House plows ahead


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On the roster: House plows ahead - I’ll Tell You What: Love me tenders - Kerry backs Biden, will hit campaign trail - ‘Left money, took pies.’

HOUSE PLOWS AHEAD

WaPo: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President Trump’s wrongdoing strikes at the heart of the Constitution and asked House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment, saying lawmakers have ‘no choice but to act.’ Her address, in which she invoked principles espoused by the nation’s founders, came shortly after Trump went on Twitter to urge House Democrats to impeach him quickly, if they plan to do it, and suggested he would call an expansive list of witnesses during a trial in the Republican-led Senate. At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that President Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”

Pergram: Could proceedings drag on into 2020? The timing’s unclear - Fox News: “Is there enough time for lawmakers to deposit articles of impeachment on the House floor this calendar year? Or, could this wait? Finally, do Democrats have the votes to impeach? If a House impeachment vote drifts into 2020, analysts likely will crow that it would be extraordinary for the House to attempt to impeach President Trump in ‘an election year.’ But, it’s tough to calibrate the political advantages or disadvantages of doing impeachment in December or when the calendar flips. It’s doubtful that in the future, the public would recall precisely when the House voted to impeach. Republicans would assert that Democrats were so brazen that they ‘impeached the president in an election year.’ Putting impeachment on the floor in, say, October, just before a November general election, may be a real no-no. However, nobody on the Hill has suggested that scenario would be in play.”

Moderate Dems warn to leave Mueller out of it - Politico: “A group of House Democratic centrists is warning its caucus that any case against President Donald Trump should steer clear of Robert Mueller — resurfacing an ugly internal debate on impeachment that could complicate the coming weeks. Multiple moderates — including freshman lawmakers deemed most at risk in 2020 — have urged Democrats not to relitigate the issues in the Mueller report in their own investigation into the Ukraine scandal. But key Democrats, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, have suggested that it could be included in eventual articles of impeachment, with many in the caucus still eager to repudiate Trump for his misconduct outlined by Mueller. ‘Activities from the 2016 election, I think, should be left to voters in the 2020 election,’ said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah), who represents one of the most GOP-leaning seats in the nation. ‘My focus is on those things that are forward looking.’”

Trump threatens to have Schiff, Bidens, Pelosi testify - Fox News: “President Trump on Thursday challenged House Democrats to impeach him ‘fast’ and ship the process over to the Senate, where he threatened to seek testimony from top Democrats including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. ‘The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy,’ Trump tweeted, just before Pelosi announced that she wants the Judiciary Committee to proceed with articles of impeachment.… ‘We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is.’”

White House preps for Senate trial -WaPo: “The White House signaled Wednesday that it will aggressively defend President Trump in a near-certain Senate impeachment trial in the coming weeks, as legal experts called by House Democrats testified in a contentious hearing that Trump’s Ukraine dealings constitute an impeachable offense. Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, told reporters that Trump ‘wants his case made fully in the Senate,’ previewing a strategy that would include live witnesses on the floor… Ueland was among a quartet of top White House officials, including Counsel Pat Cipollone, who met with GOP senators on Wednesday as the administration continues to strategize with Republicans on the Senate proceedings. The private session … underscored the extent to which Trump has largely blown off the House inquiry and is focusing on a likely trial in the GOP-controlled Senate, where the White House says he would get a fair defense and can easily win an acquittal.”

THE RULEBOOK: STRONG GOVERNMENT NEEDS GOOD CITIZENS
“The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 28

TIME OUT: BUBBLING WITH ANTICIPATION 
Smithsonian: “When Leeann Wallett reflects on happy days from her childhood, she thinks of New Year’s Eve. … The centerpiece of these meals was a miniature Crock Pot called the Crockette, which kept food hot from dinner until the clock struck midnight. The recipes varied from year to year … but all still strike a deep chord of nostalgia for Wallett, who grew up to become an avid home cook and, in her spare time, a food writer for local and regional outlets in her home state of Delaware. … Nearly 80 years after its patent was issued, the Crock Pot continues to occupy a warm place in American kitchens and hearts. For Paula Johnson, curator for the Division of Work & Industry at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the Crock Pot’s ubiquity lends to its charm. When Johnson returns to family potlucks in her own Minnesota hometown, she can count on seeing a long, buffet line of Crock Pots.”

