The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It’s Thursday! 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 daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Two articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE were officially transmitted to the Senate on Wednesday as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Pelosi, Democrats using coronavirus to push for big tax cuts for blue state residents US watchdog vows 'aggressive' oversight after intel official fired MORE (D-Calif.) announced the seven lawmakers who will serve as prosecutors during a trial that begins in earnest on Tuesday.


The historic process of prosecuting and defending Trump’s actions nine months before voters choose the next president will impact every branch of government and American politics for years to come. 


The articles alleging abuse of power were physically delivered to the Senate on Wednesday evening in a rare ceremonial procession led by Cheryl Johnson, the House clerk, and Paul Irving, the House sergeant-at-arms, shortly after the House voted to advance them nearly along party lines. The only Democrat to vote against the transmission was Rep. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonSNAP, airlines among final hurdles to coronavirus stimulus deal Pelosi: House 'not prepared' to vote remotely on coronavirus relief bill Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection MORE (D-Minn.) (The Hill). 


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate GOP leaders are scheduled to officially accept the articles today at noon.


The processional came hours after Pelosi announced the group of managers, headlined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' Democrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint MORE (D-Calif.), whom she named lead manager, and 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.). Both committee chairmen played integral roles in the impeachment process since it was launched in late September (The Hill). 


As Olivia Beavers and Mike Lillis write, most of the others selected for the high-profile role were also widely considered to be leading candidates, including Reps. 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.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsBiden associates reach out to Holder about VP search Biden confirms he's considering Whitmer for VP Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE (D-Fla.), a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike Trump says election proposals in coronavirus stimulus bill would hurt Republican chances Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children MORE (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Judiciary panel and the only member of Congress to have participated in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.


Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order The Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington Overnight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers MORE (D-Texas), and Jason CrowJason CrowPentagon gets heat over protecting service members from coronavirus Here are the lawmakers who have self-quarantined as a precaution Trump set to confront his impeachment foes MORE (D-Colo.) were the final two picks for the team and were surprise selections. Garcia, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, and Crow are both freshmen. Crow, an ex-Army Ranger, does not sit on any of the six committees with jurisdiction over impeachment and did not support Pelosi for Speaker. 


The Democratic team of managers is nearly half the size and more diverse that the all-white-male House GOP team of managers during the impeachment trial of former President Clinton in 1999 (The Washington Post).


The Hill: Chief Justice John Roberts, senators to be sworn in today for impeachment trial. 


The looming trial is a major test for McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBiden calls on Trump to appoint coronavirus 'supply commander' Democrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Schumer doubles down in call for Trump to name coronavirus supply czar MORE (D-N.Y.), shaping up to be the most defining battle on Capitol Hill ahead of the general election, according to The Hill’s Alexander Bolton


During Trump’s term, each senator has notched a major endeavor. McConnell prevailed to secure the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughProgressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus Trump nominates former Kavanaugh clerk for influential appeals court Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC MORE, while Schumer won a legislative battle to retain the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. 


The GOP leader is appealing to Kentucky voters to be reelected in November while also keeping the GOP conference in unison. Schumer is hunting for Republicans willing to buck their party to remove Trump, a highly unlikely prospect. Pelosi was unable to swing a single Republican vote last month. 


The Hill: Seven things to know about the Trump trial.


Bloomberg News: Trump’s Senate trial kicks off with GOP moderates under pressure.


The Hill: Trump accuses Democrats of a “con job” as impeachment managers are announced.


Up in the air is how the Senate treats newly released Ukraine-related documents disclosed on Tuesday by House Democrats and initially turned over to House investigators by Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Biden campaign blasts Twitter for refusing to sanction retaliatory 'hoax' Trump ad Google to spend .5 million in fight against coronavirus misinformation MORE


Parnas gave his first national television interview on Wednesday night, telling MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowMaddow hits Trump's 'happy talk' on virus: 'I would stop putting those briefings on live TV' New York City reports 923 coronavirus cases, 10 deaths Biden faces tricky test in unifying party MORE that he warned a top aide of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the United States would block millions of dollars in aid if it didn’t announce investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' MORE and his son Hunter Biden. Parnas said he delivered the warning at the direction of Giuliani (The Hill).


“Rudy told me after meeting the president at the White House — he called me — the message was, it wasn’t just military aid, it was all aid,” Parnas said. “Basically, the relationship would be sour. We would stop giving them any kind of aid.” 


