shutdown

The attorneys general of California, New York, and 14 other states on Monday filed a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit against the White House’s recent national emergency declaration over border security, claiming President Trump has "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."

President Trump sarcastically had predicted the lawsuit last week. He’s slammed the Ninth Circuit multiple times as "disgraceful" and politically biased.

The litigation, brought before a federal trial court in the Northern District of California, seeks an injunction to prevent Trump from shifting billions of dollars from military construction to the border without explicit congressional approval. The suit also asks a court to declare Trump’s actions illegal, arguing that Trump showed a "flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution" by violating the Constitution’s Presentment and Appropriations Clauses, which govern federal spending.

The litigation additionally includes allegations that Trump is violating the National Environmental Policy Act, by planning to build a wall that could impact the environment without first completing the necessary environmental impact reports.

The states argue they have standing to sue the administration largely because, they allege, the federal funds could have been spent on their defense. "Maine is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury to the State and its residents caused by Defendants’ reduction of federal defense spending in Maine due to diversion of funding to the border wall," one section of the suit reads.

"California is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury due to the loss of federal drug interdiction, counter-narcotic, and lawenforcement funding to the State caused by Defendants’ diversion of funding," reads another paragraph.

A person dressed to look like President Donald Trump in a prison uniform, and others gather Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in front of the White House in Washington, to protest that President Donald Trump declared a national emergence along the southern boarder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A person dressed to look like President Donald Trump in a prison uniform, and others gather Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in front of the White House in Washington, to protest that President Donald Trump declared a national emergence along the southern boarder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Declaring a National Emergency when one does not exist is immoral and illegal,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, who previously vowed to use "every area of the law" to investigate Trump and his family, said in a statement. “Diverting necessary funds from real emergencies, crime-fighting activities, and military construction projects usurps Congressional power and will hurt Americans across the country. We will not stand for this abuse of power and will fight using every tool at our disposal.”

In a separate statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, remarked, "President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution."

The litigation came amid scattered anti-Trump Presidents Day protests across the country, including a group of more than a hundred demonstrators who waved signs at the White House while the president was speaking in Florida.

At a news conference outside the White House on Friday, Trump mockingly predicted legal challenges against his emergency declaration would follow a tried-and-true path.

WHITE HOUSE SAYS SUBSTANTIAL BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY SEPT. 2020

"So the order is signed and I’ll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office," Trump told reporters. "And we will have a national emergency and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court just like the ban. They sued us in the Ninth Circuit and we lost, and then we lost in the Appellate Division, and then we went to the Supreme Court and we won."

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all appeals coming out of the Northern District of California, where Monday’s lawsuit was filed. The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit has long been a legal stumbling block for conservative policies, and the White House has sought to appoint conservative justices to thin out the liberal ranks on the court. Last year, Trump bypassed traditional protocols and ignored the concerns of the state’s Democratic politicians to nominate prominent conservatives to the Ninth Circuit.

Late last year, Trump engaged in a public spat with Chief Justice John Roberts on the issue, after Roberts took the unusual step of disputing Trump’s comments that the nation has biased judges on some courts. Roberts has sought to portray himself as a nonpartisan justice.

But, Democrats have said it’s the president who defies basic legal norms.

"President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. "He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court."

Protesters of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration block traffic near Trump International Hotel & Tower on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Protesters of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration block traffic near Trump International Hotel & Tower on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

James, the New York attorney general, argued that the emergency declaration was not only legally unconstitutional, but also unnecessary as a practical matter, asserting that "unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in twenty-years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry."

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, speaking exclusively to "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace, disputed those arguments over the weekend.

"The problem with the statement that you’re ‘apprehending 80 or 90 percent of drugs at ports of entry’ — that’s like saying you apprehend most contraband at (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoints at airports," Miller said. "You apprehend the contraband there because that’s where you have the people, the screeners. I assure you if we had screeners of that same density across every single inch and mile of the southern border, you’d have more drugs interdicted in those areas."

TRUMP CONDEMNS ‘DISGRACEFUL’ NINTH CIRCUIT, DEEMING IT RUBBER STAMP FOR HIS FOES

In response to claims that the president was unconstitutionally taking power from Congress, Miller noted that the National Emergencies Act includes an express grant of power from the legislature to the executive branch — and also includes dispute mechanisms in case Congress disagrees with the president’s use of his authority.

