The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks




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Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day MORE (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday evening that she has dropped her bid for the Democratic nomination after failing to qualify for the third Democratic presidential debate next month and struggling to catch fire with primary voters. 


Gillibrand’s announcement comes on the deadline to qualify for the September debate. She failed to hit the donor or polling requirements for inclusion after struggling throughout her campaign with fundraising despite hailing from a donor-rich state. 


From start to finish, Gillibrand, who entered the race in January, made her work on behalf of women the centerpiece of her campaign, headlined by her support for abortion and women’s rights. She went further than most candidates, saying that she would only nominate judges who support the ruling in Roe v. Wade, if elected.


She also made a point of attacking former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE on a number of women-related issues in recent months. Most recently, she was on the losing end of a back-and-forth with the former vice president after she accused him of opposing women working outside the home. Biden pointed to his work to pass the Violence Against Women Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act before wondering why she was suddenly making this point. 


“I don't know what happened, except you're now running for president,” Biden retorted onstage in Detroit. 


Gillibrand was also on the defensive over positions on various issues now compared with her arguments during her early days in the House as a Blue Dog Democrat, especially on guns and immigration.  


She also becomes the fourth Democratic candidate to drop out in recent weeks as it became more likely they would not be able to reach the debate stage on Sept. 12, along with Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE, Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Bill introduced to give special immigrant visas to Kurds who helped US in Syria Tim Ryan drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Mass.) and former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperKrystal Ball dismisses Rahm Emanuel's 'Medicare for All' criticism as a 'corporatist mantra' Trump says remark about Colorado border wall was made 'kiddingly' Colorado governor mocks Trump for saying he's building wall there MORE, who is now running for Senate back home. The prominent Democratic field numbers at least 20 candidates. 


Gillibrand’s exit makes any endorsement she decides to make for a Democratic contender valuable. She indicated to The New York Times that she will endorse in the primary, but has not decided who that will be. She stopped short of saying she would back a woman for the party’s nod. 


“I think that women have a unique ability to bring people together and heal this country,” Gillibrand said. “I think a woman nominee would be inspiring and exciting.”  


“I will support whoever the nominee is, and I will do whatever it takes to beat Trump,” she added. 


Despite her standing as quite possibly the most anti-Trump candidate in the field, her campaign was never able to get off the ground. She was often overshadowed by other candidates and occasionally was a victim of the news cycle. A week after officially launching her campaign, she held a rally outside Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York — only hours before Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrImpeachment tests Barr-Trump relationship Democratic senators seek documents on Trump's alleged call for Barr press conference The Hill's Morning Report — Bloomberg news shakes up 2020 race MORE released a four-page memo outlining the findings in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE’s report. 


With Gillibrand and others excluded from the debate in two weeks, 10 candidates are expected to take part after the likes of Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerSaagar Enjeti: Bloomberg 2020 bid would 'all but ensure a Bernie Sanders victory' Steyer challenges Bloomberg to support wealth tax before entering Democratic primary Democratic strategist 'remarkably unimpressed' by potential Bloomberg 2020 bid MORE and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardKrystal Ball praises former McConnell aide's historic win in Kentucky The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race The Hill's Morning Report — Bloomberg news shakes up 2020 race MORE (D-Hawaii) narrowly missed out when the midnight deadline passed on Wednesday night. 


After two series of debates with 20 candidates in total, all the participants will be on the same stage during an expected clash between two of the preeminent frontrunners: Biden and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race MORE (D-Mass.). 


Those who miss out on the Houston debate can still qualify for the next one in October; donor and polling requirements remain the same.


The New York Times: Democratic candidates jostle and gripe as the debate rules winnow the field. 


POLITICS: As Warren rises in polls, her enthusiastic crowds grow larger. She  recently attracted 15,000 people in Seattle and 12,000 in St. Paul, Minn. With rally attendance surging, she’s signaling to Democrats that she's the one who could capture the Democratic nomination or at the very least cause trouble for her rivals, including Biden, according to a report from Amie Parnes.  


More than a dozen Democratic operatives said in recent interviews that Warren's crowds prove that she is the cycle's movement candidate. Democrats historically want the "exciting" candidate who can draw large crowds, pointing to former President Obama's campaign in 2008 and former President Clinton’s campaign in 1992. However, one thing sets her apart from Obama: He never attracted crowds of this size early in the nominating season, something his former aides readily acknowledge.


