The Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso?




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Only days after tragedy struck El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE will take on the role of consoler-in-chief when he makes stops in both communities despite opposition to his planned appearances in the two cities.


Trump may be on the receiving end of a chilly reception from political leaders in both communities, especially in El Paso, as Brett Samuels writes. Mayors of both cities, feeling pressured on all sides, said they will meet with the president in the wake of horrific mass shootings for the sake of their communities. 


“He is the president of the United States,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) told reporters on Monday. “In that capacity I will fulfill my obligations as mayor of El Paso to meet with the president and discuss whatever our needs are in this community.”


Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) was terse.


“He’s the president of the United States,” she said. “He does his calendar, I do mine.”


Trump is expected to make his first appearance on Wednesday in Dayton before traveling to El Paso. 


The Washington Post: Trump plans visits to El Paso and Dayton, where he won’t be universally welcome.


The Associated Press: Some skeptical as Trump prepares to visit sites of shootings.


Many opponents of the president’s trip to El Paso assail the president’s “racism, bigotry, and white supremacy” and asked the White House to cancel the president’s visit, as Rafael Bernal reports. Most of the 22 shooting victims in the city’s well known bi-national Walmart were Latino.


The president largely laid low on Tuesday, keeping his remarks confined to Twitter, including one barb at former President Obama after the 44th president took a veiled swipe at him in a lengthy statement Monday about the mass shootings. Without using Trump’s name, Obama criticized “leaders” who encourage “a climate of fear and hatred.”


As Niall Stanage writes, Obama's commentary is complicated for Trump, who denies he’s a racist but spent years as a business celebrity falsely arguing that the 44th president was born in Kenya and was misleading the country.  


While Trump didn’t go after Obama as he readied for his trip, he directed his ire at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), saying he should “be quiet” while sniping at his “phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage” (The Hill).


Pressure is also starting to pile up on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (R-Ky.) to take action after the shootings. 


While McConnell is unlikely to reconvene the Senate before a Sept. 9 return date, he has tasked three Southern GOP senators — Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (S.C.), Commerce Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Senators grill safety regulator over self-driving cars Senate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill MORE (R-Miss.) and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures MORE (R-Tenn.) — with coming up with legislative ideas. But Democrats are pressing for more immediate action. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (D-Calif.) notes the House passed legislation to tighten background checks earlier in the year, if McConnell would agree to take it up. 


In a call with more than 100 House Democrats, Pelosi made the case that the House has already done its job and that McConnell should feel compelled to act (The Hill). 


“They have been sitting over there [in the Senate]. The Grim Reaper said he is not going to bring them up,” Pelosi said on the call, using McConnell’s self-described moniker. “This is where we have to go. And, the president and Mitch McConnell have to feel the public sentiment on this.”


The Hill: Democrats call for Pelosi to cut recess short to address white nationalism.


The New York Times: ‘Red flag’ gun control bills pick up momentum with GOP in Congress.


The Hill: Homeland Security Committee chair asks FBI for monthly briefings on domestic terrorism.


The Washington Post: Democrats turn to emotional language on gun issues.


In Ohio and Texas, top officials are taking a look at what they can do to avoid mass shootings in the future. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) unveiled a series of proposals Tuesday morning, including a “red flag” law, background checks for most firearm purchases and increased access to mental health treatments (USA Today). Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is expected to meet with officials in El Paso on Wednesday morning to discuss preventative actions that can be taken on the state level (KVIA). 


On the 2020 scene, Trump continues to be on the receiving end of criticism for his rhetoric that potential opponents say helped lead to what happened in El Paso. In prepared remarks slated to be delivered later today in Burlington, Iowa, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE spared no criticism for the president, saying he has “fanned the flames of white supremacy” in the U.S and arguing that the president hasn’t stepped up in the face of controversy as other presidents have in the past.


“In both clear language and in code, this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation,” Biden is expected to say, referring to the incidents in El Paso, Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue and Charlottesville, Va. 


“At moments when we have been tested most, American presidents have stepped up.  President George H.W. Bush renouncing his NRA membership. President Clinton after Oklahoma City. President George W. Bush going to a Mosque shortly after 9/11. President Obama after Charleston,” Biden will say. “Presidents who led…who opposed hate…chose to fight for what is best of the American character. We don’t have that today. We have a president who has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation. And that makes winning the battle for the soul of this nation that much harder." 


Biden is also expected to say that Trump has a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism, and division,” adding that he “has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington.”


The Hill: Biden's personal grief comes to forefront amid mass shootings.





POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: While Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-Mass.) continues to rise in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, one part of her platform is receiving a cool reception from Democrats: her planned wealth tax.


One of the centerpieces of her 2020 bid, Warren’s plan to tax the wealth of people with more than $50 million in assets, taking 2 percent a year of their net worth beyond that threshold, has not gained steam among Democratic members of Congress as they keep their distance from it.