"The statute, Chris, is clear on its own terms," Miller said. "Congress has appropriated money for construction of border barriers consistently.  This is part of the national security."

Still, even a single federal judge could issue an order blocking the national emergency declaration, which has occurred nearly three dozen times so far under Trump’s watch.

Central American immigrants lining up for breakfast at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, earlier this month. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Central American immigrants lining up for breakfast at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, earlier this month. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

The Trump administration repeatedly has condemned the increasingly common practice of one judge issuing such a sweeping order, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who concurred in the high court’s decision last year to reinstate Trump’s travel ban, wrote that such injunctions “take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the executive branch.”

TRUMP ANNOUNCES NEW CONSERVATIVE PICKS FOR NINTH CIRCUIT

The stakes are high for the White House, which has struggled to see new wall funding win approval in Congress. On Friday, Trump signed a compromise spending bill that included just $1.4 billion for border security — far short of the $5.7 billion he’d 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.

NEW YORK AG PROMISES TO PROBE TRUMP USING ‘EVERY’ RESOURCE POSSIBLE

Still, neither party seemed enthused about the legislation, save for its provisions averting another partial federal government shutdown. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, speaking to "Fox News Sunday," called the bill "outrageous," pointing to is provisions for what he called "welcoming centers for newly arriving illegal aliens, and all kinds of medical care" — a reference to the allocation of $192,700,000 in the bill’s conference agreement to enhance medical care and transportation for illegal immigrants in U.S. custody, including to shelters run by nonprofits.

The bill provided additional funding for 5,000 more beds that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could 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 who also were sought.

Cathy Clark holding a sign during a protest in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Cathy Clark holding a sign during a protest in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

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 it "undermines the whole point of an emergency declaration."

Prominent Democrats, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, rejected the spending bill as well, saying it did not do enough to curb ICE.

A senior administration official told Fox News the White House planned to move $8 billion in currently appropriated or available funds toward construction of the wall. Of that, $3 billion could be diverted with help from the emergency declaration.

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That money would include about $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund. That money has been described as “easy money” that the White House can use however it wants. The White House also is expected to use drug interdiction money from the Defense Department.

But, by declaring an emergency, Trump is potentially able to unlock money from the Pentagon’s military construction budget, to the tune of $3.5 billion.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Kelly Phares, Kathleen Foster and Chris Wallace contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

West Virginia teachers are planning to go on a statewide strike Tuesday over an education bill they feel does not include input from educators.

Three unions — West Virginia Education Association, the state’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and West Virginia School Service Personnel Association — made the announcement at a Monday press conference, according to WTRF.

Bills approved by the state’s Senate and House of Delegates both help establish West Virginia’s first charter schools, The Associated Press reported. The Senate version of the bill would allow up to seven charter schools and give as much as 1,000 education savings accounts for parents to pay for private school.

Supporters of the provision believe parents will have more school choice, while the unions believe the bill will hurt traditional public schools.

It is unclear how long the strike will last or how many teachers will be striking. (RELATED: West Virginia Sees Biggest Drop In Public School Enrollment In Nearly Two Decades)

“We are watching this hour by hour,” West Virginia AFT President Fred Albert said, The AP reported.

Some of the more than 30,000 striking teachers in the Los Angeles public school system march after holding a rally at the City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Some of the more than 30,000 striking teachers in the Los Angeles public school system march after holding a rally at the City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Around 20,000 teachers in all 55 West Virginia counties walked out for nine days between February and March of 2018, according to Rethinking Schools.

Nearly 277,000 students across the state were left without teachers and schools were shutdown.

The teachers won 5 percent pay raise as a result of the 2018 strike, The AP reported.

West Virginia’s strike comes as Oakland, California, teachers prepare to strike on Feb. 21. The California teachers want a 12 percent raise along with smaller class sizes.

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Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan stood up for Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar during his Sunday speech at the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day event. Omar recently faced backlash after accusing the pro-Israel lobby of buying congressional support for Israel.

“Ms. Omar from Somalia – she started talking about ‘the Benjamins’ and they are trying to make her apologize. Sweetheart, don’t do that. Pardon me for calling you ‘sweetheart,’ but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for,” Farrakhan stated, which was first reported by the The Washington Free Beacon.