"What Warren is doing this early on is pretty unprecedented," said one former senior Obama aide. "If we would have attracted crowd sizes that large early on, Hillary would have run for the hills." 


Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE (I-Vt.) also continues to draw big audiences, including four that attracted more than 10,000 people, including a San Francisco rally with 16,000 in the crowd.


> Senate retirement: Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Juan Williams: Republicans flee Trump Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump MORE (R-Ga.) announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the year, citing health reasons. The longtime Georgia Republican’s exit sparked conversations about who will replace him. There will be a special election next year — one of two in the state. 


As Reid Wilson reports, speculation centers on statewide and congressional candidates, including Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who previously served as Isakson’s chief of staff, Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesModernize Congress to make it work for the people 5 Republicans who could replace Isakson in Georgia's Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks MORE (R-Ga.), Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGOP lawmaker: Schiff should be first witness Republicans call to testify in impeachment inquiry Hillicon Valley: Google buying Fitbit for .1B | US launches national security review of TikTok | Twitter shakes up fight over political ads | Dems push committee on 'revenge porn' law Progressives urge end to mass phone data collection program MORE (R-Ga.) and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, although it remains unknown whether he would want to serve in Washington. 


One House Republican member spoke highly of Collins and Graves, noting that both are good fundraisers (Collins has $1.2 million in the bank and Graves has $2.2 million), but argued that Graves is the more “politically astute” of the pair, noting that he was an early supporter of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in 2014.


While Perdue is up for reelection in 2020, the special election will follow a different track. A jungle contest will be held on Election Day, with a runoff between the top two finishers to follow on Jan. 5, 2021, if no candidate reaches 50 percent. 


The Hill: Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths MORE (R-Ariz.) gets new primary challenger.







WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE continued lashing out at Puerto Rico and its leaders on Wednesday, offering exaggerated and incorrect information about how much federal assistance the island received in the wake of Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago (The Hill).


“Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth,” Trump tweeted. “Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good! ...And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”


The president’s animus toward the U.S. territory was revived this week by Hurricane Dorian, which delivered a glancing blow to Puerto Rico on Wednesday before brushing past the U.S. Virgin Islands. Weather watchers believe the storm could reach Florida by Monday as a Category 3 menace, but experts caution that Dorian’s trajectory and power are difficult to forecast (The New York Times).


The Associated Press: Dorian aims for the US mainland.





> Trade: Twenty months into an increasingly tense trade war with China, companies complain the president’s tariffs and countermeasures are beginning to inflict serious damage to their bottom lines. “We are now starting to see the actual impact,” said Association of Equipment Manufacturers Senior Vice President Kip Eideberg (The Hill).  


On Wednesday, Trump spoke by phone with U.S. Department of 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 (cousin of David Perdue), who was with farm interests gathered in Decatur, Ill, for the Farm Progress Show, his press secretary tweeted. Farmers around the country have been saying they’re unhappy with the economic hit they’re experiencing from the administration’s tariffs policy.


> Biofuels: During the Illinois farm event on Wednesday, Sonny Perdue said Trump will soon unveil a plan to boost demand for biofuels (Reuters). In a clash between corn-based fuel and the oil industry, the administration finds itself in the middle. Petroleum interests want refineries freed from obligations to blend ethanol into the fuel supply, and farmers in key election states who grow the corn for ethanol balk at that.


> Veterans: Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert WilkieRobert Leon WilkieThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump says Dems shouldn't hold public hearings Overnight Defense: Pentagon says Syrian oil revenue going to Kurdish forces | GOP chair accuses Dems of using Space Force as leverage in wall fight | Dems drop plans to seek Bolton testimony Overnight Defense: Top general briefs GOP senators on Syria plan | Senators 'encouraged' by briefing | Pence huddles with Republican allies on Syria | Trump nominee sidesteps questions on arms treaties MORE issued new policies Wednesday allowing religious symbols to be publicly displayed in VA facilities nationwide beginning next summer. Wilkie said the new directive is intended to help protect "religious liberty" as part of a broader effort to make sure "veterans and their families feel welcome at the VA." The instructions allow the VA to accept donations of religious literature, cards and symbols at its facilities to be shared (CNN).


