Bernie

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On the roster: When every day is Presidents’ Day – Would Biden be the real frontrunner? – List of litigants against Trump emergency growing – Audible: Like freedom fries? – Tudder for an udder

WHEN EVERY DAY IS PRESIDENTS’ DAY
We are in the midst of a needful and long-overdue discussion about executive authority.

But don’t expect it to last.

In the past seven decades, Americans have substantially learned to live without the small-r republicanism that was so much a part of our founding and first century and a half of our history.

Consider the long, slouchy slide into the abomination that we call “Presidents’ Day.” The holiday is still “George Washington’s Birthday” by law, having survived an effort in 1968 to standardize the observance as a generic honor for all presidents.

Abraham Lincoln, born on Feb. 12, never had a federal observance of his own, but most states had holidays for the Great Emancipator. Washington was born on Feb. 22, so this created something of a holiday logjam in February, which was unhelpful for schools and employers.

Over time, confusion between state and federal observances and the pressure from advertisers who wanted a standard way to hawk mattresses and minivans, dumbed down the holiday.

While it’s true that it doesn’t really matter what we call the day for the sake of celebrations. Americans ought not need to be told how and when exactly to venerate our two greatest leaders. Plus, ski weekends…

What does matter, though, is that the generic holiday is an unfortunate reflection of the royalist strain that has so much taken hold of American political thinking.

There’s no doubt that in our republic, the president is afforded many of the powers of a term-limited king. The power of the commander in chief to defend against an attack or of whether to pardon a criminal are magisterial indeed.

The fear among the Federalists in support of the Constitution was, in fact, that the legislative branch would be too powerful and that the executive would be too puny to get the job done. Sapped of the capacity for decisive action, the executive branch would become a kind of ceremonial head of state – a hood ornament for the country. Meanwhile, Congress would be unable to provide decisive responses to *ahem* national emergencies.

It’s turned out to be exactly the opposite. Congress can seldom act, it’s true. But the response from what is supposed to be the preeminent branch has been to cede its own authority. For decades now and under the control of both parties, Congress has taken itself from the lion of our government into a pipsqueak.

The idea behind venerating Washington and Lincoln is that they were special men who, at crucial moments, led the country out of dangerous straits and into greater glories. And in both cases, that given the opportunity to be demagogues or to hoard power for themselves, they instead placed those authorities back in the hands of the representatives of the people.

But the reason their self-sacrifice is so remarkable is that it is so rare. And it is so rare because, as the verdict of 10,000 years of history clearly shows, the people generally don’t want the power. Autocracy and highly centralized power haven’t been the norm in human history just because of the efforts autocrats, but also the will of the people.

Being a citizen in a republic is harder duty than being the subject of a king or queen. You have to make decisions. You have to know the facts. You have to participate.

The imperial American presidency has been growing and growing to the point now where we are even having a discussion about whether the current occupant of the Oval Office can even disregard the domestic spending direction of the Congress. That we are even in debate on the subject tells us how far we have fallen.

And in this case, like every executive usurpation that has come before, the executive points to the abuses that came before and were allowed to stand by a craven Congress. We won’t here delve into the cause of congressional cravenness, except to say that the individual ambitions of careerist lawmakers has made lawmaking seem rather too icky.

Where we’ve landed, and this has been very much for the current presidency and the one before it, is where everything seems focused on the man in the White House. Day after day after day of focus on one single human. As if a president could be so powerful… 

Whatever sign they hung in the window at the mattress store today doesn’t matter, but we would submit that when we divorced the observance from the individual men, it was another step toward a monarchical America.    

The truth that most of us would probably not like to confront is that America likes it better that way.

THE RULEBOOK: FANCY THAT
“The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter…” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 71

TIME OUT: UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Fashion critic Vanessa Friedman shares some thoughts on the passing of the original “influencer.” NYT: “What does it mean to have your greatest legacy be one of ‘taste?’ I have been thinking about this since the news of Lee Radziwill’s death arrived, along with the flood of photographs from all corners of social media featuring Ms. Radziwill throughout her life — in white corduroys and a blue boat-neck T-shirt, in bouffant chignon and tunics; in a pink shift with her sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, atop an elephant during a tour of India; in a white-and-silver beaded gown dancing with Truman Capote at his Black and White Ball; in a black patent python jacket — all of them used to pay homage to her extraordinary ‘taste.’ Been thinking about it since some of the obituaries and reminiscences almost seem to use the word as a backhanded compliment; a reference to a life that had more impact in style than substance… But are the two really so unrelated?”

Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

WOULD BIDEN BE THE REAL FRONTRUNNER?

Politico:Joe Biden’s big lead in early Democratic 2020 polling might be a bunch of malarkey. While most polls show the former vice president hovering around 30 percent of the Democratic primary vote, well ahead of second-place Sen. Bernie Sanders, two recent surveys paint a starkly different picture — raising the question of whether Biden is a real front-runner or just has big name-recognition. Those polls show far more Democratic voters undecided about which candidate to support, and they pegged Biden’s backing at a much less intimidating 9 to 12 percent. The results are so varied partly thanks to different methodological choices by the pollsters. But parsing the results is more than an academic exercise: While Biden weighs a third campaign for the presidency, he and his allies must consider whether polls a year before primary season really reflect Biden’s true strength — and his potential rivals have to calculate whether the former vice president could overwhelm lesser-known challengers in 2020.”

The mom lane – The Boston Globe: “As the 2020 Democratic primary shapes up, its leading women candidates – accomplished stateswomen, all – are drawing attention to another role they play: Mom. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar both talked about being mothers in the opening statements of their presidential bids. Senator Kamala Harris speaks often of her husband’s two children and the nickname they have given her: Momala. There are already indications that the women of 2020 plan to draw on their own experiences to embrace policies that affect mothers and working parents more broadly, bringing such issues as child care and family leave firmly into the political mainstream. This week, for example, Warren plans to introduce a universal child care and early learning plan, which she has said would be paid for by taxing the wealth of the richest Americans.”

