The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg do battle in New Hampshire




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The Democratic field is in a race to the finish ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary as the candidates look to put the disaster in Iowa behind them and try to separate themselves from their 2020 rivals in the coming days and weeks.


With about 24 hours until the polls open, it’s a two-man sprint for supremacy in the Granite State, as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight 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 giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.) 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 are once again expected to finish one-two in Tuesday’s primary. In a series of polls taken since last week’s Iowa caucuses, Sanders and Buttigieg are far and away the top two contenders to win the first-in-the-nation primary, taking at least 20 percent in each poll and keeping themselves clear of the field. 


While trying to keep the focus on his closing message to New Hampshirites, Sanders has come under increasing fire for his far-left stances, with his interview Sunday serving as a microcosm of what he is facing from his Democratic opponents. Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Sanders defended his policies and proposals, saying that the president is full of it when he says the Vermont Independent is a “communist.” 


“Obviously I am not a communist,” Sanders told host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceGovernors, health experts warn coronavirus restrictions must stay in place Public health expert: 'We are still at the very beginning of this outbreak' Mnuchin: US will bounce back after we 'kill this virus' and 'reopen this economy' MORE in response to a clip of Trump using the term in a recent interview, adding that Trump “maybe doesn’t know the difference” (The Hill).


The prospect of Sanders serving as the Democratic standard-bearer, though, has caused agita for some in the party who worry that a Trump versus Sanders match-up could result in the kind of drubbing Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the United Kingdom experienced in December.


The Hill: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? Romney warns Trump: Don't interfere with coronavirus relief oversight MORE says Sanders nomination would create “uphill climb” for other Democrats on the ballot.


FiveThirtyEight: Election update: The polling picture in New Hampshire is actually pretty clear.


The Hill: In New Hampshire, high anxiety about beating Trump.


The Daily Beast: Sanders backtracks on promise to release medical records: “I’m in good health.”


For Buttigieg, he is trying to rip away the centrist mantle from Biden and stake his claim in the race as the person to beat as the moderate lane continues to crowd (The Hill). Buttigieg continued to attract attention on Sunday though, as a crowd of 1,800 came out to see him in Nashua, N.H., one of his biggest of the campaign. 


While he’s not expected to challenge the top two, Biden remains the focus of intense scrutiny as he continues to push ahead in the wake of his underwhelming performance in Iowa. The former VP maintains that he will make his mark in the campaign in the next two contests — Nevada and South Carolina — which he indicated more clearly than ever during Friday’s debate. 


Over the weekend, the Biden campaign continued to level attacks against Buttigieg for his lack of experience and what it considers inconsequential work in the Indiana college town.


“We’re electing a president. What you’ve done matters,” the ad says near the end. 


Buttigieg took umbrage with the contents of the ad and has leaned into his mayoral tenure, as Jonathan Easley reports on the ground in New Hampshire.


“Mayors have to get things done,” Buttigieg said in Nashua on Sunday. “That problem-solving instinct that mayors have is just one reason why we have to start getting Washington to look like our best-run cities and towns instead of the other way around.”


The Associated Press: Buttigieg on defense as rivals aim to blunt his momentum.


The Hill: Buttigieg: Biden is right that I'm no Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's Campaign Report: Coronavirus forces Democrats to postpone convention Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters MORE, but “neither is he.”


The Washington Post: Sanders and Buttigieg aren’t competing for the same voters Tuesday. But they are competing, and fiercely.


Elsewhere, having slipped in polls in New Hampshire, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight 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 Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-Mass.) is maintaining that the state is not a must-win for her and that she expects a “long campaign” moving forward. 


“Look, the way I see this is it’s going to be a long campaign … We’ve built a campaign to go the distance,” she told host ABC News host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosActress Ali Wentworth, wife of ABC's George Stephanopoulos, tests positive for coronavirus: 'Pure misery' Sanders focuses on Biden's record, predicts Michigan victory as primary becomes two-man race Carson declines to 'preview' plan for virus-stricken ship's docking: 'We shouldn't have 16 people saying what the plan is' MORE after he noted that no Democrat has won the nomination after finishing outside the top-two in Iowa or New Hampshire (The Hill).


Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats 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 Democrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots MORE (D-Minn.) is also looking to capitalize off a strong showing in Iowa. According to multiple polls taken in recent days, the Minnesota Democrat has eclipsed both Warren and Biden — a result that would be a major boon to her campaign (The Washington Post). 


The Hill: Buttigieg takes delegate lead in Iowa after updated results released. MORE: Sanders campaign to request partial Iowa recanvass. 


