The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Diplomat's 'powerful' testimony and 'lynching' attract headlines




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Wednesday! 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!

A top U.S. diplomat offered House impeachment investigators his notes, documents and lengthy testimony on Tuesday, which Democratic lawmakers described as potentially compelling evidence that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE abused his powers while delaying U.S. military aid in an attempt to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival.


William Taylor, the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Ukraine and a veteran diplomat, testified under subpoena behind closed doors that he believed the Trump administration held up nearly $400 million in aid as leverage to encourage Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically motivated investigations sought by Trump, according to multiple sources familiar with his testimony (The Hill).


Democratic lawmakers said the ambassador, who appeared before them for nearly 10 hours, delivered the most damning and detailed information heard to date by members of three investigative committees focused on Trump’s actions this year tied to Ukraine.


"Without question the most powerful testimony we've heard," said Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchOvernight Defense: Dems divided on length of stopgap spending measure | Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel | Trump leans into foreign policy in campaign's final stretch Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel after subpoena threat Overnight Defense: Trump's battle with Pentagon poses risks in November | Lawmakers launch Fort Hood probe | Military members can't opt out of tax deferral MORE (D-Mass.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.


“He drew a very specific direct line from President Trump to the withholding of foreign aid and the refusal of a meeting” between the president and Zelensky, said Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Five things to watch at the Democratic National Convention Michelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' MORE (D-Fla.) (The Washington Post).


The Washington Post: Taylor’s written opening statement.


A string of current and former U.S. officials with diplomatic roles in Ukraine and Europe have presented texts, conversations and concerns about Trump’s pursuit — referenced in publicly released notes of his July 25 conversation with Zelensky — of damaging information about former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally Special counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report MORE, his son Hunter Biden and as well as the 2016 U.S. election.


House investigators today will hear testimony from Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine and Russia issues at the Pentagon. Next week, the House committees may hear from five more witnesses who hold senior positions in the government.


The Hill: Democrats say Taylor testimony a game changer.


Trump denies any wrongdoing. “President Trump has done nothing wrong — this is a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution. There was no quid pro quo,” the White House said in a statement.


On Tuesday, the president created a new distraction while continuing to rail against House Democrats and the impeachment process.


Trump compared the inquiry to “a lynching” on Twitter (The Hill), immediately sparking outrage and rebuke in the Capitol, along with a few GOP expressions of sympathy for the president’s evident anger at Democrats’ efforts to build a case to try to remove him from office.


“I don’t agree with that language,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy's Democratic challenger to launch first TV ad highlighting Air Force service as single mother Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill MORE (R-Calif.) said.


“‘Lynching’ brings back images of a terrible time in our nation’s history, and the President never should have made that comparison,” tweeted Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Gardner signals support for taking up Supreme Court nominee this year Tumultuous court battle upends fight for Senate MORE (R-Maine), who is up for reelection next year.


“Unfortunate,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight MORE (R-Ky.), when asked about the president’s tweet (The Associated Press).


The Hill: McConnell tells GOP colleagues to defend Trump on process.


The Hill: Public support for impeaching Trump climbs in new survey, especially among political independents.


The Hill: Supporters urge Trump to hire new West Wing chief strategist as impeachment inquiry intensifies.


Niall Stanage: From “coup” to “lynching,” a sign of things to come.


W. James Antle III: Trump's manic impeachment dance with the GOP.


Dan Balz: New testimony undercuts Trump’s claim of no quid pro quo on Ukraine. How will Washington respond?





INTERNATIONAL: Turkey & Syria: A five-day cease-fire negotiated between Turkey and Syrian Kurds ended Tuesday night, but Turkey signaled today it will not immediately resume its military offensive (The Associated Press). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinNavalny calls on Russia to return clothes he was wearing when he fell ill Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate Putin is about to turn his attention to the American way of life MORE negotiated a deal on Tuesday outlining what comes next inside a buffer zone sought by Erdoğan along Turkey’s border with Syria, to be jointly patrolled by Turkey and Russia following the expulsion of U.S.-allied Kurds (The Associated Press).


The agreement between Russia and Turkey, reached between the two leaders during a meeting in Sochi, removed the United States as a player in Syria’s future (CNN). It took just two weeks for the power dynamics in the region to shift dramatically following a telephone conversation between Erdoğan and Trump in which the U.S. president said he would pull American forces out of northeastern Syria while Turkey initiated military strikes against the Kurds.