Busy weekend on the trail – AP: “Five Democratic senators vying for their party’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 fanned out across the country Saturday to campaign and meet voters. Kamala Harris of California spent her second straight day in the pivotal early-voting state of South Carolina, holding a town hall meeting in Columbia, the capital. Also visiting the state was Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who met with an estimated 800 voters in Greenville before heading to Georgia… Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York both focused on New Hampshire. Booker made his first visit to there since joining the race earlier this month, holding a question-and-answer session with more than 400 voters in Portsmouth. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, meanwhile, made her own uncommon choice for early campaigning by visiting Wisconsin before heading to Iowa, home to the nation’s first caucus. And a Democratic heavyweight who’s yet to address his 2020 plans, former Vice President Joe Biden, made his own high-profile appearance at the Munich Security Conference.”

Bernie’s team talked of grim standing with non-white voters –  NYT: “Shortly after Senator Bernie Sanders suffered a crushing loss in South Carolina’s Democratic primary in 2016, his campaign’s African-American outreach team sent a memo to top campaign leaders with an urgent warning. ‘The margin by which we lost the African-American vote has got to be — at the very least — cut in half or there simply is no path to victory,’ the team wrote in the memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Sanders had won 14 percent of the black vote there compared with 86 percent for Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. Over seven pages, the team outlined a strategy for winning black voters that included using social media influencers and having Mr. Sanders give a major speech on discrimination in a city like St. Louis or Cincinnati. Mr. Sanders’s inner circle did not respond.”

LIST OF LITIGANTS AGAINST TRUMP EMERGENCY GROWING
NBC News: “California and a dozen other states are filing a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. ‘The president admitted that there’s not a basis for the declaration. He admitted there’s no crisis at the border. He’s now trying to rob funds that were allocated by Congress legally to the various states and people of our states,’ Becerra told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Monday afternoon. ‘The separation of powers is being violated, we’re going to go out there and make sure that Donald Trump cannot steal money from the states and people who need them, since we paid the taxpayer dollars to Washington, D.C., to get those services,’ he said. … New Jersey, Colorado, and Connecticut all confirmed to NBC News they are a part of the lawsuit. ‘The only national emergency is the president’s trafficking in lies and deceit,’ Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.”

Stephen Miller on the hot seat – USA Today: “During an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ host Chris Wallace pressed [senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller] on the need for a national emergency, citing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data showing between 80 to 90 percent of drugs seized in attempted smugglings happened at ports of entry. … Wallace pressed Miller to cite another example from the 59 times presidents used the National Emergency Act where it was invoked to obtain money that Congress had refused to appropriate. Miller did not cite such a precedent and took issue with the premise of the question. ‘They didn’t refuse to appropriate it,’ Miller said. ‘They passed a law specifically saying the president could have this authority. It’s in the plain statute. That’s the decision that Congress made, and if people don’t like that, they can address it.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate McCabe’s claimsWaPo

North Carolina election officials make their case against GOP ‘ballot harvesting’ in unresolved House raceRaleigh News & Observer

AUDIBLE: LIKE FREEDOM FRIES?
“I think that whatever you eat is a very personal decision and everybody should eat what they want to eat. That’s America- that’s what we believe in freedom.” – Presidential Candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) explained his vegan diet to his voters via twitter over the weekend.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, be serious, neither [Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld] nor [Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan] can be classified as ‘notable’. I’d put [Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich] in that category, but I don’t think he’ll get into a race that he knows for sure that he can’t win.” Lou Banas, Brea,Calif

[Ed. Note: I can’t be sure of your definition of notability, Mr. Banas. But the second-term governor of a state of 6 million or so souls strikes me as within any reasonable definition. The ting about primary challenges is that they don’t have to be successful to do their damage. In 1980, Ted Kennedy didn’t beat Jimmy Carter, nor did Pat Buchanan unhorse George H.W. Bush in 1992, but both campaigns were certainly consequential. That’s why the Trump campaign is rightly worried about just such a run.]

“One of the greatest walls between us, the people, and an overzealous government is the separation of powers. The Founding Fathers, in perhaps one of their greatest acts of genius, divided the power of government into three separate branches so as to insure there was no party with absolute power. Declaring an ‘emergency’, after the president has already given the congress the opportunity to act and has acted, creates a huge breach in this wall of protection. Gaining short-term funds for building a border wall in exchange for the Constitutional wall of protection created by the separation of powers is neither conservative nor is it wise. Liberals often believe the end justifies the means, I hope conservatives do not stray down this dangerous road.” Steve Bartlett, Greenville, S.C.

[Ed. Note: The Constitution is always getting strange new respect from the party out of power. We could call it hypocrisy, but that would be too narrow of a view. In fact, our charter has very much in mind keeping majorities from turning into steamrollers. So then maybe it makes a certain sense that the party out of power holds the Constitution in greater reverence.]

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TUDDER FOR AN UDDER

Reuters: “A Tinder-inspired app is helping farmers match up potential partners for their cattle. Called ‘Tudder’ ― a mix of dating app Tinder and udder – it lets farmers swipe right on cattle they like the look of. They are then directed to a page on the SellMyLivestock website where they can browse more pictures and data about the animals before deciding whether to buy. Valuable information is available on matters like milk yield and protein content, or calving potential, explained Doug Bairner, CEO of Hectare Agritech which runs SellMyLivestock (SML) and Graindex, a UK-based online agritech trading platform. ‘Matching livestock online is even easier than it is to match humans because there’s a huge amount of data that sits behind these wonderful animals that predicts what their offspring will be,’ he said.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Nixon might indeed have committed crimes. But the spectacle of an ex-president on trial and perhaps even in jail was something Ford would not allow the country to go through.”  – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Liz Friden contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

CONCORD, N.H. – The Granite State may have been Bernie Sanders country in the 2016 Democratic primary, but Sen. Kamala Harris says she won’t follow in the independent senator from Vermont’s footsteps.

Asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy if she would have to run as a democratic socialist – which is how Sanders often describes himself, the Democrat from California quickly and bluntly answered that “I am not a democratic socialist.”

Harris spoke on Monday as she took questions from reporters during her in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire for the first time since launching her presidential campaign four weeks ago.

SANDERS POISED TO ANNOUNCE 2020 DECISION BY END OF FEBRUARY, SOURCES SAY

Sanders, a progressive populist who put up a serious fight against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, is likely to launch before the end of the month a second straight bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In recent weeks some Democrats have questioned whether Harris was a “progressive prosecutor” during her years as San Francisco district attorney and later as California attorney general.

Harris also vowed to spend “a lot of time” in New Hampshire.

“I’m here because I believe that this is a very important state and intend to spend a lot of time here, and I intend to compete for the votes here and I’m going to put a lot of effort into doing that,” Harris highlighted after being asked by Fox News if the state was a lower priority than the other early-voting states in the primary and caucus calendar.

“It’s an important state. It is a state of people who have a lot of needs and need to be seen and heard,” she spotlighted.

HARRIS GIVES AWKWARD RESPONSE WHEN ASKED ABOUT JUSSIE SMOLLETT CLAIMS

Harris is the daughter of parents from Jamaica and India and would be the first woman and second African-American to win the White House if she ultimately succeeds.

Even before her formal launch, the candidate headed to South Carolina, the first southern state to hold a primary. And she headed to Iowa – which votes first – a few days later.

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Iowa and South Carolina — a state where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate — are likely to figure heavily into Harris’ prospects. Harris campaigned in support of fellow Democrats in South Carolina in last year’s midterm elections.

Harris vowed at the beginning of an event at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord to spend lots of time campaigning in the Granite State. She repeated that pledge at a large event later Monday in Portsmouth.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Donald Trump, speaking in a major foreign policy address in Miami to members of the Venezuelan community, declared Monday that "a new day is coming in Latin America" and issued a stark assessment that "socialism is dying" across the world.

In a wide-ranging rebuke of socialism that seemed targeted as much at Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua as it was at congressional Democrats, Trump remarked: "We know that socialism is not about justice, it’s not about equality, it’s not about lifting up the poor — it’s about one thing only: power for the ruling class. And, the more power they get, the more they crave. They want to run health care, run transportation and finance, run energy, education, run everything. They want the power to decide who wins and who loses, who’s up and who’s down, what’s true and what’s false, and even who lives and who dies."

Before a supportive and raucous crowd at Florida International University in Miami Trump announced, flanked by large American and Venezuelan flags, "This will never happen to us. … America will never be a socialist country."

The president’s vow came as Democrats have proposed an evolving agenda of "Medicare-for-all," free college tuition, minimum wage increases and even guaranteed basic income.

"When Venezuela is free, and Cuba is free, and Nicaragua is free, this will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history," Trump said.

The address was the second time Trump publicly and forcefully has condemned what he has called "the horrors of socialism and communism" and "massive wealth confiscation" in recent weeks, following his similar vow during the State of the Union address that "America will never be a socialist country."

That remark, which left Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., stone-faced, came as part of a larger condemnation of disputed President Nicolas Maduro for "turning that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair" through a mixture of "brutality" and "socialist policies."

Venezuelan boys holding cups of a grape-flavored drink, part of the free lunch that is given out daily at the "Divina Providencia" migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Venezuelan boys holding cups of a grape-flavored drink, part of the free lunch that is given out daily at the "Divina Providencia" migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

On Monday, Trump hammered that theme repeatedly and called on Venezuela’s military to rise up and take on Maduro, who has blocked U.S. humanitarian aid shipments.

"We know the truth about socialism in Venzuela, in Cuba, in Nicaragua, and all around the world. Socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty," Trump said. "Socialism promises unity, but it delivers hatred and it delivers division. Socialism promises a better future, but it always returns to the darkest chapters of the past. That never fails. It always happens. Socialism is a sad and discredited ideology rooted in a total ignorance of history and human nature, which is why socialism, eventually, must always give rise to tyranny — which it does. Socialists profess a love of diversity, but they always insist on absolute conformity."

DEMS SIT EXPRESSIONLESS AS TRUMP DECLARES SOCIALISM WILL NEVER COME TO THE U.S.

As the crowd chanted "USA," Trump, who was joined by first lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser John Bolton, asserted, "The people of Venezuela stand at the threshold of history — ready to reclaim their country and to reclaim their future. Not long ago, Venezuela was the wealthiest nation by far in South America. But, years of socialist rule have brought this once-thriving nation to the brink of ruin.

"The results have been catastrophic," Trump continued. "Almost 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty. In 2018, hyperinflation in Venezuela exceeded one million percent. Crippling shortages of food and medicine plague the country. Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on."

FOX NEWS POLL: CAPITALISM TRUMPS SOCIALISM

As the monthslong political crisis in Venezuela continued, Trump took multiple generalized shots at socialism that pointedly were not limited to the country’s borders.

"America will never be a socialist country."

— President Trump

"The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and Cuba as well," Trump said, as the crowd roared. "Do we love Cuba? Do we love Nicaragua? Great countries. Great potential."

SOCIALIST OCASIO-CORTEZ SAYS TRUMP IS ‘SCARED’ OF SOCALISM, AS AMAZON BAILS ON NYC

Trump again declared that Guaido was the country’s rightful president amid what he called an unprecedented "humanitarian disaster." He also made a public case to Venezuela’s military, which could play a decisive role in the stalemate, to support Guaido’s government. The Venezuelan military largely has remained loyal to Maduro.

