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On the roster: Barr battle boils over - I’ll Tell You What: You’ve got to be ready - Foreign entanglements may dog Biden - Bennet jumps in with aggressively pragmatic message - And you thought your seatmate was bad
BARR BATTLE BOILS OVER
Fox News: “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler vowed a ‘reckoning’ Thursday after Attorney General Bill Barr boycotted a scheduled hearing before the panel, speaking in grave terms as he likened President Trump to a dictator and threatened the Justice Department leader with contempt. Nadler, D-N.Y., spoke at what was slated to be a hearing for Barr to testify on his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Barr, who testified for hours on the same topic a day earlier on the Senate side, did not show up amid a disagreement over the terms for his appearance in the House. … Nadler -- at a bizarre session complete with an empty chair for Barr where one Democrat placed a prop chicken -- lashed out at both Barr and Trump, who has vowed to fight all subpoenas amid an escalating confrontation with Congress over an array of investigations. Barr himself has not been subpoenaed, and it's unclear whether Democrats might take that step, but his DOJ has refused to comply with a subpoena for the full Mueller report.”
Voters think Trump’s a crook, but overwhelmingly oppose impeachment - Quinnipiac University: “American voters say 57 - 28 percent that Donald Trump committed crimes before he became president, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. This compares to results of a March 5 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University National Poll, before release of the Mueller Report, in which voters said 64 - 24 percent that President Trump committed crimes before he was elected. In [Wednesday's] survey, 46 percent of voters say Trump committed crimes since he became president and 46 percent say he did not commit crimes. But American voters say 66 - 29 percent that Congress should not begin impeachment of President Trump. Democrats support impeachment 56 - 38 percent. Opposition to impeachment is 95 - 4 percent among Republicans and 70 - 27 percent among independent voters.”
Neal Katyal: The system is working - NYT: “Many who watched Attorney General William Barr’s testimony on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which followed the revelation that the special counsel Robert Mueller had expressed misgivings about Mr. Barr’s characterization of his report, are despairing about the rule of law. I am not among them. I think the system is working, and inching, however slowly, toward justice. When it comes to investigating a president, the special counsel regulations I had the privilege of drafting in 1998-99 say that such inquiries have one ultimate destination: Congress. That is where this process is going, and has to go. We are in the fifth inning, and we should celebrate a system in which our own government can uncover so much evidence against a sitting president.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Can the AG defend presidential obstruction? - This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why he believes AG Barr should not defend the president’s obstruction of justice: “The Barr argument goes thusly: In order for a person to obstruct justice, there must be some justice to obstruct. Hence, if the alleged obstructer did not commit the underlying crime being investigated, then his so-called obstruction did not impair justice; it just impaired a fruitless investigation. This sophistry would make the Jesuits proud. As well, this argument goes, so long as presidential interference in an investigation is grounded in the Constitution and is not ‘corrupt’ … it is not prosecutable. The nearly universal view of law enforcement, however, rejects Barr's narrow view of obstruction and interprets the plain meaning of the federal statute as it was written.” More here.