The New York Times: Trump’s campaign team aims to win back suburban voters.


The Sunday Shows: 2020 Democrats make closing arguments in New Hampshire. 


The Hill: Democrats see chances rising for brokered convention.





WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Cut Medicare and Medicaid, but support health care for people in rural America? During any presidential election year, the incumbent president’s budget submission to Congress is a study in contrasts. It’s almost always doomed as a viable legislative vehicle while being gratefully seized as an election flotation device by the president’s own party. 


Later today, when Trump sends lawmakers his fiscal 2021 budget documents, Republicans will hail his ideas as their campaign agenda while House Democrats promise to block many of Trump’s priorities.


The Hill: The administration will seek a 6 percent cut in non-defense spending, breaking from a bipartisan spending agreement inked in August. Democratic lawmakers are already howling. The Trump budget includes $740.5 billion in proposed defense spending, but just $590 billion for domestic spending, which includes everything from health and education to transportation and foreign policy.


The Hill’s Niv Elis reports the administration will champion the president’s favored federal programs while sidestepping exploding federal deficits. Trump won’t be the first president with that approach as he once again asks Congress, for example, for $2 billion to build hundreds of miles of wall at the U.S.-Mexico border


Will Trump unveil clues about a second wave of GOP tax cuts (described by the White House as stimulus destined to land in some voters’ wallets later this year)? 


The Wall Street Journal: Trump wants to curb Medicare and Medicaid spending as well as foreign assistance in his proposed $4.8 trillion budget beginning in October, and he wants to hike funding for the military and veterans. The president will seek to eliminate up to $4.6 trillion in red ink forecast over a decade, but will not propose to balance the budget, believing that deficits on his watch are “manageable,” especially with the current low interest rates.


Axios: Trump will ask Congress for $28.9 billion for the Pentagon to modernize nuclear delivery systems and $19.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration — a nearly 20 percent increase over his previous budget request to “modernize” the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal.


Forbes and The Daily Caller: The president’s fiscal road map will include a chapter calling for an end to wasteful federal spending, corruption, fraud and taxpayer abuse.


USA Today: Trump is eyeing the states he’ll need to capture to win a second term. He’d like to spend billions of dollars on health care, business loans and infrastructure specifically targeted to rural America.


The Miami Herald: For Florida, a must-win state for the president and in a region close to his Mar-a-Lago property, Trump wants increased spending for the environmentally sensitive Everglades.


The Economist: A look at what Trump has done with the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget provides a look at his thinking about health care.


The Wall Street Journal: Trump will propose a 12 percent boost in spending for NASA, where he’s created a Space Force and wants to see the United States compete militarily with China and Russia in space.


The administration’s budget will be released at noon, and the House and Senate Budget committees will dissect the fine print during separate hearings this week.





CONGRESS: Impeachment might be over, but the investigations into the president will not stop, as House Democrats intend to continue to probe his administration. 


According to The Hill’s Olivia Beavers, House Democrats say that they have no intention to ease off their investigations and are weighing whether to pursue new leads of possible wrongdoing or press forward with probes that were already underway when the impeachment took off in earnest in September. 


No matter which route Democrats take, they insist there is more wrongdoing to be uncovered and that it’s a matter of when they find it, not if, and how grave it is.


Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE, I still believe, is a one-man crime wave, and we can’t let him get away with all of his other offenses against the Constitution and the people,” said Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben Raskin20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Senators urge Congress to include election funds in coronavirus stimulus Vote at home saves our democracy and saves lives MORE (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. 


Democrats have expressed concern that Trump will feel emboldened by his acquittal and even more untouchable in the coming months. But it won’t slow the work by Democrats, who are awaiting the outcome of several lawsuits, including those targeting Trump’s financial records at Deutsche Bank and former White House counsel Don McGahn.  


Across the Capitol, senators are scouring for bipartisan bills and are hopeful to push some through the upper chamber as they try to put the divisive impeachment fight behind them.


As Jordain Carney writes, the push for new, bipartisan legislation comes as the trial strained across-the-aisle friendships and poured gasoline on partisan tensions in a chamber that has become increasingly majoritarian in recent years.The looming general election could threaten to inflame the sides once again, though some top lawmakers are urging members to put down their swords for the time being.


“Hopefully the better angels of people will begin to emerge, and we’ll see a willingness to focus on a common agenda,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump's magical thinking won't stop the coronavirus pandemic Lawmakers brace for more coronavirus legislation after trillion bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (S.D.), the No. 2- ranked Senate Republican. “I think both sides have things they need to get done.”


