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The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Big impeachment vote in House today

The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Big impeachment vote in House today
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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Halloween! 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!

****  After 95 years, Washington celebrates! The road warrior Washington Nationals captured the team's first title, defeating the Astros, 6-2, in Houston on Wednesday night to take Game 7 and the series. It's the first time all seven games were won by the road team. A parade will rock the nation’s capital on Saturday.  ****

 

The House is expected to hold its first vote on impeachment today as lawmakers move into the next phase of an ongoing inquiry into President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE’s decisions regarding Ukraine. Democrats want to take charge of the impeachment push and shoot down GOP complaints that the process they’re pursuing is unfair.

While the resolution today will undoubtedly pass, the focus is on whether any Republicans break with Trump to support it and how many House Democrats vote to oppose it.  

The Hill: Democrats raise stakes with impeachment vote.

While Democrats put the first impeachment vote on the floor, they’re speeding ahead to continue gathering evidence and testimony in the impeachment inquiry that could stretch into 2020. They are seeking next week to bring John BoltonJohn BoltonRepublicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Trump pushes back on Bolton poll Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions MORE, Trump’s former national security adviser until his unceremonious exit last month, before House investigators to discuss his knowledge of actions taken by Trump and his associates tied to Ukraine. 

Democrats view Bolton as a star witness, especially as multiple witnesses have name-checked him and placed him in important scenes in recent weeks. Investigators are hoping he appears on Nov. 7, although his lawyer told The New York Times that Bolton will not cooperate voluntarily and seeks a subpoena (The Hill). 

With Bolton’s appearance up in the air, investigators are scheduled to speak today with Tim Morrison, the senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council, who was billed as the first current White House official to testify. On Wednesday, news broke that he is resigning. According to a senior administration official, Morrison is leaving to “pursue other opportunities” (The Hill).

"After more than a year of service at the National Security Council, Mr. Morrison has decided to pursue other opportunities — and has been considering doing so for some time. We wish him well,” the official said. 

Morrison is considered a key witness because he was among the officials listening to the July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Morrison was mentioned several times by William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, during his testimony last week. He also succeeded Fiona Hill as the president’s top adviser on Russia policy (Politico). 

Niall Stanage: After Tuesday’s witness testimony from Alexander Vindman, GOP anxiety deepens.

The Hill: Trump's Russia ambassador pick says he knew of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet Michael Cohen on Giuliani's legal fees: He won't get 'two cents' from Trump Lawyer for accused Capitol rioter says client had 'Foxitis,' 'Foxmania' MORE “campaign” against ex-Ukraine envoy.

The Washington Post: What will the House impeachment inquiry resolution actually do?

Across the Capitol, Senate Republicans are taking the House impeachment proceedings against the president more seriously as damaging revelations against the president mount, all but ending the chances of a quick dismissal of the charges many of them once pledged, as Alexander Bolton reports.  

As the Democrats compile more evidence that Trump withheld military assistance from Ukraine to push Zelensky to investigate a political rival, they are adopting a more sober tone. While no Senate Republican has said the charges against Trump rise to the level of being an impeachable offense, many have expressed concern over the drip-drip of damaging revelations.

Politico: After advice from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Republican governor of Arkansas says 'Trump is dividing our party' MORE (R-Ky.), Trump lays off GOP senators on impeachment. 

As the inquiry expands in scope, Democrats are banking on public opinion to help them through this politically fraught period. However, as Jonathan Easley reports, new surveys show more people oppose than support removing the president from office through impeachment in some of the battleground states that will determine the outcome of the 2020 election — a potential danger sign for Democrats.  

Support for impeachment is underwater in Wisconsin and Florida, two states that figure to be determined by razor-thin margins in the upcoming election. Trump won both of those states in 2016. Most voters also oppose impeachment in New Hampshire, which Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSchumer: 'The big lie is spreading like a cancer' among GOP America departs Afghanistan as China arrives Young, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump MORE won in 2016, and in Arizona. 

A New York Times-Siena College survey released Wednesday underscored the tricky politics Democrats face in swing states as slim majorities in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin support a Congressional investigation, but oppose impeaching and removing the president by between 4 points and 13 points in each state.

 

 

 

 

 

LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: Twitter made waves on Wednesday as it announced that the social media giant will not run any political advertisements during the 2020 cycle to promote candidates or major issues, according to CEO Jack Dorsey

"We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally," Dorsey said in a series of tweets. "A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money."  

