Morning Report — Immigration clashes escalate; Trump’s Ohio Senate pick wins  


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Immigration, an emotional debate in American politics for decades, has dominated every branch of the federal government and Texas state law this week. If there was any doubt that America is tied in knots over who crosses its borders, events prove the point. 

Migration issues will help determine a presidential election, harm or help the fortunes of down-ballot candidates in November, could scuttle ambitions in Congress to sidestep a government shutdown this week and are impeding Ukraine’s chances of receiving U.S. arms and munitions that Kyiv insists could turn the tide of war against Russia. 

Border politics cropped up as part of President Trump’s legal argument to justices Tuesday arguing he can’t be prosecuted for actions he took as president. “Criminal prosecution presents a mortal threat to the presidency’s independence,” his lawyers wrote in a brief to the Supreme Court, adding that a contrary ruling could lead to the prosecution of the current president. 

“Is President Biden destroying our southern border and undermining our national security abroad for unlawful electoral purposes?” the Trump brief asked. 

Texas was briefly empowered Tuesday to arrest migrants suspected of crossing the border illegally, based on a Supreme Court ruling tied to a new state law. But an unexpected order from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before midnight halted the high court decision, punctuating a day of legal whiplash. 

Other border states are watching including Arizona, which challenged the federal government over immigration in 2010. Legal challenges removed major provisions of the law and left political repercussions in its wake. 

The New York Times: Read the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals order.  

President Biden, slammed by critics for “open borders” and a migration “crisis,” wants Congress to reconsider a bipartisan border security measure the Senate abandoned after Trump opposed it. So far, any Senate movement appears unlikely. 

The president will be in the Dallas area today looking for contributions during two Texas fundraisers in a state where the Republican governor and GOP-dominated Legislature blame him and his administration for surges in migrants. The president is expected to defend his policies, assail Trump as an extremist and cast Republicans in Congress as too cowed by the former president to reach across the aisle to enact immigration fixes. 

The Texas Tribune: Here’s what to know about the Texas law that moved through the Supreme Court and appeals court Tuesday.  

Meanwhile, voters made their voices heard in presidential primaries Tuesday. In Arizona, Trump and Biden each won their party’s contests. Trump also decisively won GOP primaries in Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Ohio. Similarly, Biden clinched primary victories in Tuesday’s states, although in Florida, Democrats simply allocated all 224 delegates to Biden after canceling the party’s primary. In a contest in which Trump’s hold on his party was tested, Ohio Senate GOP primary pick, Bernie Moreno, endorsed by the former president, won (read more, below). 

While Biden appeals to donors tonight in predominantly red-state Texas, he’s continuing his march through battleground states that can decide his political fate. Following his State of the Union speech, Biden held official and campaign events in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Nevada.  

In Arizona Tuesday during a campaign event at a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix, Biden told cheering Latino supporters, “I need you badly,” adding, “You’re the reason why in large part I beat Donald Trump.” The president pointed to some of Trump’s recent remarks denigrating Latino immigrants. 

The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that Biden’s big cash advantage against Trump is failing to soothe Democrats’ anxieties that money won’t work magic with voters. “I think it doesn’t matter almost at all,” said one longtime Democratic bundler who believes Biden’s successes have been considerable while his campaign marketers “are inept.”  


3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY

▪ YouTube, Facebook and Reddit must face lawsuits from survivors of a 2022 Buffalo, N.Y., shooting, a New York judge ruled. 

▪ Biden announced a major semiconductor deal with Intel to invest in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon. 

▪ North Korea is claiming progress in efforts to develop a missile designed to strike faraway U.S. targets in the region. 


LEADING THE DAY 

CONGRESS 

TENSIONS ARE BOILING between the White House and congressional Democrats over a spending deal reached Monday after White House officials took over the talks with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and made concessions on border security that Democratic lawmakers aren’t happy with. Biden, who is trailing Trump in the polls, is taking a harder line on the southern border crisis than many Democrats have in Congress. The president’s team made clear that Biden wanted a deal on the border and to square away government funding until the end of the fiscal year. In a closed-door meeting, Johnson pushed for a Friday vote on the legislation, lawmakers said, though text has yet to be released. 

