THINK ABOUT what’s transpired in the last few days. … PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has reoriented the United States’ policy in the Middle East. He’s officially changed the Washington conversation from impeachment to a unified, bipartisan opposition to his sudden decision to abandon the Kurds in Syria. More from Burgess Everett
HE HAS the Chinese coming to Washington at the end of the week to try to wrap up a trade deal. NYT’S CARL HULSE and EMILY COCHRANE are reporting Congress could vote on USMCA before Thanksgiving, giving the president the second-biggest legislative win of his presidency, after tax reform.
HOW DO HOUSE DEMOCRATS keep momentum in their impeachment probe? Some worry about that, as the party has mostly retreated behind closed doors to take testimony from various witnesses. Without ready-for-TV moments, and in the absence of fresh allegations from a new whistleblower, impeachment risks fading from the news. Of course, the president is liable to go on the South Lawn and admit to what Democrats consider additional impeachable offenses at any point. But Trump’s power to control the headlines day in and day out is a challenge for Democrats, and it’s not one they’ve quite solved yet.
NEW … THE POLLING THE HOUSE GOP IS LOOKING AT … HOUSE REPUBLICANS held a conference call Monday to discuss new polling commissioned by Team McCarthy and the NRCC, and the headline for the GOP is this: Just 37% of voters believe TRUMP’S phone call with the Ukrainian president is impeachable, while 59% say it was appropriate and not worthy of impeachment. 39% of independents say it is impeachable. (Republicans say this is strong polling for them, but Democrats would argue they haven’t publicly started prosecuting the case.)
— IN TRUMP DISTRICTS represented by Democrats, 62% of those polled think it was appropriate and just 33% say it’s impeachable.
— INTERESTING DATA POINT: THEY ASKED THIS QUESTION: “Now, I’d like to read you a few statements regarding this matter, and please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each one. … If Democrats are going to proceed, they should set a date certain to end the inquiry so it does not further politicize next year’s election.” 65% say yes, and 31% say no. … The polling memo Republicans got … The polling presentation
SMART STORY … L.A. TIMES’ SARAH WIRE: “Why Republicans may want a House vote on impeachment inquiry and Pelosi doesn’t”: “Beneath the heated argument of whether the House should have a formal resolution to open an impeachment inquiry is a potential benefit for Republicans, if they can force a vote: the chance to subpoena their own witnesses and information.
“In both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiry resolutions, the minority party on the investigating committee was granted the power to subpoena — something the minority party does not normally have. Subpoenas were still subject to a vote of the committee, giving the majority party a way to block them.
“If similar language were included in a House impeachment inquiry resolution against President Trump — which is what Republicans are pushing for — it would theoretically enable GOP members to, say, subpoena testimony or information from former Vice President Joe Biden, or his son Hunter, or try to take the inquiry into an entirely different direction.
“The issue could come to a head soon amid reports that the White House plans to announce it will not comply with Democrats’ investigation, or subpoenas, unless the House holds a formal vote opening an impeachment inquiry. …
“Even if she allows a vote, there is no guarantee that Pelosi would grant subpoena power to ranking members, allow the president’s counsel to be present during depositions or other items Republicans say they want in the resolution, said Julian Epstein, former chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee Democrats during Clinton’s impeachment. But if she didn’t, that would give Republicans something new to complain about.” LAT
ALSO: POLITICALLY, the GOP believes a floor vote for impeachment is damaging for Democrats because it forces them to go on the record in a dramatic vote. But the White House is playing with fire by not complying here, since Democratic leaders say that in and of itself could be considered part of a cover-up.
Good Tuesday morning, and LET’S GO NATS! The Washington Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-1. Game 5 is 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in L.A. Yom Kippur — the Jewish day of atonement — begins tonight at 6:20 p.m., and ends Wednesday at 7:19 p.m.