However, it is unknown what the Senate could move forward on legislatively. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight 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 On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans 13 things to know for today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) has already teed up a number of judicial nominees that the chamber will consider this week.


Also making matters difficult is the president, who said on Friday that “there’s a lot of evil” on the Democratic side, indicating that moving ahead on bipartisan issues is not possible. 


“They’re not constructive people,” he said of Democratic lawmakers. Trump also took aim at multiple senators in tweets over the weekend, including Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPoliticians mourn the death of Bill Withers Pressure mounts for national parks closure amid coronavirus White House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package MORE (D-W.Va.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general 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 On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans MORE (R-Utah).


The New York Times: Mitt Romney Is a “Judas” to many Republicans. But not in Utah.


Gerald F. Seib: A bitter impeachment ends; its divisions may live on.


The New York Times: How McConnell came to be seen inside the Republican Party as a “fighter.”


> Investigations: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE (R-S.C.) said on Sunday that his panel will investigate the Bidens, Burisma and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process and that he wants to know the ID of the whistleblower who kicked off the House impeachment effort in September. 


Graham also told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan that he wants to ask Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanAmerica's diplomats deserve our respect White House withdraws nomination for Pentagon budget chief who questioned Ukraine aid hold Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? MORE if he “leaked” information from inside the National Security Council to the whistleblower. The South Carolina Republican defended Trump’s decision to reassign Vindman and fire Gordon Sondland, the former U.S. ambassador to the European Union (CBS News). 


Graham also said he spoke with Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All eyes on today's unemployment numbers Trump announces enhanced counternarcotics operation at coronavirus briefing MORE over the weekend and is publicly conveying to Trump attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBiden campaign blasts Twitter for refusing to sanction retaliatory 'hoax' Trump ad Google to spend .5 million in fight against coronavirus misinformation Hillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike MORE and others that if they have any information from Ukraine, it should be sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee, to the Justice Department or to U.S. intelligence agencies, not to the Senate Judiciary Committee as Giuliani has tried to do already. 


“I’m not going to be played,” Graham said, arguing that the information they claim to have is likely coming from Russia.


The New York Times: The Justice Department is reviewing information from Giuliani on the Bidens, Graham says.




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!


Enough about Bloomberg's sushi: Why did New Yorkers elect him three times? By Joe Ferullo, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Is dumping Donald Trump for Democrats worth a recession? By Kristin Tate, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Alex Lawson, executive director with Social Security Works, to discuss Biden’s record when it comes to the nation’s most popular federal program; Jennifer Holdsworth, a surrogate for the Buttigieg campaign, who outlines the former mayor’s strategy in New Hampshire; and Daniel Nichanian, editor and fellow with The Justice Collaborative, who discusses voter issues tied to the New Hampshire primary and last week’s Iowa caucuses. Catch all the news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


The House meets at noon.


The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. to consider the nomination of Andrew Brasher, 38, to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.


The president will speak about business to the nation’s governors gathered at the White House. Trump will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe new war for soft power hegemony Organizing evacuations during a shutdown The Saudi-Russia oil fight is the last thing the economy needs in a pandemic MORE. The president will meet at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office with parents whose children were killed or wounded in a mass shooting in 2018  at Parkland High School in Florida. Trump will hold a reelection rally in Manchester, N.H., at 7 p.m. 


The Office of Management and Budget will transmit Trump’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget to Congress at 12:30 p.m. The Budget will be available in print, and digitally on and


Vice President Pence speaks this morning to the nation’s governors at the White House along with the president. Pence at noon will travel to New Hampshire to participate in a bus tour that begins with a law enforcement campaign event in Portsmouth and ends in Manchester at a Trump-Pence reelection rally. The vice president returns to Washington tonight.


This week, free tickets are available for the National Archives’s screening and panel discussion on Wednesday for “Race for the White House,” a documentary series produced by CNN that begins with “Obama v. McCain.” A moderated discussion about the 2008 race as well as current political news will include David AxelrodDavid AxelrodTrump seeks to sell public on his coronavirus response Polls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the APTA - Biden looks for Super Tuesday surge; coronavirus fears heighten MORE, an adviser to former President Obama, and Charlie Black, a political strategist for the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDemocratic super PAC targets McSally over coronavirus response GOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE (R-Ariz.). Information for the 7 p.m. event on Wednesday in Washington is HERE.