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SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26 points (no change in points)
Warren: 19.4 points (no change in points)
Sanders: 17.2 points (no change in points)
Buttigieg: 10.2 points (no change in points)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, CNN, Monmouth University, NBC News/WSJ and ABC News/WaPo.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -9.8 percent
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 45% approve - 52% disapprove.]

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I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: LOVE ME TENDERS
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the thinning field of 2020 Democratic candidates after Kamala Harris dropped out of the race, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's new campaign ad and investigated the case of the missing chicken tenders. Plus, Chris answers tough listener trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

KERRY BACKS BIDEN, WILL HIT CAMPAIGN TRAIL
WaPo: “Former secretary of state John F. Kerry endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy on Thursday, saying his longtime friend and colleague has the character, experience and leadership skills to restore the nation’s standing abroad and confront urgent problems at home. ‘I’m not endorsing Joe because I’ve known him a long time. I’m endorsing him because I know him so well,’ Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said in a telephone interview ahead of the formal announcement of his endorsement. Kerry will join Biden on the campaign trail on Friday in Iowa, where the former vice president is in the midst of a week-long bus tour of the state, and in New Hampshire on Sunday, according to the Biden campaign. The former secretary of state said he would continue to campaign for Biden in the weeks and months ahead.”

Fringe candidates running out of time to qualify for December debate - Politico: “Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang could get more airtime than ever to introduce themselves to America with just one more poll — or they could spend the December debate sitting at home. Right now, six candidates … are set to take the stage for the Democratic primary debate co-hosted by POLITICO and PBS NewsHour on Dec. 19: Joe Biden, Pete ButtigiegAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren. Gabbard and Yang are not among them, with only one week left before qualification closes. For both Gabbard and Yang, being excluded from the debate stage could starve their long-shot campaigns of the oxygen that comes with the nationally televised platform — which has helped sustain their small-dollar fundraising and marginal poll numbers — as the rest of the field continues to winnow. But if one or both qualify, they are likely to get greater shares of the speaking time than ever before. No debate thus far has included fewer than 10 candidates…”

Where will Harris’ remaining backers land? - WaPo: “The ‘Reckoning Crew,’ a famed group of Democratic black activists in South Carolina, huddled deep into the night Tuesday at their leader’s home in Hopkins, S.C., and tried to agree on who to back after Sen. Kamala D. Harris dropped out of the race. Already, two campaigns had sought them out, asking for the group’s support, and the members — who helped Hillary Clinton dominate the state in the primary four years ago, initially believed they’d be able to quickly settle on a new candidate. As the night wore on, it became clear that they weren’t quite ready. … The competition for her backers, especially African American women, is particularly fierce given the delicate racial dynamics of the remaining Democratic field, which polls show is now led by four white candidates. All are trying to either cement or make inroads among African American voters. At least initially, the campaigns of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former vice president Joe Biden appeared likely to benefit.”

Warren tears into Bloomberg on Bloomberg TV - Fox News: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has been an outspoken critic of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's candidacy – but on Wednesday, she took her message to his own backyard. During an interview on Bloomberg TV, host Joe Weisenthal acknowledged that his ‘boss’ was running against Warren and asked her if it's ‘naïve’ to think that candidates such as Bloomberg, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg could champion bipartisanship in 2019 politics. … She then took aim at her billionaire rival. … ‘I don’t believe that elections ought to be for sale,  and I don’t think as a Democratic Party that we should say that the only way you’re gonna get elected, the only way you’re gonna be our nominee, is either if you are a billionaire, or if you’re sucking up to billionaires.’”

