Mornings on the Mall
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
Saagar Enjeti, Todd Gilbert, Dan Cox and Tom Bevan joined WMAL on Tuesday morning!
5am – A/B/C New Hampshire primary voting kicks off, with Sanders and Buttigieg locked in fierce battle. Trump, Klobuchar see strong showing in Dixville Notch’s midnight voting. (Fox News) – New Hampshire’s presidential primary kicked off at midnight – as voters in three tiny townships in the state’s North Country and White Mountains cast the first ballots in the first primary in the White House race. Dixville Notch – which has held the midnight voting tradition for 60 years – as well as nearby Millsfield and Hart’s Location – grab the national spotlight every four years as they report the first results in New Hampshire. On the final day before the primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., emphasized to supporters that “what happens here in New Hampshire is enormously important…the whole country is not only looking at New Hampshire – in fact, the whole world is looking at New Hampshire.” After getting out of Iowa’s caucuses with essentially a tie with 2020 nomination rival Pete Buttigieg, expectations are high for Sanders in a state where he shares home-field advantage with fellow progressive standard-bearer Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Though Sanders and Buttigieg have high expectations in New Hampshire, the same may not be said for former Vice President Joe Biden, who is coming off a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses. As early as last Friday, he sounded like he was lowering expectations. “I took a hit in Iowa and I’m probably going to take a hit here,” Biden said in a striking moment at the top of Friday night’s prime-time Democratic presidential nomination debate. Asked the next day by Fox News if he was writing off the Granite State, the former vice president fired back, saying, “I’m not writing off New Hampshire. I’m going to campaign like hell here in New Hampshire, as I’m going to do in Nevada, in South Carolina and beyond. Look, this is just getting going here. This is a marathon.”
5am – D SENTENCING
- Prosecutors recommend seven to nine years in prison for Roger Stone. (Washington Examiner) — Federal prosecutors are recommending Roger Stone receive a prison sentence of seven to nine years for witness tampering and lying to Congress. The 26-page sentencing memorandum, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, asks that Stone, a former associate of President Trump, serve 87 to 108 months in prison. The 67-year-old Republican operative was found guilty on seven charges last November following a two-week trial based on his actions during and after the 2016 presidential election.A jury found the self-styled “dirty trickster” guilty of five separate counts of lying to the House Intelligence Committee, in addition to two more charges of obstructing a congressional investigation and intimidating a witness. The trial centered on Stone’s claims about his alleged communications with WikiLeaks. Stone was one of several individuals indicted in spinoff trials as a result of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.
- Judge cancels Michael Flynn’s sentencing amid legal battles about his prior representation. (Washington Examiner) — The federal judge handling retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s case canceled his upcoming sentencing hearing as the Justice Department and Flynn’s legal team clash over whether the former Trump national security adviser was adequately represented by previous attorneys. “The court hereby cancels the sentencing hearing currently scheduled for Feb. 27, 2020, until further order of the court,” Judge Emmet Sullivan of the D.C. District Court wrote in an online docket Monday. Flynn, 61, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding S. sanctions and a United Nations Security Council vote. He was interviewed as one of a handful of people connected to the Trump campaign targeted by the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation, Crossfire Hurricane, which began in July 2016. But Flynn said in January that he “never would have pled guilty” if his first team of attorneys from the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling had informed him that the FBI agents who interviewed him in January 2017 did not see signs that Flynn was lying to them. “In truth, I never lied,” Flynn said.
5am – E Barr Confirms DOJ has ‘Established an Intake Process’ to Review Giuliani’s Biden-Ukraine Info. (National Review) — Attorney General William Barr confirmed on Monday that the Justice Department has “established an intake process” for information that President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani collected about Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine. “The DOJ has the obligation to have an open door to anybody who wishes to provide us information that they think is relevant,” Barr said during a presser at the Justice Department. The intake process was meant to ensure that all information about Ukraine, including any information Giuliani provided, would be “carefully scrutinized” by Justice Department and intelligence community officials to determine its “provenance” and “credibility,” Barr said. The attorney general’s remarks come after Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Johnson, chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, last week obtained sensitive financial records from the Treasury Department as part of their continuing investigation into Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine.
