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The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week

The Hill logo The Hill 1/16/2020 Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver
Jerrold Nadler et al. posing for the camera: The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week © Getty Images The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera © Provided by The Hill

Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report. It's Thursday! Our newsletter gets 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!

Two articles of impeachment against President Trump were officially transmitted to the Senate on Wednesday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the seven lawmakers who will serve as prosecutors during a trial that begins in earnest on Tuesday.

The historic process of prosecuting and defending Trump's actions nine months before voters choose the next president will impact every branch of government and American politics for years to come.

The articles alleging abuse of power were physically delivered to the Senate on Wednesday evening in a rare ceremonial procession led by Cheryl Johnson, the House clerk, and Paul Irving, the House sergeant-at-arms, shortly after the House voted to advance them nearly along party lines. The only Democrat to vote against the transmission was Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) (The Hill).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate GOP leaders are scheduled to officially accept the articles today at noon.

The processional came hours after Pelosi announced the group of managers, headlined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), whom she named lead manager, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Both committee chairmen played integral roles in the impeachment process since it was launched in late September (The Hill).

As Olivia Beavers and Mike Lillis write, most of the others selected for the high-profile role were also widely considered to be leading candidates, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Val Demings (D-Fla.), a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels; and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Judiciary panel and the only member of Congress to have participated in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.

Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) were the final two picks for the team and were surprise selections. Garcia, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, and Crow are both freshmen. Crow, an ex-Army Ranger, does not sit on any of the six committees with jurisdiction over impeachment and did not support Pelosi for Speaker.

The Democratic team of managers is nearly half the size and more diverse that the all-white-male House GOP team of managers during the impeachment trial of former President Clinton in 1999 (The Washington Post).

The Hill: Chief Justice John Roberts, senators to be sworn in today for impeachment trial.

The looming trial is a major test for McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), shaping up to be the most defining battle on Capitol Hill ahead of the general election, according to The Hill's Alexander Bolton.

During Trump's term, each senator has notched a major endeavor. McConnell prevailed to secure the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while Schumer won a legislative battle to retain the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

The GOP leader is appealing to Kentucky voters to be reelected in November while also keeping the GOP conference in unison. Schumer is hunting for Republicans willing to buck their party to remove Trump, a highly unlikely prospect. Pelosi was unable to swing a single Republican vote last month.

The Hill: Seven things to know about the Trump trial.

Bloomberg News: Trump's Senate trial kicks off with GOP moderates under pressure.

The Hill: Trump accuses Democrats of a "con job" as impeachment managers are announced.

Up in the air is how the Senate treats newly released Ukraine-related documents disclosed on Tuesday by House Democrats and initially turned over to House investigators by Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani.

Parnas gave his first national television interview on Wednesday night, telling MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that he warned a top aide of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the United States would block millions of dollars in aid if it didn't announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Parnas said he delivered the warning at the direction of Giuliani (The Hill).

"Rudy told me after meeting the president at the White House - he called me - the message was, it wasn't just military aid, it was all aid," Parnas said. "Basically, the relationship would be sour. We would stop giving them any kind of aid."

Parnas also told the Ukranians that no U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, would attend Zelensky's inauguration. While Pence was not in attendance, other U.S. officials were (The Wall Street Journal).

As Laura Kelly and others write, the documents, which included text messages, hand written notes and official correspondence, suggest a more intense campaign in Ukraine allegedly sanctioned by the president and targeting former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

The documents may not be the only new evidence in the wings. Nadler said that "there may very well be" more information relevant to the Trump trial tied to Giuliani and his associates.

The Hill: Parnas: U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed to clear path for investigations into Bidens.

The Associated Press: Giuliani associate: Trump had knowledge of Ukraine pressure.

