to well-connected Russians placed him under special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s microscope, was sentenced on Thursday to nearly four years in federal prison in the first of two financial fraud cases. Prosecutors had recommended tougher punishment. Manafort’s second sentencing hearing is scheduled next week (The Associated Press).

Manafort, who will be 70 next month, entered the Virginia courtroom in a wheelchair and was dressed in a green prison uniform labeled “ALEXANDRIA INMATE” on the back.

"I ask you to be compassionate," he told the judge before his 47-month sentence was handed down. "I know it is my conduct that brought me here."

In August, a jury convicted Manafort of eight criminal charges: five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report foreign bank accounts (The Hill).

None of Manafort’s crimes is tied to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign or Mueller’s probe of Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections. 

Because he’s spent nine months in jail, Manafort’s imprisonment could end in less than three years, with an additional reduction for good behavior. He was also fined $50,000 (The Washington Post).

 

 

The Washington Post: The newspaper asked a federal court to unseal records in the Manafort case.

On the subject of Russia’s election interference in 2016, Reuters assembled this useful summary of what Mueller has revealed thus far about Russian troll farms, the recruitment of Americans, Russian military involvement and ongoing threats to U.S. elections.

In the context of what Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenWarren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Pulitzer Prizes awarded to newspapers investigating Trump Trump lawyers urge accounting firm to refuse Dems' financial records subpoena: report MORE, Trump’s former lawyer, told Mueller and testified to Congress, the president wants Americans to know he made hush money payments that were routed indirectly to two women who said they had affairs with him, but he argues those payments were not violations of federal campaign finance laws (The Hill).

“It was not a campaign contribution, and there were no violations of the campaign finance laws by me. Fake News!”  Trump tweeted on Thursday.

Trump is trying to capitalize on the fact that Cohen is an unreliable witness who heads to prison in May on federal charges that include lying to Congress. Cohen’s testimony a week ago that he never sought a presidential pardon was challenged after scrutiny and pushback by Trump’s current legal team.

Cohen’s legal and communications adviser, Lanny Davis, says Trump’s advisers were “dangling” the possibility of pardons during discussions with Cohen and his former legal representative last year (The Associated Press). 

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanOvernight Health Care: DOJ charges doctors over illegal opioid prescriptions | Cummings accuses GOP of obstructing drug pricing probe | Sanders courts Republican voters with 'Medicare for All' | Dems probe funding of anti-abortion group Cummings accuses Oversight Republicans of obstructing drug price probe Schumer staffer-turned-wrestling coach focus of new documentary MORE (R-Ohio), a dogged Trump defender, wants the Department of Justice to investigate Cohen for allegedly making false statements to Congress about his early interest in a presidential pardon and other responses he’s given during testimony before at least three committees. 

“Relying on an admitted liar to attack the president is beneath the dignity of the People’s House,” said Jordan, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform panel.

The Washington Examiner: Democrats take aim at Jordan hoping to unseat him in 2020.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Dems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings MORE (D-Md.) said he needs to further examine Cohen’s testimony before referring him to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation (The Hill).

Democratic Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report Dems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings Congress won't get Mueller report until after Barr press conference MORE of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that questioned Cohen during four sessions, on Thursday reintroduced legislation that would alert Congress if the president pardons an individual connected to an investigation in which he or a family member is involved (The Hill).

House Judiciary Committee: Continuing a focus on Trump administration policies and practices, Democratic lawmakers seek records related to news accounts that the president may have improperly sought to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger that regulators subsequently approved as an $85 billion deal (The Washington Post).

Trump made his disapproval clear in public before the merger was given the green light: It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” he said.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS & CONGRESS: It could be a tense few weeks ahead between Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate.

The Senate is expected to pass two bills, one that aims to limit U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen and another revoking the president’s national emergency declaration, that could result in Trump’s first two presidential vetoes (The Hill).

Democrats, meanwhile, will be dealing with their own internal strife.

Peter Sullivan reports that Democratic leaders in the House are throwing cold water on a “Medicare for all” proposal that has been embraced by the party’s 2020 presidential candidates (The Hill).

And Coral Davenport reports during The Daily podcast why some Democrats worry they’ve handed Republicans a potent political weapon in the form of the Green New Deal (The New York Times).

Looking ahead to 2020, most of the action this week centered around potential Democratic presidential candidates who sized up the field and determined it wasn’t their time.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Budowsky: 2020 Dems should debate on Fox Overnight Health Care: How 2020 Dems want to overhaul health care | Brooklyn parents sue over measles vaccination mandate | Measles outbreak nears record MORE, a Midwest progressive from the battleground state of Ohio, will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020. There were high hopes for Brown on the left, both for his liberal bona fides and his ability to win in the Buckeye State, but it would have been tough for him to cut through in a bracket that includes Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: DOJ charges doctors over illegal opioid prescriptions | Cummings accuses GOP of obstructing drug pricing probe | Sanders courts Republican voters with 'Medicare for All' | Dems probe funding of anti-abortion group Ex-Obama campaign manager: Sanders can't beat Trump Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Defense: Reports detail effect of transgender military ban | Watchdog auditing 8 billion submarine program | Warren questions top general on climate change Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 MORE (D-Mass.).

