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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 TrumpFive environmental fights to watch in 2020 Lawmakers close to finalizing federal strategy to defend against cyberattacks The 7 big Supreme Court cases to watch in 2020 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 NadlerImpeachment’s historic moment boils down to ‘rooting for laundry’ Impeachment just confirms Trump’s leadership 2019 was a historic year for marijuana law reform — here’s why 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 GiulianiRapid turnover shapes Trump’s government Strap yourself in: 2020’s likely to be quite a ride Giuliani says he would be willing to testify in impeachment trial MORE, acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael Mulvaney2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters Rapid turnover shapes Trump’s government 10 controversies that rocked the Trump White House in 2019 MORE, and former national security adviser John BoltonJohn Bolton2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters Rapid turnover shapes Trump’s government Senate Republican predicts impeachment trial ends by State of the Union 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 SchiffUS faces new crisis in Iraq Obama, Trump tied for most admired man: Gallup Republicans, Democrats offer support after John Lewis cancer diagnosis 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 BidenPoll: Biden remains ahead of Sanders by 10 points 2020 forecast: A House switch, a slimmer Senate for GOP — and a bigger win for Trump 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters 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 WarrenPoll: Biden remains ahead of Sanders by 10 points 2020 forecast: A House switch, a slimmer Senate for GOP — and a bigger win for Trump Comedian who predicted Trump’s rise names Yang, Gabbard as top 2020 contenders MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Biden remains ahead of Sanders by 10 points 2020 forecast: A House switch, a slimmer Senate for GOP — and a bigger win for Trump 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters MORE (I-Vt.) or South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: Biden remains ahead of Sanders by 10 points 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters Buttigieg’s former chief of staff to be sworn in as mayoral successor 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 ClintonKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Ranking the Democrats: Who has best chance of winning nomination? Saager Enjeti rips Biden, says coal miner remarks harken back to Clinton mistakes of 2016 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 GaramendiBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to ‘forever wars’ Krystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that’s wrong with Democrats The Hill’s Morning Report – Impeachment of Trump resumes MORE (D-Calif.) endorses Biden for president over fellow California Democrat Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisComedian who predicted Trump’s rise names Yang, Gabbard as top 2020 contenders 2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE.
The Hill: Warren receives endorsement from Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyGlobal health is the last bastion of bipartisan foreign policy Hillicon Valley: House panel unveils draft of privacy bill | Senate committee approves bill to sanction Russia | Dems ask HUD to review use of facial recognition | Uber settles sexual harassment charges for .4M Key House committee offers online privacy bill draft 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 ObamaTrump enters 2020 on a bull market high Obama reveals list of his favorite songs from 2019 Michelle Obama is ‘most admired woman’ in new poll 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 BullockKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Kamala Harris dropped out, but let’s keep her mental health plan alive The Hill’s Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage 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 MnuchinDigital tax to take effect in Italy on Jan. 1 Trump says signing of China trade deal ‘being arranged’ Mnuchin, Lighthizer deny WSJ reporting on tariff negotiations with China: ‘It did not happen’ 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).
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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 PatrickKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Ranking the Democrats: Who has best chance of winning nomination? Rep. John Lewis to undergo treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer 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 PerryGod did not elect Trump, people did Is Joe Biden the Democrats’ Mitt Romney of 2020? New Energy secretary cancels Paris trip amid mass strikes against Macron proposal 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 TrumpMichelle Obama is ‘most admired woman’ in new poll Navy SEALs who turned in Gallagher: He is ‘freaking evil’ Trump, first lady attend Christmas Eve services in Florida 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 Pompeo2020 predictions: Trump will lose — if not in the Senate, then with the voters Rapid turnover shapes Trump’s government Linda Ronstadt: Trump is ‘like Hitler, and the Mexicans are the new Jews’ 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 McConnellFive environmental fights to watch in 2020 U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan highest in years 2020 forecast: A House switch, a slimmer Senate for GOP — and a bigger win for Trump 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.”
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