The Hill’s Campaign Report newsletter is now daily, with reporting from our colleagues on the politics team. Sign up to receive the latest news each evening in your inbox:


Coronavirus: The death toll from the new virus has exceeded the 774 people who died from the SARS outbreak in 2003, which also began in China. The number of people killed by the coronavirus as of today is 910, with at least 40,573 infected, according to the latest data. Experts had hoped the number of new cases of the coronavirus had eased somewhat because of quarantines put in place in China and elsewhere since last month, but today the spread of the respiratory disease appears to be back on the rise (The Associated Press). Officials with the World Health Organization cautioned that the city of Wuhan and Hubei province remain in the midst of a “very intense outbreak” (The New York Times). 


There have been a dozen confirmed cases of infection in the United States, and one U.S. citizen living in Wuhan died there on Saturday. According to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the person was 60 years old and died at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan. Two people familiar with the matter said the patient was a woman and had underlying health conditions (The New York Times). 


Lawmakers and medical experts believe it is important for the United States to have resources on hand for any domestic coronavirus emergency and HHS notified Congress on Sunday that the administration will spend up to $66 million in its initial response (The Hill). In the United States, medical specialists believe the risks to the general population of contracting the new coronavirus are low (The New York Times). 


Trump praised President Xi Jinping of China on Friday for his handling of the epidemic and said the U.S. government is working with China. However, U.S. officials have said Beijing has been slow to act on offers of help from the World Health Organization and U.S. virologists and epidemiologists who have been waiting for the go-ahead to fly into China. 


Scientists, writing in two detailed papers, disclosed what’s known to date about the transmission and lethality of the coronavirus in China (The New York Times).  


Two cruise lines temporarily decided not to accept passengers who are passport holders from China (Miami Herald).  





Afghanistan: An attacker wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire over the weekend and killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded six in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. The shooter was killed. In 2019 in Afghanistan, two Americans died and three were wounded in separate “insider attacks” on U.S. forces (The Associated Press). 


Political disinformation: The Atlantic offers a roundup of “censorship through noise,” the weaponization of information, and forensics behind assaults on truth, trust and democracy, by McKay Coppins. … Ideas spread by QAnon, a “community” for conspiracy theorists and the gullible on the internet, are being pushed by people in power into the mainstream political arena (The Associated Press and The New York Times). … Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says he opposes mail-in voting for November On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans The bipartisan neutering of the Congressional Budget Office MORE (D-Calif.) clashed with Facebook and Twitter over a selectively edited and she said misleading video posted by Trump. Both companies refused to take the video off their platforms (The New York Times). 


State watch: Virginia’s General Assembly is poised to aid undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses, a policy opposed by Republicans in Washington. Proposals to allow undocumented immigrant students to pay cheaper in-state college tuition, bar local police across the state from asking crime victims about immigration status and create a new office for immigrant services have also sailed toward approval under the Democratic majority in Richmond (The Washington Post). 


If only Brexit had moved this fast: A British Airways 747 flight set a new transatlantic record from New York to London over the weekend in less than five hours (1 hour and 38 minutes ahead of schedule) because of weather (“bomb cyclone” winds) that produced some amazing acceleration along the way. A Virgin Atlantic flight wasn’t far behind. The planes reached maximum speeds of more than 830 mph (One Mile at a Time).


And finally … The Oscars on Sunday night went to … Bong Joon-ho, whose film “Parasite,” captured golden statuettes for best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best international film feature. The South Korean writer-producer-director tied Walt Disney for the most Oscars amassed in one night, and his social thriller became the first foreign-language film to capture the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award for best picture (NBC News).


“I’m going to drink until next morning,” he said in English several times as he walked onstage to thank his American admirers.


The host-free 92nd annual Oscars show included some brief political commentary from Brad Pitt, winner in the supporting actor category for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” and a quirky speech about lending “voice to the voiceless” from Joaquin Phoenix, who in 2008 retired from acting only to return to capture this year’s award for best actor for his performance in “Joker.”  


Renée Zellweger won as best actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland in “Judy,” and Laura Dern walked away with the statuette for best supporting actress in “Marriage Story.” 


The evening’s presentations were peppered with digs about whether the Academy is offering sufficient accolades to female directors and filmmakers. Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir became the first woman to win an Academy Award for best original score in two decades. Thanking the Academy for its tribute to her work in "Joker," she added, "To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music bubbling within — please speak up. We need to hear your voices."  


To no one’s surprise “Toy Story 4” won in the animated feature film category, and sentimental favorite Elton John (for music) with longtime songwriter Bernie Taupin (for lyrics) won the Oscar for best original song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman,” a musical romp through the pop star’s life and career. 


A list of Academy winners is HERE.