The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP

The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE is preparing to issue the first veto of his administration, underscoring the sometimes-fractious relationship between the White House and Republicans in Congress.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted 59-41 on Thursday to revoke Trump’s national emergency declaration at the southern border. Two targeted Republicans up for reelection in 2020 — Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's hurricane forecast controversy won't go away MORE (Colo.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTillis trails Democratic Senate challenger by 2 points: poll Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (N.C.) — supported the president.

It is rare for a president to use a veto on a bill sent to his desk by his own party, and rarer still for Congress to veto a national emergency declaration. 

Twelve Republicans voted against the president, arguing that the end-run around Congress to secure additional border wall funding was an unconstitutional power grab.

The resolution does not have enough support to override Trump’s expected veto, but the rebuke was all the more pointed because the president pleaded with Republicans to stand behind him, and Vice President Pence spent several days on Capitol Hill trying to negotiate a way out.

In the end, GOP lawmakers said Trump didn’t seem all that interested in a deal. The president seems happy to continue the border security fight on his own, believing it’s a winning political issue for him.






The resolution revoking the emergency declaration marked the second time this week that Senate Republicans broke with Trump. 

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a resolution requiring the president to withdraw U.S. troops from the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, unless they’re fighting al Qaeda. If the House takes up and passes that bill, it will likely result in Trump’s second veto — and a debate about war powers.

Just over two years into office, the president encountered at least a half-dozen legislative showdowns with members of his party in Congress. GOP lawmakers say lack of trust in some of Trump’s decisions and political anxieties are at the heart of the pushback.

A quick recap:

> The House by a decisive 420-0 vote between both parties on Thursday communicated to the White House that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE’s final report should be made public. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort GOP's Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi MORE (R-S.C.), a Trump ally, blocked the measure from getting a vote in the Senate (The Hill). 

> Several GOP senators in the last Congress tried to force a vote on a resolution to protect Mueller’s investigation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet MORE (R-Ky.) intervened to keep it from getting a vote.

> A bill imposing new sanctions on Russia and limiting the president’s ability to lift the sanctions passed through the last Congress with a veto-proof majority. Trump signed the bill into law, but called it “significantly flawed” and said it contained several “unconstitutional provisions.”

> Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (R-Maine) joined Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Democrats introduce legislation to limit foreign interference in elections Navy acknowledges footage of 'unidentified' flying objects California Law to rebuild middle class shows need for congressional action MORE (D-Va.) on Thursday in introducing a measure to “protect the integrity” of the process of approving security clearances for White House senior advisers, to ensure “it cannot be abused for political purposes.”


INVESTIGATIONS: There are a handful of deadlines today that will offer clues about the future trajectories of the Mueller probe and the new investigations launched by House Democrats.

> Mueller’s prosecutors will file papers in court today that could offer new details about former Trump deputy campaign chairman Richard Gates’s cooperation with the special counsel. If prosecutors are ready to move on to the sentencing phase for Gates, it could be the latest sign that Mueller’s probe is wrapping up (The Hill).

NPR: Top Mueller prosecutor stepping down in latest clue Russia inquiry may be ending.

> Earlier this month, three powerful Democratic committee chairmen — Reps. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Schiff says Trump intel chief won't comply with subpoena over whistleblower Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate MORE (Calif.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4,000 at Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland MORE (Md.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse chairman reaches deal on classified briefing with Trump's Afghanistan negotiator Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine House chairman subpoenas Trump's Afghanistan negotiator MORE (N.Y.) — announced a coordinated investigation into Trump’s communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Today is the deadline for the targets of that investigation to submit documents. It’s unlikely the White House and State Department will comply with all of those requests, setting off a high-stakes legal fight between the executive and legislative branches.

> Monday is the deadline for document requests for Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE’s (D-N.Y.) sweeping investigation into 81 people and entities tied to Trump, his campaign and his personal business empire. Nadler said Thursday he expects about half of the targets of that probe to comply with document requests (The Hill).

More from the investigations front … New documents shed light on how Russians hacked Democratic leaders ahead of the 2016 election (The Washington Post) … A New York appeals court has ruled that a defamation lawsuit against Trump can continue (The Hill) … Transcripts of a congressional interview with former FBI agent Peter Strzok reveal the agency debated how aggressively to probe the Trump campaign (The Associated Press) … Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Graham clash over Iran policy Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran MORE says he’ll “comply with the law” if the Congress requests Trump’s tax returns from the IRS (CNN).


POLITICS: Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) made a significant media splash on Thursday as he jumped into the crowded Democratic presidential primary. As he took his fledgling national campaign from El Paso to Iowa on Thursday, he was greeted with detailed questions and expectations he would have answers.

The Hill: Cable networks went wall-to-wall with O’Rourke coverage while Trump lampooned the former congressman’s expressive hand movements.

CBS News interview: O’Rourke, who spent three terms in Congress, told Gayle King on Thursday, “I've got experience hiring people, creating jobs, developing the economy of the community in which I live; serving in local government; with [wife] Amy helping to raise a family and finding ways to work across the aisle to get legislation passed even when I'm in the minority party.” 

