ImpeachBeat.com
Impeachment Vote

Trump wants revenge. Whom will he bury?

With Marianne LeVine and Zach Montellaro.

TWO GRAVES?: Donald Trump is increasingly inserting himself in the primary races of his political enemies as a form of revenge against Republicans who voted to impeach the former president after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — despite warnings from congressional allies that he should be careful about wading into primary races.

Trump recently offered his support to a candidate seeking to primary Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Syracuse.com reports. The problem: there is no other candidate. Trump is encouraging them to find one.

Trump wrote in a note to Ronald Greenleaf, the chairman of the Onondaga County Conservative Party: “Katko will never win again. He is bad news.” Well, actually the ex- president scribbled this over a copy of an April 23 article that featured the headline, “Onondaga County Conservative Party dumps John Katko over Trump impeachment vote,” according to the report.

“I won big in area. Will help with campaign – find a great candidate,” Trump added.

Katko represents a district that President Joe Biden carried by 9 percentage points in 2020 — and Katko also received more votes than Trump in the district in 2016.

He’s not the only House member facing blowback from Trump. And over in the Senate, our James Arkin reported Friday that Trump was officially endorsing Kelly Tshibaka, the former state commissioner of administration, in her race to unseat Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Trump called Murkowski “bad for Alaska” — notice any similarities?

Trump is also early and out with other endorsements, including supporting the candidate looking to unseat Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Max Miller.

And even when impeachment is not concerned, Trump isn’t afraid to jump right in, as my colleagues and I just reported about the North Carolina Senate race. Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) over other candidates long before that GOP primary comes to a head — leading to some head scratching.

It reminds your host of a Confucius saying: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” If Trump is willing to get involved in races with frontline members, the political graves could end up filled with lost GOP seats in the House and the Senate, including some currently held by frontliners.

Related: Trump’s fundraising arm is back advertising on Facebook, by our Meridith McGraw: https://politi.co/35JSl0Z | When it comes to big city elections, Republicans are in the wilderness, by NYT’s Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin: https://nyti.ms/3gR27DF

S1 LEADS TO NONE?: The Senate will vote today at 5:30 p.m. on whether to move forward with Democrats’ sweeping ethics and election reform bill. The vote is all but guaranteed to fail and no Republicans are expected to join Democrats. But there are some key dynamics we will be watching, particularly because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has yet to indicate how he’ll vote today.

He told reporters Monday that he was still working on a compromise and “there’d have to be an agreement to get on the substitute.” But Democrats have spent weeks trying to get him on board in order to show party unity on the Senate floor. Last week, Manchin released an outline of elements of the bill he could support.

Once the bill fails on the floor, we expect to hear renewed calls from progressives for nixing the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) preempted those calls Monday evening by publishing an op-ed in the Washington Post reiterating her opposition to scrapping the legislative filibuster.

“To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?” Sinema wrote.

Burgess has more about Manchin holding his cards close to the vest: https://politi.co/3wOtF3l

EXCLUSIVE: Meanwhile, a group of over 480 Democratic state legislators across the country signed on to a letter begging Congress to pass the expansive elections legislation, our Zach Montellaro reports. The effort was led by Texas state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who was part of the group of Texans who came to Washington to push for action from lawmakers on the Hill.

It also calls for the passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would restore preclearance requirements to the 1965 Voting Rights Act stripped out by a 2013 Supreme Court decision. “The world is watching. American democracy is in the balance,” the letter closes. “When future generations judge whether we rose to this pivotal moment in history, we hope you will be counted alongside us in the fight to preserve this experiment in self-governance.”

You can read the full letter here: https://politi.co/3vRvv21

Related: Activists gear up for battle as Senate Republicans prepare to block voting rights bill, by WaPo’s Mike DeBonis and Elise Viebeck: https://wapo.st/35H8fJs | How Democrats can defy history in 2022, Ronald Brownstein writes in CNN: https://cnn.it/35M30IJ

NOT HYDE’ING: House Republicans are gearing up for a fight over the Hyde amendment, with a messaging strategy they plan to deploy today in the event Democrats do ultimately seek to nix the decades-long legislative provision that prevents federal funds to pay for abortion.

Republicans will argue repealing it would be a dramatic departure from the past few decades and they are planning a series of maneuvers if Democrats follow through with their threat to remove the amendment, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office.

Republicans plan to call for a series of unanimous consent requests. This push will last through the last House legislative day in July. The 18-day plan relates to the bill put forward by GOP Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.), H.R. 18, which calls for no tax dollars for abortions. A motion for the previous question is expected Wednesday to raise Smith’s bill. And a series of members are being encouraged to make the requests — already, McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) plan to do U.C. requests. Your Huddle host also expects Republicans to force votes in committee as well as a motion to recommit on the final bill.

The thing is…while Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Chair of House Appropriations, promised in December that “this is the last year” House spending bills will block federal funds from being used to pay for abortion, Democrats also acknowledge it’s unlikely they can repeal it, given their tight majority and obvious issues with the filibuster in the Senate. Plus, many Democrats support the Hyde amendment, seeing it as redirecting health access to low income women.

Republicans believe it is a winning issue if Dems do push to gut it. And they also argue the Hyde amendment is the linchpin for getting the Health and Human Services Appropriations bill done. The text of the bill has yet to be released. The provision first passed in 1976 and has been included in federal spending bills ever since. (President Joe Biden flip-flopped on this during the campaign trail, stating that he was against the amendment after years of supporting it. TBD where he is now.)

GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Tuesday, June 22, where the Speaker’s lobby is back open to us reporters. We heard rumblings that some members enjoyed the space without us waiting to bug them for comments and quotes. To them I say, HELLO. It is good to be back.