He continued, “Israel and AIPAC pays off senators and congressmen to do their bidding, so you’re not lying, so if you’re not lying. Stop laying down. You were sent there by the people to shake up that corrupt House. Shake it up!” (RELATED: House Overwhelmingly Approves Motion To Condemn Anti-Semitism Amid Omar Fallout)

“Oh she’s just ‘young.’ She just got here. Don’t be so hard on her. My beautiful sisters, you were sent there to shake that House up. Your people voted you in, but God is the overseer,” Farrakhan continued, mocking the criticism she’s faced.

Farrakhan has been accused of promulgating anti-Semitism for decades. Last October, he posted a video on Twitter of a speech he gave, in which he compared Jewish people to termites. He has also previously accused Jews of allegedly being involved in 9/11(RELATED: Seven House Democrats Have Direct Ties To Notorious Anti-Semite [VIDEO])

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 15: U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN)speaks to media outside the US Capitol on January 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Members of the Freshman Class held a press conference on the government shutdown. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Politicians on both sides of the political aisle condemned Omar’s accusation last week. President Donald Trump called for her to resign or at least be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee, while House Speaker Pelosi said the congresswoman was using an “anti-Semitic [trope].”

After Democratic leadership condemned her, Omar issued an apology on Twitter. (RELATED: Omar Releases Statement After Backlash Surrounding Tweet Accusing AIPAC Of Buying Israel Support)

This tweet from Omar was not the first time she has been critical of Israel, while also being accused of pushing anti-Semitism. She has previously announced her for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement, previously implied that Israel is not a democracy and, back in 2012, accused Israel of “[hypnotizing] the world,” although she has since apologized for it.

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Source: The Daily Caller

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

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Developing now, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019

McCABE SAYS DEPUTY AG ROSENSTEIN ‘ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS’ ABOUT SECRETLY RECORDING TRUMP: The former FBI deputy director said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "was not joking" when he suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump in the Oval Office following the May 2017 dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

McCabe, speaking to CBS News’ "60 Minutes," recounted a conversation soon after Comey’s firing about the ongoing Russia investigation in which he said Rosenstein told him: "I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn’t know it was there."

"Now, he was not joking," McCabe said of Rosenstein’s comments. "He was absolutely serious. And in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had."

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

CORY BOOKER ‘WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT ON SMOLLETT CASE AFTER CALLING IT ‘ATTEMPTED MODERN-DAY LYNCHING’: Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker told reporters Sunday that he would withhold judgment on the alleged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett after calling the incident "an attempted modern-day lynching" when it was first reported last month … Booker cited the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue this past October as well as the June 2015 shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C.

FILE: Actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles. 

FILE: Actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles.  (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"I’m gonna withhold until all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources," the senator from New Jersey said after meeting with voters in Rochester, N.H. "We know in America that bigoted and biased attacks are on the rise in a serious way, and we actually even know– in this country– that since 9/11, the majority of the terrorist attacks on our soil have been right-wing terrorist attacks — the majority of them white supremacist attacks."

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

"Both parties have people that are still trying to get rid of Donald Trump," Limbaugh said, asserting that Democrats are also working to guarantee a "permanent underclass of voters" who are "uneducated" and "don’t even speak" English.

  • WATCH: Rush Limbaugh on whether Trump is justified in taking executive action to secure funding for his border wall

BILL DE BLASIO CORRECTS OCASIO-CORTEZ’S CLAIMS ABOUT SPENDING AMAZON TAX BREAK MONEY: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested on Sunday that critics of the potential Amazon campus New York City — such as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — got the facts wrong over the money behind the tax breaks … The Democratic mayor said: “And that $3 billion that would go back in tax incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue.”

On Sunday morning, de Blasio responded in the affirmative when Chuck Todd of NBC News’ “Meet the Press” asked if the tax breaks offered to Amazon weren’t “money you had over here. And it was going over there.”

THE SOUNDBITE

SOMETHING WAS AMISS – “This is a duly elected president, someone who the entire country said we want to be our president, and here we see that yet again people cannot accept the results of an election. And by the way, the president knew that something was amiss, he’d been saying from the very beginning, something’s going on within in the FBI, something’s wrong within my justice department. He knew and everybody said, “oh, he’s crazy.” No, he wasn’t. This is exactly the thing that he was talking about happening. It’s disgraceful and I think he needs to answer a lot of questions.” – Lara Trump, on “Fox & Friends,” discussing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s admission that he ordered an obstruction of justice probe against President Donald Trump. WATCH

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Student-loan payment may soon come directly out of your paycheck

IRS refund frenzy: Democrats blast Trump Treasury for ‘goosing’ paychecks

Amazon vs Ocasio-Cortez: 25K NYC job promise had holes

If Joe Biden runs, his presidency goes through Wall Street

Married filing taxes jointly vs. separately: Pros and cons

STAY TUNED

On Fox Nation:

Dr. Drew reacts to Jonah Hill’s comments on "UN-PC" – Dr. Drew Pinsky urged actor Jonah Hill to "double-down" on his traditional form of comedy on Fox Nation’s "UN-PC" after Hill said in a recent interview that he wants to "challenge traditional masculinity" in his films. Watch a preview of the show now.