6am – A Barr announces sweeping new sanctions, ‘significant escalation’ against left-wing sanctuary cities. (Fox News) – Charging that so-called “sanctuary” cities that protect illegal immigrants are jeopardizing domestic security, Attorney General Bill Barr announced a slew of additional sanctions that he called a “significant escalation” against left-wing local and state governments that obstruct the “lawful functioning of our nation’s immigration system.” Speaking at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Barr said the Justice Department would immediately file multiple lawsuits against sanctuary jurisdictions for unconstitutionally interfering with federal immigration enforcement, and implement unprecedented national reviews of left-wing sanctuary governments and prosecutors.
6am – B/C 2020 NEWS:
- Sanders 25, Biden 17, Bloomberg 15 In New National Poll. Contested convention, bro. It’s going to be amazing. Bernie’s ragtag black-bloc brigades versus Bloomberg’s lavishly paid baton-wielding Pinkerton guards. Hand-to-hand combat on the arena floor in Milwaukee. Winner gets the honor of losing badly to Trump in November when half of his own party stays home in protest. […] To appreciate how unusual it is for Biden to trail nationally, let alone by eight points, you need to scroll through RCP’s archives of national polls dating back many months. He trailed Bernie recently in a couple of polls by one and three points, respectively, and last fall during the Warren surge he trailed her in a few — once by seven. An eight-point deficit is extremely rare air for him. And Quinnipiac knows what’s causing it: “Biden no longer dominates on the key question of electability, as 27 percent say Biden has the best chance of winning against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, while 24 percent say Sanders, 17 percent say Bloomberg, and 9 percent say Buttigieg.” A month ago, Joe led 44/19 on that crucial metric.
- Bernie crowd boos Hillary in NH. Hillary Clinton remains the foil for Bernie Sanders supporters. During a final rally in New Hampshire on Monday, Sanders supporter Cynthia Nixon invoked the failed 2016 candidate and drew boos.
- New Hampshire’s presidential primary kicked off at midnight – as voters in three tiny townships in the state’s North Country and White Mountains cast the first ballots in the first primary in the White House race. Dixville Notch – which has held the midnight voting tradition for 60 years – as well as nearby Millsfield and Hart’s Location – grab the national spotlight every four years as they report the first results in New Hampshire.
6am – D US charges 4 members of Chinese military with Equifax hack. Washington (CNN)A federal grand jury has charged four members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with hacking Equifax and stealing personal data and trade secrets in one of the largest hacks on record. Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the scale of the theft in 2017 was “staggering” and the suspects obtained information for nearly 150 million Americans. The attorney general said the hack was one of the largest on record and was a “deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people.” Speaking at a news conference in Washington, Barr noted that it’s unusual for the US to charge members of another country’s military or intelligence service outside the US, but said the hack “not only caused significant financial damage to Equifax, but invaded the privacy of many millions of Americans, and imposed substantial costs and burdens on them as they have had to take measures to protect against identity theft.” “This data has economic value and these thefts can feed China’s development of artificial intelligence tools as well as the creation of intelligence targeting packages,” Barr said. Equifax first disclosed the hack, the largest in US history, in September 2017, three months after the company discovered the breach. The hack exposed sensitive information, including names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and addresses. Hackers leveraged a security flaw in a tool designed to build web applications to steal customer data. Equifax admitted it was aware of the security flaw a full two months before the company says hackers first accessed its data.
6am – E Report: Trump Administration Has Removed 70 Obama Holdovers at NSC. The Trump administration has removed 70 Obama holdovers at the National Security Council (NSC), Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard reported on Monday. President Trump and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien have removed 70 Obama holdovers from the NSC, which previously boasted a staff of roughly 200 people, according to the Washington Examiner. The news follows Saturday’s CNN report, which indicated “major cuts” to NSC staff in the coming days, citing “two sources familiar with the matter.” It comes days after the contentious impeachment battle on Capitol Hill — a battle ignited by a complaint from a so-called “whistleblower.” The “whistleblower’s” complaint, regarding Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, sparked the House Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry, which ultimately ended in a full acquittal.
