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On the roster: SupCo pops Trump’s bubble – I’ll Tell You What: Let yourself off the hook – Sanders: Biden to make ‘significant’ shift to left – CDC boss: Agency not caving to trump on schools – Do you get arraigned here often?
SUPCO POPS TRUMP’S BUBBLE
WSJ: “The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Trump’s bid to block a New York prosecutor from enforcing a subpoena seeking years of his financial and tax records from his accountants, potentially opening the president up to widespread scrutiny. The court sent the case back to lower courts for further proceedings. The case was one of two before the high court in which Mr. Trump challenged subpoenas that weren’t sent to him, but instead to his accountants and bankers. The House Oversight Committee, investigating ethics issues in the executive branch, issued a subpoena to Mazars for eight years of financial records related to Mr. Trump, his real-estate company, his foundation and other entities belonging to the president. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. also issued a subpoena to the accounting firm, seeking Trump financial documents and tax records as part of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments to women who claim to have had affairs with Mr. Trump.”
But sends House back to square one – Fox News: “[Chief Justice John] Roberts also authored the opinion in the House cases, which were consolidated. In one, the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed accounting firm Mazars USA for access to a slew of Trump’s financial documents from 2011 to 2018, including personal records and records of various affiliated businesses and entities. These included the president’s long-sought-after tax returns. In a second case, the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, and the Financial Service Committee also subpoenaed Capital One. While both banks have various financial records related to Trump and his businesses, neither possesses his tax returns. ‘Without limits on its subpoena powers, Congress could ‘exert an imperious control’ over the Executive Branch and aggrandize itself at the President’s expense, just as the Framers feared,’ Roberts wrote. But Roberts also left open the possibility that House Democrats, after further proceedings in lower courts, could get ahold of the president’s documents.”
Only Alito and Thomas backed Trump – CNBC: “Both cases were decided 7-2, with Chief Justice John Roberts authoring the court’s opinion and joined in the majority by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented in both cases. The decisions mark the first time that the nation’s highest court has directly ruled on a matter involving Trump’s personal dealings. Trump has been more secretive with his finances than any president in decades, refusing to release his tax records to the public even as he mounts a bid for reelection. The president unleashed a four-tweet thread ripping the court’s decisions. ‘We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAIGHT [sic] and nothing happens to them,’ Trump raged in a series of tweets.”
THE RULEBOOK: AHOY!
“When a nation has become so powerful by sea that it can protect its dock-yards by its fleets, this supersedes the necessity of garrisons for that purpose.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 24
TIME OUT: ALL THE RIGHT ENEMIES
The Writer’s Almanac: “It’s the birthday of journalist Dorothy Thompson, born in Lancaster, New York (1894). In 1935, a Time magazine poll ranked her the most important woman in the United States after Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a foreign correspondent for the New York Evening Post in the 1920s, eventually becoming its bureau chief in Berlin. She returned to America after marrying novelist Sinclair Lewis, but went back as a freelancer to Germany, where she so angered Adolf Hitler with her reporting on the Nazis, that he personally ordered her out of the country – the first American journalist to be expelled. Her syndicated column, On the Record, appeared three times a week in as many as 170 papers, and she also had a popular radio show.” You can get a more complete biography of the woman who warned the world about Hitler here.
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 41.4 percent
Biden: 51 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 9.6 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↑ 0.4 points; Trump ↑ 2 points
[Average includes: IBD: Trump 40% – Biden 48%; Monmouth: Trump 41% – Biden 53%; CNBC: Trump 41% – Biden 49%; USA Today/Suffolk: Trump 41% – Biden 53%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 44% – Biden 52%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)
Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
[Full rankings here.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 40.2 percent
Average disapproval: 56.4 percent
Net Score: -16.2 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.6 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 38% approve – 57% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve – 56% disapprove; Monmouth: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNBC: 43% approve – 57% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 40% approve – 58% disapprove.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the SCOTUS’s opinion on the Electoral College, President Biden’s ability to debate President Trump and the potential for Republicans to hold on to the Senate. They also touch on the possibility of reopening schools this fall, the continued debate on mask-wearing and Dana’s small business shopping spree. Plus, Chris tries his hand at presidential facial hair trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
SANDERS: BIDEN TO MAKE ‘SIGNIFICANT’ SHIFT TO LEFT
NPR: “A joint effort by former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to unify Democrats around Biden’s candidacy has produced a 110-page policy wish list to recommend to the party’s presumptive presidential nominee… ‘The goals of the task force were to move the Biden campaign into as progressive a direction as possible, and I think we did that,’ Sanders told NPR. ‘On issue after issue, whether it was education, the economy, health care, climate, immigration, criminal justice, I think there was significant movement on the part of the Biden campaign.’ The document recommends that Biden commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 and to zeroing out net greenhouse gas emissions across the entire economy by 2050. The task forces call for funding universal prekindergarten across the country, expanding Social Security, raising the national minimum wage and eliminating cash bail, among many other long-sought progressive stances.”