> U.S. citizenship: Children born abroad to certain U.S. service members and other federal employees will no longer be granted automatic citizenship under a Trump administration policy set to take effect in October. Parents of those children, including those born on military bases, will have to apply for citizenship on the children’s behalf before they turn 18, according to a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services policy released on Wednesday. Federal spokespeople could not provide estimates of the number of families affected. The policy change infuriated some at the Pentagon and confused and surprised others in the military community (The New York Times).


> Greenhouse gas: Methane is a potent air pollutant that the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency will regulate with less vigor, according to an announcement set today. In a proposed rule, EPA will seek to eliminate federal requirements that the oil and gas industry inspect for and repair methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. The regulatory rollback backed by the administration is notable because major oil and gas companies have opposed it (The New York Times).


INTERNATIONAL: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won Queen Elizabeth II’s approval on Wednesday to suspend Parliament for five weeks, a move that truncates time available to Johnson’s political opponents who seek to block a no-deal divorce from the European Union before Oct. 31. The timing of the new prime minister’s decision took his detractors by surprise, but he reacted to rebukes with assurances that members of Parliament will have plenty of time for debate (The Associated Press).


BBC: Johnson’s Parliament suspension sparks furious backlash. 


CNN: More than 1.3 million people thus far have signed an online petition opposing suspension of Parliament.


The Associated Press: Q&A: What does the prime minister’s decision mean for Brexit?


“I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson's government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend Parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no deal Brexit,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Wednesday, adding that he had reached an agreement Tuesday with several opposition party leaders to “prevent this smash and grab against our democracy” (The Hill).


Trump, an outspoken admirer of the prime minister’s populist political instincts, inserted himself into the London controversy, tweeting, “Would be very hard for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, to seek a no-confidence vote against New Prime Minister Boris Johnson, especially in light of the fact that Boris is exactly what the U.K. has been looking for, & will prove to be `a great one!’ Love U.K.”


In response, Corbyn tweeted, “I think what the US president is saying, is that Boris Johnson is exactly what he has been looking for, a compliant Prime Minister who will hand Britain's public services and protections over to US corporations in a free trade deal.”





> Hong Kong: Chinese military vehicles were seen early today moving across the border into Hong Kong, in what the military said were regular troop movements, as fears rose that the city could see a Beijing-led crackdown after months of political unrest. The movements of an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 troops are occurring before a major anti-government demonstration planned for Saturday. Following witness reports, state-run news agency Xinhua said the Hong Kong Garrison of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army had a scheduled rotation that was an “annual normal routine” (The Guardian).


> Italy: Italy’s warring political parties struck a deal late Wednesday to form a new government that pushed aside Matteo Salvini, a hard-right leader who dominated the country’s politics for more than a year and threatened to drastically reorient Italy’s place in Europe (The New York Times). … The prospect of a new administration in Italy that may be led by outgoing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has buoyed markets, which are betting that the country will get a fiscally prudent government that will avoid confrontation with Europe (Reuters).


> Germany: Was a brutal murder in Berlin the work of Russians? A fatal shot to the head of a former Chechen separatist commander in central Berlin on Friday has raised concerns that Russia may have deployed an agent to target a Kremlin opponent, a tactic Moscow has been accused of using many times in the past (The New York Times).

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!


Nuking hurricanes is the newest absurd idea of President Trump, by Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelThe Tea Party has died of hypocrisy Specter of Nixon impeachment looming over Republican Party Democratic handwringing hits new highs over 2020 MORE, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Let's not overreact to the economic slowdown, by Dennis Lockhart, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features Jessica Jackson, senior counsel with the group #cut50, on presidential candidates’ criminal justice plans; Lauren Maunus, the policy and political coordinator with the Sunrise Movement, discussing the presidential race and environmental debates; and Robert Scott, Economic Policy Institute director of trade and manufacturing, on the protracted U.S. trade war with China. Find Hill.TV programming at or on YouTube at 10 a.m.


The House gets back to work on Sept. 4 to begin consideration of legislation to respond to mass shootings.


The Senate returns to Washington on Sept. 9. 


The president participates in the official inauguration of the Pentagon’s U.S. Space Command (USA Today) at 4 p.m. in the Oval Office, joined by Vice President Pence.


