TRUMP CALLS ON CHINA TO INVESTIGATE THE BIDENS: Ensnarled in an impeachment investigation over his request for Ukraine to investigate a chief political rival, President Donald Trump on Thursday called on another nation to probe former Vice President Joe Biden: China (AP). “China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said in remarks to reporters outside the White House. Trump said he hadn’t directly asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate Biden and his son Hunter but said it’s “certainly something we could start thinking about.” Trump and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have also tried to raise suspicions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China, leaning on the writings of conservative author Peter Schweizer. But there is no evidence that the former vice president benefited financially from his son’s business relationships. “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power,” Trump said. He later alleged without evidence that China had a “sweetheart deal” on trade with the U.S. because of the Bidens. “You know what they call that,” Trump said. “They call that a payoff.”

TRUMP TOSSES STINK BOMB INTO CHINA TRADE TALKS: President Donald Trump just tossed his most pressing economic issue into the morass of impeachment politics (Politico). Trump’s suggestion Thursday that Beijing should investigate a political rival, moments after threatening America’s “tremendous power” in the ongoing trade talks with China, exposes his long-running negotiations with the world’s No. 2 economy to new scrutiny and could cast a political shadow over the results. Trump’s characteristic conflation of issues comes just a week before Chinese officials are due to arrive for a 13th round of trade talks in Washington. Even if Trump’s comments don’t shift the dynamic at the negotiating table, people who have been tracking every twist in the trade talks say the president’s statement will cloud how any outcome from the talks is received by Trump’s Democratic opponents and other U.S. policymakers. “This is a gift to anyone who doesn’t like the deal,” said Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has advised the administration on China issues. “It will be very easy to say, the U.S. could have gotten more but the president wanted China to investigate Biden and gave up something that would have helped American workers,” he added.

TRUMP TO DARE PELOSI TO IMPEACH: The White House will send House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a letter on Friday "daring" her to hold a vote on Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Fox News has confirmed (Fox News). The letter will say the White House won't comply with the Democrats' investigation because Pelosi hasn't codified the probe with a formal vote on the House floor. Its tone will be consistent with that of the letter House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., sent to the speaker on Thursday, Fox learned. aIn his letter, McCarthy called on Pelosi to end the impeachment inquiry until “equitable rules and procedures” are set up.

TRUMP'S RED WALL INCLUDES SENS. BRAUN, YOUNG: Every time President Trump seems to tempt fate — like inviting China on-camera yesterday to investigate the Bidens — remember that he's counting on a red wall in the Senate to save him even if he’s impeached, Axios' David Nather and Jim VandeHei write. This visual shows just how strong that wall is: 51 Republican senators from states Trump won in 2016, including Indiana's U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun. He only needs 34 to save him from being convicted and removed from office if the House impeaches him. So if Mitt Romney or Ben Sasse feel like voting to convict, they can and it wouldn’t make a difference. The red wall doesn’t include Susan Collins or Cory Gardner, the two Republican senators from states that voted for Hillary Clinton (Maine and Colorado). Both are up for re-election next year. They could vote to convict too, and it still wouldn’t matter. Remember that impeachment, which only takes a majority vote in the House, doesn’t end Trump’s presidency. That only happens if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict and remove him — 67 senators if they all show up. 36 Republican senators represent Trump states where he’s still popular. 15 of them are up for re-election. 15 Republican senators represent Trump states where his approval ratings are underwater, but only 4 of them are up for re-election.

NAPOLITANO SEES TRUMP 'IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE': Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano argued in a column and video published on Thursday morning that President Donald Trump’s “criminal behavior” with regard to Ukraine is impeachable, and that his threats against the whistleblower are dangerous (Mediaite). The column opens by noting that “the criminal behavior to which Trump has admitted is much more grave than anything alleged or unearthed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and much of what Mueller revealed was impeachable,” before outlining the specifics of the Ukraine scandal currently presenting an existential threat to his administration. He later calls out the specific language used by Trump towards the unnamed whistleblower: Trump has also admitted to accusing the as-yet publicly unnamed whistleblower of treason, and suggesting that the whistleblower and those who have helped him are spies and ought to be treated as spies were in “the old days” (Trump’s phrase) – that is, by hanging. The president’s allusions to violence are palpably dangerous. They will give cover to crazies who crave violence, as other intemperate words of his have done."

