Beto

When Donald Trump visited Beto O'Rourke's hometown to argue that walling off the southern border makes the U.S. safer, the former Democratic congressman and possible 2020 presidential hopeful was ready.

As the president filled an El Paso arena with supporters, O'Rourke helped lead thousands of his own on a protest march past the barrier of barbed-wire topped fencing and towering metal slats that separates El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

O'Rourke clearly hopes to make his personal experience with the border a strength if he runs for president — and the battle over billions of dollars in new fortifications may well shape the 2020 campaign.

But O'Rourke's history with the barriers that have lined the Rio Grande since he was a child actually could be a bit of vulnerability, too.

As the 2020 campaign is joined, other top Democrats can oppose Trump's call for more and larger walls as a straightforward wedge issue — something they say shows anti-immigrant feeling, intolerance and even racism.

But O'Rourke's record on border walls is complicated. Last March, he supported a spending package that other leading Democratic contenders opposed and included $1.6 billion for border wall construction in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Buried in that was $44.5 million for repairs of existing fencing elsewhere — including El Paso.

O'Rourke later explained the vote as a compromise to win approval of another proposal he backed, expanding access to mental health care for military veterans who had received other-than-honorable discharges. But his action attracted criticism from people who know the border best. Scott Nicol, co-chairman of the Sierra Club's Borderlands team, called it "very disappointing."

"The things that he has said have been dead on," Nicol said. "The next step becomes what do you do."

O'Rourke's nuanced position on border barriers, sometimes willing to use them as a bargaining chip, could be politically awkward in a national campaign but it's shared in El Paso. Here, many people accept dozens of miles of existing walls as a fact of life, objecting mostly to structures so intrusive they suggest a war zone.

"People in El Paso live with the border and the ambiguities and contradictions of the border," said Josiah Heyman, director of the University of Texas at El Paso's Center for Interamerican and Border Studies.

In an interview Thursday night on MSNBC, O'Rourke said he would "absolutely" tear down El Paso's existing walls and that he believed a majority of residents would back doing so. That somewhat contradicts his past statements about opposing entirely open borders, but O'Rourke has previously backed having them porous enough to promote trade and immigrant culture. In an interview in 2006, he decried President George W. Bush's proposal for bolstering the existing walls with more surveillance technology.

Bush's barrier "didn't seem like a meaningful suggestion at all, but maybe that's because we already have it and it doesn't seem to be working," he said.

City Council member Peter Svarzbein said El Paso's character isn't based on keeping people out, but rather on tens of thousands who legally cross every day for work, school, shopping or to see bi-national relatives.

"Can you imagine having to show a passport and go through immigration when you go between Brooklyn and Manhattan?" Svarzbein asked.

Democratic analyst Colin Strother noted, "There are places that physical barriers make sense, but it does not make sense everywhere and that seems to be the big disconnect."

O'Rourke's attempts to explain his record could be difficult in a hotly contested primary campaign. His 2020 rivals could run into their own complications on the issue soon, however, after Congress approved $1.4 billion in new border wall funding as part of a deal to avoid the latest government shutdown.

In the end, O'Rourke "may have some firsthand knowledge, but I don't know if it's a winning argument," said Democratic political consultant James Aldrete, who helped conduct Hispanic outreach for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

El Paso had only limited border security before 1978 when, facing an influx of immigrants looking for work in the U.S., Congress approved chain-link fencing later dubbed the "Tortilla Curtain." A 1986 federal law granting legal status to about 2 million Mexicans in the U.S. made the prospect of heading north even more attractive.

Eventually, thousands of people were pouring into El Paso every day, sometimes paying as little as a quarter for rides on makeshift rafts over the Rio Grande.

"People could cross whenever they wanted," said Silvestre Reyes, who was chief of Border Patrol's El Paso sector in 1993 and won a congressional seat in 1996. "The city was tired of it."

Reyes ordered around-the-clock patrols and authorities repaired 100-plus holes in nine miles of fences downtown.

But when O'Rourke, then an upstart ex-City Council member, ran against Reyes in the 2012 Democratic primary, he didn't make Reyes' border crackdown an issue. Instead, O'Rourke more frequently complained of long wait times for cars crossing into El Paso from Juarez.

O'Rourke now opposes pumping any funding into new walls. Instead, he'd like to see a coalition of border Democrats and Republicans in Congress hammer out a broader immigration overhaul.

"We know that there is no bargain where we can sacrifice some of our humanity to gain a little more security," O'Rourke told an emotional El Paso rally he headlined after the Trump protest march. "We know that we deserve to, and will, lose both of them if we do."

Reyes doesn't agree with O'Rourke on much but also opposes erecting concrete walls, which Trump has supported in the past.

"We have a lot of slats where you can still see through it," he said of El Paso. "That helps Border Patrol agents, but it also is supported by people living at the border."

