The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico

The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE will rally supporters in New Mexico tonight as he kicks off a West Coast swing where he will look to line his campaign coffers and make an ambitious push to expand the 2020 map past the Midwest firewall that delivered his 2016 victory.


Trump’s rally in Rio Rancho, N.M., a suburb of Albuquerque, will be his first campaign rally in the state since his 2016 victory, having made two stops there prior to his victory, and it comes as he makes a renewed push to expand the 2020 map. Along with New Mexico, the campaign is targeting New Hampshire, Minnesota and Nevada. 


However, compared to those three states, the climb is steeper in New Mexico. While Trump lost the three other states by a total of roughly 4.5 percentage points, he dropped New Mexico by more than 8 points. New Mexico has also trended blue in years past.  Democrats control the governorship, both Senate seats, all three House seats and the state legislature, presenting a steep climb for the Trump campaign and its ambitions to flip the state.


“New Mexico is a blue state and getting bluer, and it’s always going to be uphill sledding for any Republican presidential candidate, including President Trump,” said Colin Reed, a GOP strategist. “While there are other states he has a better chance of flipping, trying to expand the electoral college map keeps his opponents guessing and denies them valuable news oxygen.”  


However, the president’s team senses an opportunity. According to a campaign aide, the president’s rally in El Paso, Texas, in February saw “a significant number of registrants” from the Land of Enchantment. The state has also seen a more progressive shift recently on which the GOP believes it can capitalize. As Alex Leary of The Wall Street Journal writes


“Republicans hope to capitalize on Democrats’ pursuit of environmental policies that could hurt the state’s oil-and-gas industry. In March, Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamHere are 16 places celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time this year New Mexico releases plan to provide free college to all state residents: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE signed into law landmark energy legislation mandating emission-free electricity by 2045. Several leading Democratic presidential candidates have outlined their own proposals, including bans on fracking, which has been a boon to New Mexico’s economy.”


The Associated Press: Trump’s rally in New Mexico a bid for an upset next year.


The Associated Press: New Mexico preps for Trump after past rallies sparked unrest.


A few months ago, Oregon was the Trump campaign’s expand-the-map flirtation, CNN reported in June. In 2016, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThree legal scholars say Trump should be impeached; one thinks otherwise Report: Barr attorney can't provide evidence Trump was set up by DOJ Jayapal pushes back on Gaetz's questioning of impeachment witness donations to Democrats MORE won Oregon by 11 points, and the last time the state voted for a GOP presidential candidate was 1984. Trump’s campaign has the finances to make long-shot plays, and to make the eventual Democratic nominee spend money in blue states.   


After the president’s New Mexico stop, he is slated to make a fundraising swing through California where he’ll hold four campaign events. While Trump has no chance of winning the state, it’s an opportunity to continue his prolific fundraising. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $105 million through the end of June. At the same time, they reported having $123 million in the bank. 


McKay Coppins, The Atlantic: The heir? Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpLawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to allow new parents to advance tax credits Jane Fonda says she feels 'sad' for Trump Hillicon 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 MORE was always Trump’s favorite. But Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day MORE is emerging as his natural successor.


The Washington Post: Trump’s proposals to tackle California homelessness face local, legal obstacles.


On the Democratic side, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (D-Calif.) both came out in favor of impeaching Associate Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughHouse, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Justices appear cautious of expanding gun rights in NY case Thanks to President Trump, major tests loom for Chief Justice Roberts MORE on Sunday after The New York Times reported another allegation of sexual misconduct against the newest member of the Supreme Court. 


According to the report, one of Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmates, Max Stier, notified senators and the FBI of the allegations, but the FBI did not investigate and Stier refused to confirm or discuss the information publicly. Since the report emerged, Warren and Harris called for Kavanaugh’s removal. Harris emailed supporters asking them to sign a petition supporting his impeachment (The Hill).


“I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people,” Harris wrote. “He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.”


As of this morning, 2020 Democratic candidates who support impeaching the justice include Warren, Harris, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Poll: 2020 general election remains wide open MORE (The Hill). 


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans On The Money: Falling impeachment support raises pressure for Dems on trade | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Biden eyes minimum tax for corporations | Fed's top regulator under pressure over Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Virginia moves to suspend Medicaid work rules | Powerful House panel sets 'Medicare for All' hearing | Hospitals sue over Trump price rule | FDA official grilled on vaping policy MORE (D-Calif.) will be asked this week if she supports impeaching Kavanaugh.


Among those who has not called for impeachment is former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans MORE.

Biden called for an investigation in a statement late Monday, but stopped short of calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment (Axios). 