Dorsey added that Twitter’s stance will be that “political message reach should be earned, not bought" (The Hill). 

Twitter’s move comes as Facebook continues to face intense scrutiny over its decision to allow political ads that include misinformation, which Democrats have hammered in recent weeks. Shortly after Twitter’s announcement, Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Oversight Board achieving what government cannot MORE defended the company’s stance on political advertising. 

"Although I've considered whether we should not carry [political] ads in the past, and I’ll continue to do so, on balance so far I've thought we should continue," Zuckerberg told investors on a quarterly earnings call. "Ads can be an important part of voice — especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates” (The Hill).

The Hill: Trump campaign blasts “very dumb” Twitter decision.

Kara Swisher, opinion contributor, The New York Times: Your move, Facebook.

The Hill: Trump campaign blasts Democrats in World Series finale ad.

The Associated Press: Paid political advertising amounts to a sliver of Twitter’s revenues.

> Harris struggles: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRepublican Sean Parnell jumps into Pennsylvania Senate race Biden sees Trump rematch as real possibility Ode to Mother's Day MORE’s (D-Calif.) once-promising campaign appears to be in dire straits as the candidate plans to redeploy staffers to Iowa and lay off some staff members at her Baltimore headquarters as she falters in her bid for the Democratic nomination. 

Harris’s latest moves comes as she struggles to keep pace with the Democratic field and is having trouble competing financially with her 2020 rivals just over three months out from the Iowa caucuses (The New York Times). 

According to Politico, the layoffs and redeployment of staffers will affect her campaign from top to bottom, including her efforts in Iowa, New Hampshire and California, her home state that is a key primary contest on Super Tuesday. Additionally, top staffers and consultants are seeing salaries cut as she pushes to maintain viability ahead of Iowa. 

After a mid-summer bump following a strong debate performance in Miami, Harris has steadily seen her poll numbers slip. According to polling averages nationally, as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, Harris does not break 5 percent support.

 

 

Bloomberg: The big divide among 2020 Democrats: Debating why Trump won. 

The Hill: Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials Tulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' MORE (D-Hawaii) stokes fears among Democrats.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: More than a month after Trump, joined by first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpJill Biden a key figure in push to pitch White House plans Petition calls for Jill Biden to undo Trump-era changes to White House Rose Garden Fox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie MORE, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Norman Sharpless, announced the government would ban flavored e-cigarette products, the administration has yet to publish any guidelines. Democrats and public health groups fear the delay means the president has wavered under political pressure from within his party and the industry to reverse course or water down government regulation that was intended to be an Oval Office response to at least 29 deaths and 1,300 confirmed cases of illness tied to vaping (The Hill).

 

 

In a related development, a former Juul Labs finance executive, Siddharth Breja, who was fired this year, alleged this week in a lawsuit that Juul knowingly shipped 1 million tainted nicotine pods to customers (The Hill). The lawsuit does not specify the contamination or how it allegedly occurred, and Breja’s lawyers would not answer those questions on Wednesday (The Associated Press).

> ObamaCare: The Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which begins again on Friday, is expected to include insurance coverage with lower premiums and more plan options for consumers who shop on HealthCare.gov. Still, the overall number of enrollees is expected to decline for a fourth consecutive year, in large part because of actions taken by the Trump administration, according to ObamaCare advocates and experts. Open enrollment extends through Dec. 15 in the 28 states that use the enrollment platform managed by the federal government (The Hill).

> Department of Homeland Security: Outgoing acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who recently resigned, told Congress on Wednesday that he will stay on the job until Trump announces his replacement (The Hill). The president has weighed whether he can appoint immigration hard-liner Ken Cuccinelli, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, but Cuccinelli is statutorily ineligible to become acting secretary of the department (The Texan). The White House sought legal guidance from the Department of Justice in search of an end run, but there’s another impediment: GOP senators are warning Trump against such an attempt, which would invite controversy and an immediate court challenge, Politico reported.

> Pentagon: The Defense Department on Wednesday released the first grainy black and white video evidence from Saturday’s special operations raid in Syria that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and two children, not three, as initially described. Officials warned of retribution strikes by ISIS (Reuters).

