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 TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test 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 BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report 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 CheneyRepublicans fear disaster in November Gaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker House GOP pushes back at Trump on changing election date MORE (R-Wyo.) and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's 12:30 Report: White House, Dems debate coronavirus relief package The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal Trump dismisses legal questions on GOP nomination speech at White House 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 KindDemocrats exit briefing saying they fear elections under foreign threat Bottom line Coronavirus culture war over reopening economy hits Capitol Hill MORE (D-Wis.) and Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamMultiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert Hoyer: Maskless Republicans a public health threat Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 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 CummingsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden comes to Washington to honor John Lewis Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis We have 100 days to make our nation right MORE (D-Md.) atop the House Oversight and Reform Committee, with multiple lawmakers vying to chair the panel. 

 

Rep. Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchHouse committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns House Democrats launch investigation into Trump administration's repeal of silencer export ban Hillicon Valley: UK bans Huawei from 5G networks | Shipt workers to strike over pay structure | Democrat presses Google, Apple over foreign transparency 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 SpeierFemale lawmakers pressure Facebook to crack down on disinformation targeting women leaders Democrats demand Esper explicitly ban Confederate flag and allow Pride, Native Nations flags Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier MORE (D-Calif.) and Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyUSAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency House committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns GOP coronavirus bill includes .75 billion for construction of new FBI building 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 RaskinFive takeaways from Fauci's testimony GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs MORE (D-Md.) to run for the post (The Hill).

 

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyUS could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds Carolyn Maloney defeats Suraj Patel to win New York primary: AP Maloney, Torres declare victory in NY primary races after weeks of delays 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 BullockRepublicans uncomfortably playing defense 300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee Lincoln Project targets Senate races in Alaska, Maine, Montana with M ad buy MORE (D) blasts Biden for being open to super PAC funding.

 

> Alabama: Former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign 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 BrooksGOP congressman says person responsible for deleted Perdue campaign ad should be 'outed', 'fired' House passes bill establishing commission to study racial disparities affecting Black men, boys Overnight Defense: Army launches command probe after slaying at Fort Hood | 'MAGA' listed as 'covert white supremacy' in military handout 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 ByrneJerry Carl wins GOP Alabama runoff to replace Rep. Bradley Byrne Jeff Sessions loses comeback bid in Alabama runoff Sessions fights for political life in Alabama runoff 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 PapadopoulosTrump says he would consider pardons for those implicated in Mueller investigation New FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification Republicans plow ahead with Russia origins probe MORE launches campaign to run for former Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Republicans face worsening outlook in battle for House The Hill's Campaign Report: Cook shifts 20 House races toward Democrats 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 ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat 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 PutinThe tragedy of Trump's foreign policy Steele's dossier: 'Clown show' or the greatest Russian coup? US 'deeply troubled' by escalating conflict in Libya 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 WarnerGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns Senate Intel panel approves final Russia report, moves toward public release 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 SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic 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 WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package 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 ThompsonProgressive Caucus co-chair: Reported oversight change in intelligence office 'seems a bit...fascist' House lawmakers to launch probe into DHS excluding NY from Trusted Traveler Program Cuomo says Wolf, Cuccinelli violated oath of office and should be investigated 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 MnuchinCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Top Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays 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 PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration State Department offers M reward for foreign election interference information State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration 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 CapitoAnalysis finds record high number of woman versus woman congressional races Former VA staffer charged with giving seven patients fatal insulin doses Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick MORE (R-W.V.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Biden: I'll have a running mate picked next week The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided GOP to unveil COVID-19 bill MORE (D-Wis.), and Reps. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) and Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceMichigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence easily wins House primary House committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says public health threat of loneliness compounded by COVID-19; Trump says task force will 'evolve' 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 NewsomLos Angeles police officers attended party at bar against state order: report California's reported decline in infection rate may not be accurate, official says California: Dual threats of wildfire and COVID-19 underscore need for prevention 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