The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy




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!

In the course of a week, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE’s acquiescence to Turkey as it invaded Syria with the intention of annihilating U.S.-allied Kurds produced a cascade of disastrous results, placed U.S. forces and 50 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons at a Turkish air base at risk, and strengthened Russia, Iran, Syria and the Islamic State.


The president, careening through explanations and fact-challenged assertions, responded on Monday to alarm from Republican lawmakers, foreign policy advisers and NATO allies by imposing economic sanctions on Turkey and on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and halting a $100 billion trade deal with the NATO ally by executive order


The New York Times: Trump followed his gut on Syria. Calamity came fast.


The Washington Post: Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad retake northeastern territory long held by U.S. allies as Erdoğan warns of a wider offensive.


The New York Times: The Syrian War: Top developments.


Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE (R-S.C.) — a Trump supporter who had bluntly warned the president he would regret moving U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria without trying to protect the ISIS-fighting Kurds — is taking the lead in the Senate on sanctions legislation he said Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Schiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-Calif.) also wants to enact in the House as a forceful rebuke to Turkey.


“As we find ourselves in a situation where the president gave a green light to the Turks to bomb and effectively unleashed ISIS, we must have a stronger sanctions package than what the White House is suggesting,” Pelosi said as the House returned on Monday from a two-week recess.


The Hill: Fury grows over Trump’s decision.


Vice President Pence told reporters outside the White House that Trump “pressed [Erdoğan] very strongly” in a phone call Monday to broker a ceasefire with Kurdish forces in Syria immediately.


Pence said he’ll soon lead a delegation to Turkey to work toward a halt in violence between Ankara and the Kurds, joined by White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien. The new U.S. sanctions on Turkey will remain or “worsen” until the government “embraces an immediate ceasefire, stops the violence and agrees to negotiate a long-term settlement of the issues along the border,” he added (The Hill).





POLITICS: 2020 Democratic candidates will take part in the fourth primary debate tonight as the field continues to take shape and focus on the party heavyweights who have dominated the campaign so far. 


As Niall Stanage writes, unless someone on-stage tonight can deliver a knockout performance that allows them to make the jump into the top tier, the primary contest is shaping up to be a two-horse race as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE continue to separate themselves from the rest of the field. 


Until recently, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.) was the third top-tier candidate, but while polling and fundraising put him in the same ballpark as Warren and Biden, he has his own challenges to deal with two weeks after suffering a heart attack and subsequently staying off the campaign trail. 


Meanwhile, outside of Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE’s (D-Calif.) brief flirtation with the top-tier after the first Democratic debate, no one else has proved able to make a move, leaving Biden and Warren to pace the field and speculate how other candidates expect to make their mark in the debate. One option is attacking Biden over the ongoing Ukraine saga — something the former VP has warned the field against doing — but the move could be too risky.


“Is anyone going to attack Biden on Ukraine? If they do, then by definition they are basically taking Trump’s side,” said Democratic pollster Paul Maslin


The New York Times: Can Biden deliver the debate performance he needs?


Gerald F. Seib: Biden vs. Warren: A difference of philosophy, not just policy.


The New York Times: Ohio was set to purge 235,000 Voters. It was wrong about 20 percent.


Another question, as Julia Manchester notes in her preview of tonight’s debate: Will anyone will go after Warren as she continues her climb in the primary field, with some polls recently showing that she has eclipsed Biden? 


In recent weeks, the most prominent 2020 primary foe to do so has been Sanders. Most recently, he derided her as a “capitalist,” arguing further that he is “the only candidate” who’s going to push back against “the ruling class of this country.” Other candidates could, but none have showed a willingness to take an overt shot at the current queen of the field.





Another major question heading into tonight is the role the ongoing impeachment inquiry could have on the primary, especially in the coming months as Democrats go further down that road. As Amie Parnes reports, some Democrats are worried about what it could mean for the primary contest and that it could serve as a shadow looming over the campaign. 


“It’s a really bad move,” said one Democratic strategist. “It’s going to loom large over the primary season. And the candidates are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they miss the impeachment proceedings, it won’t look good either.” 


One thing to watch ahead of the debate is an interview ABC News is releasing with Hunter Biden. The conversation is expected to air on “Good Morning America” today as the Bidens continue to face headwinds and attacks from the right on the Ukraine issue. 


On top of the debate, Tuesday also marks a major deadline for the 2020 field as they must file their third-quarter fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. While most of the 2020 candidates have revealed their fundraising totals, some have not, and most of those who have not are holding back some key numbers, including cash on hand. 