One candidate that won’t have trouble breaking through: former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenMcAuliffe says he won't run for president in 2020 Ex-Obama campaign manager: Sanders can't beat Trump Trump says he'd like to run against Buttigieg MORE. Amie Parnes writes that Biden is poised to enter the Democratic primary as the clear front-runner. Still, there are lingering doubts about whether Biden can go wire to wire in the race at a time when Democrats have drifted to the left (The Hill).

The New York Times: What Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Trump says he'd like to run against Buttigieg Gillibrand introduces bill to ban harmful pesticide from school lunch MORE (D-N.Y.) is missing: New York endorsements for her 2020 presidential run.

The Greeley Tribune: Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign says 5,000 people attended his presidential launch.

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

Trump is wrong about the deficit, by Stephen Moore, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2EW273M

‘Medicare for all’ is an expensive wrecking ball, by Marc Siegel, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2TvwuWM

 

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 9 a.m. and continues consideration of H.R. 1, a Democratic bill to overhaul campaign finance, voter registration and ethics laws. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at noon participates in a moderated discussion about the economy, Democrats’ agenda and challenges in the House with Economic Club of Washington President David Rubenstein. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (R-Calif.) holds a news conference at noon in the Capitol Visitor Center; live stream HERE.

The Senate meets on Monday at 3 p.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of Paul B. Matey to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpOvernight Health Care: CEO of largest private health insurer slams 'Medicare for All' plans | Dem bill targets youth tobacco use | CVS fined over fake painkiller prescriptions | Trump, first lady to discuss opioid crisis at summit Melania Trump, Karen Pence say they're ready to serve four more years in White House Trump, first lady to discuss opioid crisis at Atlanta conference MORE fly to Alabama to visit a community that lost 23 residents, ages 6 to 89, when a tornado ripped through the town of Beauregard last week (The Associated Press). Trump and the first lady will travel through Fort Benning, Ga., and fly to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend. The president participates in a GOP joint fundraising roundtable and reception in Palm Beach, FL, this evening.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump admin announces new restrictions on travel to Cuba Russia is gaining influence in Libya: How will Washington respond? Trump reverses policy, allows lawsuits against businesses in Cuba MORE meets with National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill of the United Kingdom at 1:30 p.m. at the State Department.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. reports on U.S. employment in February. January’s unemployment rate was 4 percent. Analysts expect to see the 101st straight month of rising employment but anticipate a slower pace of jobs growth overall (Reuters).

South by Southwest (SXSW) begins in Austin, Texas, today through March 17, and loads of Democratic presidential candidates join big names from music, media, the book world and entertainment. Events will be live streamed, broadcast and reported HERE. The Texas Tribune hosts its own weekend lineup of White House wannabes during the event, including Democratic Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' 20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall MORE of Minnesota and Warren; Hickenlooper, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former GOP Govs. John Kasich (Ohio) and William Weld (Mass.). SXSW’s list of featured speakers is HERE. Politico will interview members of Congress in Austin; information HERE.

ELSEWHERE

Law enforcement: A fired Florida police officer was found guilty of manslaughter and attempted murder on Thursday for the fatal 2015 shooting of a stranded black motorist, becoming the first officer in the state to be convicted of an on-duty shooting in 30 years (The Associated Press). The conviction of Nouman Raja in the death of Corey Jones follows the murder conviction in October of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of black teen Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer in decades to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. According to The Washington Post’s tracker database, police nationwide have killed 174 people in shooting incidents thus far this year.

Brexit: Britain’s government, eyeing a March 29 deadline, hopes to secure a breakthrough with the European Union this weekend ahead of another key parliamentary vote next week on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed exit plan (Reuters).

Read the fine print!  A Georgia high school teacher who closely examined the itsy bitsy language describing the terms of an insurance policy she purchased won $10,000 from a Florida travel insurance company last month. For Donelan Andrews, the contest prize was perfectly timed (The Associated Press).

THE CLOSER

And finally … Kudos to Morning Report quiz champions! Perhaps some of our readers turned to the internet to work out correct responses about the World Wide Web on its 30th birthday!

Whether they guessed or Googled, here are the savvy winners: Tim Aiken, Stuart Babendir, Stewart Baker, Anita Bales, Jim Beech, Lori Benso, Candi Cee, William Chittam, Heather Ciandella, Carolyn Dixon, Richard Ebrey, Ray Fleming, Linda Ford, Jekka Garner, Rich Gruber, Dan Hebert, R. Milton Howell III, Bob Irvin, “Itillery,” Ian Jackson, Carol Katz, Jerry Kovar, Patricia L, Liz Mair, Milt Mungo, Sheree Oluwafemi, Rosemarie Soriano, Stephen Richard Staronka, David Straney, Sandy Sycafoose, Joseph Thompson, Mary Vita P. Treano, Dara Umberger, John van Santen, William Vockel, Sandy Walters, Buzz Watkins and Greg Wilson. 

They knew that Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web in 1989.

People of a certain age remember that America Online distributed free CDs in the mail to entice consumers to download its dial-up service.

We accepted two answers for the question about which internet company is the largest as measured by revenue. Alphabet Inc., the parent of Google, and Amazon are running neck-and-neck for that distinction.

Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk helped create the predecessor iteration of PayPal before he rocketed to fame with electric cars and SpaceX.