The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Impeachment angst growing in GOP

The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Impeachment angst growing in GOP
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Republicans and President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE are scrounging for a strategy, surrogates and messaging as the impeachment inquiry picks up speed and evidence of potential abuse of power tied to Ukraine could continue piling up into November.

Heading into next week, Republicans are anxious that the narrative is spinning away from them as polls show an increasing percentage of Americans supportive of either the House inquiry or removal of Trump from office.  

With another week of interviews taking place behind closed doors with House investigators, Senate Republicans are airing concerns about the White House’s messaging machine — or lack thereof. As Alexander Bolton reports, GOP senators believe the messaging operation is uncoordinated and suffering from a lack of a war room, which makes it tougher for GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill to respond. 

Largely, the rapid response operation is emanating from the president’s Twitter account, creating a scattershot approach that has created problems for the GOP, and Senate Republicans are not the only ones who pine for a more cohesive response

Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonJury set to begin deliberating in Stone trial The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine Bannon: Pelosi's impeachment strategy 'actually quite brilliant' MORE, the former White House chief strategist, is back in Washington kicking off a new media venture and broadcasting live, seven days a week, from now until the Senate votes on impeachment amid concerns that the White House response is not robust enough. The former Breitbart CEO believes Democrats are running circles around the GOP in the battle over messaging.

“It’s a master class in disinformation warfare,” Bannon said (The Hill).

Reuters: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Graham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.): White House working on messaging on impeachment. 

The Associated Press: Trump confronts the limits of impeachment defense strategy.

Senate Republicans tried to do their part in the messaging wars on Thursday as Graham announced a resolution condemning the House’s inquiry and calling on the lower chamber to "vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry and provide President Trump with fundamental constitutional protections" before going further into the impeachment inquiry.   

The resolution calls on the House to hold a formal vote to start the impeachment inquiry, give Trump "due process" including "the ability to confront his accusers," adding that the House should give Republicans the ability to issue their own subpoenas.

CNN: In 1998, Graham thought House impeachment depositions were a good idea. 

The New York Times: Read the administration’s warning letter to Pentagon witness Laura Cooper, who testified this week to House investigators both voluntarily and under subpoena.  

The Washington Post: Democrats say whistleblower’s testimony is unnecessary as other witnesses come forward.

As of Thursday night, Graham’s office has all but seven Senate Republicans on board with the resolutions. The remaining holdouts are: Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyJon Huntsman expected to run for governor in Utah Trump Jr's 'Triggered' debuts at No. 1 on NY Times bestseller list Club for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment MORE (Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges GOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal MORE (Alaska), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' MORE (Colo.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderPelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Juan Williams: Republicans flee Trump MORE (Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Senate committee advances budget reform plan Bipartisan Enzi-Whitehouse budget bill a very bad fix for deficits MORE (Wyo.), and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonVeterans face growing threat from online disinformation Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Juan Williams: Republicans flee Trump MORE (Ga.) (The Hill). Collins and Gardner are up for reelection and Alexander, Enzi and Isakson are retiring.

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

Politico: Impeachment timeline in flux as evidence against Trump piles up.

The New York Times: Guide to House impeachment inquiry witnesses, subpoenas and requests for information.

Additionally, senators are worried that the impeachment battle has effectively shot down any chance to pass anything legislatively heading into an election year.

Roughly a month into the House's inquiry, lawmakers are trading blame about who is responsible for the fallout. But arguing that both parties could use political wins heading into next year, they're urging Trump and Democrats to find common ground (The Hill).   

The Hill: GOP lawmakers express concerns about Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSenate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges Key takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Diplomat ties Trump closer to Ukraine furor MORE's work in Ukraine.  

McClatchy: Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoProtests serve as backdrop to Erdoğan's visit to White House Chris Wallace: Taylor testimony 'very damaging to President Trump' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings MORE: State Dept. will “comply” with law on release of Giuliani communications.

The New York Times: Where is the Justice Department’s investigation headed about the origins of the 2016 Russia election interference probe? Unclear, but it’s now a criminal investigation and the department is investigating itself.

 

 

 

LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE’s presidential campaign is doing an about-face and opened the door to supporters to start a super PAC to boost his candidacy as he struggles mightily in fundraising, raising concerns in some Democratic circles.

“In this time of crisis in our politics, it is not surprising that those who are dedicated to defeating Donald Trump are organizing in every way permitted by current law to bring an end to his disastrous presidency. Nothing changes unless we defeat Donald Trump,” said deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield in a statement.

