On the roster: Bernie, Warren feud far from over – Planned Parenthood dumps Collins – Dems fume over McConnell’s hurry-up trial schedule – The avengers, plush edition
BERNIE, WARREN FEUD FAR FROM OVER
Politico: “Interviews with more than two dozen voters at events for [Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren] last weekend made clear that the hard feelings between the two progressive icons have extended to their supporters. … Despite Warren and Sanders’ attempts to move on, the fight’s aftermath poses risks for both candidates — potentially hurting Sanders’ standing with female voters and undermining Warren’s attempt to portray herself as the candidate best equipped to unite the party. Even though many voters expressed a desire to move forward, the interviews show that the collision has at least temporarily colored the opinions each candidate’s supporters have of the other. Many Sanders voters see a cynically orchestrated hit piece by Warren… Several people supporting or strongly considering Warren, however, see a stubborn man defensively insisting he said nothing wrong and trying to paint Warren as either oversensitive or a liar.”
Hillary piles on: ‘Nobody likes him’ – Fox News: “In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about ‘Hillary,’ the new Hulu documentary series on her life, Hillary Clinton bashes 2020 Democratic contender Bernie Sanders in harsh terms, building on what had already been a news cycle filled with bad press for Sanders in advance of the Iowa caucuses. ‘He was in Congress for years,’ Clinton says in an excerpt from the documentary. ‘He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.’ When asked by The Hollywood Reporter if that statement was still valid, Clinton said, ‘Yes, it does.’”
Bernie’s call for donor transparency seems to stop with his supporters – WaPo: “In early December, about 100 activists aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gathered in South Bend, Ind., the home turf of rival candidate Pete Buttigieg. … It was a rally staged by Our Revolution, a nonprofit founded by the senator that has caused some awkwardness for him in his second run for president. While the group is supporting his candidacy, it accepts large donations without fully disclosing who made them, a practice at odds with his calls for greater transparency and stated desire to curtail the power of the wealthy in elections. Sanders was questioned about the group’s practices here Sunday, when he said in a radio interview he would ‘have no problem’ with the group opting to provide more information about its donors. But he suggested he would not call on its leaders to do so while his opponents continue to rely on similar organizations.”
Also Read: Impeachment Schedule: How Long Is Trump’s Trial; When Does It End?
Biden, Bernie dueling in New Hampshire poll – Boston Globe: “Senator Bernie Sanders has the slimmest of leads among a knot of four top presidential contenders, with Senator Elizabeth Warren dropping to the rear of the top tier amid significantly weaker support among men than she enjoyed two months ago, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. The survey found Sanders, who won the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2016, with 16 percent support. Former vice president Joe Biden had 15 percent, former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg had 12 percent, and Warren had 10 percent — all within the poll’s margin of error. The other candidates were in single digits. Overall, the survey found an unsettled race just three weeks ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary, with nearly one in four likely primary voters undecided on which candidate they will support. Nearly half of those who have settled on a choice said they remain open to changing their minds before Feb. 11.”
Biden accepts Bernie’s apology – National Review: “Bernie Sanders apologized Monday to Joe Biden over an op-ed written by a supporter and circulated by his campaign alleging that the former vice president ‘has a big corruption problem.’ Following an MLK Day march in Columbia, S.C. alongside Biden and other 2020 contenders, Sanders distanced himself from the op-ed, telling CBS News that ‘it is absolutely not my view that Joe Biden is corrupt in any way. And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared . . . We don’t need to demonize people who may disagree with us.’ The op-ed, published in The Guardian and written by Fordham Law professor and Sanders supporter Zephyr Teachout, calls out ‘the transactional, grossly corrupt culture’ of Biden’s record.”
