The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Association of Manufacturers - Pelosi feels heat as Dems pursue whistleblower complaint

Presented by National Association of Manufacturers



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Tuesday! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the up-early co-creators. Find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran MORE (D-Calif.) has been unstinting in her criticism of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE and what she says is his “abusiveness” of the Constitution and mounting allegations of presidential wrongdoing. On Monday, the ground she’s held for months against impeachment lurched inside her caucus in response to detailed reporting that the president held back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine over the summer and then urged the country’s president to investigate Joe BidenJoe BidenMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Democrats release two new transcripts ahead of next public impeachment hearings Press: Ukraine's not the only outrage MORE, a Democratic political rival he wants to defeat.


House Democrats are scheduled to meet at 4 p.m., and congressional aides believe the collective march toward impeachment is unstoppable. “It will happen this week,” one House Democrat told The Hill late on Monday. “Mark it down. Take it to the bank. …The last 48, 72 hours, the ground has absolutely shifted. Substantially.


Pelosi continued Monday night to phone allies and leading House Democrats to gauge their thinking about embracing the removal of the president from office. Many leadership aides who once thought Trump’s impeachment was unlikely now think it’s almost inevitable. Among House Democrats, the chorus for impeachment now extends beyond the party’s liberal base to many Democratic presidential candidates to moderate lawmakers in competitive House seats (The Washington Post).


Seven freshman House Democrats penned an Op-Ed today to raise the alarm about new allegations that the president allegedly withheld foreign aid as a form of leverage during a conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky to try to urge an investigation of Biden’s 2014 activities in Ukraine as vice president, seeking to damage a political opponent. A formal impeachment investigation, the lawmakers wrote, is warranted to uphold the oaths they took to protect the Constitution.


Freshman Democratic Reps. Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE of California, Jason CrowJason CrowBill introduced to give special immigrant visas to Kurds who helped US in Syria Congress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds Bipartisan lawmakers who visited Syrian border slam Trump's 'rash decision' MORE of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Health Care: Democratic group to only endorse AG candidates who back abortion rights | Protect Our Care launches seven-figure ad buy to boost vulnerable Dems | California sues Juul Group launches seven-figure ad buy boosting vulnerable Democrats on drug prices Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE of Virginia, Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Bipartisan bill to secure election tech advances to House floor Our commitment to veterans can help us lead for all Americans MORE of New Jersey, Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinOvernight Health Care: Democratic group to only endorse AG candidates who back abortion rights | Protect Our Care launches seven-figure ad buy to boost vulnerable Dems | California sues Juul Group launches seven-figure ad buy boosting vulnerable Democrats on drug prices Overnight Health Care: Walden won't seek reelection | Senate Dems to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves | Largest children's migrant shelter to close | Vulnerable Republicans balk at drug pricing bill MORE of Michigan and Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerClub for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment NRCC campaign prank leads to suspicious package investigation Overnight Health Care: Walden won't seek reelection | Senate Dems to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves | Largest children's migrant shelter to close | Vulnerable Republicans balk at drug pricing bill MORE of Virginia wrote “these allegations are stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent. …If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense” (The Washington Post). 


Trump, according to The Washington Post, issued orders to his acting chief of staff, Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDemocrats release two new transcripts ahead of next public impeachment hearings Impeachment guide: The 9 witnesses testifying this week The Hill's Morning Report - Week two of public impeachment testimony MORE, and the Office of Management and Budget to withhold aid to Ukraine. 


Pelosi and Biden, who have collaborated on Democratic aims for decades, over the weekend demanded a thorough congressional investigation. The Speaker and her Democratic colleagues in the Senate want to see a whistleblower’s August complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general about the president’s actions tied to Ukraine and his focus on the former vice president. House and Senate Democrats are also rejecting the refusal of the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, to turn over information to Congress.


The Hill: Pressure on Pelosi grows to impeach Trump. 


The Hill: Impeachment statements from Democratic Reps. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsKudlow 'very optimistic' on USMCA prospects USMCA deal close, but not 'imminent,' Democrats say Democrats lead Trump by wide margins in Minnesota MORE and Angie Craig of Minnesota on Monday indicate a House shift.


Trump, engulfed by a controversy he downplays as a partisan “witch hunt,” has said he would weigh whether to release a transcript of his conversation with Zelensky, which he says would show that his discussion with the new president about past corruption in Ukraine, and his admitted mentions of Biden, were “perfect.”


