By Chris Stirewalt
Published March 26, 2019
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On the roster: House Dems demand full Mueller report in one week - Beto taps Obama insider to run campaign - Mueller outcome doesn’t make or break Hogan 2020 - House vote on border emergency veto likely to fail - Up and getaway
HOUSE DEMS DEMAND FULL MUELLER REPORT IN ONE WEEK
NBC News: “Six Democratic committee chairs in the House sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday requesting that he submit the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to Congress by April 2. In a three-page letter to Barr, the lawmakers wrote that his summary of the Mueller report ‘is not sufficient for Congress.’ … The top House Democrats argued that providing the report ‘in complete and unredacted form,’ along with the underlying evidence and materials, would be fully consistent with the Department of Justice's practice and precedent with Congress. … The letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.”
Will Trump pardon his aides involved in the probe? - WaPo: “Now that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded his investigation, a president who has used his pardon power in unorthodox ways faces the question of whether to extend it to former aides and advisers charged with crimes in Mueller’s probe. On Monday, a lawyer for George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide to President Trump who served 12 days in prison for lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation, said she has already submitted an application to the White House requesting a pardon. ‘It would be malpractice not to,’ said Caroline Polisi, Papadopoulos’s attorney. ‘We submitted it prior to the investigation coming to an end, but the results of the investigation only strengthen our arguments.’ On Monday, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said he did not believe the president was considering pardoning anyone in connection with the investigation.”
House Dems will drop impeachment proceedings, for now - WaPo: “House Democrats conceded Monday that the possibility of impeachment proceedings against President Trump is over, at least for now — marking a dramatic retreat in the wake of the conclusion by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that Trump’s campaign did not conspire with Russia in the 2016 election. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and members of her leadership team agreed in a Monday night huddle that the caucus needs to stop talking about collusion with Russia because it was distracting from their legislative agenda, according to three people in the meeting or familiar with the discussion. Notably, two Democrats in the room who brought up concerns about the nationwide focus on their high-profile probes — Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and House Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) — are from opposite sides of the caucus: one a liberal, the other from a Trump district. Both argued that the House needs to megaphone pocketbook issues that won them the majority.”
Tlaib continues to press for Trump impeachment - Business Insider: “Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan has sent a letter asking her fellow Democrats to sign on to a resolution urging the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether President Donald Trump committed any impeachable offenses, days after the special counsel Robert Mueller concluded the FBI's Russia investigation. … ‘The actions of President Trump before he was officially sworn in as President of United States is currently being investigated by the Southern District of New York and much of it is part of the completed report by independent investigator, Robert Mueller,’ Tlaib wrote. ‘However, the most dangerous threat to our democracy is President Trump's actions since taking the oath of office.’ In the letter obtained by INSIDER, Tlaib also noted that Trump had been uncooperative with House Democrats' various inquiries of his administration and personal affairs.”
THE RULEBOOK: CASH MONEY
“It cannot be doubted that [the power of levying and borrowing money] will always be a valuable source of revenue; that for a considerable time it must be a principal source; that at this moment it is an essential one.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 41
TIME OUT: PAINTING WITH WORDS
Time: “A never-before-seen collection of letters from American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz, sheds light on her artistic process, her quest for independence and her poetic observations about New York City and New Mexico — which became central to her iconic paintings. The Library of Congress announced [on] Thursday [March 21] that it had acquired the collection of letters, written from 1929 to 1947, to the couple’s friend, filmmaker Henwar Rodakiewicz, making them public for the first time. Barbara Bair, a curator in the library’s Manuscript Division, says the letters were written during a period in O’Keeffe’s life when she was spending more time in New Mexico, seeking out independence in her work and her marriage. … ‘It’s also about self-care,’ Bair says. ‘When she is broken, what does she do to regain herself? She goes to beautiful places and feeds herself on the landscape and recovers.’”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 44 percent
Average disapproval: 52 percent
Net Score: -8 points
Change from one week ago: up 4.6 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve - 51% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 48% approve - 49% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 39% approve - 57% disapprove; Monmouth University: 44% approve - 52% disapprove.]
BETO TAPS OBAMA INSIDER TO RUN CAMPAIGN
NYT: “Beto O’Rourke has hired a former top aide to Barack Obama to be his campaign manager, installing a seasoned political strategist to take the helm of what has so far been a skeletal organization effectively overseen by Mr. O’Rourke himself. Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a data expert who was Mr. Obama’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, said in an interview Monday that she was going to work for the 46-year-old former Texas congressman because he represents ‘a new generation of leadership I think we need.’ Ms. O’Malley Dillon was one of the most sought-after Democratic operatives of this election, and her hiring suggests that Mr. O’Rourke is willing to professionalize his presidential bid in a way he resisted during his electrifying but unsuccessful Senate campaign last year.”
