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On the roster: Mueller helps Pelosi derail impeachment – I’ll Tell You What: Within the margin of error – Trump approval up, ratings on economy best in decades – Biden rebounds, Harris’ bounce fades – Beware the denture fairy
MUELLER HELPS PELOSI DERAIL IMPEACHMENT
Politico: “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler pushed to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump during a closed-door meeting Wednesday, only to be rebuffed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to four sources familiar with the discussions. At a caucus meeting following the hotly anticipated testimony of special counsel Robert Mueller, Nadler suggested that several House committee chairs could begin drafting articles of impeachment against Trump. Pelosi called the idea premature, said the sources. … Pelosi convened the Democratic caucus following Mueller’s appearance before the Judiciary and Intelligence panels. A lengthy, animated discussion about the impeachment process followed. Sources said rank-and-file lawmakers asked about the technical aspects of an impeachment inquiry, including whether it would require a full vote of the House or could be initiated by the Judiciary Committee.”
Dems face facts – WaPo: “Many Democrats long have considered Robert S. Mueller III a potential savior, as the agent of President Trump’s eventual undoing. Wednesday’s hearings on Capitol Hill probably shattered those illusions once and for all. If Democrats hope to end the Trump presidency, they will have to do so by defeating him at the ballot box in November 2020. In reality, that has been the case for months. Still, scheduled testimony by the former special counsel before two House committees offered the possibility that he would say something that would suddenly change public perceptions and dramatically jump-start long-stalled prospects for an impeachment inquiry. That was certainly the Democrats’ goal. If anything, things could move in the opposite direction.”
Kevin Williamson: ‘The Mueller Hearings Revealed Why You Shouldn’t Bet against Trump’ – National Review: “I am not in the business of predicting election outcomes, but with all the usual caveats I will say this: If I were betting my own money on the 2020 election — today — I would not bet against Donald Trump. The Mueller circus offers us one lesson and one lesson only: The Democrats still believe they can defeat the star of The Apprentice in a reality-show election. Ain’t nobody gonna beat Donald J. Trump in a goat rodeo. The Democrats are running a scorched-earth, high-drama spectacle campaign against President Trump, who specializes in scorched-earth, high-drama spectacles and who today has the power of the presidential bully pulpit to amplify the drama and magnify the spectacle. Put another way, the Democrats apparently are intent on fighting Trump on his own ground, challenging him to a duel in the one thing he’s actually pretty good at: putting on a show.”
NYT: A seriously unserious Congress – NYT: “If you were searching for a metaphor for the withering ideal of American public service — the one that puts country before party, truth before ‘narrative’ or ‘brand’ — it’d be hard to do better than the painful spectacle of Robert Mueller trying, in his halting voice, to sound the alarm on Wednesday about Russian subversion of American democracy. … Appearing before two congressional committees rife with politicians intent on using him to fill out their own versions of reality, Mr. Mueller seemed frail and at times even confused. But he successfully rebuffed nearly all efforts to draw him beyond the boundaries of evidence established in the report he delivered about Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The exceptions came when representatives actually showed an interest in Russian meddling and Donald Trump’s embrace of it. ‘I hope this is not the new normal,’ Mr. Mueller said at one point, in response to a question about whether American candidates might now feel free to welcome foreign influence, ‘but I fear it is.’”
Senate GOP blocks election security bills – The Hill: “Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity measure on Wednesday in the wake of former special counsel Robert Mueller warning about meddling attempts during his public testimony before congressional lawmakers. Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that would require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission about foreign offers of assistance, as well as a bill to let the Senate Sergeant at Arms offer voluntary cyber assistance for personal devices and accounts of senators and staff. But Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) blocked each of the bills. She didn’t give reason for her objections, or say if she was objecting on behalf of herself or the Senate GOP caucus.”
