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On the roster: Breaking: IG report says Comey broke protocol - Lawmakers insist on immigration tweet from Trump - New Q poll shows tight race for Ohio gov. seat - New lawsuits filed for redistricting in three states - ‘A series of tubes’
BREAKING: IG REPORT SAYS COMEY BROKE PROTOCOL
Fox News: “Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Thursday released his long-awaited report detailing his review of the FBI and DOJ’s Hillary Clinton investigation during the 2016 presidential election, finding then-FBI Director James Comey to be ‘insubordinate’ with his public statements on the investigation. For more than a year, Horowitz has been reviewing the agencies’ actions related to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Horowitz’s investigation looked at a variety of allegations, including whether it was improper for Comey to make a public announcement about not recommending prosecution over the Clinton email arrangement. ‘We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, for the admitted purpose of preventing them from telling him not to make the statement, and to instruct his subordinates in the FBI to do the same,’ Horowitz’s report says. … ‘In particular, we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations,’ the report says.”
‘Foreign actors’ accessed Hillary Clinton emails - Fox News: ’Foreign actors’ obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails -- including at least one email classified as ‘secret’ -- according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email. Fox News obtained the memo prepared by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, which lays out key interim findings ahead of next week’s hearing with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The IG, separately, is expected to release his highly anticipated report on the Clinton email case later Thursday. The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security. ‘Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails -- including at least one email classified ‘Secret,’’ the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.”
New York sues Trump foundation over self-dealing - Fox News: “The New York state attorney general’s office on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation for alleged illegal conduct and ‘unlawful political coordination’ to benefit personal and business interests, drawing a harsh Twitter rebuke from President Trump. … Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed the lawsuit Thursday over the foundation’s alleged ‘persistent illegal conduct’ which occurred over ‘more than a decade.’ The suit alleges that there was ‘extensive unlawful political coordination’ with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and alleged violations of ‘basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.’ But the president fired back on Twitter Thursday, blasting the lawsuit, and Schneiderman for ‘never’ having ‘the guts’ to bring the suit while he held the post. … The suit claims that Trump used the foundation’s charitable assets to pay off his legal obligations, promote Trump brand hotels and businesses, and to purchase personal items.”
McGahn recused his staff from working on Russia investigation - Politico: “White House Counsel Don McGahn recused his entire staff last summer from working on the Russia investigation because many of his office’s lawyers played significant roles in key episodes at the center of the probe, former White House attorney Ty Cobb said on Wednesday. McGahn made the decision to halt his staff’s interactions with Special Counsel Robert Mueller because many of his own attorneys ‘had been significant participants’ surrounding the firings of national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James Comey, Cobb said. ‘The White House made a decision to recuse his entire office,’ Cobb said during a panel discussion hosted by George Mason University in Northern Virginia.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Stay in your lane - This week, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano asks if Congress can interfere in the ongoing federal criminal investigation into the president: “The relationship between the congressional committees on one hand and federal law enforcement on the other has been a give-and-take, push-me-pull-you relationship that generally led to compromise between Congress and federal law enforcement. … The Republicans on [the House Intelligence Committee] are determined to use their regulatory powers over federal intelligence gathering to investigate federal law enforcement. They are doing this because they claim to smell a rat in the origins of the special counsel investigation… But it is not the role of Congress to do this in the midst of a criminal investigation…” More here.
THE RULEBOOK: WOOF
“Men admired as profound philosophers have, in direct terms, attributed to her inhabitants a physical superiority, and have gravely asserted that all animals, and with them the human species, degenerate in America--that even dogs cease to bark after having breathed awhile in our atmosphere.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 11
TIME OUT: LOOKING PRETTY SPIFFY FOR AGE 241
Pittsburgh Tribune Review: “William T. Kerr’s love of the flag grew from stories of the Civil War told by his father, Jackson Kerr, who fought with a Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. … So began a quest to have this day designated in honor of the Stars and Stripes. The drive to make today Flag Day started in earnest when William Kerr, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1868, was picked at age 14 to make a patriotic speech at a convention in Chicago. His address about the flag began a 67-year campaign in which he met with nine presidents and wrote countless letters to senators, congressmen, governors and local officials in hopes of advancing his plan to designate June 14 as Flag Day. The date is significant -- on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a flag of 13 red and white stripes and 13 stars in a field of blue as the nation’s first flag.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -11.4 points
Change from one week ago: up 2.2 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 51% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 44% approve - 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 51% disapprove; IBD: 36% approve - 55% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 40 percent
Democratic average: 48.4 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 8.4 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 1.2
[Average includes: Fox News: 48% Dems - 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 40% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 47% Dems - 40% GOP; IBD: 47% Dems - 40% GOP; CBS News: 50% Dems - 41% GOP.]
