Morning Consult Washington: Feds Said to Be Scrutinizing Giuliani’s Finances

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  • The financial dealings of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s attorney, are being scrutinized by federal prosecutors following the indictment of two of his associates on campaign finance violations, according to a law enforcement official. According to the indictment, the men were involved in pressing for the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who is scheduled to testify as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry today. (Bloomberg)
  • Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top aide on Russia and Europe, plans to tell lawmakers that Giuliani and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, circumvented normal White House processes — including then-national security adviser John Bolton — to pursue policy on Ukraine, according to a source. Hill is not viewed as a Trump loyalist, concerning some in the White House that she will no protect the president as Democrats consider impeachment, according to a former official, though sources say the White House has not yet contacted her to assert privilege and try to prevent her testimony. (NBC News)
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry was subpoenaed by House Democrats for documents related to Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Perry reportedly encouraged the president to make the phone call, and among other things, Democrats want to know whether the former Texas government leaned on the Ukrainian government to shake up the advisory board of its state-owned oil and gas company. (Politico)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Susan Rice, EU ambassador to the US participate in Axios event 8:00 am
Former Education secretary participates in Brookings event on education and 2020 10:00 am
Trump holds campaign rally in Lake Charles, La. 7:00 pm
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A New ICE Training Facility Is Being Modeled After US Cities. Members Of Congress Who Represent Those Areas Are Livid.
Kadia Goba, BuzzFeed News

Members of Congress want ICE to stop building training facilities for its immigration enforcement officials modeled after US cities, they write in a new letter obtained by BuzzFeed News. The government is due to pay $961,347.75 to Strategic Operations Inc. — a manufacturer of tactical training products run by a former TV and film producer — to duplicate neighborhoods in Chicago and Arizona for ICE tactical training.

U.N. Security Council fails to condemn Turkey’s military action in Syria
Carol Morello, The Washington Post

The U.N. Security Council failed Thursday to agree on a statement condemning Turkey’s military operation in Syria, defeating the efforts of Europeans who warned of an ensuing humanitarian crisis and the revival of Islamic State militants. Following an emergency closed-door session of the council, ambassadors issued somber assessments of the situation in the Kurdish enclave, where thousands of civilians were reportedly fleeing the Turkish offensive.

The Mystery of Rudy Giuliani’s Vienna Trip
Elaina Plott, The Atlantic

Last night, when Rudy Giuliani told me he couldn’t get together for an interview, his reason made sense: As with many nights of late, he was due to appear on Hannity. When I suggested this evening instead, his response was a bit more curious.

Scoop: John Bolton to write Trump book, pairs with top agents
Jonathan Swan, Axios

President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has decided to write a book about his time in the Trump administration, according to 2 people familiar with the matter. Bolton has agreed to be represented by Javelin’s Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn.

White House & Administration

Trump Lashes Out at Fox News Poll as Barr Meets With Murdoch
Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner, The New York Times

Attorney General William P. Barr met privately Wednesday evening with Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who is one of President Trump’s frequent confidants but whose Fox News is viewed by the president as more hostile toward him than it used to be. The meeting was held at Mr. Murdoch’s home in New York, according to someone familiar with it.

At least four national security officials raised alarms about Ukraine policy before and after Trump call with Ukrainian president
Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, The Washington Post

At least four national security officials were so alarmed by the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they raised concerns with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after President Trump’s July 25 call with that country’s president, according to U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter. The nature and timing of the previously undisclosed discussions with National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg indicate that officials were delivering warnings through official White House channels earlier than previously understood — including before the call that precipitated a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry of the president.

White House Shifted Authority Over Ukraine Aid Amid Legal Concerns
Andrew Duehren and Gordon Lubold, The Wall Street Journal

The White House gave a politically appointed official the authority to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds, according to people familiar with the matter, a shift that House Democrats are probing in their impeachment inquiry. President Trump’s order to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in mid-July is at the center of House Democratic efforts to investigate allegations that Mr. Trump used U.S. foreign policy powers to benefit himself politically.

Senior adviser to Pompeo resigns
Karen DeYoung, The Washington Post

Michael McKinley, a career diplomat and senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has resigned his position amid rising dissatisfaction and plummeting morale inside the State Department over what is seen as Pompeo’s failure to support personnel ensnared in the Ukraine controversy. A senior officer who has held a range of diplomatic posts, including ambassador to Afghanistan, Colombia and Peru, McKinley was serving as ambassador to Brazil last year when Pompeo recruited him as a policy adviser and a conduit between his office and the career service.