GIULANI PUSHED FOR UKRAINE AMBASSADOR DISMISSAL: President Trump ordered the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine after months of complaints from allies outside the administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, that she was undermining him abroad and obstructing efforts to persuade Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter (Wall Street Journal). The recall of Marie Yovanovitch in the spring has become a key point of interest in the House impeachment inquiry. A whistleblower complaint by a CIA officer alleges the president solicited foreign interference in the 2020 elections by pressing Ukraine’s president in a July 25 call to pursue investigations, including into the activities of Mr. Biden, a Democrat who is running for president. The complaint cites Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster as one of a series of events that paved the way for what the whistleblower alleges was an abuse of power by the president. Mr. Trump has described the call with his Ukrainian counterpart as “perfect” and the House inquiry as a “hoax.”

INDIANA GOP OFFERING 'IMPEACH THIS' T-SHIRT: The Indiana Republican Party is offering an "Impeach This" T-shirt (Howey Politics Indiana). The Republicans said, “In just the last week, radical Democrats have escalated their attacks on President Donald Trump. And while Democrats have recklessly called for impeachment, President Trump has been fully transparent with the American people. Get Your ‘Impeach This’ shirt now & stand with President Trump. As Democrats try to distract from the real results President Trump is delivering the American people, we have an important question: How does the radical left think they can get away with impeachment when they're facing a country this red?”

PUTIN JOKES ABOUT ELECTION MEDDLING: Russian President Vladimir Putin joked about Russia meddling in the 2020 presidential elections, telling reporters “don’t tell anyone” (Epoch Times) During an appearance at an event in Moscow, Putin was asked by an NBC reporter about whether Russia was going to meddle in the upcoming U.S. election. “I’ll tell you a secret: Yes, we’ll definitely do it,” Putin replied, according to CNN. “Just don’t tell anyone,” he added. “You know, we have enough of our own problems,” CNN quoted Putin as saying. “We are engaged in resolving internal problems and are primarily focused on this.” Bloomberg News also reported on Putin’s response. In the same conference, Putin also said he never had a close relationship with President Donald Trump. “In my opinion, we have good, businesslike relations, and a relatively stable level of trust,” Putin said, Bloomberg reported. “We’ve never been close, and aren’t now.”

NEW SCRUTINY FOR OLD DEM FRONTRUNNERS: Bernie Sanders’ hospitalization with a blocked artery this week finally forced the Democratic Party to confront a lingering fact: All three of its presidential front-runners are septuagenarians, and two are older than Donald Trump — himself the oldest person ever to take office (Politico). For Sanders, the immediate effect of the incident — a blockage requiring two stents — was to sideline the 78-year-old senator until further notice, with rest for what an adviser called “the next few days.” But the broader implications were also thrust into plain view: In a Democratic primary that was once expected to break along generational lines, a whole crop of younger contenders has fallen so far back that — even with an aging, top-tier contender laid up — it would take an upset for the party to mount a generational argument against Trump next year. Biden, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — the youngest of the three at 70 — are pulling nearly three-quarters of the primary electorate’s support in national polling. And even if Sanders stumbles, no younger alternative is likely to benefit.

BILL LANDSKE SENTENCED TO 55 YEARS: The 84-year-old widower of a state senator was sentenced Thursday to to 55 years in prison for killing a prominent attorney who was a friend of his wife for more than 30 years (Reese, NWI Times). William "Bill" Landske, of Cedar Lake, was convicted of murder in August for shooting Tracy Edward Page multiple times in August 2018 after leading Page away from members of both of their families under the guise of having a talk outside Page's Hobart home. Page’s brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Sally Page, said Page’s death left a hole in the fabric of the community. "He never met a person he couldn't win over," Sally Page said of her brother-in-law. Tracy Page was a pillar of every community he was part of, and his death continues to reverberate. Kevin Swanson, Tracy Page’s spouse and partner of more than 30 years, witnessed the ambush killing and remains so grief-stricken he could not attend Thursday’s sentencing hearing, they said. Swanson also may not attend the Page family’s holiday gatherings again this year as he attempts to find a "new normal." "It's too painful for him to be with the rest of us," Sally Page said.