MONDAY’S MOST CLICKED: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s story about a crowd booing Sen. Ron Johnson at Milwaukee’s Juneteenth Day celebration was the big winner.

LET THEM PROBE LEAKS, GOP SAYS: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says revelations that the Trump Justice Department obtained records of Democratic lawmakers and journalists through secret subpoenas is an abuse of power worse than President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.” So far, House Republicans are responding with a collective shrug — from Donald Trump’s close allies to some of the former president’s biggest critics.

“It’s really important for the Department of Justice to ensure that we aren’t seeing leaks of classified information,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview, citing the reported rationale for the Trump administration’s secret subpoenas that swept up at least two Democratic colleagues.

While Democrats are vowing to investigate the subpoenas, the GOP is almost totally unified in its response: The government should investigate leaks of classified information, even if that sweeps up members of the opposite political party — as long as it is within the confines of the law. And they say that applies to Democratic presidents, too.

“If you’re leaking, I don’t care what your motives are or who you are, you should be investigated for that — whether you’re a friend of the president or not a friend of the president,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview. “I would hope I’d say the same thing about President Biden. If he’s investigating Devin Nunes and he has reason to, then let the investigation go forward.”

A big exception to this position? Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who is himself under the scrutiny of a federal sex trafficking investigation.

More here from yours truly: https://politi.co/3gIaVgq

Unrelated: As Missouri Senate contenders peddle conspiracies, what’s the damage to democracy? By the Kansas City Star’s Bryan Lowry and Jonathan Shorman: https://bit.ly/3xGTv9D

SHIFTING: The latest flareup of intra-party clash over Ilhan Omar’s foreign policy position appears like it has blown over, but Andrew couldn’t help but notice that while the Minnesota Democrat used to be a somewhat lonely critic of decades of U.S. policy in the Middle East when she first came to Congress, Omar has since found new and diverse allies in her second term.

Younger Democrats, both inside and outside Congress, are aligning more and more with Omar’s position that U.S.-Israel policy should more closely focus on the needs of Palestinians.

Per Andrew: “While Omar’s recent comments weren’t as directly disparaging as she’s been in the past, Democrats are showing they’re increasingly comfortable backing her up, particularly as she hammers the Israeli government in ways that buck long-held bipartisan traditions in Washington. That friendlier posture toward Omar indicates that her party’s shift on America’s role in the Middle East was more than just a short-term fixture of the recent 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.”

More here: https://politi.co/3wOTq3x

INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE: The short-date: The talks are ongoing.

Burgess and Marianne report: The bipartisan group of 21 senators is “sketching out its spending plan in far greater detail than previously reported, with a four-page breakdown circulating Capitol Hill and reviewed by POLITICO. But the effort is still a work in progress and several of the senators met on Monday night as staff work near-constantly to refine the numbers.”

The group is meeting again today. There were no breakthroughs yesterday, but there is hope. I.E. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a moderate in the group, said they’re “very close” and could have a public agreement imminently.

“We’re continuing to work and flesh it out,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key member of the group. “There’s a sense of growing optimism, that perhaps we can show our country and the world that we can come together on something that makes a real difference in people’s lives.”

More here: https://politi.co/3gNON4q

Related: Sanders budget plan would spend more, tax less than Biden, by Roll Call’s Paul Krawzak and Peter Cohn: https://bit.ly/3zIT28G | Senators Say They’re Nearing Agreement on Infrastructure Plan, by Bloomberg’s Erik Wasson: https://bloom.bg/3vMGF8k

WHITEHOUSE OR WHITE-BEACH?: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) isn’t bailing on Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport, R.I. Yesterday, the Rhode Island Democrat defended his affiliation with the elite beach club, arguing the local news site GoLocalProv “got the facts wrong” when a reporter first asked him about the club’s lack of non-white members.

Whitehouse said the club had informed him it did have “diversity of membership.” When asked a follow-up question about whether he knew any people of color were included in this count, the senator said: “I believe that there are. I don’t spend a lot of time there.”

This clean-up comes after a GoLocalProv reporter asked Whitehouse about his affiliation with Bailey’s, which they described as having an “all-white” membership. Whitehouse responded: “I think the people who are running the place are still working on “adding new members of color… I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet.”

More here from Nick: https://politi.co/35JSl0Z

Related: Whitehouse under scrutiny for belonging to exclusive Newport beach club, by WPRI.com’s Ted Nesi: https://bit.ly/2Ui1b3A

TRANSITIONS

Bryan Wells is now a director at Stanton Park Group. He most recently was senior health policy director for former Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kans.).

Anthony Theissen has been promoted to be health policy adviser for Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). He most recently was health legislative aide for Carper.

Naree Ketudat has been promoted to be deputy comms director for Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.). She most recently was comms and digital assistant for Malinowski.

Belén Sassone is now press secretary for Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.). She previously was legislative correspondent and staff assistant for Soto.

TODAY IN CONGRESS

The House meets at noon to consider a number of bills with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.

The Senate meets at 10 a.m.

AROUND THE HILL

2 p.m.: Fed Chair Jay Powell will testify in front of a House Oversight subcommittee.

TRIVIA

FRIDAY’S WINNER: Jon Deuser was the first person to correctly guess that the state with the ignominious distinction of never having sent a woman to Congress is Vermont.

TODAY’S QUESTION: From your Huddle host: What event in 1902 led the Senate to adopt new rules on decorum and behavior?

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected]m.

GET HUDDLE emailed to your phone each morning.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @Olivia_Beavers


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