**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: ‘Deserve’s got nothing to do with it’ - I’ll Tell You What: Not so impreachykeenment - Warren slips and swipes Biden on ethics - Issa to challenge Duncan Hunter - *ahem* They got trashed
‘DESERVE’S GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH IT’
Let’s start with the precondition that we don’t care whether you think the investigation into President Trump’s efforts to get the Ukrainian government to prosecute his political rivals is “THE GREATEST SCAM IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN POLITICS!” grounds for immediate impeachment or something in between.
We care in the sense that we’re sure that you are sincere in your beliefs and we acknowledge your God-given right to feel and think the way you do. What we mean is that in order to discern what might happen next, such feelings are hindrances. It’s hard to clearly consider such outcomes when you think in terms of your own beliefs.
This note, for example, would be a poor source for Major League Baseball forecasting since it is our position that the St. Louis Cardinals not only will win it all but deserve to win it all.
As William Munny told Little Bill Daggett right before he blew his head off with a Spencer repeating rifle on a saloon floor: “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
There are plenty of people who think that Bill Clinton unfairly beat the rap, and even some who still think Richard Nixon got a raw deal. If you flipped through the back pages of enough bibliographies, you might even find some historians with strong feelings about what happened to old Andy Johnson.
Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke in his second term, with his wife acting as a kind of regent for his last 17 months in office but Congress took no action. Warren Harding’s administration – in particular his Interior and Justice departments – was a quagmire of corruption, but he was dead and buried before any of it came to light. Lyndon Johnson grievously abused the powers of office for political advantage but he never faced any repercussions.
The rightness or wrongness of a president’s actions are all but immaterial in these matters. Whether the supporters or detractors of the aforementioned men were correct or not was of no consequence.
Now, that’s not to say that the passionate partisan bawling that we’re all now being subjected to won’t have an effect on what eventually does happen.
Studies suggest that home field advantage in sports is not only real but quite possibly the result of referees showing favoritism because of “the social atmosphere in the stadium.” The same is true with allegations of presidential misconduct.
We’ve said it many times before, but it bears repeating: Impeachment is a political proposition, not a legal one. And the referees here are the undecided or persuadable voters not yet sure what to make of what’s happening.
But even if you want to be part of working the refs – screaming into the orc-filled chasms of Twitter or annoying friends and loved ones with forwarded emails and Facebook posts – you probably still want to be able to think clearly about where it goes from here.
And that’s what we intend to help you do in the days ahead. You have plenty of other options for getting the latest details on what this unnamed source said or what that hearing may or may not have revealed. We’re going to stay focused on the political repercussions because that’s our job.
For the sake of everybody who is going to be out there fighting passionately for their side, whatever it is, we’ll do our best to not pick one.
THE RULEBOOK: RE-TWEET
“The Union here was far more intimate, and its organization much wiser, than in the preceding instance.” – Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Federalist No. 18
TIME OUT: ONCE UPON A TIME…
NatGeo: “The brothers Grimm published what would become one of the most influential and famous collections of folklore in the world. Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder und Hausmärchen), later titled Grimm’s Fairy Tales, are childhood-defining stories. The Grimms, however, had curated the collection as an academic anthology for scholars of German culture, not as a collection of bedtime stories for young readers. Amid the political and social turbulence of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), as France conquered Germanic lands, Jacob and Wilhelm were driven by nationalism to highlight their homeland and heritage. They were inspired by German Romantic authors and philosophers who believed that the purest forms of culture, those that bonded a community, could be found in stories shared from generation to generation. Storytelling expressed the essence of German culture and recalled the spirit and basic values of its people. By excavating Germany’s oral traditions, the brothers urgently sought to ‘preserve them from vanishing . . . to be forever silent in the tumult of our times.’”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 27.6 points (↓ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 20.8 points (↑ 0.6 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 16 points (↑ 0.8 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.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 54 percent
Net Score: -11 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.8 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.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: NOT SO IMPREACHYKEENMENT
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president, how impeachment proceedings could affect the 2020 presidential race and Dana starts the countdown until Christmas. Plus, Chris answers trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
WARREN SLIPS AND SWIPES BIDEN ON ETHICS
Fox News: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren spotlighted her longstanding calls for the impeachment of President Trump at a campaign event on Wednesday, emphasizing, ‘I hope we do this and I hope we do this quickly.’ But, she also appeared to unintentionally swipe at a rival Democrat vying for the White House – former Vice President Joe Biden – over his family’s role in the Ukraine controversy that led the House of Representatives to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. Taking questions from reporters following a town hall event in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts Democrat was asked if she would allow her vice president’s child to serve on the board of a foreign company if she were president. Warren quickly answered, ‘no.’ When asked why, she said, in a rare moment where she appeared flustered: ‘I don’t know. I have to go back and look at the details.’”