BIDEN POSTS JUST $15M: Former Vice President Joe Biden said he raised $15.2 million for his presidential campaign during the past three months, a drop-off from his initial fundraising foray that could put him at a disadvantage against some of his Democratic rivals (Wall Street Journal). Mr. Biden told donors at a Palo Alto, Calif., event Thursday about his fundraising totals in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30. The amount compares to his $22 million haul during the first two months of his campaign through the end of June. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been hospitalized following a heart ailment, reported earlier this week that he had raised $25.3 million, while South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he had collected $19.1 million during the period. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been vying with Mr. Biden for the top position in primary polling, hasn’t yet announced her fundraising amount for the quarter.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: Democratic frontrunner just reported a $15 million, which is an underwhelming number, compared to the $25 million for Bernie Sanders and $19 million for Pete Buttigieg. It underscores Biden's vulnerability, which is now under assault from President Trump, and under influence by Sanders health scare. The question is whether Buttigieg can use his robust funding to join the top tier. He lacks African-American support and addresses the Indianapolis NAACP tonight. - Brian A. Howey


CRAWFORD'S WIFE IN TV AD FOR MAYOR HENRY: The wife of Republican Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford has been featured in an advertisement supporting Democratic Mayor Tom Henry's reelection campaign. The campaign video, which aired on TV and was posted to the Henry campaign Facebook page, is titled "Republicans for Mayor Tom Henry" and features two Republicans and an independent. One of the Republicans is Marcia Crawford (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). In the video, Crawford states that she is supporting Henry "because he works for all parties, making sure the neighborhoods are thriving, businesses are investing and our young people are staying in Fort Wayne, living, working and raising their families here." Henry is running against Republican Tim Smith in the Nov. 5 general election. The other two featured in the video are Ryan Neumeister and independent John Dortch, who said Henry is "positive and has a real plan for moving our city forward." John Crawford said his wife's appearance in the ad was her choice. "You don't tell modern women what to do. They tell you what they are going to do," he said in an interview Tuesday. "I gave her no direction one way or another; it was her decision."

HUPFER CALLS ON BUTTIGIEG TO ADDRESS SOUTH BEND CRIME: Ahead of Mayor Pete Buttigieg's stop in South Bend Thursday night to open a new presidential campaign office, Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer released a statement calling on Buttigieg to stick around South Bend a little longer and to address the city’s rising crime (Howey Politics Indiana). “As homicides and aggravated assaults continue to rise in South Bend, the city needs a leader,” said Hupfer. “And sadly right now, it’s clear that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is dodging the responsibilities of being that leader. “The people of South Bend care about the safety of their own neighborhoods – not baseless impeachment inquiries, and certainly not Buttigieg’s latest celebrity endorsement. They need someone who will work toward real solutions for their city on crime, and Buttigieg’s priorities are clearly elsewhere.” aAccording to reporting by the South Bend Tribune, so far this year (as of August, the latest month with full statistics) South Bend has seen 10 homicides.

DIETZEN ENTERS GOP 5TH CD RACE: Chuck Dietzen is the fifth Republican to launch a campaign for the 5th CD. “I want to serve the community that has given me extraordinary opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people here and all over the world,” said Dietzen (Howey Politics Indiana). “I want to make sure we make healthcare work for patients, and socialized medicine does not work. I want to ensure our families and communities thrive – to do that we must protect our constitutional freedoms.” Dietzen retired from as chief of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. He is the founder of, and a volunteer for, Timmy Global Health, an Indianapolis based nonprofit that has worked to expand healthcare access in developing countries.

Presidential 2020

BUTTIGIEG OPENS NEW SOUTH BEND HQ: Mayor Pete Buttigieg opened his new presidential campaign office Thursday night in South Bend (Caruso, Indiana Public Media). A large crowd gathered outside of the new ‘Pete For America’ campaign office to show their support.  Buttigieg said there are several reasons he opened the office - like preparation for the Indiana primary in May. “It is very likely the nomination contest will still be pretty intense and undecided when the primary happens here in Indiana so it’s never too soon to be organizing right here.” Buttigieg also said South Bend is the heart of his campaign and he wanted to grow his local presence.

DEFIANT BIDEN RESPONDS TO TRUMP: Joe Biden delivered his most forceful response to President Trump's attacks on him in a speech in Reno Wednesday, painting Mr. Trump as "wounded" and "desperate," on a day when Mr. Trump angrily attacked congressional Democrats over the impeachment inquiry and kept up his unsupported accusations of impropriety against Biden and his son Hunter, who was employed by an energy company in Ukraine (CBS News). "Let me make something clear to Trump and his hatchet men and the special interests funding his attacks against me — I'm not going anywhere," Biden said, to applause from the crowd."You're not going to destroy me. And you're not going to destroy my family. I don't care how much money you spend or how dirty the attacks get."

