The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems unveil impeachment measure; Vindman splits GOP

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy hump day! 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!



**** The Washington Nationals live to fight another day after pulling off a huge 7-2 win against the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the World Series in Houston. ****



Allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE and Republican lawmakers engaged in a public spat Tuesday over Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s appearance before House investigators as he provided damaging testimony about the president’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

 

Vindman, who was among the administration officials listening to the conversation, told investigators about his concerns at the time regarding Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' MORE and his son Hunter Biden. He said he reported his misgivings to a lawyer with the White House National Security Council. 

 

The Tuesday testimony set off a tweetstorm from Trump, who tried to discredit Vindman as a “Never Trumper witness.” 

 

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneySelf-quarantined New York lawmaker: 'We should be in total lockdown' On The Money: Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday | Democratic leaders forecast at least two more relief bills Trump triggers congressional debate with comments on reopening economy MORE (R-Wyo.) and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump's magical thinking won't stop the coronavirus pandemic Lawmakers brace for more coronavirus legislation after trillion bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (R-S.D.) were among the lawmakers who slammed conservative attacks against Vindman, an active-duty service member who is a recipient of the Purple Heart, arguing he is a “patriot” (The Hill).

 

The Washington Post: President’s main defense tactic: Smear witnesses.

 

Vindman’s appearance was the latest turn in the process for Democrats, who are preparing to hold their first vote on the ongoing inquiry on Thursday. Democrats released the resolution on Tuesday, which outlined the next phase of the inquiry to bring their case before the public after weeks of closed-door witness testimony.  

 

The resolution, unveiled by House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), sets up procedures for open hearings and the release of witness testimony by the House Intelligence Committee. It also allows Republicans to request witness testimony and documents, similar to previous impeachment inquiries, although Democrats on the Intelligence panel can block those requests (The Hill).

 

With the vote looming, only five Democrats remain opposed to the impeachment effort, with two more announcing their support for the inquiry on Tuesday — Reps. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment MORE (D-Wis.) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamHouse chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection Capitol officials extend suspension of tourist access until May Second Capitol Police officer tests positive for coronavirus MORE (D-S.C.) — meaning the resolution is expected to pass easily. 

 

The New York Times: White House Ukraine expert sought to correct a transcript of the Trump call.

 

Politico: Democrats’ internal squabbles overshadow damning testimony.

 

Reuters: Republicans seek whistleblower's identity in impeachment inquiry. 

 

CNN: House committees have asked Mulvaney aide Rob Blair for testimony.

 

The impeachment effort continues today with interviews behind closed doors with Catherine Croft, a top State Department adviser on Ukraine issues, and Christopher Anderson, a former aide to Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial MORE.

 

The Washington Post: Today’s witnesses are expected to tell the House that Trump nurtured a dark view of Ukraine distinct from perspectives shared by State Department advisers.

 

Over in the Senate, lawmakers say they now expect the timeline for the House impeachment process to slide past Thanksgiving and into December, according to reporting by Alexander Bolton

 

The timeline is going to make it tougher to get necessary work in Congress finished before the end of the year. It also raises the possibility of a Senate impeachment trial overlapping with next year's primaries, something Senate Democrats say they hope to avoid. 

 

The Hill: Gordon Sondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony.

 

FiveThirtyEight: Why Democrats are moving quickly faced with a timeline that could stretch into 2020.

 

Elsewhere, Democrats are looking for a permanent replacement for the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.) atop the House Oversight and Reform Committee, with multiple lawmakers vying to chair the panel. 

 

Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchMA lawmakers press HHS secretary on status of state's protective equipment Democrats press World Bank chief on meeting with Ukrainian president amid Trump pressure Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements MORE (D-Mass.) became the latest Democratic lawmaker to announce a bid to replace the former Maryland lawmaker, with others — including Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierOvernight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with outbreak | Trump to expand use of defense law to build ventilators | Hospital ships receiving few patients Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with coronavirus outbreak House Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) and Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyOPM chief abruptly resigns The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the APTA - Biden looks for Super Tuesday surge; coronavirus fears heighten 'Liberated' Pelosi bashes Trump — and woos Democratic base MORE (D-Va.) — either already running or talking to fellow lawmakers about doing so to fill the role on a permanent basis (Roll Call). Additionally, members of “the squad” are pressing Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben Raskin20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Senators urge Congress to include election funds in coronavirus stimulus Vote at home saves our democracy and saves lives MORE (D-Md.) to run for the post (The Hill).