IMPEACHMENT CLIP PACKET …
— TODAY IN STAKEOUT LAND: U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. GORDON SONDLAND will testify to House Intel. Reuters’ preview
— THE NEW WHITE HOUSE STRATEGY: “White House to battle impeachment by stalling, attacking,” by AP’s Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire: “As House Democrats fire off more subpoenas, the White House is finalizing a high-stakes strategy to counter the impeachment threat to President Donald Trump: Stall. Obfuscate. Attack. Repeat.
“Trump aides are honing their approach after two weeks of what allies have described as a listless and unfocused response to the impeachment probe. One expected step is a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting the inquiry because Democrats haven’t held a vote on the matter and moving to all but cease cooperation with Capitol Hill on key oversight matters.” AP
— ANITA KUMAR: “‘An avoidable, unforced error’: Trump’s Ukraine trap starts worrying allies”: “High-level Trump supporters who have stood by the president for years are growing increasingly unsettled by his latest strategy of dismissing the latest fight as Russia 2.0. Half-a-dozen senior Republicans, including those who both talk directly to Trump and advise him on everything from campaign strategy to policy, communications and fundraising, said in interviews that they fear the president’s plan to tie Russia and Ukraine could be ineffective because it dismisses the seriousness of the allegations and the fact that he admitted his actions.” POLITICO
— WAPO: “House Democrats consider masking identity of whistleblower from Trump’s GOP allies in Congress,” by Rachael Bade, Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Karoun Demirjian: “House Democrats are weighing extraordinary steps to secure testimony from a whistleblower whose complaint prompted their impeachment inquiry, masking his identity to prevent President Trump’s congressional allies from exposing the individual, according to three officials familiar with the deliberations.
“The steps under consideration include having the whistleblower testify from a remote location and obscuring the individual’s appearance and voice, these officials said.” WaPo
SHE’S [NOT] RUNNING … PELOSI TO IOWA … DES MOINES REGISTER: “Polk County Democrats to host Nancy Pelosi in Des Moines in October,” by Brianne Pfannenstiel: “U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will travel to Iowa to speak with Polk County Democrats later this month, just weeks after she announced the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry into Republican President Donald Trump.” DMR
2020 WATCH …
— “Sanders heart attack casts cloud over his bid,” by Holly Otterbein and David Siders: “Bernie Sanders has been sidelined for nearly a week — after failing for almost three days to disclose that he had a heart attack. It’s unclear when the 78-year-old senator will return to the stump. His campaign has yet to divulge the severity of his heart attack.
“And that sequence of events unfolded as he’s been eclipsed in the polls by the other progressive icon in the race, Elizabeth Warren. Now Sanders and his campaign are laboring to contain the cloud of uncertainty that’s formed over his candidacy. According to interviews with Sanders’ aides and surrogates, they’re betting that his performance at next week’s debate and on the campaign trail will show he still has the stamina to run for and serve as president.” POLITICO
— “Warren stands by account of being pushed out of her first teaching job because of pregnancy,” by CBS’ Zak Hudak and Bo Erickson: “On the campaign trail, Elizabeth Warren often tells the story of how she was fired from her first teaching job in 1971 because she was pregnant, a pivotal moment that ultimately put her on a path to Harvard, the United States Senate, and quite possibly the presidency. But recently, several media outlets have questioned the veracity of these claims.
“In an exclusive interview with CBS News on Monday evening, Warren said she stands by her characterizations of why she left the job.
“‘All I know is I was 22 years old, I was 6 months pregnant, and the job that I had been promised for the next year was going to someone else. The principal said they were going to hire someone else for my job,’ she said.” CBS
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president is having lunch with VP MIke Pence at 1 p.m. in the private dining room. He will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former A.G. Edwin Meese at 4:30 p.m. in the Oval Office.
UNDERSTANDING TRUMP — “Inside Trump’s obsession with polygraphs,” by Daniel Lippman: “President Donald Trump has compared White House leakers to spies and mused obliquely to other officials about executing them. He’s attacked individual reporters by name. He rails frequently against press accounts of his administration, dismissing them as ‘fake news.’
