CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP — It hasn’t even been one week since President Donald Trump was acquitted in the Senate’s impeachment trial — and it’s clear that whatever “guardrails” or “lessons learned” that Republicans had envisioned for Trump are virtually non-existent. In fact, the president appears even more emboldened in the wake of the trial, from firing key impeachment witnesses against the advice of GOP senators to launching attacks on his rivals during a traditionally non-partisan prayer breakfast. Yet Republicans are doing little, if anything, to stop Trump and are essentially responding to his recent actions with a shrug.
Take some of these quotes from Republicans: “Presidential personnel matters are for the president to make,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who criticized Trump for requesting probes into the Bidens but found his conduct not impeachable. “My hope is that the president will have learned something.” And Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) had this to say: “I hope that’s a last-week phenomenon. And it’s not going to carry on in the future.” Meanwhile, some Republicans are even egging Trump on or plowing ahead with their own probes into Joe and Hunter Biden, after initially expressing skepticism to the idea. The dispatch from Burgess, Marianne and Andrew: https://politi.co/31GGL3U.
Speaking of Biden probes … Attorney General William Barr confirmed that the Justice Department has set up an “intake process” so that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani can provide the agency with any information he uncovered from Ukrainian sources about the Bidens. “That is true for all information that comes to the department relating to the Ukraine, including anything Mr. Giuliani might provide,” Barr said. And Democrats, of course, are not happy. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is demanding answers from Barr about the “new channel” for Giuliani. The deets from WaPo’s Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Bartlett: https://wapo.st/39mHgTs.
Related reads: “Trump Says Senate Gave Him ‘Full, Complete’ Acquittal in Trial,” by Bloomberg’s Jordan Fabian and Josh Wingrove: https://bloom.bg/2UIhlkU; and “Trump rally crowd chants ‘lock her up’ for Nancy Pelosi,” from Dave Boyer of the Washington Times: http://bit.ly/2vr0Jn6.
MUNCHKINLAND — Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) isn’t the only one on Trump’s revenge list. The president has repeatedly ripped into Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for voting to remove Trump from office, calling the 6-foot-3 senator “Joe Munchkin.” And now Manchin is hitting him back right where it hurts. “Munchkin means that you’re small, right?” Manchin told the New York Times. “I’m bigger than him — of course he has me by weight, now, he has more volume than I have by about 30 or 40 pounds. I’m far from being weak and pathetic, and I’m far from being a munchkin, and I still want him to succeed as president of the United States.”
Manchin had really wrestled with his decision in the impeachment trial, and even floated a censure resolution as an alternative — and less severe — form of punishment. Manchin was trying to maintain his reputation as a moderate, bipartisan deal-maker while also asserting some independence from Trump. But it’s clear that it’s going to be nearly impossible now to maintain a good working relationship with Trump. Sheryl Gay Stolberg with more: https://nyti.ms/2SxX4Mh.
Related: “Trump world’s latest attack on Romney: Tie him to Burisma,” via Tina Nguyen: https://politi.co/31TbV8B.
GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Tuesday, February 11. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner — but please don’t repeat one of these “25 Incredibly DC Dating Stories.”
MONDAY’S MOST CLICKED: The big winner was this story from the Detroit Free Press on freshman Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) endorsing Mike Bloomberg.
BUDGET, BYE — Democrats were quick to pan Trump’s budget blueprint — but now, even Republicans are giving it the stiff arm. Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), who is retiring, said he does not plan to hold a hearing on the $4.8 trillion budget, warning that it will just turn into a “diatribe against the president.”
Enzi urged his colleagues not to even bother complaining about the budget proposal because it is just a wishlist anyway. “Nobody has listened to the president in the 23 years that I’ve been here,” he said. “Congress doesn’t pay attention to the president’s budget exercise. I don’t know why we put him through that.” Marianne with more: https://politi.co/31JIHbR.
Related: “Democrats preview election-year attacks on Trump budget,” via Roll Call’s David Lerman: http://bit.ly/38iSkks; and “The quirky, the odd and the baffling in the Trump budget shuffle,” by Ryan McCrimmon: https://politi.co/39rcady.
RAKING IN A RECORD — Yesterday, the House Democrats’ campaign arm announced that it brought in a whopping $12.1 million in January — the DCCC’s largest single haul in history. But not to be outdone … the House GOP’s campaign committee will announce that it raised $12.6 million in January, according to our friends at Playbook.
That will mark the first time that the NRCC has topped the DCCC, which will be welcome news for House Republicans, who have taken some heat for being outraised by Democrats. (Or, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy put it last month: “They are kicking our ass.” )
Related: “Americans divided on Trump’s acquittal, but majority wanted Senate to call witnesses, poll finds,” from USA TODAY’s William Cummings: http://bit.ly/2SfA85y.
