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On the roster: Pelosi bows, set to send impeachment next week – New Fox News state polls: Biden strong, Steyer surging – Trump piles more sanctions on Iran – Who said chivalry was dead?
PELOSI BOWS, SET TO SEND IMPEACHMENT NEXT WEEK
Fox News: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that she will take steps next week to send impeachment articles to the Senate, after delaying the process since last month in a bid to extract favorable terms for a trial. ‘I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further,’ Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to colleagues. The decision to release the articles came as fellow Democrats in recent days had started to voice frustration and impatience with the speaker’s approach. They stressed the urgency with which impeachment was treated at the end of 2019 and questioned why the House would then delay a trial by using articles as leverage. Pelosi nevertheless defended her approach in the memo Friday, stressing important new information on the Ukraine controversy at the heart of impeachment that emerged during the interim.”
Drucker: Senate Republicans soften on impeachment witnesses – WashEx: “Senate Republicans are backing off initial, ironclad opposition to witnesses in the upcoming trial to adjudicate two articles of impeachment against President Trump. As House Democrats approved charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in mid-December, most Senate Republicans signaled they were inclined to conclude an impeachment trial without witness testimony immediately following arguments from the defense and prosecution. But having agreed this week to broad contours for trial procedure, Republicans are declining to rule out witnesses, saying it depends on what they hear from House prosecutors and the White House defense. … Senate Majority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York failed to reach an agreement on trial procedure. But McConnell obtained from at least 51 of his 52 Republican colleagues commitments to support rules similar to those implemented for the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.”
Continetti: How McConnell outplayed Pelosi – Free Beacon: “McConnell’s victory carries risks. It guarantees that there will be a trial. And a trial is an unpredictable entity. Any senator can offer a motion. How involved Chief Justice John Roberts will want to be is unknown. Party unity might help the Democrats more than Republicans. Once the trial begins, if three GOP senators vote with a unified Democratic conference on a given motion, Schumer will have his way. McConnell’s challenge: keep Republicans together to limit the scope and duration of the proceedings. Pelosi is an example of what not to do. Since announcing the impeachment inquiry in September, she has seen independents turn against it, Trump’s numbers rise, a House Democrat switch parties, and several Democrats join Republicans to vote against one or both of the articles of impeachment.”
Pergram: Pelosi talks a lot about ‘the arena’ when referring to Senate trial – Fox News: “At her Thursday press conference, Pelosi likened her decision as to who may serve as House impeachment managers – charged with presenting the impeachment case to the Senate – to a football game. The Speaker fashioned herself as head coach. ‘Getting back to sports, because that’s all we live, right? Football. College. High school. Professional. Do we send our team or do we have to send in special teams?’ asked Pelosi. In other words, will McConnell structure the Senate trial suited best for old school football and the likes of Bronko Nagurski, Red Grange and George Halas? Or will this trial require ‘special teams?’ A holder, long snapper, upback, gunner and jammer? Is this ‘arena’ Candlestick Park, the old Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum or Kezar Stadium?”
Ocasio-Cortez shuns Pelosi’s preferences with contributions – Fox News: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has already topped the fundraising charts in her short time in Congress, but the liberal darling won’t donate a cent of her millions to Democrats’ House campaign organization — a position that has rankled some of her colleagues, Fox News has learned. Instead, Ocasio-Cortez is building her own fundraising operation for fellow progressive candidates to bypass the official Democratic Party infrastructure. Already, she’s actively funding primary challengers to oust certain Democratic colleagues.”
THE RULEBOOK: EITHER-OR
“There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 10
TIME OUT: HOW TO ACCESSORIZE YOUR CUTTLEFISH
Atlantic: “Some cuttlefish absolutely refuse to wear 3-D glasses. These relatives of squid and octopuses have blimplike bodies that end in a ring of eight arms topped by two prominent eyes. It’s not hard to mount a pair of specs in front of those eyes, but a cuttlefish’s arms are so dexterous that, if it’s displeased with its new accoutrements, it can just yank them off. ‘And indeed, that happened a lot,’ says Trevor Wardill from the University of Minnesota, who spent the better part of a recent summer trying to accessorize the animals. … Together with his colleagues Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido and Rachael Feord, Wardill used the glasses to show different images to each of a cuttlefish’s eyes. By doing that, they proved that these animals have stereopsis—that is, their brains can work out how far away objects are by comparing the slightly divergent images perceived by each of their eyes. It is an ability that humans and a few other animals share.”
