SPONSORED:

The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending

                          Presented by TikTok

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!



Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 463,477; Tuesday, 465,072.

 

The total number of U.S. confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpassed 27 million.



House Democrats today begin to lay out their case to Senate jurors alleging that former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE last month encouraged a mob to attack the Capitol as well as the lawmakers inside. His actions, they will argue using video, violated his oath of office and amounted to an insurrection against the U.S. government that warrants conviction, even if Trump is now a private citizen (The Hill). 

 

Trump’s lawyers, including Bruce Castor (pictured below), are demanding dismissal (The Hill) while blasting the trial as “political theater” (The Hill). House Democrats respond that Trump is wrong that he cannot be convicted of an impeachment charge once he’s left office (The Hill).

 

The Hill: Legal scholars are not all of like mind about whether the indictment in this week’s Trump trial is constitutional, although many, including some prominent conservative legal experts, say the Framers intended that the Constitution’s impeachment punishment extend to former officials.   

 

What leaders in the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle appear to agree on is that a fast-paced trial is optimal. It’s their belief that the outcome is all but certain: They predict Trump will likely be acquitted, as he was by senators at the conclusion of his first impeachment trial a year ago (The Hill).

 

The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes in The Memo that the Trump trial poses political risks right and left. “I think both parties realize it is in their self-interest to put this behind them. It is a political calculation,” said Matt Gorman, a former communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Democrats realize they have a very tight timetable on the COVID package and Republicans don’t want to spend weeks talking about Donald Trump and his involvement in Jan. 6.”

 

Politico: Trump aides expect the former president to emerge in public after the trial to seek revenge against Republicans he believes crossed him.

 

The Hill: Georgia officials on Monday confirmed a “fact finding” inquiry into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results.

 

Reuters: Fox News asks for dismissal of $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit filed by election technology company Smartmatic alleging the network made false claims that it rigged the 2020 election.

 

The Associated Press: Thomas Caldwell, 66, who worked for the FBI after retiring from the Navy, according to his lawyer, is accused by authorities of being a leader in the far-right Oath Keepers militia and involved in the Capitol siege. Caldwell denies being part of the group.

 

 

 

 

> COVID-19 relief: House Democrats on Monday released legislation proposing a round of $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 and couples earning $150,000, deciding against cutting back the thresholds for who should receive monies in the next round of stimulus checks. 

 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTrump lawyers argue NY tax return law no longer applies to him Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure Top Democrat calling for expansion of child care support MORE (D-Mass.) released the blueprint on Monday night. The development comes after an outcry from progressives who opposed changing the threshold to those making up to $50,000 and couples making up to $100,000, as supported by Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats 'Just say no' just won't work for Senate Republicans The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE (D-W.Va.).

 

Also included in the package is a $15-per-hour minimum wage, a win for House progressives. However, the provision is not likely to survive in a final bill, as the Senate parliamentarian is likely to rule that a wage hike cannot be passed by Congress through reconciliation (The Hill). 

 

The Hill and The Washington Post: House Democrats’ COVID-19 relief bill includes $1,400 checks, as proposed by the president.

 

House Democrats also unveiled legislation to provide millions of families with up to $3,600 in direct payments per child, expanding on the child tax credit provision included in the coronavirus relief measure advancing through Congress. The estimated price tag is $117 billion per year.

 

The tax credit included in President BidenJoe BidenBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Olympics, climate on the agenda for Biden meeting with Japanese PM Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal would be increased for one year. But lawmakers want to make the increased amount permanent and send monthly payments directly to households, rather than paying in a lump sum at tax time. It is one of several competing proposals in the House and Senate dealing with the child tax credit (Yahoo Finance and Insider).

 

The Hill: Democrats include temporary Affordable Care Act expansion in a House COVID-19 relief bill to be marked up later this week.

