, Chris Stirewalt
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On the roster: House poised for final impeachment vote – Warren, Buttigieg feud could help Biden in Iowa – Might Trump duck 2020 debates? – Labour isn’t working: Boris romps, Corbyn quits – A lesson for all
HOUSE POISED FOR FINAL IMPEACHMENT VOTE
Fox News: “The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against President Trump – capping a contentious three-day session that Republicans panned as a ‘kangaroo court’ and teeing up a historic floor vote right before the holiday break. The committee adopted both articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17. A final roll call in the full House is expected next week, which could trigger a Senate trial in the new year just as presidential primaries are set to get underway. ‘Today is a solemn and sad day,’ Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told reporters after the vote. ‘For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president…’ … After the vote, the White House released a scathing statement, dismissing the inquiry as a ‘charade.’ ‘This desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee has reached its shameful end,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.”
Who will be Pelosi’s prosecutors? – WaPo: “With Democrats confident of having a majority to impeach Trump next week, a new parlor game has broken almost into the open. It’s the next step in the process in which [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has unilateral power to appoint members to serve as impeachment managers in the Senate, presenting their case in what would be only the third impeachment trial of a president. Many Democrats would like the opportunity to fulfill such a rare, historic role, but they know Pelosi has declared this period ‘somber’ and ‘prayerful,’ cautioning that it would be a task undertaken with ‘humility.’ In other words, showboats need not apply to be an impeachment manager. If the speaker sees a Democrat openly campaigning for the appointment, trying to boost his or her profile, she will almost certainly knock that candidate off the list. And, for a leader who has commanded enormous clout within her caucus of late, Pelosi receives utter deference from people who might get the nod.”
Trump says impeachment is good for him politically – WaPo: “Trump told reporters that Democrats are ‘trivializing impeachment’ after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Friday morning for two articles of impeachment against him. ‘It’s a very sad thing for our country, but it seems to be very good for me politically,’ Trump said as reporters looked on during an Oval Office visit by Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez. ‘The people are absolutely disgusted. Nobody’s ever seen anything like this.’ … Asked if he would prefer a long or short trial in the Senate, Trump said, ‘I’ll do whatever I want. Look, there is — we did nothing wrong. So I’ll do long or short.’”
THE RULEBOOK: NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
“Experience has instructed us that no skill in the science of government has yet been able to discriminate and define, with sufficient certainty, its three great provinces the legislative, executive, and judiciary; or even the privileges and powers of the different legislative branches.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 37
TIME OUT: UGHHHHHHH
NatGeo: “Picture yourself at a crowded airport departure gate. Your flight is 20 minutes late, although the illuminated sign still says On Time. … We know an annoyance when we experience it. But from a scientific perspective, just what makes something annoying? Are some things universally annoying, while others are specific to an individual? And does research offer any advice for preventing life’s annoyances from making our heads explode? The answers to those questions are: We don’t know, we don’t know, and no. Annoyance may well be the most widely experienced and least studied of all human emotions. On what [does journalist Joe Palca] base that assertion? About a decade ago, fellow journalist Flora Lichtman and [Palca] made that claim in a book called Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us—and in the intervening years, no one has challenged [them]. After [they] noted the lack of studies on this topic, did scholars step up to the plate? … Nothing.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.6 points (↑ 1.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 18.4 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
Sanders: 18.2 points (↑ 1 point from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 8.6 points (↓ 1.6 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, Monmouth University, CNN, NBC News/WSJ and ABC News/WaPo.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -9.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.4 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 44% approve – 49% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 41% approve – 55% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve – 54% disapprove.]
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WARREN, BUTTIGIEG FEUD COULD HELP BIDEN IN IOWA
Politico: “As Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg do battle ahead of the Iowa caucus, Joe Biden’s campaign is relishing the show. It’s a familiar scenario to longtime Iowa watchers: two leading rivals going at it, creating an opening for a come-from-behind win in Iowa by the establishment candidate. In 2004, the last time Democrats sought to unseat a Republican incumbent, a nasty feud between Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt allowed John Kerry to surge to a surprise win in the state. Now, Joe Biden hopes to repeat the feat, having just won the endorsement of his former Senate colleague, who joined him on the trail in Iowa last week. … So far, Warren and Buttigieg have been tamer in their attacks than Gephardt and Dean were in 2004, when they blasted each other repeatedly by name and in TV ads, Elmendorf said. The post-Christmas ad blitz expected from the Warren and Buttigieg campaigns will show whether that holds.”
Bloomy building out staff quickly – Politico: “Mike Bloomberg is making up for lost time — just two weeks after his late entry into the Democratic presidential primary, the former New York City mayor has hired more than 300 people so far to work on his campaign. The self-funded multi-billionaire recently tapped nearly 100 staffers to fan out across 15 states as he pursues his unorthodox strategy of skipping the four early voting states and zeroing in on Super Tuesday on March 3. His headquarters on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side employs more than 200 people, including familiar faces from his days in City Hall. Former deputy mayors Kevin Sheekey and Patti Harris are his campaign manager and chair, respectively. … Team Bloomberg is also picking off the carcasses of fallen Democratic candidates as he bulks up his team.”
