The Hill's Morning Report — Will Congress do anything on gun control?

The Hill's Morning Report — Will Congress do anything on gun control?
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Nearly a week after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Democratic lawmakers are pessimistic that gun reform legislation can pass Congress this year, despite pressure from members on both sides of the aisle. 

Lawmakers say they’re dubious because of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project MORE’s (R-Ky.) position as gatekeeper and a presidential campaign that grows more polarizing and vitriolic by the month, according to Scott Wong and Mike Lillis

“Nothing is going to happen,” predicted one Democratic senator, whose state has suffered a mass shooting.

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFacial recognition tools under fresh scrutiny amid police protests The sad spectacle of Trump's enablers Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland MORE (D-Md.) echoed that sentiment on Wednesday during a speech to the National Press Club, referring to instances over the past decade when proposed legislation stalled after shootings gripped the nation. 

“After Sandy Hook — remember that? — and nothing happened,” Cummings said. “I think we really need to be careful when listening to politicians talk about what they're going to do. Let me be clear, you have a lot of talk. ... But in the end — in the end — nothing happens.”

The Hill: Pelosi asks Trump to call back Senate on gun control.

Chief among issues complicating momentum and working against consensus is Congress’s recess until Sept. 9. McConnell made clear Thursday he won’t ask senators to return to Washington before then, arguing it would be a political exercise. 

"If we did that, we would just have people scoring points and nothing would happen. There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on,” McConnell told Kentucky radio station WHAS. "If we do it prematurely it will just be another frustrating experience. ... I think this is the best way to get a result." 

The Hill: McConnell rejects calls to bring Senate back early for gun debate.

The Hill: McConnell, allies lean into Twitter, media “war.”

Instead, McConnell has tasked three Senate Republicans to look for possible legislative remedies. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham Hillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse MORE (S.C.), one of the three senators, is drafting “red flag” legislation with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), which would provide federal grants to “assist and encourage” states to adopt laws to allow courts and local law enforcement to remove guns from people “in situations where there is an imminent threat of violence.”

An obstacle is the gun lobby, which has made its opposition clear. Although President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE signaled his openness to legislation expanding background checks, National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre pushed back.  

“I can confirm that the NRA opposes any legislation that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens,” LaPierre said. “The inconvenient truth is this: the proposals being discussed by many would not have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton. Worse, they would make millions of law-abiding Americans less safe and less able to defend themselves and their loved ones.” 

The Associated Press: Scandal-ridden NRA leader digs in against gun control.

Nevertheless, House Democrats are still looking at things they can do even if the Senate does not return to town. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler wins Democratic primary Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks MORE (D-N.Y.) is talking about possibly recalling members of the panel to Washington in August to mark up gun violence legislation, according to Olivia Beavers

On the 2020 scene, half a dozen candidates are expected to attend a gun safety forum on Saturday in Des Moines, hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and two other organizations focused on preventing gun violence. Those on the agenda Saturday are Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lays low as approval hits 18-month low MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump Democratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed plane Neil Young opposes use of his music at Trump Mount Rushmore event: 'I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux' MORE (I-Vt.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights Democrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats: A moment in history, use it wisely The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus MORE (D-Minn.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julían Castro and Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBarr praises Seattle police chief as officers clear protest zone OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 MORE.






POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: Although he has yet to resume his 2020 campaign, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Artistic Director Tim Seelig says choirs are dangerous; Pence says, 'We have saved lives' National Retail Federation hosts virtual 'store tours' for lawmakers amid coronavirus In the next COVID-19 bill, target innovation and entrepreneurship MORE (D-Ohio) is in the public eye as he becomes a vocal proponent for gun control legislation after the mass shooting in Dayton. 

Before traveling to the Iowa State Fair on Friday, Ryan was leading a caravan of gun control activists to Louisville, Ky., to hold a rally in a push to get the attention of McConnell over his decision not to bring Congress back to Washington this month. 

The rally is the penultimate stop after five events in Ohio, starting in the Cleveland suburbs and ending in Cincinnati before traveling to a stop in McConnell’s hometown. The rally was held at a city plaza adjacent to the Muhammad Ali Center.

“These cities are all so similar. Same challenges. Same struggles. Same pride in their communities’ future. And so to have a tragedy like this is devastating,” Ryan said in a text message interview with BuzzFeed News.  

“But then the response is so powerful. The connection of the community comes to the forefront," he said, adding that he is "more inspired than ever to make change."

> Wealth tax: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continues to gain altitude in her push for the Democratic nod, but her wealth tax proposal, a plan that has been a major talking point during her campaign, has failed to gain traction with many Democrats.   

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, with many of them keeping their distance from it as they propose traditional forms of raising revenue.