THE JUDGE’S RULING: SUPCO ON GUN RIGHTS
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano discusses the Supreme Court hearing an important gun rights case: “Will the New York City gun owners suffer the same fate? Perhaps not. There is a little-known and rarely used exception to the standing requirement -- a judge-made exception -- that holds that if a dispute repeatedly comes to the Supreme Court or if lower federal courts are repeatedly misinterpreting a Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal to stop the repeated appeals or to correct lower court misunderstandings, even if there is no adversity between the parties. Have lower federal courts been misinterpreting the Heller and McDonald cases? Yes. By one study, they have ruled 96 percent of the time in favor of city and state gun restrictions in the home and against the pre-political nature of the right to self-defense. Are there constitutional implications in this case beyond standing? Yes.” More here

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., announces he will not run for re-election Roll Call

White House tightens food stamp requirements Fox News

AUDIBLE: DON’T MESS
“I pray for the president all the time. So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi when asked by a reporter whether she hates President Trump.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, In reading the Halftime Report for today, Wednesday, December 4th, I noticed in the first item of the Play-by-Play section that ‘Rep. Denny Heck, R-Nev., announces retirement.’ Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link to the story in ‘Medium,’ to find that Rep. Denny Heck is a Democrat from the state of Washington and not a Republican from the state of Nevada. Thanks and other than this, keep up the good work!” – Jerry Donohoe, Longwood, Fla.

[Ed. note: Quite so, Mr. Donohoe! My brain failed me for a second as I hurried through a final edit and confused the retiring congressman with a former member of the same last name from Nevada. Thanks for your kind words and good catch!]

“Chris, The good news about Cole [the Jeep] is that he will run forever. The bad news about Cole is that he will run forever.” – Jason Bell, Naples, Fla.

[Ed. note: Don’t I know it, Mr. Bell! The unsinkable Cherokee!]

“C'mon Chris, tell it like it is. In response to a reader's suggestion that The Times has slipped, you concede that ‘There are certainly articles and story angles in the NYT's news section that evince a point of view on the part of writers and editors ... .’ Point of view, my foot. You mean bias. The Times is a house organ for the Democratic Party and has been for generations. The last time The Times endorsed a Republican candidate for President was Eisenhower, running for a second term in 1956. (In 1952, it was Stevenson over Ike). In its news coverage, The Times devotes its considerable resources to advancing the worldviews and political agendas of its lords and masters on the left.” – Stuart Barr, Durham, N.C.

[Ed. note: You certainly don’t sound like a wimp, Mr. Barr. In fact, you present yourself here as a tough-minded truth teller. I wonder then why you would feel so crabby about the biases of the New York Times. I can certainly understand how in the 1950s when there was relatively little in the way of media diversity that American conservatives were unhappy about the lack of right-leaning opinions on editorial pages or the conservative worldview in story selections. But in the past 70 years, conservatives have fought back and, in many cases, won the media war. Now, Americans can pick and choose among hundreds of outlets online, on television and on radio. I work at an outlet that regularly comes in from criticism from Democrats for the kind of bias that you ascribe to the NYT. And when they do, we patiently explain that our opinion hosts are certainly not shy about sharing their point of view, but that in our news division, the stories and analyses we provide are fair, thoroughly reported and non-partisan. And I tell Democrats who complain that if they can’t handle hearing from the likes of Chris WallaceBret BaierDana Perino and me, then maybe they should think about adding a little more variety to their news diet. I offer you the same encouragement. You seem like a knowledgeable man with more than enough awareness of the political landscape to be able to navigate the NYT without being led astray. I encourage folks to read widely and courageously but always with that very American attribute: Skepticism. It’s quite a lot of fun if you let it be.]   

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

‘LEFT MONEY, TOOK PIES.’
UPI: “Police in Missouri said someone took two pies from a store that was accidentally left unlocked while closed -- but the culprit left money and a note, making it an ‘after-hours transaction’ instead of a burglary. The Ballwin Police Department said the front door of Honey Baked Ham had apparently been left unlocked accidentally on Thanksgiving Day, when the store was closed for the holiday, and a customer who came inside the empty store in the afternoon called police. Police found some cash on the counter and a note reading: ‘Happy Thanksgiving! No one was here, and we were in desperate need of pies. Left money, took pies. Thanks!’ … Police said the pie-taker would have had to go behind the counter and retrieve the pies from a refrigerator, which could potentially have led to trespassing charges, but the store declined to pursue criminal charges for the ‘after-hours transaction.’”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline – or continued ascendancy – is in our hands.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Weekly Standard on Oct. 19, 2009.

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.