The Hill's Morning Report — House set for Phase 3 of impeachment push

The Hill's Morning Report — House set for Phase 3 of impeachment push
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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger is off eating turkey and celebrating the pilgrims; Al Weaver is The Hill’s up-early journalist in charge this week. Find him at @alweaver22 on Twitter and CLICK HERE to subscribe!

The House impeachment inquiry took another turn on Tuesday as the House Judiciary Committee scheduled its first hearing in the fast-paced investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE's dealings with Ukraine, effectively launching the third phase of the impeachment effort. 


Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on police brutality next week House Judiciary to hear whistleblowers on 'politicization' of Justice Dept under Trump House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality MORE (D-N.Y.) announced that the panel will hear from legal scholars on Dec. 4 as Democrats continue to weigh whether the evidence uncovered in their two-month-long inquiry warrants the drafting of articles aimed at removing the president from office (The Hill).  

“The Committee intends this hearing to serve as an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment, as well as the Framers' intent and understanding of terms like ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’” Nadler wrote to Trump.

As part of the hearing, Nadler also invited the president and White House counsel Pat Cipollone to partake in order to have a “fair and informative process.” News of the hearing emerged a day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE (D-Calif.) told House Democrats that his committee will deliver its report to the Judiciary Committee “soon after” the Thanksgiving break.  

The Hill: House Judiciary impeachment hearing to feature constitutional lawyers.

The New York Times: Trump knew of whistleblower complaint when he released aid to Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal: Rules for Trump impeachment trial may be modeled after Clinton’s.

With the report and next Wednesday’s hearing on tap, Democrats are moving forward with their planned schedule for the inquiry and are indicating that their legal victory on Tuesday, potentially forcing White House counsel Don McGahn and others to testify in the impeachment case, will not slow down their investigation. 

According to The Hill’s Mike Lillis, investigators have laid out a brisk timeline to release a report on their findings shortly after Congress returns to Washington next week from its Thanksgiving break, and even with Monday night’s ruling, the schedule remains unchanged.  

The Hill: Dems eye taking fight over McGahn testimony to impeachment trial. 

The Hill: Ex-Bolton aide to press ahead with subpoena lawsuit, says McGahn ruling not relevant. 

The Hill: Pompeo-Trump relationship tested by impeachment inquiry.

In one of the final acts before phase three begins next week, House Democrats released the final transcripts of closed-door witness interviews on Tuesday. The investigatory committees released interviews with Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of State in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs, and senior Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy (as seen in picture below). 

The Hill: Two budget staffers resigned after voicing concerns about halted Ukraine aid, official says.

READ: Testimony from Reeker. READ: Sandy’s testimony.

Finally, Trump made light of the impeachment push on Tuesday during the annual pardoning of turkeys in the White House Rose Garden shortly before he departed for Florida for the long weekend. Trump took part in the yearly event to pardon Bread and Butter, the turkeys in question this year. 

“Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday,” Trump said.

“It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey," he added. "But Bread and Butter, I should note that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met."




POLITICS AND CAMPAIGNS: The president took his impeachment message back onto the campaign trail Tuesday night during a “homecoming” rally in Sunrise, Fla., telling his supporters that the ongoing inquiry is “bullshit” and that Democrats are “trying to rip our nation apart” with investigations (The Associated Press). 

"They’re pushing that impeachment witch hunt, and a lot of bad things are happening to them. Because you see what’s happening with the polls? Everybody said, ‘That’s really bullshit,’” Trump told attendees, who responded by chanting, “Bullshit.” 

"I don’t want to go on it too long, but all I’m saying is it’s a terrible hoax," Trump said after several minutes of airing grievances (The Hill). 


Throughout the 84-minute rally, Trump took aim at many of his familiar foes, including Schiff (“Shifty Schiff”), former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFox News polls: Trump trails Biden in Ohio, Arizona and Wisconsin Kelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Obama calls for police reforms, doesn't address Trump MORE (“Slow, Sleepy Joe”) and his son Hunter Biden (“Where’s Hunter?”), along with the news media (The New York Times). 

Robert Costa, The Washington Post: Trump “homecoming” rally illustrates importance of Florida to his reelection effort.

The Wall Street Journal: Georgia governor, Trump appear at odds over Senate pick.



> Pompeo for Senate?: Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Ousted watchdog says he told top State aides about Pompeo probe 7 GOP senators slam State Dept for 'slow and inefficient policy' on passports MORE seems to be inching toward a potential Senate bid in Kansas as some Republicans continue to push him in that direction despite having served atop the State Department for 19 months.


Pompeo revealed to reporters on Tuesday that he’ll be appearing alongside the Senate GOP leader in Kentucky next week to deliver a speech at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center, a political institute at the school named for the longtime Bluegrass State senator. The news raised eyebrows as McConnell has not been bashful about his desire for Pompeo to run next November to replace outgoing Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsDeadline for Kansas Senate race passes without Pompeo filing Overnight Defense: Democrats expand probe into State IG's firing | House schedules late June votes with defense bill on deck | New Navy secretary sworn in Government watchdog: 'No evidence' Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips MORE (R-Kan.). 

“I’ll share some thoughts on what the Trump administration is continuing to do here in the western hemisphere to protect the American people,” Pompeo said, declining to weigh in on the significance of the event, according to The Kansas City Star.

