The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP




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The threat of tariffs has roiled Senate Republicans as they race to thwart a new round of tariffs on Mexico by Monday and walk a tightrope in hopes of not angering President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE.


After Trump dared Senate Republicans to try to block his plan to impose tariffs on exports from Mexico, calling the move “foolish,” lawmakers warned administration officials that if Trump does not pull back the curtain on potential 5 percent tariffs on Mexico by Monday, a vote on a disapproval resolution will likely take place that would block the tariffs, according to Alexander Bolton and Jordain Carney.


One lawmaker noted that 12 Republican senators voted in March to disapprove of Trump’s use of a national emergency declaration to shift Defense Department funds to construction of a border wall, with 67 needed in total to block a presidential veto.


Senate Republicans said that they hope to avoid a confrontation with Trump over the issue, but unlike the national emergency declaration vote in March, they seem more than willing to buck the president on the issue.


“This would be a different vote,” Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP Republicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years MORE (R-Wis.) said. “This would certainly give me great pause in terms of supporting that type of declaration to enact tariffs versus building the wall, which I completely supported.”  


“Listen, Republicans don't like taxes on American consumers, what tariffs are,” Johnson added.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Overnight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that very few in the Senate GOP conference support tariffs.


The issue continues to pose problems for the Senate GOP, although they hold out hope a deal can be hammered out before Monday despite the president’s remarks. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBolton replacement inherits tough challenges — including Trump Saudi Arabia says it will take 'appropriate' action if Iran's role in attacks confirmed Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump MORE on Wednesday, which will come on the heels of Tuesday’s meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE and Mexico’s trade negotiator Jesus Seade, but questions are outstanding as it remains unknown what would be enough to satisfy Trump on the immigration front (The Associated Press).


The Washington Post: Republicans’ opposition to Trump’s Mexico tariffs comes at great political risk.


The Wall Street Journal: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggests Fed could cut rates if trade spat escalates.


Meanwhile, House Democrats continue to deal with questions about possibly impeaching the president and the fallout. The number of House Democrats supporting impeachment swelled to 55 on Tuesday as Democratic leaders pushed to assuage restive liberals in their caucus with a series of aggressive oversight actions targeting the Trump administration while stopping just short of impeachment, according to Mike Lillis, Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos.


Among the actions are a vote to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeinstein calls on Justice to push for release of Trump whistleblower report Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint MORE and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress and ongoing hearings about 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 report. Additionally, Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats bicker over strategy on impeachment 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 Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (D-Md.) is drafting a resolution of disapproval of Trump focused on emoluments violations.


The heat, however, is likely to be turned up as the White House continues to stonewall the ongoing investigations by House Democrats. On Tuesday, former White House officials Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump: 'Top shows' on Fox News, cable are 'Fair (or great)' to me Trump criticizes Fox, which 'isn't working for us anymore' Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor MORE and Annie Donaldson refused to turn over documents from their tenures in the administration after the White House directed them to defy subpoenas. The pair were also asked to appear on Capitol Hill on June 19 and 24, respectively, although it is unlikely either will do so in accordance with the wishes of the White House.


Additionally, House Democrats have run into another speed bump, this one in the judiciary as they use the courts to go after the president. After a string of victories in lawsuits that target Trump personally, Democrats were dealt a blow on Monday when a federal judge ruled that they do not have the authority to sue the president over his diversion of military funds to build a border wall. Judge Trevor McFadden — a Trump appointee — made the ruling, writing that the suit “is not a last resort for the House," pointing to "several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power."


As Jacqueline Thomsen writes, House Democrats have increasingly turned to the courts to carry out their investigations into Trump and his administration, but Monday's ruling shows there is a limit to their legal efforts. It also highlights the judiciary's wariness of entangling itself in political fights between the executive and legislative branches, with judges preferring that the bodies resolve their fights among themselves — a near impossibility in this political climate.


The Hill: Former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBarr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks Harry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info MORE (D-Nev.) backs Trump impeachment inquiry.


The New York Times: Senators look to force 22 votes blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia.


The Washington Post: Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBolton replacement inherits tough challenges — including Trump Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition MORE (R-Utah) calls for closer European alliances in his first major speech as a senator.





POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: Progressives made known their dissatisfaction with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll MORE over the weekend. On Tuesday, Biden made an opening bid to mend fences by releasing his plan to combat climate change that targets net-zero emissions and a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050.


As Niall Stanage writes, the main goal politically speaking was to push back against a narrative among progressives that the former vice president is too cautious and moderate when the energy in the party is driven by the left flank. Democrats say the climate change proposal is a good start.


“His team knows that they need to figure out how he can be his authentic self and at the same time appeal to a base that is largely more progressive than he is,” said Jess McIntosh, a Democratic strategist, adding that “climate change seems like a really good way for him to signal that he is not just a centrist.”


The pushback from Biden comes a month after Reuters reported that he was seeking a “middle ground” on the issue, which drew the ire of progressives, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.), his 2020 rival, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez reveals new policies for campaign aides with children Kennedy launches primary challenge against Markey The Memo: 'Whistleblower' furor gains steam MORE (D-N.Y.).





Biden’s plan would invest $5 trillion over 10 years to achieve the renewable energy goals, including nearly $1.7 trillion that would be federal dollars.  Biden's campaign says it will be paid for by undoing the tax cuts enacted by Trump and Republicans in 2017. Investments from state and local governments as well as private companies would push the total to $5 trillion (The Hill).


Nevertheless, the plan didn’t satisfy everyone. Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Yang floats nominating Inslee as 'climate czar' MORE (D) — who has centered his campaign on climate change — told reporters that Biden’s proposals “lack teeth.”


“This is our last chance. We don’t have 30 years to get this job done. We have to start acting now. So my plan puts up stop signs and I’m afraid that the vice president’s plan does not. He has some initiatives for 30 years from now, but we can’t wait 30 years,” Inslee said.


> Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Warren avoids attacks while building momentum MORE (D-Calif.) hails from the most populous state in the country — a blessing when it comes to building the fundamentals of a winning campaign, and a curse as she starts behind even in her home state, according to Reid Wilson.


Democratic strategists believe she must win the California primary on Super Tuesday, rich with nearly 500 delegates and almost double any other state. No Democratic nominee has ever failed to carry their home state, but a fight is brewing for the state as Biden and Sanders make a play in the California senator’s own backyard.


> Three weeks out from the first Democratic debate, 2020 candidates are making more direct attacks against fellow Democrats as they jockey for position and try to move up in the nomination pecking order, according to Amie Parnes.


Most recently, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBooker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Gillibrand relaunches PAC to elect women MORE (D-N.Y.) wasted no time criticizing South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding MORE for remarks during a town hall on Monday night that he would not have called for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? The Memo: Times correction gives GOP lifeline in latest Kavanaugh controversy MORE’s (D-Minn.) resignation. Over the weekend, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Warren avoids attacks while building momentum Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (D-Mass.) took aim at Biden for his no-show at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco and attending “fancy fundraisers” on the 2020 trail.


With the debate stage right around the corner, time is of the essence for candidates to start trending upward in the nomination battle and to start making contrasts.


The Associated Press: Gillibrand reasserts feminist mantle hoping for 2020 bump.


The Atlantic: Joe Biden has the most to lose at the debates.


Politico: Revenge of the nerds: Warren and Buttigieg vie for the ivory tower set.


The Associated Press: In Michigan, Warren touts plan to boost U.S. manufacturing.


Elsewhere on the political scene … Planned Parenthood Votes, a political offshoot of Planned Parenthood, is launching a six-figure ad buy targeting six Senate Republicans in their respective states, including McConnell, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy Warning signs flash for Tillis in North Carolina MORE (R-N.C.) and Sen. 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 (R-Colo.), over new abortion in various states in an attempt to win women voters … Theresa Greenfield (D) launched her Iowa Senate bid to unseat Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year MORE (R-Iowa) on Monday, a race her party views as a top pick-up opportunity. Greenfield is the third Democrat to jump in the race after Rep. Cindy AxneCindy AxneCentrist House Democrats press for committees to follow pay-go rule Ethanol fight divides key groups in Trump's base Former 'Apprentice' contestant ranks Trump next to Mother Teresa on women's issues MORE (D-Iowa) declined to launch a bid (The Hill).


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: President Trump dived headfirst into Great Britain’s fraught domestic politics during his first state visit there, upending diplomatic norms at a pivotal point in the “special relationship” between the U.S. and United Kingdom.