6am – F Student says it was ‘kind of humiliating’ when Biden called her a ‘lying, dog-faced pony soldier’ (Washington Examiner) — The 21-year-old college student whom 2020 Democrat Joe Biden referred to as a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier” said the insult was “kind of humiliating.” During a New Hampshire campaign stop on Sunday, Madison Moore, a student at Mercer University, asked the former vice president a question about his underwhelming finish in the Iowa caucuses and got an unusual response. “How do you explain the performance in Iowa, and why should voters believe that you can win the national election?” she asked. Biden, 77, responded by asking her if she had ever been to a caucus, and, after Moore nodded, he quipped, “No, you haven’t. You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.” Although the Biden campaign has said that the strange remark was intended in jest, Moore told the Macon Telegraph on Monday that to wave it off as a joke was “kind of insulting.” “It was kind of humiliating to be called a liar on national TV by the former vice president,” Moore said. “Instead of answering that question straightforward, his immediate response was to attempt to invalidate me by exposing my inexperience.” Moore explained that she was nervous when Biden asked her about attending a caucus. She also said that it was a perfectly valid question to ask the former front-runner, who finished in fourth during the nation’s first 2020 litmus test, adding that whether she has attended a caucus is irrelevant. “He has been performing extremely poorly in this race, and the fact that he couldn’t just straight answer my question without bullying or intimidating just exacerbates that fact,” Moore said. “I am a 21-year-old college student, like, what the hell do I know? Who cares who I am or my experience? Just answer the damn question.” Symone Sanders, a senior campaign adviser, said the comment was a joke and downplayed the national attention the remark has received.
7am – A INTERVIEW — SAAGAR ENJETI — Host of THE HILL TV SHOW “Rising w/ Krystal and Saagar” and co-author of new book “The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left are Rising” – previewed the New Hampshire primary.
7am – B/C INTERVIEW – TODD GILBERT – Virginia House Republican Leader – discussed Crossover Day in the Virginia General Assembly.
- What is ‘Crossover?’: Breaking down the 2020 General Assembly’s midpoint. RICHMOND, (WRIC) — The 2020 Virginia General Assembly session will reach “crossover day” on Tuesday. Bills must advance through one chamber or the other to avoid being killed for the session. “Crossover” is the midpoint of the session, where bills passed by the House are considered by the Senate, and vice versa. After this congressional halftime, no new bills may be introduced. “If you haven’t been able to get your bill through one of the houses at this point then let’s save it for next year,” said 8News Political Analyst Rich Meagher. Meagher says the committees will still meet, but there will be fewer bills to consider. “Each house can only consider bills that have gotten action from the other side so it cuts down on the number of bills that they have to talk about,” Meagher explained. “It slows down the flow of the stuff coming out of the General Assembly.”
- Virginia state House Democrats are poised to vote on Tuesday on a bill to add VA’s 13 Electoral College votes to the National Popular Vote Compact ahead of the deadline to pass the bill out of one chamber.
7am – D TRUMP RALLY IN NH LAST NIGHT: Just hours before the country’s first presidential primary in New Hampshire, President Trump traveled to the Granite State to try to rattle Democrats with a rally before a sold-out arena crowd of thousands. The President used the event to continue to blast the impeachment process as a “hoax” that led to his “complete and absolute total acquittal.” Trump also told the crowd the Democrats vying to replace him are “all weak.”
7am – E CORONAVIRUS
- With more than 42,000 cases confirmed in China, the head of the World Health Organization says the coronavirus outbreak poses a “very grave threat for the rest of the world,” and he wants scientists to speed up research into treatment and vaccines. The first group of Americans quarantined at a Riverside California air base will be allowed to leave today if they show no symptoms. The Diamond Princess Cruise ship remains off the shore of Japan with 24 Americans among those testing positive there.
- Coronavirus death toll surpasses 1,000 as it killed more than 100 in the Chinese province at the outbreak’s center on Monday – and horrifying map suggests thousands of travelers may have spread it from Wuhan to nearly 400 cities worldwide Coronavirus can survive door handles and bus and train poles for nine days.
- Coronavirus can survive on door handles and bus and train poles for up to nine days, experts say, more than four times longer than flu. New research shows the virus is much harder to kill than common bugs and therefore spreading so rapidly. Surfaces that are frequently touched are most likely to be harbouring the highly contagious disease – especially in hospitals or crowded transport stations. Professor Gunter Kampf, the lead author into the study at Greifswald University Hospital in northern Germany, said: “In hospitals these can be door handles, for example, but also call buttons, bedside tables, bed frames and other objects in the direct vicinity of patients, which are often made of metal or plastic.”
8am – A INTERVIEW – MARYLAND DELEGATE DAN COX — District 4, Frederick and Carroll Counties – discussed the Sanctuary State legislation and hearing today in Annapolis.
- There is a hearing today on Sanctuary State Legislation in Annapolis: The two bills detailed below will also stop state and local law enforcement from working with Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in removing wanted criminals from our jails and communities. Three jurisdictions, Frederick, Cecil and Harford Counties will have to end cooperative 287g programs with ICE. This includes Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins’ very successful 287g program.