Harris unveils $315 billion teacher raise package - Axios: “2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Kamala Harris has unveiled a teacher pay plan that would give the average teacher a $13,500 raise, after saying at a Houston rally last weekend that she would make the largest-ever federal investment in educators' pay if elected president. Why it matters: Harris is the first 2020 candidate to release a plan like this. This proposal helps her expand her economic message to address one of the public crises we've seen play out over the last two years through teachers' strikes around the country. The plan would cost around $315 billion over a span of ten years, ‘paid for by strengthening the estate tax and cracking down on loopholes’ on tax breaks for wealthy people. The $13,500 pay raise is equivalent to a 23% base pay increase for the average teacher, according to the plan.”
Beto, Booker and Castro to participate in forum for female candidates - NBC News: “A new progressive group is hosting what it's calling the first-ever presidential candidate forum focused on women of color. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro have claimed the first of eight available spots in the April 24 forum hosted by She the People, officials told NBC News. All candidates have been invited to the event at Texas Southern University, a historically black school in Houston. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the most prominent woman of color in the 2020 field, has not yet told organizers whether she will attend. … ‘No Democrat is winning the nomination, or the White House, without women of color,’ Allison said. The candidates will take questions from an expected audience of more than 1,000 women of color.”
OBAMA CAUTIONS DEMS ON LEFT-WING POLICIES
WaPo: “Former president Barack Obama gently warned a group of freshman House Democrats Monday evening about the costs associated with some liberal ideas popular in their ranks, encouraging members to look at price tags, according to people in the room. Obama didn’t name specific policies. And to be sure, he encouraged the lawmakers — about half-dozen of whom worked in his own administration — to continue to pursue ‘bold’ ideas as they shaped legislation during their first year in the House. But some people in the room took his words as a cautionary note about Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal, two liberal ideas popularized by a few of the more famous House freshmen, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). While the more liberal freshmen have garnered much of the attention in Washington, many first-year Democrats hail from swing- or even red districts and have struggled with how to respond to the emboldened far-left.”
McConnell puts Green New Deal to vote - Fox News: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will put the Green New Deal to a vote on Tuesday in a move that will force Democrats to take an official stand on the measure and thus pit the party’s moderates against its progressive wing. ‘I could not be more glad that the American people will have the opportunity to learn precisely where each one of their senators stand on the ‘Green New Deal,’’ McConnell tweeted. ‘A radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy.’ The resolution, which amounts to an ambitious overhaul of the U.S. to combat climate change, undoubtedly will not pass in the GOP-controlled Senate. But Republicans say that the vote will allow them to better gauge Democrats’ commitment to its radical proposals. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has derided the planned vote as a political stunt and accused Republicans on Saturday of ‘wasting votes in Congress.’”
MUELLER OUTCOME DOESN’T MAKE OR BREAK HOGAN 2020
WashEx: “Gov. Larry Hogan was still mulling a 2020 bid after special counsel Robert Mueller cleared President Trump of colluding with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, an aide to the Maryland Republican confirmed on Monday. Hogan has been encouraged to challenge Trump for the GOP nomination by opponents of the president inside the Republican Party. The governor has emphasized he would not wage a quixotic primary against Trump. But even though Trump appeared stronger politically post-Mueller, Hogan was still weighing several factors, and did not plan to make a definitive decision about running for president until as late as early fall. ‘It’s not moving the needle one way or the other,’ the Hogan aide said of Mueller’s findings, in an email exchange with the Washington Examiner. … But Hogan appears patient, content to wait and see if other probes into Trump — by House Democrats and possibly the Southern District of New York — net more political trouble for the president.”
Weld will announce Trump primary challenge decision in April - Politico: “Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld says he’s leaning toward challenging President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, and expects to make a decision in April. Weld gave the clearest sense of his intentions yet, and laid out a path to the GOP nomination during an appearance on the New Hampshire radio talk show Pints & Politics on Monday afternoon. ‘I'm leaning towards doing it unless something changes, and set myself an informal deadline of the month of April to pull the trigger,’ Weld told reporters here during a stop. The former two-term governor said he’ll focus on the early-voting state of New Hampshire… If he runs, Weld said he expects to be competitive across New England and in the mid-Atlantic states. He also expects his challenge could gain traction in California, which votes the first week in March.”
HOUSE VOTE ON BORDER EMERGENCY VETO LIKELY TO FAIL
Politico: “The House on Tuesday will try — and fail — to overturn President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional resolution killing his national wall emergency, capping off a months-long congressional battle over the president’s signature campaign issue. But even as some members of the GOP face a backlash for defying Trump, few if any House Republican defectors who supported the disapproval resolution are expected to flip their votes and side with the president in the override vote, according to lawmakers and aides. After the effort to block Trump’s veto fails, the fight over his attempt to use executive action to build a border wall will shift to the courts, where its fate is far less certain. Still, Tuesday’s override vote will hand the president yet another victory this week following the conclusion of special counsel Bob Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, adding a cherry on top of what is undoubtedly the GOP’s best stretch since losing their House majority last fall.”
Pentagon authorizes up to $1 billion to start border wall construction - Fox News: “The Pentagon notified Congress late Monday that it authorized the transfer of up to $1 billion to erect 57 miles of ‘pedestrian fencing’ along the U.S.-Mexico border in direct support of President Trump's national emergency declaration from last month. The fencing, which will be 18 feet high, is to be erected in the Yuma and El Paso sectors, the statement read. The Pentagon's announcement was notable. A reporter from the New York Times tweeted that it is the first time the funds will be transferred under section 284 for the border wall. Section 284 allows the Pentagon to ‘construct roads and fences and to install lighting to block drug-smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States in support of counter-narcotic activities of Federal law enforcement agencies,’ the statement read.”
