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The House impeachment inquiry is set to enter its third phase this week as the investigation shifts over to the House Judiciary Committee and lawmakers prepare to review and vote on a report being produced by the House Intelligence Committee.
The week represents one of the most crucial of the House Democrats’ impeachment efforts and one that could help move the process along toward a trial in the Senate more than two months after kicking off the inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpPerry ends final day as Energy secretary Mexican officials detain suspects in massacre of members of Mormon sect READ: White House’s letter to Nadler saying it won’t participate in impeachment hearing MORE’s dealings with Ukraine.
The report will become the basis for any and all articles of impeachment that are drafted by the Judiciary panel and brought before the full House for a vote. A vote to impeach the president is still expected to take place before Christmas (The Hill).
Here’s a look at this week’s packed schedule:
> Today: The House Intelligence Committee will review an impeachment investigation report.
> Tuesday evening: The Intelligence panel will hold a committee vote after lawmakers return to Washington from recess.
> Wednesday: House Judiciary Committee hearings officially kick off, with the first titled “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.”
Adding another layer to the impeachment battle, White House counsel Pat Cipollone informed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWhite House won’t participate in first Judiciary impeachment hearing Lawmakers turn attention to potential witnesses at Judiciary impeachment hearings Judiciary Republican: It would be to Trump’s advantage to have attorneys at impeachment hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) that it will not participate in Wednesday’s hearing.
“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings,” Cipollone wrote. “More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process.”
Cipollone, however, said he did not rule out potential participation in future hearings.
Sunday Talk Shows: Focus shifts to Judiciary impeachment hearing.
Axios: What to expect from the next phase of impeachment.
The Washington Post: Republicans to mount aggressive campaign against impeachment as spotlight turns to Judiciary panel.
The Associated Press: July 25 forecast: Sunny, with cloud of impeachment for Trump.
While hearings at Judiciary kick off on Wednesday, it still remains an open question whether the Intelligence panel will continue to interview witnesses as part of the impeachment probe. The administration continues to stonewall the investigation, and others who could potentially testify are being held back due to lawsuits or the appeals process in federal court.
Cristina Marcos took a look this weekend at some of those who could provide key information and help fill in the gaps for investigators. Among those listed: the president’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHow Democrats’ missing witnesses could fill in the Ukraine story Michael Bloomberg’s billions can’t save an unserious campaign Mike Bloomberg’s heaven and hell MORE, acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyLawmakers turn attention to potential witnesses at Judiciary impeachment hearings Enhancing protections for sensitive information in congressional investigations Demings: ‘We’re not willing to play that game’ of waiting for officials who refuse to testify MORE, and former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonLawmakers turn attention to potential witnesses at Judiciary impeachment hearings Demings: ‘We’re not willing to play that game’ of waiting for officials who refuse to testify Judiciary Republican: It would be to Trump’s advantage to have attorneys at impeachment hearing MORE, who remains the most likely of the seven officials on the list to talk with investigators.
Along with those who may testify, there also remains a horde of unanswered questions, some of which Niall Stanage examines in a recent memo. One key unknown is how polls may shift, even as public opinion has remained split and relatively static since the inquiry launched in September. Stanage writes that partisans can argue that some change in public opinion is just around the next corner, but there is sparse evidence to back up that argument.
Another key question: What happens once the dust settles on impeachment and the process ends in a Senate trial that does not convict the president? If anything, some expect that the proceedings will rally the GOP around Trump even further.
“I don’t see a lot of evidence that public opinion has moved in one direction or the other,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. “I’m not sure it is doing very much except rallying the base of both parties. I think, if anything, it is rallying Republicans around Trump.”
The Hill: Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House won’t participate in first Judiciary impeachment hearing Lawmakers turn attention to potential witnesses at Judiciary impeachment hearings Klobuchar: ‘I don’t see’ voting to acquit Trump in Senate trial MORE‘s (D-Calif.) star rises with impeachment hearings.
The New York Times: Sidelined for months, Judiciary panel will reclaim impeachment drive it once led.
The Daily Beast: Lisa Page speaks: “There’s no fathomable way I have committed any crime at all.”
