The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP dealt 2022 blow, stares down Trump-era troubles

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Wednesday! 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 day this week: Monday, 754,431; Tuesday, 755,643; Wednesday, 757,409.



After weeks of Democrats being on their heels, the script was flipped across the aisle on Tuesday as Republicans juggled their own unwelcome headlines.

 

A hoped-for Republican Senate candidate decided instead to run for a fourth term as governor. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE lost in court in a bid to block investigators from accessing documents related to the Jan. 6 attack. Former top Republicans from the Capitol and the White House were subpoenaed. And an extreme House Republican came under fire for advertising violence against President BidenJoe BidenBiden says he didn't 'overpromise' Finland PM pledges 'extremely tough' sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine Russia: Nothing less than NATO expansion ban is acceptable MORE.

 

As The Hill’s Reid Wilson writes, Republicans were stunned on Tuesday morning when New Hampshire Gov. Chris SununuChris SununuSununu says he skipped Senate bid to avoid being 'roadblock' to Biden for two years Vulnerable Senate Democrats see massive fundraising hauls in last quarter of 2021 Top Republicans pressing Hogan to run for Senate MORE (R), who has widely been considered the top pending recruit for the GOP’s quest to retake the Senate, passed on a bid to unseat Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks Dems block Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill MORE (D-N.H.). Instead, he opted to run for a fourth term in Concord, bluntly saying he has little appetite for being 1 of 100 lawmakers after six years as the Granite State’s chief executive (The Hill). 

 

“I'd rather push myself 120 miles an hour delivering wins for New Hampshire than to slow down, end up on Capitol Hill debating partisan politics without results. That's why I am going to run for a fourth term,” Sununu said in his announcement. 

 

“There is just so much that we can do but a U.S. senator does none of this. A governor must be accountable and deliver results,” Sununu continued. “It's what I've done, it's how I can best serve New Hampshire and defend its values.”

 

The news was a reminder to Republicans that no matter how favorable the political conditions may look for the 2022 midterm elections, candidates matter. And Sununu’s absence could do harm to the GOP’s push to break the Senate’s 50-50 deadlock. Adding to bad news in New Hampshire, former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBiden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee The 10 races that will decide the Senate majority Manchin, Sanders will oppose Biden FDA nominee Califf MORE (R-N.H.), considered a potential fallback option if Sununu (pictured below) backed out, also said she’s a no-go, putting the party back at square one (The Hill). 

 

As The Hill’s Hanna Trudo and Tal Axelrod report, the news also handed Democrats a lifeline, giving them hope only a week after brutal results in Virginia and New Jersey sent them back to the drawing board.

 

“A lot of shoes fell today,” said Jim Demers, a lobbyist and former Democratic state representative in the first-in-the-nation primary state. “For the next several weeks, as Republicans are scrambling to find a candidate, it gives (Hassan) a chance to own the discussion out there.”

 

Politico: Sununu announcement act rubs top Republicans the wrong way.

 

The Washington Free Beacon: Celebrity physician and TV personality Mehmet Oz prepares to jump into the Pennsylvania Senate race on the Republican side.

 

 

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu announces that he is seeking a fourth term as governor of New Hampshire

 

 

Elsewhere in Washington, Trump was hit with another legal loss late Tuesday when a federal judge rejected his effort to shield documents and other information at the National Archives from the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected the request, contending that Biden is “best positioned” to determine if a former president’s request for executive privilege should be granted (The Hill).

 

The first batch of documents is now set to be turned over to the panel by Friday. Trump’s attorney’s immediately appealed the move to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (The Associated Press).

 

In addition, the select committee released a sixth batch of subpoenas on Tuesday targeting some top former Trump staffers. Headlining the crowd are former White House adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerPennsylvania Republican David McCormick launches Senate campaign McEnany sits down with Jan. 6 investigators Legal aid groups want little to no part of re-upped Remain in Mexico program MORE and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (pictured below), with a focus on the false statements they made promoting baseless claims of 2020 voter fraud.