THE RULEBOOK: IT’S ON
“The magistracy, being equally the ministers of the law of the land, from whatever source it might emanate, would doubtless be as ready to guard the national as the local regulations from the inroads of private licentiousness.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 16
TIME OUT: DA VINCI’S CODE
Smithsonian: “A lock of hair held by a private collector in the United States may be the key to mapping Leonardo da Vinci’s DNA. As Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Ideale Leonardo da Vinci Museum in the artist’s hometown of Vinci, and Agnese Sabato, president of the Leonardo da Vinci Heritage Foundation, explain[s] in a statement, ‘We found, across the Atlantic, a lock of hair historically tagged ‘Les Cheveux de Leonardo da Vinci’’—French for ‘Leonardo da Vinci’s hair.’ Vezzosi adds, ‘This historical relic … has long remained hidden in an American collection. It will now be exposed for the first time, along with documents attesting [to] its ancient French provenance.’ According to the Guardian’s Angela Giuffrida, Vezzosi and Sabato will present the singular strand to the public during a Thursday press conference held at Vinci’s Leonardiana Library. Timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, which occurred on May 2, 1519, the ceremony will mark the ‘official start’ of scientific investigations into the hair’s origins…”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 42.8 percent
Average disapproval: 53.4 percent
Net Score: -10.6 points
Change from one week ago: down 1.4 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 41% approve - 55% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; WaPo/ABC News: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 51% disapprove.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: YOU’VE GOT TO BE READY
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss how the 2020 Presidential candidates will fare against incumbent Donald Trump, the evolution of Taylor Swift and what Chris’s son taught him about Abraham Lincoln. Plus, Dana and Chris dissect their latest read, “Accidental Presidents” for the I'll Tell You What book club. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
FOREIGN ENTANGLEMENTS MAY DOG BIDEN
NYT: “It was a foreign policy role Joseph R. Biden Jr. enthusiastically embraced during his vice presidency: browbeating Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government to clean up its act. … Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general. … The broad outlines of how the Bidens’ roles intersected in Ukraine have been known for some time. … But new details about Hunter Biden’s involvement, and a decision this year by the current Ukrainian prosecutor general to reverse himself and reopen an investigation into [the company Burisma Holdings], have pushed the issue back into the spotlight just as the senior Mr. Biden is beginning his 2020 presidential campaign.”
Former veep faces skeptical liberals in Hawkeye State - WSJ: “In his first few days of campaigning, Mr. Biden has sketched out parts of his policy agenda, promising to restore the 'dignity of work,' set a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, provide a public option through Medicare to expand the reach of Obamacare, and reverse the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and large corporations from Mr. Trump’s tax overhaul. But Mr. Biden has stopped short of endorsing a single-payer, Medicare-for-All health system espoused by Mr. Sanders and several candidates, a wealth tax proposed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, or a Green New Deal-style plan pushed by liberal members of Congress. That could be a liability in Iowa, where a March poll by The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom found that more than half of likely Democratic caucus-goers would be satisfied with the nation becoming more socialist.”
All the feels - Politico: “In his first campaign tour of Iowa since announcing his bid for president, Biden has been light on policy detail and heavy on emotion. There are clear signs of rust: he mangles phrases and flubs names. He needed a teleprompter at his Pittsburgh debut and relies on notecards for names and important subjects. … Biden is also polishing his technique as he goes. Though his off-the-cuff humor usually produces laughs from the crowd, Biden occasionally misses the mark — as he did when he tried several times to tell a joke rooted in a New Yorker cartoon mocking ‘job creators’ as bank robbers.”
BENNET JUMPS IN WITH AGGRESSIVELY PRAGMATIC MESSAGE
Denver Post: “Michael Bennet, Colorado’s senior U.S. senator, is running for president on promises to boost the middle class and mend America’s broken political system. Bennet, who successfully recovered from prostate cancer surgery last month, announced his campaign Thursday morning. He was scheduled to appear first on ‘CBS This Morning’ and in the evening on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ on MSNBC. He’s then going to barnstorm Iowa, beginning in the rural west and heading east through the weekend. Bennet, 54, is the 21st Democrat to get into the race to take on President Donald Trump. … Bennet is the second Coloradan to join the 2020 race. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper joined in March. The two men have been friends for decades. At one point, Bennet worked for Hickenlooper. At another, the two were rivals for the Senate seat Bennet now holds.”
Margaret Carlson: Beto blew it - Daily Beast: “According to my unscientific poll asking every woman I see, Beto reminds them of the worst boyfriend they ever had: self-involved, convinced of his own charm, chronically late if he shows up at all, worth a meal or two but definitely not marriage material. When he should be home with the kids or taking out the trash, he’s jamming with his garage band or skateboarding at Whataburger. He’s ‘in and out of a funk’ which requires long and meaningful runs to clear his head. Every thought he has is transcendent, worthy of being narrated, videotaped, and blogged. He is always out finding himself. At age 46, the man asking to run the country is currently lost.”
