The Hill's Morning Report - Trump Organization indicted; House launches Jan. 6 probe

The Hill's Morning Report - Trump Organization indicted; House launches Jan. 6 probe
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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday, the first day of July! 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 each morning this week: Monday, 603,967; Tuesday, 604,115; Wednesday, 604,467; Thursday, 604,714.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE may be out of office, but he isn’t far from mind. The House voted on Wednesday to create a select committee to investigate the events of Jan. 6 as some GOP lawmakers joined the former president to tour the U.S.-Mexico border.  

The House voted 222-190 to establish a select committee to probe the events before and during the Capitol attack. House Democrats were joined by only two House Republicans — Reps. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous Trump allies leaning on his executive privilege claims Two Fox News contributors quit over Tucker Carlson's Jan. 6 documentary MORE (Wyo.) and Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous Kinzinger on possible governor bid: 'I'm the only candidate that can win' against Pritzker McBath to run in neighboring district after GOP redrew lines MORE (Ill.). — to launch what is expected to be a partisan battle over the facts on Jan. 6, and the aftermath (The Hill).  

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE’s (D-Calif.) decision to move ahead with the select committee comes after a failed attempt to win enough GOP support to establish an independent bipartisan commission to investigate events on a day when five people died. Last month, 35 House Republicans and seven GOP senators threw their weight behind a potential commission. Most conservatives said they were looking “forward,” arguing an investigation was unnecessary. 

“We have a duty to the Constitution and to the American people to find the truth of Jan. 6, and to ensure that such an assault on our democracy can never happen again,” Pelosi countered. 

As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos writes, the select panel will be made up of eight members selected by Pelosi and five chosen by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Greene: McCarthy 'doesn't have the full support to be Speaker' Christie: McCarthy, not Trump, will be the next Speaker MORE (R-Calif.). The commission idea, which Republicans nixed last month, would have given the two sides an equal number of members and co-equal subpoena power. 

The select panel does not have a deadline, meaning it could spill into next year, bringing the findings closer to next year’s midterm elections.  

McCarthy’s choice of colleagues to serve on the committee will be closely watched. The GOP leader told Bloomberg News that he has not decided that yet but indicated it might not matter.

“It's all partisan, you can see that,” he said.  

The Washington Post: House votes to create a select committee for investigating Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

 

Speaker Pelosi

 

Notably, 19 House Republicans were absent from Wednesday’s vote. Most were accompanying Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to the southern border.  

“We have a sick country in many ways. It's sick in elections, and it's sick in the border. And if you don't have good elections, and if you don't have a strong border, you don't have a country,” Trump said during a roundtable event with Texas state leaders and law enforcement officials. The former president’s photo op also took place days after Vice President Harris made her long-awaited visit to the region. She visited El Paso, Texas, last week, a move that reportedly blindsided her staff and created confusion in her office (Politico). 

Trump has yet to announce his 2024 intentions, but his focus on immigration and bemoaning of the state of affairs at the border represents a return to his 2016 playbook, which helped vault him to his position of power within the party, The Hill’s Scott Wong writes. Any public spotlight on immigration during the Biden administration is welcomed by most Republicans. They consider issues popular with Trump’s base essential to their quest to retake the House and Senate next year.

The Hill: “I want to cry”: House Republicans take emotional trip to the border.

Politico: Republicans go all-in on immigration as a political weapon.

The Hill: Texas Democrats representing border districts slam Trump visit. 

Tim Alberta, The Atlantic: A Michigan Republican spent eight months searching for evidence of election fraud, but all he found was lies. 

Trump’s efforts to regain public attention are not all a plus.  

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which collaborated near the end of a two-year investigation with the New York attorney general’s office, on Wednesday night charged the Trump Organization, including chief financial officer Allen WeisselbergAllen Howard WeisselbergTrump Organization exec not expecting to face charges, lawyer says New York prosecutors eye Trump Organization property valuations: report Manhattan DA convening grand jury to weigh potential charges against Trump Organization MORE, a longtime company executive, with tax-related crimes. Trump was not personally charged (NBC News).  

The details were sealed Wednesday night, but will be unveiled today ahead of an afternoon arraignment at a state court in Manhattan (The Associated Press). The charges are expected to involve alleged tax violations related to benefits the company gave to top executives, possibly including use of apartments, cars and school tuition, people familiar with the case said.

Trump appeared Wednesday night with Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityTrump says Rittenhouse met with him in Florida Cheney knocks Ted Cruz: 'A real man would be defending his wife' Rittenhouse's mother asks for donations to legal fund MORE to rail at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (R-Ky.) (“he can no longer do the job”), and Democratic leaders in Congress. He also teased the audience that he’s made up his mind about running for president in 2024. He did not detail his decision, which Hannity played up as likely another run (Fox News).

