Trump Jr. burns GOP defenders

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On the roster: Trump Jr. burns GOP defenders - Time Out: Ripped from the headlines - McConnell delays August recess - Republican base growing impatient - #Lifegoals

TRUMP JR. BURNS GOP DEFENDERS
How much trust do you have that the Trump organization is being honest with you about Russia and the 2016 campaign? 

After the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a lawyer tied to Vladimir Putin in hopes to obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton – as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” – that question becomes quite significant. 

In a very real sense, the people who control the destiny of President Trump as it relates to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation are the Republicans in Congress. 
 
It is reasonable to assume that whatever Mueller’s findings, much of it will be unhappy for the president. As Trump the younger’s admission shows, there is more to unearth in this realm. This will not be fun. 

The Republicans who are tasked with defending and protecting the president through these various outrages – be they self-inflicted Twitter wounds or larger traumas like this one – cannot do their work if they don’t know the whole truth. 

That’s why these revelations about the meeting are particularly damaging. The Trump campaign should have put this out long ago rather than letting 52 Republican senators read all about it in the NYT. 

Faced with the task of dragging the lifeless hulk of an ObamaCare cuts package to passage, Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate are now back on Russia eruption duty. 

Now they do so with the knowledge that the campaign did not level with them. 

Donald Trump Jr. getting caught out on this Russia omission doesn’t matter much for the story itself. Everyone seems to agree that the dirt that the young Trump in the campaign wanted was not available from their Russian contact. 

What is material, however, is that the campaign and the White House both kept this story under wraps for so many months. 

Everyone involved, including the president’s son, knows this is a big deal. This was not bumping in the Russian ambassador at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. This was something you would have remembered. This is something you should have disclosed.

For weeks, Republicans have been able to say with increasing conviction that there was not a shred of evidence of any inappropriate contact between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. 

You won’t be hearing that one much anymore.

The best defense on offer now is a claim that it is not illegal, per se, to collude with a hostile foreign power in an American election. That spin is so bad that not even true believers can fully abide it. It may not be illegal, but it is certainly shameful.

Now, like the rest of the country, Republicans in Congress are left to wonder what else is out there – what else is the campaign hiding?

THE RULEBOOK: POWER UP
“The idea of a national government involves in it, not only an authority over the individual citizens, but an indefinite supremacy over all persons and things, so far as they are objects of lawful government. Among a people consolidated into one nation, this supremacy is completely vested in the national legislature.” – James MadisonFederalist No. 39 

TIME OUT: RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES
On this day in 1960, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published. The life and times for its author, Harper Lee, would inform the book that changed a generation. Time: “Lee’s father, Amasa Coleman Lee, was a lot like Scout’s father Atticus Finch, and she clearly sketched him and local events when creating the plot of Mockingbird. … Mockingbird paralleled at least three cases that were objects of contention in the Monroeville of her childhood, and Lee once commented how, in her novel, ‘the trial, and the rape charge that brings on the trial, are made up out of a composite of such cases and charges.’ … At the time, ‘the idea that someone like Lee would represent a black is by no means abnormal or unusual, though not typical,’ says Wayne Flynt, distinguished university professor emeritus at Auburn University and a friend of Harper Lee. ‘People like her father had grown up in churches. They were not threatened intellectually, economically or politically by blacks.’”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump net job-approval rating: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: No change

MCCONNELL DELAYS AUGUST RECESS 
Fox News: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he is delaying the start of the August recess, a move that comes as lawmakers scramble to produce a new health care overhaul and tackle a host of other legislative priorities. ‘In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,’ McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.”

Senate GOP looks for do-over on ObamaCare cuts - 
Politico: “New bill text could be unveiled to senators as soon as Thursday, according to sources familiar with the proposal. A Congressional Budget Office score is likely to follow as soon as next Monday. … Senate Republicans have offered increasingly dour assessments of the bill’s prospects due to a push from conservative Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah to drag the bill rightward and distaste from more moderate senators for future Medicaid spending cuts. … The party spent Monday sniping over the future of the Lee and Cruz amendment, which would allow the sale of cheap insurance plans outside Obamacare’s regulatory structure. GOP critics like Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia have worried that Cruz’s and Lee’s amendment would make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get covered — arguments being amplified by Democrats. Opposition from those senators alone would tank the amendment.”

Republican base growing impatient - McClatchy: “The targets of [this] disdain include House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose chamber managed to pass a bill after an initial fumble, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who scrapped the Senate bill before the Fourth of July congressional recess and has since suggested Republicans may need to work with Democrats on a fix if their own efforts fall short. True to the axiom that most people despise Congress but like their member of Congress, the exasperation stops short when it comes to the local congressman, House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows. Most voters praised Meadows for taking a hardline stand against an early version of the House legislation and seeing that it was pulled to the right.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY 
Trump taps new top cop for Wall Street NYT 

Pence to keynote event for conservative PAC Fox News

Government to end search for new FBI headquarters - The Hill

Federal investigation into Jane Sanders is getting more serious Fox News

West Virginia GOPers set to clash for the chance to face Manchin – Charleston [W.Va.] Gazette-Mail

AUDIBLE: MINE!
“It’s my voice. They want to take away my voice… They’re not going to take away my social media.” – President Trump in an interview with Mark Leibovich for the NYT.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Hi Chris, thanks for covering the daily antics of the DC crowd with grace and wisdom. In reference to Question 8 (‘Fill in the Trump’) in the July 7th Power [Play] trivia quiz: I'm uncertain precisely how President Trump knows he had the support of Polish-Americans in the 2016 election, but I suppose he could always dismiss any who opposed him as ‘fake Poles.’” – Dan Kornegay, Clarkesville, Ga.

[Ed. note: You, Mr. Kornegay, are the real winner of last week’s show!]

“Several familiar Dem names, including Ms. Harris, will be tossed about as 2020 Presidential nominee contenders. But as we saw with the recent GOP presidential primary, the eventual winner was a complete outsider. Like the GOP, the Dems will nominate someone from outside the political arena. Someone known to all who has no political baggage. Probably someone like Tom HanksMatt Damon, or George Clooney. How could anyone vote against Hanks?” – Terry Miller, Escondido, Calif.

[Ed. note: My money is on Dwayne Johnson but I’m definitely picking up what you’re putting down.]

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#LIFEGOALS
The Guardian: “[Britain’s] communications regulator is hunting a radio pirate who has repeatedly hijacked the airwaves of a local station with a deliberately offensive song about masturbation. The Winker’s Song, a 1970s ditty by an artist going by the name Ivor Biggun, has been illegally forced on to the output of Mansfield 103.2 at least eight times in the last month. Ofcom said it was taking the incident ‘extremely seriously’ and its engineers were working closely with the radio station to trace and identify the pirate. Listeners were last subjected to the song, which uses the word ‘wanker’ 36 times, this weekend during a live family broadcast from Mansfield’s Party in the Market event. It is believed the rogue broadcaster could be using a small transmitter to play the adult theme on the same frequency, overriding the station’s scheduled programming. Tony Delahunty, managing director of Mansfield 103.2, said: ‘Some people have told me that their children have started humming the song in the car.’”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“This is not just some trivial event. … And it shows a naiveté that is really incomprehensible. He actually was thinking it was a good idea to collaborate with the Russians who you can't trust to do anything … and believe they are going to work with us, it is beyond incomprehensible.” – Charles
Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

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.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.