Unlike a traditional income tax, which focuses on money coming in, Warren’s plan focuses on money and assets that have already been accumulated. The tax, she says, could pay for a slew of programs, including student debt relief, universal pre-K, child care and increased pay for child care workers. But Democrats in Congress have refused to endorse the concept and propose more conventional means of raising revenue.


Politico: ‘Warren has built a monster’: Inside the Democrats’ battle for Nevada.


The Hill: Trump, RNC sue to block California law requiring release of tax returns.


RealClearPolitics: Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve Bullock2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Biden, Buttigieg condemn rocket attacks on Israel MORE straddles two worlds on gun control laws.





> Quinnipiac University Poll: Biden continues to hold a strong lead on the 2020 Democratic field, but Warren continues to be on helium watch as she overtakes Sanders and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (D-Calif.) as the pre-eminent challenger to the former V.P.


According to the poll, Biden holds a double-digit lead over Warren, taking 32 percent support to Warren’s 21 percent. Sanders sits third with 14 percent.


As for Sen. Kamala Harris, (D-Calif.) whose strong debate performance in June vaulted her to 20 percent backing in a subsequent poll, she has since cratered and earns only 7 percent support in the latest poll. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico MORE sits at 5 percent support, and no other candidate polls higher than 2 percent (The Hill).  


The Hill: Poll: Biden, Sanders only 2020 Democratic contenders who beat Trump in Texas.


The Hill: Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing.


> Mississippi election results: Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) fell just short of the 50 percent support needed to avoid a runoff and will take on Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller later this month for the right to face Democratic state Attorney General Bill Hood in November.


Reeves won 49 percent of the vote, topping Waller’s 33 percent and state Rep. Robert Foster’s 18 percent, putting him in an August 27 runoff with Waller. As for Hood, he took home 69 percent of ballots cast, allowing him to bypass a runoff.


Given the heavy Republican bent in the state, Reeves remains the favorite to replace outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant (R) in November. Ahead of election day he took home a number of high-profile endorsements, including from Bryant, mayors across the state, and former NFL quarterback and Mississippi resident Brett Favre (The Hill).




CONGRESS & INVESTIGATIONS: Oversight: Two House Judiciary Committee Democrats want to review Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP senator compares impeachment inquiry to Kavanaugh confirmation Christine Blasey Ford receives ACLU courage award Election 2020: Why I'm watching Amy and Andy MORE’s records from his time as a young aide in the George W. Bush White House, arguing that only a small fraction of the material was released prior to the vote on his nomination last year. Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMaloney wins House Oversight gavel House Judiciary Committee approves landmark marijuana legalization bill Maloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonBlack lawmakers condemn Trump's 'lynching' remarks Maloney to serve as acting Oversight chairwoman after Cummings's death The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment MORE (D-Ga.), who chairs the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee, wrote a letter Tuesday seeking records tied to Kavanaugh’s service as staff secretary and as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office more than a decade ago. They sent the request to the National Archives and Records Administration (The Hill).


> Privacy: Lawmakers are working through the August recess to craft legislation on data privacy after missing a deadline they set to unveil a bill before their summer break. Advocates for a federal data privacy standard are also pressured because of the approaching 2020 elections and a strict privacy law slated to take effect in California next summer (The Hill). 


> Deepfakes: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffNunes's facial expression right before lawmakers took break from Sondland testimony goes viral Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Maloney wins House Oversight gavel MORE (D-Calif.) is pursuing Facebook and Twitter to explain the companies’ policies about labeling and removing false and manipulated media posted on their platforms. His panel held a hearing in June and received brief written responses from the companies at the end of July (The Hill). Lawmakers in both parties are concerned about the rise of manipulated media on the internet and in social media because of the power of false and deceptive material to influence politics and national security.


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: When Interior Department employees cast about for examples of a federal “gold standard” in handling a rising tide of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, officials turned to the FBI for tutoring. Why? Because the FBI handles a high volume of requests, deals with classified information and is known to be slow to respond to public records requests. The Hill reports on Interior’s approach to its own controversial policy to deal with Freedom of Information Act requests, drawn from internal emails.


> Department of Justice: Lawyers for the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday that the House Oversight and Reform Committee has not provided a clear legislative purpose for subpoenaing Trump’s financial records from his private accountant and that the court should invalidate the subpoena. Lawmakers need to identify a specific legislative purpose for obtaining the documents in light of the potential burden it could create for the president, the Justice Department said (The Hill).


> DOJ: The Justice Department lost ground on Tuesday in its effort to prosecute foreign lobbying violations as criminal acts when a federal judge threw out a charge that accused former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig of making a criminal false statement by omitting information about his work for a foreign government in a 2013 letter sent to DOJ (CNN).