LAWMAKERS INSIST ON IMMIGRATION TWEET FROM TRUMP
Bloomberg: “House Republicans are rushing to assemble a compromise immigration bill for a vote next week alongside an existing conservative proposal, a strategy that a White House official told GOP lawmakers has President Donald Trump’s blessing. Stephen Miller, the main architect of the Trump administration’s approach on immigration, met with GOP lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday … Miller assured lawmakers that Trump supports a plan laid out by House leaders late Tuesday that will put two immigration bills on the floor next week: a GOP compromise bill being pulled together by leaders of different Republican factions and one favored by conservatives that is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Lawmakers from the conservative Republican Study Committee told Miller, however, that immigration is such a hot-button issue in their districts that they need an explicit and public Trump tweet -- not just a closed door meeting with a staffer -- to give them political cover to vote for legislation that hardliners could label as ‘amnesty’ for undocumented immigrants, according to the person in the meeting.”
NEW Q POLL SHOWS TIGHT RACE FOR OHIO GOV. SEAT
Quinnipiac University: “The Ohio governor’s race is too close to call, with former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, the Democrat, at 42 percent and State Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Republican, at 40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. There are wide gender and racial gaps as men back DeWine 47 - 36 percent, while women back Cordray 48 - 35 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. White voters go Republican by a narrow 44 - 39 percent. Non-white voters go Democratic 56 - 23 percent. DeWine takes Republicans 85 - 4 percent, as Cordray takes Democrats 81 - 8 percent. Independent voters are divided with 39 percent for Cordray and 37 percent for DeWine. DeWine gets a 39 - 31 percent favorability rating, with 27 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Cordray gets a 32 - 15 percent favorability rating, while 51 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.”
McConnell insists Kentucky Gov. Bevin run for re-election - Lexington Herald Ledger: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is making it clear: He wants Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a potential re-election rival, to stay home. Bevin, a Republican, has yet to say whether he will seek a second term in 2019, prompting speculation he’s interested in unseating McConnell in 2020 — or that he’s hoping for a Trump administration gig. … ‘I hope he runs for re-election and finishes the job by serving the full eight years that are allowed under the Kentucky Constitution,’ said McConnell, patriarch of the Kentucky Republican Party. ’I will say I think the governor’s done a terrific job ... I’m very much in his corner,’ said McConnell, who said he would not speculate on a re-match with Bevin. McConnell trounced Bevin in a contentious 2014 Republican Senate primary. Bevin was backed by the tea party, a grassroots movement usually identified with conservative causes. The two men have since made amends, but their relationship has never been close.”
Md. gubernatorial candidate gets massive cash infusion - WaPo: “Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous is getting a large infusion of cash from outside groups just as early voting begins in the June 26 Democratic primary, including hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors connected to a social advocacy group that helped Stacey Abrams win the Democratic nomination in Georgia. The spending by the Maryland Together We Rise PAC and a second coalition of progressive groups will total about $1 million over the next two weeks — considerably more than either Jealous or his top rival, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, had in the bank as of the most recent reporting deadline. Early voting begins Thursday. Political analysts say the money could be a game-changer for Jealous…”
NEW LAWSUITS FILED FOR REDISTRICTING IN THREE STATES
McClatchy: “A group backed by Democratic former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wants one new majority-black congressional district in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana in time for the 2020 general elections, according to new federal lawsuits filed Wednesday in each state. The legal challenges, which are supported by Holder’s National Redistricting Foundation, an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee — a political action committee chaired by Holder — claim the new majority-minority districts are needed because each state’s current electoral maps violate the federal Voting Rights Act by depriving black voters of the ability to elect representatives of their choice. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Louisiana Secretary of State R. Kyle Ardoin and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill are defendants in the filings, which note each state’s history of racially polarized voting and disenfranchisement of black voters.”
DNC proceeds with plan to reduce role of superdelegates - Politico: “The Democratic National Committee is moving ahead with its controversial plan to rein in the role of ‘superdelegates’ at the 2020 Democratic convention, despite a lobbying effort by Democratic lawmakers to scale back the proposal. The dispute has pitted members of Congress and elected officials versus labor leaders and grass-roots activists, with the party base looking like it will win this fight handily. A group of four House Democrats — Reps. David Price (N.C.), Grace Meng (N.Y.), Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) — met privately with DNC Chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday to discuss the matter. During the session, Perez again pushed his plan to drastically reduce the influence of superdelegates — also known as ‘unplededged delegates’ — in picking a presidential nominee, a hot issue for Democratic activists following the 2016 campaign.”
