The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - GOP snags mic with impeachment protest




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Thursday! 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 chaotic scene erupted on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as dozens of House GOP members interrupted the latest deposition by the three House investigatory committees, marking the latest salvo in the bitter fight over the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE’s dealings with Ukraine. 


The latest move delayed the deposition of Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, by five hours as House Republicans continued to cry foul at the process set up by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Senate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial The Memo: Day One shows conflicting narratives on impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) (The Hill). 


"Voting members of Congress are being denied access from being able to see what's happening behind these closed doors, where they're trying to impeach the president of the United States with a one-sided set of rules, they call the witnesses,” House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' MORE (R-La.) told reporters outside the SCIF, a secure, highly-sensitive room where the private depositions have taken place.


The stunt infuriated Democrats and even left some Republicans miffed, according to a report from Mike Lillis and Olivia Beavers


Cooper’s testimony lasted three hours, one of the shortest depositions since the inquiry kicked off. She detailed how foreign aid is handed out. Lawmakers said that her testimony was valuable because she described how the Ukraine aid was doled out and differed from the usual protocol (CNN).


According to Politico, the Pentagon sought to block Cooper’s testimony, forcing the House Intelligence Committee to issue a subpoena.


The Hill: Saturday and schedule next week for additional witness depositions revealed.


The Associated Press: Chaotic scene as Republicans interrupt impeachment deposition.


The Hill: Trump's new challenge is officials dishing dirt.


The drama took place after Trump and his allies were dealt a major blow after William Taylor, the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Ukraine and a veteran diplomat, testified that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to conduct a pair of investigations that could have aided him politically. It also came two days after Trump trained his fire on his own party and urged Republicans to “stick together” in the face of “vicious” attacks by Democrats. 


The president continued to blast the impeachment proceedings, but took the opportunity Wednesday to lay into Taylor, whom he derided as a “Never Trumper Diplomat” (The Hill).


“It would be really great if the people within the Trump Administration, all well-meaning and good (I hope!), could stop hiring Never Trumpers, who are worse than the Do Nothing Democrats. Nothing good will ever come from them!” Trump tweeted. 


Niall Stanage: GOP schisms deepen as Trump impeachment pressure rises.


The Hill: Independents warm to impeachment.


Paul Kane: Expecting a “sea change” on impeachment? Here’s one reason it’s not likely.


Some Republicans are mulling whether to try to swiftly quash impeachment if the House sends indictments to the Senate. 


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa What to watch for as Senate organizes impeachment on day one MORE (R-S.C.), one of the president’s most vocal allies, plans to introduce a resolution condemning the House process and wants the Senate to dismiss articles without going to trial. That’s at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump admin releases trove of documents on Ukrainian military aid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions What to watch for on Day 2 of Senate impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) and leadership colleagues who say they expect the Senate to hold a trial if the House acts (The Hill). 


Politico: Senate Republicans duck for cover after explosive Taylor testimony.


The Washington Post: Federal judge says he will order the State Department to begin releasing Ukraine records sought in a lawsuit in 30 days.


The Washington Post: In mid-November, Democrats look to move the impeachment inquiry to a public stage.


The Hill: Staffer of former Rep. Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsTenth Congressional Black Caucus member backs Biden Giuliani held phone call with Maduro amid Venezuela crisis Texas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 MORE (R-Texas) will comply with a subpoena in the federal probe investigating Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSenate rejects subpoenaing Mulvaney to testify in impeachment trial GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid Citizens United put out a welcome mat for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman MORE and associates.


The Hill: GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump.


More from Congress: The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday evening it has opened an investigation into Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillCenk Uygur updates on Congressional campaign, how I will call out corporate politicians in Washington GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi announces Porter, Haaland will sit on Oversight panel MORE (D-Calif.) involving allegations she had an improper relationship with a congressional staff member. Hill has denied allegations that she violated House ethics rules with a subordinate, Graham Kelly, her legislative director, following a report last week by a conservative website. She did, however, admit to having a relationship with a campaign aide (CNN).





WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Two weeks after announcing U.S. troops would leave northeastern Syria as Turkey moved into Syria to attack the U.S.-backed Kurds, Trump said he lifted sanctions. The United States levied the punishment on Ankara 11 days ago, but on Wednesday, Trump offered the relief as a reward for the country’s establishment of a border “safe zone” in Syria, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had wanted all along (The Hill).


Trump on Wednesday used a White House speech to confirm that the United States will leave a small number of troops in Syria to guard oil facilities from ISIS fighters. The president also claimed credit for the administration’s negotiated 120-hour cease-fire in the region, which he hopes will be a “permanent” end of border hostilities between the Turks and the Kurds.