Trump to Name Pompeo Deputy John Sullivan as Russian Envoy
Courtney McBride, The Wall Street Journal

President Trump is set to formally announce his selection of John Sullivan, currently the deputy secretary of state, as the next American ambassador to Russia, according to a person familiar with the decision. Moscow has agreed to accredit Mr. Sullivan to serve in the post—a precursor to a formal nomination—a State Department official said.

‘Shame on Him’: Evangelicals Call Out Trump on Syria
Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times

One called President Trump’s decision “an egregious act of betrayal.” Another said the policy could be “the biggest mistake of his presidency.”

Deutsche Bank Does Not Have Trump’s Tax Returns, Court Says
David Enrich, The New York Times

Deutsche Bank has told a federal appeals court that it does not have President Trump’s personal tax returns, the court said on Thursday. Congressional committees investigating Mr. Trump subpoenaed Deutsche Bank earlier this year for its financial records related to the president, his companies and his family, including federal tax returns. Mr. Trump sued the bank — which has been his main lender over the past two decades — to block it from complying with the subpoenas.

Top Commerce Department aides orchestrated NOAA’s Hurricane Dorian statement, House Science Committee chair says
Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman, The Washington Post

A letter sent Thursday from the chair of the House Science Committee to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reveals that it was the Commerce Department, not the leadership of its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that drafted a controversial NOAA statement on Sept. 6 that backed President Trump’s false statement about the path of Hurricane Dorian. That statement contradicted NOAA’s own meteorologists at a weather forecast office in Birmingham, Ala.


Trump allies worry they can’t count on Senate GOP in impeachment fight
Darren Samuelsohn and Burgess Everett, Politico

Donald Trump made a defiant prediction last week that Senate Republicans will be the bulwark to keep Democrats from ending his presidency. But behind the scenes, Republicans and Trump’s informal circle of advisers are tempering the president’s bravado, expressing concern over whether the president can truly count on a GOP-led Senate to keep him in office.

Lindsey Graham dishes on Trump in hoax calls with Russians
Natasha Bertrand, Politico

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has in the last year become something of a congressional point man for President Donald Trump’s negotiations with Turkey, leading discussions on everything from Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile system over the summer to their more recent incursion into northern Syria. So when he received a call from a man he thought was Turkey’s minister of defense earlier in August, it didn’t strike him as unusual.


Ukraine Whistleblower May Not Testify In Person
Dustin Volz and Warren P. Strobel, The Wall Street Journal

Lawyers for the CIA officer whose whistleblower complaint helped ignite an impeachment inquiry into President Trump have asked Congress whether their client could submit testimony in writing instead of appearing in person, according to people familiar with the matter. The request reflects concerns about whether the whistleblower could testify to Democrats and Republicans without revealing his identity, and fears that doing so would lead to it being publicly leaked, jeopardizing his personal safety.

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland to testify next week
Alayna Treene, Axios

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is expected to testify next Wednesday before the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine, despite being blocked by the State Department from appearing at a closed-door deposition this week, 4 congressional sources tell Axios. Why it matters: One source familiar with the rescheduling tells Axios that after the State Department pulled the plug on Sondland’s testimony, Republicans close to Trump encouraged the president to let the ambassador come before the committees.

New revelations about Trump test Pelosi’s narrow impeachment strategy
Rachael Bade, The Washington Post

Recent revelations about President Trump’s conduct are testing the limits of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s narrow impeachment strategy, leading some Democrats to wonder whether the probe should be expanded beyond the Ukraine scandal. Since House Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry just over two weeks ago, Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants have coalesced around a plan to focus on Trump’s pressure on the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate, and his son Hunter.

Metro East Congressman John Shimkus pulls Trump support after Syria decision
Brian Kelly, KMOX

As the battle between Democrats and Republicans over impeachment continues on like a heatwave in August, President Trump makes moves to remove U.S. troops from Syria. Just hours after the decision to leave Syrian Kurds to fend for themselves against Turkey, Illinois Congressman John Shimkus calls the President’s decision “terrible and despicable.”


Trump seeks to turn impeachment probe into campaign weapon
Zeke Miller et al., The Associated Press

President Donald Trump was defiant in the face of an impeachment probe Thursday as he sought to convert the threat to his presidency into a weapon on the campaign trail, with biting and unsupported attacks on potential Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Facing an investigation provoked by his unprecedented call for Ukraine and then China to assist in digging up dirt on his political rivals, Trump continued to lay into Biden and his son Hunter, whom he and his allies have accused, without evidence, of illegally profiting off his father’s office.

