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Democrats on Thursday took their most concrete step yet toward the impeachment of President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE when the House voted sharply along party lines to support the next, public phase of an inquiry tied to Ukraine.
The historic action, which establishes rules for open hearings and the questioning of witnesses by lawmakers and congressional staff, passed the lower chamber 232 to 196. Only two Democrats voted against the impeachment procedures: Reps. Collin PetersonCollin Clark Peterson Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Six ways to visualize a divided America On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 MORE (Minn.) and Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), who both represent districts won by Trump in the 2016 election.
On the GOP side, Republicans remained united behind the president to oppose the Democrats’ resolution.
As Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos write, the two parties are digging in for what is turning out to be the biggest political battle in a generation, with Thursday’s vote serving as one of the first of many public fights that are likely to extend into 2020. Among those will be the looming public nature of the impeachment effort, which — unlike the past five weeks — will take place in front of television cameras and in public hearings beginning this month.
"So far, we've seen damning evidence that the president abused his power and jeopardized our national security to help his own political fortunes,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelLawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell NYC snafu the latest flub from a broken elections agency Cynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney MORE (D-N.Y.), one of three Democrats leading the impeachment probe.
As Niall Stanage writes in his latest memo, the public phase of laying out evidence and a narrative to allege “high crimes and misdemeanors” could present major problems for the president — namely, the possibility that administration officials and other witnesses could deliver damning testimony live on national television.
If the private testimony is any indication, the next chapter is likely to trigger a constant drip of negative information from witnesses, most of whom Trump, the White House and his allies have sought to discredit in recent weeks.
The Hill: Trump slams “witch hunt” after House impeachment vote.
Paul Kane: Partisan lines have hardened in the 21 years since the last impeachment vote.
Peggy Noonan: Impeachment is getting real.
Outside of the vote, House investigators heard testimony from Tim Morrison, a now-former National Security Council aide. He told the three investigatory committees that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, told him that the president would not release military aid for Ukraine unless they opened an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden.
The testimony bolstered the House Democratic argument that there was a quid pro quo. However, Republicans also thought Morrison’s 8-hour appearance was a win for them as he testified that he never saw those in the administration do anything illegal.
The Hill: Both sides claim win following White House official's impeachment testimony.
The Associated Press: Impeachment inquiry focuses on White House lawyers.
CNN: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party MORE (D-Calif.) says transcripts from impeachment inquiry witnesses could be made public “as early as next week.”
As the inquiry moves forward, investigators continue to hold their breath and hope former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat We've left Afghanistan — but its consequences are just starting to arrive MORE will testify, with some considering him a key witness. However, they may be holding their breath for a while as his lawyer indicated that he will not be appearing anytime soon.
Charles Cooper, Bolton’s lawyer, was in federal court Thursday on behalf of Charles Kupperman, another client who investigators are hoping to depose. Kupperman is waiting on a federal judge to resolve whether he can be forced to testify since he was a close adviser to Trump, and Cooper indicated Thursday that Bolton could be added to the case, which is not expected to be ruled on until late December (The Associated Press).
Jonathan Allen: Nasty House floor fight sets baseline for Trump impeachment.
LEADING THE DAY
POLITICS: New Hampshire could become ground zero for the ultimate match-up between Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats face critical 72 hours Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Manchin nixes Medicare expansion Manchin shutting down Sanders on Medicare expansion MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats face critical 72 hours The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal This week: Democrats aim to unlock Biden economic, infrastructure package MORE (D-Mass.), who both hail from neighboring New England states and view the contest in their backyard as a must-win in their push for the Democratic nod.
As Amie Parnes writes, although Sanders won the state overwhelmingly during the 2016 primary and currently leads Warren in the latest polls, she is quickly gaining ground, just as she has elsewhere on the 2020 scene.
Warren is seen as a favorite in Iowa, which could propel her further in the Granite State if she wins. If she falters in Iowa, it would raise the stakes in New Hampshire all the more. Sanders narrowly lost Iowa in 2016 and wants to triumph there this time around. If he does not, he would be challenged to capture momentum with hypothetical back-to-back losses.
"It's awfully close between the two of them," said Dante Scala, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, summing up the horse race between the two senators.