TRUMP CAMPAIGN TO AIM ADS AT BIDEN: President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is preparing an avalanche of TV ads targeting Joe Biden in early primary states — its most aggressive step yet to meddle in the Democratic nomination contest (Politico). Starting this weekend, the reelection effort will air over $1 million in anti-Biden commercials in Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Nevada, according to two people familiar with the move. The spots focus on Trump’s claim that the former vice president and his son engaged in corruption in Ukraine.

CNN REFUSES TO RUN TRUMP CAMPAIGN AD: CNN said Thursday that it will not run two Trump campaign ads because they disparage the network’s journalists and make “demonstrably false” claims while discussing impeachment and pushing unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against former vice president Joe Biden (Washington Post). The network’s decisions come as the Trump administration escalates its attacks on congressional Democrats’ impeachment efforts and continues to lash out at media organizations it tries to discredit as “fake news.” CNN’s move brought renewed ire from Trump’s reelection campaign, as Communications Director Tim Murtaugh called the news network a “Democrat public relations firm” that “spends all day protecting Joe Biden.” The first rejected ad, posted last week to YouTube, suggests the president is being unfairly scrutinized for pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter. The ad accuses Trump’s potential 2020 opponent of corruption, continuing a favorite talking point of the president and his supporters amid an impeachment inquiry and concerns Trump used his office to create trouble for a political rival.

SANDERS EXPECTED TO ATTEND OCTOBER DEBATE: As Sen. Bernie Sanders recovers from a heart procedure to clear a clogged artery, his campaign promises he will be on the debate stage in less than two weeks (ABC News). "Bernie is up and about. Yesterday, he spent much of the day talking with staff about policies, cracking jokes with the nurses and doctors, and speaking with his family on the phone. His doctors are pleased with his progress, and there has been no need for any additional procedures," Jane Sanders said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "We expect Bernie will be discharged and on a plane back to Burlington before the end of the weekend. He'll take a few days to rest, but he's ready to get back out there and is looking forward to the October debate."

MAYOR BRODERICK PASSES ON BUTTIGIEG ENDORSEMENT: More than 50 mayors across the country — including nearly a dozen from Indiana — have publicly endorsed Pete Buttigieg in his primary campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, but two local leaders aren’t among them (Knight, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). Anderson Mayor Tom Broderick said he received an emailed invitation from the United States Conference of Mayors to sign on to the endorsement, but chose not to because he’s focused on his own mayoral campaign this fall. Broderick is seeking to become the first Anderson mayor elected to consecutive terms since J. Mark Lawler in 1999. “I’m focused on my own race right now, but I’m continuing to watch the debates like everyone else and hear what everyone has to say,” Broderick said.

YANG POSTS $10M: Andrew Yang likes to joke about being a math guy, and right now, the numbers are on his side (Politico). The Democratic businessman announced Wednesday that over the past three months he raked in $10 million for his presidential campaign — more than a number of his rivals for the Democratic nomination and just shy of Sen. Kamala Harris, who has won three statewide elections in the nation’s biggest state.

MAYOR PETE STEPS OUT OF 'OUR TOWN':  It’s a gorgeous day in the eye-squinting New Hampshire sunshine, a becoming natural setting for a 37-year-old candidate who seeks to embody youthful vigor and hope. Soon enough the Democratic mayor from the Midwest with the tongue-tying surname, Pete Buttigieg, appears before us. He sports snug-fitting blue jeans, a white long-sleeve shirt folded neatly up to the elbows and, for me, a genial decency reminiscent of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town" (Washington Post). You remember “Our Town,” don’t you? That canonical play from the 1930s that recorded the cycles of life in the unremarkable New England village of Grover’s Corners? Why, come to think of it, “Our Town” takes place in New Hampshire, too! Standing before us on a platform in the middle of rolling farmland, his silhouette framed by a red barn draped with the stars and stripes, the candidate seems as if he could indeed be a figure conjured out of Wilder’s imagination: a pleasant fellow of homespun virtues, the sort who would leap to help a little old lady cross a street. Mayor Pete maintains a gentlemanly facade offstage. He’s preternaturally mild-mannered. In two days of watching him work New Hampshire crowds, from a meet-and-greet in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Manchester to a walking tour of downtown Lebanon and a boisterous college-town rally in Hanover, I never once saw the mask of calm come off. He never seems to get steamed up, rarely even raises his voice. Pete the Imperturbable. “Look, we can throw an elbow if we have to,” he declares at another stop, with the confident reserve of an Atticus Finch.