“But privately, the president is so obsessed with the leaks about him that he has frequently discussed whether to order polygraphs of White House staffers after major disclosures, according to four former White House officials — in what would be a stark and politically risky departure from past practice.
“Trump has talked about ordering polygraphs ‘constantly’ when anything major has leaked, according to a former White House official. ‘He talked about it a lot,’ said the former official. After reading and watching reports about his presidency, ‘He’d be angry and ask, “Why can’t we stop these things?”’ POLITICO
KNOWING BILL BARR — “Young William Barr among the Manhattan liberals,” by Vanity Fair’s Marie Brenner: “Washington keeps asking why the law-and-order attorney general is carrying water for a morally untethered president. The answer may lie in the youthful lessons Barr learned from his father, a combative, provocative New Yorker—not unlike Donald Trump.” Vanity Fair
BREAKING OVERNIGHT — “U.S. Adds Chinese Firms to Blacklist, Citing Repression of Muslim Minorities,” by WSJ’s Josh Zumbrun, Kate O’Keeffe and William Mauldin: “The U.S. added 28 Chinese entities to an export blacklist Monday, citing their role in Beijing’s repression of Muslim minorities in northwest China, just days before high-level trade talks are set to resume in Washington.
“The action, which the U.S. said wasn’t related to trade talks, was nonetheless likely to disturb Chinese officials already incensed over what Beijing sees as U.S. support for an increasingly disruptive pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
“Targets of the action include video-surveillance and facial-recognition giants Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, Megvii Technology Inc. and SenseTime Group Ltd. The decision by the Commerce Department to add the firms to its ‘entity list’ alongside telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co.—which was added in May—means suppliers will be barred from providing technology that originates in the U.S. to the Chinese firms without a license.
“The newly identified entities ‘have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups’ in northwest China’s Xinjiang region, the Commerce Department said.” WSJ
ICYMI — “Rep. Engel Blasts Trump Administration’s Potential Plans to Pull Out of Open Skies Treaty,” by The Daily Beast’s Audrey McNamara: “House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel on Monday expressed his alarm over the Trump administration’s potential plans to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty, a post-Cold War agreement that allows countries to operate reconnaissance flights over other nations and collect data on military activities with the aim of building trust between countries.
“Since coming into force in 2002, the treaty has become a key tool for the U.S. and its European allies to monitor Russian military deployments to former Soviet satellite countries, including Russian aggression in Ukraine. Withdrawing from the treaty could upend this transatlantic alliance, and place Ukraine at greater risk.” Daily Beast … The letter
HMM … “U.S.-based foreign agent bankrolled Ukraine President Zelensky’s D.C. lobbying in hopes of Ukrainian government job,” by Opensecrets.org’s Anna Massoglia and Yue Stella Yu: “A little known U.S.-based attorney quietly poured six figures into foreign influence operations for President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, hoping to be rewarded with a job in his administration, foreign agent records identified by OpenSecrets show.
“The new Foreign Agent Registration Act records reveal previously unreported meetings with Trump administration officials and details of a six-figure lobbying campaign promoting Zelensky’s interests in the U.S. during the leadup to his election and now-infamous phone call with President Donald Trump.