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DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26.2 points (no change from last wk.)
Sanders: 18.6 points (no change from last wk.)
Warren: 16.2 points (no change from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 9.4 points (no change from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.2 points (no change from last wk.)
[Averages include: NBC News/WSJ, CNN, Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University and NPR/PBS/Marist.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43.8 percent
Average disapproval: 51.4 percent
Net Score: -7.6 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: NBC/WSJ: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; CNBC: 40% approve – 49% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 48% approve – 50% disapprove.]
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NEW FOX NEWS STATE POLLS: BIDEN STRONG, STEYER SURGING
South Carolina: “[Former Vice President Joe Biden] receives the backing of 36 percent of primary voters (down 5 points since October). [Tom Steyer] captures 15 percent, up 11 points. Bernie Sanders gets 14 percent (+4 points) and Elizabeth Warren stands at 10 percent (-2). Pete Buttigieg comes in at 4 percent (+2), while Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, and Andrew Yang each get 2 percent.”
Wisconsin: “Biden receives 23 percent, down from 28 percent in early October. He’s followed by Sanders at 21 percent, up from 17 percent. Warren drops to third with 13 percent, down 9 points compared to three months ago (22 percent). The poll shows Pete Buttigieg (9 percent) and newcomer Michael Bloomberg (7 percent) are the only others to receive more than 4 percent support.”
Nevada: “First, in the race for the Democratic nomination, Biden tops Sanders by 23-17 percent among Democratic caucusgoers, with both down one percentage point since November. Warren comes in at 12 percent, down from 18 percent — and ties with Tom Steyer for third. Steyer’s 12 percent is up from 5 percent two months ago.”
Steyer makes the debate stage – Fox News: “Tom Steyer appears to be moving up. The billionaire environmental advocate turned Democratic presidential candidate is soaring in two new Fox News polls in the early primary and caucus states of South Carolina and Nevada. And those two surveys put Steyer over the top – and onto the stage at next week’s Democratic presidential nomination debate in Iowa. Steyer stands at 15 percent in South Carolina – second only to former Vice President Joe Biden – who’s the overwhelming favorite in the state where black voters make up a majority of Democratic presidential primary electorate. Steyer’s surged 11 percentage points from the previous Fox News poll in South Carolina, which was conducted in October.”
Bloomberg will keep campaigning against Trump, nominee or not – NBC News: “Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s massive campaign apparatus and an army of some 500 staffers will march on through the general election in November even if he loses the Democratic nomination, campaign officials tell NBC News, shifting their efforts toward working to elect whomever the party selects to face President Donald Trump. Bloomberg’s vast tech operation will also be redirected to help the eventual nominee, as Democrats struggle to compete with the vaunted digital operation built by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. Hawkfish, a digital company started by Bloomberg that’s carrying out his $100 million online ad campaign, will be retained through Election Day to help defeat Trump, the officials said. … ‘Mike Bloomberg is either going to be the nominee or the most important person supporting the Democratic nominee for president,’ said Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s campaign manager. ‘He is dedicated to getting Trump out of the White House.’”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti backs Biden – Fox News: “Democratic presidential primary contender Joe Biden picked up another big-name endorsement on Thursday when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti threw his support behind the former vice president. Garcetti, who himself had flirted with a 2020 presidential run, called Biden ‘a close personal friend’ and argued that the former vice president is best-equipped to help deal with the issues facing the United States’ second-largest city and the country. ‘Joe Biden is a close personal friend who has been an incredible partner in delivering progress for L.A,’ Garcetti said in a statement. ‘Democrats are blessed to have such an extraordinary field of candidates, but I will never forget what Joe Biden has done for my city and our nation. We need Joe Biden to bring our nation and world together during these most divided and dangerous times.’”
Buttigieg welcomes ‘future former Republicans’ – Bloomberg: “Pete Buttigieg likes to invite ‘future former Republicans’ and independent voters into the fold, and the fiercely independent people of New Hampshire seem to be open to that offer. In a state where residents cherish their ‘Live Free or Die’ motto, 42% of voters are not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party, and they range from progressive to conservative. … So as Buttigieg crisscrossed New Hampshire during a four-day swing that ended this week, he tried to woo voters outside of the Democratic Party. Making inroads with independents may be a matter of survival nationally for the 37-year-old political neophyte, who has struggled to appeal to nonwhite voters and is banking on strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
TRUMP PILES MORE SANCTIONS ON IRAN
WaPo: “The Trump administration hit Iran with more sanctions Friday in the first concrete response to the attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq this week, which were in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike that killed the top Iranian military commander. The sanctions were widely anticipated, as President Trump had publicly vowed to impose them in response to Iran’s missile attacks on two bases in Iraq that house U.S. military personnel. No Americans or Iraqis were killed, and Trump said in a statement Wednesday that Iran ‘appears to be standing down.’ Iran’s economy is already burdened by sanctions on more than 1,000 Iranian individuals, companies and organizations that have been imposed since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as part of a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign to get Tehran to change its policies. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions would target senior government officials and key sectors and will cut off billions of dollars of funds to the government.”