Trump is scheduled to meet with Zelensky on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks MORE (R-Ky.), urged in a letter by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill Overnight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary MORE (D-N.Y.) to help secure the release of requested information about the whistleblower complaint, lamented what he called partisanship before handing the task on Monday to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy North Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Saagar Enjeti claims Pelosi's impeachment strategy could hurt 2020 Democrats MORE (R-N.C.).


Burr and his staff began negotiations with Maguire and intelligence community watchdog Michael Atkinson to get them to brief the panel this week (The Hill).


While House and Senate Republicans have largely remained silent about where they believe the latest Trump imbroglio could lead, there is unanimity that if substantiated, it’s an unwelcome development for Republicans, even if Trump’s hyperbolic attacks on Biden and his son end up damaging the former vice president’s chances of becoming his party’s nominee.  


The Hill: Five things to know about the whistleblower’s filing and next steps.


Reuters: Key dates in the political controversy involving Trump and Ukraine.

The Daily Beast: Veterans of Clinton’s pummeling by Trump in 2016 say Biden and his campaign have stumbled in countering the president’s attacks.  





POLITICS: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced new thresholds for inclusion in the party’s debate in November, making it likely that the 2020 field will further winnow in the coming months ahead of contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.


The DNC boosted the unique donor figure to 165,000, up from 130,000 in the September and October debates, while giving candidates two avenues to qualify through polling. Candidates can make the stage by polling at least at 3 percent in four DNC-approved polls or 5 percent in two single-state polls of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada. 


According to Politico’s Zach Montellaro, 11 Democratic candidates have hit the 165,000 donor mark, with Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerJayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' Poll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Fox News anchor apologizes for saying Booker dropped out of 2020 race MORE (D-N.J.) being the only one who participated at the most recent debate to not yet reach the figure. 


Polls will count if they were publicly released between Sept. 13 and midnight seven days before the debate. The DNC has not yet announced a location or host network (The New York Times). 


> Warren rising: A new poll shows Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenRahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary' Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' MORE (D-Mass.) pulling ahead of Biden in Iowa, and insiders across the Democratic Party are gaming out what it means a little more than four months out from the first-in-the-nation caucuses.


As Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes write, Biden is in a difficult spot. His team has been downplaying expectations in Iowa for most of September, and one unnamed adviser said that the state was not a must-win contest for the campaign. However, if he falters in Iowa, the schedule does him no favors, as the New Hampshire primary takes place the following week, with Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary' Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' MORE (I-Vt.) the natural favorites there given the proximity of their states. 


In that situation, Biden would likely be looking ahead to South Carolina, the fourth contest, as a potential firewall, banking on his support among African American voters. One Biden ally seemed to be preparing the ground for such an outcome on Monday, saying Biden’s “coalition can’t be shown in states that are primarily white.”


The Associated Press: “Way too extreme”: Some Democrats warn against moving left.





> Kennedy questions: Democratic lawmakers are expressing frustrations over Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: What we learned from first impeachment transcripts Democrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid Ocasio-Cortez points to California fires: 'This is what climate change looks like' MORE III’s (D-Mass.) decision to challenge Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill Democratic senators introduce bill to block funding for border wall live stream MORE (D-Mass.) in next year’s primary election, with some saying they do not understand why the rising Democratic star sees the need to primary the longtime progressive senator.


Strategists worry that the primary bid will further exacerbate divisions at a time when fissures between establishment and progressive Democrats continue to plague the party, as evidenced more often at the House level in contentious primaries.


The Massachusetts congressman launched his primary bid against Markey on Saturday, calling the race the fight of his generation. However, Kennedy’s Democratic colleagues in the House are not as convinced, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York man pleads guilty to threatening to kill Omar Funding stopgap would give Congress more time to debate expiring surveillance provisions 'Saturday Night Live' presents Trump impeachment hearings with 'pizzazz' of soap opera MORE (D-N.Y.) throwing her weight behind Markey, largely because of his support for the Green New Deal (The Hill). 


The Wall Street Journal: Primary challenges complicate GOP’s hold on the Senate.


> Read of the Day: Wondering how some Republicans are surviving the “Trump vortex”? Writing for Vanity Fair, David M. Drucker takes a deep dive to explain how GOP lawmakers and strategists have come to grips with a Republican Party led by Trump. 