Congressional aides were still finalizing the text of the deal Tuesday afternoon, but lawmakers say they expect the bill to become public soon and predict it will draw fire from both sides of the political spectrum. A Senate source briefed on the deal told The Hill’s Alexander Bolton some Democratic colleagues and groups on the left won’t be “thrilled” with elements of the Homeland Security appropriations bill but argued “it’s not horrible.” 

“That the White House was able to get an agreement jumps over the frustration,” the source said. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, during an Axios interview Tuesday, said a congressional spending deal that would impact his department “is no cause for celebration.”   

ABC News: Why time is running out to avert a government shutdown, despite agreement on Homeland Security funding. The House’s rule requiring 72 hours to review legislation complicates timing. 

AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL: Two of America’s highest-ranking retired generals testified Tuesday that a series of errors during 20 years of war led to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, but they also conceded that multiple mistakes were made by the Biden administration. Former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, appearing before Congress for the first time since he stepped down from his role as the nation’s highest-ranking military official last fall, said decisions made during years of war led to the 2021 collapse of the Afghan government as the Taliban swept to power following the American retreat (The Hill).  

“The fundamental mistake, fundamental flaw was the timing,” Milley said. “I think that was too slow and too late. And that then caused a series of events that resulted in the very last couple of days. There’s a lot of other mistakes that [were] made along the way … [but] I think that was the key.”  


Politics Andy Kim 121823 AP Alex Brandon

© The Associated Press / Alex Brandon | Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), seen at the Capitol in 2023, is a candidate for the Senate seat held by incumbent Bob Menendez of New Jersey. 

POLITICS  

Progressive Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) has scored some notable wins in his effort to buck the party establishment in New Jersey’s closely watched Senate race, raising the possibility of an upset in the June Democratic primary. The Hill’s Jared Gans reports Kim is facing off against New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, who has the support of numerous party leaders and elected Democrats. These endorsements and her connection to the top Democrat in the state, Gov. Phil Murphy (D), positioned her as an early favorite for the seat held by Sen. Bob Menendez (D), who has been indicted on a wide range of charges. But Kim has managed to keep pace with Murphy through a series of critical county conventions that could be highly influential on whom voters ultimately select as their next senator. 

“For the first time in my career in politics in New Jersey, I have to say I really don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” said Democratic strategist Matt Krayton

OHIO SENATE: Trump-backed Moreno won the Republican nomination for Senate in Ohio to face off against incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) this November. Moreno, a former car dealership owner and the father-in-law of Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), defeated state Sen. Matt Dolan (R) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) in a messy primary that intensified in the closing days of the campaign (The Hill). 

CALIFORNIA: Republican state Legislator Vince Fong advanced to a May election in California to decide who will complete the remainder of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) term, which runs through January. It was not yet clear Tuesday night who will take Fong on in the May 21 special election (The Associated Press). 


2024 ROUNDUP

▪ Some former Trump officials do not want to see the former president back in the White House, including former Vice President Mike Pence, whose rebuff is considered “a huge deal.” Among the most high-profile GOP holdouts are former advisers, aides and federal employees who worked most closely with Trump.  

▪ On Tuesday, the Biden-Harris campaign launched a portion of its $30 million spring advertising budget aimed at Latinos for TV, radio and online in battleground states using English, Spanish and Spanglish while “underscoring the stark choice facing Latinos in November” with references to insulin costs and reproductive and abortion rights.  

▪ Biden’s reelection campaign is eyeing North Carolina as a state to flip in 2024, a place where Trump barely etched out a win the last time the two went head-to-head. The Biden campaign sees the Tar Heel state as an opportunity, especially given a gubernatorial race they think could boost the incumbent. 

▪ If Republicans win the White House and both chambers of Congress this fall, they’re likely to aim for at least a partial repeal of Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act and its climate provision enacted in 2022. If the GOP wins the White House but has to navigate divided congressional control, Trump could use a presidential pen to curtail the law criticized by his party. 

