The Hill's Morning Report - Trump set to be impeached in historic vote

 

 

 

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The House is set to hold a historic vote on two articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE over his dealings with Ukraine today, likely making him the third president in U.S. history to be indicted by the lower chamber.

 

Today’s vote on articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress is the culmination of nearly three months of investigations by the House into the president’s actions, which Trump has repeatedly railed against without ceding any ground. It will also kick off proceedings in the Senate that will likely begin in earnest next month. 

 

As Mike Lillis and Olivia Beavers note in their preview of the historic vote, Democratic leaders are bringing articles of impeachment to the floor after declining to do so for most of the year despite retaking the majority in January. They were spurred to action after a whistleblower alleged that the president had leveraged U.S. military aid and a White House meeting to press Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals. 

 

“No Member came to Congress to impeach a President. But every one of us, as our first act as a Member of Congress, stood on the House Floor, raised our hand and took a sacred oath: ‘I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to her colleagues on the eve of today’s vote. “That oath makes us Custodians of the Constitution. If we do not act, we will be derelict in our duty.”

 

House Democrats put a bow on their procedural effort on Tuesday as the House Rules Committee set parameters of impeachment debate after a marathon hearing that featured closing arguments from leaders of the Judiciary panel, which had drafted the articles last week (The Hill).

 

The Hill: Both sides make their closing arguments on Trump impeachment articles.

 

Peter Baker, The New York Times: What to watch ahead of the impeachment vote.

 

Politico: Trump impeachment clouds Pelosi's second act.

 

The vote, which is expected to come down along partisan lines (save for a few members), will produce political ramifications that will last through 2020 and potentially beyond. Of the 31 House Democrats who sit in districts won by the president in 2016, 29 are expected to vote in favor of impeaching the president. At least two House Democrats are expected to vote against the two articles: Rep. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week House delivers impeachment articles to Senate Overnight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall MORE (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.), who is expected to jump ship and formally become a Republican in the near future, though he refused to talk about it on Tuesday (The Hill).  

 

Only one Democrat is expected to vote for one of the articles, but not the other. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) announced on Tuesday that he would support the abuse of power charge, but not the obstruction of Congress one. Golden is among the top targets of House Democrats on the 2020 map (The Hill). As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership MORE (R-Calif.) predicted, no GOP lawmaker is expected to support either article of impeachment later today. The final votes on impeachment are expected between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

 

The New York Times: A majority of House members support the articles of impeachment against Trump. Here’s the full list.

 

The Associated Press: House nears impeachment as Trump decries “vicious crusade.”

 

While today’s vote is not totally unexpected given how everything has played out since House Democrats launched their formal inquiry in late September, it is nevertheless extraordinary and significant. As Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels write, while Trump has remained defiant throughout the process, refusing to cooperate and raging against what he deems an unfair, politically-motivated sham, he has occasionally acknowledged the historical weight of impeachment and lamented its toll on his presidency and his family. 

 

Complicating matters even more, Trump will be the first president to be impeached by the House while also seeking reelection. However, despite what is expected to happen today, many in the White House remain optimistic about his reelection chances, which they believe were buoyed by a particularly strong week on the legislative front in a boost to the president’s agenda. As they have throughout his first term, they view today’s historic vote as a blip on the radar when it comes to how the issue will play with voters.

 

It’s worth noting: Trump has no public events on his schedule prior to his 4:25 p.m. departure for Battle Creek, Mich., where he will hold a campaign rally that will start at 7 p.m. The rally is likely going to start as the House is voting on the pair of impeachment articles.

 

The Hill: Trump calls for halt to impeachment in scathing letter to Pelosi on eve of vote.

 

READ: Trump’s letter to Pelosi.

 

The Hill: GOP leadership: Initial phase of impeachment trial could run two weeks.

 

Looking ahead to the next steps, Senate leaders are at an impasse over how to conduct an impeachment trial next month, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger' Trump, Democrats risk unintended consequences with impeachment arguments CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Impeachment has been a dud for Democrats Trump insults Democrats, calls on followers to watch Fox News ahead of impeachment trial MORE (D-N.Y.) taking part in a back-and-forth early in the week on the topic.