Amie Parnes poses five key questions about O’Rourke’s chances of going the distance, including whether he’s progressive enough for Democrats and savvy enough to shake off the Republican National Committee branding of a 46-year-old candidate who lost a Senate election in November and is little-known among voters in early primary states (The Hill).

Asked for his perspective on a host of issues, O’Rourke endorsed the Green New Deal to combat climate change and said Democrats should consider enlarging the Supreme Court and restructuring its makeup to better reflect the country’s diversity (BuzzFeed).

The Associated Press: O’Rourke joins a crowded Democratic field with no clear front-runner.



Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll Biden allies: Warren is taking a bite out of his electability argument Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat MORE, 76, who has been dangling the imminence of his third bid for the White House, believes his governing experience and proven ability to work across the aisle would enlarge his appeal to voters, especially if he faces off against Trump on both policy and style. Niall Stanage asks a key question: How much room is there in today’s politics for a bridge-building candidate who reveled in being a Washington insider for more than four decades? (The Hill).

More from campaigns and politicsThe GOP sees a path to a House majority after 2020 that goes through Trump country, or at least the 31 districts he carried in 2016 (The Hill) … Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Democrats bicker over strategy on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul MORE (D-Calif.) announced she backs lowering the federal voting age to 16 (The Hill) … Texas Democrats have a political rationale to encourage residents from California, Illinois and New York to pull up stakes and move to the Lone Star State (The Hill).  


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: A D.C. District Court judge heard oral arguments on Thursday in two separate cases challenging the administration’s approval of Medicaid programs in Kentucky and Arkansas, which require people to work or volunteer 80 hours a month to keep their coverage. The judge’s future verdict will prove consequential for one of Trump’s leading health care goals (The Hill). 

> Federal Aviation Administration: The agency, which has not had a permanent leader for a year, is in the spotlight after it reversed course in opting to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes following two grisly crashes within five months. The FAA is under scrutiny in Congress, in the aviation sector and around the world (The Hill and The Washington Post). 

> Huawei: The Trump administration warned Germany that it will withhold intelligence from an ally if Germany continues to do business with the Chinese tech giant Huawei. U.S. lawmakers applauded the use of leverage by the administration and a posture with Chinese tech firms that is rapidly becoming “us or them” (The Hill).

> Trump and Xi: Chinese negotiators see a future state visit between Trump and President Xi Jinping, which was scratched for this month, to be contingent on a locked-up deal in hand (CNBC). Trump had sought to close a trade and enforcement agreement with Xi himself.


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The FAA is too easy on Boeing, by Clive Irving, The Daily Beast.

College bribery scandal is proof that meritocracy is a myth invented by the rich, by Nathan Robinson, The Guardian.


The House meets March 18 at noon for a pro forma session. 

The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The president heads to the Pentagon this morning to meet with national security officials. Trump will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran Trump doubles down on Graham: 'How did going into Iraq work out?' MORE at the White House.


Courts: The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the gun maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed a rifle that was used to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 (The Associated Press) … Students who say they were denied admission to elite schools have filed the first lawsuit stemming from a college bribery scandal (The Associated Press).

Brexit: Lawmakers in the United Kingdom voted Thursday to delay the Brexit process, acknowledging a need for more time to try to break a deadlock over Britain's departure from the European Union. Members of Parliament decisively rejected putting a second referendum before voters. Prime Minister Theresa May will ask European leaders to grant an extension to the legal process now in place. Unless a delay is approved by all 27 remaining EU leaders, Britain faces a chaotic exit scenario on March 29 (CNN).

No end to math: The value of the number pi was calculated to a new world record length of 31 trillion digits, far past the previous record of 22 trillion. Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee from Japan, found the new digits with the help of the company's cloud computing service. "There is no end with pi, I would love to try with more digits," she told BBC News.


And finally … Kudos to this week’s Morning Report quiz winners! Our readers seem ready for St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday. They had no trouble sorting out  truth from blarney when it comes to all things Irish.

The winners: William Vockel, Christine Newpower, Peter John, Jekka Garner, Carol Katz, Mary Vita P. Treano, Cheryl Gibson, Carole Ingram, Alyssa Prinzivalli, Candi Cee, William Chittam, Andrew Hamilton, Ian Jackson, Sandy Sycafoose, John Gannon, Lorraine Lindberg, Stephen Richard Staronka, David Straney, Luther Berg, Carolyn Dixon, Heather Ciandella, Milt Mungo and Rich Gruber.

They knew that “taoiseach” in Ireland means prime minister.  

New York City founded its St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762

Oodles of former U.S. presidents claim Irish heritage, and in our quiz list, the correct answer was “all of the above”: Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMost voters say there is too much turnover in Trump administration Trump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy Warren picks up key endorsement from Iowa state treasurer MORE.  

St. Patrick’s Day, or the feast of Saint Patrick, honors the patron saint of Ireland, who was not even Irish! The correct quiz response was “true.” 

Punk rock band The Dropkick Murphys, from Quincy, Mass., is in demand at St. Patrick’s Day shows. The group’s single, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” went platinum after it was featured in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Departed,” which starred Jack Nicholson (whose mother, by the way, was of Irish, English and German descent). Listen HERE