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On the roster: As Trump’s defense wraps up, Bolton book looms large – Bernie turns to celebs to maintain Iowa edge – Doug Collins complicates Georgia Senate race – Ahem… he may get wiped out
AS TRUMP’S DEFENSE WRAPS UP, BOLTON BOOK LOOMS LARGE
NYT: “Revelations from President Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, threatened to upend the Republican strategy for a fast trial and acquittal. A handful of Republican senators appeared to be moving closer to Democrats, who want to hear from Mr. Bolton, whose manuscript accuses the president of tying Ukraine’s military aid to politically motivated investigations as well as describes the national security adviser’s concerns that Mr. Trump was doing favors for autocratic leaders. The president’s legal team must conclude its oral arguments on Tuesday. After the arguments, senators have 16 hours to ask questions of each side. A vote on whether to hear witnesses in the trial is now expected on Friday. There may be a strategic reason the trial appears to be slowing down: Putting space between Mr. Bolton’s revelations and the senators’ vote on whether to hear from witnesses may lower the pressure on Republicans to break from their party and embrace the Democrats’ push for more testimony and evidence.”
Graham joins push for Bolton manuscript – Reuters: “Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday said he would support a plan making former national security adviser John Bolton’s book manuscript available for senators to review as they weigh President Donald Trump’s impeachment. His colleague James Lankford, on Monday, floated giving senators access to Bolton’s manuscript, which was leaked to the New York Times and reportedly says Trump tied security aid for Ukraine to his call for a probe into his Democratic rivals. Graham had earlier said he would back a subpoena for the manuscript.”
Would publisher play along? – Roll Call: “Congress could subpoena the manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book on his time in the White House, but such a move could raise concerns about intellectual property rights and lead to a fight between lawmakers and Bolton and his publishers. ‘Either [chamber] of Congress has the ability to subpoena records, including unpublished manuscripts,’ said Chris Armstrong, the former chief oversight counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. But Armstrong … added that congressional subpoenas are ‘issued within a political environment’ and often meet stiff resistance — especially when the release of the requested information affects subjects’ bottom line.”
Trump to rally the faithful at the Jersey Shore – Fox News: “Sprawling lines were forming overnight in the Jersey Shore destination of Wildwood in anticipation of President Trump’s campaign rally scheduled for late Tuesday, in a show of support by Trump’s faithful amid the bruising impeachment fight back in Washington. The scene is striking considering Jersey’s political reputation as a blue state. But as Rep. Jeff Van Drew suggested Tuesday morning, the southern part of the state where Trump is heading may be more MAGA-friendly. ‘South Jersey’s forgotten about sometimes,’ said Van Drew, a former Democrat who switched parties to become Republican after the House impeachment vote that he opposed. He represents much of South Jersey and plans to accompany Trump Tuesday night — and pocket a presidential endorsement in the process.”
Team Trump looks to flex muscles in symbolic Iowa effort – WSJ: “With the leadoff Iowa caucuses days away, President Trump’s re-election campaign wants to remind voters that Democrats aren’t the only game in town. For the Feb. 3 caucuses, the Trump campaign is planning an ambitious show of force around the state, with over 80 surrogates expected to campaign at caucus locations. The push will be led by campaign manager Brad Parscale, the president’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as Eric Trump’s wife Lara Trump, who works for the campaign and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle…”
THE RULEBOOK: OUGHTEN THEY?
“A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31
TIME OUT: DEWITT’S DITCH
NPR: “In 1809, representatives from the state of New York traveled to the nation’s capital to meet with President Thomas Jefferson. They wanted money for a 363-mile canal that would link Lake Erie with the Hudson River, thereby opening up New York City to a funnel of commerce from the developing American West. … Jefferson had come to office promising federal spending on infrastructure, so canal supporters had a reason to believe he would pony up. He did not. … New York decided to go it solo. The state issued bonds and had private investors lend it money for the canal. And in only eight years — with zero financial support from the federal government — New York finished the canal with uproarious celebrations. … The Erie Canal was an immediate success. It unleashed a flood of resources from the West, dramatically increasing the variety of products and slashing consumer prices.”