WALORSKI WILL HOST A MEDICARE FORUM: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today announced her office will host “Medicare 101” educational sessions across the 2nd District to give Hoosiers the opportunity to learn the basics about the Medicare program, including enrollment, and have their questions answered by experts. This year’s “Medicare 101” events will take place in Elkhart, Goshen, La Porte, Mishawaka, Peru, Plymouth, Wabash, and Winamac (Howey Politics Indiana).  “Medicare is a sacred commitment we have made to our seniors, and part of keeping that promise is providing Hoosiers the information and assistance they need to secure the benefits they deserve,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These ‘Medicare 101’ educational sessions are a great way for Hoosier seniors to learn more about Medicare and have their questions answered by experts. I encourage all 2nd District Hoosiers who are at or near retirement age – or who are caregivers for Medicare beneficiaries – to attend one of these incredibly helpful events.”

REP. UPTON BACKS INQUIRY INTO UKRAINE CALL: Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, a moderate Republican who has been critical of President Trump in the past, said Wednesday that he supports an inquiry into the president’s actions pertaining to Trump’s controversial July call with the Ukrainian president, but not an impeachment inquiry (Washington Post). “Let’s really look at all the details, ask lots of questions and see where it takes us,” Upton told NPR’s Michigan station. “So you’re supportive of the idea that there needs to be this inquiry. You’re not questioning that,” a reporter clarified. “Yeah, I want the answers to the questions that need to be raised,” Upton said.

General Assembly

LEGISLATORS HEAR ABOUT SPEED CAMERAS IN WORK ZONES: Some Indiana lawmakers want to authorize the installation of work zone speed cameras along the state’s highways to photograph speeding cars and fine the lead-footed motorists. The NWI Times reports that members of the General Assembly's Interim Study Committee on Transportation advanced a plan Wednesday to authorize using the traffic cameras. The panel will decide later this month whether to officially recommend that Indiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature consider making Indiana the sixth state with work zone speed cameras. State Rep. Chuck Moseley, a committee member who proposed a failed automated enforcement bill in the last House Session, says he’s determined to get the measure passed in 2020.

SHERIFF TELLS OF BULGING JAIL: From the moment inmates enter the Johnson County jail in Franklin Indiana, they are under constant 24 hour surveillance (Pinsker, Indiana Public Media). A jail deputy sits in front of a bank of TV screens and computer monitors, where he can watch every inmate’s movement around the facility. Sheriff Duane Burgess says he’s seeing more inmates with mental health issues enter his jail. “Jail should not be a location where you put people with mental health issues, there needs to be other treatment centers where these folks can go,” says Burgess. Originally constructed in the 1970’s, jail now has a capacity for 322 inmates. “We’ve been as high as 458 and we’ve struggled with those numbers for the past few years,” says Burgess. On September 30th, the recently formed Jail Overcrowding Task Force convened to tackle many of the concerns brought by the county sheriffs around Indiana. The panel is co-chaired by State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis). “I’ve heard from different folks that our jails are serving as detox centers.  I’ve heard from different folks about how mental health is a huge problem,” says Ford.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB LEADS CALL FOR PELL GRANTS - Gov. Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement after leading a letter calling on Congress to provide flexibility in the Pell grant program which would support Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiative. Eleven governors joined Gov. Holcomb in the effort (Howey Politics Indiana). “Indiana has never been more focused on helping people obtain the skills they need to secure good jobs that fuel our state’s growing economy. Expanding the reach of federal Pell programs will help support education for incarcerated Hoosiers, adult learners and high school students to help them obtain a quality credential beyond a high school diploma. This will go a long way in helping Indiana meet its goal for at least 60 percent of Hoosiers to have education and training beyond high school by 2025 — a goal directly aligned to future workforce need. These federal changes recognize that states need more flexibility to target support to their unique populations, meet current workforce needs, and prepare for a rapidly changing future workforce and economy.” The letter is addressed to U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray. Chairman Alexander recently released a bipartisan package of legislation to reform higher education that included reform of the Pell program.

