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 TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes 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 BannonStone faces sentencing amid political firestorm Sunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses Yes, Democrats have to defend their African-American base against Trump 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 GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Congress eyes killing controversial surveillance program Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far 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 RomneyOrange County declaring local health emergency in response to coronavirus Why Bernie Sanders won the debate Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response MORE (Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MORE (Alaska), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way MORE (Colo.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children MORE (Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Republicans scramble to avoid Medicare land mine MORE (Wyo.), and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler releases new ad targeting Sanders's 'socialism' House Freedom Caucus chairman endorses Collins's Georgia Senate bid Progressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa 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 GiulianiGiuliani: Bloomberg 'jeopardized' stop and frisk by 'overusing it' Giuliani asked for post-9/11 mayoral election to be canceled so he could stay in office: book House panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance MORE's work in Ukraine.  

McClatchy: Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Former Laura Bush staffer decries Taliban's treatment of women amid peace deal Bipartisan Senate resolution would urge UN to renew Iran arms embargo, travel restrictions 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 BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket 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 SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. 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 WarrenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives MORE (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina 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 campaign opening 15 community centers to reach black voters Trump declares US-India relationship 'stronger than ever before' Trumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump declares US-India relationship 'stronger than ever before' Trumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India Manufacturers group kicks off campaign to close the industry's skills gap MORE for their work in the administration since 2017. 

> Debate: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing 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 HarrisBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. House passes historic legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocrats' Obama-to-Sanders shift on charter schooling This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Juan Williams: Black votes matter MORE (D-N.J.), Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina There's only one candidate for Democrats in Puerto Rico MORE, entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew Yang6 ways the primary fight is toughening up Democrats for the fall general election The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Yang calls on someone to 'pull an Andrew Yang' and bow out of 2020 race MORE and Klobuchar (The Hill). 

> Field shrinks: Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocrats tear into Trump's speech: It was a 'MAGA rally' Democrats walk out of Trump's address: 'It's like watching professional wrestling' Trump set to confront his impeachment foes 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 GabbardBiden leads by 18 points in South Carolina: poll Buttigieg notes diversity on debate stage: We're '7 white people talking about racial justice' Sanders grows lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll 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) WeldBoston Globe endorses Trump's GOP challenger Bill Weld Overnight Energy: EPA moves to limit financial pressure on 'forever chemical' manufacturers | California sues Trump over water order| Buttigieg expands on climate plan Buttigieg expands on climate plan with new proposals MORE and former Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordBoston Globe endorses Trump's GOP challenger Bill Weld Trump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary MORE (R-S.C), who are challenging Trump for the GOP nod in 2020. … White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayBrazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record Conway: Reported sexist Bloomberg remarks 'far worse' than what Trump said on 'Access Hollywood' tape Candidates make electability arguments, talk Bloomberg as focus turns to more diverse states 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 MnuchinGAO report details challenges of implementing Trump tax law Financial trade tax gains traction with 2020 Democrats Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House 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 CummingsOversight Committee room to be dedicated to late Rep. Elijah Cummings House wants documents on McEntee's security clearances VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing 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.