Kurdish fighters on Tuesday completed their pullout from a section of the Syrian-Turkish border, as required by a U.S. brokered cease-fire (The Associated Press), only to discover there is no welcome mat for them in neighboring Iraq (CBS News). And there are pleas worldwide to rescue women and children tied to ISIS fighters and held in detention camps once controlled by Kurds near the border (The New York Times).


Putin on Tuesday called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to describe the agreement struck with Turkey. Assad, who has been waging a civil war against the Syrian people for more than eight years, voiced support for the deal and said Syrian guards are ready to deploy to the Turkish border along with Russian troops, a spokesman for the Kremlin said (The Associated Press).


A White House spokesman said Tuesday that Trump expected “the temporary cease-fire … to transition into permanent by the end of the afternoon.”





> Brexit: British lawmakers on Tuesday approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in principle. But they rejected the government’s fast-track attempt to pass the bill within three days. Johnson says he will “pause” the government’s planned Brexit legislation (The Associated Press) as an extension of days or up to three months is under consideration by members of the European Union as leeway for the British government to try to complete the legislative process after more than three years (The Associated Press).


> Chile: Chileans who believe they are not sharing in the advances of a country considered one of the wealthiest in Latin America have sparked five days of riots, arson and unrest that are crippling the economy, have caused 15 deaths and are undermining global confidence in the country (The Associated Press). Santiago is scheduled to play host in mid-November to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, at which world leaders annually convene, including Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping


POLITICS: Although 19 Democrats are wrestling in the 2020 presidential primary race, Republicans remain fixated on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJoe Biden looks to expand election battleground into Trump country Biden leads Trump by 12 points among Catholic voters: poll The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden goes on offense MORE nearly three years after Trump defeated the former secretary of State in the Electoral College.


With Clinton back on the scene in recent weeks to promote a new book, rumors emerged from some GOP circles that she might run for president for a third time. Among those who have fanned that flame are Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonJuan Williams: Swamp creature at the White House Engineers say privately funded border wall is poorly constructed and set to fail: report Bannon and Maxwell cases display DOJ press strategy chutzpah MORE, the former White House chief strategist and Breitbart chief, and Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist; and with multiple members of Congress and GOP strategists.


However, Democrats and those in Hillaryland tell Amie Parnes that there’s no truth to the rumblings, arguing a 2020 bid by Clinton is a figment of the GOP’s imagination. Democrats dismiss it as Republican troublemaking.


"The Republican Party has made such a long-term investment in obsessing about Hillary Clinton that they literally can't stop," said Tracy Sefl, a 2016 Clinton campaign surrogate. "In some ways, she's all they know. 


“She's the permanent Mad Libs subject matter of the GOP,” she added.


The Hill: Biden apologizes for likening Clinton impeachment to 'partisan lynching' in 1998.





Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that national Democrats are wondering if Clinton, former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergTop Democratic super PAC launches Florida ad blitz after Bloomberg donation The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Latest with the COVID-19 relief bill negotiations The Memo: 2020 is all about winning Florida MORE or another high-profile Democrat will launch a late 2020 bid if Biden continues to falter, with his lackluster third quarter fundraising serving as the source of much of the concern. 


As Jonathan Martin of The New York Times reports


“Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg have both told people privately in recent weeks that if they thought they could win, they would consider entering the primary — but that they were skeptical there would be an opening, according to Democrats who have spoken with them.  


“Former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who associates say has wondered aloud about whether he should have run and has found it hard to watch Mr. Biden’s missteps, has also been urged to get in. But he still thinks the former vice president, who was once his longtime Senate colleague, is the party’s best nominee.  


“Another Obama administration official who weighed a campaign at the start of the year, former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's rally risk | Biden ramps up legal team | Biden hits Trump over climate policy Biden campaign forming 'special litigation' team ahead of possible voting battle Pompeo, Engel poised for battle in contempt proceedings MORE, is considering a last-minute entry but has conceded it may be too late, according to a Democrat familiar with his thinking.  Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Emboldened Democrats haggle over 2021 agenda Hillicon Valley: Russia 'amplifying' concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election | Facebook and Twitter take steps to limit Trump remarks on voting | Facebook to block political ads ahead of election MORE (D-Ohio), who nearly entered the race earlier this year, said the pressure on him to reconsider from labor leaders, Democratic officials and donors has ‘become more frequent.’


“And Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, who also weighed a campaign run before deciding not to, said he too has been nudged by friends to reconsider. ‘It’s nice to be rumored about,’ he said, before notably refusing to rule out a last-minute entry. ‘Don’t ask me that question,’ he said.”


The Wall Street Journal: Trump’s rallies aren’t a sideshow. They are the campaign.