STATEHOUSE: HILL SAYS FETAL REMAINS BACK IN INDIANA - Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today that he has overseen the transportation of 2,246 aborted fetuses back to Indiana after they were discovered in September at the Illinois home of the late Dr. Ulrich Klopfer. An investigation has revealed that the fetuses were aborted by Dr. Klopfer at Indiana clinics located in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend (Howey Politics Indiana). The St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office assisted the Office of the Indiana Attorney General in bringing the remains back to Indiana, Attorney General Hill said at a South Bend press conference. “This investigation has been a team effort involving multiple offices and agencies since the day it began, and it remains a team effort as we proceed forward,” Attorney General Hill said. “Our priority throughout this process is to give proper respect to the remains of these unborn children and to the women and families associated with them. We are still working through the decision-making process in regard to ultimate disposition of these remains, and we will continue to proceed with appropriate care and consideration at each step of the way. For now, we can simply let everyone know that these remains are back home in Indiana.”

JUDICIARY: ARGUMENTS IN RFRA FIX LAW -  Indiana's infamous religious freedom law came back into focus today as a Hamilton County judge heard almost three hours of arguments about whether the so-called fix to the controversial statute is unconstitutional (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Also at issue was whether four cities' anti-discrimination ordinances discriminate against several Christian nonprofits. Terre Haute attorney Jim Bopp, who is seeking to invalidate the law, said the case is unprecedented because no state has ever granted legal protection for religious freedom and then within days stripped that protection away. "We know that limiting the exercise of a person's religious freedom only to the four corners of their church or home is patently unconstitutional but that is what we are faced with," he said. But the Indiana Attorney General's Office and lawyers for the cities of Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington and Columbus argued the organizations that sued don't have standing because they haven't been harmed.

AGRICULTURE: FARMERS GET $600M IN BAILOUT - Indiana farmers received nearly $600 million from the United States Department of Agriculture during the first round of payments from the Market Facilitation Program that seeks to minimize the impact of retaliatory tariffs from the Chinese government (Indiana Public Media). More than 35,000 farmers applied for the program last year.

AGRICULTURE: DIFFICULT HARVEST AHEAD - Just about every part of this year’s growing season has been a challenge from planting to weed control. Harvest will be no different. The 2019 harvest slowly which is getting underway in some parts of the state is going to be a difficult one for many reasons but primary because of the extreme variability in crop development (Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today). Lance Shepherd, with Pioneer, says, “We are definitely going to be harvesting different moisture levels in corn and even in soybeans. Early yield numbers in SE Indiana have been very disappointing. Shepherd feels yields in NE Indiana will be better, “I still think we are going to be in the 160bpa to 180bpa on corn. I don’t think we will be breaking any records in 2019.”  He added that harvest activity in the NE has been spotty but is expected to ramp up this weekend and into next week.

ISU VIGIL FOR KHASHOGGI: As the sun set and a crescent moon shone in the southwest sky, about a dozen people gathered at Indiana State University’s Dede Plaza to remember Washington Post journalist and ISU alumnus Jamal Khashoggi on the one year anniversary of his death (Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The ISU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists conducted a candlelight vigil in memory of Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who was murdered on Oct. 2, 2018, after visiting the Saudi embassy in Turkey to obtain marriage documents. His death prompted an international outcry. Khashoggi attended Indiana State as an undergraduate from 1977 to 1982 and received a business administration degree on May 7, 1983. Alexa Imperial, ISU SPJ secretary, and Lori Henson, ISU journalism instructor and SPJ adviser, read from a prepared text and also called for a moment of silence. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 53 journalists around the world were killed in 2018, Imperial read. At least 34 were singled out to be murdered, including Khashoggi, “a columnist for the Washington Post, a 1983 graduate of ISU, a father, a fiancé, and a fierce advocate for press freedom, democracy and human rights.” Imperial continued, “We gather to remember him today because he was one of countless journalists around the world who risk everything they have — even their lives — to defend freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom to debate ideas peacefully in a complex world.”


WHITE HOUSE: IRS WHISTLEBLOWER EMERGES ON TRUMP, PENCE TAXES - An Internal Revenue Service ¬≠official has filed a whistleblower complaint reporting that he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president’s or vice president’s tax returns, according to multiple people familiar with the document (Washington Post). Trump administration officials dismissed the whistleblower’s complaint as flimsy because it is based on conversations with other government officials. But congressional Democrats were alarmed by the complaint, now circulating on Capitol Hill, and flagged it in a federal court filing. They are also discussing whether to make it public. The details of the IRS complaint follow news of a separate, explosive whistleblower complaint filed in August by a member of the intelligence community. That complaint revealed Trump’s request of Ukranian leaders to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a political rival. It has spurred an impeachment probe on Capitol Hill.

