I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, October 31, 2019. 5 days until Election Day 2019. 95 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 369 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at email@example.com. 🎃 Happy Halloween! 🎃
Impeachment: The latest
Two major developments are happening in the House impeachment inquiry today...
Second White House official to testify in probe: Tim Morrison, the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, will become the latest witness in the House impeachment probe today. His testimony comes one day after NPR and other news outlets reported that he plans to resign from the Trump administration "imminently."
Morrison has emerged as a key figure in the probe after being mentioned several times in acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor's explosive testimony last week. In his opening statement, Taylor told lawmakers about two incidents that Morrison recounted to him, both of which revolved around E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland pushing Ukraine to launch investigations into President Donald Trump's political rivals.
According to CNN, Morrison is expected to "corroborate key elements" of Taylor's account. He will be the second currently serving White House official to testify in the impeachment inquiry. The exact reasoning behind his forthcoming resignation from the National Security Council is unclear, although his departure has reportedly been expected since National Security Advisor John Bolton's ouster last month.
House to vote on impeachment resolution: The House will hold its first floor vote formalizing the impeachment inquiry today, on a resolution laying out the procedures for the public phase of the probe. The Democratic-led investigation has so far consisted entirely of closed-door depositions; the measure being voted on today would authorize the House Intelligence Committee to begin convening public hearings as part of the inquiry.
As recently as last week, House Democrats were not expected to hold a floor vote on impeachment, which Republicans had been calling for but had been seen as a major risk for vulnerable Democratic members. However, according to the New York Times, the resolution received "little dissent" when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presented it to her rank-and-file members on Wednesday, a "striking turnabout" that reflects "Democrats’ growing confidence that the public is behind their fact-finding mission" and "Pelosi’s close hold on and keen instincts about her fractious caucus."
The resolution is expected to be approved on a near party-line vote.
More impeachment news to know...
- Coming soon: Democratic investigators requested testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton on Wednesday; he would be the highest-ranking current or former White House official to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Bolton left the Trump administration in September amid a very public break from the president; in addition, numerous witnesses have testified that Bolton expressed frustration with Trump's efforts to extract promises of political investigations from Ukraine. Bolton's lawyer told the New York Times that the former Trump adviser would not appear before the House committees voluntarily, but added: "I stand ready at all times to accept service of a subpoena on his behalf."
- New reporting on National Security Council aide Alexander Vindamn's testimony Tuesday: "White House lawyer moved transcript of Trump call to classified server after Ukraine adviser raised alarms" (Washington Post)... "Vindman in testimony says Ukraine aid and WH meeting 'contingent' on investigations" (NBC News)... "Testimony: Nunes acolyte misrepresented himself to Trump as Ukraine expert" (Politico)
- Improbable figure surfaces in Wednesday testimony from a State Department official: "Clinton impeachment figure makes return in Trump sequel" (Associated Press)
2020 Central: "Kamala Harris is dramatically restructuring her campaign by redeploying staffers to Iowa and laying off dozens of aides at her Baltimore headquarters, according to campaign sources and a memo obtained Wednesday by POLITICO, as she struggles to resuscitate her beleaguered presidential bid." (Politico)
--- New USA TODAY/Suffolk national Democratic primary poll released on Wednesday: Joe Biden, 26% (-6 from August); Elizabeth Warren, 17% (+3); Bernie Sanders, 13% (+1); Pete Buttigieg, 10% (+4); Tulsi Gabbard, 4% (+4); Andrew Yang, 3% (-); Kamala Harris, 3% (-3); Amy Klobuchar, 2% (+2); Cory Booker 2% (+1)
Twitter bans political ads: "Twitter on Wednesday said it would ban all advertisements about political candidates, elections and hot-button policy issues such as abortion and immigration, a significant shift that comes in response to growing concerns that politicians are seizing on the vast reach of social media to deceive voters ahead of the 2020 election."
"Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the move in a series of tweets, stressing that paying for political speech has the effect of 'forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people.' The ban marks a break with Twitter’s social media peers, Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, which have defended their policies on political ads in recent weeks." (Washington Post)
Where are they now: "[George] Papadopoulos, the former Trump adviser at the center of the Russia investigation, on Tuesday filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress. Papapdopolous, who was imprisoned for two weeks after pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI, is seeking to fill the seat vacated by former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill."
..."Hill announced her resignation from Congress on Sunday amid an ethics investigation over an alleged relationship with a staffer, and after nude pictures of her were published without her consent in the Daily Mail." (NBC News)
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Today at the White House
--- Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence has no public events scheduled today.
Today in Congress
--- The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. today. At 11:30 a.m., the chamber will vote on two amendments to H.R.3055, the House-passed "minibus" appropriations package outlining spending for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Agriculture, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, science policy, and military construction. After voting on the amendments, the Senate will vote on the final passage of the legislation.
At 1:45 p.m., the chamber will hold a procedural vote advancing H.R. 2740, another House-passed "minibus" package, this one detailing appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State, and Energy.
Together, the two pieces of legislation being considered today cover eight of the twelve appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020.
--- The House convenes at 9 a.m. today. The chamber will vote on H.Res. 660, the resolution "directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes."
The House is also scheduled to vote on H.R. 823, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act.
Today at the Supreme Court
--- The Supreme Court has no oral arguments or conferences scheduled today.
Today on the trail
--- Former Vice President Joe Biden attends a fundraiser in Columbus, Ohio, and a town hall in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
--- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire.
--- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) participates in a "Presidential Conversation" with "Iowa Press" host David Yepsen at Des Moines Area Community College in Des Moines, Iowa.
--- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) holds an event in Des Moines, Iowa, with a "special guest."
--- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) visits New Hampshire, filing for the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary at the State House in Concord, holding a rally on the State House lawn, and participating in a "Rights & Democracy" forum in Claremont.
*All times Eastern