THE RULEBOOK: STEADY AS WE GO
“Those who can best estimate the value of a steady administration, will be most disposed to prize a provision which connects the official existence of public men with the approbation or disapprobation of that body which, from the greater permanency of its own composition, will in all probability be less subject to inconstancy than any other member of the government.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 77
TIME OUT: ‘AN INDEPENDENT COWGIRL SPIRIT’
Garden&Gun: “Janis Joplin’s home state of Texas was like a cruel lover—at times it would build her up and fill her soul with music. Other times, it tore her down and took another little piece of her heart. A fascinating, deeply researched, and powerfully written new biography, Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren shares the story of one of rock-and-roll’s most unforgettable voices. Beginning with an exploration of how the Lone Star State shaped Joplin’s music and life, the book follows her eventual move to California, her shooting-star rise, and her death at age 27 in 1970. ‘Janis always had an independent cowgirl spirit,’ George-Warren says. ‘She had ancestors who helped build Fort Worth, and she was proud of her pioneer heritage. She was a tomboy and she had the courage to break away from women’s traditional roles in the deep South.’”
Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 25.6 points (no change from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.8 points (no change from last wk.)
Warren: 16.6 points (no change from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 8.4 points (no change from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 5.6 points (no change from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, IBD, NBC News/WSJ, CNN and USA Today/Suffolk University.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43.4 percent
Average disapproval: 52.4 percent
Net Score: -9 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 1.6 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve – 51% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 54% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve – 53% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
PLANNED PARENTHOOD DUMPS COLLINS
AP: “Planned Parenthood on Tuesday endorsed a Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, saying Collins ‘turned her back’ on women and citing her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as well as other judicial nominees who oppose abortion. Sara Gideon, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, welcomed the endorsement from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. ‘There’s never been a more important time to stand up for reproductive rights,’ she said, in the face of ‘systematic attacks on reproductive rights across the country.’ Collins, who was honored by Planned Parenthood as recently as 2017 as ‘an outspoken champion for women’s health,’ is facing perhaps the toughest reelection fight of her career. … The Collins campaign said Planned Parenthood has changed and become more partisan, noting that no Republicans have won its endorsement.”
Rep. Pete Olson backs Dubya’s nephew as his replacement – Houston Chronicle: “U.S. Rep. Pete Olson on Monday endorsed Pierce Bush in the race to fill his congressional seat, framing the Republican nonprofit executive as the candidate best equipped to keep the district from flipping to Democratic control. ‘After the filing ended and things were getting really to where the rubber meets the road, it was pretty clear that one person came across as the person who can win this district in November. That man is Pierce Bush,’ said Olson, a Republican from Sugar Land who is not seeking re-election after six terms in Congress. The endorsement comes less than a month before early voting begins in the 15-candidate Republican primary for Olson’s 22nd Congressional District. Four Democrats also are running for the seat in that party’s primary.”
Voters feeling insecure, mistrustful of election process – NPR: “Weeks before the first votes of the 2020 presidential election, Americans report a high level of concern about how secure that election will be and worry about the perils of disinformation, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll. Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. is not very prepared or not prepared at all to keep November’s election safe and secure. Reflecting the polarization of the Trump era, two-thirds of Democrats think the country isn’t prepared, while 85% of Republicans said they think it is. … Driven by Democrats and independents, 56% of those surveyed think Trump has not done very much or has done nothing at all to make sure there will be no future election interference — although 75% of Republicans think he has done enough.”
DEMS FUME OVER MCCONNELL’S HURRY-UP TRIAL SCHEDULE
Fox News: “The House managers prosecuting the case against President Trump blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed trial rules as ‘rigged,’ just hours before impeachment proceedings are slated to resume on the floor. The blistering statement from the impeachment managers came after McConnell, late Monday, revealed his resolution. The resolution showed a condensed, two-day calendar for each side to give opening statements, at 12 hours per day. After the four days of opening arguments, senators would be allowed up to 16 hours for written questions to the prosecution and defense, followed by four hours of debate. Only then would there be votes on calling other witnesses—something that, if approved, would likely happen next week. At the end of the deliberations, the Senate would then vote on each impeachment article.”
Trump’s defense team swells in ranks – Fox News: “…Senate impeachment trial proceedings are set to begin at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday with the expectation they will stretch well into a wild night on Capitol Hill — even as key procedural questions, including the timeline for debate and whether additional witnesses will testify, remain undecided and hotly contentious. In a surprise move Monday night, a detachment of high-profile House Republicans announced that they would formally join the president’s legal team, including Reps. Doug Collins, Mike Johnson, Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, Mark Meadows, John Ratcliffe, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin. The last-minute show of force underscored the fluid nature of the Senate trial, which is also set to feature full-throated arguments against impeachment from constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz and Bill Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr.”
