Morning Report

The Hill’s Morning Report — Biden, Trump both squeezed by their parties

President Biden this week will try to move beyond the fist bump and other controversies from his Middle East trip, only to find himself stepping back where he’s been, facing economic and political troubles he cannot mend alone.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) walked away from Biden’s centerpiece domestic agenda again last week, writes The Hill’s Niall Stanage, who examines at least five times the centrist senator has derailed Democratic legislative ambitions. Efforts to revive lingering portions of the president’s shrinking platform were nixed by Manchin, who said he is worried about high inflation and would like to wait to reexamine the terrain in September. The president — who previously signed into law major COVID-19 spending and bipartisan infrastructure and gun safety changes — said he’d sign whatever Congress can pass in the weeks ahead.  

The Hill: Manchin’s decision to oppose provisions dealing with climate change in a pending reconciliation measure prompted fury amid worries about a warming planet.

Manchin is not the only pain point among Biden’s political allies. Supporters fret about cracks forming within the Senate Democratic base in a 50-50 chamber where every senator can be a king. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports that Democrats, nervous about the midterms and alarmed about the president’s 39 percent job approval, are becoming more openly lukewarm about Biden’s seeking reelection in 2024. 

Inflation above 9 percent and gasoline still above $4 a gallon are contributing to polls that show three-quarters of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. Many Democratic incumbents, famous for their hand-wringing in the best of times, eye the top of the 2024 ticket with some trepidation. 

Biden — a man who at 79 has seen fate during his life and said he will seek a second term if he is healthy — is nevertheless infuriated by the withering narrative about his presidency that has taken shape halfway through his term. He believes he defeated former President Trump once and could do it again if the 45th president seeks a rematch (The Hill).

“So many people are counting him out, but when you put it in those terms … when you see he’s the only one who could win, we’d be crazy not to rally behind him. Because who else is there at the moment? one top Democratic donor said of Biden.

Some progressives, unpersuaded that lameduck one-term presidents become anchors around their parties, somehow want Biden to lead as president by stepping to the sidelines.

“Unless Biden comes to his senses and announces that he won’t run again, a contentious battle for the nomination seems very likely,” Normon Soloman, founder of the progressive network RootsAction, told The Hill

On Sunday, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who was twice a presidential candidate, unloaded on both Biden and Manchin during an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” He said Biden should not have “rewarded” Saudi Arabia with a visit last week because Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was implicated in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi

“If this country believes in anything, we believe in human rights, we believe in democracy,” Sanders said. “And I just don’t believe we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that” (The Hill).

Sanders also accused Manchin of “intentionally sabotaging” the president’s domestic agenda by blocking proposed climate and tax provisions in budget reconciliation with an announcement on Friday. His colleague’s interest in delay, Sanders added, was part of a pattern during Biden’s presidency and “nothing new” (The Hill).

Here’s what else we’re watching this week:

Today, balloting by the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party resumes with a handful of contenders to succeed outgoing Boris Johnson as prime minister. The list is expected on Thursday to be narrowed to two candidates, whose names will be put to a vote in the weeks ahead among the country’s 200,000 Conservative Party members (Reuters). … The trial of former President Trump’s ally and ex-White House adviser Stephen Bannon begins today with jury selection. Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena, but he has since said he’s willing to appear before investigators with the Jan. 6 committee (The Hill and The Associated Press). … The penalty-only trial of Nicholas Cruz, 23, who has pleaded guilty of killing 17 people in Florida at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, starts today in order to determine whether Cruz is put to death or serves life in prison without the possibility of parole (The Associated Press).

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Iran. What does he want from Tehran? Lethal drones to use in Ukraine, according to U.S. officials. Putin will attend a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Iran and Turkey (The Associated Press). 

On Wednesday, Italy’s government, currently in limbo, is expected to feature a presentation to parliament by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who said last week he wanted to resign. Supporters are encouraging him to reconsider (The Associated Press). The Italian government on Sunday teetered closer to collapse (Politico).


Related Articles

▪  The Washington Post: Biden questioned over accomplishments of Saudi Arabia visit

▪  The Associated Press: Biden’s realism approach runs head-on into liberal pressure.

▪  The Wall Street Journal: Senate climate setback puts pressure on Biden to use executive powers. 

▪  Dan Balz, The Washington Post analysis: How much will Biden’s rough week affect Democrats in November? 