Biden’s team added in a statement to The Hill that the former vice president would continue advocating to end super PACs should he win the general election.

The campaign’s shift attracted attacks from 2020 rivals. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (I-Vt.) castigated Biden for what he called an “effort to buy the primary.” 

The news comes more than a week after third-quarter fundraising reports emerged showing Biden with $9 million in cash on hand, a figure far behind Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul Buttigieg2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE, who is making a play for the same moderate voters Biden seeks to win over.  

The Hill: Sanders campaign hits Biden over “reversal” on super PACs.

Reuters: Sanders promises to use executive order to legalize marijuana.

Politico: Warren and Sanders race to out-left each other — and moderates are terrified.

Meanwhile, “60 Minutes” is set to air on Sunday its recent interview with Biden, during which he tells CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell that none of his children will occupy office space in the White House if he wins (CBS News). 

The Trump campaign responded with a statement defending Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump administration plans livestreaming border wall construction: report Overnight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Bolton suggests Trump's Turkey policy motivated by personal, financial interest: NBC MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpOn The Money: Appeals court clears way for Congress to seek Trump financial records | Fed chief urges Congress to boost US workforce | Federal deficit hits 4 billion in one month | China talks hit snag over agricultural purchases Trump falsely claims Ivanka 'created 14 million jobs' Overnight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings MORE for their work in the administration since 2017. 

> Debate: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal Google sparks new privacy fears over health care data MORE (D-Minn.) qualified for the fifth Democratic debate on Nov. 20 after pulling 3 percent support in a new Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday, making her the ninth candidate to qualify in polling.  

The following candidates have qualified in both polling and fundraising: Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Booker on Erdoğan: We should not be 'rolling out the red carpet for a ruthless authoritarian' The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine MORE (D-N.J.), Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerKrystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Steyer scores endorsement from key New Hampshire activist Excitement over Bloomberg's trial balloon should concern Democrats MORE, entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangWilliamson announces poverty plan with support for universal basic income, minimum wage The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE and Klobuchar (The Hill). 

> Field shrinks: Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanTim Ryan endorses Biden for president Strategists say Warren 'Medicare for All' plan could appeal to centrists Trump mocks O'Rourke after Democrat drops out of race MORE (D-Ohio) announced Thursday that he is ending his 2020 bid for the Democratic nomination, bringing the field to 18 candidates after Ryan was unable to make much headway with voters or garner support needed to further his campaign. 

Ryan has been absent for the past two Democratic debates and was extremely unlikely to make the cut for the fifth debate on Nov. 20. He was also unable to keep up financially, having raised only $425,000 in the third quarter — less than half of his total during the second quarter.  

The Associated Press: Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Krystal Ball: Tulsi Gabbard surges, is she the most electable? MORE (D-Hawaii) drops her congressional race to focus on her presidential bid.

The Associated Press: Riyadh, Seoul ... Wichita? Pompeo seeks refuge in his home state (and is in Kansas today).

In other political news … C-SPAN hosts a conversation at 8 p.m. with former Massachusetts Gov. Bill 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 and former Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordMichigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire Sanford: 'It carries real weight' to speak against Trump 'while in office' MORE (R-S.C), who are challenging Trump for the GOP nod in 2020. … White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayOvernight 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 Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban George Conway: 'If Barack Obama had done this' Republicans would be 'out for blood' MORE was steamed at a Washington Examiner reporter in a phone conversation about an article she didn’t like.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

INTERNATIONAL: Brexit: More than three years after Britons voted 52 percent to 48 percent to be the first sovereign country to leave the European Union, the future of Brexit remains unclear. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who conceded he will not meet an Oct. 31 deadline, called on Thursday for a general election on Dec. 12 to try to break the impasse. The EU may decide today to grant another extension for the U.K. Parliament to decide how to proceed. Johnson’s call for another election is his third attempt as prime minister to try to force a snap vote (Reuters).

> China: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNew book questions Harris's record on big banks On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerPelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report MORE are set to resume working-level negotiations today with China by phone aimed at completing a “phase 1” deal on trade, which Trump already painted as a success. The president and top advisers have expressed optimism that a subset of differences will be ironed out in advance of the president’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Santiago, Chile, next month at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC). Trump promised Xi in June that the United States would remain quiet about protests in Hong Kong while trade talks continued, two sources told CNN earlier this month. But on Thursday, Vice President Pence used a speech at a Washington think tank to back pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong while slamming China. “Hong Kong is a living example of what can happen when China embraces liberty,” he said (Reuters). Beijing today had a few choice words to describe Pence’s speech: “Arrogant and hypocrisy.”