 

Along with Miller and McEnany, eight other staffers received subpoenas for documents and testimony, including aides to former White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsLaura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP  Jan. 6 panel asks McCarthy to cooperate MORE and other officials ranging in seniority (The Hill).

 

The New York Times: Thirteen of Trump’s most senior aides campaigned illegally while in office, a watchdog said.

 

The Hill: Subpoenas show Jan. 6 panel's focus on Trump's plans.

 

 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller walk across the South Lawn

 

 

On the legislative front, Biden took a jab at some Republicans’ fury to try to punish the 13 House GOP members who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure package on Friday by removing their committee assignments, including some who are ranking members.  

 

“I've never seen it like this before,” Biden said during a Democratic National Committee town hall. “It's got to stop” (The Washington Post).

 

The White House is planning to hold the signing ceremony for the bill next week. However, with that in the rearview mirror, Republicans are training their focus on the $1.75 Build Back Better spending package with hopes of derailing it and keeping it away from Biden’s desk. 

 

As The Hill’s Jordain Carney notes, Senate Republicans will soon get their chance to alter the bill via amendment votes at a lengthy vote-a-rama. The GOP is hoping to replicate some of its budget success — where it was able to get several non-binding changes included earlier this year — but also gather fodder to use against Democrats in the midterms. 

 

The Hill: GOP centrists come under increased attacks from own party.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Senate is set to cut provisions in House Democrats’ $2 trillion spending plan.

 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (D-Calif.) called for a series of investigations into Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarLawmakers coming under increased threats — sometimes from one another McCarthy says he'll strip Dems of committee slots if GOP wins House Should we expand the House of Representatives? The Founders thought so MORE (R-Ariz.) after the far-right lawmaker advertised violence in an anime cartoon (a style of Japanese film and television animation) against Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLouisiana Rep. Troy Carter announces positive COVID-19 test Joining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema MORE (D-N.Y.). Pelosi called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE (R-Calif.) to support investigations into Gosar by both the House Ethics Committee and outside law enforcement agencies (The Hill).

 

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Experts warn of new violence amid Gosar storm.

 

The Hill: Video depicting violence removed from Gosar's account after blowback.

 

The Hill: Trump endorses Idaho lt. gov. against sitting GOP leader.

 

Passages: Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), Vietnam vet and ex-Veterans Affairs administrator, died Tuesday at age 79 (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). … NBC News’s Brian Williams, host of MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour,” announced he will officially leave the network at the end of his contract in December after 28 years with the network (The Hill). 



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LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: Pfizer on Tuesday asked U.S. regulators to approve booster doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for people of all ages over 18, which would expand beyond the current recommendations for seniors and those with compromised immune systems or risky front-line jobs (The Associated Press). All three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for use in this country continue to offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 illness and death. However, the shield provided by the shots in some patients can wane over time, which has become the rationale for booster doses.

 

CNBC: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Tuesday described as “criminals” people who spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. “They are criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives,” he said during a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council.

 

The Hill: While the administration’s vaccine mandate for workers at private companies remains temporarily blocked in the courts ahead of a Jan. 4 implementation date, the White House is asking large employers to act on their own to enforce vaccination policies for workers. 

 

The Hill: United Airlines can mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its employees, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman in Texas ruled this week.

 

Thanksgiving travel is expected to resemble levels seen before the pandemic began, according to AAA (The Hill). Air fares are up with renewed passenger demand (and higher fuel prices).

 

 

A traveler adjusts her mask while waiting to check in for her flight at the Los Angeles International Airport

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

ADMINISTRATION: Eager to reassure Americans the administration is trying to tackle inflationary prices and supply shortages that have contributed to pessimism about the economy, Biden today will visit the Port of Baltimore to tout the availability of millions of federal dollars to ease bottlenecks of shipped goods entering the U.S. (CBS13 Baltimore).

 

Before Biden arrives in Maryland, the Labor Department this morning will release the consumer price index for October, a closely watched inflation gauge that is expected to show a leap to a 30-year record high of 5.9 percent, according to analysts’ projections (CNBC).