From escalating his feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan while en route to the U.K. to weighing in on Brexit and the race to replace British Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayBudowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat Mark Ruffalo dismisses Boris Johnson's comparisons to the Hulk: 'The Hulk only fights for the good of the whole' Queen Elizabeth to honor ex-British ambassador who called Trump 'inept' MORE — even speaking with one of her possible successors — it appeared there was no topic Trump wanted to avoid on British soil. After telling The Sun that Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, would do a “very good job,” Trump spoke with Johnson on the phone for 20 minutes on Tuesday and requested a meeting with Environment Secretary Michael Gove, another candidate to replace the outgoing prime minister.





Trump’s penchant for injecting himself into other countries’ internal matters makes life difficult for his hosts and, in the case of U.S. allies, puts strain on key relationships, experts say. Supporters of the president say he is a counter puncher who is not afraid to break norms in order to hit back at critics, foreign or domestic, and shape world events (The Hill).


> The State Department announced Tuesday that it is barring cruise ships to Cuba, as the administration cracks down on travel to the island three years after the Obama administration restored normalized relations with the communist island nation.


The announcement came after the Commerce Department revealed it is ending educational travel to Cuba. The Trump administration blamed the Cubans for propping up Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and their contribution to the humanitarian crisis in the country, leading to the ban on travel (Bloomberg).

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Trump's 'big three' battleground states will turn blue again in 2020, by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Tariffs on Mexico are win as Trump goes it alone to solve border crisis, by former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to discuss tariffs and what Mexico can do to avoid them, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams to talk about vaccines, teen vaping and marijuana use among youth and pregnant woman.


The House meets at 9 a.m. and will consider multiple pieces of oceanic legislation before leaving town for the week.


The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of David Schenker to become assistant secretary of State.  


The president, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump pushes back over whistleblower controversy White House releases menu for Australian state dinner MORE, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles will attend commemorations of the D-Day landings in Portsmouth, England. The queen will bid farewell to the president before he departs to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Ireland at Shannon Airport. He will stay overnight at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg.


State Watch: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Tuesday that he will call the Virginia legislature back to Richmond this summer to take up gun control legislation in response to last week’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach that killed 12 people. The bills will include a ban on silencers and high-capacity magazines, mandatory universal background checks before gun purchases, and a limit of one handgun purchase per month, among other proposals. No date has been set for the special session, although Northam wants it held at the end of the month. Virginia Republicans oppose the call for a special session, with GOP Speaker Kirk Cox calling it “hasty and suspect” after the last few months, namely the blackface scandal that nearly derailed Northam’s governorship (The Associated Press).


Cybersecurity: Officials from the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation are pushing back against allegations from federal lawmakers that the company is designing metro cars for U.S. cities that can easily be hacked or controlled remotely, describing this as a “campaign” against them. The officials maintain that the company adheres to the highest standards in cybersecurity (The Hill).


Vanity plates: If you live in Washington and want to show off that you’re a card-carrying member of “The Resistance,” you’ll have to do so without acquiring a vanity plate. License plates making fun of the president were among the 53 plates  rejected by Washington, D.C., officials last year, including “45SHOLE,” “DUMP45” and “TRE45SON.” D.C. municipal regulations state that no tags are allowed that include profanity or are “offensive to the general public.” The city’s Department of Motor Vehicles DMV also disallows tags that refer to “race, religion, color, deity, ethnic heritage, gender, sexual orientation, disability status or political affiliation” (Washingtonian).


And finally … The late, great tenor Luciano Pavarotti will live on in a new Ron Howard film that is considered a celebration of the famed Italian’s life more than a decade after his passing. Not known as a fan of the opera, Howard hopes to introduce the famed member of the “Three Tenors” to a new generation with the film, which is described as “part biography and part greatest-hits concert” (The Associated Press).


“I’d never seen him live, but I was well aware of his stature,” said Howard, who directed popular films such as “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind.” “My hope is the film goes a step toward that agenda of his which was to democratize the art form and broaden the audience reach.”


Pavarotti, who was born in 1935 and died of pancreatic cancer in 2007, was famous for his gregarious personality and booming voice, including his famed rendition of “Nessun Dorma,” the memorable musical piece from “Turandot,” an opera by Giacomo Puccini. The film is set to hit theaters on Friday.