"We must follow the evidence to wherever it leads," Biden said. "Doing this the right way is critically important in getting the truth and restoring the American people’s faith in their government."


Another candidate who stopped short of calling for the associate justice’s impeachment is Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKrystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Teamsters to host presidential forum with six 2020 Democrats Democrats hit gas on impeachment MORE (D-Minn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. When asked on Sunday about the new allegation, she told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Kavanaugh’s vetting process was “a sham.”


“My concern here is that the process was a sham. I don’t think you can look at impeachment hearings without getting the documents ... and the attorney general is shielding documents,” she said.


The president, however, lambasted the report, tweeting that Kavanaugh should sue The New York Times for libel or that the Department of Justice should have his back.


“Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable,” Trump wrote. “False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!”






CONGRESS: As the White House prepares to release its plan to combat gun violence, chatter continues to emanate through the Senate about a possible solution to expand background checks. However, it’s a long road for supporters of expanded background checks. They need 13 Republicans to break ranks. 


Alexander Bolton took a look at the Senate Republicans who are crucial to passing gun violence legislation of any kind, including on background checks. Headlining the group is Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.), who was the GOP lead sponsor of the Manchin-Toomey bill in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Toomey is one of two Senate Republicans still in the chamber to vote for the bill, along with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Trump pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members Collins opposes Trump's district court pick MORE (R-Maine). 


Others include a group of Senate Republicans up for reelection in 2020, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Schumer briefs Democrats on impeachment trial 'mechanics' Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE (R-Ky.), who is involved in talks and has expressed interest in putting legislation on the floor as long as it has a stamp of approval from the president.


Among those also viewed as crucial are Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans GOP member urges Graham to subpoena Schiff, Biden phone records Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE (R-S.C.), a top Trump ally who is at the center of talks, and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRepublicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Romney: 'No evidence' Ukraine meddled in 2016 election MORE (R-Utah), who expressed interest in supporting a bill along the lines of Toomey-Manchin and is involved in talks along with Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators sound alarm on dangers of ransomware attacks after briefing Senate roundtable showcases importance and needs of women entrepreneurs Impeachment will make some Senate Republicans squirm MORE (R-Ohio).





In the latest turn of events, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) offered a warning shot on Sunday during a conversation with the president, telling him that anything short of action on universal background checks “will not get the job done” (Politico).


While lawmakers await Trump’s recommendations, members of Congress look to colleagues who have experienced gun violence. Two Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have lost family members to guns, while three others represent districts in which constituents were gunned down in recent high-profile mass shootings. 


This dynamic came into full view last week as the House Judiciary Committee engaged in emotional debate over legislation to ban high-capacity magazines and encourage states to adopt "red flag" laws as a response to mass shootings this summer. 


Lawmakers with personal experience can argue how such proposals could have made a difference in their own situations. Conversely, a handful of GOP members of the committee who also represent districts where mass shootings occurred have used their cases as examples of why Democrats' bills wouldn't deter such tragedies (The Hill).


> Spending slog: Government funding talks in the Senate are off to a rough start with less than two weeks to go until the deadline to prevent the second government shutdown this year. 


The impasse raises doubts about whether senators will be able to move fiscal year 2020 bills through the chamber this month, a setback for Republicans who wanted to clear a major package before October. 


However, senators are at a stalemate over major provisions, namely topline spending figures and a mammoth defense bill that cleared the committee along party lines that is unable to pass on the floor, along with a homeland security bill that Republicans say is so controversial they are considering not bringing it up at all (The Hill). 


Politico: Moderate Democrats warn Pelosi of impeachment obsession.




MORE POLITICS: Democrats competing for the chance to challenge the president next year in 2020 are trying to thread the needle when it comes to discussing the ongoing trade war with China.  


2020 Democratic presidential candidates are promising to ramp down the economically painful trade war while also vowing to be tough on China, as exhibited during Thursday’s debate in Houston when myriad candidates bashed the president for what they consider a non-strategic plan.


“The president clearly has no strategy,” said Buttigieg. Castro called Trump’s approach to trade “erratic” and “haphazard,” while Harris compared the president’s trade policy to the man behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz.” 


More tellingly, though, none of the candidates said they would immediately scrap Trump’s tariffs if they took office. Instead, they pledged to seek a negotiated solution with China — the same thing Trump says is needed to eliminate the tariffs.


The Associated Press: Biden’s “record player” just one of his vintage references.


> Medicare for All: The Democratic clash over “Medicare for All” is highlighting perhaps the biggest question for 2020 primaries: Who has the best chance of beating Trump?