 

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyFEMA tells House panel national supply of ventilators running low Stimulus opens new front in Trump's oversight fight Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes MORE (D-N.Y.), the most senior member of the Oversight panel, is taking the lead on an interim basis. Whoever secures the top spot will spearhead one of the three committees currently leading the impeachment investigation.

 

 

 





LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: Joe Biden’s campaign has long focused on the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary, seeing it as early state terra firma. The former vice president continues to be the overall front-runner to win the Palmetto State’s primary, but there’s a fresh complication in that plan.

 

Nearly a fifth of African American voters in the state are undecided about which Democratic presidential candidate to back in the primary, an issue for Biden. He’s counting on black support to pull him across the finish line, and his team is uncertain about how solid that backing will turn out to be (The Hill).

 

Bloomberg: Biden in danger of humiliating loss in Iowa, top Democrats warn.

 

The New York Times: Biden needs to deliver his message. Words keep getting in the way.

 

The Hill: Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockPolitics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden moves to unify party before general election Poll shows Daines, Bullock neck and neck in Montana Senate race MORE (D) blasts Biden for being open to super PAC funding.

 

> Alabama: Former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming The Hill's Campaign Report: Coronavirus forces Democrats to postpone convention Roy Moore to advise Louisiana pastor arrested for allegedly defying ban on large gatherings MORE is making calls to members of the Alabama congressional delegation to discuss a possible Senate run, the strongest indication yet that he could join the GOP primary race just before next week’s filing deadline.

 

As Scott Wong and Olivia Beavers report, Sessions has spoken to multiple members of the delegation, including conservative Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksRepublican group asks 'what is Trump hiding' in Times Square billboard Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race MORE (R-Ala.), to garner reactions to a potential Senate bid. Brooks has already endorsed GOP state Rep. Arnold Mooney in the primary race.

 

Sessions, who would be favored if not for Trump’s anger about his recusal in the Russia investigation, also called Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneSessions to face Tuberville in Alabama GOP Senate runoff This week: House eyes vote on emergency coronavirus funding The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday MORE (R-Ala.) last week, who is already in the primary race and vying to take on Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Byrne declined to discuss the nature of the short phone call or get into any specifics, saying only that he would not drop out of the race if Sessions decides to join it.

 

“Jeff and I talked last week,” Byrne said. "I won’t reveal the details of that conversation, but I am not leaving the race. I have qualified, and I am in it to the end no matter who is in or out.”

 

The Hill: North Carolina ruling could cost GOP House seats. 

 

The Hill: George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosFree Roger Stone A tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE launches campaign to run for former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillGaetz accuses Burr of 'screwing all Americans' with stock sale Five Latinas who could be Biden's running mate This week: House eyes vote on emergency coronavirus funding MORE's (D-Calif.) congressional seat.

 

 

 

 

> Suburban problems: The president is facing a slump among voters who sent him to the White House, with polls showing that his numbers have slipped substantially among suburban voters, who backed Trump by a 49 percent to 45 percent margin over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE, according to exit polls conducted across the country in 2016.

 

According to a new Grinnell College poll conducted by the Iowa-based pollster Ann Selzer, just 32 percent of all suburban voters now say they would definitely vote to reelect Trump. Another 14 percent said they would consider someone else, and 51 percent said they would definitely vote for a candidate other than Trump (The Hill).

 

The New York Times: The Trump campaign is seeking “hidden” women voters. Impeachment won’t help.

 

The Associated Press: Trump’s Rust Belt revival is fading. Will it matter in 2020?

 

The Hill: Trump neck-and-neck with Biden, Warren, Sanders in Arizona: poll.

 

More politics: Starting Wednesday, the presidential candidates begin filing in Concord, N.H., for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary (New Hampshire Union Leader) … The Trump campaign will host a “Halloween Witch Hunt Party” in Manheim, Pa., tonight, featuring “Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, Diamond and Silk, and other special guests.” 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

INTERNATIONAL: China: A “phase one” trade agreement between the United States and China — which Trump hoped would be worked out by mid-November when he meets with President Xi Jinping in Chile at a global summit — may not be ready, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. They insist progress is being made after a 16-month trade war, even if an agreement is not wrapped up with Beijing in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in a few weeks (Reuters). 