LEADING THE DAY
POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: As he slips in the key early voting states, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg: ‘I was slow to realize’ South Bend schools were not integrated Yang raises almost 0K in a single day Judiciary Democrat: House impeaching Trump not a ‘foregone conclusion’ MORE is counting on his firewall in South Carolina to help him take home the Democratic nomination even though Democrats are warning that if Biden doesn’t perform well in Iowa and New Hampshire, his lead in the Palmetto State could be in jeopardy.
As Amie Parnes writes, Biden has been losing ground in Iowa and New Hampshire in recent weeks, according to polling. And if he falls behind Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenButtigieg: ‘I was slow to realize’ South Bend schools were not integrated Yang raises almost 0K in a single day Booker launches first 2020 digital campaign ad MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg: ‘I was slow to realize’ South Bend schools were not integrated Yang raises almost 0K in a single day Booker launches first 2020 digital campaign ad MORE (I-Vt.) or South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg: ‘I was slow to realize’ South Bend schools were not integrated Yang raises almost 0K in a single day Booker launches first 2020 digital campaign ad MORE, he will have to remake his case to voters.
While Biden leads in South Carolina by 20 points, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, strategists argue that it doesn’t mean those votes are locked in, particularly if other candidates begin to pick up speed between now and Feb. 29, when the state’s primary takes place.
“Savvy black voters will reassess their options,” said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist who served as a campaign aide to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBennet shares video of him in Iowa: ‘I’m just chillin’ in Cedar Rapids’ Trump’s culpability is greater than Nixon’s Chuck Todd challenges John Kennedy on Ukraine: Putin is only other person ‘selling this argument’ MORE. “Every candidate will have to remake their case to, and reaffirm their policy prescriptions for, the African American community — Biden included.”
Another strategist was more direct: “The support won’t be there if he’s slipping. There’s just no way.”
Biden renewed his Iowa efforts on Saturday as he launched an 8-day bus tour across the state focused on rural America and the president (The Associated Press).
Mark Leibovich: 2020 Democratic candidates wage escalating fight (on the merits of fighting).
Politico: Trump builds a bad cop, good cop routine for his 2020 race.
The Hill: Rep. John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiCalifornia Rep. John Garamendi endorses Biden This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington Trump labels Tlaib ‘a despicable human being’ MORE (D-Calif.) endorses Biden for president over fellow California Democrat Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisYang raises almost 0K in a single day Booker launches first 2020 digital campaign ad Klobuchar says she’s not worried about leaving campaign trail for impeachment trial: ‘I meet whatever obstacle is put in front of me’ MORE.
The Hill: Warren receives endorsement from Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyWarren receives endorsement from Illinois congresswoman ahead of Chicago rally Overnight Health Care: Trump draws ire after retreat on drug price promise | Harris unveils mental health plan | Dem bill targets violence against women around the world Democrats request info on Google-Ascension partnership MORE (D-Ill.).
> Obama: The Hill’s Max Greenwood takes a look at the impact of former President Obama on the 2020 scene and his role as a key player in the party’s primary race. While Obama hasn’t put his thumb on the scale, he has waded into the contest twice in the past month to make clear his preference that the field doesn’t move too far to the left if Democrats hope to win back the White House next year. Some party operatives say that by throwing the weight of his legacy and influence into the simmering ideological debate, Obama uniquely has the potential to reshape the dynamics of the primary race.
David Swerdlick, The Washington Post: Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and hardly a voice of caution to be heard Booker: ‘If you want me in this race, then I need help’ Bloomberg can’t win, but he could help reelect Trump MORE, conservative.
Niall Stanage: The Memo: Trump faces uphill 2020 climb.
The Associated Press: Democrats aim to catch up to Trump’s 2020 cash advantage.
> Economy: the president is expected to receive an economic boost as consumer spending has roared back to life ahead of the 2019 holiday season, driving the stock market up and pushing aside fears of a possible recession that grew after a slow summer.
Trump has made the economy a central argument for his reelection campaign. Despite the effects of his ongoing trade war with China and criticisms of the 2017 tax law, the economy has proved resilient — and Trump has taken notice.
“Another new Stock Market Record. Enjoy!” he tweeted last Monday as the market ticked higher (The Hill).