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DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.8 points (↑ 2.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 22.8 points (↑ 5 points from last wk.)
Warren: 14.4 points (↓ 2.2 points from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 7.4 points (↑ 1.8 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 7.2 points (↓ 1.2 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: ABC News/WaPo, Fox News, CNN, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 44.6 percent
Average disapproval: 51.8 percent
Net Score: -7.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.8 points
[Average includes: ABC/WaPo: 47% approve – 50% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve – 51% disapprove; Monmouth University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove.]
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BERNIE TURNS TO CELEBS TO MAINTAIN IOWA EDGE
Politico: “Inside the campaign, some aides call it ‘Bernchella.’ As Bernie Sanders attempts to surge to a first-place finish in Iowa, the Vermont senator is tapping famous politicians and celebrities to campaign for him in one final star-studded week before the caucuses. The luminaries cut across the culture, from politics to music to movies and more. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, filmmaker and liberal stalwart Michael Moore, actor Kendrick Sampson, and recording artists Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend — who inspired the Coachella-derived nickname — are among those who have or will be stumping for him. The roster of celebrity surrogates is designed to bring out young and unlikely voters to events… But the high-profile allies come with risks: Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, is seen as divisive and too far left by some moderate and conservative Democrats. And the youthful edginess of many of Sanders’ celebrity fans likely won’t connect with the senior voters with whom he struggles.”
Bernie tops in Super Tuesday Utah poll – Salt Lake Tribune: “Thanks to strong support from younger voters, 78-year-old Bernie Sanders is the front-runner for Utah’s Democratic presidential primary on March 3 – doubling the percentage of support from his nearest rival in a huge field. But one of every five likely voters is still undecided. Sanders, a liberal Vermont senator, attracts support from 26.5% of Utahans who say they’ll vote in the March 3 Democratic primary, according to a Salt Lake Tribune survey conducted by Suffolk University. Fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts senator, is No. 2 with 14.4%. Trailing them in the top tier of candidates are two moderates: former Vice President Joe Biden with 12.1% and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with 9.9%. The poll of 132 likely Democratic primary voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 8.5 percentage points.”
Bloomy blitzes all 14 Super Tuesday states – Fox News: “With stops in Vermont and Maine, Michael Bloomberg on Monday became this election cycle’s first presidential hopeful to visit all 14 Super Tuesday states, as he focuses his campaign on post-early state contests. … The former New York City mayor most frequently has visited California, Texas and Virginia — three of the states with the highest number of delegates up for grabs on March 3. While the Iowa caucuses are a week away, Bloomberg is the only candidate who has not set foot in Iowa since announcing his run for president. The Democrat told reporters Monday he’s ‘not at all’ paying attention to the contests in the first four states. … In Burlington on Monday, Bloomberg argued he’s more suitable to beat President Trump than home state Sen. Bernie Sanders but acknowledged that Sanders has been the local favorite.”
Chait: Dems would be ‘insane’ to pick Bernie – New York Magazine: “If Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders – who currently leads the field in Iowa and New Hampshire, and appears to be consolidating support among the party’s progressive wing, while its moderates remain splintered – his prospects against Donald Trump in November would be far from hopeless. Polarization has given any major party nominee a high enough floor of support that the term ‘unelectable’ has no real place in the discussion. What’s more, every candidate in the race brings a suite of their own liabilities Trump could exploit. That said, the totality of the evidence suggests Sanders is an extremely, perhaps uniquely, risky nominee. His vulnerabilities are enormous and untested. No party nomination, with the possible exception of Barry Goldwater in 1964, has put forth a presidential nominee with the level of downside risk exposure as a Sanders-led ticket would bring. To nominate Sanders would be insane.”