 

Meanwhile, the stylings of the stimulus package could be affected by the arrival of two new Democratic moderates in the Senate — Sen. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperOn The Trail: How marijuana went mainstream Senators press for answers in Space Command move decision Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants MORE (Colo.) and Mark KellyMark KellyWall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform MORE (Ariz.) — who, along with Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), will temper just how aggressively Democrats can push ahead with the plan. 

 

The strengthened moderate rump group was on display last week when those four and Sens. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterLobbying world The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate Lawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job MORE (D-Mont.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSchumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (D-N.H.), Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes MORE (D-Mich.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSerious about climate change? Get serious about agriculture Five things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand electric vehicle charging tax credit MORE (D-Mich.) voted to block illegal immigrants from getting direct stimulus payments, as The Hill’s Alexander Bolton notes.

 

The Hill: Senate Democrats likely to face key test of unity on 2022 budget.

 

Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal: Biden’s bipartisan hopes need not die now.

  

The Hill: Investors are banking on Biden's proposal to buoy an economic rebound in the second half of 2021. A setback in Congress could undermine the Wall Street rally. 

 

 

 



LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: Rep. Ron WrightRon WrightJulia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband GOP candidate sues Texas Tribune amid uproar over comments on Chinese immigrants GOP lawmakers pull support of candidate following comments about Chinese immigrants MORE (R-Texas) on Sunday died at age 67, becoming the first sitting member of Congress to succumb to complications from COVID-19.

 

Wright announced on Jan. 21 that he contracted the disease and said that he was dealing with mild symptoms. Days later, he was transferred to Baylor Hospital for treatment. In 2019, the late Texas congressman was diagnosed with lung cancer, putting him in a high-risk category.

 

“Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue. Ron and Susan dedicated their lives to fighting for individual freedom, Texas values, and above all, the lives of the unborn,” his office said in a statement (The Hill). 

 

In late December, Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-La.), who had not yet been sworn in as a House member, died of COVID-19 at age 41 only weeks after winning his election (NBC News).

 

The Hill: Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhite House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE is in quarantine after a possible COVID-19 exposure.

 

> School reopenings: The messaging surrounding reopening classrooms for in-person instruction has proved problematic for the Biden administration, creating stumbling blocks less than three weeks after taking office.

 

As The Hill’s Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes write, the administration is trying to navigate the tricky politics of school reopenings as elected officials clash with teachers unions in Democratic strongholds across the country over how quickly to reopen classrooms.

 

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson delay prompts criticism of CDC panel | Pfizer CEO says third dose of COVID-19 vaccine 'likely' needed within one year | CDC finds less than 1 percent of fully vaccinated people got COVID-19 Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE has publicly talked down a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointing to schools that observe social distancing and mask wearing as low transmission zones. Psaki has also brushed back CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyWatch live: Fauci, other health officials testify on pandemic White House on Whitmer's handling of pandemic: She's shown 'serious' grit The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure MORE on several occasions for stating that the science supports the notion that teachers can return to classrooms before they’ve been vaccinated.

 

The situation has Republicans out for blood and arguing that Democrats are letting politics and not science drive policy on school reopenings, with students across the country struggling as they deal with virtual learning for nearly a full year.

 

The Associated Press: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) lifts mask mandate without public health input.

 

CNBC: New York aims to reopen Broadway, large venues, with extensive COVID-19 testing, Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York Philharmonic gives first public performance in more than a year Ron Kim on nursing home immunity repeal: It was critical 'to hold these facilities accountable' NY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney MORE (D) says.

 

 

 

 

> Cases vs. variants: Daily cases of COVID-19 continued to fall on Monday as the U.S. reported 79,000 new infections, marking the second day in a row of sub-100,000 cases since early November, marking a positive trend in the U.S.’s battle with the virus. 

 

Despite the downtick in cases, the progress could be turned on its head as variants of the virus spread across the U.S. and become more ingrained. While cases and hospitalizations are dropping, they are still at extremely high levels, and they could start rising again as a variant first identified in Great Britain spreads, as The Hill’s Peter Sullivan writes. According to a study, the U.K. variant is doubling every 10 days in the U.S. and could become the predominant strain by next month, putting the onus on the U.S. to ramp up vaccinations and mitigation techniques in the coming weeks. experts say.

