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Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features an interview with former New Orleans mayor and former Lt. Gov.
Mitch Landrieu of Louisiana, who recently said he’s thinking about becoming a 2020 Democratic presidential contender; and Republican Rep.
Kevin CramerKevin John CramerNorth Dakota New Members 2019 Rick Scott appears with GOP senators, ignores voter fraud question as recount continues How President Trump won last night MORE>, who is running to unseat North Dakota’s Sen.
Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampBanking panel showcases 2020 Dems Trump to nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as next EPA administrator North Dakota New Members 2019 MORE> (D) in November. http://thehill.com/hilltv
*** BREAKING *** NATO members went into emergency session on the second day of a summit in Brussels amid
President TrumpDonald John TrumpBroward County official Brenda Snipes submits resignation after criticism Retired lieutenant general tears into Trump over attacks against Navy SEAL: 'Disgusting' Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks MORE>’s demands for increased defense spending by the alliance, The Associated Press reports. At this writing, the president is beginning a press conference in Brussels … stay tuned ...
The annual meeting of nations began Wednesday largely where last month’s Group of Seven (G-7) meeting left off — with Trump clashing with American allies and torching longstanding global agreements. As he did at the G-7, the president arrived late to this morning’s NATO sessions.
Trump’s insults and demands renewed global tensions and left Washington scrambling to reaffirm long-held commitments.
The Associated Press: Trump back at NATO after rattling allies, condemning Germany.
> Trump accused Germany of being “totally controlled by Russia” and said the country’s leadership was held “captive” by the Kremlin’s energy interests. Trump’s rebuke to an ally invited criticism against the backdrop of his planned Monday meeting with Russian President
Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB nationalist he often praises.
Angela Merkel reacted to Trump’s insult, tartly reminding her listeners that she experienced Soviet control as a child growing up in East Germany.
“I’m very happy that we in the federal republic of Germany live united in freedom — and for that reason, we conduct sovereign policy and make sovereign decisions.” – Merkel
Face-to-face later in the day, Trump insisted he and Merkel enjoy a “very good relationship.” Then he resumed his Germany-bashing on Twitter.
Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGinsburg attends Medal of Freedom ceremony amid recovery from fall Utah New Members 2019 Congress braces for high-drama lame duck MORE> (R-Utah), a Trump ally, scolded the president when asked about the slap at Merkel.
“I have really the highest opinion of her and those who are with her. I think sometimes you can be a little too critical of the other [NATO] counterparts. I don’t think we should be critical. She’s really good.” – Hatch
The Hill: Trump-Merkel relationship goes from bad to worse.
The New York Times: Politically weakened Merkel hesitates to take Trump on alone.
> The president often fumes that most of the 28 NATO member nations are not footing the bill for their shared defense commitments and instead rely on the United States. On this trip, Trump demanded the entire European alliance meet 10-year goals — now.
"The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025." – Trump tweeted
NATO members agreed in 2014 to move toward committing at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on their sovereign defense capabilities by 2024.
The president’s assertions that NATO members owe the United States money and are in arrears to the alliance are false, according to a detailed analysis by Politifact.
> Trump went on to tell Bulgarian President
Rumen Radev that NATO countries must double their shares of NATO’s support from 2 percent to 4 percent, a statement that puzzled allies and set leaders on edge in Brussels.
“He just left after he announced that … NATO is not a bourse [stock market] in which one can buy security. But yes, on the other hand, President Trump is right, as each country should build its effective capabilities, and the unwillingness with which Bulgaria spends money on defense is obvious.” – Radev
The reaction back home
> The House unanimously passed a resolution expressing support for NATO, calling it “the most important and critical security link between the United States and Europe.”
“NATO is indispensable. It is as important today as it ever has been.” – Speaker
Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCalif. congresswoman-elect bumps into Pelosi at airport How this year’s freshmen can save the Congress — and themselves Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters MORE> (R-Wis.)
