The Hill’s Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Big night for women in primary elections
Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report, and happy Wednesday! This daily email, a successor to The Hill’s Tipsheet, is reported by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger to get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)
There are no women currently in the Pennsylvania congressional delegation. That’s guaranteed to change in November.
Pennsylvania candidates faced off for the first time under the new congressional map last night after the state’s Supreme Court struck down the old map, ruling that it had been gerrymandered by Republicans.
The redrawn map gives Democrats several new pick-up opportunities as they seek to flip 23 seats and win a majority in the House. Here’s a quick rundown of the key primary races from Tuesday.
Pennsylvania Senate: Rep. Lou Barletta (R), a close ally of President Trump, will face off against Sen. Bob Casey (D). Casey is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for reelection in states Trump carried in 2016.
Pennsylvania’s 1st District: Multi-millionaire philanthropist Scott Wallace (D), a former aide to former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, plowed millions of his own money into his campaign and it paid off. He’ll face GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the general election. Hillary Clinton won the newly redrawn district by 2 points in 2016.
Pennsylvania’s 4th District: Backed by national women’s groups, state Rep. Madeleine Dean cruised to victory over former Rep. Joe Hoeffe in the Democratic primary. She will be favored to defeat Republican Daniel David, who ran unopposed in the GOP primary.
Pennsylvania’s 5th District: Attorney Mary Gay Scanlon (D) will meet Republican Pearl Kim, a former state deputy attorney general, in the November election to replace former Rep. Pat Meehan (R). Meehan resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Pennsylvania’s 7th District: Allentown solicitor Susan Wild won the Democratic nomination and will face Marty Nothstein in November. Democrats believe they can win the seat last held by former Rep. Charlie Dent (R), who recently resigned. There will be a special election later this summer to fill the rest of Dent’s term.
Pennsylvania’s 14th District: There will be no comeback for Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, who lost the special election for the old 18th district to now-Rep. Conor Lamb (D) in March. Republican Guy Reschenthaler, a state senator and Iraq War veteran, defeated Saccone in the primary and will face Democrat Bibiana Boerio in the general election.
There was also an interesting primary out west…
Nebraska’s 2nd District: Liberal Kara Eastman edged out former Rep. Brad Ashford (D) by about one thousand votes. Ashford is a former Blue Dog Democrat, while Eastman has support from progressives. She will go up against freshman Rep. Don Bacon (R), who defeated Ashford in 2016.
LEADING THE DAY
***BREAKING*** Three consequential stories pertaining to the Russia investigation: The Justice Department and FBI have opened investigations into Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by the Trump campaign (The New York Times)…Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani says the president will use the one-year anniversary of the Mueller probe on Thursday to call for an end to the investigation (Bloomberg)…Judge rejects former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss charges (Reuters).
INTERNATIONAL: North Korea: The Hill — A June 12 meeting in Singapore between Trump and Kim Jong Un was thrown into limbo on Wednesday after North Korea denounced military exercises between South Korea and the United States as a provocation and called off high-level talks with Seoul. The North’s Korean Central News Agency said the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and U.S. air forces are a rehearsal for invasion of the North.
Reuters: North Korean official says country will rethink U.S. summit if pressured to abandon nuclear program.
White House reaction: The Trump administration is continuing to prepare for a June meeting with Kim. “We are aware of the South Korean media report. The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
>Reuters: For North Korea, Trump national security adviser John Bolton — a known quantity in Pyongyang dating back to the Bush era — has become an issue.
>Reuters: Separately on Tuesday, North Korea said it would join international “efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests.” The government, which is believed to have tested six nuclear weapons, has said it will dismantle its only known nuclear test site this month ahead of the meeting with the United States on June 12.
Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. defended Israel’s decision to kill dozens of Palestinian demonstrators at the Gaza border as the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem.
>CBS News: Netanyahu defended the Israeli response to protests in Gaza and blamed Hamas for the deaths and violence.
>The Hill: The U.S. blocked the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by Kuwait calling for a probe into the violence that broke out on the Gaza border.
>The Hill: The Palestinians recalled their envoy from Washington to protest the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Ben Shapiro — News media’s anti-Trump, anti-Israel fervor.
Dana Milbank — Nothing says ‘peace’ like 58 dead Palestinians.
Iran: The Hill — The U.S. adds the head of Iran’s central bank to a sanctions list.
The Hill — Trump’s decision to exit the nuclear deal with Iran could have broad economic consequences for U.S. allies as the administration reimposes sweeping sanctions on Iran, which were lifted in 2015. European nations are seeking to fend off U.S. penalties.
Reuters: Europe and Iran sought a common front on Tuesday to save the nuclear deal without the United States, although some diplomats doubted privately it can survive the reimposition of U.S. sanctions ordered by Trump.
CONGRESS: The president gave Republican senators a midterm elections pep talk at a closed door meeting on Tuesday, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports. Trump expressed confidence in the face of daunting political headwinds.
Takeaway: Senators have told the press that the White House should apologize for the official who disparaged ailing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) but none raised the issue with him on Tuesday.
Senate rules: The Hill — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who joined his conference in a meeting in the Capitol with the president on Tuesday, suggested he’s not going to change filibuster rules as they apply to the president’s nominees. “The attitude of the Democrats seems to be better. That’s the best way to solve the problem, to get back to some degree of normalcy,” he said.
House leadership race: The Hill — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has been talked about as a possible successor to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), although most GOP lawmakers don’t believe the former Freedom Caucus chairman can amass the 218 votes needed. But if Republicans get wiped out in the November midterms, Jordan’s fortunes with his colleagues could change.