 

The Hill: Health officials warn COVID-19 eradication unlikely.

 

The Associated Press: New variants raise worry about COVID-19 virus reinfections.

 

Reuters: Does the world need new COVID-19 vaccines? “Jury is out,” Oxford's vaccine trial chief says.

 

 

 



A MESSAGE FROM TIKTOK

Empowering Parents on Safer Internet Day

 

TikTok is a place for everyone, from Gen Z to grandparents. This Safer Internet Day, we’re focusing on our tools to support parents.

 

That includes our Family Pairing features, which let parents and guardians manage their family's content and privacy settings, and create the experience that’s right for them.

 

Visit our Safety Center to learn more



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Senate GOP opens door to earmarks Five takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal MORE (R-Ala.), 86, announced on Monday that he will not run for reelection to a seventh term in the Senate, becoming the fourth Senate Republican to decide against a bid in 2022 (WTVY and The Hill). 

 

“Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United State Senate in 2022. For everything, there is a season,” Shelby said in a statement. “Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all.” 

 

Shelby, the top Senate GOP appropriator, made the decision amid speculation that he could retire after a lengthy career in the upper chamber. Once a conservative Democrat, Shelby switched parties in 1994 and has helmed top committee posts throughout his time in office, including the Rules and Intelligence panels. 

 

News of his pending retirement has also sparked questions about who could run to fill his seat in the ruby-red state. As The Hill’s Julia Manchester writes, Reps. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - World mourns the death of Prince Philip The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (R-Ala.) and Gary PalmerGary James PalmerMo Brooks launches Senate bid in Alabama Former Trump officials eye bids for political office The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (R-Ala.), Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), and Shelby’s former chief of staff Katie Boyd Britt are considered top contenders. 

 

The Hill: Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat.

 

The Associated Press: Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim GriffinJohn (Tim) Timothy GriffinTrump faces test of power with early endorsements Trump announces new tranche of endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (R) drops a gubernatorial bid to run for attorney general, highlighting Trump's continued power in the GOP.

 

Politico: New Jersey’s Phil Murphy (D) is the only governor up for reelection. The pandemic may haunt him.

 

 

 

 

******

 

ADMINISTRATION: The Senate on Monday voted 87 to 7 to confirm Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughOvernight Defense: Biden officially rolls out Afghanistan withdrawal plan | Probe finds issues with DC Guard helicopter use during June protests Congress must address the toxic exposure our veterans have endured Veterans shouldn't have to wait for quality care MORE, a former White House chief of staff to former President Obama, to be secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department (The Hill). McDonough is an experienced government manager but not a military veteran (The Washington Post). 

 

The vice president will ceremonially swear in McDonough at 1 p.m. at the White House.

 

The “no” votes came from GOP Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Republican lawmakers reintroduce bill to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE of Missouri, Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Republican lawmakers reintroduce bill to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE of Arkansas, Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter' Tim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa Exclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee MORE of Iowa, Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallCruz no longer wearing mask in Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE of Kansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Ted Cruz of Texas. A handful of GOP senators, some of whom are interested in running for president in 2024, have voted against many of Biden’s nominees to date. Hawley has voted against confirming all of them. 

 

 

 

 

> Justice Department: NBC News reports that Biden will ask nearly all Trump-era U.S. attorneys to resign. The process could start as early as today.



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

Corporations should stop funding climate science deniers in Congress, by Elliott Negin, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3jwqqrp

 

We must protect women’s sports, by Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure Nikki Haley says if Trump runs for president in 2024 then she won't Democrat: 'Registration, engagement' are keys to toppling Sen. Tim Scott in South Carolina MORE, opinion contributor, National Review. https://bit.ly/3p8Oq5q



WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

 

The Senate convenes at 1 p.m. and will begin the Trump impeachment trial. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a confirmation hearing at 9:15 a.m. for Neera TandenNeera TandenFive ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet White House delays release of budget plan MORE to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. 

