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On the roster: Divided House approves impeachment rules – I’ll Tell You What: I already don’t like it – Harris feeling pressure makes big campaign cuts – Poll shows Biden’s lead continues to narrow – Goats being the G.O.A.T.
DIVIDED HOUSE APPROVES IMPEACHMENT RULES
Fox News: “A sharply divided House voted Thursday to approve a resolution setting ‘ground rules’ for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, putting lawmakers on record over the contentious process while setting the stage for proceedings to move into the public eye after weeks of closed-door depositions. The measure passed largely along party lines, 232-196. Two Democrats defected on the vote. The first formal floor vote in relation to the impeachment probe announced a month ago by Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed a fierce debate in the chamber, where Republicans accused Democrats of launching a de facto ‘coup’ against the president in a ‘pre-ordained’ bid to overturn the results of the 2016 election. … Democrats, though, maintained that the president’s own actions – pressing Ukraine to launch politically related investigations, and allegedly using military aid as leverage – brought the country to this point. … Trump tweeted after the vote: ‘The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham maintained in a statement that the president has done nothing wrong.”
Two Dems break ranks with Pelosi on vote – Fox News: “Two House Democrats broke ranks with their party leadership on Thursday’s highly-contentious vote for a resolution setting the rules for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. …Reps. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who has long expressed skepticism about impeachment, and Collin Peterson, D-Minn, whose district Trump won by 31 points. No Republicans voted for the resolution, signaling that the House GOP still stands firmly behind Trump as he comes under heavy fire. ‘At the end of the day we’ll have the same president and same candidate and a failed impeachment process, and the only difference would be that the president will have been exonerated of charges,’ Van Drew said in a statement to Fox News.”
Trump using fundraising network for loyal GOP senators – Politico: “President Donald Trump is rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment — and sending a message to those who don’t to get on board. Trump is tapping his vast fundraising network for a handful of loyal senators facing tough reelection bids in 2020. Each of them has signed onto a Republican-backed resolution condemning the inquiry as ‘unprecedented and undemocratic.’ Conspicuously absent from the group is Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a politically vulnerable Republican who’s refused to support the resolution and avoided taking a stance on impeachment. With his new push, Trump is exerting leverage over a group he badly needs in his corner with an impeachment trial likely coming soon to the Senate — but that also needs him. … On Wednesday, the Trump reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list urging donors to provide a contribution that would be divided between the president and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. Each of the senators are supporting the anti-impeachment resolution despite being endangered in 2020.”
Bolton summoned to testify – NYT: “House impeachment investigators on Wednesday summoned John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and two top White House lawyers to testify next week in their inquiry into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, closing in on critical witnesses as they prepare to go public with their investigation. Mr. Bolton, a fiery foreign policy veteran, could be a marquee player in the House’s month-old impeachment inquiry. His deputies have testified that Mr. Bolton, who left the White House in September amid disagreements with the president, was angry about the efforts to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into Democrats. Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was leading the charge, he warned, was a ‘hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.’ But his appearance is far from assured. His lawyer said that Mr. Bolton was ‘not willing to appear voluntarily,’ declining to specify what his client would do should he be subpoenaed.”
Trump’s Russia director set to leave post – NPR: “Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump’s National Security Council, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, is set to leave his White House post imminently, three sources familiar with the plan told NPR. Morrison, a conservative hawk who has served as the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, will be replaced by Andrew Peek, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, according to the sources. A senior administration official confirmed Morrison’s departure late Wednesday evening. “After more than a year of service at the National Security Council, Mr. Morrison has decided to pursue other opportunities – and has been considering doing so for some time. We wish him well,” the official said.”
Spending talks may have to wait until after impeachment – Bloomberg: “Democrats and Republicans in Congress are deliberating whether to push the deadline to fund the government into early February to avoid having a budget fight amid an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that’s set to stretch at least into December. That would mean enacting another stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown when the current short-term funding runs out Nov. 21, assuming the two sides don’t be able to agree on a budget plan by then. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican, has floated the idea of a stopgap spending bill until February, though he said Wednesday he hasn’t discussed it with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. … House Democrats on the Appropriations Committee are also weighing a February stopgap, lawmakers and aides say.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Proof of Trump’s impeachable offenses plain to see – This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why the impeachment process needs to be judged on merits, not process: “Congressional Republicans should be careful what they ask for. Their defense of the president has addressed process, not proof. The proof is largely undisputed, except by the president himself. It consists of admissions, testimony and documents, which show that Trump sought to induce the government of Ukraine to become involved in the 2020 presidential election. … Whether one agrees with federal law or not, it is a crime to solicit assistance for a federal campaign from a foreign government. As well, the crime of bribery consists of a government official refraining from performing a legal duty until a thing of value is delivered to him.” More here.