 

“I know that a lot of folks don't feel the progress we're making in the economy. I get it,” the president said Tuesday during virtual remarks to an audience of Democratic National Committee donors. “I know the cost of gas, groceries and rent seems to be harder and harder to handle. That's what — that's one of the most — more reasons why we should have to pass my Build Back Better bill.”

 

The Transportation Department, as part of Biden’s supply chain announcements today, will permit port authorities to redirect unspent funds from grant projects to address supply chain problems in the medium to long term. For example, the Georgia Port Authority plans to use $8 million to convert its inland facilities into container yards, freeing up dock space and speeding the flow of goods to their final destinations, according to the administration.

 

The Associated Press: Biden to showcase Baltimore as fertile ground for his agenda.

 

NBC News: After Biden soon signs the infrastructure bill, a mandatory transfer by the Treasury Department of $118 billion into the highway trust fund will take place. 

 

> The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation virtual leaders’ meeting Saturday among 21 nations affords a rare interaction that includes both Biden and President Xi Jinping of China. The economic-focused summit, hosted by New Zealand this year, has a broad agenda for the leaders, but inevitably big power frictions are a backdrop for closed-door discussions that include Hong Kong and Taiwan in addition to communist-ruled mainland China (The Associated Press).

 

> Federal Reserve: If Biden asks Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to serve another four years before his term expires in February, Powell could likely count on enough GOP Senate votes for confirmation, despite opposition from progressives, including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenLobbying world Sanders open to supporting primary challengers against Manchin and Sinema Warren dodges on whether Sinema, Manchin should be challenged in primaries MORE (D-Mass.). Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who was also interviewed by Biden for the chairman position last week, appeals to progressives but not to conservatives. As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports, a Brainard nomination to succeed Powell could spark a ferocious Senate confirmation fight, add fuel to national angst about inflation and how to control it, and rattle financial markets. 

 

On the other hand, a Fed promotion for Brainard would please many of Biden’s Democratic allies. She is no stranger to the president’s team. She first served in the White House during the Clinton years, when many of Biden’s current advisers were also on their way up, including the president’s current chief of staff, Ron KlainRon KlainThe Memo: Biden's overpromising problem Federal vaccine mandate enters 'major question' land The Memo: No more 'the former guy' as Biden tackles Trump head-on MORE, counselor Steve RicchettiSteve RicchettiBottom line Brother of Biden adviser to lobby for company that developed a COVID-19 vaccine White House incivility is what 'lost' Joe Manchin MORE, deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed, chief economist and economic adviser Jared BernsteinJared BernsteinInflation offers steep hike for Biden Biden says administration 'making progress' slowing rate of price increases Annual inflation hits 30-year high MORE, Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet YellenOn the Money — Yellen highlights wealth gap in MLK speech Yellen: US has 'much more work' to close racial wealth gap The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE and Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenRussia: Nothing less than NATO expansion ban is acceptable US providing Ukraine with additional 0M in military aid amid tensions with Russia Blinken: Russian attack on Ukraine could be launched with 'very short notice' MORE.     



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 Democratic guide to losing elections, by William A. Galston, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3bZRsVn 

 

“Mask up, America” made sense in 2020. Now? Not so much, by Faye Flam, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3bXWAJu 



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House is in recess this week. It will convene for a pro forma session on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

 

The Senate meets for a pro forma session on Friday at 8:30 a.m. and returns to legislative work on Monday.

 

The president receives the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. Biden will meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at 10 a.m. The president at 1 p.m. will attend the funeral of former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) in Milford, Del. He will then travel to Maryland for a briefing at the Port of Baltimore at 3:40 p.m., followed by remarks at 4:10 p.m. Biden will return to the White House at 6 p.m.