Free lunches prepped with lentils, a slice of bologna, rice and a piece of plantain ready to be served at a migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Free lunches prepped with lentils, a slice of bologna, rice and a piece of plantain ready to be served at a migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Trump told the Venezuelan military that they "have a clear choice — work toward democracy for their future and the future of their families, or they will lose everything they have."

The Maduro-controlled military has blocked the U.S. from moving tons of humanitarian aid airlifted in recent days to the Colombian border with Venezuela. The aid shipments have been meant in part to emphasize the hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine that are gripping Venezuela.

"Unfortunately, Dictator Maduro has blocked this life-saving aid from entering the country. He would rather see his people starve than give them aid, than help them," Trump said. "Millions of Venezuelans are starving and suffering while a small handful at the top of the Maduro regime plunder the regime into poverty and death. We know who they are and we know where they keep the billions of dollars they have stolen."

The aid is supposed to be moved into Venezuela on Feb. 23 by supporters of Guaido. But, Maduro has called the aid unnecessary and said it constituted an attempt to destabilize his government.

Trump delivered the remarks to a supportive audience at Florida International University in Miami. South Florida is home to more than 100,000 Venezuelans and Venezuelan-Americans, the largest concentration in the country. Trump has largely been spending the holiday weekend at his private club in West Palm Beach.

Juan Guaido speaking during an economic forum in Caracas last week. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Juan Guaido speaking during an economic forum in Caracas last week. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Critics said Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent, making his second term illegal.

On Sunday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — whom Trump invoked in his Monday address — visited a border staging point for U.S. aid to Venezuela and warned soldiers loyal to Maduro that it would be a "crime against humanity" if they blocked entry of the goods being channeled through Maduro’s rivals.

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An enthusiastic throng of Venezuelan migrants, some chanting "Rubio! Liberty," met the senator as he visited Cucuta and held a news conference in sight of a border bridge that has been flooded in recent months by people escaping the hardships of Venezuela’s hyperinflation and severe shortages of food and medicine.

While Russia, China, Turkey and a large number of Asian and African countries still back Maduro, Rubio dismissed them, saying in English: "The countries that support Maduro do not surprise us. All of them are corrupt and none of them is a democracy and many of them are owed billions of dollars that they want to get paid by the corrupt regime."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Vice President Joe Biden regularly tops the polls of potential Democratic candidates in 2020, but pollsters are unsure if this lead is due to popularity or name-recognition.

“These polls are today’s reality,” Democratic pollster John Anzalone told Politico. “And sometimes, today’s reality holds until tomorrow and all the way until next year. And other times, today’s reality changes. Primaries are like that.”

The Democratic firm Bold Blue Campaigns recently carried out a national poll of the potential Democratic candidates for president in 2020 and gave the recipients the option of saying they are undecided, which became the most common response with 48 percent. Biden came in first, but with only 12 percent, just above California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris with 11 percent and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won 9 percent.

Most polls show that “it’s a very open field,” said Steen Kirby, who works as a campaigns and data specialist for Bold Blue. “People are weighing their options. I think the reason that so many people are getting in is because this is a 1-to-15 percent spread, not a 1-to-30 percent spread. It’s very different from 2016, when Hillary Clinton was at 40 or 50 percent.”

Democratic pollster Margie Omero added that the different polls of 20202 Democratic candidates “still all tell the same story: that it’s a wide-open race. We should not be looking at these early polls as signs of what’s going to happen a year from now.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

David Brooks, the center-right political columnist at The New York Times, on Sunday said that he could never support a candidate who backs the Green New Deal because it would concentrate power in the “hands of the Washington elite” at a level not seen since WWII.

Brooks half-joked that today’s Democratic field appears to take the position "somewhere to the left of Che Guevara.”

He said Democrats have done a good job in distancing themselves from moderates who could be swayed from supporting Trump.

Brooks said that under the Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, Washington "planners" would take over the energy business, take over the transportation business and take over health care.

"This is simply the government taking control of large swaths of the American economy, and that’s something I don’t think the government is capable of doing," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced last week that the Senate will vote soon on the Green New Deal resolution. It calls for dramatic steps to virtually eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and has been mocked by critics as unrealistic and veering into socialism. Republicans almost universally oppose it.

President Trump slammed it as not much more than “a high school term paper.”

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So far, most of the senators seeking the Democratic nomination for president back it, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s likely to enter the Democratic primary soon, is also a supporter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: Fox News Politics

Conservative Twitter user Jacob Wohl claimed that Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has never donated to charity.

“FACT: Bernie Sander [sic] is worth $13 Million, but according to records, he has never donated a single dime to charity,” Wohl tweeted Jan. 24.

Verdict: False

Sanders has donated thousands of dollars to charity in the last several years. While the senator is well off, his estimated net worth falls far below $13 million.

Fact Check:

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is well known for his criticism of the wealthy. “We live in a nation owned and controlled by a small number of multi-billionaires whose greed, incredible greed, insatiable greed, is having an unbelievably negative impact on the fabric of our entire country,” he told The Real News Network in December.

In response, Sanders’ critics will frequently point out that he, himself, is well off. The Vermont senator owns a summer home, and between book royalties and his congressional salary, has at times earned more than $1 million a year.

While Wohl asserted that Sanders is worth $13 million, OpenSecrets.org estimated that Sanders had a net worth somewhere between $271,033 and $1,153,999 in 2015. Among all senators, he ranked 77th in terms of wealth.

Wohl was also incorrect about Sanders’ history of donations. According to his financial disclosure statements, the senator signed an agreement in February 2011 with Avalon Publishing Group to have the royalties from his book, “The Speech,” go to charity. These proceeds are an ongoing source of charitable giving that have been noted in all of Sanders’ financial disclosures since the book was released.