> Former Secretary of State
John KerryJohn Forbes KerryTrump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Kerry: ‘People are going to die' due to Trump's withdrawal from Paris climate deal Kerry tears into Trump for skipping visit to military cemetery: ‘Truculent child president’ MORE> exploded with anger, releasing a blistering statement lambasting Trump’s “disgraceful” and “destructive” behavior that he said “flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America.” Kerry’s worries: NATO, which Putin opposes, is being undercut, and the U.S. image as an international partner is severely frayed.
Kerry defended the Obama administration’s efforts to extract additional defense investments among NATO allies, saying the subject was pursued in a “constructive and collegial way.”
“The president set America back this morning. He is steadily destroying our reputation in the world. He is undermining our interests. He diminishes alliances we built to safeguard an economic and strategic force that has allowed millions of people to live in freedom.” – Kerry
Secretary of State
Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTurkey knocks US support for YPG as ‘big mistake’ Trump to speak with CIA about Khashoggi's murder Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Lawmakers struggle with how to punish Saudi Arabia | Trump regrets not visiting Arlington for Veterans Day | North Korea deports detained American MORE>, who is accompanying Trump on the trip, said little at the president’s side, but attempted to clean up afterward.
Backdrop of a tariffs war
Trump’s swing through Brussels unfolded as the trade war between the U.S. and China showed no signs of easing.
The Chinese are threatening new tariffs on $200 billion in U.S. goods, the latest volley between the Eastern and Western powers.
Reuters: China vows to hit back over U.S. proposal for fresh tariffs.
Back in the U.S., the Senate voted 88-11 to include language in the upcoming spending bill “providing a role for Congress” on future tariffs. The nonbinding vote was a symbolic shot at the president and fresh evidence that Republicans in Congress believe Trump’s approach may be politically and economically ill-advised (The Hill).
“There’s some anxiety about ... tariffs.” – Senate Majority Whip
“Support for our legislation will only grow. We will continue to push for a binding vote and are hopeful one will be scheduled in the near future.” – Sen.
Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: 'Everything points' to Saudi crown prince ordering Khashoggi's killing CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi murder: report McConnell, Flake clash over protecting Mueller probe MORE> (R-Tenn.)
Reuters: China plays nice with foreign investors amid escalating trade war.
Trump this afternoon ends his headline-grabbing participation in Brussels. He and first lady
Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMichelle Obama's stylist downplays controversy over Melania Trump jacket Trump offered Ricardel ambassadorship to Estonia after Melania forced her out of White House: report Michelle Obama: I never had a presidential staffer fired MORE> fly to England and meet with U.S. Embassy staff gathered at Winfield House in London. From there, the Trumps head to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, to attend a gala dinner tonight hosted by Prime Minister
Theresa May. On Friday, the president will meet again with May and has an audience with
Queen Elizabeth II.
Reuters: Trade and tea with Queen for Trump on visit to Britain in “turmoil” (and 60,000 signed up to protest in London).
The New York Times: Trump visit to test “special relationship.”
LEADING THE DAY
***Spotted last night at The Hill’s launch party for Hill.TV at the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium … Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani; Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyJohn Lewis joins Ocasio-Cortez on climate change push White House-Acosta feud is talk of town Trump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser MORE> (D-N.Y.); former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiEx-Breitbart reporter: White House accusations against Acosta are 'projection' Lewandowski says it's 'natural' for officials to leave White House after midterms Corey Lewandowski says GOP will have 'much better' night than expected MORE>; Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingTax law failed to save GOP majority Hollywood donors flood Dems with midterm cash Amy Schumer to host comedy fundraiser for Dem House hopeful MORE> (R-N.Y.); The Hill’s chairman James Finkelstein; executive vice president John Solomon and president Richard Beckman ... and Hill.TV hosts Krystal Ball, Buck Sexton, Jamal Simmons and Joe Concha.***
Andrew W. Mellon auditorium … Trump attorney
Rudy Giuliani; Rep.
Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyJohn Lewis joins Ocasio-Cortez on climate change push White House-Acosta feud is talk of town Trump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser MORE> (D-N.Y.); former Trump campaign manager
Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiEx-Breitbart reporter: White House accusations against Acosta are 'projection' Lewandowski says it's 'natural' for officials to leave White House after midterms Corey Lewandowski says GOP will have 'much better' night than expected MORE>; Rep.
Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingTax law failed to save GOP majority Hollywood donors flood Dems with midterm cash Amy Schumer to host comedy fundraiser for Dem House hopeful MORE> (R-N.Y.); The Hill’s chairman
James Finkelstein; executive vice president
John Solomon and president
Richard Beckman ... and Hill.TV hosts
Krystal Ball, Buck Sexton,
Jamal Simmons and
SUPREME COURT: Less than 48 hours after the president announced his Supreme Court nominee, Senate Republicans sounded decidedly upbeat that while the confirmation process for Judge
Brett Kavanaugh may prove lengthy, the votes ultimately will be there to seat him on the court.
Their confidence grew as Democrats openly conceded they may have a campaign theme this fall but won’t be able to block the nominee.
The Hill: Senate Democratic leadership is stuck between two imperatives.
The Hill: Liberals see Kavanaugh as potential threat to consumer protections.
West Virginia Sen.
Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSotomayor: Kavanaugh now part of the Supreme Court ‘family’ Trump to nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as next EPA administrator Schumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader MORE>, a Democrat seeking reelection in a pro-Trump state, said Kavanaugh, 53, “seems to be a very fine person,” with attributes he spelled out in some detail.
“You know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution [are] going to be followed, and that’s going to basically pre-empt anything else he does. Most importantly, I intend to hear from West Virginians.” – Manchin
Manchin is battling GOP efforts to defeat him. In fact, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJim Carrey on potentially losing fans over his anti-Trump Twitter art: 'Lose them' Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Graham urges GOP leadership to bring vote on criminal justice reform MORE> (R-Ky.) will spend $4.7 million in new ads in West Virginia, North Dakota, Nevada, Indiana and Arizona, Politico reports.
To confirm Kavanaugh, Senate Republicans need 51 votes. Their strategy envisions a unified caucus, accompanied by a few Democratic defectors. With Sen.
John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Cindy McCain takes aim at Trump: We need a strong leader, 'not a negative Nancy' MORE> (R-Ariz.) at home in Arizona undergoing treatment for cancer, observers wonder how Republican Sen.
Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump’s relationship with Saudi crown prince under pressure Rand Paul: 'Evidence is overwhelming' that Saudi crown prince was involved in Khashoggi murder Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover MORE> of Kentucky will vote. He has some objections to positions Kavanaugh has taken.
The Hill: Sen. Paul’s role in the Supreme Court nomination equation.
Kavanaugh continued making courtesy calls to senators on Wednesday as the Department of Justice, outside groups and the news media began gathering and poring over decades of decisions, writings, memos and statements that senators and their staffs will review.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing plan | Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs next year | Grassley opts for Finance gavel MORE> (R-Iowa) is alert to the huge volume of materials he and his colleagues will amass during this confirmation process. He will say only that a hearing on Kavanaugh’s nomination may occur in “August or September.” McConnell would like the full Senate to vote as soon as he’s assembled 51 votes and preferably not later than September.
In an unusual move, Justice Department Deputy Attorney General
Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation Attorneys want Supreme Court to determine legality of Whitaker as acting AG Top Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' MORE> turned to federal prosecutors for help with the necessary data collection (The New York Times). The White House disclosed that Kavanaugh accrued credit card and other debts, including for tickets he purchased to sporting events (The Washington Post).
The amount of potentially relevant files, emails, memos, notes, articles, rulings, drafts and public statements is gargantuan. Kavanaugh's record includes a clerkship with Justice
Anthony Kennedy; staff work with former independent counsel
Kenneth Starr; assistance to the GOP during the 2000 election recount in Florida; two years in President
George W. Bush's White House counsel's office; three as Bush's staff secretary; and 12 years as a federal appeals court judge. He also teaches law.
If Senate Democrats insist on a forensic deep-dive into the entirety of the judge’s career record, the confirmation will slow to a crawl (Politico).