Trump glories in Soleimani killing at Ohio rally – Fox News: “Flush with campaign cash and facing down a possible Senate impeachment trial, President Trump headlined his first major rally of the election year Thursday in Ohio — and almost immediately, the president capitalized on his order to take out Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani after the military leader was said to have orchestrated an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. … Separately, Trump said he hoped former Vice President Joe Biden would become the Democrats’ presidential nominee, and pledged he would highlight what he called the Bidens’ corruption all throughout the campaign. … Trump also emphasized the booming economy, including a strong stock market and historically low unemployment rates.”
David Brooks: The vacuous anti-Trump echo chamber – NYT: “Led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, they avoided the hard, complex problem of how to set boundaries around militias. Instead, they pontificated on the easy question not actually on the table: Should we have a massive invasion of Iran? A great cry went up from the echo chamber. We’re on the brink of war! Trump is leading us to more endless wars in the Middle East! We’re on the precipice of total chaos! This was not the calibrated language of risk and reward. It was fear-stoking apocalyptic language. … This is Trump’s ultimate victory. Every argument on every topic is now all about him. Hating Trump together has become the ultimate bonding, attention-grabbing and profit-maximization mechanism for those of us in anti-Trump world. So you get a series of exaggerated fervors — the Mueller report! Impeachment! The Steele dossier! — that lead ultimately nowhere.”
December jobs report underwhelms – WaPo
Cook moves Kansas Senate race From Likely to Lean Republican – Cook Political Report
AUDIBLE: GETTING SHELLED
“You are not dealing with rationality here. You are dealing with pure politics and Mitch plays it harder than anybody.” – Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., when asked by Spectrum News if he was concerned that senators, like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, weren’t doing enough to push to hear from additional witnesses.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. 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
“Chris: Your opinion on the spelling of Gerald Ford’s nickname is spot on.” – Gerald (Jerry) Hansen, La Mesa, Calif.
[Ed. note: Thank you for the backup, Mr. Hansen. We are far over Niagara on naming convention, especially in spelling, these days. The 200 most popular names for baby girls in the previous decade included Isabella, Izabella, Gabriella, Stella, Bella and Daniela, to say nothing of Brooklyn and Brooklynn or London and Londyn. Boys’ names have changed even more. Thanks to the diminution of patriarchal tendencies and mainstream Christianity plus the growing diversity of our society, the concentration of male names, formerly clustered heavily around biblical and family stalwarts like Matthew, Michael and Christopher have become even more varied than their female counterparts. The most common boys name from 2010 to 2018 was Noah with 163,657 – which would have only been good enough for 23rd place 40 years earlier. The favorite of the 1970s, the ubiquitous Michael, boasted 707,647 baby boys. But once, even nicknames were more standardized until recently like Sally from Sarah, Harry from Henry, Peggy from Margaret, Ted from Edward and, most curiously, Dick from Richard. Compared to that, a phonetic spelling of Jerry from Gerald seems like a very small lift indeed!]
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WHO SAID CHIVALRY WAS DEAD?
KTVI: “The opening day of the legislative session in Missouri is full of pomp and circumstance. Unanimous resolutions are passed. The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution is read. Lawmakers are given time on the floor to recognize special guests in the audience. State Representative Scott Cupps, a Republican from Shell Knob in Barry County, was sworn in along with 10 other freshman lawmakers Wednesday. Cupps added some levity to the proceedings when he made his audience introductions. ‘I would like to introduce some very special folks to me. First of all, my smoking hot wife. My wife Kim, who joked around about Barry County coming to the Capitol,’ he said to laughs from those in attendance, before also introducing his parents, grandmother, and his wife’s grandparents.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“One book is all you need. This is it. You don’t need more.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) discussing his book “Things That Matter” on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on Oct. 23, 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.