Disclosure statements for 2011 indicate that he donated a total of $21,810 that year – $20,960 from his book royalties and $850 for an appearance on the talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Senate ethics rules bar members from collecting fees for speeches and other appearances.

His financial disclosures for 2012 show that Sanders donated $5,122 worth of book royalties to charity. His 2013 disclosures specify that Avalon donated $1,506 in speaking fees to the Addison County Parent/Child Center.

Sanders released his 2014 tax return while running for president. The return indicates that he and his wife gave a total of $8,350 to charity, or 4 percent of their income that year. His 2014 financial disclosure form shows $1,017 in speeches for Avalon, which were donated to the same child center from the year before. He donated $850 to the anti-poverty group Northeast Kingdom Community Action for an appearance on “Bill Maher.”

In 2015, he donated another $850 from “Bill Maher.” (Sanders also appears to have donated $3,035 in speaking fees from Avalon.) That year, his campaign rejected a $2,700 contribution from Martin Shkreli, the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO infamous for hiking up the price of the drug Daraprim, instead donating it to the Whitman-Walker Health clinic in Washington, D.C. “We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” a Sanders campaign spokesperson said at the time.

In 2016, Sanders donated $4,050 in appearances to charity. The beneficiaries were Burlington Meals on Wheels, the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network and a Virginia food bank, according to The Burlington Free Press. No donations were itemized for 2017.

When Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he told a crowd at a fundraising drive that he questioned the “fundamental concepts on which charities are based,” according to a 1981 article from The New York Times. Sanders went on to argue that the government should have control over the social programs typically undertaken by charitable organizations.

Neither Wohl nor Sanders’ office responded to a request for comment.

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Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Report: Bernie Sanders Records Campaign Announcement Video

Bernie Sanders has recorded a campaign video in which he says he’s running for president in 2020, Politico reports, citing two people familiar. It’s unclear when, or whether, the video will be released, Politico says.

Sanders, 77, an independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, said earlier this week he would introduce a Medicare for All bill “fairly soon.” In the event of a campaign announcement, he would be joining a widening group of presidential hopefuls including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

Sanders spokeswoman Sarah Ford didn’t respond to a request for comment from Politico. In January, Politico reported that the Sanders team was in talks with film-making company Means of Production, which created New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign video in the 2018 midterm election.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown

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On the roster: Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown – Time Out: Teddy’s bears – Fox Poll: Majority thinks Dems can unseat Trump in 2020 – Schultz won’t run if Dems nominate a centrist – Something special turnip-ed eventually

TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY, AVOIDS SHUTDOWN
NYT:President Trump declared a national emergency at the border on Friday to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a fundamental confrontation over separation of powers. In a televised announcement in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign the declaration to protect the country from the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico, which he characterized as a profound threat to national security. ‘We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,’ he said. … The declaration will enable Mr. Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will also use more traditional presidential budgetary discretion to tap $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund.”

Will a legal war be next? – Politico: “President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency … is set to unleash a furious legal war that could bog down the project for months or years. Immigrant rights advocates, property rights activists, environmentalists, Democratic lawmakers and state officials are all loudly signaling plans for a hail of legal writs aimed at blocking the president from what they have denounced as an unconstitutional end-run around the usual budget process. … [H]istorically it has been almost unthinkable for judges to interfere with or second-guess a president’s declaration of a military or national security emergency. However, legal experts said Trump’s history of erratic and inflammatory statements, his frequent rhetorical disconnects with senior officials in his administration and his tendency to see crises that others view as completely contrived mean that challengers stand a strong chance of finding a judge willing to throw a monkey wrench into the president’s plans.”

Fox Poll: Most voters favor immigration deal – Fox News: “A sizable majority of voters favors a broad immigration deal that includes a border barrier, non-barrier security measures, and humanitarian aid. At the same time, support for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border stands its highest since 2015. The number favoring the wall inched up for the second time in two months to 46 percent, according to the latest Fox News Poll. It was 43 percent last month during the government shutdown and 39 percent in September. The high mark was 50 percent in November 2015. Currently, 50 percent oppose the wall, down one point since January. A bipartisan 66 percent majority favors a budget deal that includes funding for some form of a border barrier, plus other security measures and humanitarian relief.”

THE RULEBOOK: STAY IN YOUR LANE
“In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 14

TIME OUT: TEDDY’S BEARS
History: “On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution. One of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting expeditions provided the inspiration for the Teddy bear. … Reports differ as to the exact details of the inspiration behind the teddy bear, but it is thought that while hunting in Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt came upon an old injured black bear that his guides had tied to a tree. (The age, sex and state of health of the bear remain contested.) While some reports claim Roosevelt shot the bear out of pity for his suffering, others insist he set the bear free. Political cartoonists later portrayed the bear as a cub, implying that under the tough, outdoorsy and macho image of Roosevelt lay a much softer, more sensitive interior.”

Flag on the play? - Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

FOX POLL: MAJORITY THINKS DEMS CAN UNSEAT TRUMP IN 2020
Fox News: “After President Donald Trump took office, many voters doubted he would finish his term, much less stand for re-election. But, as the 2020 race heats up, voters are increasingly confident the eventual Democratic nominee will indeed face off against the current occupant of the White House. In August 2017, 58 percent thought Trump would finish his term. Now 70 percent do, according to the latest Fox News Poll released Thursday. The poll also found, paradoxically, an even higher number — 80 percent — think Trump will run for re-election. Fourteen percent do not. … So what are the odds the Democrats defeat Trump? A 55-percent majority say either excellent (19 percent) or good (36 percent) while 39 percent think they have either no chance (13 percent) or not much of one (26 percent). Most Democrats (84 percent) and a plurality of independents (48 percent) think the Democratic Party’s chances are excellent or good…”