The Hill: Kavanaugh nomination raises questions about ObamaCare’s fate.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
INVESTIGATIONS: FBI agent
Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the election year investigations into Trump and
Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRetired lieutenant general tears into Trump over attacks against Navy SEAL: 'Disgusting' Retired admiral who oversaw bin Laden raid doubles down on Trump criticism Trump dismisses criticism from Navy SEAL who led Osama bin Laden mission MORE>, will testify in public today before a joint session of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The Hill: FBI agent set for public grilling.
Strzok, who is on leave from the FBI, was briefly on special counsel
Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE>’s team but was kicked off when Department of Justice Inspector General
Michael Horowitz discovered anti-Trump private messages exchanged with
Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer with whom he had an affair.
In one of the messages, Strzok said he’d do whatever he could to “stop” Trump from being elected.
The Associated Press: Strzok to testify that he was not tainted by political bias.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman
Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteComey invites House Republicans to hold public hearing after news of possible subpoena GOP chairman plans to subpoena Comey, Lynch to testify before next Congress Virginia New Members 2019 MORE> (R-Va.) has subpoenaed Page for private testimony but she refused to show up on Wednesday. That has infuriated Republican lawmakers, but Page is negotiating a new date to meet with lawmakers (The Hill).
The highly anticipated public testimony from Strzok ignited yet another skirmish on Capitol Hill, where Democrats are accusing Republicans of demonizing him to undermine Mueller’s probe.
Lawmakers grilled Strzok behind closed doors for 11 hours in June and Republicans say that session produced new and startling information.
Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary, and Rep.
Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTop House Oversight Dem says he will do ‘anything and everything’ to make Mueller’s findings public Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Pelosi, potential challenger Fudge hold 'candid' discussion MORE> (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released a joint letter on Wednesday demanding Republicans release the full transcript of that interview with Strzok.
Nadler and Cummings released the questions GOP lawmakers asked Strzok, which they said were evidence their primary aim is to impede the special counsel’s ongoing investigation.
“This investigation is a political charade — a platform to elevate far-right conspiracy theories and undermine the Special Counsel’s ongoing criminal investigation of the President and his campaign aides, which has already produced five guilty pleas and criminal charges against 23 individuals and entities.” – Nadler and Cummings
Horowitz’s report found that political bias did not play a role in the FBI’s decision not to charge Clinton. But he suggested that Strzok’s anti-Trump bias led him to prioritize the Trump campaign investigation over the Clinton investigation at key moments in 2016.
More from the investigative front … Mueller’s team revealed in court documents former Trump campaign manager s “VIP” prison lifestyle ( Lanny Davis, an opinion contributor at The Hill who is representing Michael Cohen, is sending up warning shot after warning shot at Trump and his legal team (
s “VIP” prison lifestyle (The Hill) … Attorney
Lanny Davis, an opinion contributor at The Hill who is representing
Michael Cohen, is sending up warning shot after warning shot at Trump and his legal team (Hill.TV).
POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: The Obama administration is back on the scene with the midterm elections only four months away.
President Obama loaned his star wattage to a new anti-gerrymandering ad spearheaded by former Attorney General
Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder endorses Pelosi for Speaker Poll: Biden and Sanders lead 2020 Dem field, followed by Beto O'Rourke Trump's shortlist for attorney general takes shape MORE>’s redistricting group (CNN).
Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Biden family adopts a dog Entrepreneur touts big solutions, endorsements in discussing presidential bid MORE> will headline a fundraiser next week in Arizona for Senate Democratic contender
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ Central).
And this weekend, former Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and Sens.
Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Sherrod Brown says he has 'no real timetable' for deciding on 2020 presidential run Banking panel showcases 2020 Dems MORE> (D-Mass.) and
Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man My fellow Democrats should watch their language: Economic equality is not a rational societal goal As Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural MORE> (I-Vt.) will headline the American Federation of Teachers convention in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
There is speculation that Clinton, Warren and Sanders might all seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, underscoring the generational tension in the Democratic Party right now, which is making room for new stars, like 28-year-old
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently knocked off the No. 4 Democrat in the House, Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), in a primary race.
