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The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump under fire as SCOTUS, Bolton deal blows

The Hill logo The Hill 6/19/2020 Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver
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Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report. Thankfully, it is Friday and it's also Juneteenth. 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 daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 115,732. Tuesday, 116,127. Wednesday, 116,963. Thursday, 117,717. Friday, 118,435.

The Supreme Court threw a temporary lifeline to nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants who are at risk of U.S. deportation, ruling 5-4 on Thursday that the Trump administration had presented a procedurally flawed case (The Hill).

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberals on the court to rule that while President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security had the authority to rescind the Obama-era enforcement waiver program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the court's decision was "primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so."

The final verdict for the so-called "Dreamers" may be decided by voters in the November elections, or in a future court showdown, if Trump is reelected. Either way, the president viewed the decision as a personal rebuke and a policy loss during a week in which Roberts and conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch led a majority to rule in a separate case that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender workers from employment discrimination.

The Hill: The Supreme Court surprises rattle disappointed right.

During a week laid low by a persistent coronavirus crisis, a recession and a scathingly detailed takedown of Trump in a memoir penned by former national security adviser John Bolton, the president has been fuming and blames others.

"These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!' the president tweeted on Thursday.

In a follow-up tweet in which Trump interpreted the DACA ruling as a personal slap, he wrote, "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?"

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been a staunch defender of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the United States without documents as children and call the United States home, said he was delighted by the ruling.

"I cried tears of joy a few minutes ago when I heard the decision," he said. "These wonderful DACA kids and their families have a huge burden lifted off of their shoulders. They don't have to worry about being deported. They can do their jobs, and I believe ... someday soon they will be American citizens," he added (The Hill).

The Washington Post: Supreme Court blocks Trump's bid to end DACA, a win for undocumented "dreamers."

The Associated Press: Young immigrants land court win but still face uncertainty.

The New York Times: Trump cannot immediately end DACA, Supreme Court rules.

Wall Street Journal editorial board: On DACA, Obama can but Trump can't.

Although Trump governs as a foe of illegal immigration, he said in 2017 that he agonized over how to handle the DACA program created by former President Obama, acknowledging the special circumstances and contributions of young people who have lived nearly their entire lives in the United States and have few ties to their parents' home countries. In early 2017, Trump said he wanted to use "heart" to work out a deal with congressional Democrats to enact new law to replace DACA, an idea conservatives rejected and the president eventually dropped after he rescinded the deportation protections in September 2017 (The New York Times).

The Hill: Trump, seeking reelection leverage with voters, pledges a new list by Sept. 1 of conservative Supreme Court contenders.

Meanwhile, Bolton continued to create headaches for the White House as the president refused to shrug off a damaging memoir circulating around Washington ahead of a June 23 publication date. In a series of tweets, Trump referred to the national security hawk as a "wacko," saying he should have fired him early in his tenure at the National Security Council.

As The Hill's Brett Samuels writes, the unflattering behind-the-scenes book presents a by-now familiar theme: back-biting and mockery in a vindictive West Wing in which the president often pits aides against one another and Cabinet officials bad mouth Trump behind his back. Bolton's concluding indictments are that Trump is "unfit" to be president and has weakened U.S. national security with China, North Korea, Russia and Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who says he has read only news media excerpts of the book, called Bolton a "traitor" in a Thursday tweet.

The Hill: Republicans brush off Bolton's bombshells.

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CONGRESS: The House is expected to vote Thursday on the House Democratic police reform package as the two political parties ram heads on the best path forward on the topic weeks after the death of George Floyd.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) made the announcement on Thursday morning a day after the House Judiciary Committee passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act along party lines. The news came as questions persisted over whether the House and Senate will be able to reach a compromise package or simply hunker down along political fault lines. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that Democrats are prepared for either avenue.

