The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today

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House Democrats are set to introduce articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' MORE at a press conference this morning as they move ahead with plans to hold votes before the full House next week.


Multiple sources told The Hill that Democratic leaders will unveil two articles of impeachment after working throughout the night on Monday. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' The coronavirus pandemic versus the climate change emergency MORE (D-Calif.) and the chairs of the investigatory committees announced late Monday a press conference to reveal “the next steps in the House impeachment inquiry,” declining to offer any further details. The press conference is set for 9 a.m.


The two articles, which will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, are expected to be marked up on either Wednesday or Thursday, setting the stage for a House vote ahead of the planned Christmas recess. 


The expected votes will serve as the culmination of nearly three months of investigations by House Democrats and likely make Trump the third president to be impeached.


The impeachment announcement comes after Pelosi met with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.) following a lengthy public hearing where counsels on both sides of the aisle delivered presentations outlining evidence for and against the removal of Trump from office (The Washington Post).


The hearing repeatedly grew heated as lawmakers listened on while the Democratic counsels argued that Trump represented a clear threat to the country. Meanwhile, the GOP counsel took aim at the impeachment process as Judiciary staff members questioned one another (The Hill).


The hearing, which may turn out to be the final one held in the House, was the latest political food fight between the two parties as Democrats move ahead with the impeachment inquiry, which anticipates a Senate trial. 


The Associated Press: Impeachment witness: Trump poses election “danger.”


Peter Baker: Lies, damned lies and Washington.


Jonathan Allen: The GOP's bottom-line Trump defense: Get over it.


With hearings likely out of the way and votes expected to start soon, Niall Stanage writes in his latest memo that Democrats face a communications challenge: How to hold the public's attention as much of the evidentiary suspense ebbs. 


The process is expected to shift over to the Senate in the new year, where it remains a near-certainty that the president will be acquitted of any and all impeachment charges. Unless some key witnesses testify unexpectedly in the near future, the most damning evidence against the president has already been made public. 


Adding to that issue, Trump and his allies continue to blast the process as a “sham” and “illegitimate,” having refused to cooperate with the House investigation but anticipating a vigorous defense in the Senate. The timing has forced Democrats to gauge out how to keep repeated GOP attacks from breaking through with the public. 


On another front, House Republicans are escalating their feud with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Schiff: Remote voting would not compromise national security MORE (D-Calif.), accusing the California Democrat of abusing his position by publishing phone records of Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesTrump steps up intensity in battle with media Nunes urges Americans to 'stop panicking': 'It's a great time to just go out' if you're healthy Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for another week fighting the coronavirus, seek to curb fallout MORE (R-Calif.) the top Republican on the panel, in the Intel Committee’s lengthy impeachment report last week     


Schiff included some phone records for various Trump allies, including Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCuomo steps into national spotlight with coronavirus fight Hannity offers to help Cuomo in coronavirus response with radio, television shows The Hill's Campaign Report: Officials in spotlight over coronavirus response MORE, the president’s personal lawyer, along with some associates of the former New York City mayor. Some of those calls included Nunes, drawing the ire of GOP lawmakers in the chairman’s direction and increasing calls from Trump allies to highlight Schiff’s actions as they push for him to be called as a witness in a Senate trial (The Hill).


Politico: Senate looks for holiday truce on impeachment trial.


The Hill: Potential Democratic defectors face pressure on impeachment.





Many Americans and a majority of lawmakers in both parties concluded long ago that the government unearthed persuasive evidence across two administrations, from every U.S. intelligence agency, from congressional probes and the work of a special counsel that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. election.


But how the Department of Justice launched its examination in the first place into ties between Trump campaign associates and Moscow in 2016 is the subject of a long-awaited, 434-page report issued by the department’s internal watchdog on Monday.


Judging from reactions in Washington, the report failed to settle a distracting political and procedural debate about a topic Trump believes is an attempt to delegitimize his election victory.


Inspector General Michael Horowitz determined the FBI had “an authorized purpose” to launch its investigation to “obtain information about, or to protect against, a national security threat or federal crime, even though the investigation also had the potential to impact constitutionally protected activity.”


Horowitz (pictured below) concluded that FBI agents were not motivated by political bias, a finding Trump again rejected on Monday, arguing, “This was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it, and they got caught” (The Hill).


Offering conclusions that were immediately cherry-picked by political factions on all sides, Horowitz affirmed FBI agents’ motives but sharply criticized the law enforcement agency for flawed handling of applications to a special court to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page


The findings set the stage for a partisan showdown on Capitol Hill, where Horowitz is scheduled to testify before a Senate panel on Wednesday. 


“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations,” the report says, referring to investigations into people on Trump's campaign, including low-level adviser 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; national security adviser Michael Flynn; former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJuan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? Nadler seeks interviews with DOJ prosecutors that left Stone case Stone judge under pressure over calls for new trial MORE; and Page, who maintained extensive ties with Russia at the time (The Hill).


Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrStates should plan now for November voting options Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump 'racist cowboy' MORE, who earlier this year ordered a separate investigation — still being conducted by a hand-picked prosecutor — offered a blistering assessment of the FBI’s decisions under former Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Full appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Tucker Carlson: Biden's 'fading intellect' an 'opportunity' for Democrats to control him MORE, without mentioning him by name: “the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”


Comey, however, said the Horowitz report vindicated the FBI, which he said in a Washington Post op-ed had “fulfilled its mission.” Swiping at Barr for what he said was “sliming” his own law enforcement team, Comey underscored a central inspector general conclusion that the Russia probe began with legitimate tips about Moscow’s actions, was justified in its launch and broke no laws while it was conducted.


“The allegation of a criminal conspiracy was nonsense,” Comey wrote, referring to Trump’s repeated charges. “There was no illegal wiretapping, there were no informants inserted into the campaign, there was no `spying’ on the Trump campaign.”


During a CNN interview on Monday, Comey defended the FBI: “We conducted a professional investigation, which is what the American people would have expected of us.” 


And he accused Trump of misleading the public. “The things the President Trump has been telling the country and been echoed by his followers all turned out to have been lies about people, about an institution, about the techniques we use. It was all lies.”


But Comey also conceded that the inspector general documented FBI errors during one of its highest-profile and most sensitive probes. 


“Yes, that’s really concerning,” the former director told Anderson Cooper. “He found 17 significant errors in collecting information, sharing information, in checking information and that’s a problem. That’s one of the good things that comes out of I.G. reports is you find problems, and he found problems that have to be fixed.”  


FBI Director Christopher Wray, whom Barr praised, echoed the Justice Department’s watchdog in affirming that the Russia threat in 2016 placed U.S. national security at risk and warranted an investigation. In an ABC News interview, Wray said the election threat from Moscow continues into 2020.


We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election,” Wray told ABC.


"As far as the [2020] election itself goes, we think Russia represents the most significant threat," he added.


The Hill: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with Trump at the White House this afternoon and with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCoronavirus response reveals deep fractures in global partnerships Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike COVID-19 intensifies the case for blacklisting Khalifa Haftar  MORE at the State Department this morning.







WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Trump and House Democrats are nearing approval of a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, racing to finalize a significant (and rare) win-win legislative victory that would please Republicans and Democrats.


A senior House Democratic aide urged caution on Monday, telling The Hill that the caucus is “still studying the proposal.” But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was upbeat after speaking with the president. The support of Big Labor could prompt the House Ways and Means Committee to hold a hearing on the deal as soon as this week and line up a vote on final passage before the end of the year. Democratic lawmakers, accused by Trump of neglecting legislative priorities in their zeal to remove him from office, have sought to counter that criticism by showing constituents they are improving a trade accord to meet Democrats’ “values” (The Hill). A House vote could occur on Dec. 18, according to CNBC reporting.


U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE and White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerFirst federal airlift to NY tri-state area includes millions of gloves, masks White House preparing to promote malaria drugs on online platform to combat coronavirus: report Politics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried MORE are expected to fly to Mexico today to discuss completion of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement and its enforcement mechanisms (Politico).


> Meet Trump’s science adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, 61, a former meteorologist close to his first anniversary as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “My ultimate, uber priority is to make sure that America leads the world in science and technology,” Droegemeier said during a recent interview with The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant.


POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegReuters poll finds Sanders cutting Biden national lead to single digits Biden says he'll adopt plans from Sanders, Warren Buttigieg guest-hosts for Jimmy Kimmel: 'I've got nothing else going on' MORE received good news on Monday in the face of attacks from his Democratic primary rivals as McKinsey & Co., his former employer, is allowing him to disclose his clients.


The announcement came amid attacks from progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging MORE (D-Mass.), over the lack of transparency from his time at the consulting firm, which Buttigieg worked at from 2007 until 2010. Buttigieg had been unable to reveal his clients due to a nondisclosure agreement he signed when he began his employment. 


“We recognize the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign,” McKinsey & Co. said in a statement. “Any description of his work for those clients still must not disclose confidential, proprietary or classified information obtained during the course of that work, or violate any security clearance.”


Lis Smith, a top Buttigieg adviser, said that the full list of clients will be released soon (The Hill). The mayor had come under fire from the left for what they deemed a lack of transparency by the campaign as he declined to break his nondisclosure agreement.


Buttigieg also announced that his campaign will make his high-dollar fundraisers open to reporters and disclose the names of his campaign bundlers. The move came in reaction to similar cries from progressives, with the campaign saying in a statement the move was part of a “continued commitment to transparency." 