The Associated Press: Biden, Warren, Sanders face scrutiny at Democratic debate.


CNBC: Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergTrump slams Bloomberg over comments on man who shot Texas gunman Bloomberg: 'My story might have turned out very differently if I had been black' Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE keeps talking to allies about running for president as Biden struggles against Warren.




CONGRESS & IMPEACHMENT: House investigators deposed Fiona Hill, the president’s former top Russia aide, on Capitol Hill on Monday as lawmakers move forward with an impeachment push and look to uncover information about Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' MORE’s work with Ukrainian officials (The Hill). 


According to The Wall Street Journal, Hill told investigators that she, along with other White House officials, grew alarmed by the administration’s prodding of the Ukrainians to open certain investigations to the point where they brought their concerns to a White House lawyer. After Hill told John BoltonJohn BoltonGOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE, the former national security adviser, of what Giuliani was doing, Bolton instructed her to talk to the lawyer (The New York Times).


“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and [White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyHouse Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't Graham: Abuse of power 'poorly defined' in articles of impeachment Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' MORE] are cooking up,” Bolton said, according to Hill’s testimony.


A former special assistant to the president, Hill was expected to testify that Gordon Sondland and Giuliani went around the National Security Council and official White House protocol to speak directly with the president about Ukraine, which NBC News reported prior to her appearance (The Hill).


Additionally, Hill was expected to testify about the objections by her and other administration officials to the president’s removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, back in May (The New York Times). 


Reuters: Exclusive: Trump lawyer Giuliani says he was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate's firm, Fraud Guarantee, based in Boca Raton, Fla.


The Hill: Trump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong.


The Washington Post: House Democrats express greater confidence about impeachment showdown with Trump.


While Hill testified inside, Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGaetz in Twitter battle with Florida House Republican Apple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Conservatives slam Warren's call to put transgender women in women's prisons MORE (R-Fla.) tried to stir the pot early in the day, attempting to sit in on her testimony despite not being on any of the three investigatory committees. Gaetz tried appealing to the House parliamentarian to no avail. 


"I went into the committee room and [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Schiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Trump defenders argue president can't be removed for abuse of power MORE (D-Calif.)] told me I had to leave," Gaetz told reporters in the Capitol. "And we waited for a ruling from the parliamentarian. And at that time, I had to depart" (The Hill).


Hill’s appearance was the start of a busy week for investigators. On Wednesday, investigators are slated to interview Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCountries reach agreement in Berlin on Libya cease-fire push, arms embargo Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE, as House Democrats look into Pompeo’s involvement and impact on the State Department (The Washington Post). 


One day later, investigators are expected to depose Sondland a week after the State Department blocked him from testifying. Additionally, House investigators have multiple deadlines for administration figures to comply with subpoenas, including Pence and Giuliani. 


Politico: Trump's former Russia aide testifies in impeachment probe.


The Washington Post: “Disruptive diplomat” Sondland, a key figure in Trump impeachment furor, long coveted ambassadorship.


Jonathan Allen: Why Democrats are sure Adam Schiff is the perfect person to take on Trump.


INTERNATIONAL: Japan: A powerful typhoon on Saturday forced tens of thousands of Japanese to evacuate towns that are now underwater after more than 35 inches of rain was reported. Typhoon Hagibis, perhaps the worst storm of its kind since 1958, killed at least 56 people and another 15 were reported missing, while at least 211 were injured, according to NHK on Monday. Tens of thousands of rescue workers and a fleet of helicopters fanned out to affected areas, officials said. “Damage has been made in an extremely wide range of areas, and more than 30,000 people are still being forced to remain in the state of evacuation. It is our urgent task to offer meticulous support to those who have been affected,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said (Reuters). 


Reuters Graphics: In a swirl of satellite images, watch the anatomy of a monster typhoon.


> United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II, who like her countrymen is in a third year of suspense about how Great Britain will split from the European Union by an Oct. 31 deadline, on Monday delivered an address about proposed legislation and policies, including Brexit. The Queen’s Speech, an annual event of tiaraed pageantry and national curiosity, was scripted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government. With Brexit in limbo and another unpredictable election likely in the near future, Johnson’s critics said he misused the politically neutral queen by asking her to set out his election agenda (Reuters).





> China-U.S. trade: Trump on Friday hailed a “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China as “by far the greatest and the biggest deal ever made,” but by dawn on Monday, investors and businesses expressed misgivings that nothing specific had been committed to paper and most tariffs on Chinese imports remained in effect. Beijing indicated that further talks were needed to build on the phased approach to deal-making Trump suddenly hailed last week. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSecurity for Trump's Mar-a-Lago visits cost local taxpayers million On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations MORE said the next round of tariffs on imports from China are set to take effect on Dec. 15 if negotiators do not achieve results (Reuters).


