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On the roster: Biden hits the skids in new Q Poll - Trump leaned on Ukrainian leader for Biden dirt - Audible: Excuses, excuses! - Happy hump day


Politico: “A new national survey shows Elizabeth Warren now sitting atop the 2020 Democratic field… Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled by Quinnipiac University said they favor Warren, according to a poll released Wednesday morning. Twenty-five percent said they prefer former Vice President Joe Biden. Although Warren’s edge falls within the survey’s margin of error, Biden’s formidable lead over the rest of the field has crumbled since the last Quinnipiac national poll in August, which showed him with 32 percent support and Warren with 19 percent support. The latest survey reinforces other public polling showing Warren and Biden separating from their fellow contenders in the Democratic presidential race. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ranked third in Tuesday’s poll, achieving 16 percent support, followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., with 7 percent, and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 3 percent.”

Trump attacks raise doubts about Biden for Dem voters - NYT: “In public, for the last five days, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his campaign have been on a ferocious offensive, ripping into President Trump for allegedly abusing his powers in asking Ukraine’s leader to help hurt Mr. Biden politically, and castigating the news media for questioning his son Hunter Biden’s financial dealings there. … In private, though, this has been an enraging and uncertain time for the Biden campaign, and for Mr. Biden himself… He and his advisers have long feared that Hunter Biden would become a target for political opponent…And as Mr. Trump’s onslaught has pushed the House of Representatives to start an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden now faces a crucial political test where his standing may hinge on how he handles a wildly unpredictable confrontation with Mr. Trump.”

Warren ready for air war with $10 million buy - Politico: “Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign on Tuesday announced an early-state ad campaign of at least $10 million, suggesting that the Massachusetts senator is continuing to raise big money from grass-roots donors after an anemic start. The campaign told POLITICO that a digital ad campaign would begin immediately and that they are currently reserving television time, with the entire buy ramping up over the next few months. The campaign declined to say when its spending on digital and TV ads would reach eight figures. ‘Right now, our biggest expense as a campaign is our staff, but as the campaign heats up, it will be on media to reach potential voters,’ campaign manager Roger Lau wrote in a memo emailed to supporters Tuesday morning. The campaign ‘will be more digital than old-school broadcast television.’ The campaign also released three ads Tuesday — 15-second, 30-second, and 1-minute spots — which highlight Warren’s policy plans and her intention to crack down on corruption in government.”

Buttigieg hitches a ride on McCain’s media strategy - CBS News: “The South Bend, Indiana mayor rolled across Iowa on a four-day bus tour and allowed everything uttered on the bus to be on the record, drawing ready comparisons to the late Senator John McCain's ‘Straight Talk Express,’ the bus he toured the country in when he ran for president in 2000. The coach, which has also been around the country in the service of former President Barack ObamaJustin Timberlake and Tom Hanks, is now styled with Buttigieg signs, marble floors and plays news channels or football in the background. … He and his campaign have ramped up spending in Iowa in the past month, releasing a new TV ad on Monday, hiring more staff on the ground and opening offices. He added that the strategy is not to ‘go around Iowa.’”

Sanders touts dozen of union member endorsements - The Hill: “White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled the endorsements of 85 union members in Iowa as he works to shore up support for his progressive bona fides against a surging Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The endorsements were announced on the ‘Bernie beats Trump’ tour in Iowa during which Sanders is visiting counties that voted for former President Obama in 2008 and 2012 and for President Trump in 2016 to help ensure skeptical voters that he can beat Trump in a general election. … The endorsements come from members of several unions, including the autoworkers of America and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.”

“The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 78

New Yorker: “Timing is the life force of comics. Without a sensitivity to the rhythms and the music—a.k.a. the reality—of life, a comic strip will arrive D.O.A., nothing more than a bunch of dumb pictures. … The reader doesn’t just look at Charlie BrownLinusLucy, and Snoopy but reads them as musical notes in a silently heard composition of hilarity, cruelty, and occasional melancholy. In 1950, the comics page was a more or less settled territory into which very few new features could be shoehorned, and, from the get-go, ‘Peanuts’ was marketed as a space-saver. The strip was created out of four equally sized panels, which allowed it to run horizontally, vertically, or stacked two by two. … Who would’ve thought that such a hard-nosed commercial decision would catalyze one of the greatest works of popular art of the twentieth century?”

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Biden: 27.6 points (↓ 1.2 points from last wk.)
Warren: 20.8 points (No change from last wk.)
Sanders: 16 points (↑ 1.4 points from last wk.)
Harris: 6.6 points (↓ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 5.4 points (↑ 0.4 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, Fox News, NBC News/WSJ, CNN and ABC News/WaPo.]

Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 54 percent
Net Score: -11 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 3.8 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 55% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 54% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 45% approve - 53% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; CNN: 42% approve - 54% disapprove.]

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WSJ: “President Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to ‘look into’ former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and said he would direct his personal lawyer and attorney general to reach out to Mr. Zelensky to ‘get to the bottom of it,’ according to a document released by the White House designed to memorialize a July phone call between the leaders. The document also revealed that Mr. Trump, before asking Ukraine to examine actions by Mr. Biden’s son, reminded Mr. Zelensky that the U.S. sends security aid to Ukraine. ‘I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine,’ he said. ‘We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.’ He contrasted the U.S. aid with what European countries do to help Ukraine. According to the document released by the White House on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump didn’t make an explicit link on the call between the U.S. aid—which he had ordered a hold on a week earlier—and an investigation into Mr. Biden’s son.”