Biden bro got a boost from lobbyist – Politico: “In 2005, Joe Biden’s brother bought an acre of land with excellent ocean views on a remote island in the Caribbean for $150,000. He divided it into three parcels, and the next year a lobbyist close to the Delaware senator bought one of the parcels for what had been the cost of the entire property. Later, the lobbyist gave Biden’s brother a mortgage loan on the remaining parcels. The Virgin Islands land deal, reported here for the first time, furthers a pattern in which members of the Biden family have engaged in financial dealings with people with an interest in influencing the former vice president. In this case, a Biden staffer left the Senate in the early ‘90s to become a lobbyist. Both before and after the land transaction, his clients benefited from Biden’s support and appropriations requests. A firm the lobbyist co-founded — which features a testimonial from Biden praising his ‘emotional investment’ in his work on its website — specializes in federal contracts…”
Biden lays back on New Hampshire – Politico: “Joe Biden has said he doesn’t need to win the first presidential primary state in the nation — and he’s campaigning like it. Biden has been dark on New Hampshire television since the New Year. He has a smaller presence on the ground compared to his rivals, barely takes questions from voters, and he’s trailing in the polls here. Biden’s New Hampshire media buys, events and overall footprint indicates it’s the early state that’s getting relatively short shrift so he can more effectively contest the other three before Super Tuesday. The former veep’s campaign stresses he’s not writing off New Hampshire, that he has more major endorsements here than any other candidate and visited last Friday and Saturday. But in recent weeks, Biden has intensified his focus on the two states whose caucuses bookend the Granite State’s Feb. 11 primary — Iowa and Nevada — according to those familiar with the campaign’s strategy.”
Former Buttigieg staffers beef about diversity efforts – NYT: “In early December, more than 100 members of Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign staff gathered at the South Bend City Church a mile from headquarters for a mandatory half-day retreat about diversity and inclusion. … Buttigieg advisers say the retreat was part of an ongoing effort to foster a progressive culture that empowered employees of color. For some of these staff members, however, the workplace itself was a problem, and working for a candidate with so little support from black and Hispanic voters had become demoralizing. In interviews, current and former staff members of color said they believed that senior Buttigieg officials didn’t listen to their concerns and ideas about the campaign. One said there was a daily ‘emotional weight’ on people of color who felt they were employed in order to help the campaign meet its ambitious diversity targets. Some Hispanic employees felt disrespected when managers asked them to translate text, even if they didn’t speak Spanish.”
DOUG COLLINS COMPLICATES GEORGIA SENATE RACE
AJC: “U.S. Rep. Doug Collins will soon announce a challenge to U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, setting up a bitter Republican showdown in November that pits one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal defenders against a wealthy former executive backed by Gov. Brian Kemp. Collins, who is set to be at the Georgia Statehouse on Tuesday, has started to line up campaign staff and call politicians and supporters to inform them of his decision to enter the race, according to several people who received the calls but requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. The four-term congressman hopes to launch his campaign with support from Trump’s inner circle, if not the president himself. Trump privately lobbied Kemp on at least three separate occasions to tap Collins to fill the coveted seat, though he’s stayed publicly neutral since Loeffler was sworn into office.”
McCarthy tells House GOPers: Time to panic over fundraising – Politico: “House Republican leaders privately conceded in a closed meeting Tuesday morning that they are in the midst of a full-blown fundraising crisis, which would imperil any chance they have at regaining their majority in 2020. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put it bluntly: ‘They are kicking our ass,’ he said, in a meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, the private GOP haunt around the corner from the Capitol, referring to Democrats. Indeed, McCarthy is right. The DCCC outraised the NRCC by $40 million in 2019, and individual Democratic candidates are besting their GOP opponents at an alarming rate. Democrats currently hold a 35-seat majority in the House, and there are five vacancies. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a House GOP-aligned super PAC, raised $32.6 million in 2019, and has a $28-million cash stash. The disparity is even more shocking because the NRCC had a record off-year fundraising haul, but the DCCC has proven much more prolific.”