WHITE HOUSE: VOLKER THOUGHT TRUMP UKRAINE PLAN 'CRAZY' - A top American diplomat in Ukraine repeatedly raised concerns with colleagues about the White House’s decision to withhold $391 million in security aid from Ukraine, describing it as a “crazy” plan to withhold security assistance “for help with a political campaign,” according to texts released Thursday as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump (New York Times). The texts, which were turned over to Congress by Kurt D. Volker, the State Department’s former special envoy for Ukraine, come from a series of early September exchanges. They appear to show a dispute among American diplomats over whether the president was trying to use security aid or a White House meeting with the country’s new leader as leverage to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on a leading political rival — a charge at the heart of the impeachment investigation. One message, written by William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, suggested that Mr. Trump was holding back the package of military aid to Ukraine as a bargaining chip to influence the country’s president to do his political bidding. “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Mr. Taylor wrote on Sept. 9 to Mr. Volker and Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union.

WHITE HOUSE: TEXTS SHOW TRUMP PRESSED UKRAINE - The Trump administration sought to use a potential meeting between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press Kyiv to investigate Joe Biden, newly released text messages showed, as President Trump called on China to also investigate his political rival (Wall Street Journal). The president’s efforts to persuade Ukraine in a July phone call to investigate Mr. Biden have already set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, who are looking at whether the president abused the power of his office for political gain. Text messages released by House committees late Thursday revealed that Trump administration officials sought to use a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press the Ukrainian government to pursue an investigation into Mr. Biden and other matters. The messages show that U.S. officials coordinated with aides to the Ukrainian president and Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, on a draft statement in which Kyiv would announce an investigation into Mr. Biden and the 2016 U.S. election—at the same time as announcing a visit by the Ukrainian president to the White House.

WHITE HOUSE: PENCE GOES TO BAT FOR TRUMP - Vice President Mike Pence went to bat for President Donald Trump on Thursday, then he went to bat for himself. In case you missed it, Pence told the press earlier in the day that the Trump-Ukraine July 25 phone call raised issues that were “appropriate” and that were of “genuine interest” to the American people (Law&Crime). “The American people have the right to know whether or not the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position,” Pence said. In case you weren’t sure who he was talking about, it was Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. Pence made these comments after it was reported that an aide of his listened in on the phone call that sparked a whistleblower complaint and sparked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to back an impeachment inquiry against the president. During that call, President Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

WHITE HOUSE: E.U. TARIFFS EXPECTED TO HIKE FOOD PRICES - New 25% U.S. tariffs on Italian cheese, French wine, Scotch whisky, British biscuits, Spanish olives and thousands of other European food products will lead to higher prices ahead of the holiday season and cost American jobs, trade groups said on Thursday (Reuters). The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said on Wednesday it was imposing tariffs on hundreds of European products after the World Trade Organization gave the green light to the action in response to EU subsidies on large aircraft. The Specialty Food Association said in a statement the tariffs would decrease sales and adversely impact U.S employment at 14,000 specialty food retailers and 20,000 other food retailers across the United States. The impact would be “dramatic,” the trade group said.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will leave the White House at 10:30 a.m. for Walter Reed, where he will meet with wounded warriors. He will leave at 11:50 a.m. to return to the White House. At 4:30 p.m., he'll deliver remarks at the Young Black Leadership Summit 2019 in the East Room.

ENERGY: PERRY EXPECTED TO RESIGN - Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to announce his resignation next month, according to three people familiar with his plans (Politico). The former Texas governor largely avoided the controversies that pushed other Cabinet members out of the administration, but his contacts with Ukraine have drawn him into the impeachment inquiry engulfing President Donald Trump and his inner circle. However, the three people said the Ukraine affair is unrelated to Perry's departure. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette is expected to replace Perry, at least temporarily.