Parnas also told the Ukranians that no U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceReligious groups battle orders to close services Watch live: Coronavirus task force holds press briefing Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response MORE, would attend Zelensky’s inauguration. While Pence was not in attendance, other U.S. officials were (The Wall Street Journal).


As Laura Kelly and others write, the documents, which included text messages, hand written notes and official correspondence, suggest a more intense campaign in Ukraine allegedly sanctioned by the president and targeting former Ukraine ambassador Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchAmerica's diplomats deserve our respect House panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks MORE


The documents may not be the only new evidence in the wings. Nadler said that “there may very well be” more information relevant to the Trump trial tied to Giuliani and his associates.


The Hill: Parnas: U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed to clear path for investigations into Bidens.


The Associated Press: Giuliani associate: Trump had knowledge of Ukraine pressure.


The Washington Post: 4 takeaways from the Lev Parnas interview and revelations.





ADMINISTRATION & WHITE HOUSE: In an agreement signed on Wednesday by the United States and China, Beijing committed to buy an additional $200 billion worth of American goods and services by 2021. The deal is also expected to ease some tariffs China slapped on U.S. products.


The additional purchases are to include as much as $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products over two years, an important selling point in rural states Trump hopes to win in November. China also committed in the agreement to buy airplanes, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas. But what happens at the end of two years remains gauzy.


Reuters: China trade deal gives Trump a campaign win.


READ text of the 96-page agreement HERE (MarketWatch).


The New York Times: What’s in (and not in) the agreement.


The accord, described by the administration as the first of two phases of trade and intellectual property negotiations between the two largest economies in the world, keeps in place at least through the election most of the tariffs Trump placed on $360 billion in Chinese products.


The president — during a White House signing ceremony that included Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (pictured) — called the continuation of U.S. tariffs “leverage” to ensure that China lives up to its word (The Hill).


“I will agree to take those tariffs off if we agree on phase two,” Trump said, adding that the next round of negotiations will resume “very shortly” with China. “We don’t expect to have a phase three.”


While the president boasted the pact is “the biggest deal in the world so far,” trade experts described “phase one” as a step toward managed trade with China, but one that paused more than resolved a tariff war that has cost American consumers and hurt the U.S. farming and manufacturing sectors (The Washington Post).


The Associated Press: Senate expected to give Trump back-to-back trade victories.





CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: The emerging feud between Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report We're at war and need wartime institutions to keep our economy producing what's necessary Larry David: Bernie Sanders should drop out of 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (D-Mass.), two of the highest-profile liberal Democrats, is sending shockwaves through the progressive stratosphere as concerns emerge that neither candidate could win the Democratic nomination unless they knock it off. 


A day after the seventh Democratic debate, audio emerged of the two trading accusations of lying during a confrontation immediately following the confab. The dispute centered on the pair’s December 2018 meeting, during which Sanders allegedly told Warren that a woman cannot be elected president, a charge Sanders has refuted vehemently. 


“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren told Sanders, repeating the line once more.


“Let’s not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion,” Sanders said, adding, “You called me a liar” (The Hill).


As Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes report, the debate incidents have made progressives incredibly uneasy as they had hoped that the gathering would give the two an opportunity to put their differences behind them. The opposite has happened though, and the timing couldn’t be worse as less than three weeks remain until the Iowa caucuses. 


Sanders supporters said they were upset with Warren for what they consider betrayal and a low blow over a misunderstanding. 


“I felt a knife in the heart,” said Michael Moore, a filmmaker and Sanders backer.


They’re also angry at Warren’s effort to frame herself as the most electable candidate when she boasted that she and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Democrats fear coronavirus impact on November turnout Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus MORE (D-Minn.), the two women on the debate stage, won contests against Republican candidates over a span of 30 years. The remark led to an awkward back-and-forth between Warren and Sanders when he tried to correct her.


“Thirty years ago, she was a Republican,” said Nina Turner, a co-chairwoman for Sanders’s campaign.


The New York Times: Warren told Sanders after debate, “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”


The Washington Post: How a Sanders debate-watch party reacted to Warren’s attacks.


While progressives worry about an escalation of tensions, those supporting Biden and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession MORE watch from a distance with glee. 


“I’ve never been happier about where Biden stands in this,” said one top Biden supporter before weighing in on the Sanders-Warren kerfuffle. “The longer that happens, the better for Joe.”