"We always hope there can be a compromise. We always strive for bipartisanship. We have a responsibility to find our common ground. But when we can't find our [common] ground, we must stand our ground," Pelosi told MSNBC. "Maybe there can be some compromise in some of the language in other aspects of the bill," she added, saying that she will leave that decision to Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)

"The American people have spoken in large numbers in protest against the status quo. I hope that the Senate Republicans are listening," Pelosi said.

On the GOP side, Divisions are opening up among lawmakers on whether or not to make changes to qualified immunity, according to The Hill's Jordain Carney. The legal protection, which shields police officers from lawsuits, has emerged as a sticking point for the chances of a bipartisan police reform deal. But some Republicans, while warning ending it altogether would be a non-starter, are signaling that they are open to discussions about potential changes.

> Confederate erasure: On Thursday, Pelosi moved forward with her plan to remove Confederate markers where she can, ordering the removal of four portraits in the Capitol of previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy (The Hill). The California Democrat had also hoped to remove 11 Confederate statues that are on display in the Capitol complex, however, Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) blocked the Senate from passing legislation to do so (The Hill).

The Washington Post: Senate Republicans look for way to avoid election year debate over military bases named for Confederate leaders.

The Hill: Bipartisan bill introduced to provide $120 billion in federal financial relief for restaurants.

The Hill: Democrats unveil $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.

The Hill: Democratic senators are proposing to make Juneteenth, the June 19 date that marks the emancipation of African American slaves in the United States, a national holiday.

The Hill: Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) will introduce a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The Hill: Republicans take aim at Google in fight to remove legal shields.

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CORONAVIRUS: Nearly half the states are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and rising disease transmissions, but Trump inaccurately stated during a blast of interviews on Wednesday that the coronavirus in the United States is "dying out" (CNN).

The governors of at least six states - Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina and Vermont - have recently extended their state of emergency orders, even as cases in some of the states have been declining. Along with control over travel restrictions and business closures, the emergency declarations provide a direct line to federal funding for disaster relief (The New York Times).

Oklahoma: On Wednesday, Oklahoma recorded 259 new COVID -19 cases, a single-day record for the second day in a row, and days before Trump is scheduled to hold an indoor campaign rally in Tulsa in defiance of his administration's guidelines for "phased reopening." The president, pictured below with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), plans his first political rally on Saturday since the coronavirus crisis anchored him to the White House in March. The event may attract up to 20,000 people and has public health officials sending up warning flares. It's not the only mixed messaging coming from Washington: The president's campaign is requiring rally-goers to sign a statement waiving their right to sue the campaign if they get sick (The New York Times).

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New York: Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) confirmed on Thursday that New York City will enter its next phase of reopening on Monday, which will allow outdoor dining and opening offices, with limits. ... New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Thursday said he is considering imposing a two-week quarantine requirement on travelers coming into New York from Florida, which is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections (New York Post). Cuomo accused the White House of responding to COVID-19 out of political and public relations motivation and ideology, and he said the president's approach is costing lives. On Thursday, he said New York reacted to the pandemic on a "science, fact basis" and has achieved a decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for 60 days as a result.

Florida: The medical group Doctors without Borders is helping migrant agricultural workers get tested for COVID-19 in South Florida, finding a 37 percent positivity rate among 1,000 migrant laborers tested in May, compared with 4 to 8 percent seen in the general population of the Sunshine State at that time (The Miami Herald). Florida reported 3,207 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday, which was the largest single-day count in the state since the pandemic, according to the state health department. The state has "all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission," and risks being the "worst it has ever been," according to projections from a model by scientists at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania (CNN).

California: Responding to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in a state buffeted by coronavirus contagion since late last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care (Los Angeles Times). California registered a record 4,165 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday amid the state's allowance to reopen local economies in several counties. Most recent data surpassed the previous single-day high of 3,802 new cases reported on June 12. At least 5,279 people have died in California due to COVID-19. Since the beginning of the month, several Bay Area counties have allowed operations to resume for outdoor dining, salons and other businesses despite growing concern that the state has failed to contain the first wave of the pandemic (The Mercury News).