Some Senate Dems moving for end of 60-vote threshold – Fox News: “[Some] Senate Democrats are floating a possible change in the body’s rules that could do away with the legislative filibuster, a guardrail that lets a minority of at least 40 senators prevent a bill from getting to a final vote. … The move also comes as Democrats … are concerned Republicans may use the rule to put up blanket resistance to a possible President Joe Biden’s agenda. ‘When the Senate doesn’t debate or vote on the major issues facing America, it doesn’t serve anyone,’ [a spokesperson for Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley] said in a statement. It continued: ‘…fixing the broken Senate must include more opportunities for the minority to influence floor debate and require votes on their amendments. He is fighting to break the gridlock and ensure that all senators, not just the Majority Leader, get a say in the floor process.’”
Biden vows to undo faith exemption for ObamaCare birth control rule – Fox News: “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was one of many on the left to express dismay at the Supreme Court’s Wednesday ruling that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that employers provide insurance that includes contraception, and promised he would return to an Obama-era policy should he be elected. ‘As disappointing as the Supreme Court’s ruling is, there is a clear path to fixing it: electing a new President who will end Donald Trump’s ceaseless attempts to gut every aspect of the Affordable Care Act,’ Biden said in a statement. “If I am elected, I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the Hobby Lobby ruling: providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions.”
CDC BOSS: AGENCY NOT CAVING TO TRUMP ON SCHOOLS
Fox News: “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield clarified Thursday that the agency would not be revising their guidelines, but instead offering ‘different reference documents’ for local governments and school districts to review as they begin to determine whether they can safely reopen schools this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. Redfield, on ABC…, said he wanted to ‘clarify’ the CDC’s guidelines. ‘Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid communities that are trying to open K-12 schools…’ Redfield said. He added: ‘It’s not a revision of the guidelines, but it is to provide additional information to help schools.’ Redfield’s comments came after President Trump on Wednesday said he disagreed with the CDC’s back-to-school guidance, calling it ‘impractical.’ Later Wednesday, at the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would be ‘issuing new guidance next week’ to schools.”
DeVos floats plan to expand school choice where schools don’t reopen – Reuters: “The Trump administration will not cut federal education spending but could allow families to use funds elsewhere if their school does not open amid the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. education secretary said on Thursday, a day after Trump threatened to cut funding. ‘If schools aren’t going to reopen, we’re not suggesting pulling funding from education but instead allowing families … (to) take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated if their schools are going to refuse to open,’ Betsy DeVos told Fox News in an interview. It was unclear how the administration planned to redirect funding, which is directed by U.S. lawmakers. Any change in appropriations would face resistance in Congress, now split between Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, and President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans, who control the Senate.”
Layoffs top 1 million for 16th straight week – AP: “More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a historically high pace that shows that many employers are still laying people off in the face of a resurgent coronavirus. The persistently elevated level of layoffs are occurring as a spike in virus cases has forced six states to reverse their move to reopen businesses. Those six — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Texas — make up one-third of the U.S. economy. Fifteen other states have suspended their re-openings. Collectively, the pullback has stalled a tentative recovery in the job market and is likely triggering additional layoffs. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that the number of applications for unemployment aid fell from 1.4 million in the previous week. The figure has now topped 1 million for 16 straight weeks. Before the pandemic, the record high for weekly unemployment applications was fewer than 700,000.”
Tulsa corona spike tied to Trump rally – Politico: “President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of participants and large protests ‘likely contributed’ to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday. Tulsa County reported 261 confirmed new cases on Monday, a one-day record high, and another 206 cases on Tuesday. By comparison, during the week before the June 20 Trump rally, there were 76 cases on Monday and 96 on Tuesday. Although the health department’s policy is to not publicly identify individual settings where people may have contracted the virus, Dart said those large gatherings ‘more than likely’ contributed to the spike. ‘In the past few days, we’ve seen almost 500 new cases, and we had several large events just over two weeks ago, so I guess we just connect the dots,’ Dart said.”
Houston mayor nixes GOP state convention – Politico: “The city of Houston on Wednesday canceled plans to host the 2020 Texas Republican Convention next week as coronavirus cases surge in one of the country’s biggest virus hot spots. Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Wednesday that he’d told the operator of the indoor convention center to opt out of its contract with Texas’ Republican Party, citing health risks to first responders, convention workers and those attending the convention event. The convention, scheduled for July 16-18, was expected to draw roughly 6,000 attendees to Houston’s indoor George R. Brown Convention Center. The chairman of the Texas Republican Party, James Dickey, blasted Turner’s plan to cancel the convention prior to the announcement on Wednesday, vowing ‘to take all necessary steps to proceed in the peaceable exercise of our constitutionally protected rights.’”