“From the start, Pete has said it is important for every candidate to be open and honest, and his actions have reflected that commitment. He is the only current presidential candidate who has released the names of people raising money for his campaign, and we will continue to release additional names as more people join our growing effort,” said campaign manager Mike Schmuhl. “Moreover, he will be one of the few candidates to allow reporters access to his fundraising events."  


While Buttigieg released names of his bundlers early in the campaign, he has not since April. The move to allow reporters into his fundraisers makes him only the second to do so along with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCoronavirus makes the campaign season treacherous for Joe Biden Biden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll Unions urge Chamber of Commerce to stop lobbying against Defense Production Act MORE. As for Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCoronavirus makes the campaign season treacherous for Joe Biden Biden could be picking the next president: VP choice more important than ever Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE (I-Vt.), neither candidate holds high-dollar fundraising events (The Hill).  


The Washington Post: Memo from 1990s pollution case shows Elizabeth Warren in action as corporate consultant.  


The Hill: On the trail: Forget the pundits, more electoral votes could be in play in 2020.


Gerald F. Seib: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll States should plan now for November voting options With VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world MORE (D-Minn.) approaches her now-or-never Iowa moment.


Politico: Michael BloombergMichael BloombergFormer Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs Bloomberg spent over 0M on presidential campaign The Hill's Campaign Report: Officials in spotlight over coronavirus response MORE lands former Harris backer as first major California endorsement.





> House 2020: Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and previously a nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced on Monday that he is running for Congress, launching a bid to replace outgoing Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryCongressionally created commission recommends requiring that women register for draft Bottom line Former White House physician heading to runoff in Texas congressional race MORE (R-Texas). 


Jackson will run against roughly a dozen other candidates to replace the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, including Pierce Bush, the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush. The district, located in the rural Texas Panhandle, is heavily Republican as the president won nearly 80 percent of the vote there in 2016.


Jackson was tapped to lead the VA in March 2018, but he withdrew his nomination in the face of allegations that he improperly handed prescription drugs during his time at the White House (The Hill). 


The Hill: Ex-Rep. Scott TaylorScott William TaylorAvenatti held in El Chapo's old jail cell, lawyers say Vulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE (R) to seek old Virginia seat.



INTERNATIONAL: In Paris, Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill Putin wears hazmat suit during hospital visit; Moscow mayor warns of undercounted cases Hillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID MORE met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time on Monday at a summit with the leaders of France and Germany, which was aimed at advancing efforts to restore peace to eastern Ukraine. 


Diplomats believe the chances of peace are bleak, considering Zelensky’s weakened political position at home and Putin’s continued play to Russian nationalism. French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronOfficials say Paris hospitals will be hit hard following coronavirus spike The 'war' on COVID-19 doesn't mean military lockdown War in the time of coronavirus MORE has made overtures to Putin to reset relations with Russia’s neighbor (Reuters), telling reporters on Monday that the meeting made progress, adding he hopes another such session can take place early in 2020 (Reuters). 


> North Korea: The United Nations Security Council will meet on Wednesday at the request of the United States to discuss missile launches by North Korea and the possibility of an “escalatory” provocation after Pyongyang conducted what it said was a key test at a satellite launch site. North Korea could next year resume nuclear and long-range missile testing that it suspended in 2017, some diplomats believe. Trump and Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnDonald Trump as Winston Churchill? Overnight Defense: Navy hospital ship heading to Los Angeles | Military field hospitals to deploy to New York, Seattle | Pompeo flies to Afghanistan to revive peace process North Korea says Trump offered country help amid coronavirus pandemic MORE have met three times but no progress toward a denuclearization deal has been reached. Kim has given the United States until the end of the year to meet its demands (Reuters).


> Brexit: Prime Minister Boris Johnson, campaigning down to the wire before Thursday’s general election in the United Kingdom, borrowed from the film, “Love, Actually,” portraying a nearly silent suitor who knocks on a woman’s door with hand-written placard messages about Brexit and a boom box. The prime minister’s gimmicky campaign video is HERE


> New Zealand: Eight people were missing and presumed dead one day after a volcano suddenly erupted off the coast of New Zealand's North Island, killing six people and injuring more than 30 (The Associated Press and CNN). Authorities decided it was too dangerous to land on the island and remove bodies because of the risk of additional eruptions (Reuters). … Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that 11 Australians remained unaccounted for and 13 had been hospitalized after the eruption on the island that has a population of 20,000. Three Australians were suspected to be among the initial victims. The injured and unaccounted for, ranging in age from 17 to 72, had been part of a tour group from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas (The Associated Press).


> Women rule in Finland: The Nordic nation’s new prime minister, who is 34 and about to become the world’s youngest serving premier, will work with a finance minister two years her junior in a new women-led coalition Cabinet, officials said on Monday (Reuters).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Horowitz report is damning for the FBI and unsettling for the rest of us, by Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor, The Hill. (Turley will attend a Senate GOP luncheon as a guest today in the Capitol).