Freedom to choose ... a mask?: Federal guidelines say wearing masks can slow the COVID-19 virus as it preys on human hosts by moving through droplets in the air, especially indoors and in settings where people are in close proximity to one another. In states where the coronavirus is spreading quickly, some governors continue to resist calls to issue statewide masking requirements, while others are allowing localities to issue their own rules (The Hill).

COVID-19 research: Antibodies to the new coronavirus may last only two to three months in the body, especially in people who never showed symptoms while they were infected, according to a small study of 37 people published on Thursday in Nature Medicine. The findings suggest that asymptomatic people may mount a weaker response to the virus than people who develop symptoms of COVID-19 (The New York Times).

Football and contagion: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says football teams would need to emulate plans by the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer for player isolation in a "bubble" format, or consider not playing in 2020 because of the risks of contracting COVID-19 (ESPN). The government's top infectious disease expert also defends stay-at-home orders imposed by governors and mayors as prudent responses that saved millions of lives over a period of weeks (The Hill).


POLITICS: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) effectively removed herself from consideration to become former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate this fall, saying on Thursday night that he should pick a woman of color for the position.

Klobuchar made the remarks to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, saying that she told Biden as much on Wednesday night.

"This is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment. And I truly believe as I actually told the vice president last night when I called him that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket, and there are so many incredibly qualified women," Klobuchar said. "But if you want to heal this nation right now, my party, yes, but our nation, this is sure a hell of a way to do it."

"As I sat at George Floyd's memorial, as I talked to people across this country, in the last few weeks, yes, I came to this conclusion. And I think it would be taking what has been a tragedy, but yet this moment of galvanizing force across this country and taking it and unifying our country, but also doing it in a joyful way, by putting someone of color on this ticket," she added (The Hill).

Weeks ago, Biden's campaign vetted the Minnesota Democrat as a potential running mate, but the deaths of Floyd and multiple other unarmed black individuals fundamentally changed the situation surrounding who Biden will select for the position. Klobuchar has come under increased scrutiny after Floyd's death in Minneapolis, with initial reports falsely claiming that as a prosecutor, she was responsible for the failure to charge former officer Derek Chauvin for a 2006 shooting.

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Prior to her Thursday remarks, Klobuchar wasn't the only one who was garnering criticism from some progressive circles As Rep. Val Demings's (D-Fla.) chances to become Biden's running mate increase, so does scrutiny of police-brutality incidents that occurred on her watch when she was Orlando police chief a decade ago.

The former VP is facing a groundswell of pressure to select an African American as his running mate amid nationwide protests over Floyd's death, with many within his party pointing to Demings as someone who could straddle the emotional divide over police reform. According to The Hill's Julia Manchester and Scott Wong, they see a former police chief who can speak personally about police brutality and systemic racism against blacks but who insulates Democrats from GOP charges that they are squishy, soft-on-crime liberals. However, some Black Lives Matter activists have voiced concerns over Demings's 2007-11 tenure as police chief.

"Not only do I think a lot of misconduct happened on her watch, I also believe that that standard went into the policing that continues today," said Corrine Daily, an organizer at Orlando Revolution, an affiliate of the national progressive group Our Revolution.

> Return of the rallies: The president will return to the campaign trail on Saturday in Tulsa, Okla., as he begins a series of campaign rallies, his first since the COVID-19 pandemic became a crisis in the United States. Trump hopes to boost his sagging poll numbers with a "comeback" message to his supporters.

The Trump campaign is going all out ahead of Saturday's rally, planning musical acts and camera crews to capture images for campaign ads ahead of the event before a huge crowd at the BOK Center (Axios).

"One of the reasons we chose [Oklahoma] is because of how well they've - because it's early. It's very early. And because of what a great job they governor and everybody else has done in Oklahoma," Trump said. "We expect to have, you know, it's like a record-setting crowd. We've never had an empty seat. And we certainly won't in Oklahoma."

