House GOP gives Comey light toasting, not Trump torch

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On the roster: House GOP gives Comey light toasting, not Trump torch - The Judge’s Ruling: Department of Political Justice -Trump makes house call on lawmakers - Audible: Bro! - Who squealed?

House Republicans said a lot of things to FBI Director James Comey today, but not among them was the claim that he was a crook.

To be sure, there was lots of disagreement about Comey’s conclusion that without proof of criminal intent, he couldn’t recommend that Hillary Clinton be prosecuted for mishandling state secrets. Lots and lots.

But in hours of testimony, there was only one brief suggestion that Comey wasn’t on the level or that, as de facto GOP nominee Donald Trump has held, the system is “rigged” and the attorney general accepted a bribe in exchange for sheltering her party’s nominee from prosecution.

Democrats, on the other hand, were the picture of unity. Except for different levels of insult and invective toward the GOP for holding the hearing, members of the minority party were all singing out of the same hymnal: Comey is the greatest public servant and paragon of virtue since George Washington turned in his sword and the Republicans are the worst bunch of weevils that ever crawled.

The only Republican member to ask about the Trump thesis was Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who wanted Comey to answer why his announcement of the decision coincided with President Obama’s first campaign appearance with Clinton.

And it provided Comey the chance to slam the door right in his face, essentially daring Mica to call him a crook.

“I hope what you’ll tell the folks [in Mica’s district] is – look me in the eye and listen to what I’m about to say,” Comey said. “I did not coordinate that with anyone. The White House, the Department of Justice, anyone outside the FBI family had any idea what I was about to say. I say that under oath, I stand by that. There was no coordination.”

But most of what we heard from the GOP was, with varying degrees of effectiveness, the legal argument over criminal intent. Comey summed up his position by saying that while Clinton’s violations and lies told to the voting public didn’t merit prosecution, they did merit “consequences.”

Which consequences? “The broader question is one for our democracy to answer.” Translation: If your constituents don’t like what Clinton did, then they should vote against her for president.

Part of the frustration on the part of the Republicans today may be rooted in fact that they aren’t sure that voters will provide those consequences. If they were more optimistic, perhaps they would be as united behind their nominee on this matter as Democrats are.

The GOP on display Thursday was not the Trump version. There was no serious charge of corruption or even much of the motif that the system is rigged in favor of the Clintons. Some nudges, but nothing close to Trump’s turpentine.

As we discussed Wednesday, Trump’s accusations of massive corruption in the FBI and the Justice Department come with massive risks. And certainly, his ascension to the headship of his party doesn’t give him control over choices of its members serving in Congress.

But it was hard not to notice the difference between one party that’s united behind its nominee and one that isn’t.

The Judge’s Ruling: Department of Political Justice - Fox News’ Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitanoargues that the FBI’s report on Hillary Clinton doesn’t uphold the bureau and Justice Department’s roles of pursuing justice: “Is it worth impairing the reputation of the FBI and the Department of Justice to save Hillary Clinton from a deserved criminal prosecution by playing word games? What has become of the rule of law -- no one is beneath its protections or above its requirements -- when the American public can witness a game of political musical chairs orchestrated by Bill Clinton at an airport in a bizarre ruse to remove the criminal investigation of his wife from those legally responsible for making decisions about it?”

The New Yorker: “Nearly two and a half millennia ago, Aristotle triggered a revolution in happiness. At the time, Greek philosophers were trying hard to define precisely what this state of being was. Some contended that it sprang from hedonism, the pursuit of sensual pleasure. Others argued from the perspective of tragedy, believing happiness to be a goal, a final destination that made the drudge of life worthwhile. These ideas are still with us today, of course, in the decadence of Instagram and gourmet-burger culture or the Christian notion of heaven…Now, thousands of years later, evidence that Aristotle may have been onto something has been detected in the most surprising of places: the human genome.”

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions

Average of national presidential polls: 
Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +6.2 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.8

AP: “Donald Trump kept his silence and waved as he arrived in a motorcade Thursday on Capitol Hill for his first visit with rank-and-file congressional Republicans, private sessions with the House and Senate GOP caucuses. … Trump’s appearance came on the heels of a fiery speech in which he defended his use of a Star of David symbol in a retweet, an image that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and others have criticized. Instead of focusing on Clinton during his remarks Wednesday in Cincinnati, as Republican leaders would have liked, Trump mixed his attacks on the presumptive Democratic nominee with a defense of the tweet as well as earlier remarks complimenting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as a killer of terrorists. Trump argues the star in his tweet was a regular star that a sheriff might use.”