Iowa Poll: Voters think a ‘seasoned’ politician can defeat Trump – Des Moines Register:Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the list of potential presidential candidates preferred by Iowa’s likely Democratic caucus-goers, reflecting their belief that it will take political experience to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. The results are part of a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, setting the stage for the contest that will sweep across Iowa in the next 14 months. … Nearly half of poll respondents in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state — 49 percent — say the right person to defeat Trump should be a ‘seasoned political hand’ rather than a ‘newcomer.’ … Thirty-six percent of poll respondents say a political ‘newcomer’ is best suited to defeat the president. In that role, Iowans currently favor Beto O’Rourke…”

Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Weld announces exploratory committee – ABC News: “Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, little-known on the national stage but well-respected among veterans in the GOP establishment, announced an exploratory committee for president on Friday, becoming the first Republican to move toward a serious primary challenge against President Donald Trump. There are new signs he won’t be the last. In the immediate aftermath of the 73-year-old Weld’s announcement at a breakfast event in New Hampshire, a senior aide for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich indicated Kasich is likely to launch a primary challenge as well. … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, met privately last week with conservative leader Bill Kristol, who’s driving an effort to recruit a top-tier Trump primary challenger and operatives on the ground in key states. … Weld’s move makes Trump the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.”

Team Trump keeping close eye on Harris, Warren and Booker – Politico: “Donald Trump’s political advisers are homing in on three declared Democratic candidates who they believe are the most viable at this early stage of the campaign. The reelection campaign has begun compiling opposition research on Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and is eyeing opportunities to attack them. … Trump’s advisers are certain the list of announced Democratic candidates will grow exponentially before the first primary debate in June, and that their targets are certain to fluctuate over time. … Interviews with more than two dozen of the president’s closest advisers reveal that the Trump operation is watching the opening days of the Democratic primary with a mix of relief over the field’s sprint to the left, surprise over Harris’ impressive launch, and trepidation over the prospect of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown threatening Trump’s Midwest stranglehold.”

SCHULTZ WON’T RUN IF DEMS NOMINATE A CENTRIST
WaPo: “Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said Thursday that he would be willing to abandon his presidential ambitions midstream if Democrats nominate a centrist who makes it too difficult for him to win as an independent candidate. Schultz, who made the comments while visiting The Washington Post, has premised his exploration of a presidential campaign on the assumption that Democrats are likely to nominate a candidate that embraces what he calls ‘far-left’ ideas that will turn off enough moderate voters to open space for an independent candidate. He has paid for internal polling that he says suggest he would be competitive in a three-way race against President Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A more moderate Democratic nominee, such as former vice president Joe Biden or former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, could complicate Schultz’s perceived path to victory.”

Beto heads to the Midwest – Politico: “Beto O’Rourke is hitting the road again, this time for the Midwest. Following a massive rally in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, on Monday, the former Texas congressman and potential presidential candidate will visit with students at University of Wisconsin, Madison on Friday. He will then travel to Chicago, where he will address a national conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute on Saturday. Julián Castro, who has already declared for president, is also scheduled to speak at that event. O’Rourke’s meeting with students is closed to the media, a spokesman confirmed. … The events mark O’Rourke’s first public steps outside of Texas since a solo road trip that drew widespread attention throughout the Southwest. The visits come as O’Rourke edges closer to a presidential campaign. He has said he will make a decision about entering the race by the end of the month.”

Poll: New Jersey voters aren’t feeling Booker’s presidential bid – Monmouth University: “Sen. Cory Booker’s nascent presidential bid may get mixed reviews in his home state, but he starts off on much better footing than New Jersey’s last major contender, former governor Chris Christie. The Monmouth University Poll finds that Booker continues to earn a net positive job rating from Garden State residents, although his disapproval numbers have climbed. Most feel he will not be able to keep up with his senatorial duties while he is running for president but don’t think he needs to resign. However, if Booker is able to win the Democratic nomination, most New Jerseyans say he should forego a simultaneous run to retain his U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Booker earns a 48% approve to 36% disapprove rating from Garden State residents for his performance as the state’s junior U.S. senator. … [Booker’s] disapproval rating is the highest it has been since he took office in 2013.”

Dems announce first debate details – NYT: “The Democratic National Committee on Thursday unveiled the criteria for participation in the first two presidential primary debates, splitting the debates across two consecutive nights to accommodate an already sprawling field of candidates. … To qualify, a candidate must either reach 1 percent in three approved polls or raise at least $65,000 from 200 donors in 20 different states. Each candidate’s slot will be selected by a random drawing. The criteria will apply only to the first two debates, scheduled for back-to-back weeknights in June and July, allowing the committee to update its requirements as the field shifts. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are sponsoring the first debate, and CNN will host the second, with specific dates and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returns to work NBC News

Pergram: ‘Trump needs a transfer, may have to rob Peter to pay Paul’ Fox News

Interesting read: ‘The most important new woman in Congress is not who you think’Politico

SupCo to decide whether citizenship question can be included in 2020 census Fox News

McCabe rep downplays DOJ discussions on using 25th Amendment to oust TrumpFox News

AUDIBLE: TIME WILL TELL
“We’re nicer people. I mean look who they produced.” – Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said of Republicans and Trump to Politico. Brown added that Democrats will continue to remain nice to one another through primary season.  

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rush Limbaugh. 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.

Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

SOMETHING SPECIAL TURNIP-ED EVENTUALLY
WEHT: “Valentine’s Day is a chance to get your significant other something special. Sometimes, people will let you in on what they’re looking for, but one Ohio County man’s Valentine’s mix-up caused some big laughs on Thursday. Allan and Nina Harris, of Hartford, [Kentucky] have been married since 2006. For Valentine’s Day this year, Nina wanted something that would last so she told Allan that if he got her flowers, she’d like some tulips that she could plant outside. Tulips are an annual, which means they will come back every year. However, Nina did not know how to react when Allan showed up with turnips for Valentine’s Day on Thursday. Allan had apparently misunderstood what Nina wanted. Once the couple worked through what had happened, Allan did eventually go and get some tulips as well.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“One price of demystifying the universe is that science, unlike religion, asks only how, not why. As to the purpose of things, science is silent. But if science cannot talk about meaning, it can talk about harmony. And Halley’s [Comet] is at once a symbol and a proof of a deep harmony of the spheres.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 13, 1985. 