Infrastructure update: House Democrats are warming to a new infrastructure strategy, reports The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Bloomberg News). … Senate Republicans are coalescing against one of the main pay-fors in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement: $40 billion to allow the Internal Revenue Service to collect $100 billion more in taxes (Axios). 

Final salute: Al Eisele, founding editor of The Hill, dies at 85. 

 

Former President Trump

 

LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, holds a narrow lead over Kathryn Garcia in the New York City mayoral Democratic primary, according to the latest tally of votes released by the city’s board of elections on Wednesday.  

The updated vote tabulation shows Adams leading with 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent for Garcia, shrinking the margin to 2.2 percentage points with roughly 125,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. Maya Wiley, who was in second place on primary night, was eliminated after the eighth round of vote counting, having finished slightly behind Garcia. 

The latest update from the board of elections comes on the heels of its release of erroneously reported vote totals, which were subsequently retracted, creating chaos and intensifying pressure on the board. The New York City election apparatus has come under intense criticism as it navigates its first year using a ranked-choice voting system, which allows voters to rank their top choices one through five in order of preference. 

The New York Times: New tally suggests the mayoral race has tightened. 

The Hill: Adams campaign files lawsuit amid NYC elections board drama.  

Jordain Carney, The Hill: Senate hopefuls embrace nuking filibuster.

 

New York City Mayor candidate Eric Adams

 

> A new study of 2020 voters by the Pew Research Center found that Biden expanded the Democratic base by attracting newer and younger voters while blunting Trump’s advantages among key groups that have historically favored Republican candidates. The report released on Wednesday revealed that many groups once considered at the center of either party’s coalition are now dividing their votes more evenly — a sign of a widening political spectrum in which polarization cuts across traditionally hardened demographic lines (The Hill). 

The Wall Street Journal: Judge blocks Florida law barring Twitter, Facebook bans of  candidates.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

ADMINISTRATION: President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE heads today to Surfside, Fla., to comfort victims’ families and meet with officials and responders heading into the second week of rescue and recovery following the catastrophic partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building (The Hill). At least 18 people are dead, human remains are being found and 145 people remain missing as searchers carefully pick through pancaked and unstable debris several stories high (The Associated Press). Workers late Tuesday built a ramp for use of heavy equipment atop the pile, hoping to speed up the search for air pockets and possible survivors. What triggered the 30-second collapse of the 1981 structure remains unclear (The Associated Press). 

 

President Biden

 

> On Wednesday, Biden turned his attention to a different catastrophe waiting to happen: wildfires, which are anticipated in Western states amid scorching heat, drought and seasonal winds that can fan embers into ferocious flames. The president on Wednesday consulted eight governors from Western states, appealing to them to coordinate with the federal government to be better prepared. He said the administration would increase the minimum wage for federal firefighters and make more positions permanent rather than seasonal “so that when fires aren’t burning, we have a workforce of experienced hands enhancing our forest management, reducing the risks of future fire seasons.” The administration’s fiscal 2022 budget request to Congress includes more than $30 billion for wildfire management and relief (The Hill).

Federal wildfire suppression costs have spiked from an annual average of about $425 million from 1985 to 1999 to $1.6 billion from 2000 to 2019, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center (National Fire Protection Association).

> A strong June jobs report due on Friday from the Labor Department could bolster White House efforts to publicly reinforce the argument that Biden's economic agenda is working amid pandemic-related unemployment and rising inflation. The consensus among economists is that the United States has not fully shaken off the effects of the pandemic on the labor market (The Hill). … U.S. stocks reach record highs during the first half of this year (The Washington Post). … Biden’s public support has drifted downward since April, especially among Democrats, according to a new Reuters-Ipsos poll.

> A White House commission charged with reviewing proposals to expand the Supreme Court beyond nine justices held its first hearing on Wednesday after being created by executive order in April. The ideas submitted to the commission and championed in 2020 among Democrats have been modest and fallen short of the ambitious overhaul that liberals envisioned. The commission itself has little authority to make recommendations (The Hill). 

More administration headlines: U.S. passport holders will now be able to choose their gender as male or female without having to show documentation of their assigned gender at birth (The Hill). … Biden named two more candidates to become circuit court judges as part of his fifth wave of judicial nominations (CNN). … Former South Carolina state lawmaker Katie Arrington, an unsuccessful congressional candidate who works at the Pentagon, is part of a probe into allegations of an unauthorized release of classified information, according to her attorney (ABC News). The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a powerful oversight tool that allows Congress to overturn some agency rulemakings within a short time frame after a rule becomes legally final. In that vein, Biden on Wednesday signed three CRA bills into law: one to disapprove a Trump-era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rule, a second tied to oil and natural gas emissions, and a third related to banks and federal savings associations as lenders.