THE RULEBOOK: TIMES A-CHANGIN’
“The changes of time, as was formerly remarked, on the comparative situation of the different States, will have an assimilating effect. The effect of time on the internal affairs of the States, taken singly, will be just the contrary.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 56
TIME OUT: SPOOKY SEASON
Time: “You may have seen a fair few skeletons of late, prancing around your cookie packaging or littering your neighbor’s porch. But a fascination with our bodies’ bones goes back much further than modern Halloween merch — all the way to the Middle Ages. Skeletons were particularly important to medieval thinkers and writers working in Europe and the Middle East, who knew that the bones formed the body’s foundation, a structural framework around which everything from muscles and nerves to veins and flesh were wrapped. … True, there is no doubt that medieval bones were morbid things, irrevocably associated with death, the pain of grief, the sorrow of mourning. But to see this as a backwards medieval obsession is wrong. More apparent to medieval men and women would have been the sophisticated range of ways one could approach bones: fearful yes, but also respectful, hopeful, even playful — much like our Halloween decorations today.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.8 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
Warren: 22.6 points (↓ 2.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 14.2 points (↓ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 7.4 points (↑ 1 point from last wk.)
Harris: 4.4 points (↓ 0.4 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: USA Today/Suffolk University, Quinnipiac University, CNN, Fox News and IBD.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 42.4 percent
Average disapproval: 54.6 percent
Net Score: -12.2 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 2 points
[Average includes: USA Today/Suffolk University: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Grinnell/Selzer: 43% approve – 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 58% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve – 57% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve – 55% disapprove.]
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: I ALREADY DON’T LIKE IT
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the top three Democratic presidential candidates they believe have the best chance to clinch the nomination, they weigh in on the unrest in Lebanon and Chris tells Dana all about the surprise he gave his son for his birthday. Plus, Dana has mailbag questions and trivia for Chris. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
HARRIS FEELING PRESSURE MAKES BIG CAMPAIGN CUTS
Politico: “Kamala Harris is dramatically restructuring her campaign by redeploying staffers to Iowa and laying off dozens of aides at her Baltimore headquarters, according to campaign sources and a memo obtained Wednesday by POLITICO, as she struggles to resuscitate her beleaguered presidential bid. The moves come as Harris is hemorrhaging cash and in danger of lacking the resources to mount a competitive bid against better-funded rivals in Iowa. The overhaul will touch nearly every facet of Harris’ operation, with layoffs or re-deployments coming at headquarters, as well as in New Hampshire, Nevada and her home state of California, a Super Tuesday prize that her advisers once viewed as a big asset. … Harris’ consultants will also have their payments reduced and the campaign plans to trim and renegotiate other contracts to slash overhead. Along with getting back in the black, a big motivation behind the cost-cutting decisions is a plan to stash enough resources for a seven-figure media buy in the weeks before the Iowa caucus.”
Warren agrees Medicare-for-All could result in two million jobs lost – Fox News: “Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Wednesday that she agrees with a University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist who concluded a Medicare-for-All health care plan could result in substantial job losses, calling it ‘part of the cost issue.’ Robert Pollin of UMass’ Political Economy Research Institute told Kaiser Health News earlier this year that most of the roughly 2 million estimated job losses would hit administrative positions — about half among insurers and half in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Warren was made aware of Pollin’s conclusions during an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio. ‘So, I agree,’ replied Warren. ‘I think this is part of the cost issue and should be part of a cost plan.’ … Pollin said supporters of the ambitious health care overhaul would have to think about a ‘just transition’ and what ‘it would look like’ when implemented.”