Tax lobbying: The Hill — The alcohol industry is pressing Congress to make permanent the excise tax relief the sector secured in the new tax law.
Farm bill, puppies and animal welfare: Lawrence (Kansas) Journal World — A potential farm bill provision is under fire based on concerns about state preemption tied to agriculture products and even puppy mills.
Humane Society of America lobbies Congress on farm bill issues, including puppy mills.
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IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
➔ WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Gina Haspel will be the next director of the CIA and the first woman to ever hold the post.
Three Democrats – Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) – announced Tuesday they would support her nomination. Heitkamp and Nelson are up for reelection in states Trump carried in 2016, as is Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who said he’d back Haspel a day earlier.
The Hill: Warner vote clears path for Haspel nomination.
The Democratic support essentially clinches the confirmation for Haspel, who could see a floor vote as early as this week. Haspel had to overcome questions about her involvement with detention and interrogation programs in the years after Sept. 11.
Elsewhere within the administration…
The Hill: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is lifting the hiring freeze on the Foreign and Civil services imposed by his predecessor, Rex Tillerson. Pompeo has been on the job for only three weeks but morale at Foggy Bottom is up considerably under his leadership.
Morale is not great at the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Scott Pruitt. He’s returning to Capitol Hill this morning, the first time senators will question the administrator at a hearing since the deluge of spending and ethics controversies began in March (The Hill).
Already at the center of a dozen investigations, Pruitt learned his emails are now being examined by the EPA watchdog (Politico).
Even Republican lawmakers are piling on the embattled Cabinet member.
The Washington Post: The Department of Homeland Security prepares to hold immigrant children on military bases.
The Hill: Trump administration eliminates top cyber post.
➔ POLICY: A brief roundup…
The Hill: The ObamaCare wars are back, with each party seeking to blame the other for expected cost hikes on the exchanges.
The Hill: Republicans are pressuring the Trump administration to defund Planned Parenthood or reinstate Reagan era restrictions before the midterm elections.
NBC News: Nation’s most restrictive abortion law challenged in court.
The Hill: Frustrated Trump tells lawmakers he wants action on border wall, immigration.
The Hill: Appeals court skeptical of allowing Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Hill: Boeing trade case sets up U.S. to impose tariffs on the European Union.
The Wall Street Journal: Mexico doesn’t see North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks wrapping up before deadline.
The Hill: U.S. businesses asked the U.S. trade representative for protections from Trump’s tariffs aimed at China. The executives lobbied the administration during the first of three days of planned hearings.
➔ CAMPAIGNS: The Democratic presidential candidates have begun their 2020 auditions. The field will be massive and several of those potential candidates spoke at the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference in Washington on Tuesday, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
The key takeaway from The Hill’s Niall Stanage – Warren stole the show.
Meanwhile, national Democrats have launched a last-minute spending spree ahead of the June 5 primary elections in California to ensure they’re not shut out of what they view as winnable races.
Ford O’Connell: The two topics that will help the GOP keep a majority in the House.
The Hill’s Lisa Hagen and Ben Kamisar report on the Democratic push in three Southern California districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. The fear is that the divided fields could cost the party in the jungle primaries, in which the top two finishers move on, regardless of party.
The Senate should confirm Gina Haspel as CIA director, by Jen Kerns, opinion contributor to The Hill. https://bit.ly/2jXXCtW
An immigration policy proposal, by former White House chiefs of staff Mack McLarty and Jack Watson, opinion contributors to The Hill. https://bit.ly/2IL5LQp
WHERE AND WHEN
NAFTA and North American Competitiveness: A U.S.-Canada Conversation at 8 a.m. at the Newseum, sponsored by the Canadian American Business Council. Panelists include Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), both members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Moderator is Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The Hill.
The House meets at 10 a.m. for morning hour and at noon for legislative business.
The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. and resumes consideration of Mitchell Zais, nominee to be Education deputy secretary. The Senate Intelligence Committee expects to vote on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA director. The Judiciary Committee holds a hearing about the shuttered U.K.-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, and the future of data privacy.
The president meets with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan during a working lunch. This afternoon, Trump participates in a photo opportunity with the White House News Photographers’ Association award recipients, after which he hosts the California Sanctuary State roundtable.
First lady Melania Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The president made his second visit in as many days on Tuesday and told reporters that his wife is “doing really, really well” following treatment for an unspecified kidney ailment. She is expected to be discharged soon.
> Twitter to implement changes meant to crack down on trolls, by Ali Breland, The Hill https://bit.ly/2rMjcGf
And finally … “I think your soul is your relationship with other people,” journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe once said. He died Monday in New York at age 88.
In an obituary, The New York Times observed that the man known for his white suits and faux spats was a keen observer and journalistic innovator: “His talent as a writer and caricaturist was evident from the start in his verbal pyrotechnics and perfect mimicry of speech patterns, his meticulous reporting, and his creative use of pop language and explosive punctuation.”
The Washington Post’s David Von Drehle, eulogizing and confiding, concludes that there was only one: “Wolfe made writing of the most difficult order look deceptively easy, and luminously fun, to the delight of readers and the embarrassment of all who tried to copy him.”
Twenty years ago, with his 1987 satirical novel “Bonfire of the Vanities” still a part of New York literary conversations, Wolfe sat down with CBS’s “60 Minutes” and observed that business executives, at least at that moment, left a small footprint in American society.
“I think it would be wonderful if business leaders would weigh into not only political questions, but moral questions,” he told CBS. “Right now, they’re afraid to do it.”
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