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

For Pelosi, the risk of not impeaching Trump has exceeded the risk of impeachment, by Stuart Shapiro of Rutgers University, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/335oXiU 

Trump’s defenders are running out of options, by Glenn C. Altschuler of Cornell University, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2Pxpczj

 

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WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), on today’s House impeachment process vote; Nathan Robinson, editor of Current Affairs, who discusses the progressive competition between Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel The Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel The Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE (D-Mass.); and Michael Brooks, host of “The Michael Brooks Show,” who gives his analysis of political crises developing in Lebanon and Chile. Watch at 9 a.m. ET at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.

The House meets at 9 a.m. and takes up a resolution reaffirming the impeachment inquiry with procedural steps for the investigation including open hearings and the transfer of evidence to the House Judiciary Committee. Pelosi will hold a news conference at 10:15 a.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.

The president has no public schedule.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE is traveling through Nov. 5 with stops in the United Arab Emirates, India and Qatar.

ELSEWHERE

Wildfires: Santa Ana winds in California will continue today to stoke more than a dozen wildfires, including one inferno that burned to within 30 yards of the walls of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Thousands of residents, horses and pets evacuated nearby over the last 24 hours and the danger continues today, according to weather forecasts (The Associated Press). Astronauts on the International Space Station tweeted images of fires seen from orbit. As one example of the hazards and stress created by blackouts in the state, at least 20 seniors in one low-income apartment complex north of San Francisco were trapped for two days without power, struggling to navigate through dark hallways and stairwells with wheelchairs and walkers. They said they were without guidance from the property management or Pacific Gas & Electric. By PG&E’s estimate, more than 900,000 people were left without power on Wednesday, some of them without electricity since Saturday (The Associated Press). 

Economy: The Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its third interest rate reduction in three consecutive meetings but signaled it will now pause. Financial markets soared on the news (CNBC). Chairman Jerome Powell expressed some optimism about improved prospects for favorable resolutions tied to trade disputes and the struggle by the United Kingdom to manage an exit from the European Union (MarketWatch). 

Hemispheric trade & global summit: Talks in Congress about advancing a new North American trade deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, have remained insulated from the rancor of impeachment, with lawmakers from both parties signaling continued progress and shared motivation to finalize an agreement (The Hill). … Chile, citing continued protests in Santiago, on Wednesday canceled plans to host the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in mid-November, at which Trump and President Xi Jinping had planned to meet to discuss trade (The Associated Press). Mnuchin was upbeat on Wednesday before Chile’s announcement that a “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China was on track for agreement by next month (The New York Times). 

Supreme Court: The high court enjoys favorable approval ratings from voters nationwide, according to recent polls. The prospect of one or more controversial decisions from the justices this term could make the Supreme Court a more significant issue for voters next year (The Hill). 

Halloween: “Feetloaf” this week has been a social media sensation. Richard Wilson, a Tulsa rapper who goes by Lil Rich Aka Crash shared a shivery photograph of severed feet made from … wait for it … ground beef, which he called a “funny” dinner for his five children (The Washington Post). (We’re skipping that revolting photo, preferring jack-o’-lanterns today, but click if you’ve already eaten breakfast.)

 

 

THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! In October 1920, Agatha Christie published her first novel on a bet with her sister. That bit of history is inspiration enough to make us eager for some smart guesses about the Queen of Crime, who went on to write 65 more detective novels.

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

In the second chapter of her first published mystery, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” Christie introduced an enduring character with an egg-shaped head. Who was it?

  1. Captain Arthur Hastings
  2. Jane Marple
  3. Thomas Beresford
  4. Hercule Poirot

 

Which sleepy English village serves up clues in Christie’s novels about human psychology and murderous impulses? 

  1. Dedham
  2. Lower Slaughter
  3. St. Mary Mead
  4. Nether Wallop

 

Christie wrote a tale using a Halloween party as a backdrop for murder. Who was the victim at the party?

  1. Vicar
  2. Actress
  3. Cook
  4. Teenage girl

 

The most frequent instrument of murder in Christie’s mysteries is —?

  1. Strangulation
  2. Poison
  3. Stabbing
  4. Vehicular homicide

 

Which Guinness World Record does Christie hold?

  1. Novelist most frequently adapted for television
  2. Oldest novelist to have a book published
  3. Novelist translated into the most languages
  4. World's bestselling novelist