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown – Time Out: Teddy’s bears – Fox Poll: Majority thinks Dems can unseat Trump in 2020 – Schultz won’t run if Dems nominate a centrist – Something special turnip-ed eventually

TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY, AVOIDS SHUTDOWN
NYT:President Trump declared a national emergency at the border on Friday to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a fundamental confrontation over separation of powers. In a televised announcement in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign the declaration to protect the country from the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico, which he characterized as a profound threat to national security. ‘We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,’ he said. … The declaration will enable Mr. Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will also use more traditional presidential budgetary discretion to tap $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund.”

Will a legal war be next? – Politico: “President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency … is set to unleash a furious legal war that could bog down the project for months or years. Immigrant rights advocates, property rights activists, environmentalists, Democratic lawmakers and state officials are all loudly signaling plans for a hail of legal writs aimed at blocking the president from what they have denounced as an unconstitutional end-run around the usual budget process. … [H]istorically it has been almost unthinkable for judges to interfere with or second-guess a president’s declaration of a military or national security emergency. However, legal experts said Trump’s history of erratic and inflammatory statements, his frequent rhetorical disconnects with senior officials in his administration and his tendency to see crises that others view as completely contrived mean that challengers stand a strong chance of finding a judge willing to throw a monkey wrench into the president’s plans.”

Fox Poll: Most voters favor immigration deal – Fox News: “A sizable majority of voters favors a broad immigration deal that includes a border barrier, non-barrier security measures, and humanitarian aid. At the same time, support for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border stands its highest since 2015. The number favoring the wall inched up for the second time in two months to 46 percent, according to the latest Fox News Poll. It was 43 percent last month during the government shutdown and 39 percent in September. The high mark was 50 percent in November 2015. Currently, 50 percent oppose the wall, down one point since January. A bipartisan 66 percent majority favors a budget deal that includes funding for some form of a border barrier, plus other security measures and humanitarian relief.”

THE RULEBOOK: STAY IN YOUR LANE
“In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 14

TIME OUT: TEDDY’S BEARS
History: “On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution. One of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting expeditions provided the inspiration for the Teddy bear. … Reports differ as to the exact details of the inspiration behind the teddy bear, but it is thought that while hunting in Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt came upon an old injured black bear that his guides had tied to a tree. (The age, sex and state of health of the bear remain contested.) While some reports claim Roosevelt shot the bear out of pity for his suffering, others insist he set the bear free. Political cartoonists later portrayed the bear as a cub, implying that under the tough, outdoorsy and macho image of Roosevelt lay a much softer, more sensitive interior.”

Flag on the play? - Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

FOX POLL: MAJORITY THINKS DEMS CAN UNSEAT TRUMP IN 2020
Fox News: “After President Donald Trump took office, many voters doubted he would finish his term, much less stand for re-election. But, as the 2020 race heats up, voters are increasingly confident the eventual Democratic nominee will indeed face off against the current occupant of the White House. In August 2017, 58 percent thought Trump would finish his term. Now 70 percent do, according to the latest Fox News Poll released Thursday. The poll also found, paradoxically, an even higher number — 80 percent — think Trump will run for re-election. Fourteen percent do not. … So what are the odds the Democrats defeat Trump? A 55-percent majority say either excellent (19 percent) or good (36 percent) while 39 percent think they have either no chance (13 percent) or not much of one (26 percent). Most Democrats (84 percent) and a plurality of independents (48 percent) think the Democratic Party’s chances are excellent or good…”

Iowa Poll: Voters think a ‘seasoned’ politician can defeat Trump – Des Moines Register:Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the list of potential presidential candidates preferred by Iowa’s likely Democratic caucus-goers, reflecting their belief that it will take political experience to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. The results are part of a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, setting the stage for the contest that will sweep across Iowa in the next 14 months. … Nearly half of poll respondents in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state — 49 percent — say the right person to defeat Trump should be a ‘seasoned political hand’ rather than a ‘newcomer.’ … Thirty-six percent of poll respondents say a political ‘newcomer’ is best suited to defeat the president. In that role, Iowans currently favor Beto O’Rourke…”

Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Weld announces exploratory committee – ABC News: “Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, little-known on the national stage but well-respected among veterans in the GOP establishment, announced an exploratory committee for president on Friday, becoming the first Republican to move toward a serious primary challenge against President Donald Trump. There are new signs he won’t be the last. In the immediate aftermath of the 73-year-old Weld’s announcement at a breakfast event in New Hampshire, a senior aide for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich indicated Kasich is likely to launch a primary challenge as well. … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, met privately last week with conservative leader Bill Kristol, who’s driving an effort to recruit a top-tier Trump primary challenger and operatives on the ground in key states. … Weld’s move makes Trump the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.”

Team Trump keeping close eye on Harris, Warren and Booker – Politico: “Donald Trump’s political advisers are homing in on three declared Democratic candidates who they believe are the most viable at this early stage of the campaign. The reelection campaign has begun compiling opposition research on Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and is eyeing opportunities to attack them. … Trump’s advisers are certain the list of announced Democratic candidates will grow exponentially before the first primary debate in June, and that their targets are certain to fluctuate over time. … Interviews with more than two dozen of the president’s closest advisers reveal that the Trump operation is watching the opening days of the Democratic primary with a mix of relief over the field’s sprint to the left, surprise over Harris’ impressive launch, and trepidation over the prospect of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown threatening Trump’s Midwest stranglehold.”

