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 alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump 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 GardnerMark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (Colo.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisRep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge 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) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE’s final report should be made public. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel Democracy is the MVP in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms 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 McConnellPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot 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 CollinsBipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate MORE (R-Maine) joined Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Congress ends its year under shadow of COVID-19 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 SchiffBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (Calif.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? 'Kamala' and 'Kobe' surge in popularity among baby names MORE (Md.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair Top donor allegedly sold access to key politicians for millions in foreign cash: report Meet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House 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 NadlerThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn 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 MnuchinPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Overnight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines 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 BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge 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 PelosiPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Houston will send residents checks of up to ,200 for pandemic relief 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.


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!


The FAA is too easy on Boeing, by Clive Irving, The Daily Beast. http://bit.ly/2Hyu0R1

College bribery scandal is proof that meritocracy is a myth invented by the rich, by Nathan Robinson, The Guardian. http://bit.ly/2u4Kjgy


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 PompeoSchumer meets with Biden national security picks To promote human rights and democracy, Biden should start with China The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms 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 ObamaObama chief economist responds to McConnell quoting him on Senate floor: He missed 'a critical part' Amazon reports .8B in weekend sales from independent businesses on its platform Ossoff features Obama in TV ad ahead of in Georgia run-off 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