   LEADING THE DAY

MORE IN CONGRESS

The House select committee examining the events of Jan. 6 convenes its eighth hearing on Thursday. The star witness for the primetime event is former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who was featured via video during last week’s hearing. The committee will focus on Trump’s hours of inaction on Jan. 6 while a mob of supporters broke into the Capitol. The president, who was repeatedly advised that day by allies to tell supporters to halt the rioters, held back as he watched news coverage of the violence on TV (The Hill).

The committee’s witness testimony and evidence, which will result in a report later this year, continue to raise questions about whether members of the panel will deliver a criminal referral to the Justice Department about the former president and to what extent federal prosecutors have kept pace with evidence to date (The Hill).  

Panel member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said the committee could hold additional hearings beyond this week. “This investigation is not winding down. We may be towards the end of this tranche of hearings. We may have more hearings in the future. … So we’re getting to the bottom of what we need to know,” he said (The Hill). 

The Hill: Deleted Secret Service text messages relevant to Jan. 6 are to be sent to the investigative committee by Tuesday, member Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told ABC’s “This Week.”

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS

Some analysts say the outcome of the fall’s midterms is difficult to predict. Yet both parties are impatient about waiting for November to begin the 2024 presidential race. 

Potential GOP presidential contenders already are traveling the country, getting their faces seen and their stump speeches heard, warily eyeing Trump’s next move and the investigations that circle him. Two GOP examples: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has spent six months in the job and is already spending time outside his state(ABC News) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who recently spent time in New Hampshire (Fox News).

The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports that the former president faces rising chances of a 2024 primary challenge and points to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the emerging  Republican who is frequently mentioned as a potential alternative to Trump.

The Hill: Who would surround Trump if he were to run and win the presidency a second time?

Bloomberg: Trump allies line up a shadow government, mindful of 2016’s transition chaos. 

The Hill: Growing support for political violence raises alarms.


📝 Introducing NotedDC, The Hill’s curated commentary on the beat of the Beltway. Click here to subscribe to our latest newsletter


OPINION

■ Make birth control more accessible, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/3PhJIjp

■ Democrats are scapegoating Biden for their own misjudgments, by Ramesh Ponnuru, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3IM4vcH

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at noon.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. to resume consideration of the nomination of Nina Y. Wang to be a district judge with the U.S. District Court in Colorado.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. He has no public events on his schedule.

Vice President Harris will address the NAACP National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., at 11:30 a.m. She will hold a roundtable with New Jersey state legislators at 1:05 p.m. in the Atlantic City Convention Center to discuss the fight for reproductive rights. The vice president will depart the Garden State at 2:50 p.m. to return to Washington. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel from Bali, Indonesia, to Seoul, Korea, for meetings and events. She will tour LG, one of Korea’s largest companies, and deliver remarks. Later, Yellen will have lunch with female entrepreneurs. The secretary will meet with Bank of Korea’s Rhee Chang-yong. Yellen will speak with women economists who work at the Bank of Korea and take their questions. The secretary will meet with Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. The secretary will also meet with Choo Kyung-ho, deputy prime minister and minister of economy and finance. 

First lady Jill Biden will attend an Equality PAC finance event at 12:15 p.m. She will speak at 6:30 p.m. at a Military Child Education Coalition summit in Washington, D.C. 

The White House daily briefing is scheduled at 3 p.m.


🖥  Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://digital-stage.thehill.com/hilltv, on YouTube and on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. ET. Also, check out the “Rising” podcast here.


ELSEWHERE  

INTERNATIONAL

Russia is targeting Ukraine’s long-range missiles and artillery weapons after Western-supplied weapons were used to strike Russian supply lines (Reuters).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thrown down the gauntlet for the U.S. and allies to help Kyiv bring an end to the war with Russia by December. The Hill’s Laura Kelly reports on the shifting dynamics behind such a timeline. 

Reuters: Zelensky suspended Ukraine’s spy chief and top state prosecutor pending investigations on Sunday, citing dozens of cases of collaboration with Russia by officials in their agencies. The officials were not fired, as Zelensky said in a video address on Telegram, a presidential aide said today.  

The Biden administration remains under pressure to deliver to Ukraine more offensive and defensive rocket systems. Experts believe a faster influx of such lethal aid can more quickly end the war that began in February (The Hill). 

In Western Europe, July’s extreme heat continues to leave its mark (The New York Times). … France is fighting wildfires today and trying to evacuate 3,500 people (The Associated Press).