“The attorney, Marcus Cohen, claims his advice focused on ‘interactions with the U.S. government’ in an ‘effort to offer advice to a potential new administration in the Ukraine’ on issues such as ‘anti-corruption efforts.’” OpenSecrets.org
TRUMP, INC. — “Trump’s company cancels gala planned by anti-Muslim group at Mar-a-Lago,” by WaPo’s David Fahrenthold: “The group, ACT for America, issued a statement saying Trump’s company had ‘caved to the Left’s bullying tactics’ in canceling its Nov. 7 dinner gala. After Florida newspapers reported on the planned gala last weekend, the event was condemned by groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations.” WaPo
— THE SCOTSMAN: “Losses more than double to £10m at Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort”
BOOK REVIEW — “In ‘Antisocial,’ How the Alt-Right Went Viral,” by the NYT’s Jennifer Szalai: “‘Antisocial’ is about ‘web-savvy bigots,’ ‘soft-brained conspiracists’ and ‘mere grifters or opportunists,’ but it’s also about [Andrew] Marantz’s searching attempt to understand people he describes as truly deplorable without letting his moral compass get wrecked. He spends a lot of time with the self-proclaimed alt-right, as well as those who declare that the alt-right ‘brand’ is ‘toxic’ while they nevertheless parrot the same views, including demands for a white ethnostate and a deep contempt for women.” NYT
MEDIAWATCH — AP: “HBO orders 2 new seasons of Axios news series”: “HBO has ordered two new seasons of its Sunday night news program modeled after the Axios website, which has produced newsmaking interviews with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and business leaders Elon Musk and Tim Cook.
“The decision, announced on Tuesday, means 12 episodes each year in 2020 and 2021. ‘Axios on HBO’ wraps up its second season with four new episodes that begin on Oct. 20. Axios’ daily newsletter concentrates on politics, business and technology with an emphasis on brevity, which producers Matthew O’Neill and Perri Peltz use as models for the TV show.” AP
— MICHAEL CALDERONE: “News anchors fight back against GOP senators’ refusal to condemn Trump”: “[CNN’s Jake] Tapper, in an interview with POLITICO, defended the unusually aggressive posture of TV anchors by saying he doesn’t think it should be controversial to say that ‘using your political office to push foreign nations to dig up dirt on your political opponents’ is empirically wrong, as he implored Republicans to say on his show.
“‘This is a precedent that will destroy the concept of free and fair elections,’ Tapper said on Monday. ‘It’s not really picking any sort of bold moral stance to say that you can’t have that. I don’t know why so few people are willing to say it.’” POLITICO
— Abdi Latif Dahir will be East Africa correspondent for the NYT. He currently is East Africa reporter for Quartz Africa. Announcement … WaPo’s Shane Harris is now also a CNN national security analyst.
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
SPOTTED at Peter Baker and Susan Glasser’s house for a party Monday night for Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael Shear’s new book, “Border Wars” ($25.20 on Amazon): Elisabeth Bumiller, Maureen Dowd, Carl Hulse, Elizabeth Williamson, Lisa Lerer, Jonathan Martin and Betsy Fischer Martin, Mark Leibovich, Paul Kane, Helene Cooper, Jeff Mason, Phil Rucker, Patrick Mellody, Ashley Parker, Antonia Ferrier, Jeff Zeleny, Scott Mulhauser, Roz Helderman, Josh Dawsey, Jill Zuckman, Julie Pace, Joel Seidman and Hans Nichols.
SPOTTED at a “Women on the Rise Event” at Heather Podesta’s house, celebrating the next generation of women leaders: Kimberley Fritts, Rhonda Foxx, Tiffany Cross, Maria Teresa Kumar, Bianca Ortiz Wertheim, Laura Rodriguez, Tonya Brasher, Tricia Russell, Angela Ramirez, Caren Street, Joi Chaney, Joyce Brayboy, Amena Ross, Nicole Venable, Kendra Brown, Michone Johnson, Michael Maitland, Norberto Salinas, Kasia Witkowski, Alane Dent, Danielle Aviles Krueger, Anne McMillan, Austin Carson, Javier Martinez, Alethia Jackson, Tiffany Moore, LaKeitha Anderson, Lauren Culbertson, Cathy Merrill Williams, Kichelle Webster, Debbi Jarvis and Jennifer Fisher.
— THE NINE WOMEN ON THE RISE: Narda Jones, Jemma York, Maryam Janani, Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval, Timia Crisp, Kimberly Hammond, Ester Kahng, Aissa Canchula and Eliza Ramirez.