THE RULEBOOK: WANTS AND NEEDS
“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 2
TIME OUT: ‘IN A GENTLE WAY, YOU CAN SHAKE THE WORLD’
History: “On this day in 1941, the American automaker Henry Ford sits down at his desk in Dearborn, Michigan and writes a letter to the Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The letter effusively praises Gandhi and his campaign of civil disobedience aimed at forcing the British colonial government out of India. By July of 1941, Ford’s pacifist views led him to despair at the current global situation: Nazi Germany had invaded Poland, causing Britain and France to declare war against it. The United States, led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was firmly on the side of the Allies, but Ford was convinced that the country should remain neutral… As Douglas Brinkley writes in ‘Wheels for the World,’ his history of Ford Motor Company, the automaker disliked imperialism and was hopeful that Gandhi’s campaign would succeed in pushing the British out of India and establishing Indian home rule.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 45.2 percent
Average disapproval: 51.4 percent
Net Score: -6.2 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.4 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 51% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 53% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve – 52% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 47% approve – 50% disapprove.]
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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: WITHIN THE MARGIN OF ERROR
While Dana Perino is enjoying her time off, Chris Stirewalt is joined by Kristen Soltis Anderson, co-founder of Echelon Insights to take a deep dive into all things polling. They discuss President Trump’s re-election effort, why the national polls were correct in 2016 and Kristen’s dog Wally. Plus Chris answers some electoral trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
TRUMP APPROVAL UP, RATINGS ON ECONOMY BEST IN DECADES
Fox News: “More voters rate the economy positively today than have since 2001, according to the latest Fox News Poll. In addition, approval of the job President Trump is doing on the economy stands at 52 percent (41 percent disapprove). That’s just one-point off his high of 53 percent last summer, and up from 48-46 percent in May. That job rating is helped, in part, by the 51 percent of voters now feeling the economy is in positive shape (excellent or good). The last time this many felt that way was almost two decades ago (59 percent, January 2001). However, it’s unclear whether Trump can count on these ratings come election time. While 33 percent say economic conditions will get better if he is re-elected (39 percent worse), the same number, 33 percent, think it will get better if a Democrat wins the White House (36 percent worse).”
Biden leads Trump in Ohio – Quinnipiac University: “Former Vice President Joseph Biden leads President Donald Trump 50 – 42 percent in the critical swing state of Ohio, the only leading Democratic candidate to top the Republican incumbent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. The other leading Democratic contenders each are locked in a dead heat with President Trump, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds: 46 percent for Trump to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 45 percent; Trump at 46 percent to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 45 percent; 44 – 44 percent between Trump and California Sen. Kamala Harris; 44 – 44 percent between Trump and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; 44 percent for Trump to 43 percent for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Women, black voters and independent voters give Biden his lead in the matchup with Trump.”
Could Mark Sanford cause Trump primary problems? – FiveThirtyEight: “But considering that Trump has already ‘defeated’ [Mark]Sanford once before — Trump endorsed Sanford’s primary opponent in 2018 in a last-minute tweet, and Sanford lost renomination — the issue isn’t as much about whether Sanford could defeat Trump. Rather, the question is: How much trouble could he cause the president in a primary? … Where Sanford is perhaps most in line with the Republican Party is with his stance on fiscal policy — reduce the deficit now — so if he were to run, this issue would be at the center of his presidential bid. … In theory, Sanford’s views on fiscal policy could garner him some support in the GOP, but then again, fewer Americans now see reducing the nation’s deficit as a top priority. One other factor that might encourage Sanford to run is South Carolina’s early position on the presidential primary calendar.”
BIDEN REBOUNDS, HARRIS’ BOUNCE FADES
FiveThirtyEight: “[…Polls tend to rise and fall — in what are often fairly predictable patterns — after events like debates and conventions.] Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and even Beto O’Rourke all got noticeable bounces when they officially declared for the presidency, only to fall back to their pre-declaration averages later on. It looks as though something like this is happening again following the first Democratic debate last month. If you look at the RealClearPolitics average: Biden has rebounded to 28.4 percentage points from a low of 26.0 percentage points just after the debate. … Harris has fallen to 12.2 percentage points from a peak of 15.2 percentage points. … Harris is still in better shape than she was before the debates, but she’s currently 16 points behind Biden instead of looking like she’s on the verge of overtaking him. … Why this pattern occurs is somewhat beyond the scope of this short article. But one contributing factor may be nonresponse bias — after a good debate for Harris and a poor one for Biden, for instance, Harris supporters may be more likely to respond to polls and Biden ones less so.”
