**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: GOP needs Trump to focus on agenda - Bye, bye Bannon - Dems turn up the pressure - Trump deserts Council on Infrastructure - The setup was owl wrong

Politico: “Senior Republicans on Capitol Hill fear President Donald Trump’s eagerness to fight a Confederate-tinged culture war and his attacks on fellow Republicans are squandering precious political capital and imperiling their agenda in Congress. Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell desperately need Trump to help them sell Republicans on a debt ceiling hike by the end of September … In addition to the debt ceiling and tax reform, GOP leaders need to avert a government shutdown, strike a long-term spending deal with Democrats and pass a budget that appeases conservatives and moderate Republicans — all in the next couple months. … Republicans also need Trump engaged and on their side to lock down GOP priorities in a spending deal they’re expected to strike with Democrats this fall. The government runs out of money on Sept. 30. And while leaders are eyeing a short-term patch to buy them more time, many expect an ugly, partisan shutdown fight this winter over Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico. … But some Hill Republicans worry Trump will continue to be distracted by the controversy of the day.”

But will he be there for them? Matthew Continetti on ‘The Party of Trump’ - Washington Free Beacon: “The American president is not only head of state, not only head of government, but also head of his political party. His behavior over the last two years makes it clear that Trump does not see himself as the leader of the Republican Party. … More often than not he is annoyed at his party, at its officials, at its factions. And the feeling is mutual. … This president is not the leader of the GOP. He shows no interest in the job, is not good at it, and has no feel for the party structure, what makes it tick. But he is the leader of a party: the party of Trump. In truth, that is the only party to which he has ever belonged.”

“Experience is the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred.” – Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Federalist No. 20

In honor of the 2017 solar eclipse on Monday, we take a look back in history at the 1937 eclipse, when a remote island used for viewing turned into a strategic pawn in World War II. NatGeo: “In 1937, a National Geographic–U.S. Navy expedition hauled 22,000 pounds of equipment from Washington, D.C., to Honolulu and then 1,900 miles farther into the Pacific Ocean to be there for the eclipse. …The Americans didn’t witness the event alone; a scientific expedition sponsored by Britain was also on the island …Tensions soon turned into friendly rivalry as the two teams prepared to measure the brightness of the corona… In August, Britain sent two officials to set up a base and asked the United States to remove its marker. Instead, President Franklin Roosevelt claimed the island, citing its past use by American whaling ships. Within days, he’d dispatched drums of water, 400 cans of poi, and three Hawaiian ‘colonists’ to live there. … But World War II loomed, and news reports from Tokyo warned that the Japanese viewed Britain’s tolerance of the U.S. encroachment ‘as evidence of Anglo-American cooperation.’”

Flag on the play? - Email us at
your tips, comments or questions.

Trump net job-approval rating: -16 points
Change from one week ago: up 7.2 points

[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]

Fox News: “President Trump's controversial chief strategist Steve Bannon is leaving the White House, in another major staff shakeup announced at the close of another tumultuous week in Washington. The White House confirmed in a brief statement that Bannon, a hardcore populist who often sparred with his West Wing colleagues, would make Friday his last day -- just over a year after he joined the Trump presidential campaign. ‘White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. ‘We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.’ One White House aide told Fox News the departure was a long time coming, and that Bannon actually submitted his resignation in writing two weeks ago.”

Where will he go next? - Axios: “Steve Bannon’s next moves will be all about the billionaire Mercer family. [Jonathan Swan was] told Bannon, who visited New York this week, met with Bob Mercer and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside. … He’s told associates he has a ‘killing machine’ in Breitbart News, and it's possible he returns to lead their editorial operation. A source familiar with Breitbart's operations told me they would go ‘thermonuclear’ against ‘globalists’ that Bannon and his friends believe are ruining the Trump administration, and by extension, America.”

The Hill: “Democrats are throwing the kitchen sink at President Trump to protest his ongoing equivocation about a white supremacist rally and put increasing pressure on Republican leaders to denounce their party’s standard-bearer in the White House. No tool has been overlooked. The Democrats have sent letters, called for hearings, launched campaign ads and promised resolutions of censure and impeachment designed to highlight the firestorm set off by the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va. — and the president’s equivocal response. The episode has forced congressional Republicans into a defensive crouch, caught between condemning the racist groups that organized the Charlottesville rally while taking pains not to rebuke the president, whose support they need to move the ambitious legislative agenda they’ve planned to finish before the year’s end. The Democrats are not making the GOP’s balancing act easy.”

Pelosi endorses censure of Trump - Politico: “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday endorsed a call to censure President Donald Trump for his response to last weekend’s violent white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va. ‘The President’s repulsive defense of white supremacists demands that Congress act to defend our American values,’ she said in endorsing a censure resolution introduced by several House Democrats. ‘Every day, the President gives us further evidence of why such a censure is necessary,’ she said.”

Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. The infrastructure council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works. … Trump had tapped New York developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, whom he described as friends, to lead the infrastructure panel, which he established by an executive order on July 19. But he had not announced any formal appointments to it. … The council, which was supposed to have no more than 15 members representing real estate, finance, labor and other sectors, was designed to study and make recommendations to the president regarding the funding, support and delivery of infrastructure projects.”

Last members of arts and humanities panel resigned - WaPo: “The remaining members of a presidential arts and humanities panel resigned on Friday in yet another sign of growing national protest of President Trump’s recent comments on the violence in Charlottesville. Members of the President’s Committee are drawn from Broadway, Hollywood, and the broader arts and entertainment community and said in a letter to Trump that ‘Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.’”

Pence’s presentation during Latin America trip fuels 2020 rumors - Fox News

Moderate Dems say progressive candidates won’t win swing states - The Hill

Wasserman Schultz’ ex-IT aide’s case expands, 4-count indictment - Fox News

Missouri state lawmaker urged to resign after suggesting Trump assassination - WashEx

This Sunday, guest host Bill Hemmer will sit down with Sen. Ben Cardin D-Md., to discuss foreign policy and the terror attacks that have occurred in Europe. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.

“There is nothing embarrassing about always being prepared.” – Tim Edson, Rep. Todd Rokita’s campaign spokesman, wrote in an email when asked about the 8-page memo with instructions for how to properly escort the congressman.

Share your color commentary: Email us at 
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

[Ed. note: Chris Stirewalt is away. He and FROM THE BLEACHERS will return on Aug. 23.]

WTSP: “A homeowner got quite the scare after she mistakenly thought an owl was a home intruder. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a home after a woman and her three sisters had locked themselves in an upstairs bedroom because they heard noise coming from the downstairs living room. The woman told the dispatcher she believed someone was moving furniture and other items downstairs, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies asked the homeowner to come downstairs to unlock the door, and soon after they heard a loud scream from inside the house. ‘Deputies were prepared to make forced entry into the house, believing the homeowner may be in trouble, when they heard the homeowner yell, ‘It’s an owl, it’s an owl!’’ … Once inside, the deputies threw a blanket over the bird, safely captured it, and safely released it outside.”


“It is impossible to defend. And I think we have to do what we can. We have to surveil, we have to set up pedestrian barriers. We have to do all of that, but in the end it’s not going to make much of a difference. One thing will make a difference, and that is defeating the ideology.” – Charles 
Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.