Senate acquittal would be nothing but a stay of execution for Trump, by Brad Bannon, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


NEW STUDY: Nonpartisan Tax Foundation says more than 21,000 Americans will lose their jobs if Congress doesn’t repeal the medical device tax before Jan 1. Learn more about the looming tax on Americans’ health care.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Emma Vigeland, correspondent for The Young Turks, on the Biden v. Buttigieg dispute on healthcare; Tim Black, host of “The Tim Black Show,” analyzes Bloomberg and African American voters; and Jennifer Holdsworth, senior vice president of issues management for MWWPR Public Affairs, also discusses Buttigieg’s campaign. Coverage starts at 9 a.m. ET at or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.


The House will meet at 10 a.m. On the floor, lawmakers are focused on climate change legislation to protect coastal and Great Lakes communities, and a measure to extend the requirement that cable/satellite distributors negotiate transmission agreements with broadcast stations.


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and is expected to work on nominations.


The president meets with Lavrov at 2:30 p.m. in the Oval Office before flying to Hershey, Pa., for a reelection rally at 7 p.m. He’ll return to Washington tonight.


Vice President Pence heads to Pittsburgh for a Pennsylvania bus tour with stops in Rochester (for a meeting with Veterans for Trump supporters) and in Hershey for the Trump-Pence reelection rally this evening.


Pompeo meets with Lavrov at 10:30 a.m. at the State Department. The secretary hosts a working lunch at noon with the foreign minister, then holds a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart at 1:15 p.m.


The Wall Street Journal CEO Council newsmaker event in Washington includes remarks from White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Trump to nominate Russell Vought as budget chief Warren, Brown press consumer bureau on auto lending oversight MORE at 9:25 a.m., White House national economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE at 10:50 a.m., Barr at 12:50 p.m. and a discussion about Democratic politics with Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesPelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Pelosi says House will draft its own coronavirus funding bill Senate closes in on trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus bill MORE (D-N.Y.) at 2:45 p.m. Information is HERE.


Politico Playbook’s 2019 Women Rule Summit in Washington includes a discussion at 11:45 a.m. with Pelosi. Info is HERE


The “Axios Cities” newsmaker event in Washington, focused on technology and metropolitan areas, includes insights from Reps. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Dems 'frustrated' by coronavirus response after briefing | Mulvaney claims press covering outbreak to take Trump down | Pence bolsters task force House approves bill banning flavored tobacco products Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing MORE (D-N.Y.) and Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 Hispanic Democrats endorse Latina for open Indiana seat Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (R-Ind.),  the co-chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus on Smart Cities. The event will be held from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Info is HERE.


Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, 92, died on Monday, leaving a legacy as a warrior against inflation in the 1970s and 1980s and as a respected economic adviser to U.S. presidents, including former President Obama. “The Volcker Rule,” a federal regulatory response to the 2008 financial crisis (relaxed this year under pressure from the banking industry) was his idea to protect investors and taxpayers by barring financial institutions from making speculative market bets using their clients’ funds (The New York Times).





Courts: The Department of Justice argued before a federal appeals court on Monday that the only way for Congress to take action against Trump over alleged violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause would be to pass legislation (The Hill). ... The Supreme Court today will hear oral arguments in the latest ObamaCare case to hit the justices, this time in a $12 billion dispute over payments insurers say they were promised by the federal government (The Hill). ...U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, appointed by former President George W. Bush, will hear oral arguments today on former White House deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman’s question about whether he has to testify before Congress if the president ordered him not to. The House dropped its subpoena to Kupperman. Leon says he will rule quickly (CNN and The Associated Press). … Trump is trying to kill subpoenas in three cases that involve investigations of the president’s finances but are not directly tied to the impeachment inquiry. In all three cases, Trump is trying to prevent banks and accounting firms he employs from turning over tax, banking and other financial records. The Supreme Court could decide as soon as next week whether to review any or all of them.


Health care costs: A congressional effort to protect patients from surprise medical bills received a burst of bipartisan support on Sunday but faces opposition from powerful industry groups as supporters aim to attach it to a must-pass government funding bill that faces a Dec. 20 deadline (The Hill).


And finally … The World Series MVP is returning to the district. The Washington Nationals backed up the Brinks truck for Stephen Strasburg on Monday, agreeing to a seven-year, $245 million deal — the largest for a starting pitcher in MLB history — with the star free agent to keep him with the organization that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009. 


Strasburg was nearly unhittable in the playoffs this fall, going 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA, leading the Nationals to their first World Series title. 


We would not have won the 2019 World Series or accomplished everything we have these last 10 seasons if not for Stephen’s many contributions,” Nationals owner Mark Lerner said in a statement (ESPN).