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On Fox News:

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include Scott Stephenson, president of the Museum of the American Revolution; Cyndi Zagieboylo, president and CEO of National MS Society; Chef John Doherty, former executive chef at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City for 23 years, owner and chef at Black Barn Restaurant; Spencer Brown, Young America Foundation.

Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulker, 1 p.m. ET:  Guests include Ash Wright, GOP strategist, Sr. advisor to George P. Bush, former political director at the Republican Party of Texas.

Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4 p.m. ET: Special guest: Melissa Armo, founder of the educational firm "The Stock Swoosh."

The Story with Martha MacCallum, 7 p.m. ET: Guests include: Katie Pavlich, FNC contributor, and Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five."

Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8 p.m. ET: Elizabeth Wagmeister, Page Six TV.

Hannity, 9 p.m. ET:  Gregg Jarrett, attorney, and Fox News anchor.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: "Trump Will Defend National Emergency Declaration" - President Trump and his advisers defend the use of a national emergency declaration to get funding for a border wall. FOX News Contributor and CEO of 32 Advisors, Robert Wolf, discusses what happens next. Famous for his role of Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise has been traveling the world and supporting the United States military through his work with his foundation. He joined the podcast to talk about his experiences, and about what he’s learned. Plus, commentary by FOX’s Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Guests include: Rich Lowry discusses President Trump’s national emergency and the 2020 race; Amb. Dennis Ross, former special assistant to President Barack Obama, on Iran; Jonah Goldberg on McCabe, Trump’s national emergency and the 2020 race; Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on McCabe and the national emergency; American historian Jay Winick discusses Presidents’ Day.

#TheFlashback

2009: President Barack Obama launched a $75 billion foreclosure rescue plan aimed at saving homes.

1988: Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1997: Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery completed their tune-up of the Hubble Space Telescope after 33 hours of spacewalking; the Hubble was then released using the shuttle’s crane.

Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson. Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this edition. Thank you for joining us! Have a good day! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing Tuesday morning.

Source: Fox News National

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Developing now, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019

McCABE SAYS DEPUTY AG ROSENSTEIN ‘ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS’ ABOUT SECRETLY RECORDING TRUMP: The former FBI deputy director said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "was not joking" when he suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump in the Oval Office following the May 2017 dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

McCabe, speaking to CBS News’ "60 Minutes," recounted a conversation soon after Comey’s firing about the ongoing Russia investigation in which he said Rosenstein told him: "I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn’t know it was there."

"Now, he was not joking," McCabe said of Rosenstein’s comments. "He was absolutely serious. And in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had."

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

CORY BOOKER ‘WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT ON SMOLLETT CASE AFTER CALLING IT ‘ATTEMPTED MODERN-DAY LYNCHING’: Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker told reporters Sunday that he would withhold judgment on the alleged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett after calling the incident "an attempted modern-day lynching" when it was first reported last month … Booker cited the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue this past October as well as the June 2015 shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C.

FILE: Actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles. 

FILE: Actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles.  (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"I’m gonna withhold until all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources," the senator from New Jersey said after meeting with voters in Rochester, N.H. "We know in America that bigoted and biased attacks are on the rise in a serious way, and we actually even know– in this country– that since 9/11, the majority of the terrorist attacks on our soil have been right-wing terrorist attacks — the majority of them white supremacist attacks."

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

"Both parties have people that are still trying to get rid of Donald Trump," Limbaugh said, asserting that Democrats are also working to guarantee a "permanent underclass of voters" who are "uneducated" and "don’t even speak" English.

  • WATCH: Rush Limbaugh on whether Trump is justified in taking executive action to secure funding for his border wall

BILL DE BLASIO CORRECTS OCASIO-CORTEZ’S CLAIMS ABOUT SPENDING AMAZON TAX BREAK MONEY: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested on Sunday that critics of the potential Amazon campus New York City — such as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — got the facts wrong over the money behind the tax breaks … The Democratic mayor said: “And that $3 billion that would go back in tax incentives was only after we were getting the jobs and getting the revenue.”