Castro, Delaney don’t file for Virginia’s Democratic primary – Richmond Times-Dispatch: “All but two candidates in the crowded Democratic field for president filed petition signatures and other paperwork in an effort to appear on Virginia’s primary ballot on March 3. Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and Obama administration housing secretary, and former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland did not file by the deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday. Candidates are required to submit at least 5,000 signatures from eligible voters, including 200 or more from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts.”
Close race in Wisconsin – Marquette University: “Among those who say they will vote in the Democratic presidential primary in April, Joe Biden receives the most support. Biden is the first choice of 23 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent and Pete Buttigieg at 15 percent. Cory Booker is the first choice of 4 percent. Recently announced candidate Michael Bloomberg has the support of 3 percent, as does Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar. … Two-thirds of Democratic primary voters, 65 percent, say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 34 percent say their mind is made up.”
MIGHT TRUMP DUCK 2020 DEBATES?
NYT: “President Trump is discussing with his advisers the possibility of sitting out the general election debates in 2020 because of his misgivings about the commission that oversees them, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Mr. Trump has told advisers that he does not trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit entity that sponsors the debates, the two people said. Less of a concern for Mr. Trump than who will emerge as the Democratic nominee is which media personality will be chosen as the debate moderator, according to people in contact with him. At a state-of-the-race campaign briefing in Arlington, Va., the president’s advisers declined to comment on what their plan was for the debates. One senior adviser to the president seemed to wince at the question, and said it was not something advisers were prepared to discuss until next year.”
Former GOP speakers team up for statehouse fight – WSJ: “Former House speakers Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Newt Gingrich plan a fundraising campaign to defend Republican-controlled legislatures in Texas, Pennsylvania and a handful of other states from an onslaught of Democratic money and attention. Control over the congressional redistricting process is at stake in 2020: The Republican State Leadership Committee cites estimates that as few as 42 state legislative races could determine as much as a 136-seat swing in the House over the next decade, based on how those legislatures draw new maps.”
Twitter to restore election labels for candidates – AP: “Twitter is bringing back special labels to help users identify accounts and tweets from U.S. political candidates. The company, which first used such labels for the midterm elections last year, said it is trying to provide users with original sources of information and prevent spoofed and fake accounts from fooling voters. Many political candidates already have blue check marks to indicate that Twitter has confirmed that they are who they say they are. The election labels go further and provide details such as what office a person is running for and where. They will also carry a small ballot box icon. The labels will appear on candidates’ accounts and tweets, even if they are retweeted by someone else. Twitter hopes its efforts will help people know when candidates are behind the words attributed to them.”
LABOUR ISN’T WORKING: BORIS ROMPS, CORBYN QUITS
Fox News: “U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed on Friday morning to ‘get Brexit done’ by Jan. 31, 2020 with ‘no ifs, no buts, no maybes,’ following his Conservative Party’s landslide victory in the country’s general election. A sudden burst in London-listed companies brought European markets to record peaks early Friday, Reuters reported, as investors celebrated the probable end of more than three-and-a-half years of political turmoil in Britain once the United Kingdom settles on a deal to leave the European Union. ‘This election means that getting Brexit done is now the irrefutable, irresistible unarguable decision of the British people.’ … Johnson also promised that his Conservative Party’s top priority is to massively increase investments in the National Health Service and ‘make this country the cleanest, greenest on Earth with our far-reaching environmental program.’ … The prime minister is scheduled to meet with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, where she will formally ask him to form a new government in her name.”
Pergram: Congress rings in holidays with one of its most stressful Decembers ever – Fox News
Report: U.S. and China reach phase one trade deal – Fox Business
Congress reaches deal for $1.3 trillion in spending, likely averting shutdown threat – WaPo
Senate Confirms Stephen Hahn as new F.D.A. boss – NYT
Lawyer John Sullivan confirmed as next U.S. ambassador to Russia – Reuters
AUDIBLE: ADCOCK, INDEED
“A chicken can kill a chicken and eat a chicken. They’re starting to henpeck each other. We’re eating our own.” – Chris Adcock, chairwoman of the Page County Democratic Party in Iowa, discussing the Democratic presidential candidates with the WaPo.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with former FBI Director James Comey, White House Special Adviser Pam Bondi and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Plus, be sure to tune in as Chris shares the latest Fox News national polls on impeachment and the 2020 election. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I happen to live in an early primary state, and of course we have been inundated with Tom 2020 and Mike 2020 commercials ad nauseam, the hilarity of these two in rolled up sleeves and dungarees pretending to be just like the common working man, nearly leaves me in convulsions. If you can reach them by wire or wireless, please ask them to stop. Not wishing my remaining days away the February primary simply can’t get here soon enough!” – James W. Herzog, Spartanburg, S.C.