- Here on the two bills to be discussed on Tuesday:
- HB0388 – CriminalProcedure – Civil Immigration Enforcement – Restrictions: Prohibiting a certain law enforcement agent from making a certain inquiry about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities under certain circumstances; prohibiting, without a warrant, a certain law enforcement agent from transferring or detaining an individual, notifying federal immigration authorities with an individual’s location information, or using law enforcement resources to further civil immigration enforcement; etc. https://legiscan.com/gaits/search?state=MD&bill=0388
- HB0403 – Immigration Enforcement – Public Schools, Hospitals, and Courthouses – Policies: Requiring the Attorney General, in consultation with certain stakeholders, to develop guidelines to assist public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all; and authorizing public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to establish and publish policies that limit immigration enforcement on their premises to the fullest extent possible; etc. https://legiscan.com/gaits/search?state=MD&bill=0403
8am – B/C THE INSUFFERABLE DATING POOL OF D.C.:
- WASHINGTONIAN: 25 Incredibly DC Dating Stories—From Meet-Cutes to Nightmares. Dating in 2020 is weird. But dating in 2020 in tragically divided Washington? Yeah, weirder.
- “I knew he was Secret Service. We’d be texting, and he’d send me pictures. It was like, ‘Hey, I’m at work,’ and that just happened to be him holding a sniper rifle on the roof of the White House. It was a little surreal. We went to Zaytinya, then afterwards we drove around in his truck. He darted into this underground parking garage that wasn’t marked, and it turned out to be a Secret Service bunker. He took me to the artillery room—rifles, grenades, automatic weapons just everywhere. He was giving me meaningful glances. In retrospect, I don’t know if this was his move and he was expecting me to jump his bones in the gun room.” —Tina, 42, federal worker
- “I created the nightmare myself, I guess. It was a speed-dating event for professionals. I was matched with someone who worked at PBS. I said I watched sometimes. She asked if I ever donated to support it. There was a long pause. ‘No, not really,’ I said. She didn’t really say anything. She just left. I think I was too embarrassed to reconnect with her at the end.” —Richard, 35, government affairs
- “We were six or seven dates into it, and we met up for drinks at the Ritz-Carlton in the West End. He shows up and proceeds to pick a fight about politics. We are of opposite parties—he did health-care policy, I did health-care policy. He couldn’t stand the fact that I was going toe to toe with him. He was telling me how Medicare should work this way, and I was like, no, Medicare should work this way. We were, like, deep in the weeds of payment policy, right? Five minutes later, he’s like, ‘I don’t even like you.’ So he just got up and left.” —Sery, 41, lawyer
- “Through Tinder, I matched with another reporter. We had an okay time. Later on, she told me she was an investigative reporter and that she called the FBI agent in the city where I used to work to ask, ‘Have you ever heard about this guy?’ He was like, ‘Oh, yeah, him. He was totally the town gadfly.’ I laughed—I thought it was great. It felt like one of the more DC things to do: call a source and get information on this person you just met.” —Gene, 38, journalist
- “I worked at NPR as an intern. I would go to parties and the host would introduce me as the NPR person, and everyone would lose their minds and huddle around me. You get a lot of people who want to go on dates with you if you have a holiday party or some sort of work-related event. Over the summer and fall combined, I probably got 50 to 60 Tinder messages about ‘OMG, NPR,’ which was kind of stunning. That did not happen when I worked for the DC government.” —Greg,* 22, public relations
- “I was working at Smithsonian. After going on a couple dates with a Hill staffer, he said he’d give me a private tour of the Capitol. The day before the date, Trump announced the government shutdown would be ending. The guy said there was a possibility he would have to work and that he would text me to let me know if we were on or not. I awoke to no text, so I shot him one. He responded three hours after we were supposed to meet with a text that just said ‘working.’ I responded with a passive-aggressive ‘Thanks for the heads-up.’ He then said, ‘Um, I don’t know if you know this, but the government is RE-OPENING this weekend, like I am here to RE-OPEN THE GOVERNMENT JANE so like it’s pretty important, and when all of your precious Smithsonians are open on Tuesday THAT WILL BE BECAUSE OF ME LIKE I AM DOING THAT.’ It should be mentioned that he worked for a senator in the infrastructure committee and had nothing to do with the Smithsonians. I proceeded to curse him out over the phone in the Columbia Heights Target line and dump his ass.” —Jane, 23, journalist
8am – D INTERVIEW – TOM BEVAN – co-founder and president of RealClearPolitics – previewed the New Hampshire Primary.