Wake Up To Politics - November 11, 2019
I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Monday, November 11, 2019. 84 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 358 days until Election Day 2020. Have any comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all of the brave men and women who have risked their lives in service to the United States.
Impeachment: The latest
What to watch: The House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump reaches a pivotal stage this week, as Democratic lawmakers move their investigation from behind closed doors into public view. The House Intelligence Committee is slated to hold two public impeachment hearings this week: one on Wednesday, with testimony from acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, and the other on Friday, with testimony from former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Also this week... President Trump has told reporters that a transcript of his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which took place three months before the call that ignited the impeachment probe, will likely be released on Tuesday. In addition, Trump is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodğan on Wednesday, just as Democrats are convening their first impeachment hearing. Erodğan's visit comes just weeks after a Turkish incursion against the U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Syria sparked a bipartisan outcry in Washington.
New reporting on Trump/Ukraine: Lev Parnas, an associate of presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani who also assisted in legal work for President Trump, traveled to Ukraine before President Zelensky's inauguration in May to deliver a message at Giuliani's behest, a lawyer for Parnas told the New York Times on Sunday.
According to the lawyer, Parnas "told a representative of the incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Mr. Trump’s political rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president, and the United States would freeze aid," the Times reported. (Giuliani denies the claim by Parnas, a sign that his onetime ally could be turning on him and Trump as he considers cooperating with Democratic investigators.)
--- According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Parnas and his colleague Lev Parnas also pressed Zelensky's predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, to announce investigations into Biden's son and the 2016 election during a February meeting in Kyiv.
--- From this morning: "Two political supporters of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government soon after Perry proposed one of the men as an adviser to the country’s new president."
"Perry’s efforts to influence Ukraine’s energy policy came earlier this year, just as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s new government was seeking military aid from the United States to defend against Russian aggression, and allies of President Donald Trump were ramping up efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden." (Associated Press)
Mulvaney seeks to join lawsuit asking court to intervene in subpoena battle: "[Acting White House chief of staff] Mick Mulvaney works only about 50 steps from the Oval Office as he runs the White House staff but rather than simply obey President Trump’s order to not cooperate with House impeachment investigators, he sent his lawyers to court late Friday night asking a judge whether he should or not."
"To obtain such a ruling, the lawyers asked to join a lawsuit already filed by a former White House official — a lawsuit that names 'the Honorable Donald J. Trump' as a defendant along with congressional leaders. The lawyers tried to finesse that by saying in the body of their motion that the defendants they really wanted to sue were the congressional leaders, but their own motion still listed Mr. Trump at the top as a defendant because that is the suit they sought to join."
"In effect, Mr. Mulvaney hopes the court will tell him whether to listen to his own boss, who wants him to remain silent, or to comply with a subpoena from the House, which wants his testimony. That put Mr. Mulvaney at odds with some other current White House and administration officials who had simply defied the House, citing the president’s order not to cooperate with what he called an illegitimate 'witch hunt.'" (New York Times)
--- The lawsuit was originally filed by former deputy national security adviser Charles Kooperman. John Bolton, the former national security adviser (who shares an attorney with Kupperman), is also expected to follow the judge's ruling in the case. According to the Washington Post, allies of Bolton were "taken aback" by Mulvaney's decision, as they view Mulvaney as a "critical player in the effort to get the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations into Trump’s political opponents," which Bolton reportedly derided as "a drug deal."
According to Axios, White House aides fear potential testimony from Bolton, who they described as "the most prolific note-taker at the top level of the White House." In a letter to lawmakers on Friday, Bolton's lawyer teased that his client knows about "many relevant meetings and conversations" connected to the Ukraine saga. Per CNN, Bolton has also inked a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish a book about his White House tenure sometime before the 2020 election.
Bloomberg continues to mull presidential bid: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's potential entrance into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary — fueled by "dissatisfaction with the race's leading moderate, former Vice President Joe Biden and worries about liberal leader Elizabeth Warren" — has "supercharged a debate over whether the party has the right candidates, whether the time for entries has passed, and whether yet other candidates could raise the mountain of cash needed for a credible campaign," according to the Washington Post.
However, early signs point to the difficulties Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-Independent mayor, will face if he jumps into his adopted political party's presidential field. A Morning Consult poll conducted on Friday found the billionaire would enter the 2020 race in 6th place, with 4% of the vote, and have little impact on Biden's lead; the survey also found that Bloomberg had a higher unfavorable rating that any of his potential 2020 rivals. His "trial balloon" was certainly not well-received among the current candidates, with multiple contenders accusing him of attempting to buy his way to the nomination.
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg and his advisers are planning an unconventional strategy if he does launch a White House bid: skipping all four early-voting primary states to instead focus on more delegate-rich contests later in the calendar.
Longtime GOP Rep. Peter King announces retirement: Rep. Peter King (R-NY) announced in a statement this morning that he will not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the 20th House Republican planning to step aside next year. King, 75, is currently serving in his 14th term representing a South Shore Long Island district; he is known as a moderate member of the House GOP Conference and a former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. His district is R+3 according to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index, making it a likely target for Democrats in 2020.
Recommended reads: "Trump’s well-oiled campaign has everything planned — except Trump" (McClatchy)
--- "Inside the 2020 campaign with the potential First Gentlemen" (Politico)
--- "Why Pete Buttigieg Annoys His Democratic Rivals" (New York Times)
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Today at the White House
--- President and First Lady Trump are in New York City, New York, today. At 10:35 a.m., Trump participates in a wreath-laying and delivers remarks at the New York City Veterans Day Parade. The president and first lady will spend the night at Trump Tower.
--- At 11:30 a.m., Vice President Mike Pence participates in the 66th annual National Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery. The vice president will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and deliver remarks.
Today in Congress
--- The House and Senate are on recess.
Today at the Supreme Court
--- The Supreme Court does not have any conference or oral arguments scheduled.
Today on the trail
--- Former Vice President Joe Biden visits Iowa, holding a veterans town hall in Oskaloosa and participating in a CNN town hall.
--- Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) attends a house party in Bedford, New Hampshire.
--- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg continues his New Hampshire bus tour, delivering a Veterans Day address in Rochester.
--- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro visits Cedar Rapids, Iowa, attending a Veterans Day event and participating in a disability rights roundtable.
--- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) visits Los Angeles, California, attending a Veterans Day service and holding a town hall.
--- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) visits South Carolina, holding a "Justice for Veterans" event in Greenwood and a "Justice is on the Ballot" town hall in Greenville.
--- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) holds a veterans and seniors town hall in Des Moines, Iowa.
--- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds a town hall in Exeter, New Hampshire.
--- Spiritual author Marianne Willaimson holds a town hall in Las Vegas, Nevada.
*All times Eastern