Inside Trump - July 25th, 2019

Inside Trump (Jul 25th, 2019)

Mueller Testifies / Second Farmer Bailout / Death Penalty Revival

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1. The president claimed vindication after seven hours of testimony from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill. President Trump has tweeted dozens of times about the Congressional hearings, starting hours before the hearings commenced, and including conspiracy theories being propagated by Fox News pundits. Mueller spoke before both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. Mueller reiterated that the Trump campaign knew Russia was intervening in the 2016 election on their behalf, that the foreign meddling continues "as we sit here" (the GOP blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity bill in the wake of these comments), and that President Trump actively sought to hamper the investigation into contacts between Russia and his team. After the hearings ended, President Trump told reporters it was a "very good day" and Democrats got "less than nothing" out of the hearings. He also said Mueller performed poorly. – CBS

2. The Trump administration announced this morning it plans to bring back the death penalty for federal prisoners. Attorney General William Barr ordered the practice's reinstatement this morning, with the first executions slated for December. If they go through as scheduled, it'll be the first federal execution since 2003. The death penalty was outlawed by the Supreme Court back in 1972, but it was reinstated 16 years later. Still, federal executions are extremely rare, and only three have taken place since the death penalty's reinstatement. Barr scheduled five executions, all for inmates convicted of murder. – CNBC

3. We're getting new details on the first of three planned bailout payments for farmers hurt by the Trump administration's trade war with China. The White House first announced the $16 billion aid package in May, with $14.5 billion in direct payments to be doled out in three phases. The first phase is set to begin soon, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the payments will amount to a minimum of $15 per acre. This is actually the second bailout for farmers. Last year, the federal government paid out $12 billion to make up for lost sales to China and lower prices (after lost sales created an oversupply). – AXIOS

4. President Trump had a meeting with a number of pharmaceutical executives last night, amid a push from the White House to lower drug costs. Among his proposals, the president wants to tie Medicare drug prices to the prices in other countries, which often pay far less for the same drugs. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) joined President Trump at the sit-down. The meeting comes roughly two weeks after a judge struck down the president's attempt to force drug companies to list prices on ads. – BLOOMBERG

5. Across the pond, Britain has a new leader, which the president himself calls "Britain Trump." The Conservative Party's Boris Johnson took over for Prime Minister Theresa May, and he's tasked with guiding Britain through its breakup with the EU. Johnson has taken a decidedly firm stance on Brexit, promising to crash out of the EU without a deal if one can't be struck by the next deadline of October 31. It remains to be seen how Johnson plans to rewrite May's deal, which was hammered out over the course of roughly two years. Though the two are often compared, close observers note there are some key differences between President Trump and the new prime minister. – POLITICO

6. Both Democratic and Republican political analysts say turmoil within the NRA could hamper President Trump's reelection effort. The NRA has been a strong force in support of Republican candidates for the past several election cycles, but internal power struggles, controversy over advertising, and a legal challenge to the group's nonprofit status could diminish its influence in 2020, according to analysts. – FORTUNE

7. The House Oversight and Reform Committee won't hold a contempt vote concerning White House counselor Kellyanne Conway Thursday. The vote concerning Conway's alleged violations of the Hatch Act was scheduled to take place today, after Conway refused to testify regarding statements she's made that Democrats say violated the law (which restricts White House employees from using their positions to weigh in on elections). Committee Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) cited ongoing negotiations with the White House as the reason for the postponement. – THE HILL

8. While the House Oversight Committee didn't make the contempt vote, it did vote in favor of issuing subpoenas for private emails from Trump administration officials. Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said the Trump administration has not turned over a "single piece of paper" regarding an investigation into allegations that the White House isn't preserving records of communications as required by law. The subpoena covers private email services for the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner. – REUTERS

9. At a rally for the conservative group Turning Point USA, the president appeared in front of a doctored presidential seal. The president stepped out in front of a seal that replaced the American single-headed eagle with a double-headed eagle that resembles Russia's coat of arms. In the eagle's talons were a set of golf clubs, instead of arrows. The Latin phrase "e Pluribus Unum" was replaced with a Spanish one: "45 es un titere," which means "45 is a puppet." – WAPO

10. President Trump filed a new lawsuit this week to prevent his tax returns from becoming public. The lawsuit seeks to bar the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining President Trump's state tax returns from New York. It comes after New York passed a law allowing state officials to hand over tax return documents upon Congressional request. After filing the lawsuit, the president's lawyers asked a federal judge to intervene and prevent Democrats from "requesting or receiving" documents before the lawsuit has a chance to play out in court. – WSJ

Schuyler Durham writes Inside Finance. Schuyler Durham writes Inside Finance and Inside Trump. He got his start covering the music scene in his hometown of Portland, OR, but has since followed his writing career to newsrooms around the world. After three years in broadcast news, he's now diving back into the digital realm. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter at @SchuylerWriter or watch him goof around on Instagram at @bitterbuddha.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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