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 TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller 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 JohnsonMystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Trump may intervene in Pentagon cloud-computing contract: report Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp 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 McConnellMcConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch Funding a strong defense of our nation's democratic process can't wait The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants 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 PompeoPompeo: There's 'no indication' Iran will change direction Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran MORE on Wednesday, which will come on the heels of Tuesday’s meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerChinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks 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 Barr10 questions for Robert Mueller Democratic lawmaker calls asylum, refugee programs 'crown jewel' of immigration system Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony MORE and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress and ongoing hearings about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s report. Additionally, Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse gears up for Mueller testimony Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment How Trump suddenly brought Democrats together on a resolution condemning him 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 HicksEx-White House spokesman Raj Shah joins Fox Corporation as senior vice president Cummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe Judiciary chair demands Hope Hicks clarify closed-door testimony 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 ReidDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Webb: Questions for Robert Mueller Steyer's impeachment solution is dead wrong 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 RomneyDemocrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets Trump steps up attacks on 'Squad' after post-rally furor Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite 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 BidenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' 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 SandersBullock: I would not have endorsed health care for undocumented immigrants on debate stage Harris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act MORE (I-Vt.), his 2020 rival, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezIllinois GOP group shares, then deletes meme labeling minority congresswomen 'Jihad Squad' Trump's calculated climate of fear Two Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment 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 InsleeDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash Biden, Harris set for second Democratic debate showdown 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 HarrisHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much 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 Elizabeth GillibrandHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage MORE (D-N.Y.) wasted no time criticizing South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE for remarks during a town hall on Monday night that he would not have called for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenTrump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions Al Franken: It's time to start taking Trump 'literally' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs MORE’s (D-Minn.) resignation. Over the weekend, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, back protesters 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 TillisRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist MORE (R-N.C.) and Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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 angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout House Dems, Senate GOP build money edge to protect majorities 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 AxneGOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions Iowa Democrat calls foul on White House over Trump ethanol tour invite House Democrats pull legislation that would give lawmakers raise 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 MayCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Theresa May slams global rise of populist politicians Theresa May calls Trump remarks 'completely unacceptable' 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 TrumpTrump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump steps up attacks on 'Squad' after post-rally furor Trump says he doesn't care if attacks on 'Squad' hurt him politically 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.