Some top Democrats are warning that the full-scale version of Medicare for All pushed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary Sanders to join youth climate strikers in Iowa Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (I-Vt.) and Warren would be a liability in the general election, a turn off to swing voters worried about losing their private health insurance under the proposal or seeing their taxes rise in order to pay for it.


“I just biked around Lake Michigan, nearly 1,000 miles, through Michigan and Wisconsin, two really important states. Nobody at a diner ran at me and said, ‘Take my health care away,’” said former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on ABC’s “This Week.”


However, progressives continue to argue that playing it “safe” and using the approach supported by longtime Democrats has failed in the past, most notably in 2016 with Hillary Clinton, and that bold proposals are needed to energize voters and, ultimately, defeat the president.


The Associated Press: Warren has own plan for everything, though not health care.


Politico: Sanders shakes up campaign leadership in New Hampshire.


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WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: The Saturday attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities originated from a direction indicating that Iran was behind it, and cruise missiles may have been the weapon of choice, according to a senior U.S. official on Sunday. Initial reports were that Yemen’s Houthi rebels had launched drone attacks, a claim of responsibility strongly disputed by the Trump administration. The strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, which included damage to the world’s biggest petroleum-processing facility, was expected to send oil prices up $5 to $10 per barrel today and escalate tensions across the Middle East (Reuters).


Trump tweeted on Sunday that "there is reason to believe we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification." 


Iran denied blame and said it was ready for a “full-fledged war” (Reuters).


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS, Sudan to exchange ambassadors for first time in decades Iran expert: Trump's foreign policy approach aimed at instigating 'unrest' Fox's Napolitano says obstruction 'easiest' impeachment offense for Democrats MORE on Saturday asserted that Iran was behind what he called “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” and asserted there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen” (The New York Times).


The president on Saturday condemned the attack in a statement and offered Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmansupport for Saudi Arabia’s self-defense.”


The Associated Press: Oil prices jumped today following damage to Saudi plant.


The Washington Post: Trump administration on Sunday contemplated what U.S. officials characterized as a serious military response.


The New York Times: The attack on Saudi oil facilities is seen as a short-term disruption.


Separately, Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryMellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits Don't count out Michael Bloomberg — his unconventional strategy might work MORE today is expected to meet with Saudi energy officials to discuss an agreement to build nuclear reactors there (Bloomberg).


Before the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s energy facilities, U.S. analysts said they expected Trump's “extreme pressure” policy toward Iran to shift in the wake of the White House departure of national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe key impeachment hearings are before an appeals court, not the House Judiciary panel Beyond the myth of Sunni-Shia wars in the Middle East The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment of Trump resumes MORE. But what comes next is unclear. Critics say Trump's goals for any new nuclear deal with Tehran remain murky. The president’s supporters, meanwhile, are invested in seeing that Trump maintains a hard line against Iran (The Hill). 


Prior to the weekend attacks, Pompeo floated the potential of a meeting between Trump and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. The president in a Sunday tweet denied there was ever such a possibility in the absence of verifiable conditions.





> Strike: In the first national strike against General Motors since 2007, roughly 49,000 workers voted to go on strike just before midnight Sunday, although talks between the United Auto Workers and the automaker are to resume this morning. Union leaders in Detroit said the sides were still far apart on several major issues. Workers say they want “fair” wages, affordable health care, profit sharing, job security and a path to permanent employment for temporary workers. GM offered $7 billion in U.S. factory investments, “best in class wages and benefits,” improved profit sharing and a payment of $8,000 to each worker upon ratification. The offer included wage or lump sum increases in all four years of a proposed contract deal, plus “nationally leading” health benefits (The Associated Press).


> China: Beijing’s refusal to bend too far in trade and intellectual property negotiations with the United States leaves the administration with limited leverage as Trump seeks a trade victory to present to voters during his reelection campaign. President Xi Jinping and top Chinese officials have signaled their willingness to accept some pain at home under U.S. tariffs rather than agree to major concessions. China experts say the political cost to Xi of yielding to Trump could be more damaging than living with the tariffs as Xi seeks to solidify his power in the Communist Party while expanding influence over the world economy (The Hill). Last week, however, a modest thaw between the two major economies emerged as Trump postponed by two weeks a start date for more tariffs on Chinese goods and China announced it would lift punitive tariffs on U.S. pork and soybeans (The Associated Press). U.S. and Chinese negotiators plan to meet again in early October.