Pence will visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., at 11 a.m. He will also speak about the U.S. Space Command at 4:30 p.m. 


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran lays foundation for second nuclear plant: report Pompeo knocks Iran's treatment of UN nuclear inspector Reagan statue unveiled near site where he called for Gorbachev to 'tear down' Berlin Wall MORE speaks at 3 p.m. at the ceremonial swearing-in of Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Assistant Secretary David Schenker at Foggy Bottom.


The American Political Science Association meets for its annual convention in Washington today through Sept. 1. Information HERE, and watch for coverage on C-SPAN and 


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joins Washington journalists for a roundtable Q&A event at 9 a.m. sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. C-SPAN will broadcast the breakfast.


Economic indicators: The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports on gross domestic product in the second quarter (its second estimate) and corporate profits in the second quarter (preliminary estimate), both at 8:30 a.m. 


United Auto Workers (UAW): Federal agents on Wednesday raided the home of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones as well as a northern Michigan conference center used by union leaders, according to an FBI spokeswoman. The searches marked a widening of a multiyear criminal investigation into alleged corruption in the UAW’s top ranks. The probe already resulted in charges against nine people (The Wall Street Journal). 


Impeachment & investigations: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerAs impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution Trump officials weigh adding more countries to travel ban list: report MORE (D-N.Y.) is teeing up a post-recess showdown with Trump over claims of executive privilege, while also firing off a wave of new subpoenas compelling former administration and Trump campaign officials to testify to Congress in September (The Hill). While 30 Democratic lawmakers have announced support for the impeachment process in some form since heading back to their districts for the summer, none indicated readiness to vote to impeach Trump now. Only about a dozen Democrats are on the record saying they'd vote to impeach the president before the 2020 election, according to an analysis by The Hill. … Rep. David N. Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of the House Democratic leadership and the House Judiciary Committee, said any evidence that Trump encouraged subordinates to break the law by promising pardons to hasten the construction of barrier wall at the U.S. southern border is “appalling” and worthy of further investigation by the panel (The Washington Post). The president has denied such reports as false.


Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterPresidential cooperation: History's perspective on scandal and controversy Don't confuse Trump's nastiness for strength DNC chief: 'Texas is a battleground' MORE: The former president, 94, who underwent hip surgery last spring following a fall, plans to resume his decades-long role as a volunteer house builder with Habitat for Humanity this fall, a spokeswoman for the Carter Center said Tuesday (CNN)




And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by Sen. Isakson’s looming resignation, we’re eager for some smart guesses about the Peach State, Georgia.


Email your responses to and/or and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.


Which former member of Congress from Georgia was forced to resign from the Trump administration in 2017 due to improper spending on chartered flights?


  1.     Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Overnight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule MORE
  2.     Sonny Perdue
  3.     Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact Top EPA official under investigation in document destruction EPA rolls back rule on waste from coal-fired power plants MORE
  4.     Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Warren faces tough choices on 'Medicare for All' funding | Dems demand answers on Tom Price's charter flights | Medicaid expansion nears 2020 ballot in Oklahoma Senate Democrats demand answers on payment for Tom Price's charter flights Industrial food system is at the heart of biodiversity degradation and climate change MORE


What famed athlete was the final torch bearer who lit the cauldron to open the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta?


  1.     Michael Jordan
  2.     Muhammed Ali
  3.     Hank Aaron
  4.     Carl Lewis


Which longtime Democratic politician from Georgia spoke in support of former President George W. Bush at the Republican National Convention in 2004?


  1.     Zell Miller
  2.     Sam Nunn
  3.     Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissThe Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Republicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' MORE
  4.     John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment Detroit police chief calls Tlaib facial recognization idea 'racist' MORE


What famed actor starred as Ray Charles, the legendary voice of “Georgia on my Mind,” in “Ray,” a biographical film released posthumously about the R&B singer?


  1.     Samuel L. Jackson
  2.     Jamie Foxx
  3.     Denzel Washington
  4.     Cuba Gooding Jr.


What wealthy business person previously owned the Atlanta Braves during the team’s glory days in the 1990s?


  1.     Ted Turner
  2.     George Steinbrener
  3.     Arthur Blank
  4.     Jane Fonda