 

Senators are pessimistic about the pair being able to reach a compromise on rules for a trial, citing the messy relationship between the two leaders that has been strained repeatedly during the Trump presidency. 

 

“The problem is the core of the relationship between him and Schumer,” one Republican senator close to McConnell told The Hill’s Alexander Bolton. “Their history is bad.”  

 

After a public battle when Schumer issued his opening salvo over witnesses on Sunday, McConnell returned serve on Tuesday, blasting Schumer’s vision for the trial as “dead wrong” and ruling out the witness demands by the Democratic leader (The Hill).

 

The relationship is a far cry from those who took part in former President Clinton’s impeachment trial as the ties that bound then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and then-Minority Leader Senate Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) were a lot stronger than the current leadership pair. 

 

“The fact that we’re still waiting for the first meeting on this subject between the two of them speaks for itself,” said Sen. Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (D-Ill.).  

 

 

 



LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS/ADMINISTRATION: Lawmakers advanced a pair of must-pass bills on Tuesday as they look to clean up the legislative calendar before they break for Christmas 

 

In the House, lawmakers passed a massive $1.4 trillion spending package to fund the government through September and ensure, unlike last year, that there will be no government shutdown over the holidays. 

 

The package was split between two bills, both of which were passed with overwhelming support. The first, focused on spending for domestic agencies and priorities, passed on a 297-120 vote. The second, focused on national security, passed 280-138. The two measures will head to the Senate and are expected to be approved by the end of the week before garnering the president’s signature. Funding for the government expires on Friday night. 

 

Among the items included in the package was the removal of three taxes instituted in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. While many Democrats continue to support the law overall, the taxes that were included in the spending bill were opposed by many in the party (The Washington Post). 

 

The Associated Press: House passes $1.4 trillion federal spending bill. 

 

The Washington Post: Federal agencies will be closed Christmas Eve, Trump says in executive order.

 

Across the Capitol, senators passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which was paired with legislation to give federal employees with 12 weeks of paid parental leave. The bipartisan package was passed on an 86-8 vote, with Trump having indicated that he will vote the bill into law. 

 

Also included in the package is a 3.1 percent pay raise for Pentagon personnel, the largest increase in more than a decade (The Associated Press).

 

Lastly, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and advanced it to the full House for a vote on the floor Thursday. The update to the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed by voice vote after the president and Democratic lawmakers reached a deal last week to pass the landmark trade deal after months of intense negotiations.

 

As Sylvan Lane writes, Democrats agreed to take up the deal after securing provisions to tighten labor and environmental law enforcement, and scrap patent protections for high-cost pharmaceuticals.

 

 

 

 

> FBI: Throughout his presidency, Trump has become increasingly vehement in his condemnation of the FBI and law enforcement, including on Monday morning when he quote-tweeted someone who described the FBI as "tyrants" and "criminal,” approving it by saying, "Wow." 

 

In tandem with Trump's attacks, however, Democrats and liberals have generally given staunch support to the FBI. As Niall Stanage writes in his latest memo, this is an approach that sits uneasily with the tradition of skepticism about the security services on the left that dates at least as far back as J. Edgar Hoover's shadowy use of the bureau. Taken together, it's evidence of just how much the view of the intelligence community, and the FBI in particular. has been scrambled by the Trump era.

 

Politico: Rick GatesRick GatesDC attorney general sues inaugural committee over funds spent on Trump property Treasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort Vin Weber returns to lobbying firm Mercury MORE gets 45 days of weekend jail, 3 years of probation.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: With impeachment expected to rollick Washington through most of January, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Candidates weighing using private jets to get to Iowa Biden nabs endorsement from Iowa Democrat in swing district MORE may be the chief beneficiary among those in the 2020 Democratic primary.

 

Of those in the top tier of the Democratic field, Buttigieg, who has taken the lead in Iowa in recent polls, could be set to have the best January, according to The Hill’s Julia Manchester. Unlike Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters MORE (I-Vt.), the college town mayor won't be pulled off the campaign trail for an impeachment trial of a to-be-determined length. 

