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On the roster: Poll shows voters are unhappy, GOP majority at risk - I’ll Tell You What: To 2020 and beyond - GOP senators hesitate on Trump’s gun law changes - Trump to order tariffs on steel, aluminum imports - Who says you can’t go home?
POLL SHOWS VOTERS ARE UNHAPPY, GOP MAJORITY AT RISK
USA Today: “Americans are mad, and that is putting Republicans at risk. A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds voters looking toward the midterm elections are overwhelmingly unhappy with the country’s direction, dissatisfied with its political leadership, and interested in electing a Congress that will confront President Trump. By close to 2-1, 58%-32%, those surveyed say they want to elect a Congress that mostly stands up to the president, not one that mostly cooperates with him. The level of voter unrest is rare at a time of prosperity, when a 55% majority rate the economy as being in a recovery. Even that assessment has a partisan cast: Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say the economy is growing. Seven in 10 Republicans say the country is headed in the right direction. But more than eight in 10 Democrats say it’s off on the wrong track, and seven in 10 independents agree with them.”
Harry Enten: ‘5 Reasons Democrat Conor Lamb could win Pennsylvania’s 18th District special election’ - CNN: “[Democrats] have not, however, actually won a seat in the US House that Republicans held at the beginning of Trump’s term. That may change on March 13 when Democrat Conor Lamb takes on Republican Rick Saccone in the Pennsylvania 18th congressional district’s special election. The seat was vacated by Republican Tim Murphy following a sexual harassment scandal. At first glance, the district looks bad for Lamb. Trump won it by about 20 percentage points in 2016. Yet … Lamb has a decent shot of pulling off a stunning victory. Here are five reasons to believe that Lamb may just win on March 13. 1. The polling is tight… 2. The trend in special elections during Trump’s presidency … 3. Trump’s relative lack of popularity … 4. The Democratic Party registration edge … 5. The district is well educated.”
New drawn districts in Pa. brings more Democratic challengers - Roll Call: “GOP Rep. Scott Perry drew two more Democratic challengers Wednesday, now that his newly redrawn district has become more competitive. The Pennsylvania Republican’s district, is now the 10th, became more Democratic under a new congressional map. … Under the new lines, Perry’s district shifted from a seat President Donald Trump won by 21 points to a seat Trump would have won by 9 points in 2016. Democrats view the GOP-leaning district as potentially competitive in a favorable election year. … On Wednesday Democrat Christina Hartman … announced she would run against Perry… Public health scientist Eric Ding also announced on Wednesday that he would jump in the race…”
Poll shows Gov. Rauner trailing Democratic opponents in Illinois - Politico: “With roughly three weeks until the Illinois primary election and more than $100 million of their personal funds already invested, billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker and multi-millionaire Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner hold double-digit leads against their respective primary challengers, according to a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. But the results suggest Rauner, considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation, is in serious jeopardy of being denied a second term in November. Both Pritzker and Democrat state Sen. Daniel Biss are ahead of the governor by double-digits in general election match-ups tested by the Carbondale-based institute. … General election match-ups show Pritzker would beat Rauner by 15 points and Biss would beat Rauner by 14. The poll didn’t ask about a prospective Kennedy-Rauner match-up.”
Democrat enters Mississippi Senate race - Politico: “Republicans have two candidates running against each other for Senate in Mississippi. Now Democrats have one to face whoever emerges. David Baria, the state house minority leader, qualified for the ballot on Wednesday, after submitting the necessary paperwork. ‘I want to give voters a true choice, and I plan to spend the campaign listening to voters and working hard to earn their trust,’ Baria said. Baria got into the race the day after Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi state senator, announced a primary challenge to incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker, and after Brandon Presley, a state public service commissioner whom national Democrats had been eyeing for the race, reiterated that he wouldn’t run.”
Rep. Labrador faces big spending opponents in Idaho - Politico: “Of the three major candidates, [Rep. Raul Labrador] - a powerful figure in the far-right House Freedom Caucus - is the nominal frontrunner in the May primary. He’s been endorsed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and private polls in the race show him leading Lt. Gov. Brad Little and developer Tommy Ahlquist in the primary. ... Ahlquist, who’s been endorsed by 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and his allies are spending big to get him out of third place. At the end of this week, his campaign will have already spent more than $700,000 on television ads, according to Advertising Analytics - a hefty sum in a cheap media market state like Idaho. A pro-Ahlquist political action committee, Idaho First PAC, has spent an additional $389,000 in support of the candidate.”