 

Vice President Harris is in Paris. She will be joined by second gentleman Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffHarris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE at 1:40 p.m. local time to mark Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day in France with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial. She meets with President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronNew French law bans unvaccinated from restaurants, venues Europe's energy conflict fuels outbreak of realism about climate policy The US must consider using its Arctic advantage against Russia MORE at the Élysée Palace at 6:20 p.m. local time.

 

The secretary of state hosts a virtual ministerial meeting today devoted to responses to COVID-19. The United States is interested in a world better prepared for the next pandemic, including improved regional collaboration and coordinated political leadership.   

 

First lady Jill BidenJill BidenHarris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE at 11:30 a.m. will join Elizabeth Dole, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — White House raises new alarm over Russia GOP lawmakers press administration on US weapons left behind in Afghanistan Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE and Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughWe have a golden opportunity to restore and reform VA hospitals The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta Schwarzenegger donates 25 tiny homes to homeless vets in LA MORE in honoring military and veteran caregiver families and their children as part of a White House collaboration with nonprofits to launch a new “Hidden Helpers” program.

 

The administration’s COVID-19 response team will brief journalists at 11 a.m.

 

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. reports on consumer prices in October, which analysts predict rose as economists and elected officials continue the debate about the short- and long-term impacts of higher inflation.

 

INVITATION: The Hill’s Virtually Live TODAY at 1 p.m. hosts “The Future of the Workplace,” featuring discussions with Reps. Mary Gay ScanlonMary Gay ScanlonSuspect charged in Philadelphia carjacking of Democratic congresswoman Illinois state senator carjacked at gunpoint near Chicago Five arrested in connection with carjacking of House Democrat MORE (D-Pa.) and Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), corporate experts, an economist, and a Purdue University management professor. Information is HERE

 

The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress hosts a virtual discussion at 11 a.m. EDT with award-winning national security and foreign affairs correspondent and senior fellow James Kitfield about his latest book, “In the Company of Heroes: The Inspiring Stories of Medal of Honor Recipients from America’s Longest Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Information is HERE.

 

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: Oklahoma’s Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a historic $465 million ruling against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, ruling a district judge incorrectly interpreted public nuisance laws in the nation’s first major trial over an opioid epidemic that has killed more than 500,000 people in two decades. The 5-1 decision that overturned the 2019 verdict issued by Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman is a blow to the argument alleging the companies that marketed, sold and distributed opioids created a public nuisance, allowing communities to be inundated by billions of pills while people were becoming addicted and overdosing (The Washington Post).

 

MOON MISS: U.S. astronauts will not return to the moon until at least 2025, NASA announced on Tuesday. It’s at least a year beyond a target set by Trump and was blamed on litigation over a lunar lander and delays with NASA’s development of the Orion capsule, which is to carry astronauts into orbit. The Trump administration’s announcement in 2019 that Americans would return to the moon after landing on its surface in 1972 was motivated by continued competition with China, which has set a goal of putting its astronauts there in the 2030s (The New York Times).

 

VISIT THE FALLEN: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery opened on Tuesday to visitors to mark the memorial's centennial. The resting place for veterans said it’s a “rare opportunity for the public to walk next to the Tomb — a privilege otherwise given only to the Sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment or ‘The Old Guard.’” The general public will be able to visit from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. today (The Hill). 

 

 

People walk to place flowers during a centennial commemoration event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

 



THE CLOSER

And finally … from unknown to famed and unnamed. The first female graduate of the U.S. Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Ga., is considered a history-making standout. She joined the Montana Army National Guard in 2020 and a year later earned kudos with her sniper course graduation but won’t be publicly identified by the military. On Nov. 5, she aced a tough seven-week training program that has a “high attrition rate” based on challenges in marksmanship and mission strategy (USA Today and Stars & Stripes).

 

“We see this as a historic moment. This is a huge achievement not only for her, for our organization, but for all women in the National Guard and the Army,” said Montana National Guard spokesperson Maj. Ryan Finnegan. "We're very proud of her and proud of her achievement.”

 

The soldier will rejoin her unit as a sniper.

 

 

US Army sniper takes aim on targets, Al Hindiyah, Iraq