Scalise to start in congressional baseball game one year after shooting - Fox News
White House takes steps to counter senators’ attempts to block ZTE deal - WSJ
GOP not shaken after two incumbents lose primaries - Roll Call
“You don’t care about the Republican Party because you’re leaving.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reportedly said to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Please -- the #mprraccoon was on the UBS building in St. Paul, not in Minneapolis. They are two separate cities and, while the general public might be forgiven for assuming that Minneapolis is the real city and St. Paul is some kind of blink-and-you-miss-it town that’s really just a part of Minneapolis, reporters who pride themselves on accuracy are not given that same leniency. St. Paul is a city of more than 300,000 people (Minneapolis only has 117,000 more) and has a number of businesses headquartered there, including 3M. And if you’re in the Twin Cities, make sure you don’t make that same mistake -- it could turn into a very costly mistake.” – Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, Peterson, Minn.
[Ed. note: We have always heard about “Minnesota nice,” but we definitely found a way to get past “you betcha” with residents of your lovely state! We were notified of my error by MANY of your fellow Minnesotans. It was definitely not my intention to diminish St. Paul, which is a fine city, and one that I have certainly enjoyed visiting. I will eat a juicy Lucy in penance.]
“I’m constantly checking my bias when I read news, and ask myself ‘If Obama or a Democrat said this, what would my reaction be?’ It has helped me keep my cool and try and find as much info as possible about political issues and really help me remove myself from emotion to make an informed opinion. However, I feel this part of me is in a losing battle with this administration. I’m reached a tipping point and fear that I’ll be galvanized to vote against any Republican for a long time, and really for the only reason they have an (R) next to their name. This issue at hand has to do with children, babies being taken from their mothers while they are being detained at the border. My own personal code of conduct follows the belief that every human being should be treated with a high level of respect, and that family is the most important part of what makes us human. This practice goes against every fiber of my being, and anger and hatred are filling up for anyone who thinks this a fair way to handle someone who is here ‘illegally.’ I’m just so sad and embarrassed for our country. I surely hope my 2-year-old daughter will live to see a more compassionate world, where humans in this country are valued no matter where they come from, or what they are escaping. Talk about a missed opportunity for Trump to expand his support to more than his base. Show the country that despite campaigning on being tough on illegal immigration, that those people are still respected and treated with respect.” – R. Shawn Wallace, Battleground, Wash.
[Ed. note: “Tipping point’ is a good term to use on this story. First there was unclear and contradictory reporting, but despite the government’s best efforts, the story is coming into focus for Americans. As has often been the case, it’s not until we know specific stories of individuals that the story pierces public consciousness. The political consequences of this policy could be very far reaching indeed.]
“Thank you for talking about the ranked-vote system. I prefer that it be called ‘immediate runoff’ or ‘automatic runoff.’ I have loved this system for better reflecting the will of the voters. I appreciate your comments that it might moderate our political activity, and believe it could. The classic example is we divided voters all favoring our extreme single-issue candidates, but finding a candidate capable of governing to be an acceptable second choice. The two-party system favors one extreme. The immediate runoff favors governance.” – Tom Parks, Rogers, Ark.
[Ed. note: You may be onto something with “immediate runoff,” Mr. Parks! Maybe you can get a movement going.]
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‘A SERIES OF TUBES’
Hutchinson Ledger: “…for 19-year-old Kaitlyn Strom of Litchfield [Minnesota], her recent mistake has been seen by millions of people. … According to Strom, the incident happened Friday evening when she was hanging out with a group of friends on the first day of the [Winstock Music Festival]. ‘We were just all having fun and I saw this big exhaust pipe and I was like, ‘Hey, my head could probably fit in that,’’ she said, ‘so I tried it. It did fit, but it didn’t want to come back out.’ … Strom estimated she was stuck for about 45 minutes. The Winsted Fire Department was called to cut off the exhaust pipe and free her head. She was given a medical exam after she was released, as well as later that night, and is doing well. … As embarrassing as it was to have her friends and strangers at the concert see her head stuck in an exhaust pipe, it was about to get much worse. When she arrived home around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, she realized there was a video on Facebook that already had thousands of views in just a few hours.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The cult of the body is the perfect successor to the culture of narcissism of the Me Generation. Its genius is to take the stigma out of self-love and turn it into virtue. Its beauty is to take health and hygiene – perfectly good things, mind you – and make them a religion.” – Charles Krauthammer writing in the Washington Post, Sept. 26, 1997
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.