NAACP forum gives preview to second Dem debate – NYT: “As ‘Robert Mueller Wednesday’ overtook Washington … Democratic presidential hopefuls laid out a different case: that President Trump is a bigot who unduly harms black communities. One by one, at the national convention of the N.A.A.C.P., the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization, the Democratic candidates chose not to discuss Mr. Mueller’s testimony in detail and instead outlined their respective plans to uplift black people. When they did mention Mr. Trump, it was often in the context of his remarks about racial minorities, and his tendency to evoke stereotypes steeped in racist history to degrade his political opponents. … The presidential forum was largely a preview of next week’s second set of Democratic debates, in which candidates are expected to spend less time indicting the current administration and more time trying to distinguish themselves from one another.”
Biden got aggressive with Booker – WaPo: “Former vice president Joe Biden took aim at his critics in the presidential field Wednesday, scoring Sen. Cory Booker’s record and Sen. Kamala D. Harris’s policy positions in a bracing new offensive that signaled a more aggressive stance heading into next week’s presidential debate. Biden’s response came as the candidates gathered here for the NAACP’s 110th convention… On Wednesday, asked by NAACP panel moderator April Ryan if his views have evolved, Biden said the focus of criminal justice needed to shift from ‘incarceration to rehabilitation’ — a solution that Booker, speaking to reporters after his earlier NAACP appearance, called ‘inadequate.’ … After Biden left the stage, he responded emphatically to Booker’s second day of criticism by trying to turn attention to his tenure as mayor of the troubled city of Newark, before he became a senator.”
Sanders campaign says Biden is lying about Medicare for all – The Hill: “Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign slammed former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday for ‘continued lies’ about Medicare for All. ‘Thank you, Joe Biden, for crediting our campaign for honesty,’ senior advisor Jeff Weaver said in a statement. ‘I’m sorry we can’t return the favor. Your continued use of the same insurance company scare tactics that were used against the Affordable Care Act is truly disheartening.’ Biden last week expanded his criticism of Medicare for All, saying the healthcare policy would be impossible without raising taxes on the middle class.
THE JUDGE’S RULING: THE LONGEST PLEASURE
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains how the president has unleashed a torrent of hatred: “When I was an undergraduate at Princeton University during the height of the Vietnam War, surrounded by fellow students who condemned it and even some who later left our country to avoid fighting in it, the mantra used by supporters of the war was, ‘America, love it or leave it.’ In my misguided ‘Bomb Hanoi’ youth, I uttered this phrase, which I now detest. The phrase itself – with its command of the government’s way or the highway – admits no dissenting opinions, suggests that all is well and proper here, and insinuates that moral norms and cultural values cannot be improved. The phrase itself is un-American. … Now, that hatred is back.” More here.
Trump urges Republicans to get on board with deficit deal ahead of Thursday House vote – WaPo
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announces Aug. 2 resignation – AP
House panel delays Kellyanne Conway contempt vote amid White House talks – Fox News
Due to party infighting House Dems pull Israel resolution – Politico
AUDIBLE: THANKS OBAMA
“I doubt [President Obama] would have picked me if this accusation of my being wrong on civil rights was correct.” – Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday at the NAACP’s convention in Detroit.
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BEWARE THE DENTURE FAIRY
WPMT: “An Indiana woman reportedly showed up to a meeting with a probation officer wearing somebody else’s dentures. According to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, a woman reported her dentures stolen Monday and said Joann Childers had not only taken the teeth but was also sporting the stolen smile. The same day, a deputy had a meeting with Childers in which he noticed she was wearing dentures that were clearly not hers, the post said. On Wednesday, deputies located Childers at her home and spoke to her about the stolen teeth. While there, they reportedly spotted the dentures in question – easily identified by the victim’s name written on them. Childers is facing theft charges, and the dentures have been recovered.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Scoff if you will, but I stayed home Tuesday to watch a chess game. I don’t get ESPN in my office, and I was not about to miss the tiebreaking final game of the man vs. machine epic: the best humanity has to offer, Garry Kasparov, vs. the best in silicon, X3D Fritz.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Nov. 21, 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.