The Los Angeles Times: Would impeachment inquiry hurt a Pompeo run for Senate?

> Dem primary poll: A new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows that Biden has regained the national lead in the Democratic primary as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE has jumped into second place.  

Biden gets the support of 24 percent of Democratic primary voters, retaking the lead from Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIt's time to shut down industrial animal farming The Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen Biden wins DC primary MORE (D-Mass.) after seeing his support rise 3 points from the previous Oct. 24 poll. Buttigieg surged into second place from fourth with 16 percent support — a 10-point uptick from October. 

As for Warren, she dropped from first to third place after seeing her support drop in half to 14 percent. Over the past month, the Massachusetts Democrat has been repeatedly attacked for her “Medicare for All” plan, potentially aiding her drop in the polls. According to the Quinnipiac survey, only 36 percent of respondents support a Medicare for All plan, with 52 percent opposing (The Hill). 

The Washington Post: Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race MORE adds a half-dozen staffers to his campaign. 

The Hill: Biden reverses, says marijuana isn't a gateway drug.

The Associated Press: Michael BloombergMichael BloombergIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report MORE as mayor: A New York that sparkled, and chafed.

The New York Times: Bloomberg has used his fortune to help Republicans, too.


ADMINISTRATION/INTERNATIONAL: Pompeo said Tuesday that Chinese authorities are committing “very significant” human rights abuses after a trove of documents showed that the Chinese are repressing Muslims and other minorities in Western China. 

Pompeo told reporters that the documents showed “an overwhelming and growing body of evidence” that China’s leaders are responsible for human rights violations in the Xinjiang region (Reuters). 

“These reports are consistent with an overwhelming and growing body of evidence that the Chinese Communist Party is committing human rights violations and abuses against individuals in mass detention,” Pompeo said during a news conference at the State Department. “We call on the Chinese government to immediately release all those who are arbitrarily detained and to end its draconian policies that have terrorized its own citizens in Xinjiang.”

The New York Times: Pompeo warns China to honor “human rights standards” in Hong Kong.



> West Bank protests: Palestinian protesters took to the streets in the West Bank on Tuesday in what they called a “day of rage,” with groups clashing with Israeli forces in opposition to the U.S.’s announcement that it no longer believes Israeli settlements violate international law.   

Protesters burned pictures of Trump along with Israeli and American flags in Ramallah, where nearly 2,000 people gathered, while protests also took place in other West Bank cities (The Associated Press).

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Why America needed Donald Trump, by Shermichael Singleton and Quardricos Driskell, opinion contributors, The Hill. 

How Democrats can win, everywhere, by Kentucky Gov.-elect Andy Beshear (D) and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), opinion contributors, The Washington Post.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Rafael Bernal, reporter for The Hill, to discuss the immigration plans laid out by the 2020 field; Michael Moore, filmmaker, shares his political journey and how it influences his work today; Michael Brooks, host of “The Michael Brooks Show,” to talk about the global implications of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s release from prison. Coverage starts at 9 a.m. ET at or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube

The House meets Friday at noon for a pro forma session. The full House is back in session on Tuesday. 

The Senate convenes on Friday at 9:30 a.m. for a pro forma session and will return to work on Monday. 

The president is in Palm Beach, Fla. for the Thanksgiving holiday and has no scheduled public events. 

Vice President Pence also has no public schedule.


State Watch: The District of Columbia announced on Tuesday it is suing e-cigarette giant Juul over its alleged marketing to minors. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) accused the company of deliberately targeting underage consumers, failing to verify ages of purchasers, and deceiving consumers about the content, strength and safety of its products. The suit comes on the heels of similar filings made by California and New York (The Hill). … Pennsylvania enacted several laws Tuesday that will give childhood sexual abuse victims more time to come forward with allegations. The laws abolish the state's criminal statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse and extend the civil statute of limitations. The bills were signed into law about a year after hundreds of cases of abuse by some Catholic clergymen were revealed in a grand jury report (The Hill). 

Housing: As part of its deal to build it’s HQ2 headquarters in Crystal City, Amazon is expected to contribute $20 million to help Arlington County create more affordable housing. According to Matt Mattauszek, Crystal City and Pentagon City planning coordinator for Arlington County, Va., the funds directed to create affordable housing represent the largest such commitment by an “individual site plan project in Arlington County.” The $20 million figure is not expected to change and is a product of negotiations between the county and Amazon, according to Mattauszek (WTOP).  

In The Know: First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump was rushed to White House bunker due to breach of temporary barricades: report The Memo: Nation nears a breaking point Washington archbishop criticizes Trump visit to Catholic shrine MORE was booed while delivering remarks at a youth opioid awareness event in Baltimore on Tuesday. Jeers from some members of the audience could be heard as the first lady wrapped up a brief speech at the B'More Youth Summit. According to a press pool report, she was "greeted with some cheers but also a resounding chorus of loud boos, which lasted for about one minute" from the crowd of more than 1,000 middle and high schoolers (The Hill).



And finally … A scheduling note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, this is the final Morning Report of the week, as the two of us are off to enjoy the holiday with our families and loved ones. We do want to give a word of thanks to our readers, though, for continuing to subscribe and read us daily. It means the world to us and we hope you enjoy the holiday as much as we will.  

Now … bring on the turkey and football.