Politico: The impeachment timeline crashes into the Democratic primary. A Senate trial could take six senators off the campaign trail just as the early states prepare to vote.
The New York Times: Warren leads tight Iowa race as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act: a bill long overdue MORE fades, poll finds.
The Atlantic: The next phase of Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Unanswered questions remain for Buttigieg, Biden on supply chain catastrophe MORE.
> Twitter: Twitter earned a wave of praise from Democrats this week over its decision to ban all political advertisements as the 2020 cycle heats up, but it will likely have to navigate anger from the right over whether the policy change amounts to censorship.
Twitter's political ad ban capitalized on the whirlwind of controversy surrounding larger rival Facebook, which has spent weeks defending its policy to allow politicians to spread misinformation in advertisements. In an era of a broader Washington skepticism and scrutiny of Big Tech, Twitter racked up a rare win: It garnered enormous praise from lawmakers, many of whom said Facebook should follow suit.
Meanwhile, however, critics on the right — including the Trump campaign — have pushed back at the ban, accusing the platform of caving to Democrats and stifling free expression (The Hill).
CNBC: Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg'Facebook Papers' turn up heat on embattled social media platform TikTok, Snapchat executives to make Capitol Hill debuts Facebook whistleblower 'shocked' at focus on metaverse MORE vs. Jack Dorsey is the most interesting battle in Silicon Valley.
Time: Trump campaign says Twitter ad ban will cost company $10 million.
Bloomberg: Interview with Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg: Political ads are an important part of the dialogue.
> Trump on the stump: The president is scheduled to hold a number of campaign rallies in the coming week ahead of a trio of key gubernatorial contests the GOP is pushing to hold onto.
Trump is slated to appear in Tupelo, Miss., tonight for one of his signature rallies to help Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’s bid to win the governor’s mansion. Days later, the president will appear in Lexington, Ky., to support Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who is looking to fend off a tough challenge from Attorney General Andy Beshear, the Democratic nominee.
On Thursday, Trump will head to Monroe, La., to campaign for businessman Eddie Rispone, the GOP gubernatorial nominee in Louisiana, who is looking to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. The runoff contest is scheduled for Nov. 16.
Politico: Behind Trump’s 2020 fight: Women trying to rescue an underwater president.
The New York Times: Trump, lifelong New Yorker, declares himself a resident of Florida.
The New York Times: Paula White, Trump’s personal pastor, joins the White House with outreach assignment to evangelicals.
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IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
STATE WATCH: Between the World Series and impeachment, this has been a big week in the nation’s capital. Events around the country are proving consequential, too.
> Illinois - teachers: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Thursday that classes resume today after a contract accord ended an 11-day teachers’ strike. Educators sought smaller class sizes, increased pay and more benefits. The Chicago Teachers’ Union released a statement on Thursday saying an agreement was reached with the city and educators are back on the job (NBC News).
> California - fires: The woe and ruin in the Golden State from wildfires and power blackouts has been almost biblical. From end to end, parts of the state are heading into the weekend with somewhat calmer winds but new fires, choking smoke, continued evacuations, exhausted firefighters and first responders and a populace unnerved by the destruction. The Los Angeles Times this morning is tracking and mapping 15 active fires, one of which ignited on Thursday.
One family that lives west of Simi Valley described barely evacuating in time as a fire roared across the nearby state highway on Wednesday. “We put everything in the car, and I’m so glad we did,” Frank Rahimi of Moorpark told CBS News. “[B]y the time it jumped the 23 Freeway, we only had seconds to get out.”
Compared with the impact of wildfires last year, however, the state is calling attention to lower tallies of deaths, injuries and property destruction (The Los Angeles Times).
> Utah - beer: Utah and Minnesota have been the straggler states with lower-alcohol, 3.2 percent beer. Utah today leaves Minnesota alone in that category after lawmakers raised the alcohol limits to a still-low 4 percent by weight. The change responded to large breweries that have halted making lower-alcohol beer as market tastes and state laws changed (The Associated Press).