Suburban Houston House district vote will offer clues for November – Texas Tribune: “It is hard not to argue Democrats have gone all in on the special election runoff for House District 28. Ahead of the [today’s] election, at least three presidential candidates have come to the aid of Democratic candidate Eliz Markowitz. State and national groups have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into her race against self-funding Republican Gary Gates. And Beto O’Rourke has practically made Fort Bend County his second home, spending days at a time there to help Markowitz to flip the seat — and give Democrats a shot of momentum as they head toward November intent on capturing the lower-chamber majority. Republicans, meanwhile, are voicing confidence after the early-vote period, raising the prospect of a decisive win Tuesday that delivers an early blow to Democrats’ hopes of flipping the House.”
Van Drew gets a clear path in primary – Politico: “Republican David Richter, who recently moved from Princeton to Avalon so he could run for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd District, has decided to run in the 3rd District instead, thereby avoiding a primary against Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew. ‘I’ve made my decision. I am going to step aside from the 2nd District race,’ Richter, the former CEO of the construction consulting firm Hill International, said in a phone interview, adding that he is endorsing Van Drew. Richter, 53, will have a tough fight in the Republican primary against already-declared candidate Kate Gibbs, a former Burlington County freeholder who says she won’t drop her candidacy, even if some party leaders pressure her to do so.”
Tater tots and talks: How Klobuchar’s “hot dish” recipe binds her Iowa campaign – NYT
Poll finds little opposition to USMCA
Trump unveils Middle East peace plan with two-state solution, tunnel connecting West Bank and Gaza – Fox News
AUDIBLE: EXCEPT FOR CORN POP
“I’m like, Why would they like this old white guy, you know what I mean?” – Former Vice President Joe Biden sharing a story about his reaction to an African-American reporter’s amazement after she visited Delaware and learned about Biden’s lasting popularity with the black community there.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, in your comments about Iowa, you committed a mortal sin, you called a pork tenderloin a ‘pork cutlet sandwich.’ This wonderful piece of pork loin pounded out to be the size of a dinner plate, dipped in egg, flour and crackers, fried golden brown. It is a delicacy ignored by the rest of the country, to their fault. Come to Iowa and hang your lip over one and you will remember the proper nomenclature forever.” – Jon Phillips, Burlington, Iowa
[Ed. note: Surely, Mr. Phillips, you do not imagine that I am unacquainted with the delights of said sandwich, Wiener Schnitzel’s country cousin. You don’t develop a physique like this one ignoring the world of fried pork sandwiches! You are quite right about the proper name, even if my description was accurate. When I head back to Iowa later this week I may have to do some research in the field…]
“[Monday’s] title really made me laugh. Those were the names of a couple of bulls on our ranch. Pete was put in with the cows to do his job and Repeat did the ‘clean-up’ of cows who Pete failed. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face because I had totally forgotten about them!” – Gail Shelton, Ellensburg, Wash.
[Ed. note: Now that’s funny! Thank you for sharing, Ms. Shelton.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
AHEM… HE MAY GET WIPED OUT
[Appleton, Wisc.] Post Crescent: “Some residents received an unusual marketing gimmick in their mailboxes this week from mayoral candidate Eric Beach. A roll of toilet paper. ‘I’m just getting people’s attention. That’s all,’ Beach told The Post-Crescent. ‘I’m just having fun. We don’t have to be so serious about everything.’ … Questions also have been raised whether a roll of toilet paper constitutes a gift for a vote. The roll of toilet paper contains a sticker that says ‘Eric Beach for Mayor’ and ‘Getting ‘IT’ Done!’ along with his website. It is accompanied by a campaign flier. … Beach called the roll of toilet paper his ‘500-page resume’ and described it as ‘one of my fliers — a big, fat one.’ ‘It’s just a light-humored joke,’ he said. ‘If people can’t take a joke, I’m sorry. I apologize.’ Beach said he has distributed ‘quite a few’ rolls thus far. His campaign website includes a photograph of him standing before pallets of toilet paper that rise above his head.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Don’t talk to me about the ethics of doctors going on strike. So long as they agree to treat emergency cases, they have as much right to strike as anybody else.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Jan. 31, 2003.
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.