SPOTTED at the Motion Picture Association’s new theater at the renovated headquarters at 1600 Eye St. for an inaugural screening of “Motherless Brooklyn” with director, writer and actor Edward Norton, who participated in a Q&A with Yanick Lamb, director of media studies at Howard University: Charles Rivkin, Angie Gates, Robert Barnett and Rita Braver, Shaun Donovan, David and Katherine Bradley, Jodie McLean, Howard Fineman, Jack Davies and Kay Kendall, Karen Finney, Ann and Lloyd Hand, Michael and Meryl Chertoff, Barton Gordon, Ted Johnson, Gail MacKinnon, Susan Stamberg, Katherine Weymouth, Angus and Sissy Yates and Mary Louise Kelley.
TRANSITIONS — Rachel Henderson is now SVP of corporate social good at Fenton. She previously was president and managing director of the RHA Group. … Rebecca Schieber is now a director at Targeted Victory, where she’ll work with the firm’s campaign team. She previously was a director in public affairs for grassroots and advocacy at Locust Street Group. … Sophie Seid is now press secretary for the House Foreign Affairs Committee GOP. She previously was press secretary for Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.). Caroline Campbell, the previous committee GOP press secretary, is now director of member services and coalitions.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Dan Conston, president of American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund, and Kara Genderson, a care manager and lecturer at Lifematters, welcomed Charley Blanche Conston on Saturday night.
— Bobby Panzenbeck, director at DCI Group, and Cassie Panzenbeck, a VP at JMJ Youth Pilgrimages, welcomed Robert James Panzenbeck IV on Saturday. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHWEEK (was Monday): Kenneth Marcus of the Department of Education turned 53.
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Kirk Monroe, senior adviser at Rasky Partners. A fun fact that people in Washington might not know about him: “One of my first clients was Oprah Winfrey. It was very early in my career, and I was lucky to be so involved. She was at the peak of her TV fame, and we were tasked with positioning her as an advocate and activist on children’s issues. Ultimately the Child Protection Act, known as the ‘Oprah Bill,’ passed after months of media tours, congressional testimony and a White House signing ceremony.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Adrienne Watson of the DNC (hat tip: Adrienne Elrod) … Rev. Jesse Jackson is 78 … former HHS Secretary Tom Price is 65 … European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen … Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) is 53 … Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) is 43 … Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School and a New Yorker staff writer, is 61 … former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is 73 … Bill Schneider … Mackenzie Weinger … Jennifer Allen, SVP at the League of Conservation Voters … Matthew J. Shuman … Dan Dunham … London Mayor Sadiq Khan is 49 … POLITICO’s Terry Golway and Andrew Englander … Dan Gallo of MSNBC … Anna Levin … Joe Tvrdy … Blain Rethmeier, VP of public affairs at Hims and Hers, is 43 (h/t Tim Burger) …
… Shripal Shah, VP at American Bridge … Kim Gamel of Stars and Stripes … Julia Tylor … Adam Weiss … Nicole Schlinger … Ivanka Farrell of Bully Pulpit Interactive … Tom Sheridan … Pennsylvania state Treasurer Joe Torsella (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Edelman’s Hilary Teeter and Chase Noyes … Lillie Belle Viebranz of Palantir … Kristen Osborne of NBCUniversal PR … Abdul Dosunmu … Micah Morris … Caroline Nonna Holland … David Burstein, CEO and founder of Run For America … Riki Parikh … Dennis Alpert is 54 (h/t David Bolger) … NPR’s Shankar Vedantam … Molly Erman … Sophia Yan … Tamara Lipper Smith … Bridger McGaw … Marcella Caldwell-Gadson … Kay Lund … Kirk Schwarzbach … Christina Bain is 41 … Nicholas Piatek … Quinn Nii
- Anna Palmer @apalmerdc
- Jake Sherman @JakeSherman
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