Source: NewsMax Politics

Rush Limbaugh: Spending bill was effort by some Republicans to sabotage Trump

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, speaking to "Fox News Sunday," charged that the compromise spending bill recently signed by President Trump to avert another partial government shutdown was little more than a disguised effort by some Republicans to torpedo his 2020 presidential candidacy.

Limbaugh also rejected claims that President Trump is unduly influenced by right-wing media figures and "wackos" — an accusation that resurfaced amid the ongoing border wall funding dispute.

Late last year, a slew of prominent conservatives, including columnist Ann Coulter, excoriated Trump for appearing to back down on his threat not to sign any spending bill without wall funding. Trump responded by unfollowing Coulter on Twitter, then reversing course and insisting on money for the barrier project on the way to a historic 35-day partial government shutdown.

"It’s just another effort to continue to try to diminish the president — diminish President Trump as someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing, can’t do it without guidance from the wacko right," Limbaugh told host Chris Wallace. "It’s not at all the way he’s governing, and there isn’t anybody doing what I do that has a thing to do with actually making policy for this president."

FILE - In this March 5, 2018, file photo, construction continues on a new, taller version of the border structure in Calexico, Calif. A federal appeals court has rejected arguments by the state of California and environmental groups who tried to block reconstruction of sections of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, that the Trump administration did not exceed its authority by waiving environmental regulations to rebuild sections of wall near San Diego and Calexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, file)

FILE – In this March 5, 2018, file photo, construction continues on a new, taller version of the border structure in Calexico, Calif. A federal appeals court has rejected arguments by the state of California and environmental groups who tried to block reconstruction of sections of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, that the Trump administration did not exceed its authority by waiving environmental regulations to rebuild sections of wall near San Diego and Calexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, file)

On Friday, Trump said he is declaring a national emergency on the southern border, tapping into executive powers in a bid to divert billions toward construction of a wall even as he signed a funding package to avert another shutdown that includes just $1.4 billion for border security — far short of the $5.7 billion he has long requested for the wall.

The compromise legislation, which overwhelmingly passed in the House and Senate last week, contained enough funding for building just 55 miles of barricades, not the 200-plus miles the White House has sought.

MCCABE, ROSENSTEIN NEED TO TESTIFY ON PLOT TO REMOVE PRESIDENT VIA 25TH AMENDMENT, TOP GOP OFFICIALS SAY

The bill, which took bargainers three weeks to strike, provided additional funding for 5,000 more beds that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can use to house illegal immigrants. But in an attempt to pressure the agency to detain fewer illegal immigrants, Democrats ensured that the bill did not include funding for the 2,000 additional ICE agents requested by the Trump administration, or the 750 Border Patrol agents that were also sought.

Mexican Federal Police in riot gear guard outside of a migrant shelter for Central American immigrants in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. A caravan of about 1,600 Central American migrants camped Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila described the migrants as "asylum seekers," suggesting all had express intentions of surrendering to U.S. authorities. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Mexican Federal Police in riot gear guard outside of a migrant shelter for Central American immigrants in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. A caravan of about 1,600 Central American migrants camped Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila described the migrants as "asylum seekers," suggesting all had express intentions of surrendering to U.S. authorities. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Several Republicans, including Texas Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Chip Roy, voted against the bill, saying it didn’t properly address the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across the border. Roy called the bill a "sham," and said the funding bill "undermines the whole point of an emergency declaration."

"We have an emergency — this is an invasion."

— Rush Limbaugh

For his part, Limbaugh said not enough attention is being given to Democrats’ resistance to even minimal border security measures. In an interview last week, potential Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke called for existing border walls to be torn down.  Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she "could support" that position as well.

Central American immigrants line up to register with Mexican Immigration officials at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. A caravan of about 1,600 Central American migrants camped Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila described the migrants as "asylum seekers," suggesting all had express intentions of surrendering to U.S. authorities. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Central American immigrants line up to register with Mexican Immigration officials at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. A caravan of about 1,600 Central American migrants camped Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila described the migrants as "asylum seekers," suggesting all had express intentions of surrendering to U.S. authorities. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

"We have an emergency — this is an invasion," Limbaugh said, referring to the flow of thousands of illegal immigrants — including many in organized caravans — that continue to approach the U.S. border.

"The very existence and definition of American culture, American society, the rule of law — why does nobody talk about the fact that millions and millions and millions of people are breaking the law here illegally and the Democrat Party wants that to happen?" Limbaugh asked.

The compromise spending bill will undermine the White House and won’t produce results at the border, Limbaugh added — and, he asserted, that might be what some Republicans intended.