The Washington Post: Warren-Sanders rift fuels a Democratic split and worries party leaders.


The Hill: Iowa Democrats view flawed front-runners with anxiety.


The Associated Press: New Iowa caucus rules could spark clashing claims of victory.


The Hill: Progressives raise red flags over health insurer donations. 




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!


Elizabeth Warren moves bigly to out-Trump Trump, by Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Is America on the wrong side in the Middle East? by Marik von Rennenkampff, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features The Hill’s staff writer Rafael Bernal, reporting on Democrats’ ground game in Nevada to win over Latino voters; Wendell Potter, president of Medicare for All (NOW!), on health care, health insurance and policy options; and Hanna Trudo, Daily Beast reporter, on the 2020 presidential race and divisions among Democrats about Sanders’s place in the top tier of candidates. Coverage starts at 9 a.m. ET at or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.


The House meets at 9 a.m. 


The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. The Senate impeachment trial of Trump begins with the reading of the impeachment articles and swearing-in of Chief Justice Roberts and senators. Debate on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement also is expected.


The president receives his intelligence briefing at 11:45 a.m. and discusses prayer in public schools at 1:45 p.m. 


Vice President Pence travels to Tampa for a GOP reelection event at 1:30 p.m. and to Kissimmee, Fla., to headline a “Latinos for Trump” event at 6 p.m. accompanied by second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceWhite House: Anyone 'in close proximity' to Trump or Pence will be tested for coronavirus UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus Trump says first lady tested negative for coronavirus MORE


Economic indicator: The Census Bureau releases data at 8:30 a.m. about U.S. retail and food sales in November. Analysts previously described slowing consumer spending at the end of 2019.


The Hill hosts an event, Mayors Matter: Deepening the Generational Compact in Communities,” on Tuesday in Washington from 2 to 4 p.m. with influential mayors from Michigan, Kansas and Florida and community leaders who describe contributions of older adults and the societal benefits of intergenerational bonds. Find information HERE.  


Russia: Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister under President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming MORE (pictured), announced on Wednesday that he and the entire Russian government would resign. In a televised statement on Russian state TV, Putin, 67, proposed a surprise constitutional overhaul that is expected to eventually boost the powers of the prime minister, a shake-up that signaled Putin’s intention to carve out a new position for himself after his current term as president ends in four years. The Kremlin said he named Mikhail Mishustin, the government’s tax chief, as Russia's new prime minister (The Associated Press). Putin, who has been either president or prime minister continuously since 1999, could retain power and influence beyond 2024 (Reuters). 


The Washington Post: What’s behind the surprise Russian government shake-up?





Courts: A federal judge in Maryland on Wednesday blocked a Trump executive order that would allow state and local governments to refuse to settle refugees (The Hill). 


Crossword puzzles: We’re living in the “golden age” of passion for the brain teasers. Crosswords are more up to date, they’re livelier, they feel more modern. I think they’re attracting a wider audience than ever,” says Will Shortz, editor of the crosswords at The New York Times, which boasts 600,000 separate subscribers for its storied puzzles (USA Today’s Journalist Dan Avery described the addictive attraction in a Wednesday essay (The New York Times). 



And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! 


⚾ Inspired by recent suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball against the Houston Astros over stealing signs, we’re eager for some smart guesses about the history of high-profile MLB suspensions.  


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


In 1990, which MLB owner was permanently banned (though eventually reinstated) after hiring a gambler to dig up dirt on future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield? 


  1. Marge Schott
  2. George Steinbrenner
  3. Ted Turner
  4. Peter Angelos


In the summer of 1989, which MLB commissioner permanently banned Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose for betting on baseball?


  1. Fay Vincent
  2. Bud Selig
  3. Peter Ueberroth
  4. Bart Giamatti


In 1921, eight members of the Chicago White Sox — dubbed the “Black Sox” — were banned from baseball for life for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series. Decades later, the suspended players were the subjects of two movies: “Eight Men Out” and _____?


  1. “The Natural”
  2. “Field of Dreams”
  3. “Major League”
  4. “For Love of the Game”


Less than five months after he appeared before Congress in March 2005 to declare, “I have never used steroids, period,” which ballplayer tested positive for an anabolic steroid and was suspended for 10 days?


  1. Roger Clemens
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Rafael Palmeiro
  4. Jose Canseco