KELLY LOEFFLER’S KEY ENDORSEMENT — The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List is backing Sen. Kelly Loeffler in her special election, a key endorsement for the Georgia Republican who will be battling against Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) this fall. The endorsement is also notable because Loeffler had initially faced skepticism from conservative groups — including SBA List — when she was first appointed to the seat late last year.
But Loeffler has made inroads with conservatives since coming to the Senate by signing on to a slew of anti-abortion bills and railing against impeachment. “Her voice is needed in the Senate more than ever at this pivotal moment,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who called Loeffler a “strong pro-life, pro-woman leader.” The Hill’s Jessie Hellman has the latest: http://bit.ly/3byQYEn.
NO GOOD FOR SPANO — Looks like there’s more trouble brewing for Rep. Ross Spano (R-Fla.), whose 2018 campaign was already facing a federal probe. The Tampa Bay Times explains: “The Florida Bar is also investigating whether alleged campaign finance violations by Spano ran afoul of the rules of conduct for state lawyers. If they did, Spano, who has practiced law in Florida for 22 years, could face punishment from the Bar.
“The Dover Republican acknowledges his campaign likely broke the law, but he insists it was a mistake and not malicious. Complaints to the Federal Elections Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics alleged that Spano illegally loaned his campaign $180,000 that was borrowed from two friends. … Those loans should have been considered contributions to his campaign and subject to campaign finance limits. Spano, who previously served in the Florida Legislature, said he didn’t know the loans were illegal.” The deets from Steve Contorno: http://bit.ly/2tJmmyC.
ON BRINDISI’S BRAIN — As 2020 candidates continue to court coveted endorsements from the historic freshman class on Capitol Hill, centrist Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) is making (somewhat) clear where he stands: he won’t back Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. In fact, he predicted it would be “exceedingly difficult” for either of them to win the White House in November.
“I don’t think the people that I represent are looking for a president who supports abolishing private health insurance companies, and I don’t either,” Brindisi told Syracuse.com. Remember: Trump won Brindisi’s seat by over 15 points, one of the highest margins in any Democratic-held seat. More from Mark Weiner: http://bit.ly/2tN7orr.
Related: “AOC riles up Bernie Sanders’; New Hampshire crowd and says Donald Trump is only in the state to challenge the Vermont senator,” from The Daily Mail’s Nikki Schwab: https://dailym.ai/2StJERm.
Jeff Wilson has joined the Aerospace Industries Association as director of legislative affairs. Wilson comes from the office of Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), where he was most recently deputy chief of staff and legislative director.
Joe Lustig has been hired as a manager of federal advocacy for Ascension Health. He previously was a senior policy adviser for Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).
Brannon Rains will now be a policy analyst for House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection and commerce. He’ll be working under Tim Kurth, the chief counsel, and Bijan ‘BJ’ Koohmaraie, the deputy chief counsel for this respective subcommittee that deals with consumer privacy, autonomous vehicles, consumer protection, and more.
The House gavels in at 10 a.m., with first and last votes expected between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Today’s agenda: http://bit.ly/37cXxc1.
The Senate meets at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of Andrew Lynn Brasher to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eleventh Circuit. The Senate will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for the weekly party luncheons. At 2:15 p.m., the Senate will vote on confirmation of the Brasher nomination.
The House Democratic Caucus holds a closed-door meeting at 9 a.m. in HC-5.
The House Republican Conference holds a closed-door meeting at 9 a.m. at HVC-215
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) hold a news conference before the House Oversight markup and vote on the D.C. statehood bill at 9:30 a.m. in 2247 Rayburn House Office Building.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and GOP leaders hold a weekly press conference at 10 a.m. in HVC Studio A.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) hold a news conference immediately after a closed-door caucus meeting at 10:05 a.m. in HC-8.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), DPCC Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) host a press conference to highlight President Trump’s Budget Cuts Medicaid and Medicare Funding at 10:30 a.m. in S-207.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) hold a news conference on the “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020” at 11:00 a.m. in SVC-215.
The Problem Solvers Caucus holds a news conference to discuss “civil discourse in politics and provide an update on the items the Caucus is currently working on” at 11:45 a.m. in HVC Studio A.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hold a press conference. to discuss President Trump’s full Budget Request for fiscal year 2021 at 12:15 p.m. in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery.
MONDAY’S WINNER: Dominic Moore was the first person to name one of the supreme court justices who was nominated to the court twice: William Rehnquist was nominated once for associate justice and once for Chief Justice.
TODAY’S QUESTION: From Dominic: In honor of the New Hampshire primary … Only two men have won the New Hampshire primary as a write-in candidate. Who were they? The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your best guess my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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