> Pennsylvania - guns: Allegheny County Common Pleas Senior Judge Joseph James ruled on Tuesday that Pennsylvania law bars Pittsburgh gun restrictions adopted following the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting last year. Three city ordinances would have regulated the use of assault weapons in public places in Pittsburgh, prohibited the use of large-capacity magazines in public places and allowed courts to temporarily seize weapons from anyone exhibiting “red flag” signs of extreme risk to themselves or others. The judge found Pittsburgh’s ordinances “void and unenforceable.” The city plans to appeal (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
> North Carolina - sexual assault: North Carolina lawmakers in the GOP-controlled state House and Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a bill that would end sexual assault loopholes that have persisted for 40 years. If the governor signs the measure, men in North Carolina could no longer claim to be innocent of rape if a woman agrees to sex and then withdraws consent. And it would end a defense that it’s not a crime in North Carolina to have sex with someone who is incapacitated, such as through drugs or alcohol, if that person was responsible for his or her compromised condition (NBC News).
Trump has received a formal invitation to be impeached, by Joshua C. Harder, opinion contributor, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2PKO1rR
Trump is getting his constitutional rights in the House impeachment inquiry, by Scott S. Barker of the American College of Trial Lawyers, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2qcNO60
The Health Insurance Tax would impact seniors on Medicare Advantage (MA). MA keeps costs low, provides additional benefits & protects seniors. Co-sponsor H.R. 1398 & S. 172. Talk to leadership. Learn more.
WHERE AND WHEN
Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), who discusses the House impeachment vote; New Hampshire reporter Paul Steinhauser, who discusses interviews with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders; and National Science Foundation astrophysicist Joe Pesce, who discusses quantum computing. 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 meet at 1 p.m. in a pro forma session.
The Senate reconvenes Monday at 3 p.m.
The president will hold a reelection rally at 7 p.m. at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss.
Vice President Pence is traveling today to London, Ky., to participate in a three-stop bus tour to stump for Republican candidates, including Bevin and members of the Kentucky congressional delegation. While in the state, he’ll have lunch on the road, meet with first responders and participate in a Get-Out-the-Vote event. Pence returns to Washington this evening.
Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMajor Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report MORE is traveling through Nov. 5 with stops in the United Arab Emirates, India and Qatar.
Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. reports on U.S. employment in October. Economists anticipated a more ominous employment picture, in part because of the General Motors strike (The New York Times).
➔ Vaping: Thirty-seven people have died to date in the United States after contracting a mysterious illness tied to vaping, with a total of 1,888 confirmed and probable cases of sickness, according to a report on Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed the alarming trend worsening from last week (Reuters).
➔ North Korea: Military officials in Japan and South Korea reported on Thursday that North Korea fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, ending a lull in testing after denuclearization talks stalled. North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US 'deeply alarmed' by reports of military takeover in Sudan Is Kim Jong Un angling for nuclear talks on his terms? North Korean showcases shirtless soldiers lying on broken glass, smashing bricks on head MORE has set an end-of-the-year deadline for denuclearization talks with the Trump administration (Reuters).
➔ Boy Scouts: To meet rising operating costs, especially for liability insurance tied to a wave of new sex-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America will raise its annual youth membership fee by more than 80 percent for its 2.2 million youth members to $60 from $33 in January. Fees for adult leaders will rise by $3 (The Associated Press).
And finally … Take a bow, winners of this week’s Morning Report Quiz!
We uncovered some sleuths who solved all our trivia questions about Agatha Christie, who published her first who-done-it 99 years ago this month: Bob Hirsch, John Donato, Patrick Kavanagh, Christina Mille, Rose DeMarco, Cheryl Gibson, Luther Berg and Mary Lee DeCoster.
They knew (or guessed) that in the second chapter of Christie’s first novel, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” the author introduced her now-famous character Hercule Poirot, the fussy Belgian detective described as having an egg-shaped head (AgathaChristie.com).
St. Mary Mead is the sleepy English village that serves up clues about human psychology and murderous impulses in Christie’s novels featuring amateur sleuth Miss Jane Marple.
In Christie’s tale of murder during a Halloween party, a teenage girl was the victim, drowned by a killer in a tub of water used by revelers to bob for apples.
Christie’s most frequent instrument for fictional murder was poison. The author became something of an acknowledged specialist during the war years while working in hospital dispensaries (TIME).
Christie nabbed a Guinness World Record as the world’s bestselling novelist (GuinnessWorldRecords.com).