More family woes for Biden - Politico: “Joe Biden’s brother told executives at a healthcare firm that the former vice president’s cancer initiative would promote their business, according to a participant in the conversation, who said the promise came as part of a pitch on behalf of potential investors in the firm. The allegation is the latest of many times Biden’s relatives have invoked the former vice president and his political clout to further their private business dealings. It is the first that involves the Biden Cancer Initiative, a project Joe Biden made the centerpiece of his post-White House life following the death of his son Beau. Biden’s brother, James, made the promise to executives at Florida-based Integrate Oral Care during a phone call on or around November 8, 2018, according to Michael Frey, CEO of Diverse Medical Management, a health-care firm that is suing James Biden. At the time, James Biden’s business partners were pursuing a potential investment in Integrate, according to Frey and court records.”
Sanders gives supporters the stage in Iowa - Des Moines Register: “As a Democratic candidate for president, [Bernie] Sanders frequently pushes his policies pugnaciously, framing them as moral imperatives as much as practical matters. But in his recent four-day swing through Iowa, he balanced his high-volume sermons with stories from his supporters. … Respondents who watched the September televised debate, where Sanders — who approached the debate stage with his typical fervor, but with a hoarse rasp — were more likely to have an unfavorable view of him. The debate-stage Sanders, whose style is described by some, including one of his 2020 rivals, as "yelling", was less present in his late September Iowa swing, Instead, Sanders often gave up the microphone to let others speak. … At his Iowa events, some of the personal stories are arranged in advance. But others are organic — hearing the stories of others inspires Sanders supporters to tell their own.”
Biden leads the pack in Maryland - Goucher College: “The Goucher College Poll asked Maryland Democratic likely voters who they are currently planning to vote for in the Maryland Democratic presidential primary… Thirty-three percent of Maryland Democratic likely voters say they will vote for Joe Biden and 21 percent for Elizabeth Warren. Ten percent would vote for Bernie Sanders, 6 percent for Kamala Harris, and 5 percent for Pete Buttigieg. All other candidates earn support from 1 percent or fewer of voters. Fifteen percent have no preference or are undecided. …Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College [said,] ‘Democrats in Maryland are divided over whether they want a more moderate or progressive nominee and whether nominating a candidate who can defeat Trump or match their policy preferences is their top priority.’”
ISSA TO CHALLENGE DUNCAN HUNTER
NYT: “Darrell Issa, the former nine-term congressman from California, will try to return to Congress by challenging Representative Duncan Hunter, who was indicted last year, setting up a clash among two Trump allies for one of Republicans’ most endangered seats. Mr. Issa is expected to announce his challenge at a news conference on Thursday morning in the San Diego County district, according to two sources familiar with his decision. He had been publicly mulling for months whether to make a bid to return to Congress, and started an exploratory committee in August. ‘I have received such a tremendous outpouring of encouragement from supporters inside the district, and around the state and across the nation,’ Mr. Issa said in August in a statement posted to the committee’s website. Mr. Issa will likely bill himself to Republicans as a safer alternative than the incumbent.”
Michigan announces new automatic voter registration - MLive: “Michigan took a leap forward into the modern era by announcing new voter registration policies on National Voter Registration Day. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced [Tuesday] that automatic voter registration has officially launched in Michigan and online voter registration will be available following the November 2019 election. “Making voter registration automatic for eligible citizens means more Michigan residents will have access to participating in our democracy,” Benson said in a release. … Michigan joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia in enacting automatic voter registration.”
Senate blocks Trump’s emergency declaration on Wednesday for second time - Politico
Former French president, Jacques Chirac, dead at 86 - Fox News
The Judge’s Ruling: An impeachable offense - Fox News Opinion
AUDIBLE: OUT IN ARIZONA
“If you’re not walking the line, then you’re out. That’s just not right. That’s not the party that my husband and I belonged to.” – Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, explaining to Politico her view on the transformation of the Republican Party.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
*AHEM* THEY GOT TRASHED
News24: “A South Korean mayor who dumped a ton of trash on a clean beach to give environmental campaigners something to pick up has said sorry for his deception. Officials trucked in litter and waste that had already been collected from rubbish-strewn coasts, and scattered it all over the pristine sand of southwest Jindo. The following day hundreds of volunteers scoured the shores and bagged up the garbage as part of an event to mark International Coastal Cleanup Day, a global event aimed at countering the scourge of sea-borne waste. ‘We brought in waste styrofoam and other coastal trash gathered from nearby areas so the 600 participants could carry out clean-up activities,’ said Lee Dong-jin, Jindo county mayor, in a statement. His office apologised for causing trouble and said the event was meant to ‘raise awareness about the seriousness of coastal waste.’”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“One day, we shall all have to account for what we did and what we said in this scoundrel year. For now, we each have our conscience to attend to.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on June 9, 2016.
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.