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. Nevertheless, lawmakers have given the idea a chilly reception (The Hill). 

The Hill: Monmouth Poll: Warren gains on Biden in Iowa.

The Hill: Andrew YangAndrew YangHillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night Clinton, Buttigieg among Democrats set to hold virtual events for Biden MORE qualifies for fall Democratic debates. 

Politico: John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks Hickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary MORE faces buzzsaw if he drops out to run for Senate.



> 2020 troubles: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham Senators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Joe Biden must release the results of his cognitive tests — voters need to know GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (D-N.J.) are coming under scrutiny over recent appearances they made with a Las Vegas pastor who has made controversial remarks about homosexuality. 

As Julia Manchester reports, the two Democratic senators attended services held by the Rev. Robert E. Fowler Sr. last week at his church, Victory Missionary Baptist. While Fowler is an influential figure in Democratic politics in a key primary state, having hosted Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats try to turn now into November The Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump On The Trail: Trump, coronavirus fuel unprecedented voter enthusiasm MORE and Sanders in 2016, his past comments on homosexuality appeared in multiple outlets after visits by Booker and Harris last week. In one 2013 interview with Nevada Public Radio, Fowler compared homosexuality with child molestation.

“Whether you commit adultery, whether you commit fornication, whether you’re a child molester, you gossip, you lie, you cheat on your taxes, you don’t pay your tithes, things of that nature — all of that is wrapped together as sin, along with homosexuality,” Fowler said.   

“Any sin, if you break the law in one area, you’ve broken it in all areas. If you mess up in one area, that’s enough to send you to hell — so any sin is pretty bad for me," he said. 

Booker has now distanced himself from Fowler's views, while Harris affirmed her support for LGTBQ issues in statements to The Hill. Neither campaign responded when asked to clarify if Booker or Harris knew about Fowler's past remarks before appearing at the church.


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Trump, who established a rocky relationship with the intelligence community early in his first year, announced that Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon will resign on Aug. 15, the same date as Director Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAmerica's divide widens: Ignore it no longer Trump gives Grenell his Cabinet chair after he steps down German lawmaker, US ambassador to Germany trade jabs MORE (The Hill). Trump named retired Adm. Joseph Maguire, director of the National Counterterrorism Center for the last year, as acting director of national intelligence, effective Aug. 15. “I have no doubt he will do a great job!” the president tweeted late on Thursday. Trump also praised Gordon when he announced her departure on Twitter.



Morgan Chalfant reported last week that some lawmakers were worried in the wake of Coats’s resignation that Trump was prepared to bypass the experienced Gordon, who by law should have succeeded Coats in the event of a top vacancy. The president’s initial nominee to become director, Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFormer Trump intelligence officials say they had trouble briefing him on Russia: report GOP senator calls for Russian bounties briefing after reviewing intelligence Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday MORE (R-Texas), a Trump loyalist, withdrew his name from consideration five days into the process when senators raised objections about his lack of national intelligence experience and frowned on embellishments he made to his résumé.

The Washington Post: Trump announces shakeup at top of U.S. intelligence.

Trump’s Cabinet is stocked with officials serving in placeholder capacities, including acting secretaries at the departments of Homeland Security and Labor, Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration. 

> Tech: The White House will host an event today with tech companies and senior government officials about eradicating violent behavior online. The president will not participate. The White House is focused on violent behavior rather than hate speech, according to an administration official (The Hill). 

> Central America: The Trump administration’s strategy for the Northern Triangle of Central American countries is under fire, seen as worsening human rights problems in the region, reports Rafael Bernal

> Justice Department: Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeShowtime miniseries to feature Jeff Daniels as Comey, Brendan Gleeson as Trump Lisa Page joins MSNBC as legal analyst McCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe MORE filed a lawsuit in federal court to reinstate his full retirement benefits, claiming his termination one day before his official retirement was the work of Trump, carried out improperly. McCabe’s decision to sue was anticipated since last year (The Hill). 

> Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Some Mississippi children were forced to sleep in a community gym after their parents were detained by ICE officers on Wednesday in what authorities called the “largest single-state immigration enforcement operation” in the country’s history (The Hill). Initially, ICE rounded up roughly 680 allegedly undocumented migrants working at seven Mississippi poultry processing plants. The raid was coordinated with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi and was so clandestine, ICE did not inform the White House for fear of leaks (The Washington Post). More than 300 of the workers detained were released on Thursday, sent home with notices to appear before immigration judges (The Associated Press). The raids are having a ripple effect through Mississippi schools, churches, businesses and financial institutions that serve the state’s poultry processing cities (The Associated Press).

More related to the administration … Federal and state governments and schools are beginning to examine ways to fight back against cyberattacks on school districts (The Hill). … If an impeachment inquiry begins against Trump, House general counsel Douglas Letter, a 40-year veteran of the Justice Department, will be the key man behind the House curtain (The Hill).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!