One unidentified GOP strategist said, “Do I think Trump a horrible person? Yes; but that’s so beyond the point. As a Republican, I hate him because he’s making us lose when we should be crushing it. It’s his stupid personality. If you were slightly less terrible, we’d be winning. The Democrats are nuts. They’re going to fundamentally [ruin] this country, all because some guy can’t control his two-year-old tantrums. This is what I hate about the guy.” 


TRUMP & INTERNATIONAL: Great Britain, France and Germany joined with the U.S. on Monday to blame Iran for the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia’s last week as world leaders gather in New York at the United Nations.


Leaders of the three European nations issued a statement on Monday saying that “there is no other plausible explanation” than that “Iran bears responsibility for this attack.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said late Sunday while en route to New York that the U.K will consider getting involved in U.S. military efforts to aid Saudi Arabia.


"I can tell you that the U.K. is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks,” Johnson said of the attack on the world’s largest oil processor. 


Iran continues to deny any involvement in the attack, saying Houthi rebels in Yemen are the responsible party. The rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying that if the Iranians had carried out the attack, “nothing would have been left of this refinery” (The Associated Press).


Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York on Monday as he continues to push for support against the U.S.’s “maximum pressure” campaign, which Rouhani said is “cruel” (AFP). 


While Rouhani is scheduled to meet with French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronRussia vows to return seized warships to Ukraine NATO is not brain dead yet Trump, NATO chief to meet at White House MORE and Johnson during his stay in New York, a meeting with Trump is unlikely to take place, especially after the U.S. imposed more sanctions on the Iranians after last week’s attack. While Trump left the door open earlier Monday, Zarif slammed the door on any meeting (CNN).


Despite the lack of a U.S.-Iran meeting, there remain some who want Trump to re-engage. Johnson pushed for a new nuclear agreement with the Iranians during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, adding that Trump is the “one guy” who can make a better deal than the previous agreement, which all of the European sides continue to adhere to. 


“Let's do a better deal," Johnson told the "NBC Nightly News" anchor. "I think there's one guy who can do a better deal ... and that is the president of the United States. I hope there will be a Trump deal." 


The Associated Press: Trump out to square America First with united front on Iran.


France 24: Iranian leader Rouhani's New York travel restricted.


> Brexit: The U.K. Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday morning that Johnson’s suspension of Parliament earlier this month was unlawful, with Judge Brenda Hale saying the decision is “void and of no effect” (The Associated Press).


"The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme,” Hale said of Johnson’s decision. The court’s ruling means that Parliament was never officially suspended and, technically, remains sitting despite Johnson’s move to end it for five weeks.


The next decision lies with the Speakers of the Commons and Lords regarding how to proceed. Commons Speaker John Bercow applauded the ruling, adding that Parliament “must convene without delay” (BBC).


> Israel: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin made a push to end the deadlock between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE and Benny Gantz, a former general, as the trio met at the president’s official residence, with neither Netanyahu or Gantz proving able to put together a winning coalition to lead the country. 


Rivlin brought Netanyahu and Gantz together for a photo at the beginning of the meeting, with both men looking “tense and uncomfortable,” according to The Associated Press, while Rivlin forced a smile. In a joint statement following the sit-down, the sides said that negotiators would continue talks Tuesday, with Rivlin inviting the two party leaders back to meet with him on Wednesday evening.


At the moment, Netanyahu’s coalition sits at 55 seats of the 120-seat Likud, and Gantz holds 54 seats, with neither proving able to reach the needed 61-seat prerequisite.





> North Korea: Trump indicated on Monday that he is open to holding a fourth summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong Un North Korea: We won't 'gift' Trump with summit before concessions Overnight Defense: Ex-Ukraine ambassador offers dramatic day of testimony | Talks of 'crisis' at State Department | Trump tweets criticism of envoy during hearing | Dems warn against 'witness intimidation' | Trump defends his 'freedom of speech' Biden responds to North Korea: 'I wear their insults as a badge of honor' MORE as negotiations have slowed to a halt between the two sides over the North Korean nuclear program. 


Trump told reporters that another meeting “could happen soon,” but there was no indication of any concrete movement toward another high-profile gathering after meetings in Singapore, Hanoi and the Demilitarized Zone. Since the last gathering, the impasse between the two sides has grown over Kim’s nuclear program, which continues to test short-range missiles. 