Trump lawyer: State Department directed involvement - WashEx: “President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he began dealing with Ukrainian officials at the behest of the State Department. During an interview Tuesday evening on Fox News, Giuliani was prompted to respond to a Washington Post report in which White House insiders complained about how he was improperly ‘injecting himself’ into U.S.-Ukraine relations. ‘Man, I really did,’ Giuliani said sarcastically. ‘And you know who I did at the request of? The State Department. I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it.’ Holding up his mobile phone, Giuliani said he reported every conversation he had to the Trump administration and that evidence of this communications with the State Department were all on the device.”

Pelosi heats up impeachment rhetoric, but not her go-slow approach - Roll Call: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement Tuesday that the House is in an ‘official impeachment inquiry’ gave no hints of how or whether it would accelerate any Democratic effort to remove President Donald Trump from office. Pelosi said she directed the six House committees conducting oversight of the Trump administration to move forward ‘under that umbrella’ of an impeachment inquiry — but gave no details about how the day-to-day approach would differ. In that way, Pelosi appeared to stay on a measured Democratic approach that for months has fallen short of raising public support for impeachment — particularly with the Trump administration’s unyielding rejection of congressional subpoena power — and put off potentially stronger moves toward impeachment.”

Poll shows reason for her caution - WaPo: “Amid a groundswell of support for impeachment proceedings among House Democrats, a new poll finds a majority of Americans do not favor ousting President Trump from office. Thirty-seven percent of voters say that Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57 percent say he should not be impeached, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning. … The poll shows a stark partisan divide on the question of impeachment. Among Democrats, 73 percent support impeachment, while 21 percent are opposed. Among Republicans, only 4 percent support impeachment, while 95 percent are opposed. Trump’s overall job approval rating remains in the range it has for nearly his entire presidency, with 40 percent of voters approving of how he is handling his job, and 55 percent saying they disapprove.”

Silver: Will Dems learn lessons of Russia probe? -  FiveThirtyEight: “Despite Trump being quite unpopular, and despite the public largely buying Democrats’ interpretation of the fact pattern on Russia — most polls find that a majority of the public thinks that Trump sought to obstruct the investigation into Russia, for instance — impeachment was a soundly unpopular proposition. … The politics of impeachment on Ukraine may be different than on Russia. But Democrats should take public opinion seriously. That doesn’t mean you always have to do the poll-driven thing. But don’t wish the numbers away because you don’t like them, or presume that they’ll change in your favor, or assume there won’t be consequences for taking an unpopular action. More specifically for Democrats, their failure to persuade the public that Russia warranted impeachment offers several potential lessons if they are to proceed on Ukraine.”

Trump reelection campaign, RNC using impeachment for fundraising haul - Politico

“Now, she has so much less to push up I don’t think that’s fair.” – Chief Justice John Roberts when asked if he could keep up with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s pushups, per CNN.

“I just have a political science question regarding the 2020 Senate race in Kansas. Kris Kobach lost the governor’s race in 2018 and is now running for the GOP nomination for Senate (yinz know this already). I was wondering do voters’ think differently when selecting a governor rather than a Senator? Kobach was too right-wing for the Topeka state House as an executive, but as a legislator in Washington? Does it make a difference that electing a Democratic Governor is vastly different than a Democratic Senator with vastly different consequences politically? Hopefully my question makes sense.” – James Belany, Pittsburgh

[Ed. note: The first thing to remember, Mr. Belany, is that there’s precious little science in politics. Like many of the humanities, political theory and the study of campaigns and elections, got squeezed into a faux “science” during the middle of the last century. To that I say: Phooey! The science at play in your question could be social psychology, though. Would the voters of Kansas feel differently about a radical senator than they would a radical governor? Maybe there’s something to that. But maybe there’s another discipline to consider: Mathematics. There were three candidates for governor in 2018, but maybe only two for Senate in 2020. Could Kobach slide by in a binary election especially when Republican voters are storming the polls in a presidential year? Maybe. But that doesn’t change the fact that the GOP would much rather not have to deal with Kobach. Not only does he increase the degree of difficulty in Kansas, but Democrats running in other states can use his comments and record against his fellow Republicans.]   

“Just wanted you to know that I came down with a debilitating case of the bird flu this past weekend ... as the hated Cardinals swept my Cubbies at Wrigley Field, and ensured the Cardinals will be Central Division champions this year. The illness hasn't gotten better as Kris Bryant appears out for the season, and my Cubbies appear doomed to sit out the postseason. Chortle if you will at my Cubbies misfortune -- but just wait until next year!” – Stephen J. Tock, Dwight, Ill.

[Ed. note: I can’t go so far as to say that I felt “bad” for the Cubs, but I can say that I admire your determination, Mr. Tock. And we can all be proud to say that the National League Central continues to be the best, most competitive division in baseball. And with three games left against the Cards, I’m sure your squad will try hard to avenge the Wrigley sweep!]  

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AP: “A veterinarian has prescribed antibiotics to a camel owned by a Louisiana truck stop petting zoo after a woman bit the 600-pound (272-kilogram) animal to free herself from under its weight. Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office documents obtained by The Advocate on Monday accuse Florida couple Gloria and Edmond Lancaster of throwing treats for their unleashed dog into Caspar the camel's enclosure at Tiger Truck Stop. The couple told deputies the camel attacked the dog, but the sheriff's office said the couple had provoked the animal before it sat on Gloria Lancaster. She'd crawled under barbed wire to retrieve her pet. Gloria Lancaster told officers she had to bite the camel to free herself. Truck stop manager Pamela Bossier said a veterinarian prescribed Caspar antibiotics as a precaution.”

“To interpret the Reagan Doctrine as merely a puffed-up rationale for Nicaraguan policy is like calling the Truman Doctrine a cover for a new Greek and Turkish policy. In both cases, the principles established have a much more profound implication.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for Time magazine on June 24, 2001.

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.