> Vaping: The Trump administration's planned ban on flavored e-cigarette products is aimed at protecting young people from damaging health effects of vaping, but it could have unintended consequences for adult smokers. The debate about the administration’s new regulatory policy includes a discussion about e-cigarettes’ role in smoking cessation and whether the Trump ban could inadvertently send smokers back to traditional tobacco products.


"While banning things sounds like a good idea on the surface, there's always trade-offs," said Raymond Niaura, a psychologist and expert on tobacco treatment at New York University. "That may solve some problems but create others" (The Hill).


Trump is aware of concerns and criticisms. “While I like the Vaping alternative to Cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is SAFE for ALL! Let’s get counterfeits off the market, and keep young children from Vaping!” he tweeted on Friday.

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!


James MattisJames Norman MattisThreatening foreign states with sanctions can backfire Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court MORE dodges toughest question, by Albert Hunt, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


We are Trump’s Republican challengers. Canceling GOP primaries is a critical mistake, by Mark SanfordMark SanfordThe Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field Michigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire MORE, Joe WalshJoe WalshGeorgia GOP submits only Trump's name for primary Michigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire MORE and Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldGeorgia GOP submits only Trump's name for primary Democrats take in lobbying industry cash despite pledges Weld: Trump using border wall as a 'scare tactic' MORE, opinion contributors, The Washington Post.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features Cassie Smedile, deputy communications director for the RNC, to respond to a joint op-ed by Trump primary challengers criticizing the GOP for canceling primaries; Emma Vigeland, correspondent for The Young Turks, to react to last week’s debate; Chuck Rocha, senior adviser for the Sanders campaign, to give some post-debate takeaways; and Andrew Romanoff to discuss his Democratic Senate bid in Colorado. Find Hill.TV programming at or on YouTube at 10 a.m.


The House meets at 1 p.m. for a pro forma session.


The Senate will convene at 3 p.m.


The president participates in a credentialing ceremony for the newly appointed ambassadors to Washington this morning. Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGeorge Conway calls out Melania Trump after she criticizes impeachment witness: 'You're amplifying what was a nothingburger reference' Impeachment witness apologizes for mentioning Barron Trump in hearing Melania Trump says impeachment witness 'should be ashamed' for mentioning son MORE participate in the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at 2 p.m. Trump and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain are scheduled to meet at the White House at 3 p.m. The president will headline a reelection rally in Rio Rancho, N.M., a suburb of Albuquerque, at 9 p.m. ET. Trump will remain overnight in Albuquerque. 


Whistleblower and former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, who remains in exile in Moscow while dodging U.S. espionage charges, will be interviewed today on CBS “This Morning” and on MSNBC, talking with Brian Williams. Snowden is promoting his new memoir, “Permanent Record,” which was reviewed by The New York Times HERE.


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Antitrust & tech: Nearly every state attorney general in the country announced last week plans to investigate Google and Facebook for potential antitrust law violations, alleging the internet giants have amassed too much power, potentially harming consumers and competitors. But as the states and territories move forward, they face decades-old, pre-internet antitrust statutes that pose legal hurdles (The Hill).  


State Watch & guns: In Texas, site of a recent mass shooting in El Paso, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last week issued gun safety recommendations but stopped short of calling for lawmakers to require background checks for all private gun sales. A 13-page Texas Safety Action Report recommends improving information sharing and reporting among law enforcement, improved enforcement of current laws and tougher punishment for those who break them. It recommends making straw weapons purchases illegal in Texas, as they already are under federal law, and urges passage of laws "to crack down on criminals who try to illegally buy or possess guns" (The Dallas Morning News). … In Ohio, where a mass shooting also took place this summer, a bipartisan group of mayors in the state last week announced they’re on board with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun violence proposals, which include expanded background checks (The Columbus Dispatch). 


Science from seas to space: Heat wave “blobs,” which have been detected over the years in oceans and long studied by scientists, are again emerging in the seas to pose threats to marine life (The Hill). Meanwhile, NASA and the European Space Agency report a newly discovered comet that is speeding toward the sun, likely from another star outside our solar system. Traveling at a brisk 93,000 mph, according to astronomers, it’s 260 million miles from the sun and drawing closer. It’s expected to bypass Earth and remain beyond Mars’s orbit, scientists said last week (The Associated Press). 


Supreme Court: Justices on the high court have repeatedly come to Trump’s aid in rulings to legal challenges involving the U.S. southern border, bolstering the president’s efforts to build a wall and to reduce the number of migrants seeking asylum in the United States (The Hill). 





And finally … Who doesn’t need rainbows this morning? We really liked the work of Australian photographer Michael Marston, who understands how aeronautics, speed, temperature and ice crystals come together to create a colorful effect in flight (CNN).