In the midst of a 15-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies, the original sticking points remain. Largely unaddressed are the persistent U.S. complaints about China’s state-dominated economic model (Reuters).


The Associated Press: Trade analysts located few details while China made no public commitments. “A nothing-burger,” concluded one China watcher.

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!


'Bernie or bust' remains a potent force despite his health concerns, by Jessica Tarlov, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Trump's decision on Syria is nothing short of disaster, by Dov. S. Zakheim, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features Paul Steinhauser, New Hampshire political reporter, and Julia Manchester, political reporter for The Hill, both live from Ohio to preview tonight’s Democratic debate; and former presidential candidate and former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) to weigh in on the 2020 race and the debate at Hill.TV will also host special debate pre- and post-shows live tomorrow on YouTube. The pre-show is 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the post-debate coverage begins at 11 p.m.


The House returns to work at 2 p.m.


The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. to resume consideration of the nomination of Barbara McConnell Barrett to be secretary of the Air Force.


The president will have lunch with Pence at 12:30 p.m. Trump will hold a photo opportunity with the VIPs connected to the St. Louis Blues at 3 p.m. at the White House, followed by Trump’s meet-and-greet with the 2019 Stanley Cup champion players. At 4 p.m., the president will meet with Secretary of Defense Mark EsperMark EsperLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Senate Dems urge Esper to oppose shifting Pentagon money to border wall MORE.


Pence will meet with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly at 11 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room. The vice president join the president for lunch and to meet with the St. Louis Blues champions at the White House.


Stanley Cup on Capitol Hill! The National Hockey League, in conjunction with the Missouri congressional delegation, will bring the Stanley Cup to Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Rep. Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayLawmakers honor JFK on 56th anniversary of his death Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Maloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman MORE (D-Mo.) hosts a trophy viewing from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 2220 of the Rayburn House Office Building, while proud Blues fans Missouri Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (R) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate MORE (R) share the honors from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in room 301 of the Russell Senate Office Building, known as the Kennedy Caucus Room.  


You’re invited to The Hill's upcoming newsmaker event, Innovation Runway: The Cutting Edge of Aviation, at the Newseum on Oct. 23 at 8 a.m. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cruz: Hearing from witnesses could extend Senate trial to up to 8 weeks Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas), Rep. Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenAviation chairmen cite safety, new tech among concerns for the future The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Diplomat's 'powerful' testimony and 'lynching' attract headlines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump's impeachment plea to Republicans MORE (D-Wash.) and Daniel Elwell, deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, will discuss changes in American aviation that affect consumers and the nation. Information is HERE


Flu season: If you’re about to roll up a sleeve for a seasonal influenza shot (and that describes about 45 percent of the U.S. population), you might want to read some of the latest scientific findings to answer frequently asked questions. For example, if you get your shot today and the flu season hits in January or February, chances are good that some of the protection will wear off in those intervening months (STAT News).   


Employment: 350 people lost their jobs with Uber Technologies Inc. on Monday as the company continues to cut costs in the face of huge losses and investor pressures to find a revenue model that can turn a profit. Eight hundred employees were jettisoned in July and September (Bloomberg).  


➔ ⚾ Nats: The Washington Nationals are one win away from the World Series after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-1, in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The Nats were powered by 7 innings of 1-run baseball by Stephen Strasburg, who struck out 12, and NLDS hero Howie Kendrick, who went 3-4 with 3 RBIs. Patrick Corbin will take the mound tonight as they go for the sweep at Nationals Park tonight. First pitch is slated for 8:05 p.m. (The Washington Post).





And finally … Fans of the Los Angeles Kings are having a hard time shaking off the thought that Taylor SwiftTaylor Alison SwiftHillary Clinton to attend Sundance for premiere of 'Hillary' Memorable Trump feuds with celebrities from 2019 The Hill's Morning Report — Bloomberg is in; independents sour on impeachment MORE may have cursed their team’s success in recent seasons. 


Ever since a banner appeared in Staples Center, the Kings’ home arena, commemorating Swift’s sold-out concerts at the venue in 2015, the Kings have been unable to make it out of the first round of the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014. This has led some fans to take their frustrations out on Swift, who they blame for their lack of playoff wins in the last five seasons. 


In response, the Kings announced the team will cover up the banner during home games after some fans “made it clear that the banner shouldn't be part of their Kings game experience,” according to Michael Altieri, senior vice president of marketing, communications and content for the Kings (ESPN).