Are the Democrats jumping off the cliff? by Peter Fenn, opinion contributor, The Hill. 

The terrifying link between misogynists and mass shooters, by Toni Van Pelt, opinion contributor, The Hill.





Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. EDT features J.D. Scholten, Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, to talk about his potential rematch against Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingColorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton defeated in primary upset Bottom line House GOP leaders condemn candidate who said black people should be 'proud' of Confederate statues MORE (R-Iowa); Mark de Souza, CEO of Revolution, a multi-state cannabis company based in Illinois, to discuss cannabis legalization; and Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Thousands expected for George Floyd's Houston visitation The Hill's Morning Report - Capitol Hill weighs action on racial justice as protests carry on The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead MORE, editor-in-chief of The Hill, for his weekly segment, “The Debrief.”  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 will travel to Southampton, N.Y., this morning to address two groups of donors to his reelection campaign, after which he’ll travel to another fundraising event at a private residence in Water Mill, N.Y. The reelection haul today is expected to be $10 million (The Washington Post). From New York, Trump will fly to New Jersey to begin his summer vacation at his residence in Bedminster.   

Vice President Pence has no public events today.

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics will report on the producer price index in July at 8:30 a.m.

Politics: Iowa’s traditional Democratic Wing Ding dinner, featuring candidates running for the White House, takes place in Clear Lake from 5-10 p.m. (C-SPAN is covering at 7 p.m.).


Homecoming: Passengers in a packed Southwest Airlines concourse at the Dallas airport fell silent on Thursday as a special incoming flight, bearing the recently identified remains of Col. Roy Knight Jr. of Texas, a fighter pilot shot down during the Vietnam War, landed on a runway to a hero’s welcome. As Knight’s flag-draped coffin was removed from the plane, Jackson Proskow, Washington bureau chief for Canada’s Global News, chronicled on Twitter what he just happened to witness as a Southwest gate agent told a moving story to a gathering crowd. In 1967, Knight’s young son waved good-bye to his dad as he went off to war from the same spot. Now a pilot, Southwest Airlines Captain Bryan Knight flew the plane that brought his father’s remains home after 52 years (The Hill). Read Proskow’s Twitter thread and see photos HERE. Col. Knight’s obituary is HERE.

Wild cat too adorable to miss: A Spanish nature conservation center announced the first baby lynx was born in the Pyrenees in nearly a century. A Eurasian lynx was last seen in the Spanish and French Pyrenees in the 1930s and has been considered extinct there, until the new arrival was born in captivity (The Associated Press).

Look up!:  An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth on Saturday. Scientists say we shouldn’t fret, although “Asteroid 2006 QQ23” has an estimated diameter of up to 1,870 feet (CNN). Let’s not forget that a “city killer” asteroid zoomed “uncomfortably close” to Earth last month and most scientists and astronomers were taken by surprise (The Washington Post). 

If you build it, they will come: Major League Baseball announced to great fanfare on Thursday that it will play a game next August at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, the site of the iconic 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta. The Chicago White Sox will play the New York Yankees on Aug. 13, 2020, with the White Sox fittingly serving as the home team. For the game, MLB is building a temporary 8,000-seat stadium adjacent to the field where the cinematic Shoeless Joe Jackson played (ESPN).




And finally … Kudos to this week’s Morning Report quiz winners! With some smart guesses (and perhaps a little deft Googling) about presidential vacations, these readers conquered our puzzle: Ki Harvey, Zev Lewis, Phil Kirstein, Lorraine Lindberg, Scott Wilber, Allyson Foster, Cheryl Gibson, Carol Katz, William Chittam, Anita Bales, John Donato, Rich Gruber, Luther Berg and Noel St. Pre.

They knew that former President Clinton and his family enjoyed vacations in 1995 and 1996 in Wyoming, after being advised by pollster Dick Morris in the run-up to his reelection to get some R&R the way many American families did. During the past week and a half, Chelsea, Hillary and I have been vacationing in two of our nation's most spectacular national treasures, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks,” Clinton said during a radio address in 1995. “We've seen buffalo, moose, elk, eagles, osprey, red hawks. No bears yet, but we're still looking. We've seen breathtaking mountains, lakes, streams and meadows. And all of this belongs to you, the American people, for all time to come.”

Former President George W. Bush reveled in clearing brush, driving his pickup truck and relaxing in the relative isolation of his Prairie Chapel ranch near Crawford, Texas, during his two terms.  

James Madison holds the record for the longest presidential vacation, from June to October 1816.  

President Eisenhower, who played 800 rounds of golf while in office, hit the links at the famed Augusta National Golf Club during his first vacation in office, in 1953 (and many times after).