Hunter Biden will not attend today’s House Oversight Committee hearing related to House Republicans’ effort to impeach Biden. Also not attending: Devon Archer, a key Republican witness. House Democrats on the committee have selected an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani to be their witness at the panel’s hearing.  


WHERE AND WHEN 

The House will meet at 10 a.m. 

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.  

The president begins his day in Phoenix, Ariz., and will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. MST. Biden will tour the Intel Ocotillo Campus in Phoenix at 10:40 a.m. and announce a preliminary agreement with Intel for a major CHIPS and Science Act award at 11:45 a.m. MST. Biden will fly to Dallas, Texas to headline two campaign fundraisers, one at 6:05 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. CDT. He will remain in Texas overnight.   

Vice President Harris will participate in a moderated conversation at 6:10 p.m. with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) during a League of Conservation Voters’ annual dinner at The Anthem in Washington.  

Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week will make his sixth trip to the Middle East, where he plans to meet with counterparts in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  

First lady Jill Biden at 10:15 a.m. will promote the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research with remarks at the Amazon Web Services IMAGINE: Nonprofit conference in Arlington, Va. She will fly to Durham, N.C., to speak at 1:15 p.m. about women’s health research.  

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will meet at Takoma Elementary School in Maryland at 2:30 p.m. with students and discuss the importance of expanding opportunities for STEM education, marking Women’s History Month. He will participate in a science experiment during the event. Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt of the Space Force will participate. 

The Federal Reserve will conclude a two-day meeting with a statement at 2 p.m. and Chair Jerome Powell will speak with the news media at 2:30 p.m. about interest rates and the economy. 


ZOOM IN 

Trump World Trump 031424 AP Mike Stewart

© The Associated Press / Mike Stewart | Former President Trump spoke to supporters at a campaign rally in Rome, Ga., early this month. 

TRUMP WORLD  

TRUMP’S WALLET IS STRAINED: On Monday, Trump’s lawyers told a New York judge that despite the former president’s “diligent efforts,” it is “impossible” for him to secure a full appeals bond in his civil fraud case. Trump has less than a week to secure a bond for nearly half a billion dollars or risk the seizure of his assets as he challenges a lower court’s finding he conspired to alter his net worth for tax and insurance benefits and is liable for fraud. Trump on social media said Tuesday he might have to sell or forfeit “assets.” The Hill’s Ella Lee explains what happens next.  

TRUMP TOLD THE SUPREME COURT on Tuesday that future presidents could be vulnerable to “de facto blackmail and extortion while in office” if the justices did not accept his sweeping view of immunity against special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion charges. However, the former president also floated an alternative route for the justices that would still help him achieve the political goal of delaying a trial until after the November election. 

Ahead of the court’s April 25 oral arguments, Trump told the justices that if they were not willing to grant him full immunity from Smith’s election subversion prosecution, they should send the case back to lower courts for more proceedings — a move that would push off a trial for many months (CNN). 

▪ ABC News: Judge rules that evidence related to the “Access Hollywood” tape is admissible in Trump hush money trial. 

▪ The New York Times: Aileen Cannon, the judge in Trump’s documents case, is drawing attention for her slow pace. 

Peter Navarro made history on Tuesday by becoming the first senior Trump aide to serve time in prison for actions related to the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Navarro was convicted last year on two counts of contempt of Congress: one for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, and another for skipping his deposition. The Hill’s Sarah Fortinsky breaks down Navarro’s path to conviction and his four-month sentence. 

The Hill: Trump sued ABC News and George Stephanopoulos on Monday, alleging defamation over the anchor’s questioning of Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) about her endorsement of Trump. 


ELSEWHERE 

International ME Blinken 031924 AP Evelyn Hockstein

© The Associated Press / Evelyn Hockstein | Secretary of State Antony Blinken, seen Tuesday in Manila, the Philippines, will head to Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week to discuss the future in Gaza and Israel’s war against Hamas. 