Team Trump keeps working to ensure Bolton doesn’t testify – WaPo: “President Trump’s legal defense team and Senate GOP allies are quietly gaming out contingency plans should Democrats win enough votes to force witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial, including an effort to keep former national security adviser John Bolton from the spotlight, according to multiple officials familiar with the discussions. While Republicans continue to express confidence that Democrats will fail to persuade four GOP lawmakers to break ranks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has opposed calling any witnesses in the trial, they are readying a Plan B just in case — underscoring how uncertain they are about prevailing in a showdown over witnesses and Bolton’s possible testimony.”
Roberts pulls double duty with court arguments, impeachment trial – Fox News: “Chief Justice John Roberts has his hands full Tuesday, with the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in two cases in the morning, before he heads over to the Senate to preside over President Trump’s impeachment trial in the afternoon. First on the Chief Justice’s docket was Shular v. United States, which the court heard in the morning. It is the latest case to challenge how the Armed Career Criminal Act determines sentencing based not on a defendant’s actions, but on the elements of the crime for which he was convicted. … An hour later, oral arguments were scheduled for GE Energy Power Conversion France v. Outokumpu Stainless USA… Shortly after he finishes with that case, Roberts will make his way to the Senate, as impeachment trial proceedings are scheduled to begin at approximately 1 p.m.”
Voters narrowly divided on Trump’s removal – Monmouth University: “Just over half of the American public (53%) approve of the House of Representatives decision to impeach Trump, while 46% disapprove. Support for the U.S. Senate actually removing Trump from office now that he has been impeached stands at 49% who agree with this, while a similar 48% say Trump should not be removed. A different question on impeachment Monmouth had been asking prior to the House action showed support for the president’s removal at 45% in December, 44% in November and September (just after details of Trump’s call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was revealed), and 35% in August.”
Trump hits the hype button in Davos – Fox News
SupCo punts ObamaCare appeal until after the election – Fox News
South Carolina drops requirement for voters to share full Social Security numbers – The [Columbia, S.C.] State
AUDIBLE: MORE SPIN THAN A LAUNDROMAT
“The president is preparing for [the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switz.] and agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and agreed with for many years, including unity and equality. And he’s not the one tearing the country apart through an impeachment process and a lack of substance that really is very shameful at this point.” – Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway in an answer to a reporter’s question about how the president would be observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“In your response to Al DiStefano, Cumming, Ga. you stated that our district has been red for 25 years. However, it almost turned blue in 2018. It was so close a recount was ordered. Also, I was under the impression Rep. Rob Woodall is retiring.” – Mary Blanton, Alpharetta, Ga.
[Ed. note: Remember, Ms. Blanton, close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes! But yes, Woodall isn’t running and the district, which covers the northeast Atlanta suburbs, has been trending away from the GOP as suburbanites sour on the Republican brand. Depending on how the primary shakes out, I expect this to be one of the most competitive districts in the country again this year.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
THE AVENGERS, PLUSH EDITION
San Jose Mercury News: “It was just before midnight Friday in San Jose, and the downtown streets were thick with ‘furries’ — anthropomorphism aficionados dressed in fur costumes — who had poured into the city for San Jose’s annual furry get-together known as FurCon. … Steven Rodriguez, 26, … was taking a smoke break outside… But suddenly a car screeched to a halt in the middle of South Market Street. And from inside came a woman’s horrified scream – ‘Get out, get out, get out, get out,’ Rodriguez recalled. … ‘We saw the passenger just whaling on her. Just a full-on punch.’ Rodriguez and his friend yanked open the unlocked passenger’s door and began dragging the man out, he said. … Among the first on scene was the pink dinosaur, who wrested the suspect by the head and shoulders while a massive tail bobbed in his wake, according to a brief video Rodriguez captured of the encounter. Then a tiger knelt to restrain the man from the torso as a platform-heeled cowboy watched on.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Most politicians seek approval. But Trump lives for the adoration.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Aug. 5, 2016.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.