The Washington Post: 4 takeaways from the Lev Parnas interview and revelations.

a group of people looking at each other © Provided by The Hill


ADMINISTRATION & WHITE HOUSE: In an agreement signed on Wednesday by the United States and China, Beijing committed to buy an additional $200 billion worth of American goods and services by 2021. The deal is also expected to ease some tariffs China slapped on U.S. products.

The additional purchases are to include as much as $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products over two years, an important selling point in rural states Trump hopes to win in November. China also committed in the agreement to buy airplanes, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas. But what happens at the end of two years remains gauzy.

Reuters: China trade deal gives Trump a campaign win.

READ text of the 96-page agreement HERE (MarketWatch).

The New York Times: What's in (and not in) the agreement.

The accord, described by the administration as the first of two phases of trade and intellectual property negotiations between the two largest economies in the world, keeps in place at least through the election most of the tariffs Trump placed on $360 billion in Chinese products.

The president - during a White House signing ceremony that included Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (pictured) - called the continuation of U.S. tariffs "leverage" to ensure that China lives up to its word (The Hill).

"I will agree to take those tariffs off if we agree on phase two," Trump said, adding that the next round of negotiations will resume "very shortly" with China. "We don't expect to have a phase three."

While the president boasted the pact is "the biggest deal in the world so far," trade experts described "phase one" as a step toward managed trade with China, but one that paused more than resolved a tariff war that has cost American consumers and hurt the U.S. farming and manufacturing sectors (The Washington Post).

The Associated Press: Senate expected to give Trump back-to-back trade victories.

Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a curtain © Provided by The Hill


CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: The emerging feud between Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), two of the highest-profile liberal Democrats, is sending shockwaves through the progressive stratosphere as concerns emerge that neither candidate could win the Democratic nomination unless they knock it off.

A day after the seventh Democratic debate, audio emerged of the two trading accusations of lying during a confrontation immediately following the confab. The dispute centered on the pair's December 2018 meeting, during which Sanders allegedly told Warren that a woman cannot be elected president, a charge Sanders has refuted vehemently.

"I think you called me a liar on national TV," Warren told Sanders, repeating the line once more.

"Let's not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we'll have that discussion," Sanders said, adding, "You called me a liar" (The Hill).

As Jonathan Easley and Amie Parnes report, the debate incidents have made progressives incredibly uneasy as they had hoped that the gathering would give the two an opportunity to put their differences behind them. The opposite has happened though, and the timing couldn't be worse as less than three weeks remain until the Iowa caucuses.

Sanders supporters said they were upset with Warren for what they consider betrayal and a low blow over a misunderstanding.

"I felt a knife in the heart," said Michael Moore, a filmmaker and Sanders backer.

They're also angry at Warren's effort to frame herself as the most electable candidate when she boasted that she and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the two women on the debate stage, won contests against Republican candidates over a span of 30 years. The remark led to an awkward back-and-forth between Warren and Sanders when he tried to correct her.

"Thirty years ago, she was a Republican," said Nina Turner, a co-chairwoman for Sanders's campaign.

The New York Times: Warren told Sanders after debate, "I think you called me a liar on national TV."

The Washington Post: How a Sanders debate-watch party reacted to Warren's attacks.

While progressives worry about an escalation of tensions, those supporting Biden and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg watch from a distance with glee.

"I've never been happier about where Biden stands in this," said one top Biden supporter before weighing in on the Sanders-Warren kerfuffle. "The longer that happens, the better for Joe."

The Washington Post: Warren-Sanders rift fuels a Democratic split and worries party leaders.

The Hill: Iowa Democrats view flawed front-runners with anxiety.

The Associated Press: New Iowa caucus rules could spark clashing claims of victory.

The Hill: Progressives raise red flags over health insurer donations.

Tom Steyer et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill

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!


Elizabeth Warren moves bigly to out-Trump Trump, by Jonathan Turley, opinion contributor, The Hill.