 

 

> Turkey-Syria: Syrian Kurds and Russian forces disagreed on Thursday about the status of a negotiated truce in territory along Turkey’s border with Syria. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused Turkey, which is backed by Moscow, of launching a land offensive targeting three villages in northeast Syria, but Russia said a peace plan was holding. Russia said it will send more military police and heavy equipment to help implement the deal, which prompted Trump this week to lift sanctions against Turkey (Reuters).

> Chile: Stone-throwing protesters on Thursday did battle with police firing tear gas and water cannons in the capital, Santiago, and the port of Valparaiso, as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in city squares around the country. At least 18 people have died since protests began over a 4-cent increase in subway fares and mushroomed into a larger movement over growing inequality in one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries (The Associated Press).

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

 

OPINION

The Senate can hold a fair impeachment trial. We did it in 1999, by former Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), contributors, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2W9kfOz 

Withdrawal of troops must not end US involvement with Syria, by Dana Stroul and Michael Singh, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2obHGKm

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WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features filmmaker Michael Moore, who discusses his support for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Republican Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE, who has a new book about China; and Josh Orton, national policy director and senior adviser to Sanders, who talks about marijuana legalization. Watch at 9 a.m. ET at http://thehill.com/hilltv, or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.

The House will reconvene Monday at noon. Many lawmakers will be in Baltimore today for the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBrindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat MORE’s (D-Md.) funeral. Former President Obama will deliver remarks at the service.

The Senate meets at 3 p.m. on Monday and resumes consideration of the fiscal year 2020 appropriations measure that includes Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. 

The president speaks about criminal justice reform at 2 p.m. at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum in Columbia, S.C., and returns to Washington this evening.

Pence at 11 a.m. participates in the ceremonial swearing-in of Stephen Akard, the recently confirmed director of the Office of Foreign Missions.

Politicon takes place in Nashville this weekend, creating a packed convention devoted to current political issues and players. The Hill is a media sponsor. Check out the schedule HERE.

ELSEWHERE

State Watch: As many as 50,000 people in California are under evacuation orders that continue today as wind-driven fires rage near Los Angeles, burning six homes (The Associated Press). Ferocious gusts, which are expected to continue this weekend, prompted Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest utility, to announce a planned power shutdown Saturday night through Monday, which could impact 2 million people (The Associated Press). Wildfires also burned through 10,000 acres in Sonoma County while hundreds of residents evacuated Wednesday into Thursday. PG&E reported to the state that a jumper on one of its transmission lines broke near the origin of the Sonoma County fire, a potential cause (The Washington Post). The evolving challenge for many California communities: Learning to live with uncontrolled fire (The New York Times). 

➔  ⚾ Baseball: The Houston Astros fired Brandon Taubman, their assistant general manager, in the wake of reports that he purposefully directed “inappropriate comments” about closer Roberto Osuna at a group of female reporters. In the process, the Astros admitted “we were wrong” after initially releasing a statement backing Taubman soon after Sports Illustrated reported that he yelled at reporters (ESPN). … Trump announced he plans to attend the World Series if there’s a Game 5 on Sunday night at Nationals Park (The Washington Post). 

Science: Tens of millions of voracious sea urchins that have already chomped their way through towering underwater kelp forests in California are spreading north to Oregon, upending the marine ecosystem off the shore to the point that critical species are starving to death. A recent count found 350 million purple sea urchins on one Oregon reef alone — more than a 10,000 percent increase since 2014 (The Associated Press). 



THE CLOSER

And finally … A big shout-out to the trivia ninjas who polished off this week’s Morning Report Quiz!

Here’s who knew or guessed the correct answers about the career of Bruce Springsteen: Patrick Kavanagh, Rich Davis, Ann Taliaferro, Jerry Lentz, Allyson Foster, Sharon Flowers, Luther Berg, Sandy Sycafoose, John Ellis, Dan Lybrook and Matt Gorman.

The Boss wrote “Because the Night” and gave the song to Patti Smith to record. The song has been a staple of his live shows for years.

Born To Run” is the most performed live song in the extensive Springsteen catalog, played north of 1,700 times. 

Steven Van Zandt, an E Street Band guitarist, portrayed Silvio Dante on HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

Springsteen’s first wife was Julianne Phillips.

And lastly, Roy Bittan, the longtime E Street Band pianist, was the only holdover in the 1992 tour.