WSJ: “Months after Donald Trump appeared to seal the Republican nomination for president, anti-Trump forces are making one last push to force a vote on the party’s convention floor that would throw open the GOP contest again. It’s a long shot, but by some counts they are remarkably close to getting past the first hurdle next week in Cleveland. Mr. Trump’s intraparty foes, led by a group of rogue delegates, are waging an intense behind-the-scenes effort to push the Republican National Convention’s Rules Committee for a vote on freeing delegates to back whomever they wish, rather than being bound to Mr. Trump.”

[WaPo: “A federal judge on Thursday will hear a lawsuit brought by a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention … Carroll ‘Beau’ Correll filed suit last month challenging a state law that requires delegates to vote on the first ballot for the candidate who won Virginia’s primary.”]

Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner defends the presumptive nominee in anti-Semitism furor – New York Observer

Better, but.... Trump’s fundraising numbers grow in June but GOP still worried - David Drucker

Trump says he will likely announce vice presidential ‘just prior’ to convention - Time

Pence tells staffers he’s ready to accept Trump veep nod - CNN

Rubio will not attend RNC - WashEx

Cruz camp denies discussions of speaking at RNC - NBC News

Trump campaign battles internal dysfunction - The Hill

Polls show 2016 could set the record for widest gender gap ever between the parties - UVA Center for Politics 

Clinton, Sanders talk endorsement event next week - Time

“She’s got the beautiful looks. She’s smart. She’s smart, smart, smart. She’s certainly got my vote. And she’ll be 35. Her birthday is at the end of October, so she just makes that by about you know seven, eight days.” – Eric Trump, son of de facto GOP nominee Donald Trump, in an interview on “Fox & Friends” backing his sister, Ivanka, to be his father’s running mate.

“Chris, where do you get your average of presidential polls? The RCP average doesn’t line up with yours. Thanks.” – David Boling, El Paso, Texas

[Ed. note: Great question! RCP provides lots of valuable data, analysis and reporting, but has different standards for polling than we do. They include Internet polls and so-called “robo” polls that aren’t able to call cell phone users. These aren’t up to scratch for us, so we don’t include them given the degree to which they can skew the average. Since online and “robo” polls are cheaper and easier to do, they come along with great frequency. Today, for example, RCP’s average includes 11 polls, but five don’t meet our more stringent methodological standards. The result: They have Clinton up by 5 points, while the average of the polls we use puts her up by 6.2 points. While it means that our average changes less frequently during this phase when top-notch polling happens more rarely, we believe it provides a better snapshot of the race now and will be more valuable when the pace picks up in the final weeks of the race.]

“I could not get past the first article before feeling an urgent need to reply. We absolutely believe the entire system is corrupt. Donald Trump did not need to suggest it before we considered it. He is correct. The Law of the Land is definitely poisoned by the hands of its leaders. We are disheartened, furious, sickened and saddened by Comey’s opinion in this sick mix. This administration is an ever-churning cesspool filled with the most vile characters in American history.” – Nancy Bryan, Lynn Haven, Fla.

“Comey was brilliant.  If he had made a referral to the AG for criminal prosecution, it would have been buried until after the election and none of the facts would have come out.  …  I only wish the Republican congress would actually stop trying to steel defeat from the jaws of victory by having the focus become grandstanding hearings in congress instead of allowing the election players to hammer home all of the facts that Comey disclosed.” – Darryl Solberg, San Diego, Calif.

Sun Herald: “[Moss Point, Miss.] Mayor Billy Broomfield has saved Patrick’s bacon, so to speak. Broomfield issued a reprieve allowing a deployed airman to keep his pet pig in the city until he returns from Iraq. Otis Lundy, who is deployed with the Air Force until the fall, has kept Patrick at his home on Oak Avenue, just a few blocks from City Hall, for years. Patrick is 7 years old, and Lundy acquired him years before the city issued an animal control ordinance outlawing pigs. But an animal control officer discovered Patrick when he went to Lundy’s home to check out a dog complaint…Though the issue was not on the Board of Alderman’s agenda Tuesday night, Broomfield brought it up and made a declaration. On Facebook, Lundy thanked his alderwoman, Shirley Chambers, and many friends and neighbors who offered to foster Patrick if needed.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.