 

The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. Biden, Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenTreasury announces COVID-19 relief oversight office Washington Post reporter explains how taxes in Biden infrastructure plan would affect multinational corporations Republicans can't handle the truth about taxes MORE will meet with business leaders in the Oval Office at 1:45 p.m. to discuss the administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure. 

 

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 12:45 p.m.

 

INVITATIONS to The Hill’s Virtually Live events

  TODAY at 1 p.m., “Complex Generics & the Prescription Drug Landscape.” Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (D-Vt.) and Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieLawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs MORE (R-Ky.) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Sally Choe talk with The Hill's Steve Clemons about how complex generic medical alternatives can impact and potentially enhance the American health care system. RSVP HERE

 

  Thursday at 1 p.m., “COVID-19 & the Opioid Epidemic.” Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure Democrats look to impose capital gains tax at death MORE (D-R.I.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanKellyanne Conway joins Ohio Senate candidate's campaign OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Senate confirms Biden's pick to lead White House environmental council MORE (R-Ohio), Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyThe Memo: Hunter Biden and the politics of addiction OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins | EPA asks court to nix Trump rule limiting GHG regs | Green group asks regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying  Lawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack MORE (R-W.Va.) and a panel of experts will discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the opioid epidemic and the path to saving lives. RSVP HERE

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EST at Rising on YouTube



A MESSAGE FROM TIKTOK

Empowering Parents on Safer Internet Day

 

TikTok is a place for everyone, from Gen Z to grandparents. This Safer Internet Day, we’re focusing on our tools to support parents.

 

That includes our Family Pairing features, which let parents and guardians manage their family's content and privacy settings, and create the experience that’s right for them.

 

Visit our Safety Center to learn more



ELSEWHERE

COURTS: Even with the challenges of a narrowly divided Senate, Biden has opportunities to try to counter Trump’s success at filling the judiciary because a growing number of federal judges have announced upcoming departures. There are currently 57 vacancies in the federal district and appellate courts and another 20 seats that will become vacant in the coming months. At least 25 of those vacancies were announced since Biden’s inauguration (The Hill).  

 

U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Thomas Donohue's sudden departure as CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce comes just weeks into Biden’s presidency as the powerful business lobbying organization adapts to the Democratic-led Congress and White House. Chamber President Suzanne Clark is set to replace Donohue, who is leaving more than a year earlier than he previously announced after more than two decades at the helm. Clark will set the tone for the Chamber's relations with the new administration and Capitol Hill (The Hill).

 

STATE WATCH: The Biden administration is seeking to withdraw a federal lawsuit challenging California’s net neutrality law. The Justice Department Monday filed to dismiss the case, which the Trump administration launched in 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Telecommunications industry trade groups continue to challenge the law in the same court (Bloomberg Law). … The water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Fla., in Pinellas County was hacked and levels of sodium hydroxide (lye) set to a “dangerous” level, but the breach on Friday was caught before public safety was threatened, according to local and state authorities, the FBI, and the Secret Service, all of whom are involved in the investigation (WTSP).



THE CLOSER

And finally …   Social media is still burbling with superlatives about canine charmer Chunky Monkey, one of the stars of Sunday night’s Puppy Bowl XVII, a championship between adoptable dogs who played for “Team Ruff” and “Team Fluff” (New York Post … with video).

 

As The Cut reported, the black and white, 15-month-old Chunky Monkey is a mix of chow chow, irish red and white setter with a “gentle soul” and came from nonprofit Green Dogs Unleashed in Troy, Va. She impressed viewers with a competitive mood described as “very zen” — she fell asleep shortly after walking onto the field. 

 

The real winners of the game were the 70 families who brought home champs as a result of the popular competition. According to Animal Planet, every dog in every Puppy Bowl gets adopted by the time the show airs.