Central American immigrant families look out through the fence of a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. A caravan of about 1,600 Central American migrants camped Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila described the migrants as "asylum seekers," suggesting all had express intentions of surrendering to U.S. authorities. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Central American immigrant families look out through the fence of a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. A caravan of about 1,600 Central American migrants camped Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, just west of Eagle Pass, Texas. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila described the migrants as "asylum seekers," suggesting all had express intentions of surrendering to U.S. authorities. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

"Both parties have people that are still trying to get rid of Donald Trump. I read this bill — this spending bill, this bill is outrageous," Limbaugh said. "The thing’s welcoming centers for newly arriving illegal aliens, and all kinds of medical care for – the purpose of this bill, I think, was eventually to be used by the Democrats and some Republicans to tell the American people, ‘See, electing President Trump was pointless, worthless, he can’t protect you, he can’t stop us, he can’t do what he said he was going to do, because we hate him so much we’re not going to allow him to do it — that’s what this bill is."

Recently unearthed efforts by the FBI and Justice Department to begin discussions about ousting Trump in 2017, Limbaugh continued, only serve to underscore his point further. Fox News first reported on Sunday that top FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, claiming he was told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” such an effort.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"People, simply because they don’t like a guy’s hairstyle or like where he came from, decided the American people’s decision was invalid and began a systematic process to get him out of office — this is a silent coup," Limbaugh said. "These guys, if you ask me, ought to be the ones in jail."

Asked who the likely 2020 Democratic presidential nominee will be, Limbaugh sided with former Vice President Joe Biden. Although Biden has not formally announced a bid, a source with direct knowledge told Fox News on Thursday that he is virtually certain to run.

"The frontrunner would probably be right now Joe Biden, 77 years old, plagiarist, nicknamed ‘plugs’ – I think he’s the guy they are probably thinking is the leader in the polls right now," Limbaugh said. "But it’s going to be very crowded. They’re going to be knocking each other off. That’s going to be fun to watch. Incumbancy carries with it a lot of power. … They’re getting way ahead of the game, and I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as they think."

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Gillibrand on call to tear down border wall: 'If it makes sense, I could support it'

CONCORD, N.H. — Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she could possibly support a call by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas to tear down parts of the existing U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“I’d have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” the senator from New York told Fox News on Friday, as she was campaigning in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

“I could look at it and see which part he means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it,” Gillibrand added.

O’ROURKE CALLS FOR TEARING DOWN WALL

O’Rourke, who’s seriously mulling a White House bid of his own, said Thursday in an interview with NBC News that he’d “absolutely … take the wall down," referring to the barrier by El Paso, Texas.

O’Rourke, who came close to upsetting GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in last November’s Senate election in Texas, argued that the existing 600 miles of wall and fencing along the 2,000-mile border have “not in any demonstrable way made us safer.”

Republicans quickly criticized O’Rourke, charging that he embraces open borders.

Gillibrand, kicking off a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire, stressed that “Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. Democrats have funded border security for decades.”

“What President Trump wants to do is build a medieval-style wall,” she charged. “It is a hateful message.”

TRUMP DECLARES BORDER EMERGENCY

Gillibrand arrived in New Hampshire as the president declared a national emergency along the southern border, potentially allowing him to divert billions in Defense Department funding toward wall construction.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

Gillibrand targeted the president’s move, saying, “I think the only national emergency is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border by separating families from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely. I think this is manufactured, I think this [is] inappropriate.”

She highlighted that congressional Democrats will sue the Trump administration and called the president’s move “not only reckless but it’s unwise.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Gillibrand on call to tear down border wall: 'If it makes sense, I could support it'

CONCORD, N.H. — Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she could possibly support a call by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas to tear down parts of the existing U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“I’d have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” the senator from New York told Fox News on Friday, as she was campaigning in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

“I could look at it and see which part he means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it,” Gillibrand added.

O’ROURKE CALLS FOR TEARING DOWN WALL

O’Rourke, who’s seriously mulling a White House bid of his own, said Thursday in an interview with NBC News that he’d “absolutely … take the wall down," referring to the barrier by El Paso, Texas.

O’Rourke, who came close to upsetting GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in last November’s Senate election in Texas, argued that the existing 600 miles of wall and fencing along the 2,000-mile border have “not in any demonstrable way made us safer.”

Republicans quickly criticized O’Rourke, charging that he embraces open borders.

Gillibrand, kicking off a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire, stressed that “Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. Democrats have funded border security for decades.”

“What President Trump wants to do is build a medieval-style wall,” she charged. “It is a hateful message.”

TRUMP DECLARES BORDER EMERGENCY

Gillibrand arrived in New Hampshire as the president declared a national emergency along the southern border, potentially allowing him to divert billions in Defense Department funding toward wall construction.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

Gillibrand targeted the president’s move, saying, “I think the only national emergency is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border by separating families from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely. I think this is manufactured, I think this [is] inappropriate.”

She highlighted that congressional Democrats will sue the Trump administration and called the president’s move “not only reckless but it’s unwise.”

Source: Fox News 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.”

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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

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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.”

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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. […]

Media cherished as well as previous Texas Senate prospect Beto O’Rourke is blogging his approach via a typical American journey, with a rambling essay educating visitors he has in fact “been stuck recently” as he strikes the street to fulfill individuals as well as damage the funk (as well as probably pick a 2020 run). […]


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