Inside Trump - November 12th, 2019

Inside Trump (Nov 12th, 2019)

GOP memo outlines impeachment defense / Trump blasts DACA / New EPA rules

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1. A newly released GOP memo outlined how Congressional Republicans plan to defend President Trump throughout the public impeachment hearings. The 18-page document boils down to four central, if not factually contested, arguments to undercut House Democrats: Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "shows no conditionality;" Zelensky has said publicly he didn't feel pressured to act out of bounds; Ukraine was not aware of the hold on U.S. assistance; and the hold itself had been lifted in September. The first public impeachment hearings will air on TV starting Wednesday. -- CNN

2. President Trump falsely claimed some DACA recipients are "hardened criminals" as the Supreme Court decides if his decision to end the program is legal. In order to be a DACA recipient, the law requires a person cannot have a criminal record. On Tuesday, SCOTUS heard arguments over the Trump administration's attempts to dismantle the act, which was put in place under President Obama to provide certain legal protections for immigrants who migrated to the U.S. as children. Nearly 700,000 DACA recipients will be affected by the court's ruling, which is expected next spring. -- THE HILL

3. President Trump's health department funneled taxpayer dollars to political allies via the government's opaque contracting system, Politico reported. At least 40 outside consultants, including members of the president's transition and campaign teams, charged up to $380 per-hour to provide "strategic communications" support for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Their work — which otherwise could have been done by salaried communications staff within the department at much lower pay rates — included burnishing the personal brand of the center's administrator, Seema Verma, the report found. -- POLITICO

4. President Trump will reportedly delay a decision on imposing auto tariffs on the European Union for several months. The decision comes amid quiet assurances from carmakers across the Atlantic that they will boost investments in American workers and facilities. The Trump administration likely has little appetite to make another potentially bruising tariff decision, as continued trade talks with the Chinese remain a priority. -- NEW YORK TIMES 

5. Most Americans believe President Trump has done a "bad job" handling the impeachment inquiry, a new poll found. According to the survey by CBS News released on Tuesday, 56 percent hold negative views of the president's approach to the inquiry, while just 43 percent feel otherwise. More Americans believe the Democrats' handling of impeachment has been "good," but the poll still found a slim majority disapprove of the party's actions on the matter. -- CBS NEWS

6. New Trump administration rules will put stringent limitations on what research the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can use in crafting regulatory policy. Arguing the revamped guidelines are a win for transparency, the EPA will be able to reject scientific studies that do not provide raw data with its findings. Many scientists, however, believe the move will undercut their ability to inform public policy, as many studies — such as those examining the effects of pollution — rely heavily on gathering personal medical information protected under confidentiality agreements. If that personal data is not handed over, the EPA could dismiss the results. -- NEW YORK TIMES

7. After what he described as an "excellent" phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron said he will meet with President Trump ahead of a December NATO summit in London. The two world leaders covered Iran, Syria, and the NATO military alliance during their talks on Monday night. The positive development stands in contrast to Macron's comments last week when the French president blasted what he referred to as a lack of American leadership contributing to NATO's "brain death." -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

8. The House impeachment inquiry is a "No Due Process Scam!", President Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.  The president railed against the investigation into his potential extortion of Ukraine, characterizing those expected to give testimonies as "2nd or 3rd hand witnesses" and "Never Trumpers." Witness testimonies have largely corroborated the initial whistleblower's report, which suggests Trump halted military aid for Ukraine while requesting the country open a public investigation into former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. -- THE HILL

9. President Trump encouraged supporters via tweet to vote for Sean Spicer on "Dancing With the Stars" — but deleted the message after the former White House press secretary was eliminated Monday night. Screenshots of the president's tweet, which described Spicer as a "great and very loyal guy," were captured by Twitter users before the president removed the post. Trump did, however, tweet a follow-up message for his former press secretary: "A great try by [Spicer]. We are all proud of you!" -- USA TODAY

10. The Alabama man who destroyed the "Baby Trump" balloon said his decision came down to "good versus evil." Hoyt Deau Hutchinson told the "Rick & Bubba Show" on Monday he was enraged after driving by the large balloon, which had been brought to Tuscaloosa by protesters of the president while Trump was in town for a University of Alabama football game. Hutchinson soon after got near the balloon and cut into it using a razor blade. The 32-year-old was arrested for criminal mischief. -- NBC NEWS

Robbie Couch is a writer and reporter whose work has been published on HuffPost, GOOD magazine, Upworthy, and more. In previous roles, Robbie has written about politics, pop culture news, and social issues.

Editor: Kim Lyons, Inside Managing Editor and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist.

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