On Sunday morning, de Blasio responded in the affirmative when Chuck Todd of NBC News’ “Meet the Press” asked if the tax breaks offered to Amazon weren’t “money you had over here. And it was going over there.”

THE SOUNDBITE

SOMETHING WAS AMISS – “This is a duly elected president, someone who the entire country said we want to be our president, and here we see that yet again people cannot accept the results of an election. And by the way, the president knew that something was amiss, he’d been saying from the very beginning, something’s going on within in the FBI, something’s wrong within my justice department. He knew and everybody said, “oh, he’s crazy.” No, he wasn’t. This is exactly the thing that he was talking about happening. It’s disgraceful and I think he needs to answer a lot of questions.” – Lara Trump, on “Fox & Friends,” discussing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s admission that he ordered an obstruction of justice probe against President Donald Trump. WATCH

TODAY’S MUST-READS

New Yorkers fleeing to Florida need to leave their terrible blue state policies behind as well

How Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and the National Enquirer went to war

Florida boy, 11, arrested after refusing to recite ‘racist’ Pledge of Allegiance: report.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS

Student-loan payment may soon come directly out of your paycheck

IRS refund frenzy: Democrats blast Trump Treasury for ‘goosing’ paychecks

Amazon vs Ocasio-Cortez: 25K NYC job promise had holes

If Joe Biden runs, his presidency goes through Wall Street

Married filing taxes jointly vs. separately: Pros and cons

STAY TUNED

On Fox Nation:

Dr. Drew reacts to Jonah Hill’s comments on "UN-PC" – Dr. Drew Pinsky urged actor Jonah Hill to "double-down" on his traditional form of comedy on Fox Nation’s "UN-PC" after Hill said in a recent interview that he wants to "challenge traditional masculinity" in his films. Watch a preview of the show now.

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On Fox News:

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include Scott Stephenson, president of the Museum of the American Revolution; Cyndi Zagieboylo, president and CEO of National MS Society; Chef John Doherty, former executive chef at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City for 23 years, owner and chef at Black Barn Restaurant; Spencer Brown, Young America Foundation.

Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulker, 1 p.m. ET:  Guests include Ash Wright, GOP strategist, Sr. advisor to George P. Bush, former political director at the Republican Party of Texas.

Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4 p.m. ET: Special guest: Melissa Armo, founder of the educational firm "The Stock Swoosh."

The Story with Martha MacCallum, 7 p.m. ET: Guests include: Katie Pavlich, FNC contributor, and Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five."

Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8 p.m. ET: Elizabeth Wagmeister, Page Six TV.

Hannity, 9 p.m. ET:  Gregg Jarrett, attorney, and Fox News anchor.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: "Trump Will Defend National Emergency Declaration" - President Trump and his advisers defend the use of a national emergency declaration to get funding for a border wall. FOX News Contributor and CEO of 32 Advisors, Robert Wolf, discusses what happens next. Famous for his role of Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise has been traveling the world and supporting the United States military through his work with his foundation. He joined the podcast to talk about his experiences, and about what he’s learned. Plus, commentary by FOX’s Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Guests include: Rich Lowry discusses President Trump’s national emergency and the 2020 race; Amb. Dennis Ross, former special assistant to President Barack Obama, on Iran; Jonah Goldberg on McCabe, Trump’s national emergency and the 2020 race; Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on McCabe and the national emergency; American historian Jay Winick discusses Presidents’ Day.

#TheFlashback

2009: President Barack Obama launched a $75 billion foreclosure rescue plan aimed at saving homes.

1988: Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1997: Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery completed their tune-up of the Hubble Space Telescope after 33 hours of spacewalking; the Hubble was then released using the shuttle’s crane.

Fox News First is compiled by Fox News’ Bryan Robinson. Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this edition. Thank you for joining us! Have a good day! We’ll see you in your inbox first thing Tuesday morning.

Source: Fox News National

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

Nauert Says She'll Withdraw as Trump's Nominee for UN Ambassador

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew from consideration as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, according to a statement.

Trump had said in early December that he planned to nominate Nauert, 49, to replace Nikki Haley as UN ambassador. Suspicion later mounted that her nomination was running into trouble because the White House never formally submitted her name for Senate confirmation, even after Haley resigned at year end.