 

 

 

 

> U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA): The Trump administration wants Congress to give it the authority to tell global auto companies in which states and in what ways they can make cars and parts under the duty-free provisions of the new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The USMCA is pending ratification in Congress as this legislative provision was floated. The proposed market intervention has alarmed auto companies, free-trade Republicans and Democratic lawmakers who believe Trump seeks to use the hemispheric trade accord to steer new plants and jobs to particular states that could benefit his bid for reelection in 2020 (Bloomberg).

 

> Turkey: House Republicans on Tuesday broke from Trump for a second time this month to condemn his foreign policy in Syria. The House voted 403-16 to levy sanctions against Turkey for its attack on Syrian Kurds, with 176 Republicans voting in support and just 15 in opposition (The Hill).

 

> Brexit: Following more than three years of false starts and disagreements during which the United Kingdom sought an orderly withdrawal from the European Union, British voters face yet another general election before the end of the year. The House of Commons voted on Tuesday to authorize an election on Dec. 12 and it is expected to become law today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes electing a new crop of lawmakers will give his Conservative Party a majority that can break the Brexit stalemate by a new Jan. 31 deadline (The Associated Press).

 

> Lebanon: Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon announced on Tuesday he will step down after hitting a “dead end” while trying to resolve the crisis of anti-government demonstrations that have paralyzed the country for two weeks (The Associated Press). Hariri’s resignation was sought by the demonstrators, but it does not resolve a growing economic and political crisis. The Associated Press explains the complex background in Lebanon and future uncertainties HERE.  

 

> Hong Kong: Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned residents of Hong Kong on Tuesday that there can be no political solution until violent protests end in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory (The Associated Press). She warned of recessionary impacts from the pro-democracy demonstrations and dismissed a “rumor” that she will be replaced by an impatient Beijing (Bloomberg).

 

> Chile: As thousands of protesters marched in central Santiago on Tuesday, a move to meet one of their demands — replacing Chile’s dictatorship-era constitution — appeared to gather support in the country’s congress. It was the 12th day of demonstrations that began with youth protests over a subway fare hike and exploded into a leaderless national movement demanding greater equality and better public services in a part of Latin America long hailed as an economic success (The Associated Press).

 

> Cuba: As Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming MORE met near Moscow on Tuesday with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, foreign policy analysts noted a significant new warming between the two old allies, prompted in part by the Trump administration’s reversal of former President Obama’s opening to Cuba. Díaz-Canel described relations with Moscow as a top priority in Havana. “We observe the growing role of Russia that resists the U.S. attempts at domination,” he said (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

Trump without the Trumpiness would win reelection in a landslide, by Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle. https://wapo.st/2BW5WDv

 

A California gubernatorial candidate’s campaign strategy? Lie on Facebook, by Jon Healey, deputy editorial page editor, The Los Angeles Times. https://lat.ms/31WaEff



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WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Hillicon Valley: Thousands of Zoom recordings exposed online | Google shares location data to counter virus | Dem senator pushes jobless benefits for gig workers | Twitter takes down 20,000 fake accounts MORE (D-Va.), to discuss impeachment and the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act; David Sirota, a senior adviser and speechwriter for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report We're at war and need wartime institutions to keep our economy producing what's necessary Larry David: Bernie Sanders should drop out of 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.) and his campaign, on the latest campaign news and polls; and David Pakman, host of  “The David Pakman Show,” to talk about Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE’s (D-Mass.) time spent defending big corporations. 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 convene at 10 a.m. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonPelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response Democrats introduce bill to set up commission to review coronavirus response Hillicon Valley: HHS hit by cyberattack amid coronavirus outbreak | Senators urge FCC to shore up internet access for students | Sanders ramps up Facebook ad spending | Dems ask DHS to delay Real ID deadline MORE (D-Miss.) set a deadline today for outgoing acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who resigned earlier this month, and acting National Counterterrorism Center Director Russell Travers to respond to subpoenas as part of a hearing on terrorist threats to the United States. McAleenan and FBI Director Christopher Wray are expected to testify. Separately, the House Rules Committee holds a hearing at 3 p.m. on a resolution that formalizes the impeachment inquiry against the president.

