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On the roster: Bernie opposes court packing - Time Out: Black hole IRL - White House scramble to blunt border closure costs - House Dems green light subpoena for Mueller report - Mimosa Capri Sun or nah?


WaPo: “Packing the Supreme Court remains as radical and unrealistic an idea in 2019 as it was when Franklin Roosevelt tried it in 1937, derailing the start of his second term, but several of the liberals running for president have jumped on this bandwagon… Not Bernie Sanders. The senator from Vermont might be the only Democrat running for president who doesn’t need to pander to the left to be able to win the nomination. He has credibility with the base, he's near the top of the early polls, and he doesn’t need to climb out on limbs to get coverage in a crowded field. … Sanders was one of eight presidential candidates who appeared on Monday at a forum in Washington that was sponsored by a coalition of labor, immigration, environmental and abortion rights groups. … [Sanders said,] “My worry is the next time the Republicans are in power, they will do the same thing. So I think that’s not the ultimate solution.”

Two more women talk of Biden’s uncomfortable ‘touches’ - NYT: “But the political ground has shifted under Mr. [JoeBiden, and his tactile style of retail politicking is no longer a laughing matter in the era of #MeToo. Now, as he considers a run for president, Mr. Biden is struggling to prevent a strength from turning into a crippling liability; on Tuesday alone, two more women told The New York Times that the former vice president’s touches made them uncomfortable. For Mr. Biden, 76, the risks are obvious: the accusations feed into a narrative that he is a relic of the past, unsuited to represent his party in the modern era, against an incumbent president whose treatment of women should be a central line of attack. … So far, no prominent Democrat has suggested he not run, and the women complaining about him have not claimed sexual harassment or assault.”

‘Yang Gang’ raises $1.7 million - Axios: “2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang raised $1.7 million from 80,000 individual donors in the 1st quarter of 2019, The Daily Beast reported. By the numbers: Donors to Yang gave an average contribution of $17.92, with 99% of donations coming in at less than $200. Having passed the minimum threshold of 65,000 donors, Yang has qualified to participate in the Democratic primary debates.”

Black leaders call on Dems to abandon war on super PACs - Politico: “Top black donors and operatives are calling on fellow Democrats to abandon their push against super PACs, arguing that one of Democrats’ most popular 2020 talking points will ultimately cut off much-needed resources for candidates of color. In a letter obtained by POLITICO, The Collective PAC — which helps elect black candidates to office — asked major liberal groups like Indivisible and Democracy for America to stop calling for Democratic presidential contenders to distance themselves from single-candidate super PACs. Such groups play an important role in electing candidates of color, they argued, especially in primaries, when the Democratic establishment has often overlooked black contenders and left it to outside donors to bolster their campaigns.”

Second Democratic presidential debate will be held in Detroit - Detroit Free Press: “Detroit will play host to the second televised debate among a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates in late July, the Free Press has learned. The Democratic National Committee told the Free Press on Tuesday that the debate — which could include as many as 20 candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump next year —- will be held over two nights, July 30 and 31, if both nights are deemed necessary as expected. … ‘Detroit embodies the values and character of the Democratic Party,’ said DNC Chairman Tom Perez.” 

Klobuchar out with a dozen years of tax returns - Politico: “Amy Klobuchar released a dozen years worth of tax returns Monday, joining a handful of other 2020 contenders who are making their financial disclosures public. The Minnesota Democrat posted her family's tax returns, from 2017 to 2006, when she was first elected to the Senate. Klobuchar, on a webpage devoted to her tax documents, said that ‘transparency and accountability are fundamental to good governance.’ In 2017, Klobuchar and her husband, Jonathan Bessler, an attorney and law school professor, earned just under $300,000, and they paid just over $62,000 in federal taxes, the documents show.”

“A FIRM Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States, as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection.” –Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 9

USA Today: “They've captured our imaginations for decades, but we've never actually photographed a black hole before – until now. Next Wednesday, at several press briefings around the world, scientists will apparently unveil humanity's first-ever photo of a black hole, the European Space Agency said in a statement. Specifically, the photo will be of ‘Sagittarius A,’ the supermassive black hole that's at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. But aren't black holes, well, black, and thus invisible, so none of our telescopes can ‘see’ them? Yes – therefore the image we're likely to see will be of the ‘event horizon,’ the edge of the black hole where light can't escape. Even that will be challenging, however, as the black hole at the center of our galaxy is ‘shrouded in a thick cloud of dust and gas,’ according to Science Alert. … (Black holes are actually collapsed stars, with gravity so strong that even light cannot escape their grasp.)”

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Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 42.6 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -10.2 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.6 points 
[Average includes: NBC/WSJ: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; Pew Research Center: 41% approve - 55% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 50% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 39% approve - 55% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve - 51% disapprove.]