State Department officials insisted there was nothing unusual in that delay, arguing that Attorney General William Barr’s nomination went more smoothly because he had already been confirmed once, in 1991. They also blamed the 35-day government shutdown and the complexity of the vetting process.

“I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,” Nauert said in the statement. “However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Trump Declares Emergency for Border Wall, First Lawsuit Filed

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Republican president's move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs.

Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit on Friday challenging the declaration aimed at freeing up billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said.

The lawsuit, brought in federal court in the District of Columbia, claims the south Texas landowners were told by the U.S. government that it would seek to build a border wall on their properties if money for the project were available in 2019, Public Citizen said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.

In a letter to Trump, committee Democrats asked him to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel.

Trump on Friday also signed a bipartisan government spending bill that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

The funding bill represented a legislative defeat for him since it contains no money for his proposed wall – the focus of weeks of conflict between him and Democrats in Congress.

Trump made no mention of the bill in comments to reporters in the White House's Rose Garden.

He had demanded that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall funding as part of legislation to fund the agencies. That triggered a historic, 35-day December-January government shutdown that hurt the U.S. economy and his opinion poll numbers.

By reorienting his quest for wall funding toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency, Trump risks plunging into a lengthy legislative and legal battle with Democrats and dividing his fellow Republicans – many of whom expressed grave reservations on Friday about the president's action.

Fifteen Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation on Thursday to prevent Trump from invoking emergency powers to transfer funds to his wall from accounts Congress has already committed to other projects.

'EXCLUSIVE POWER'

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer swiftly responded to Trump's declaration.

"The president's actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution," they said in a statement. "The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

New York state's attorney general, Letitia James, said her office would also challenge Trump in court. California's governor, Gavin Newsom, also pledged to file suit.

"We won't stand for this abuse of power & will fight back with every legal tool at our disposal," James wrote on Twitter.

The president acknowledged his order would face a lengthy court fight.

"I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued … We'll win in the Supreme Court," Trump predicted.

Trump may have also undermined his administration's argument about the urgency of the situation when he told reporters, "I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster."

In their letter to Trump, House Judiciary Democrats said that language had left them "troubled."

Both the House and the Senate could pass a resolution terminating the emergency by majority vote. However, that measure would then go to Trump, who would likely veto it. Overriding the veto would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Trump says a wall is needed to curb illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming across the border. But statistics show illegal immigration via the border is at a 20-year low and that many drug shipments come through legal ports of entry.

Confronted with those statistics by reporters at the Rose Garden event, Trump said they were "wrong."

Also present were a half-dozen women holding poster-sized pictures of family members killed by illegal immigrants. Trump noted their presence in announcing the emergency declaration.

He estimated his emergency declaration could free up as much as $8 billion to pay for part of the wall. Estimates of its total cost run as high as $23 billion.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the wall. It was one of his biggest applause lines at his campaign rallies. Mexico firmly refused to pay, and now Trump wants U.S. taxpayers to cover the costs.

REPUBLICANS CONCERNED

Some congressional Republicans expressed dismay following Trump's announcement.

Greg Walden, a senior House Republican, said on Twitter he was "deeply concerned about the precedent that this action sets."

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said in a statement that Trump' declaration was not a solution.

"It wouldn't provide enough funding to adequately secure our borders, it would likely get tied up in litigation, and most concerning is that it would create a new precedent that a left-wing president would undoubtedly utilize to implement their radical policy agenda while bypassing the authority of Congress," Tillis said.

Other Republicans, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, were supportive.

With an emergency formally declared, Trump left Washington to travel to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida for a holiday break.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Trump Declares Emergency for Border Wall, First Lawsuit Filed

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Republican president's move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs.

Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit on Friday challenging the declaration aimed at freeing up billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said.

The lawsuit, brought in federal court in the District of Columbia, claims the south Texas landowners were told by the U.S. government that it would seek to build a border wall on their properties if money for the project were available in 2019, Public Citizen said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.

In a letter to Trump, committee Democrats asked him to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel.

Trump on Friday also signed a bipartisan government spending bill that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

The funding bill represented a legislative defeat for him since it contains no money for his proposed wall – the focus of weeks of conflict between him and Democrats in Congress.

Trump made no mention of the bill in comments to reporters in the White House's Rose Garden.