Is America on the wrong side in the Middle East? by Marik von Rennenkampff, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Hill.TV's "Rising" program features The Hill's staff writer Rafael Bernal, reporting on Democrats' ground game in Nevada to win over Latino voters; Wendell Potter, president of Medicare for All (NOW!), on health care, health insurance and policy options; and Hanna Trudo, Daily Beast reporter, on the 2020 presidential race and divisions among Democrats about Sanders's place in the top tier of candidates. Coverage starts at 9 a.m. ET at or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.

The House meets at 9 a.m.

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. The Senate impeachment trial of Trump begins with the reading of the impeachment articles and swearing-in of Chief Justice Roberts and senators. Debate on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement also is expected.

The president receives his intelligence briefing at 11:45 a.m. and discusses prayer in public schools at 1:45 p.m.

Vice President Pence travels to Tampa for a GOP reelection event at 1:30 p.m. and to Kissimmee, Fla., to headline a "Latinos for Trump" event at 6 p.m. accompanied by second lady Karen Pence.

Economic indicator: The Census Bureau releases data at 8:30 a.m. about U.S. retail and food sales in November. Analysts previously described slowing consumer spending at the end of 2019.

The Hill hosts an event, "Mayors Matter: Deepening the Generational Compact in Communities," on Tuesday in Washington from 2 to 4 p.m. with influential mayors from Michigan, Kansas and Florida and community leaders who describe contributions of older adults and the societal benefits of intergenerational bonds. Find information HERE.


Russia: Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's prime minister under President Vladimir Putin (pictured), announced on Wednesday that he and the entire Russian government would resign. In a televised statement on Russian state TV, Putin, 67, proposed a surprise constitutional overhaul that is expected to eventually boost the powers of the prime minister, a shake-up that signaled Putin's intention to carve out a new position for himself after his current term as president ends in four years. The Kremlin said he named Mikhail Mishustin, the government's tax chief, as Russia's new prime minister (The Associated Press). Putin, who has been either president or prime minister continuously since 1999, could retain power and influence beyond 2024 (Reuters).

The Washington Post: What's behind the surprise Russian government shake-up?

Dmitry Medvedev, Vladimir Putin sitting at a table © Provided by The Hill

Courts: A federal judge in Maryland on Wednesday blocked a Trump executive order that would allow state and local governments to refuse to settle refugees (The Hill).

Crossword puzzles: We're living in the "golden age" of passion for the brain teasers. "Crosswords are more up to date, they're livelier, they feel more modern. I think they're attracting a wider audience than ever," says Will Shortz, editor of the crosswords at The New York Times, which boasts 600,000 separate subscribers for its storied puzzles (USA Today's Journalist Dan Avery described the addictive attraction in a Wednesday essay (The New York Times).


And finally ... It's Thursday, which means it's time for this week's Morning Report Quiz!

⚾ Inspired by recent suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball against the Houston Astros over stealing signs, we're eager for some smart guesses about the history of high-profile MLB suspensions.

Email your responses to and/or, and please add "Quiz" to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

In 1990, which MLB owner was permanently banned (though eventually reinstated) after hiring a gambler to dig up dirt on future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield?

  1. Marge Schott
  2. George Steinbrenner
  3. Ted Turner
  4. Peter Angelos

In the summer of 1989, which MLB commissioner permanently banned Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose for betting on baseball?

  1. Fay Vincent
  2. Bud Selig
  3. Peter Ueberroth
  4. Bart Giamatti

In 1921, eight members of the Chicago White Sox - dubbed the "Black Sox" - were banned from baseball for life for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series. Decades later, the suspended players were the subjects of two movies: "Eight Men Out" and _____?

  1. "The Natural"
  2. "Field of Dreams"
  3. "Major League"
  4. "For Love of the Game"

Less than five months after he appeared before Congress in March 2005 to declare, "I have never used steroids, period," which ballplayer tested positive for an anabolic steroid and was suspended for 10 days?

  1. Roger Clemens
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Rafael Palmeiro
  4. Jose Canseco
a close up of a baseball game © Provided by The Hill

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