WaPo: “Senior White House officials are exploring ways to exempt commercial trade from President Trump’s threat to shut down the U.S. border with Mexico, three people briefed on the discussions said, amid warnings that blocking the flow of goods between the two countries would have severe consequences for the U.S. economy. In brief remarks, Trump on Tuesday again threatened to close the border but would not definitively say whether he would do so, and he has not divulged his plans even to some of his closest aides. But the White House is bracing for the possibility and internal planning has reached an advanced stage, according to the three people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the deliberations. Trump plans to visit the Mexico border in California on Friday, where some aides are bracing for a possible announcement.”

Dems pounce - Politico: “House Democratic leaders are considering a vote to condemn President Donald Trump’s calls to shut down the southern border, in a clear attempt to force Republicans into a difficult political spot, according to several lawmakers. Top Democrats discussed the measure at a meeting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Tuesday evening. … The vote would be strictly symbolic, but it would dare Republicans to oppose the White House on its signature issue. The measure would reaffirm that Trump’s immigration policies are ‘not in the economic interest of the United States of America,’ according to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, who has seen the draft. … The measure could also include language backing asylum seekers, amid the White House’s threat to cut off support. Though Thompson said he believed that Democrats should move quickly on the measure, a senior Democratic aide with knowledge of the meeting said no timeline had been set.”

WaPo: “A House panel voted Wednesday to authorize subpoenas to obtain special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, laying down a marker in a constitutional power struggle that could end up in the courts. The House Judiciary Committee voted, 24-17, along party lines, to authorize its chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), to subpoena the report and underlying documents of Mueller’s probe from Attorney General William P. Barr. The panel, which has jurisdiction over impeachment, also voted to subpoena five former White House officials they believe may have received documents relevant to the special counsel’s probe. ‘This committee has a job to do,’ Nadler said. ‘The Constitution charges Congress with holding the president accountable for alleged official misconduct. That job requires us to evaluate the evidence for ourselves — not the attorney general’s summary, not a substantially redacted synopsis, but the full report and the underlying evidence.’”

House Dems release spending bill instead of budget plan - WaPo: “House Democrats formally punted on releasing a budget blueprint on Tuesday, instead unveiling a bill that would increase military and domestic spending caps by more than $350 billion over the next two years. The proposal frustrated fiscal hawks on both sides of the aisle and Democrats on the party’s left flank who balked at the prospect of increasing military spending. It also meant that House Democrats, without a blueprint to counter the one the Trump administration released last month, had effectively opted out of outlining their own budget priorities in the face of a divided government and division within their caucus. Several Democratic lawmakers and aides argued that with a Republican-controlled Senate and White House, it would be futile to release a budget resolution…”

McConnell re-election looking safe, no call for challenger so far - McClatchy 

Democrat, Navy vet Pam Iovino wins Pa. Senate seat Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lori Lightfoot elected as Chicago mayor - Chicago Tribune

Rep. Ben Ray Luján Senate run opens opportunities for future leadership shake-up - Politico

“The smell was God-awful.”– Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan reminiscing about an event he did with a California congressman in a raisin factory. He shared the memory while speaking at the Forward Janesville’s annual dinner [in Wisconsin] Tuesday night. The former speaker apparently really dislikes raisins. 

“Chris, I am puzzled by which polls you choose to include and which you do not.  I do not recall (nor have I found when going back to search through quite a few Halftime Reports) results from Rasmussen or Economist/YouGov (both of which were among the closest to the final results in their pre-election polling) being included. These two, in my opinion, are among the most respected and ‘fair and balanced’ pollsters; they often show the most favorable results for the President.  Some of the polls you use regularly seem to be the ones that give President Trump the least favorability ratings. Is there an intent on your part to skew the President’s favorability rating downward?” – Max Bushman, Morgan Hill, Calif.

[Ed. note: Oh, Mr. Bushman… If you really thought that I was really choosing polls based on negative results for your preferred political party I can’t imagine that you would be a reader, let alone writing in to ask about polling practices. But I do want you to understand that we have a rigorous, fair standard for which polls to include. We only accept polls that follow the standards for industry best practices. Neither Rasmussen nor YouGov meet our methodological standards. Rasmussen uses robo calls and can’t therefore call cell-phone users. This renders them essentially useless in the digital era. YouGov has the opposite problem. As an online poll, they leave out voters who tend to be older and/or less fluent with technology. We only use polls that use human beings to make live phone calls to both cellphones and landlines. You also may find useful this handy list of the most predictive pollsters from 2016. Thank you for reading and taking the time to write.]

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WTNH: “Lunchables is looking to move into the breakfast market. The iconic snack food line is set to debut a new product called ‘Brunchables.’ There will be three varieties to choose from, including bacon and cheese, breakfast ham and cheese and breakfast sausage and cheese. Lunchables teased the announcement on April Fool’s Day, causing many fans to be suspicious. But according to an announcement made Tuesday by the Kraft-Heinz company, Brunchables are a real thing. They should be available in stores next month.”

“The beginning of every new presidency they are always given the benefit of the doubt. And the great irony is that Congress has become so dependent on following the lead of a president in general, allowing its powers to be usurped. One presidency after another.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) speaking on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Feb. 22, 2017.  

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.