Trump administration backs total overturn of Obamacare, will support states challenging the law - Fox News
SupCo will decide Tuesday if partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional - LAT
Juan Williams: ‘Democrats must keep their eyes on the prize' - The Hill
Former Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., announces comeback bid - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Avenatti, facing multiple federal charges, suggests Los Angeles fraud case has connection to Trump - Fox News
“A friend – reacting to the apparent thinness of Robert S. Mueller III’s case against the president – told me: ‘This year, I’m giving up hope for Lent.’ I, in turn, am giving up commenting on documents I have never seen.” – WaPo columnist Michael Gerson in his latest piece, “This Lent, let’s live in the moment.”
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, Can you recommend the name of a good general American history book? Nothing to deep, not a history major, just an old retired West Virginia boy looking to learn some more. Read your book, excellent.” – Michael Strader, Toccoa, Ga.
[Ed. note: That’s a tough one, Mr. Strader. General histories of topics so large tend to be out of proportion. When you’re covering 500 years in a few hundred pages, things get out of whack. May I suggest a few books that would provide some building blocks for further inquiry? “1776” by David McCullough, “Founders’ Son” by Richard Brookhiser and “American Colossus” by H.W. Brands. That ought to get you up to the modern era in pretty good shape!]
“Chris, Your note yesterday that ‘[Alexander] Hamilton was permanently disgraced because of hush money he paid to cover up an affair’ was certainly somewhat true, but a bigger reason that Mr. Hamilton was marginalized after President [George] Washington’s second term was that he opposed John Adams in favor of Thomas Pinckney for president in 1796 and Charles Pinckney over Adams in the 1800 presidential election. Right or wrong, it is a significant political gamble to oppose the leader/President of your own party. Alexander Hamilton was unable to unite the Federalists with him as the head of the party. To succeed, it takes talent, timing, good judgement, wisdom and charisma, all of which Ronald Reagan had when he successfully united his party in opposition to the less conservative Ford Republicans.” – Kent Haldorson, Beaverton, Ore.
[Ed. note: Certainly a factor, Mr. Haldorson. Hamilton’s impetuousness was hardly limited to marital matters! But I think the whole *ahem* affair was what finally rendered him as a political untouchable.]
“This ‘uncalled for’ statement of opinion on the part of Mueller, has no reason for being, other than to wedge a disparaging observation into a report which was trumpeted to be factual. Of course, nothing can exonerate Trump or anyone else. When one thinks about it, one realizes that it is not possible to prove that something never happened. In this clumsy stretch to restate this manifest axiom, Mueller exposes his hand and panders to the left.” – Brian Kellogg, Derby, N.Y.
[Ed. note: Holy smokes, Mr. Kellogg! As I listen to some Republicans grouse about the best thing that has happened to the Trump presidency so far I get the sense that some folks may have preferred have the issue to gripe about. If you are a Trump supporter, this is the best week yet. Take the win when you can get it.]
“From the ‘Not Quite Never Trump’ wing of the Republican Party, this weekend’s events makes me feel a lot more positive about President Trump and I know I'm not alone. One thing I’ve really taken to heart in the last few years is that people feel personally attacked when you demean/insult their political standard-bearer, even if they don’t personally support that person. As a lifelong Republican, I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like his pettiness, lack of self-control or these huge fiscal deficits. But the constant drumbeat of outrageous, over-the-top ‘Russian collusion’ attacks and the sudden demolition of that line of attack in the Mueller Report instinctively makes me want to rally around him. What I take from this is that I myself need to avoid vicious personal attacks on Bernie Sanders, [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez and the Ilhan Omars of the world. Plenty of my liberal friends might not support these people but if I start insulting those politicians, my liberal friends are more likely to rally round and support them. I know because I can feel it happening to me.” – Brian D. Liddicoat, Watsonville, Calif.
[Ed. note: I am very sure that you are not the only one, Mr. Liddicoat.]
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UP AND GETAWAY
UPI: “Sheriff's deputies in Florida said it was an unusual situation when they helped with the recovery of a different type of stolen vehicle -- a hot air balloon. The Marion County Sheriff's Office said it received word from the Bloomington Police Department in Indiana that a hot air balloon reported stolen in the Midwest had been spotted in Florida. The stolen balloon was spotted being used at The Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was held at the Florida Horse Park. Deputies confirmed the balloon was the missing vehicle and it was loaded up to be returned to its owner in Bloomington. The owner declined to press charges against the person in possession of the balloon, stating they just wanted their property returned. The sheriff's office said the recovery of a stolen hot air balloon was a first for the department in all of its 175 years.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
[It’s] required to ‘keep it together’ because, as codified most succinctly by Tom Hanks (in A League of Their Own), ‘There’s no crying in baseball.’ But there can be redemption. And a touch of glory.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the National Review on August 17, 2007.
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.