“Now we’re getting out,” the president said of Syria while commending both Erdoğan and Kurdish leader Gen. Mazloum Abdi. “Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”


Trump said events he set in motion in northeastern Syria and the expulsion of the Kurds wound up in a win-win-win for all sides. “People are saying, ‘Wow. What a great outcome,’” the president added. “‘Congratulations.’ It's too early to me to be congratulated, but we've done a good job. We've saved a lot of lives.”


The Associated Press: Kurdish commander credits Trump for truce.


Reuters: Administration says relocated U.S. troops are now moving in and out of Iraq with Iraq’s permission.


The Associated Press: Iraq says American troops relocated from Syria must be out in four weeks.  


The Daily Sabah: Erdoğan will visit Trump at the White House on Nov. 13, as previously planned.


Reuters: Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Dems raise pressure on Esper to block border wall funds | Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate | Day one dominated by fight over rules House Dems express 'deepening concern' over plans to take .2B from Pentagon for border wall Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa MORE will focus on Turkey, Syria during this week’s meeting with NATO partners in Brussels. He has no choice.





> Student loans: A. Wayne Johnson, appointed two years ago by Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosMueller investigation witness pleads guilty to child sex crime charges Proposed changes to Title IX will not solve the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses US officials say Erik Prince may have violated Venezuela sanctions: report MORE, is expected to resign today and call for mass student-loan forgiveness while arguing the student-loan system as managed by the administration is “fundamentally broken” (The Wall Street Journal).


> Science advisory group: Trump, whose embrace of science while in office has been selective, reestablished the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) this week with new leadership and new advisers after leaving the council dormant for three years. The panel of experts was created in 2001 by former President George W. Bush and later recommissioned by former President Obama in 2010 (Nextgov).


> Mass shootings: Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Barr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump's claim that abuse of power is not impeachable Brent Budowsky: McConnell, Roberts and Trump on trial MORE on Wednesday announced an initiative to prevent mass shootings by intervening to provide mental-health treatment and other forms of counseling to potentially violent individuals (The Hill). The effort, announced in a memo to federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials, is part of the administration’s response to the shooting deaths of 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and the deaths of nine people one day later in Dayton, Ohio. Barr said a training conference at FBI headquarters in December will include "proven models for engaging extremely challenging individuals" and ways to face such threats (Reuters).


POLITICS: Democrats, famous for "teetering on the brink of the abyss" as one Democratic strategist put it, are worried about beating the president next fall, and with the Iowa caucuses just over three months away, Democrats fret they won't have the perfect candidate to take Trump on, Amie Parnes reports.


"This is like the Democratic bed-wetting of past cycles, except everyone evidently drank a gallon of chardonnay before they went to bed," said Democratic strategist Eddie Vale. "I think it's a combination of overly learning the lessons of 2016 with a high percentage of donors not being the best gauges of how the public will see things versus the people in their own social circles." 


Democrats are anxious about the state of their 2020 primary field, particularly the sluggish fundraising that has hampered former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' MOREs campaign and some predictions that Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE (D-Mass.) would not be the strongest general election candidate up against Trump.


Some Democrats wonder whether Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump on Clinton's Sanders comments: 'She's the one that people don't like' Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE or former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions MORE would make a late entrance in the race. (Clinton’s aides say the two-time presidential contender is not weighing a third bid. “She's on a book tour and is feeling unconstrained about speaking her mind,” spokesman Nick Merrill told The Associated Press).


"You can count on the sun rising, an ironic Trump tweet from 2012, and Democratic bedwetting over our field of presidential candidates," added strategist Christy Setzer. "But the fears this year are greater because the stakes have never seemed so high.”





> Scranton Joe: Biden made a campaign stop in his hometown of Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday, where he said Trump is out of touch with many Americans.


“This administration has no idea what hard-working, decent, ordinary Americans are going through,” Biden said. “Go back to your old neighborhoods and ask them how they’re doing … Too many middle-class and working-class folks can’t look their kids in the eye any longer and say it’s going to be OK and mean it” (The Associated Press).


Biden’s appearance came as his campaign received some good news in the form of a new poll. According to a new CNN survey, Biden holds a 15-point lead nationally, the largest margin he has held in the news organization’s polls since April.


The New York Times: As a centrist path opens, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE moves toward it.


Politico: “This is a danger zone”: Trump faces an existential test with evangelicals. 

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!