The Hill: Democrats take in lobbying industry cash despite pledges.
The Hill: Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBloomberg can’t win, but he could help reelect Trump 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE drops out of the 2020 presidential race and says he will not seek a Senate seat.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Democrat Joe Sestak drops his long-shot presidential bid.
The Washington Post: Valerie Plame, America’s most famous ex-spy, finds her new identity.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom will meet early this week at a two-day NATO leaders’ summit in London, taking place less than two weeks before a U.K. general election and against a backdrop of a terror attack in London on Friday. Before preparing to depart Washington this morning for London, Trump spoke with Johnson to offer condolences following Friday’s rampage near London Bridge, which left two dead.
Johnson, who has bet his and the Conservative Party’s political future on the outcome of a Dec. 12 general election, placed blame on the rival Labour Party for the early release from prison of the convicted terrorist responsible for the attack and later shot and killed by police. Johnson, delivering a tough-on-crime message, vowed to strengthen prison sentences and send convicted terrorists back to prison if released early (Reuters).
At the same time, the prime minister hopes that Trump, who remains unpopular in parts of Great Britain and faces his own controversies in the United States, will steer silently around the U.K. election while visiting London. Trump, who holds Johnson in high regard, is aware of Johnson’s request not to interfere, a senior U.S. official told reporters on Sunday (The Hill). However, Trump’s habit of commenting on anything and everything will be tested during his visit, including during a scheduled press conference on Wednesday (Reuters).
The New York Times: Johnson is not on Trump’s U.K. schedule.
Trump also plans to attend a Tuesday reception for NATO leaders hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
> HIV/AIDS: In a Sunday tweet to mark World AIDS Day, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to end HIV/AIDS within 10 years (The Hill).
> Medicaid: Tennessee is the latest battleground for the Trump administration as it tries to implement conservative changes to Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor. Tennessee is moving ahead with a plan to convert Medicaid to a block grant, a move viewed as even more controversial than imposing work requirements for Medicaid recipients. It is unclear if the administration has the power to bypass Congress to approve Tennessee’s plan (The Hill).
> Drugs from Canada: Trump’s proposal to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada faces significant headwinds from powerful pharmaceutical companies and the Canadian government. The president, who is eager for a win on drug prices ahead of his reelection bid, shows no signs of backing off (The Hill)
> Tax returns: Here are the latest developments in various lawsuits over the release of Trump’s tax filings and financial records (The Hill).
CONGRESS: ISO Senate chairman: Republican senators see the vacant Ethics Committee chairmanship as more risk than reward. As a result, no one wants the job, reports Jordain Carney (The Hill).
And speaking of unwanted … Lawmakers negotiating fiscal 2020 funding bills are working with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinChina wants removal of US tariffs in first phase of trade deal: report Lawmakers bypass embattled Mulvaney in spending talks Trump directed Treasury, DOJ to address Erdoğan ‘concerns’ about Turkish bank MORE rather than Mick Mulvaney, who is Trump’s acting chief of staff and budget director. Lawmakers are bypassing Mulvaney, who is embroiled in the Trump-Ukraine impeachment drama, because he is less trusted as an authoritative voice for the administration (The Hill).
Export-Import Bank reboot: Senators are struggling to coalesce around a bipartisan deal to revamp the Export-Import Bank. The House failed to pass a bipartisan bill and senators are bickering over who is to blame for the Senate’s inaction. Sylvan Lane reports that the bank deal is important to manufacturers who want to compete more effectively with China (The Hill).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
Bloomberg can’t win, but he could help reelect Trump, by Paul Bledsoe, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2DAupiG
Enhancing protections for sensitive information in congressional investigations, by Reginald Brown, Alyssa Dacunha and Blake Roberts, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/35OExjU
WHERE AND WHEN
Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features Mike Lillis, staff writer for The Hill, to preview the week on Capitol Hill; David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect, to discuss his recent piece, “What Obama Wants”; and Aaron Glantz, senior reporter for Reveal, to talk about former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickBloomberg can’t win, but he could help reelect Trump Democrats take in lobbying industry cash despite pledges Krystal Ball rips report saying Obama would intervene to stop Sanders MORE (D). Coverage starts at 9 a.m. ET at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.