RIP: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, 88, who served in government for six decades and in the Cabinet under former Presidents Ford and George W. Bush, died early Tuesday at his home in New Mexico, his family announced on Wednesday. Together with Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld backed taking the United States to war with Iraq and Afghanistan following the 9/11 terror attacks, a decision he defended long after it became clear that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction and there had been no sustainable U.S. plan for Iraq after the collapse of Hussein’s regime (The Wall Street Journal).

 

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

 

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

The New York City elections board is a disaster. This is the last straw, by The New York Times editorial board. https://nyti.ms/3qGJy9N  

Most Florida counties do not require condo inspections. After Surfside, how sick is that? by The Miami Herald editorial board. http://hrld.us/3qEheEZ 

Will Congress get serious about Jan. 6? by Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/2Uf46tU

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 9 a.m. Pelosi will hold her weekly press conference at 10:30 a.m. 

The Senate convenes for a pro forma session at 11 a.m. Senators are out of Washington through July 9. 

The president and first lady Jill BidenJill BidenBiden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Biden meets with Coast Guard on Thanksgiving Biden calls in to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: 'America's back' MORE will fly to Miami to receive a command briefing at 10:05 a.m. from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisWalt Disney World pauses vaccine mandate after DeSantis signs new legislation Fauci overwhelmed by calls after journal published mistake over beagle experiments DeSantis signs legislation limiting vaccine mandates in Florida MORE (R), Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D), local leaders and first responders. The Bidens at 11 a.m. will thank first responders and search teams who are working at the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, Fla. The Bidens will meet with families of victims at 12:30 p.m. and the president will speak at 3:50 p.m. at the St. Regis Hotel in Miami. The Bidens will leave Florida at 5:20 p.m. to return to the White House.

The White House coronavirus response team will brief reporters at 1:30 p.m.

Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report filings for unemployment benefits for the week ending June 26. 

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

ELSEWHERE

➔ COURTS: Actor Bill Cosby, 83, walked out of prison on Wednesday a free man after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court hours earlier reversed his sexual assault conviction after he served two years of a longer sentence. The court cited an agreement struck with a previous prosecutor that prevented Cosby from being charged. Cosby (pictured below in 2018) was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from a 2004 incident where he drugged and molested an employee of Temple University at his Philadelphia home (The Associated Press).

 

Bill Cosby leaves

 

COLLEGE SPORTS: The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will now allow college athletes to profit off of their names, images and likenesses under new interim guidelines, the organization announced on Wednesday. The association announced the new temporary rules before state laws around the country regulating the student sport nonprofit take effect today (NBC News). 

CORONAVIRUS: Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyEurope's COVID-19 surge highlights warnings for US Tensions emerge over redefining the fully vaccinated Israel begins vaccinating kids aged 5 to 11 MORE, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reiterated that the administration is leaving it up to local officials to set guidelines for mask wearing as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus surges in areas with low vaccination rates. Walensky said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show that “we’ve always said that local policymakers need to make policies for their local environment” but added that CDC guidelines broadly indicate those who are vaccinated don’t need to wear masks. Health officials in Los Angeles County are recommending people wear masks indoors in public places regardless of their vaccination status.

Separately, the World Health Organization has reiterated its longstanding recommendation that everyone wear masks to lessen the spread of the coronavirus. Walensky told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that the “context in which the WHO is making recommendations is very different than us here in the United States,” since less than 15 percent of the world is vaccinated (The Hill).  

INTERNATIONAL: China is building more than 100 silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in its western desert, a new project that could signal a major expansion of Beijing’s nuclear capabilities (The Washington Post). … President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinMore than 50 dead, one rescued in Russian mine explosion NATO to discuss ways to deter Russia: Lithuanian official Putin says he took experimental nasal COVID-19 vaccine MORE on Wednesday expanded on Russia’s version of events involving a British ship last week. He said an incident involving a destroyer in the Black Sea couldn’t have triggered a global conflict even if Russia had sunk the warship because the West knows it can’t win such a war. Although Putin says Russia fired warning shots at the destroyer and dropped bombs in its path, Great Britain insists its ship wasn’t fired upon and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters (The Associated Press). 

THE CLOSER

And finally …  It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by the end of the month, we’re eager for some smart guesses about news and notes from June.

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

In early June, Biden embarked on the first overseas trip of his presidency. Which country did Biden not visit?  

  1. United Kingdom
  2. France
  3. Switzerland
  4. Belgium

 

In mid-June, the Girl Scouts of America reported that it had roughly how many boxes of unsold cookies remaining due in part to the pandemic?  

  1. 6 million
  2. 9 million
  3. 12 million
  4. 15 million

 

After the U.S., which nation last month became the second to record 500,000 COVID-19 deaths?

  1. Brazil
  2. India
  3. Russia
  4. Mexico

 

Over the first three months of the Major League Baseball season, six starting pitchers have thrown complete game no-hitters. ____ took place in June.

  1. Zero
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three

 

Girl Scout cookies