[Ed. note: You had me at “dungarees” Mr. Herzog. Would that I could spare you. But at least the weather is good in Spartanburg this time of year!]
“I’m a lifelong conservative and know when someone has a bias. I’ve watched you on Fox and have read your articles on Fox News Halftime Report. I know I’m biased and watch Fox News because I like the thinking of the Fox News pundits but if I want your subliminal anti Conservative messages I’ll watch the mainstream media. I must be a glutton for punishment reading your daily article. I’m sorry but you are biased against Mr. Trump.” – Dick Alexander, Pickerington, Ohio
[Ed. note: Oh now, Mr. Alexander! Subliminal anti-conservative messages! It can’t be all that bad. Maybe you like the jokes or reader letters. Or maybe you agree with me on the best kind of hot dogs. Whatever it is, I’m glad you’re here and I do truly hope we’re helping you see the world of politics and government in a broader, more interesting way. And for the record, I don’t stand with any politician or party and I most assuredly don’t care how you vote.]
“This is a bit off topic (politics yesterday, today and forever), but probably has a more profound impact on one of the institutions that unite us, namely baseball. The word is out that the powers that be wish to eliminate 42 minor league teams, where players develop the skills needed to compete in the majors, as an economy measure. Bernie Sanders, among others, is talking about a review of baseball’s antitrust exemption if they follow through with the idea. Perhaps you could give us the history of what that exemption covers, why baseball has it, and a discussion of the issues involved.” – Bruce Moyer, Southgate, Mich.
[Ed. note: When it comes to Major League Baseball, I am positively antediluvian in my attitudes. For example, the American League’s 1973 decision to excuse pitchers from having to bat and allowing teams to plump their run counts with the services of semi-mobile sluggers laboring under the absurdly legalistic name “designated hitter” remains one of the greatest indignities inflicted on the American pastime. But when it comes to the minors, I take a more capacious view. The plan, as I understand it, is for M.L.B. to spin off those 42 teams from the lower-level minors but maintain its relationship with the remaining 118 teams. I’m sure that’s a bitter pill for fans of junior circuit teams like the single-A West Virginia Power. Nobody likes to lose status. I do wonder, though, if anyone has ever attended a Power game because of the team’s affiliation with the Seattle Mariners. Folks love minor leaguers games for the cheap entertainment, hot dogs, cold brews and laid-back atmosphere. The quality of the baseball or the connection to the pros at those games already so far removed from “the show” seems almost immaterial. But that’s not your question. Major League Baseball’s anti-trust exemption is one of the great inside jokes of all time. Since 1922, U.S. courts have held that baseball is not subject to federal rules against monopolies because – get this – baseball is not “a subject of commerce.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, the progressive darling who wrote the opinion, was big on courts bowing to popular sentiment. And in 1922, baseball was without question America’s game. The NFL was just in its third season and football was mostly still something for college boys. American sports were dominated by baseball and boxing. Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey were kings among men. And baseball needed the exemption to continue its efforts to modernize. The game was rebounding from the 1919 Black Sox scandal and looking to impose new controls. In no other business could you have the kinds of collusion required of the competitors in baseball. The owners of today’s 30 M.L.B. teams are proprietors of individual businesses, but they get together to fix prices, rig rules, share revenues, etc. If the owners of America’s petroleum companies did the same thing, Justice Department lawyers would be rappelling through Exxon’s windows. As the decades rolled by, justices continued to work around Holmes’ lulu — at one point telling Congress in a decision that if baseball was abusing its exempt status, it should pass a law, not them. It has passed exactly one in 98 years, and it only codified the league policy on free agency. Sanders no doubt would like to save his hometown Vermont Lake Monsters’ affiliation with the Oakland A’s, but I tend to doubt that this will be the moment that the federal government tries to ruin baseball. The owners do a good enough job of that on their own!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
A LESSON FOR ALL
Fox News: “She went from ‘sandwich artist’ to con artist. Police in New Mexico arrested a Subway restaurant employee in Las Cruces after she staged a robbery in her own shop, allegedly because ‘she wanted to teach one of the employees a lesson.’ Lorena Ariana Marin, the Subway employee, and her alleged accomplice, Angelo Rey Espinosa, orchestrated the fake robbery on Monday, bursting into the store with masks over their faces. Marin, 22, then hopped over the counter and began ‘verbally and physically’ threatening the two on-duty employees while Espinosa, 19, stood by. … Marin and Espinoza soon herded the two employees toward the back of the store, at which point one of the employees ‘bolted’ out of the eatery and made it to her car. … Police caught up with Marin and Espinoza ‘within minutes’ of the crime after a citizen reported seeing a suspicious vehicle parked nearby.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I suspect history will similarly see [George W.] Bush as the man who, by trial and error but also with prescience and principle, established the structures that will take us through another long twilight struggle, and enable us to prevail.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the National Review on April 26, 2013.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
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