The House reconvenes on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The House Intelligence Committee will circulate an impeachment inquiry report today.
The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and is scheduled to vote this evening on the nomination of Dan Brouillette, deputy Energy secretary since 2017, to succeed Rick PerryRick PerryPerry ends final day as Energy secretary How Democrats’ missing witnesses could fill in the Ukraine story Memo to Democrats: What’s the rush? MORE as Energy secretary. Perry ended his tenure in the Trump Cabinet on Sunday (Politico). The Senate is also scheduled to vote on a cloture motion to consider the nomination of attorney Eric Ross Komitee to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump announces restart to Taliban peace talks in surprise Afghanistan visit The Hill’s Morning Report — House set for Phase 3 of impeachment push Trump cracks impeachment jokes during turkey pardon, says Bread and Butter were subpoenaed MORE will travel today to London and remain through Wednesday to attend the NATO summit and a reception at Buckingham Palace.
Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHow Democrats’ missing witnesses could fill in the Ukraine story Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project Pelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention MORE is in Kentucky to deliver a speech at 9 a.m. about “Diplomatic Realism, Restraint and Respect in Latin America” at the McConnell Center, named after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump’s drug importation plan faces resistance in US, Canada Ginsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle The job no GOP senator wants: ‘I’d rather have a root canal’ MORE (R-Ky.), at the University of Louisville.
➔ Supreme Court: Justices today will hear arguments in a potentially landmark Second Amendment case, the first time in roughly a decade that the Supreme Court will consider U.S. gun rights. At issue is a New York City handgun law that restricts the transport of firearms by licensed owners (The Hill).
➔ West Bank investment movement: An Israeli and Palestinian business initiative is hoping it can spur West Bank investment. Ashraf Jabari, a Palestinian businessman from Hebron, and Avi Zimmerman, a former international spokesman for an Israeli settlement, believe their grassroots movement can promote prosperity from the ground up, countering what they see as a dearth of leadership from the top down (The Hill).
➔ Brrrrr: Icy, snowy winter weather made a showy appearance on Sunday, resulting in the extension into today of a National Weather Service winter weather advisory for parts of New York and New England. Portions of the country experienced heavy snow, power outages and post-holiday travel delays. At Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Sunday, one Delta Air Lines plane with 72 passengers aboard slid off the runway. No injuries were reported (The Buffalo News).
➔ Holiday survival: It’s Cyber Monday, treated by many merchants as an extension of Black Friday (with a few extra surprises) (CNET). Thanksgiving came late this year, leaving six fewer days to shop for Christmas, along with some predictions that the shortest holiday season since 2013 will result in more stress for many and lower revenues for some sellers (The Associated Press). But Adobe Analytics says U.S. consumers will spend a record $9.4 billion online today, a 19 percent increase from last year (The Washington Post). There are just 23 days to shop, wrap, ship, bake, decorate, travel and get ready to celebrate on Dec. 25 if disposed toward Christmas cheer, so best of luck!
And finally … On Saturday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote that he would never forget Friday’s attack near London Bridge, not just because a convicted terrorist knifed and killed two people and injured three others, but because “three people [took] on an armed and homicidal attacker with a whale tusk, a fire extinguisher and their bare hands.”
Khan said, “They and the police who joined them are truly the best of us.”
Over the weekend, commenters on Twitter wrote that those who rushed to stop London’s knife-wielding attacker should be knighted for putting themselves in harm’s way (video HERE). A remembrance service takes place today to honor the victims Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, and the bystanders who cornered the attacker (The Associated Press).
The Associated Press reminded readers over the weekend that heroics performed during recent terror attacks in the United States are more common than many of us may recall. Here are some Americans who made split-second decisions to act: Lori Kaye, 60, jumped in front of a synagogue shooter in April and died; Riley Howell, 21, tackled a gunman in May and was killed; Kendrick Castillo, 18, lunged at a school shooter, giving his classmates time to escape; and James Shaw Jr., an electrical technician, wrestled away an AR-15 rifle from a shooter at a Waffle House, explaining later, “I had God on my side.”