Katie Glueck: The ways Biden trips over his own tongue – NYT: “Six months into his presidential campaign, Mr. Biden is still delivering uneven performances on the debate stage and on the campaign trail in ways that can undermine his message. … That choppy speaking style puts Mr. Biden at a disadvantage as his front-runner status erodes and he confronts growing pressure to expand his appeal with voters and donors. He faces intensifying competition for moderate support, a formidable liberal foe in Elizabeth Warren, attacks on his family by Mr. Trump and Republicans, and a troubling cash crunch. At a time when he most needs to convey confidence and forcefulness, some Democrats say, he is instead getting in his own way. … But Mr. Biden’s inconsistent performances illustrate why many Democrats remain skeptical of his candidacy: Whatever his strengths in polls — and the data is mixed, especially in the early-voting primary states — on the ground his performances are often plainly shaky.”
Manchin says he won’t vote for Sanders – Fox News: “Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., rejected a claim by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., he would support his ‘Medicare-for-all’ agenda if elected president. … ‘I think Bernie brings a lot to the table,’ he added. ‘But it’s not practical where I come from.’ … Asked by Cavuto who he would vote for in a Sanders-Trump matchup, the former governor was only specific about who wouldn’t get his backing. ‘Well, it wouldn’t be Bernie,’ he said. Cavuto asked whether that meant he would support Trump, unless he was to leave the ballot line blank. Manchin said only this in response: ‘Let’s just say I’m going to make decisions based on what’s best for my country and my state.’”
POLL SHOWS BIDEN’S LEAD CONTINUES TO NARROW
USA Today: “Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead a turbulent field for the Democratic presidential nomination, a national USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, but his margin over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been slashed in half. And most Democratic voters say they could still change their minds. Almost exactly one year before Election Day – and 96 days before the opening Iowa caucuses – Biden was backed by 26% of likely Democratic primary and caucus voters in the survey. Warren was second at 17%, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13% and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%. Biden’s lead over Warren, now 9 percentage points, was 18 points in the last USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll, taken in late August. His standing has fallen by 6 points since then; hers has risen by 3. … In a sign of the prospect for changes ahead, 18% of likely Democratic voters were undecided. Among those with a preferred candidate, a 57% majority said their minds weren’t firmly made up.”
Trump holds close lead in head to head match-ups – USA Today: “In a match-up between President Trump and an unnamed Democratic nominee, Trump narrowly led, 41%-39%, with 10% supporting an unnamed third-party candidate. Another 10% were undecided. That was a shift, albeit one within the margin of error, from the August survey, when the unnamed Democrat held a narrow lead over Trump, 41%-39%. In the new poll, Republicans expressed overwhelming confidence about the outcome of the election, with 86% predicting the president would win. Seventy-five percent of Democrats said their nominee would win. But independents by a double-digit margin expected Trump to prevail.”
Rep. Katie Hill‘s situation highlights Dem Party’s generational divide – Politico
U.S. economy slowed in summer, growth rate of 1.9% – AP
Trump identifies ‘Conan,’ military dog in Baghdadi raid, says she will visit White House – Fox News
AUDIBLE: YA THINK?
“I expect this is going to be a very tough year.” – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during an earnings call that followed Twitter’s announcement that the platform is banning political ads ahead of 2020, per Politico.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
GOATS BEING THE G.O.A.T.
BBC: “A hungry herd of 500 goats has helped save the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library from the California wildfires. In May, the library hired the goats to clear flammable scrub surrounding the complex as a preventative measure. The goats ate the brush, creating a fire break that slowed the flames and gave firefighters extra time to react. The library near Los Angeles was threatened by the Easy Fire, the latest in a spate of fires causing evacuations and power cuts across the state. The caprine contractors included Vincent van Goat, Selena Goatmez and Goatzart. They helped save exhibits including an Air Force One jet and a piece of the Berlin Wall. ‘We were told by one of the firefighters that they believe that fire break made their job easier,’ Melissa Giller, a library spokeswoman, told Reuters. The goats were hired from a local company – 805 Goats – to clear around 13 acres of land.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Between now and October, the Nats are my vice. I started going when they were bad and once celebrated in this space ‘the joy of losing,’ under the axiom that if you expect nothing, you’re never disappointed. A very serviceable philosophy when your team is terrible. But I need a new philosophy now. The Nationals are good: young, swift, exciting — and in first place in the National League East. … Young, brash and dangerous — how can you not like these guys? True, they could very well go south tomorrow. But what a ride. Even the omens are good.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in The Washington Post on May 25, 2012.
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.