He had demanded that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall funding as part of legislation to fund the agencies. That triggered a historic, 35-day December-January government shutdown that hurt the U.S. economy and his opinion poll numbers.

By reorienting his quest for wall funding toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency, Trump risks plunging into a lengthy legislative and legal battle with Democrats and dividing his fellow Republicans – many of whom expressed grave reservations on Friday about the president's action.

Fifteen Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation on Thursday to prevent Trump from invoking emergency powers to transfer funds to his wall from accounts Congress has already committed to other projects.

'EXCLUSIVE POWER'

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer swiftly responded to Trump's declaration.

"The president's actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution," they said in a statement. "The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

New York state's attorney general, Letitia James, said her office would also challenge Trump in court. California's governor, Gavin Newsom, also pledged to file suit.

"We won't stand for this abuse of power & will fight back with every legal tool at our disposal," James wrote on Twitter.

The president acknowledged his order would face a lengthy court fight.

"I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued … We'll win in the Supreme Court," Trump predicted.

Trump may have also undermined his administration's argument about the urgency of the situation when he told reporters, "I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster."

In their letter to Trump, House Judiciary Democrats said that language had left them "troubled."

Both the House and the Senate could pass a resolution terminating the emergency by majority vote. However, that measure would then go to Trump, who would likely veto it. Overriding the veto would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Trump says a wall is needed to curb illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming across the border. But statistics show illegal immigration via the border is at a 20-year low and that many drug shipments come through legal ports of entry.

Confronted with those statistics by reporters at the Rose Garden event, Trump said they were "wrong."

Also present were a half-dozen women holding poster-sized pictures of family members killed by illegal immigrants. Trump noted their presence in announcing the emergency declaration.

He estimated his emergency declaration could free up as much as $8 billion to pay for part of the wall. Estimates of its total cost run as high as $23 billion.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the wall. It was one of his biggest applause lines at his campaign rallies. Mexico firmly refused to pay, and now Trump wants U.S. taxpayers to cover the costs.

REPUBLICANS CONCERNED

Some congressional Republicans expressed dismay following Trump's announcement.

Greg Walden, a senior House Republican, said on Twitter he was "deeply concerned about the precedent that this action sets."

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said in a statement that Trump' declaration was not a solution.

"It wouldn't provide enough funding to adequately secure our borders, it would likely get tied up in litigation, and most concerning is that it would create a new precedent that a left-wing president would undoubtedly utilize to implement their radical policy agenda while bypassing the authority of Congress," Tillis said.

Other Republicans, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, were supportive.

With an emergency formally declared, Trump left Washington to travel to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida for a holiday break.

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

#ShutDownOver and The National Parks Reopen! Where You Going to Go First? MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Park rangers were once again greeting visitors at some national parks across the United States and flight operations at major airports were returning to normal on Saturday, one day after a partial government shutdown came to an end. While there […]

Trump Willing to Give a Immigration Compromise in Order to Build The Wall, is that The Art of the Deal? President Trump, in an aired White House address Saturday, provided Democrats a compromise bundle on migration in an effort to finish the almost month long partial government closure– although Democrats rejected the olive branch as […]

The Anti-Semitism is giving the Women’s March a Bad Name? Controversy and also the government closure greeted marchers that collected in Washington Saturday for the third annual national Women’s March. The event, which started near Freedom Plaza blocks from the White House, drew thousands, a number much fewer than the hundreds of thousands who descended […]

Even Romney Who is a #NeverTrumper backs Trump on the #Shutdown Agreeing with Trump’s stance on the partial government closure, Romney backed Trump’s call for a wall on the southern boundary and also states he doesn’t comprehend the Democrats’ placing on the problem. ” You (Pelosi) and also your fellow Democrats have voted for over […]

Trump States The Extreme Left is Controlling Pelosi just hours prior to Trump’s White House speech on the border wall deal President Trump on Saturday implicated Home Audio speaker Nancy Pelosi of being controlled by the far-left, hours before he is due to make an “vital” White Home statement on the partial government closure and […]

President Trump on Thursday denied armed forces aircraft to Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi for an international trip just mins before the legislative delegation was readied to leave. Dear Madame Speaker, Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this […]

Don’t Worry Civil Servants: Those On Shutdown NOT working Consider it a Long Paid Vacation, Those of you working with No Pay Now: SUCKS to be YOU President Trump has actually authorized the process to assure that furloughed government employees  or those required to function without pay throughout the partial federal government closure get back […]


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