INTERNATIONAL 

AFTER BIDEN WARNED Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that a military operation in Rafah would deepen anarchy in Gaza, they agreed that teams from each side would meet in Washington to discuss the way forward. Still, Netanyahu on Tuesday reiterated plans to launch an offensive in the southern city of Rafah, telling the Knesset that Israel had “an argument with Americans” about the need to enter the city, which is sheltering more than 1 million Palestinians who fled their homes elsewhere in Gaza as it was being bombed. Israeli forces needed to ensure “the destruction or elimination of the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas, the release of all our hostages and to ensure that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said (NBC News). 

The entire population of Gaza — some 2.3 million people — is now living through “severe levels of acute food insecurity,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday amid increasing signs that the U.S. government is losing patience with Israel. 

“According to the most respected measure of these things, 100 percent of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified,” Blinken said during a trip to the Philippines. “We also see — again, according to, in this case the United Nations, 100 percent — the totality of the population — is in need of humanitarian assistance. Compare that to Sudan; about 80 percent of the population there is in need of humanitarian assistance; Afghanistan, about 70 percent.” 

Blinken announced that he will head to the Middle East this week to continue talks aimed at securing a new cease-fire agreement. It will be his sixth visit to the region to participate in the negotiations since October (CBS News). 

▪ Reuters: Israel’s restrictions on humanitarian aid for Gaza may amount to a starvation tactic that could be a war crime, the United Nations human rights chief said on Tuesday. 

▪ Politico: Humanitarian aid sent by sea from Cyprus reached Gaza on Tuesday. Some 200 metric tons of aid and food — the equivalent of half a million meals — have now been distributed to the Palestinian population, said U.S.-based charity World Central Kitchen. 

UKRAINE AID: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized Tuesday that the U.S. “will not let Ukraine fail” as Congress continues to delay critical funding for Ukraine aid. Austin warned that Ukraine’s survival was in danger as he sought to convince allies that the U.S. was committed to Kyiv, even as Washington has essentially run out of money to continue arming Ukrainian forces (CNN and Reuters). 

“Ukraine won’t back down, and neither will the United States,” Austin said at the 20th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. “So, our message today is clear: The United States will not let Ukraine fail. This coalition will not let Ukraine fail. And the free world will not let Ukraine fail.” 

NBC News: Having extended his rule over Russia, President Vladimir Putin signaled his focus would be tightening his grip on Ukrainian territory as he led an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. 


HEALTH & WELLBEING 

💊 Pharmaceutical executives have given surprisingly optimistic reactions to initial offers from Medicare in drug price negotiations, signaling a break from industry lawsuits that warn of dire consequences from the program. With the offers remaining secret, some have speculated the price reductions may be relatively modest, but patient groups suspect CEOs may be paying lip service to investors worried about a hit to profits (The Hill). 

▪ ABC News: Here’s what you need to know about Biden’s executive order on women’s health research. 

▪ The Washington Post: After years of ransomware attacks, health care defenses still fail. There are many reasons medical providers are so vulnerable to hackers. For one, they are willing to pay.  


OPINION 

■ One thing keeping Democratic strategists up at night, by Thomas B. Edsall, columnist, The New York Times. 

America helped save the lives of Ukrainians like me in World War II. We need help again, by Yuriy Scherbak, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


THE CLOSER 

Closer March Madness 031724 AP Michael Caterina

© The Associated Press / Michael Caterina | The 2024 NCAA Division I March Madness kicked off Tuesday with men’s basketball. 

And finally … 🏀 Men’s college basketball is in the slipstream of March Madness until the April 8 NCAA championship. Brackets have been carefully constructed and will be rapidly busted, while friendly bets pan out or blow up. News outlets have predictions (USA Today and CBS Sports), as does former President Obama

“Please don’t rub it in when my bracket gets busted,” he added on X, formerly Twitter. 

Feeling B-ball wise or perhaps especially lucky? Take a breath: The odds of a perfect 63-game bracket is about one in 9.2 quintillion (NewsNation). 


Stay Engaged 

We want to hear from you! Email: Alexis Simendinger (asimendinger@thehill.com) and Kristina Karisch (kkarisch@thehill.com). Follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter: (@asimendinger and @kristinakarisch) and suggest this newsletter to friends! 





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