Warren’s Been Talking to Gillum, Sparking VP Buzz
Hanna Trudo, The Daily Beast

Presidential candidates often keep a running list of influential individuals who they will informally call for ideas, advice, and, perhaps, to scope them out as a potential running mate. And for several candidates, including at least one in the top tier, former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is on speed dial. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in particular, has been in contact with Gillum over the past several months, multiple knowledgeable sources told The Daily Beast.

Democrat challenging Mitch McConnell raises $10.7 million in third quarter
Grace Segers, CBS News

Amy McGrath, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leading Democratic opponent in the 2020 Kentucky Senate race, raised $10.7 million in the third quarter of 2019 after launching her campaign in July. McGrath, who narrowly lost a House race in 2018, has already proven her ability to draw large donations, as her campaign raised $2.5 million in the 24 hours after declaring her campaign.

LGBTQ town hall: What you need to know
Orion Rummler, Axios

Nine 2020 Democratic presidential candidates took questions on LGBTQ issues at a CNN town hall Thursday night. The state of play: 2020 Democrats are pressing for protection against workplace discrimination, advocating for LGBTQ rights abroad, and changing HIV-specific criminal exposure laws.

McSally allies plead for air cover as Democratic groups pummel the Arizona senator
David M. Drucker, The Washington Examiner

Sen. Martha McSally had incurred weeks of unchecked attacks from Democratic groups, and the Arizona Republican’s allies are pleading for help. Since early September, Advancing Arizona has targeted McSally with a barrage of advertising as part of a $1.4 million television buy from the so-called dark money group that runs through late November.

Cabrera kicks off bid primary against Ocasio-Cortez
Erin Durkin, Politico

City Council Member Fernando Cabrera is launching a primary challenge against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Bronx Democrat and pastor filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for the congressional seat, which spans parts of the Bronx and Queens, and is formally kicking off his campaign today.


Can A Democrat Get Reelected Governor In Louisiana?
Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight

A lot of things are unusual about Louisiana’s governor election. There’s the timing (the election is tomorrow, Oct. 12 — a Saturday) and the rules (there may or may not be a second round of voting in November). But perhaps most unusual is the fact that a state as red as Louisiana already has a Democratic governor — and there’s a good chance he wins again.

California governor says broad power shutdown to prevent fires ‘unacceptable’
Alex Dobuzinskis and Andrew Hay, Reuters

California Governor Gavin Newsom called a widespread electricity shutdown triggered by a power company to prevent wildfires “unacceptable”, as gale-force winds and dry weather posed a critical fire threat to the north of the state. Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) has imposed unprecedented shut-offs that left more than 730,000 homes and workplaces in northern California without power on the second day of planned outages.


Is Amazon Unstoppable?
Charles Duhigg, The New Yorker

In 2017, a few months after Forbes named Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the world’s richest man, a rumor spread among the company’s executives: Bill Gates, the former wealthiest person on earth, had called Bezos’s assistant to schedule a lunch, asking if Tuesday or Wednesday was available. The assistant informed Bezos of the invitation, and told him that both days were open.

Trump confidant lobbying to free U.S. citizen Paul Whelan from Russia
Jonathan Swan, Axios

Axios has obtained a lobbying disclosure form showing President Trump’s former Pennsylvania campaign director, David Urban, will be working to free Paul Whelan, an American who has been detained in Russia since December 2018. A source with direct knowledge said Urban will be working pro-bono for Whelan’s family.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

We investigated the Watergate scandal. We believe Trump should be impeached.
17 former Watergate special prosecutors, The Washington Post

We, former members of the Watergate special prosecutor force, believe there exists compelling prima facie evidence that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses. This evidence can be accepted as sufficient for impeachment, unless disproved by any contrary evidence that the president may choose to offer.

Research Reports and Polling

Forty-three new women came forward to describe assault and harassment by Trump. Newspapers ignored them.
Zachary Pleat, MediaMatters

An upcoming book excerpted by Esquire reveals “another 43 allegations of alleged inappropriate behavior” by President Donald Trump, “including 26 instances of unwanted sexual contact.” The women discussed in the book join the 24 others who have already publicly said the president sexually assaulted them or made unwanted advances to them.

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