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - "Fox News Sunday": Panel: Karl Rove, Julie Pace, Josh Holmes and Juan Williams. Power Player of the Week: Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter. CNN "State of the Union": Panel: Linda Chavez, Mitch Landrieu, Amanda Carpenter and Karen Finney. ABC "This Week": Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) ... Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Panel: Matthew Dowd, Terry Moran, Yvette Simpson and Alice Stewart. CBS "Face the Nation": Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bob Woodward and Peter Baker. Panel: Ramesh Ponnuru, Susan Page, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Jamelle Bouie. CNN "Inside Politics": Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Jeff Zeleny, Seung Min Kim and Toluse Olorunnipa.


CITIES: SOUTH BEND MINORITY CONTRACTS BELOW POPULATION - A study of minority- and women- owned business participation in South Bend contracting found those businesses get a disproportionately small share of jobs, suggesting the city could have legal grounds for considering race and gender when awarding work (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). Of more than $100 million in contracts awarded by the city between 2015 and 2017, businesses owned by minorities and women accounted for 12% of the companies that won the contracts, according to the study by Colette Holt & Associates, a California-based consulting firm. That’s despite the fact minority- and women-owned businesses made up almost 15% of the contractors that were available in the city’s market area to do the types of work awarded by the city over that time frame, the study found. The study also calculated the “disparity ratio” for minority- and women-owned businesses, which showed the dollar amount paid to those companies was low compared with their availability to contract with the city. The disparity ratio for minority businesses was just more than 72%. The ratio for minority- and women-owned businesses together was about 80%. The further below 100%, the greater the disparity.

CITIES: HOBART FIREFIGHTERS GET 1ST CONTRACT IN 53 YEARS - The Hobart City Council has unanimously approved a collective bargaining contract with Hobart Professional Firefighters Local 1641, the first time in 53 years the union has had a contract (Laverty, NWI Times). "This is a landmark case for the fire department," City Councilman Matt Claussen said. Fellow firefighters, who filled the council chamber Wednesday night in a show of support, applauded the council's decision and the nearly yearlong negotiations between union president Enrique Lopez and a council subcommittee comprised of Claussen, City Councilman Dan Waldrop and City Councilman John Brezik. Mayor Brian Snedecor, who also took part in the negotiations that began in November, praised Lopez and fellow union members for their efforts. "It shows that the union and city leaders can come together and give and take," Snedecor said. Hobart Fire Chief Randy Smith described it as an "opportune time to make this happen."

CITIES: ELECTRIC WORKS DEVELOPER ASKS FOR EXTENSION - Key deadlines in the economic development agreement between the city of Fort Wayne and the developers of the $248 million Electric Works project could be extended once again (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The proposal, which was requested by RTM Ventures – the firm developing the site – sets new leasing and private financing deadlines at Feb. 1 for financing commitments and April 30 for final closing on the transaction. The original deadlines set in 2018 have been revised several times and were most recently set at Nov. 1.

CITIES: TERRE HAUTE COUNCIL PASSES $96M BUDGET - The Terre Haute City Council on Thursday approved a $96.5 million budget for 2020 in an 8 to 1 vote (Modesitt, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The $3.3 million increase in spending over 2019 totals represents a 3.5% increase in total spending. Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said the budget is projected to produce a $1.8 million surplus by the end of 2020. Bennett said he feels good about the budget overall and it being the fourth consecutive balanced budget. “It’s a balanced budget with excess revenues going to reserves and just exactly what we’ve been following the plan to do,” Bennett said. “This is the best budget of the last four. I’m really excited about where we’re at now and couldn’t be happier they passed it tonight.”

CITIES: KAMP NAMED ELKHART FD CHIEF - Mayor Tim Neese announced Thursday that Steve Kamp will be appointed Elkhart fire chief following Chad Carey’s transition to the private sector (Elkhart Truth). Kamp has served as Carey’s assistant fire chief since Jan. 1, 2016.

COUNTIES: BROWN SAYS HE'LL SHOW UP TO WORK -  Lake County Recorder Michael B. Brown pledged, in person, to the Lake County Council on Thursday that he will begin regularly showing up for work. This promise came after admitting he stayed away from the county government center for much of the past three years (Carden, NWI Times). In a candid statement, Brown apologized for his rampant absenteeism and attributed his failure to come to work to health issues he said originated in 2017 after he was sued by a former subordinate for sexual harassment. The county paid $185,000 to settle that lawsuit one year ago. "Through that experience and just through that whole process, I've honestly developed a very embarrassing file, I'd say, of mental anxiety and mental health issues in relation to my safety in my workplace, co-workers, mentors, politicians, friends, family," Brown said.