 

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. Senators will receive a requested briefing from the administration today about U.S. policy in Syria (The Hill).

 

The president will have lunch with Vice President Pence. Trump will present the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams for conspicuous gallantry in 2008 while serving as a weapons sergeant in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

Pence will dine with Trump for lunch. At 3:30 p.m., Pence will meet in his ceremonial office with CEOs from the Organization for International Investment.

 

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump eyes additional funds for small businesses impacted by pandemic Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus MORE spoke at 3 a.m. ET in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at the Future Investment Initiative conference, nicknamed “Davos in the desert.” The secretary skipped the global gathering last year following the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Mnuchin is traveling through Nov. 5 with additional stops in the United Arab Emirates, India and Qatar.

 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump says 40,000 Americans have been repatriated who were stranded abroad US should adopt a Marshall Plan for Ethiopia Tired of worrying about the pandemic? There's always Pyongyang MORE will receive the Hudson Institute’s 2019 Herman Kahn Award in New York City and deliver remarks at 7:45 p.m. 

 

The Federal Reserve will release a policy statement at 2 p.m. and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will take questions from the news media at 2:30 p.m.

 

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8:30 a.m. will report on gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter. Analysts are expecting GDP under 2 percent.

 

The National Archives hosts “Women in Leadership,” focused on women currently serving in Congress, at 7:15 p.m. at the McGowan Theater in Washington. For a discussion of current issues, the panel features Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoState Department under fire as 13K Americans remain stranded abroad Senators balance coronavirus action with risks to health Heidi Klum says she tried to get a coronavirus test: 'I just can't get one' MORE (R-W.V.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE (D-Wis.), and Reps. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) and Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceSanders looks to regain momentum in must-win Michigan Wheeler faces questions over Pruitt spending Democratic congresswomen wear white to Trump's address in honor of suffrage movement MORE (D-Mich.). Information is HERE.

 

The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) in Washington today will waive adoption fees for some animals. If you’ve been thinking about getting a new pet, particularly a cat, today is the day! The HRA says it has sudden maintenance to address this week and an urgent need today to place as many dogs and cats as possible to clear some space (WTOP). Information is HERE



ELSEWHERE

Wildfires: Californians on Wednesday found themselves challenged by roaring winds, darkness from continued blackouts and multiple wildfires at both ends of the state. Pacific Gas & Electric said Tuesday’s blackouts would affect about 1.5 million people in some 30 counties including the Sierra foothills, wine country and San Francisco Bay Area. The National Weather Service called an extreme red flag warning for much of Southern California through Thursday evening, with some wind gusts reaching 80 mph. Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomTesting struggles emerge as key hurdle to reopening country Social distancing works, but resistance prompts worries of growing crisis Newsom announces partnership with FEMA to find shelter for most vulnerable homeless populations MORE (D) has criticized PG&E for its implementation of and communications about the rolling blackouts, which have extended for days for millions of weary residents and businesses (The Associated Press).

 

Abortion: U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday temporarily blocking Alabama’s near-total abortion ban from taking effect next month and called the law — part of a wave of new abortion restrictions by conservative states — clearly unconstitutional. The law would make performing an abortion a felony in almost all cases (The Associated Press).

 

Lobbying & diversity: Eight of the top 10 corporations that spend heavily on lobbying employ men to lead their in-house teams. Trade associations, lobbying shops and law firms are working to diversify their ranks amid pressure from some members of Congress who believe changes are overdue (The Hill).

 

Revenge porn & the law: A renewed debate about the absence of a federal law to address “revenge porn,” or nonconsensual pornography, is swirling in the Capitol as congresswoman Hill resigned this week under an ethics probe and while explicit photographs of her circulated online and in the news media during a bitter divorce. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia currently have laws banning “revenge porn” (The Hill).



THE CLOSER

And finally … We end this newsletter where it began: There will be a Game 7. Up against the wall, the Washington Nationals came through on Tuesday night with a big win. Stephen Strasburg tossed 8-⅓ innings of 2-run ball, and Anthony Rendon delivered 3 hits and 5 RBIs. 

 

First pitch tonight in Houston is slated for 8:08 p.m. Weather