 

While former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE also will not have to be in Washington to serve as a juror, he will likely have to answer questions about his role in the controversy surrounding impeachment while on the campaign trail, an unenviable likelihood. 

 

This leaves the floor to Buttigieg to focus on whatever he pleases on the campaign trail, especially kitchen table issues that voters say they care most about, such as health care and the economy

 

NPR: Joe Biden is “healthy” and “vigorous” according to doctor's report.

 

Politico: How Harvard made Pete Buttigieg the moderate that progressives love to hate.

 

 

 



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

Will the federal government's nonstop spending binge continue? By Maya MacGuineas, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2SdwGZR   

 

Why Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Social Security emerges as flash point in Biden-Sanders fight | Dems urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency | Trump to sign USMCA next week NJ Rep. Van Drew said he wouldn't vote for Trump weeks before switching parties: report DCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements MORE talked of switching parties too soon, by B.J. Rudell, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/34wmb6f 



WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherGOP lawmaker: New sanctions provide 'offramp' from rising US-Iran tensions GOP Congressman reacts to Trump's address Hillicon Valley: DHS warns of Iranian cyber threats | YouTube updates child content policy | California privacy law takes effect | Tech, cyber issues to watch in 2020 MORE (R-Wis.) to discuss legislation that would bar the U.S. from doing business with Chinese companies deemed a national security threat; Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive and president of Medicare for All Now, to examine Andrew YangAndrew YangSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial John Leguizamo joins the 'Yang Gang' CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary MORE's healthcare plan; and Jimmy Dore, host of “The Jimmy Dore Show,” to talk about how Sanders should have handled Cenk Uygur. Coverage starts 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 will debate impeachment throughout the day, culminating in votes on the two articles in the early evening. 

 

The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. and resume consideration of Matthew McFarland to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio

 

The president will receive his intelligence briefing at 11:45 a.m. At 4:25 p.m., Trump will depart the White House for Battle Creek, Mich., where he will deliver remarks at a “Keep American Great” rally at 7 p.m.



ELSEWHERE

Vatican: Pope FrancisPope FrancisPence meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Pope Francis names first woman to senior Vatican diplomatic post MORE abolished the use of “pontifical secrecy,” the Vatican’s highest level of secrecy in clergy sexual abuse cases, on Tuesday as he responded to criticism that the Catholic Church used the rule to protect priests and silence victims. “The carnival of obscurity is over,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clergy abuse and advocate for victims, of the move (The Associated Press).

 

 

 

 

Cybersecurity: A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that Edward Snowden, the CIA employee-turned-whistleblower who revealed classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA), is unable to profit off of his recent memoir, “Permanent Record,” because he did not submit the book for clearance from U.S. security agencies. U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady ruled that Snowden violated a series of employment contracts he signed by not submitting the book prior to publication to the CIA and NSA for review (Bloomberg News).

 

Legal troubles: Michael Avenatti, best known as the ex-lawyer for Stormy Daniels, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to accusations that he attempted to extort as much as $25 million from Nike when he tried to blackmail the shoe giant with claims that it made improper payments to athletes. The trial for Avenatti, who was considered a possible 2020 Democratic candidate, is scheduled to start on Jan. 21. Nike has denied any wrongdoing in the case (Reuters).



THE CLOSER

And finally … Some welcome news involving early Christmas giving.

 

A group of people surprised an IHOP waitress in Paterson, N.J., with a cash tip of $1,200 over the weekend. Zellie Thomas and a group of his nearly dozen friends left the tip with the waitress on Saturday, with each bringing $100 to the chain. According to NJ.com, the waitress was so stunned by the act of kindness that she tried to give the money back and shed tears of joy. 

 

“I really hope this shows people that there’s power in community and all it takes is a group of friends to come together and change someone else’s life," Thomas said. "You’d be really surprised, if you put that call out to your friends, how many people would be supportive of that idea.”