Giffords targets GOP candidates on gun control measures - AP: “Gabby Giffords’ political organization is focusing on six high-profile members of Congress this fall — House Speaker Paul Ryan, among them — in a 2018 midterm strategy that will use high school students to challenge Republican lawmakers it blames for blocking efforts to curb gun violence. The group known as Giffords, named for the former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona who survived a shooting in 2011, says it plans to spend at least $10 million to influence the November elections. … Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have for years pushed Congress to enact gun control measures with little success. They shifted their focus to state legislatures in recent years, helping to strengthen background checks and domestic violence protections, among other modest protections. The group says it sees the midterms election as a moment to try to build on the momentum.”
THE RULEBOOK: PAY ATTENTION
“Some portion of this knowledge may, no doubt, be acquired in a man’s closet; but some of it also can only be derived from the public sources of information; and all of it will be acquired to best effect by a practical attention to the [branches of government] during the period of actual service in the legislature.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 53
TIME OUT: BEFORE ‘WE THE PEOPLE’
History: “On this day in 1781, the Articles of Confederation are finally ratified. The Articles were signed by Congress and sent to the individual states for ratification on November 15, 1777, after 16 months of debate. Bickering over land claims between Virginia and Maryland delayed final ratification for almost four more years. Maryland finally approved the Articles on March 1, 1781, affirming the Articles as the outline of the official government of the United States. The nation was guided by the Articles of Confederation until the implementation of the current U.S. Constitution in 1789. The critical distinction between the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution —the primacy of the states under the Articles—is best understood by comparing the following lines. The Articles of Confederation begin: ‘To all to whom these Present shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States.’ By contrast, the Constitution begins: ‘We the People of the United States do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 38.6 percent
Average disapproval: 56.6 percent
Net Score: -18 points
Change from one week ago: up 0.6 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 39% approve - 56% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 38% approve - 60% disapprove; CNN: 39% approve - 56% disapprove; Marist College: 40% approve - 53% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 37% approve - 58% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 37.6 percent
Democratic average: 49.2 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 11.6 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 3.8 points
[Average includes: USA Today/Suffolk: 47% Dems - 32% GOP; CNN: 54% Dems - 38% GOP; Marist College: 46% Dems - 39% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 53% Dems - 38% GOP; IBD: 46% Dems - 41% GOP.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: TO 2020 AND BEYOND
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the early 2020 maneuvering from President Trump, the idea of a bigger Congress and the question of dog cloning…? Plus, the duo discuss options for the next book club and Chris attempts to name some obscure Vice Presidents. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
GOP SENATORS HESITATE ON TRUMP’S GUN LAW CHANGES
Reuters: “Republican senators in the U.S. Congress signaled on Thursday that they were hesitant to embrace a call from President Donald Trump for sweeping changes to gun laws, including measures more typically backed by Democrats. Trump shocked fellow Republicans on Wednesday when he threw his support behind a broad set of restrictions on gun sales… The White House is expected on Thursday to release a list of policy measures that Trump backs. The president was set to privately discuss the issue with families of mass shooting victims and law enforcement on Thursday. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters he believes his modest proposal to improve the background check system for gun buyers is the best way forward with the highest chance of success, rather than the more ambitious approach Trump appeared to back.”
Schumer announces Democratic plan - The Hill: “Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday unveiled his caucus' three-part gun control plan and urged President Trump to ‘buck the NRA’ to support their effort after the Florida high school shooting. Schumer also signaled that there may be dissent within the ranks of Democrats as he announced the ‘comprehensive, three-part plan.’ The most controversial part of the Democratic plan outlined by Schumer is a demand that a ban on assault weapons be part of the Senate debate. ‘We believe there should be a debate on assault weapons on the floor of the Senate. Not every member of our caucus will support that ban but the vast majority will,’ Schumer told reporters. He made a bid for President Trump to throw his support behind such a ban, which is not endorsed by Republican Senate leaders.”
Trump continues to push importance of background checks - WashTimes: “President Trump said Thursday that background checks will be a ‘big part’ of the coming discussion on gun control and a bill should be forthcoming. ‘Many ideas, some good & some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House. Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!’”