Repulsed by the lynching scandal? Just wait for the impeachment trial, by Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Trump’s Syria withdrawal was the right idea, but disastrously executed, by Marik von Rennenkampff, 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. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) to talk about impeachment proceedings interrupted on Wednesday by his colleagues; Republican National Committee spokeswoman Liz Harrington; and Jonathan Larsen, managing editor of TYT Investigates, who describes exclusive reporting involving Buttigieg. Watch at 9 a.m. ET at, or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.


The House holds a ceremony this morning for the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (D-Md.), who will lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. The public is invited to pay respects from 1 to 7 p.m. through the Capitol Visitors Center (The Hill). The congressman’s funeral on Friday takes place at his Baltimore church, where he worshipped for 40 years (The Baltimore Sun), and former President Obama will deliver remarks at the service (The Hill).


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the nomination of Justin Walker to be a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.


The president participates in the Diwali ceremonial lighting of the diya at 1:45 p.m. at the White House. Trump will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed by presidents, to auto racing businessman Roger Penske, 82, at 4:30 p.m. (The Detroit News).


Vice President Pence delivers the inaugural Frederic V. Malek Public Service Leadership Lecture on the future of the relationship between the United States and China at 1 p.m., hosted by the Wilson Center at the Conrad Hotel in Washington. Information HERE.


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid MORE returns to his Kansas roots today with Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpJared Kushner's sister-in-law Karlie Kloss says she will vote against Trump in 2020 Trump scheduled to attend Davos amid impeachment trial Lawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing MORE to tour Wichita State University Tech National Center for Aviation Training. They'll participate in a workforce development panel and a signing. Pompeo, who some Republicans hope will run for the Senate from Kansas, will be in Wichita through the morning.


State Watch: The Justice Department sued California on Wednesday to block part of the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program and limit its ability to take international leadership in curbing planet warming emissions with the inclusion of Quebec, Canada. “The state of California has veered outside of its proper constitutional lane to enter into an international emissions agreement,” Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the head of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a statement. “The power to enter into such agreements is reserved to the federal government, which must be able to speak with one voice in the area of U.S. foreign policy” (The New York Times).


Tech: Fast computing has changed. Google said it has achieved a research breakthrough in quantum computing, announcing an experimental quantum processor that completed a calculation in minutes that would take a traditional supercomputer thousands of years. The findings were published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature (The Associated Press). … Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Smaller companies testify against Big Tech's 'monopoly power' MORE — who was on Capitol Hill to talk about the company’s cryptocurrency project, Libra — had a rough day on Wednesday with House Financial Services Committee members. Lawmakers grilled Zuckerberg about Facebook’s size, influence, privacy and political advertising policies, and goals. Zuckerberg argued that Facebook represents U.S. values among its 2 billion users around the world (The Associated Press). 





Trump taxes: A three-member federal appeals panel in Manhattan expressed skepticism on Wednesday that Trump has a right to block state prosecutors from enforcing a subpoena demanding his personal and corporate tax returns for the last eight years. The president’s view that he is immune from criminal investigation was rejected this month by a lower court judge (The New York Times). All sides appear to anticipate the Supreme Court will rule in the case if Trump loses his appeal.


World Series: ⚾ The Nats erupted late to rout the Houston Astros, 12-3, and take a  2-0 lead in the World Series. The Nationals now head home for Games 3-5 where they will look to finish off the 107-win Astros. Washington will hand the ball to starter Anibal Sanchez in Game 3, while Zach Greinke will look to swing the series in Houston’s direction. First pitch is slated for 8:07 p.m (The Washington Post). 


And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s new live documentary, Western Stars, we’re eager for some smart guesses about The Boss and his famed career.


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


Which song did Springsteen write and subsequently give to Patti Smith to record, which became a chart hit?

  1. “Hungry Heart”
  2. “Fire”
  3. “Blinded by the Light”
  4. “Because the Night”


Which song has Springsteen performed the most live in concert? 

  1. “Thunder Road”
  2. “Badlands”
  3. “Dancing in the Dark”
  4. “Born To Run”


Which member of the E Street Band famously played the role of Silvio Dante in the longtime HBO hit show “The Sopranos”?  

  1. Steven Van Zandt
  2. Max Weinberg
  3. Nils Lofgren
  4. Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez


Who was Springsteen’s first wife? 

  1. Patti Scialfa
  2. Julianne Phillips 
  3. Christie Brinkley
  4. Julia Roberts


Outside of his wife, who was the only member of the E Street Band that Springsteen retained for his first non-E Street tour in 1992? 

  1. Max Weinberg
  2. Danny Federici 
  3. Clarence Clemons
  4. Roy Bittan