The Hill: Red-state governor races put both parties on edge.


The Associated Press: Pennsylvania’s gas politics churn as Trump embraces industry.


Politico: Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO quietly tests presidential bid.


Elsewhere on the political scene: Biden will sit down for an interview with “60 Minutes” set to air on Sunday night, CBS News announced on Tuesday. Biden, along with his wife Dr. Jill Biden, talked to CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell at their home in Delaware and discussed “the state of his campaign.” … Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibGeorge Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge The Democratic Party platform represents our big tent MORE (D-Mich.) is expected to attend a campaign rally with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJacobin editor: Primarying Schumer would force him to fight Trump's SCOTUS nominee Trump campaign plays up Biden's skills ahead of Cleveland debate: 'He's actually quite good' Young voters backing Biden by 2:1 margin: poll MORE (I-Vt.) in Detroit on Sunday and endorse the Vermont senator. With the endorsement, Tlaib will become the third member of “the squad” to support Sanders after Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight Ocasio-Cortez hits back at Marjorie Taylor Greene over 'dumb blonde' joke on Twitter Ocasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Woodward book revelations rock Washington MORE (D-Minn.) did so over the weekend (The Hill).




CONGRESS: Senators broke a months-long stalemate over funding the government on Tuesday, but major hurdles remain to avoid a shutdown next month. 


House and Senate lawmakers are stuck over issues related to a mammoth defense bill and GOP demands for Trump’s border wall, and the divisions are raising the prospect of another stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating once the current one runs out on Nov. 21. 


The package advanced in the Senate on Tuesday includes the funding measures for agriculture; interior; commerce, justice and science; and transportation and housing and urban development — four largely noncontroversial bills — and senators in both parties say they are optimistic the package will pass. The House, by comparison, has passed 10. Republicans are hoping that this week’s votes could help end the logjam over funding the government.   


“Hopefully the Democrats will play ball and we can actually get the appropriations process moving,” said John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Tumultuous court battle upends fight for Senate What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican (The Hill). 


> Syria: McConnell and other top Republicans on Tuesday introduced a resolution warning the Trump administration against withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria. According to the GOP leader, the measure is backed by Sens. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeChamber of Commerce endorses McSally for reelection Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Top admiral: 'No condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' MORE (R-Okla.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrRep. Mark Walker says he's been contacted about Liberty University vacancy Overnight Defense: Trump rejects major cut to military health care | Senate report says Trump campaign's Russia contacts posed 'grave' threat Senate report describes closer ties between 2016 Trump campaign, Russia MORE (R-N.C.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Fox's Napolitano: Supreme Court confirmation hearings will be 'World War III of political battles' Grassley, Ernst pledge to 'evaluate' Trump's Supreme Court nominee MORE (R-S.C.) and Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischWhy the US should rely more on strategy, not sanctions Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Senators blast Turkey's move to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque MORE (R-Idaho) — the chairmen of the Armed Services, Intelligence, Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees, respectively.


"Withdrawing from Syria will invite more of the chaos that breeds terrorism and creates a vacuum our adversaries will certainly fill,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.   


The resolution calls on Trump to halt the pullback of U.S. forces and warns that a “precipitous withdrawal” would “create vacuums.” It also urges Trump to rescind his invitation for Erdoğan to visit the White House next month and opposes Turkey’s military action.


"The Senate needs to speak up. We cannot effectively support our partners on the ground without a military presence,” McConnell added (The Hill).


The Hill: Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill MORE (R-Ky.) blocks vote on House-passed Syria resolution for second time.


> Housing: A hearing Tuesday highlighted the deep divide between House Democrats and the Trump administration over housing policy as lawmakers pressed officials on their plans and accused them of ignoring what they said was a housing affordability crisis.


Three top Trump administration officials testified before the House Financial Services Committee to explain efforts to reform the federal housing finance system. But the hearing was a contentious affair, as Democrats challenged Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinShutdown clash looms after Democrats unveil spending bill Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBiden cannot keep letting Trump set the agenda The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to New Hampshire after renomination speech Five takeaways on GOP's norm-breaking convention MORE and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria over the rise in housing costs and its devastating results.   


“The Trump administration's housing finance reform plan would be disastrous for our housing system,” Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersPelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief Omar invokes father's death from coronavirus in reaction to Woodward book Business groups increasingly worried about death of filibuster MORE (D-Calif.) said (The Hill). 