Buttigieg and husband land on Time cover - Fox News: “Mayor Pete has picked up another impressive media endorsement. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has been rising in the polls in recent weeks and has now landed on the cover of TIME magazine. Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, appear on the cover of the prestigious magazine, along with the headline and sub-headline: ‘First Family -- The unlikely, untested and unprecedented campaign of Mayor Pete Buttigieg.’ … TIME’s story then compares Buttigieg to the man he would ultimately have to topple if he succeeds in winning the Democratic nomination… ‘In many ways, Buttigieg is Trump’s polar opposite: younger, dorkier, shorter, calmer and married to a man. His success may depend on whether Democrats want a fighter to match Trump, or whether Americans want to ‘change the channel,’ as Buttigieg puts it.”
Montana governor ready to be candidate 22 - KTVH: “Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will announce his bid for the presidency in two weeks, MTN News has learned — adding to the 20 Democrats already running for the 2020 nomination to challenge President Trump. Bullock, a two-term governor who can’t run for re-election in 2020 because of term limits, isn’t talking publicly yet about his specific plans. But sources told MTN News the Democratic governor plans to officially unveil his candidacy soon, likely the week of May 13. Bullock’s announcement won’t be a big surprise. He formed a political action committee, Big Sky Values PAC, in mid-2017, to fund political travels and activity around the country, and he’s hired political veterans as staffers for the PAC, including an organizing director in Iowa.”
Arnon Mishkin: The state of the Democratic race on May Day - Fox News: “With [Joe] Biden’s official entry, the Democratic race appears to break into four distinct groups: the Biden ‘Let’s Just Beat Him’ squad; the Left/Democratic Socialist camp (essentially Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren); a ‘Maybe-the-Next-Obama’ cohort of less well-known candidates who have emerged from the pack but have not yet ‘captured lightning’ (Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke) and a clique of current also-rans whose strategy appears to amount to ‘There Must be a Pony Here Somewhere.’ … For Biden, the Democrats split between those who want Biden and those who would -- at worst -- be merely satisfied if he’s the nominee. For Sanders, the party is split between the ‘Bernie-Bros’ and folks who would be deeply disappointed if he’s the nominee. … All the candidates in ‘Pony clique’ are still searching for ways to emerge from their muck.”
Trump announces in a tweet Stephen Moore ‘decided to withdraw’ from Fed consideration - WaPo
Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, announces he won’t run for Senate in 2020 - Houston Chronicle
Congressional Budget Office releases report on drawbacks of “Medicare for All” type plans - AP
“I’ll take ‘uncomfortable awkward silences’ for a thousand dollars, Alex...” – Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., tweeted on Wednesday along with a video of three Jeopardy contestants who didn’t know who the senator was.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“After copious hours of study, listening to all the talking heads and finding it extremely difficult to determine the true end game I have reached the ultimate conclusion that the only way to solve Venezuela’s present dilemma is to send James Taylor there immediately if not sooner.” – Corey V. Bailey, Murphy, N.C.
[Ed. note: The Geneva Convention has its limits, sir!]
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AND YOU THOUGHT YOUR SEATMATE WAS BAD
CBC: “Politics can stink. That was the message delivered by a traveler to inspectors at the Juneau International Airport in Alaska who found moose nuggets inside his carry-on bag. KTOO Public Media reports the man told agents he collects the droppings and likes to present it ‘for politicians and their bleep policies.’ Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says the discovery didn't warrant writing a report and the man was sent on his way with the poop. In a cheeky Instagram post, the TSA described the ‘large organic mess’ found in the carry-on and offered travelers some advice. ‘While TSA has no policies that would prevent you from traveling with a bag of animal poo, we would strongly suggest that you check with your airline on their policies,’ the post reads. … ‘Having to leave your souvenirs behind would really stink.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Americans do not dislike courts. We respect law. If anything, we are the most over-lawyered, judge-driven democracy in the West. … Nonetheless, we hold to the quaint idea that in a democratic system, prosecutors must be answerable to democratically elected leaders.” –Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for The Weekly Standard on Aug. 26, 2002.
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.