Linda Sánchez (Calif.), the fifth ranking Democrat in the House, is calling for a complete overhaul of Democratic leadership next year.
She singled out the top three Democrats in the House — Minority Leader
Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiJohn Lewis joins Ocasio-Cortez on climate change push Dem House newcomers split on supporting Pelosi for Speaker Reelection campaign starts now, like it or not MORE> (Calif.), Minority Whip
Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerMarcia Fudge under spotlight as Pelosi Speaker fight heats up Pelosi and her opponents voice confidence over Speakership battle Clyburn says some critics are using race to oppose his leadership bid MORE> (Md.) and Assistant Minority Leader
James Clyburn (S.C.) — saying it’s time for them “to pass the torch to a new generation” regardless of the outcome of November’s midterm elections (The Hill).
“Having the top three leadership of the same generation, I think it’s time for that generational change.” – Sanchez
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, responded:
“House Democrats are focused on winning in November and if you are rowing in the opposite direction, you are only helping Republicans.” – Hammill
The Hill: Democrats struggle with unity amid leadership tensions.
More politics … The battle to control state houses across the country will play out across the rubble of the Blue Wall that Trump punched through in 2016 (The Hill) … Speaker Ryan is the latest GOP leader to defend Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRep. Mike Johnson wins race for RSC chairman Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Heads up, GOP: Elections have consequences MORE> (R-Ohio) against accusations he turned a blind eye to sexual assault while acting as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1980s and 1990s … Ryan was more forceful in defending Jordan than he was last week (
Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRep. Mike Johnson wins race for RSC chairman Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Heads up, GOP: Elections have consequences MORE> (R-Ohio) against accusations he turned a blind eye to sexual assault while acting as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1980s and 1990s … Ryan was more forceful in defending Jordan than he was last week (The Hill).
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WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at 10 a.m.
The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of
Paul Ney Jr. to be general counsel of the Department of Defense.
The president leaves Brussels this afternoon for England, where he and the first lady remain until Friday, then on to Scotland over the weekend.
Vice President Pence is participating in a series of regional radio interviews this morning.
Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Consumer Price Index and real earnings reports for June at 8:30 a.m.
Secretary Pompeo has a jammed schedule today in Brussels: This morning he attends a Syria small group meeting, and in the afternoon, he attends an energy security meeting with Lithuanian President
Dalia Grybauskaite and Norwegian Prime Minister
Erna Solberg; meets with High Representative
Federica Mogherini; attends a U.S.-EU Energy Council meeting; sits down with Italian Foreign Minister
Enzo Moavero Milanesi; meets with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister
Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir; meets with Iraq Prime Minister
Haider al-Abadi; and hosts a Defeat-ISIS ministerial gathering, all at NATO headquarters.
> Facebook is working to prevent the use of its platform to stir ethnic violence in Myanmar, the company tells The Hill’s
Lawyers for eight Guantánamo detainees who have never been charged with crimes asked a judge on Wednesday to rule their era of war in Afghanistan ended and they should be freed, by Carol Rosenberg, The Miami Herald.
> Soccer: ⚽ The FIFA World Cup final on Sunday is set: Croatia v. France …
Tennis: Today at 9:15 a.m. ET at Wimbledon, seven-time champion
Serena Williams, 36, plays
Julia Görges from Germany in the women’s semi-final.
And finally … Trending: A global push to
eliminate plastic straws, stir sticks and tons of non-biodegradable trash from oceans and the environment... How an eight-minute video of
a struggling sea turtle convinced Starbucks to ditch 1 billion plastic straws (Forbes) … American Airlines the latest company to jettison plastic straws and stir sticks (USA Today) … D.C. City Council plans a hearing on proposed measure to ban plastic straws (The Hill) … Rundown of major companies banning plastic straws (Money magazine). … “STRAWS” (the 2017 documentary) … And that cringe-inducing video clip showing a Texas A&M University marine biologist in 2015 laboring with pliers to extract a straw embedded in the nostril of an injured sea turtle, HERE:
Source : https://thehill.com/homenews/morning-report/396622-the-hills-morning-report8225