SCHULTZ WON’T RUN IF DEMS NOMINATE A CENTRIST
WaPo: “Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said Thursday that he would be willing to abandon his presidential ambitions midstream if Democrats nominate a centrist who makes it too difficult for him to win as an independent candidate. Schultz, who made the comments while visiting The Washington Post, has premised his exploration of a presidential campaign on the assumption that Democrats are likely to nominate a candidate that embraces what he calls ‘far-left’ ideas that will turn off enough moderate voters to open space for an independent candidate. He has paid for internal polling that he says suggest he would be competitive in a three-way race against President Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A more moderate Democratic nominee, such as former vice president Joe Biden or former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, could complicate Schultz’s perceived path to victory.”

Beto heads to the Midwest – Politico: “Beto O’Rourke is hitting the road again, this time for the Midwest. Following a massive rally in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, on Monday, the former Texas congressman and potential presidential candidate will visit with students at University of Wisconsin, Madison on Friday. He will then travel to Chicago, where he will address a national conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute on Saturday. Julián Castro, who has already declared for president, is also scheduled to speak at that event. O’Rourke’s meeting with students is closed to the media, a spokesman confirmed. … The events mark O’Rourke’s first public steps outside of Texas since a solo road trip that drew widespread attention throughout the Southwest. The visits come as O’Rourke edges closer to a presidential campaign. He has said he will make a decision about entering the race by the end of the month.”

Poll: New Jersey voters aren’t feeling Booker’s presidential bid – Monmouth University: “Sen. Cory Booker’s nascent presidential bid may get mixed reviews in his home state, but he starts off on much better footing than New Jersey’s last major contender, former governor Chris Christie. The Monmouth University Poll finds that Booker continues to earn a net positive job rating from Garden State residents, although his disapproval numbers have climbed. Most feel he will not be able to keep up with his senatorial duties while he is running for president but don’t think he needs to resign. However, if Booker is able to win the Democratic nomination, most New Jerseyans say he should forego a simultaneous run to retain his U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Booker earns a 48% approve to 36% disapprove rating from Garden State residents for his performance as the state’s junior U.S. senator. … [Booker’s] disapproval rating is the highest it has been since he took office in 2013.”

Dems announce first debate details – NYT: “The Democratic National Committee on Thursday unveiled the criteria for participation in the first two presidential primary debates, splitting the debates across two consecutive nights to accommodate an already sprawling field of candidates. … To qualify, a candidate must either reach 1 percent in three approved polls or raise at least $65,000 from 200 donors in 20 different states. Each candidate’s slot will be selected by a random drawing. The criteria will apply only to the first two debates, scheduled for back-to-back weeknights in June and July, allowing the committee to update its requirements as the field shifts. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are sponsoring the first debate, and CNN will host the second, with specific dates and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returns to work NBC News

Pergram: ‘Trump needs a transfer, may have to rob Peter to pay Paul’ Fox News

Interesting read: ‘The most important new woman in Congress is not who you think’Politico

SupCo to decide whether citizenship question can be included in 2020 census Fox News

McCabe rep downplays DOJ discussions on using 25th Amendment to oust TrumpFox News

AUDIBLE: TIME WILL TELL
“We’re nicer people. I mean look who they produced.” – Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said of Republicans and Trump to Politico. Brown added that Democrats will continue to remain nice to one another through primary season.  

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rush Limbaugh. 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.

Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

SOMETHING SPECIAL TURNIP-ED EVENTUALLY
WEHT: “Valentine’s Day is a chance to get your significant other something special. Sometimes, people will let you in on what they’re looking for, but one Ohio County man’s Valentine’s mix-up caused some big laughs on Thursday. Allan and Nina Harris, of Hartford, [Kentucky] have been married since 2006. For Valentine’s Day this year, Nina wanted something that would last so she told Allan that if he got her flowers, she’d like some tulips that she could plant outside. Tulips are an annual, which means they will come back every year. However, Nina did not know how to react when Allan showed up with turnips for Valentine’s Day on Thursday. Allan had apparently misunderstood what Nina wanted. Once the couple worked through what had happened, Allan did eventually go and get some tulips as well.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“One price of demystifying the universe is that science, unlike religion, asks only how, not why. As to the purpose of things, science is silent. But if science cannot talk about meaning, it can talk about harmony. And Halley’s [Comet] is at once a symbol and a proof of a deep harmony of the spheres.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 13, 1985. 

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

Biden, Bernie, Beto Oh My what a Generational Divide they Weave as they practice to …. The yawning age gap emerging in the Democratic 2020 field could force primary voters to choose between the party’s old and new guards. Former Vice President Joe Biden is 76. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is 37. Rep. Eric Swalwell is 38. Sen. […]

Remember when Steve Scalise was shot and almost killed? You might not, because the mainstream media dropped the story like a hot rock once it became clear that his attempted murderer was a Bernie Bro named James T. Hodgkinson. They couldn’t blame right-wingers or the NRA or any of the other usual villains, so they just let the story fade away. Politicians who survive assassination attempts are only important if they’re Democrats.

Nonetheless, the following is great news. Kyle Cheney and Rachael Bade, Politico:

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, seriously wounded by a gunman’s bullet in June, is returning to Congress Thursday.

It’s Scalise’s first time in the Capitol since he took a bullet to the hip while practicing with the Republican congressional baseball team in Alexandria, Va. The shot shattered bone and tore through muscles and organs, leaving Scalise on the brink of death.

And then you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the story to learn that it was an attempted political assassination. What was the motive? Politico doesn’t say. What was the shooter’s name? Politico doesn’t say. It’s not important. It doesn’t help them get what they want. So, the bullet just fired itself somehow. For no specific reason.

Glad you’re on the mend, Rep. Scalise. All the best.

Source: DC Trawler – The Daily Caller


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