Leaders in Japan and South Korea are interested in whether the U.S. and North Korea can settle differences that have led to the stalemate; however, low-level negotiations have yet to begin, raising questions of the likelihood of another meeting. The North Koreans are seeking relief from the sanctions that have crippled their economy, but the U.S. has hesitated to do so until they wind down their nuclear program, which North Korea has balked at (The Associated Press).


More during UNGA ...


The Hill: Trump and 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden crossed paths in a U.N. hallway on Monday following the teenager’s blistering speech to world leaders. Thunberg’s stare chilled the planet, and it went viral


Reuters: U.S.-Japan trade deal hits snag as Tokyo seeks assurances on car tariffs.

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!


Trump's Iran strategy: Maximum pressure, minimum impact, by John Glaser, Christopher Prebel and A. Trevor Thrall, opinion contributors, The Hill. 


Warren hasn't secured the lead, but polls show she's gaining momentum, by Brad Bannon, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features Khadija Khokhar, an organizer with #FridaysForFuture, to discuss school strikes to call attention to climate change; David Weissman, who supported Trump in 2016 but is backing Warren this year; Julia Manchester, political reporter for The Hill, talks about how 2020 Democrats woo younger voters this cycle; and Renaldo Pearson, a pro-democracy activist and director of external affairs for RepresentUs, will discuss a “democracy walk.” Find Hill.TV programming at or on YouTube at 10 a.m.


The House returns to Washington today and meets at noon. Pelosi will be interviewed during The Atlantic Ideas Festival at 2 p.m. in Washington. 


The Senate meets at 10 a.m.


The president is in New York and will deliver an address at 10 a.m. to the U.N. General Assembly. Trump will be the guest of honor at a luncheon hosted by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. The president will participate in bilateral meetings with Johnson of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he held a rally on Sunday in Texas, and Iraqi President Barham Salih. Trump will host a diplomatic reception this evening for the heads of the delegation.


GOP Politics: GOP presidential primary candidates Joe WalshJoe WalshMichigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire Mark Sanford exits GOP presidential primary MORE, a former member of the House from Illinois, and former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldMichigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify MORE are scheduled to debate from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. during a political event hosted by Business Insider at its headquarters in New York City. Former South Carolina Gov. 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, who also is challenging the president for the GOP nomination, declined to participate, as did Trump. Information is HERE. The event will be exclusively live-streamed on Business Insider Today's Facebook Watch page and at


Drug price controls are a hidden tax on manufacturers that puts critical R&D investments in new cures at risk. Support patient access to life-saving medicines, and the manufacturers and researchers that deliver them.


Costly medical bills: House Democrats are struggling to legislate changes to protect patients who are on the receiving end of massive surprise medical bills. Doctors and hospitals do not embrace the leading measure under debate, and their objections are being heard in the halls of Congress (The Hill). 


State Watch: Tech companies, drivers and regulators are scrambling to deal with a new law in California that will require "gig economy" companies to offer their workers a full range of employee benefits. There are a number of lingering questions about the controversial law, including what it will look like by the time it's implemented. Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomCalifornia to stop buying from automakers that backed Trump in emissions battle California governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill California regulators open investigation into power outages means to prevent wildfires MORE (D) vows to seek changes (The Hill). … Federal prosecutors in California are in the early stages of conducting a criminal probe into e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. (The Wall Street Journal). ...California and China are teaming up to create a new university partnership focused on climate research and policy (The Associated Press).  


Facial recognition: In Detroit, the Board of Police Commissioners last week unveiled a directive describing how facial recognition technology will be used, only to be met with mistrust and confusion (WXYZ). … Some activists and music festivals nationwide are opposed to the use of facial recognition software to gather information from crowds (Uproxx). 


And finally … This is a story that may leave readers misty-eyed. 


After Mission Police Department Cpl. Joe “Speedy” Espericueta was shot and killed in the line of duty in Texas in June, his colleagues promised his family they would be there for them when needed. Before his death, Espericueta told his coworkers how much he wanted to watch his 13-year-old son, Joaquin, play in his first football game. So, on Saturday, a “sea of law enforcement” personnel — from the Mission Police Department, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection — turned out at Cathey Middle School in McAllen, Texas, to watch a seventh grade football game and cheer Joaquin on.


"We gathered agencies from across the valley to let him know that we're still there, even though his dad's not," Mission police officer Javier Lara told CNN on Sunday. 


(Video from KGBT is HERE.)