According to recent polls, the president has a lot of ground to make up to win a second term. Biden leads by a wide margin with 50 percent support to 38 percent for Trump, according to a Fox News survey released on Thursday. The president's approval rating is 44 percent, according to the poll (The Hill).

Politico: "My biggest risk": In interview, Trump says mail-in voting could cost him reelection.

The Hill: Trump team to press for more debates against Biden.

On Thursday, Biden's team announced a $15 million national ad buy, the first such reservation of the general election. According to the campaign, the ads will run in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona on national cable, with $1 million of the total going toward Spanish-language ads in the latter two states. The ads go up today.

The Hill: GOP fears Biden's low-key campaign is paying off.

The Washington Post: Facebook removes Trump ads with symbol once used by Nazis to designate political prisoners.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill's reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


On DACA, the Supreme Court just saved Trump from himself, by Catherine Rampell, columnist, The Washington Post.

John Bolton isn't lying about Trump, he's exposing him, by Eli Lake, columnist Bloomberg Opinion.


How Facebook is preparing for the US 2020 election

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- Tripled safety and security teams to 35,000 people

- Implemented 5-step political ad verification

- Providing greater political ad transparency

- Launching new Voting Information Center

Learn about these efforts and more.


The House meets on Monday at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The Senate will reconvene on Monday at 3 p.m., and resume consideration of the nomination of Cory Wilson to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The president has no public events on his schedule.

The Hill's Coronavirus Report has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!

Hill.TV's "Rising" program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.


State Watch: More than a dozen states have taken their own action to adopt police reform legislation in the wake of Floyd's death, and dozens more will do so shortly (The Hill).

News media: Among national and local news outlets, COVID-19 and its recessionary impacts have reduced advertising and revenues, prompting layoffs, furloughs and salary cuts. Struggling news organizations are turning to Congress for help in the form of a request for billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding to help keep local reporting alive (Editor & and Publisher). ... The Washington Post said it will give employees $1,000 bonuses next week as an appreciation for work performed during the pandemic (Washingtonian). ... WBUR public radio in Boston is laying off more than 10 percent of its workforce this week, and imposing salary cuts (WBUR).

Economy: The Labor Department on Thursday reported that 1.5 million people without work filed jobless claims last week, which was higher than projected. It was the 13th straight week that claims for unemployment benefits exceeded 1 million (CNBC).

➔ TSA "good boy": After more than eight years of dedicated service at Indianapolis Airport, TTirado, an explosive detection canine, earned a big retirement surprise before being adopted by his handler, Keith Gray and his family to live a more leisurely lifestyle on the couch. TSA regional spokesman Mark Howell, tweeted some photos of the tail-wagging pooch and a video clip showing the retiree's final bag search and reward. Needless to say, TTirado, named after Hector Luis Tirado Jr., a New York City firefighter who died on 9/11, was a Twitter hit on Thursday.

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And finally ... A big round of applause for all the Morning Report Quiz masters who knew their pandemic-related sports trivia.

⚾️⚽️Here's a list of those who went 4/4 this week: Phil Kirstein, Dan Murphy, Ki Harvey, Laura Silver, Patrick Kavanagh, Jeff Gelski, Michael Bodaken, Terry Pflaumer, Craig Comins, J. Patrick White, Sandy Walters, Mark Marshall and John Donato.

They knew that the NBA was the first U.S. sports league to suspend play after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.

The Korea Baseball Organization, which has become a staple on ESPN in the past month-plus, restarted on May 5 and became the first major sports league to do so.

Kyrie Irving, a noted flat-earther, recently suggested that NBA players create an alternative league instead of competing in the league's proposed "bubble" in Orlando, Fla., to finish the season.

Finally, the Major League Baseball Players Association has insisted on full pro-rated pay for all players in any return-to-play agreement.

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