The Judge’s Ruling: America’s personal liberties – This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains his worries that personal liberties are being “squeezed in a vise”: “When the governor both writes a law and enforces it, he ceases to be a governor and becomes a prince. James Madison’s constitutional genius irretrievably separated these two functions, just as it separated the judicial function from the legislative and the executive. American civilization is being squeezed this summer by two factions — anarchists, enabled by politicians who want their support, and tyrannical mayors and governors. Often — in an irony that history will find to be bitter — by same folks. Their victim is personal liberty in a free society. The liberty to walk the streets of Seattle or New York City unmolested and the liberty to be oneself and take chances. The liberty to be free from thugs in the streets and the liberty to exercise our formerly guaranteed fundamental rights.” More here.
SupCo says Oklahoma police must treat eastern half of state as reservation land – Reuters
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Your Monday Half-Time Report: ‘Many Southern electorates are getting younger, less white and more urban, and thus less likely to embrace President Donald Trump’s white identity politics’)? Can you please clarify what you mean by ‘President Trump’s white identity politics?’ President Trump is white but I don’t hear anything that REMOTELY sounds like ‘white identity politics.’ I hear him being wrongly accused of such things by people with a Dem/far-left agenda and a habit of accusing everyone with whom they disagree as being ‘racist.’ Perhaps you could enlighten us about his message aimed squarely at ‘white people’ and not ALL Americans.” – Eric Hutchins, Santa Barbara, Calif.
[Ed. note: I know you’re a longtime reader and frequent correspondent, Mr. Hutchins, so I feel pretty certain you understand how the note works, but at the risk of repetition: The works of other journalists we highlight here in quotation marks, like that article from the Associated Press, are not our own. Now, in this case, I would courage you to arise from your fainting couch and to retire your all-caps shock that Trump might be seen as ‘REMOTELY’ exploiting racial disunity. The president plays racial politics for keeps. That doesn’t mean he’s a racist, just that he’s not afraid to play the game. Whether it’s a “white power” tweet, bashing NASCAR for banning the Confederate Flag or defense of Confederate honorifics, Trump is utterly unafraid to dive into the explicit identity politics that white politicians had shunned for decades. Racial identity has long been a huge component of America’s culture wars. Trump differs from most white politicians in that he does not mind getting in on the fight. His supporters believe this is a sign of strength because he will not be bullied by accusations of racism. His foes, of course, see him as racist. The danger for Trump and his party is that persuadable voters may not agree with the accusers but still grow tired of the constant conflict.]
“As always the daily chime of HR hitting my invokes a haste to finish what I am doing so I can ‘get to it.’ Just out of curiosity, using your term from yesterday’s HR Bleacher Report, what is on your Fret List?” – Rick Randell, Bradenton, Fla.
[Ed. note: After Wednesday, mostly hitting deadline! Thanks for reading and taking the time to write.]
“Is there any way that we (the voters) could require Biden to ‘run on his record’?” – Dave Johnson, Bend, Ore.
[Ed. note: It depends on which “we.” The voters who wouldn’t vote for Biden no matter what don’t count in this equation. Neither do the voters who wouldn’t vote for Trump no matter what. But if the, let’s say, 20 percent or so of voters who swing relatively freely became demanding, Biden would have to listen. The frustration Republicans are experiencing these days is a lot like what the party went through in 1996. They see a flawed Democratic candidate who gets very little scrutiny as the political press increasingly writes off the Republican. But I would say that the media landscape and voter attitudes are very different now. And Trump certainly is unlike Bob Dole in every meaningful way imaginable. I suspect Biden has a couple more appointments in the dunking booth before this is all over.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
DO YOU GET ARRAIGNED HERE OFTEN?
Fox News: “A car crash Sunday resulted in both drivers being arrested after police in Oregon discovered they were both driving stolen vehicles. Newberg-Dundee police chased Randy Lee Cooper, 27, in a stolen Land Cruiser before he careened into a Buick Regal as he was attempting to elude officers. Cooper was arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including assault and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. In the process, police discovered that the driver of the Buick, 25-year-old Kristin Nicole Begue, was under the influence of intoxicants and her vehicle had also been reported stolen three weeks prior, according to a police press release. She was also arrested and charged with driving under the influence and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Conservatism’s choice, among all the great modern revolutions, has always been the American Revolution. It sought not to remake the world — and man — anew by some utopian ideal, but rather to elevate and safeguard the liberty of man in our own, imperfect world.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in his book “The Point of It All.”
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Bree Tracey contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.