> FBI: Former FBI agent Peter Strzok filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the bureau caved to “unrelenting pressure” from the president when it fired him after it was discovered that he wrote derogatory text messages about then-candidate Trump. The suit alleges that Strzok was unfairly punished for expressing his political opinions to a colleague and that the Justice Department violated his privacy when the government shared hundreds of his text messages with reporters (The Associated Press). Former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE told Congress he reassigned Strzok when the text messages and the agent’s affair with a department lawyer who resigned came to his attention. 


> Agriculture Department: The USDA’s watchdog concluded that the department may have violated the law when it decided to relocate Washington-based personnel from the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to the Kansas City area. The department’s general counsel, Stephen Vaden, replied to the inspector general, "USDA is not required to abide by unconstitutional laws."


The department argues its shift of personnel to the Midwest can save money and put scientists and researchers closer to the world of agriculture. Critics, however, argue the Trump administration is hostile to the agency’s scientific expertise and is anti-union.


White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDefense official testifies Ukraine was aware of issues with aid in July Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony MORE said the relocation plan had the effect of downsizing the federal bureaucracy: "More than half the people quit. Now, it's nearly impossible to fire a federal worker," he said. "What a wonderful way to sort of streamline government and do what we haven't been able to do for a long time."


Some USDA employees recently turned their backs on Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueFrom state agriculture departments to Congress: Our farmers need the USMCA Overnight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest MORE at a public meeting where he discussed the shift of responsibilities to the Kansas City area. The department has directed employees who are making the move to report by Sept. 30 and rejected a proposal from the unions to allow some employees with hardships to continue working from the Washington area (CNN).




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Politicians don't care to fix the real causes of mass shootings, by Kevin R. Brock, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


How the Trump administration can solve its Iran problem, by Mathew Burrows and Julian Muller-Kaler, opinion contributors, The Hill. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features Brianne Pfannenstiel, chief political reporter for the Des Moines Register, to talk about the Iowa caucuses; Paul Simpson, chairman of the Harris County GOP to discuss the future of the Republican Party in the Lone Star State; and Igor Volsky, executive director of Guns Down America, to react to the El Paso and Dayton shootings and Walmart’s refusal to ban gun sales. Find Hill.TV programming at or on YouTube at 10 a.m.


The House and Senate continue to meet in pro forma sessions but are not scheduled to return for votes until Sept. 9.


The president flies to Ohio and Texas to meet with officials and community members affected by the weekend’s pair of mass shootings, which killed 31 people and injured 50.


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony Five bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony MORE hosts a working luncheon at 11:30 a.m. for United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the Department of State. The secretary and Raab hold a joint press availability at 12:35 p.m.


North Korea: Pyongyang fired missiles into the sea off its east coast for the fourth time in less than two weeks, South Korea said on Tuesday, as North Korea warned that hostile moves against the dictatorship “have reached the danger line” (Reuters). 


Federal Reserve: In an unusual joint commentary published in The Wall Street Journal this week, former chairmen of the nation’s central bank defended the importance of Fed independence and rebuked Trump’s public lashings of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWhat economic recession? Think of this economy as an elderly friend: Old age means coming death On The Money: Rising recession fears pose risk for Trump | Stocks suffer worst losses of 2019 | Trump blames 'clueless' Fed for economic worries MORE wrote, “We are united in the conviction that the Fed and its chair must be permitted to act independently and in the best interests of the economy, free of short-term political pressures and, in particular, without the threat of removal or demotion of Fed leaders for political reasons” (CNBC). … Meanwhile, the Fed announced it will develop faster digital check-clearance for consumers, a development Wall Street’s big banks view with caution (The Washington Post).


Passages: Acclaimed novelist Toni Morrison died on Tuesday at age 88 from complications of pneumonia. Her lyrical, poetic style blended vivid dialogue and searing tales of black lives, earning her numerous awards and legions of admirers. She became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and her book “Beloved” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Morrison received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2012 (The New York Times).





And finally … 45 years ago this week, former President Nixon released transcripts of three conversations with then-White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, which were recorded by a West Wing taping system six days after the Watergate break-in. The transcripts, made public on Aug. 5, 1974, became known as the “smoking gun,” evidence that Nixon obstructed justice by ordering the FBI to halt its investigation of the break-in. “All right, fine, I understand it all,he told Haldeman as they discussed how to shut down what the FBI was then uncovering.


House Judiciary Committee Republicans who had backed the president and voted against impeachment announced they would change their votes. After Nixon’s bulwark in Congress crumbled, he announced during a televised address on Aug. 8, 1974, that he planned to resign the presidency “effective at noon tomorrow.” During a dramatic week in U.S. history, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the nation’s 38th president.