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


Separation of powers requires impeachment's separation from politics, by J.T. Young, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Americans must set aside their obsessions to fix immigration, by Peter Morici, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


The Health Insurance Tax would impact seniors on Medicare Advantage (MA). MA keeps costs low, provides additional benefits & protects seniors. Co-sponsor H.R. 1398 & S. 172. Talk to leadership. Learn more.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Rep. Mark DeSaulnierMark James DeSaulnierDozens of Democrats plan to vote remotely in a first for the House Rep. DeSaulnier leaves ICU after 3 weeks to continue treatment for pneumonia Rep. DeSaulnier in critical condition due to pneumonia MORE (D-Calif.) to discuss the impeachment inquiry; Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi describes how Biden might be helped in his presidential bid by the Ukraine controversy; and Matt Karp, contributing editor with Jacobin magazine, about his piece, Is This the Future Liberals Want? Watch at 9 a.m. ET at, or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.


The House meets at 10 a.m. to consider a bill to prevent foreign interference in U.S. elections. Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot Zuckerberg2.5 million US users register to vote using Facebook, Instagram, Messenger Hillicon Valley: Trump's ban on TikTok, WeChat in spotlight | NASA targeted by foreign hackers | Instagram accused of spying in lawsuit The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump contradicts CDC director on vaccine, masks MORE testifies at 10 a.m. before the House Financial Services Committee about Libra, the company’s cryptocurrency project, and other issues (The Hill).


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. for possible consideration of fiscal 2020 spending bills.


The president heads to Pittsburgh this afternoon to speak at the ninth annual Shale Insight conference, the annual meeting of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. The president returns to Washington this evening.


Vice President Pence will travel to Menominee, Mich., to tour the USS St. Louis while visiting Fincantieri Marinette Marine to speak about workforce development. He’ll then head to Waukegan, Ill., to speak about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Pence will return to Washington in the evening.


This morning, you’re invited to The Hill's newsmaker event, Innovation Runway: The Cutting Edge of Aviation, at the Newseum at 8 a.m. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy Murkowski: Supreme Court nominee should not be taken up before election Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE (R-Texas), Rep. Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenDemocratic lawmaker calls for stronger focus on trade leverage to raise standards The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden, Harris's first day as running mates 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


Tell-all books: The Trump presidency has been a boon for authors and the publishing world, aimed at both critics and fans. “A Warning,” a book drawn from an anonymous op-ed written last year by an unnamed Trump critic working inside the administration, will hit bookstores next month. The author, known to the publisher and The New York Times but not publicly, has described trying to thwart the president’s agenda and “his worst inclinations” from inside the bureaucracy (The Washington Post). ...Separately, “Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis,” by former Navy Cmdr. Guy M. Snodgrass, who spent 17 months as former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisBiden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies Trump says he wanted to take out Syria's Assad but Mattis opposed it Gary Cohn: 'I haven't made up my mind' on vote for president in November MORE's chief speechwriter and communications director before quitting four months before the secretary resigned, serves up a buffet of anecdotes about Trump and Mattis. "Seriously, who gives a shit about Afghanistan?" Trump is quoted as asking during a meeting in January 2018. "We should follow China's policy — just go into Afghanistan and take out all that wealth" (NPR).


Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterTexas Democrats roll out first wave of planned digital ads as Election Day nears Chris Matthews ripped for complimenting Trump's 'true presidential behavior' on Ginsburg Warning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina MORE: The 95-year-old former president was hospitalized with a pelvic fracture after a fall on Monday night, the second such accident this month for the nation’s oldest living president, the Carter Center said. He expects to complete his recuperation at his home in Plains, Ga., when he is discharged from a hospital in Americus, Ga. (Reuters).


Black heritage: Award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill, who co-anchored “PBS NewsHour” for 17 years and was managing editor and moderator of WETA’s “Washington Week” during the same period, has been memorialized on a “forever” stamp to appear next year as part of the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage series. Ifill, a trailblazer in the news business, died in 2016 at age 61 of complications from cancer (Canvas).





And finally …  ⚾  Game 1 of the World Series is in the books, and the Washington Nationals took early control and a 1-0 series lead.


But for those in the District looking for where to watch Game 2 with fellow Nationals fans, you are in luck, as there are multiple options. Just as it did for Game 1 and during the first two rounds of the playoffs, Nationals Park will be hosting a watch party. The gates will open at 7 p.m., ahead of first pitch at 8:08 p.m. For parking information, WTOP is here to help.


If you don’t want to watch at the park, there are other options, including The Wharf, where a giant screen on the floating stage at Transit Pier will be showing the game. And if you’re looking for a bar with good specials, Washingtonian has the low-down.