In Sri Lanka, acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday declared a state of emergency giving him broad authority amid growing protests demanding his resignation two days before the country’s lawmakers are set to elect a new president. The Indian Ocean island nation is engulfed in an economic crisis that has triggered political uncertainty.

PANDEMIC & POX

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha on Sunday said Americans should be aware that rising COVID-19 cases signal that “we’re still in the middle of this pandemic.” Interviewed on ABC’s “This Week,” he said omicron’s cousin, BA.5, is the most highly transmissible to date and “immune-evasive,” leading to high levels of reinfection and breakthrough infections (The Hill). 

The Hill’s Peter Sullivan reports that the impact of the highly transmissible BA.5 version of the coronavirus sparked new calls for a next generation of Operation Warp Speed to fund and accelerate vaccines that are customized to new variants. 

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,023,799. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 348, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of today, 77.8 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 66.4 percent is “fully vaccinated,” according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker and the government’s definition. The percentage of Americans who have received third or booster doses is 31.8.

Major U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are experiencing high demand for monkeypox testing, treatment and vaccinations as the virus spreads. The federal government says more vaccine doses will be distributed, possibly this week (SFist). … The U.S. has failed to contain the monkeypox outbreak and is “at the cusp” of seeing the virus become endemic, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday (Axios). … Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) told CBS on Sunday, We need more vaccines. We’ve gotten just over 8,000 doses. We estimate that we need about 100,000 doses to address the current target population.” The District is prepared to help at-risk people, who are primarily gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men, Bowser said. “As the vaccine is available, we’re going to be ready to distribute it.” 

STATE INVESTIGATIONS

The massacre of 19 elementary school students and two teachers by a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 involved top-to-bottom failures by Robb Elementary School officials, who failed to follow established safety plans, and by responding law officers, who “failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” according to conclusions in a 77-page report released Sunday by a specially created Texas House committee (Austin American-Statesman). 

The report says 376 law enforcement officials rushed to the school, but “egregiously poor decision-making” resulted in more than an hour of chaos before the 18-year-old gunman was finally confronted and killed, according to the report (The Associated Press).

The Hill: Five takeaways from the damning Uvalde school shooting report.

CNN: New law enforcement bodycam video from May 24 shows what unfolded after police arrived.  

SPORTS

🏌In what ESPN called a “Sunday stunner,” Australian golfer Cameron Smith captured his first major title by overcoming Rory McIlroy in the British Open in St. Andrews, Scotland. The stage had been set for McIlroy to end his eight-year drought in the majors and cap off a week of celebration at the home of golf in the 150th Open. Smith’s 8-under 64 was the lowest final round by a champion in the 30 times golf’s oldest championship has been played at St. Andrews.


THE CLOSER

And finally … What would a summer newsletter be without a roundup about sharks? 

Up the Atlantic seaboard, lifeguards, surfers and toe-dippers are on alert for sharks, which are splashing through headlines this month as they bump, bite and chomp their way around their own environment. 

Robert Hueter, the chief scientist of Ocearch, an organization that researches and tracks marine species, told The New York Times last week that the shark population is rebounding after declining as much as 90 percent from the 1970s to the 1990s, depending on the species. 

“Are we back to the way it was in 1950 or 1960?” he said. “No, we’re not even close to that. People who weren’t alive then think there are more sharks than ever before, but really, the ecosystem is still resetting.”

Hueter also told the Times that with climate change, shark populations that usually ventured no farther north than the Chesapeake Bay area have moved up the coast to the New York Bight, the wedge formed by the shorelines of Long Island and New Jersey.

Cape Cod, Mass., is popular with sharks, including great whites, as well as tourists, meaning that precautions are widely advertised. “The sharks are here because the gray seals have come back,” Brian Carlstrom, superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore, told the Cape Cod Sunday Journal.

CBS News: Shark attacks are up across the United States.

NBC10 in Boston published shark photos taken near Cape Cod and posted by the Atlantic White Shark Conservation and Recovery’s Sharktivity app.  

▪ 🦈 Discovery’s annual “Shark Week” begins on Sunday.


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Tags Bernie Sanders biden 2024 Donald Trump gas prices Jan. 6 hearings Joe Manchin Mohammed bin Salman Morning Report Niall Stanage School shooting Senate Stephen Bannon Trump 2024 uvalde

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