Senate will hold hearing on Florida shooting - Politico: “The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Mar. 14 examining the Valentine's Day school shooting that killed 17 Florida students and faculty members, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced Thursday. The hearing comes as lawmakers tangle over what, if any, new gun control proposals are politically feasible, and uncertainty about what President Donald Trump will ultimately push. Grassley has already sought briefings from the FBI and social media companies about advance notice that law enforcement officials received — but failed to act on — concerning the threat posed by [the] Florida perpetrator…”
The Judge’s Ruling: In defense of self-defense - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano defends the right to keep and bear arms: “Thomas Jefferson, who claimed to be neither theist nor atheist, wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.’ Such rights cannot be separated from us, as they are integral to our humanity. Foremost among our unalienable rights is the right to life -- the right to be and to remain alive. And that right implies the right to defend life -- the right to self-defense. … The reason for all this is natural. It is natural to defend yourself -- your life -- and your children. The Framers recognized this right when they ratified the Second Amendment. They wrote it to ensure that all governments would respect the right to keep and bear arms as a natural extension of the right to self-defense.” More here.
TRUMP TO ORDER TARIFFS ON STEEL, ALUMINUM IMPORTS
Fox News: “President Trump announced Thursday he plans to institute tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum next week, arguing it will level the playing field for American companies and help them expand after plant closings in recent years. The president said he decided on tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum. ‘So steel and aluminum will see a lot of good things happen,’ Trump told reporters at the White House. ‘We're going to have new jobs popping up.’ He made the dramatic announcement after participating in a listening session with 15 representatives from the steel and aluminum industry. Meanwhile, stocks plunged as talk of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum spooked investors. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped as much as 500 points Thursday. ‘You will have protection for the first time in a long while and you are going to regrow your industries,’ Trump told the executives.”
MUELLER TO EXAMINE TRUMP’S TREATMENT OF SESSIONS
WaPo: “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has been investigating a period of time last summer when President Trump seemed determined to drive Attorney General Jeff Sessions from his job, according to people familiar with the matter who said that a key area of interest for the inquiry is whether those efforts were part of a months-long pattern of attempted obstruction of justice. In recent months, Mueller’s team has questioned witnesses in detail about Trump’s private comments and state of mind in late July and early August of last year, around the time he issued a series of tweets belittling his ‘beleaguered’ attorney general, these people said. The thrust of the questions was to determine whether the president’s goal was to oust Sessions in order to pick a replacement who would exercise control over the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump associates during the 2016 election, these people said.”
Sources say 30 Trump aides have lost security clearance - Bloomberg: “More than 30 aides to President Donald Trump have been stripped of access to top secret intelligence, two people familiar with the move said. The officials have been notified that they will be downgraded to lower-level ‘secret’ interim security clearances, said the two people. … All of the officials whose clearances were downgraded held the top secret designation on an interim basis. [Chief of Staff John Kelly] set a new policy that took effect last week that permits interim clearances only at the secret level and not permitting temporary clearances at higher levels. … Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley this week called for answers from the White House and the FBI about reports that dozens of top officials still lacked a full security clearance and that some them, including [Jared Kushner], had access to the highly classified President’s Daily Brief prepared by intelligence agencies.”
Senate Intel says House Intel responsible for leaks of Warner’s texts - NYT: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer, according to two congressional officials briefed on the matter. Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings. They used the meeting with Mr. Ryan to raise broader concerns about the direction of the House Intelligence Committee under its chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the officials said. To the senators … the leak was a serious breach of protocol and a partisan attack by one intelligence committee against the other.”
Top aide to VA secretary sought help from Congress to get Shulkin fired - USA Today
Carson's HUD cancels order for $31G dining room set after complaint - Fox News
AUDIBLE: LESSON LEARNED…?
“Truly, six months, the last thing I wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being the secretary of Homeland Security. But I did something wrong and God punished me, I guess.” – White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said during a Department of Homeland Security event on Thursday. General Kelly addressed a crowd of DHS employees during the event in honor of the agency’s 15th anniversary.
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WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME?
NJ.com: “After a night of partying with buddies in Morgantown, W.V. last Friday, Kenny Bachman thought he had called an Uber to take him back to where he was staying near West Virginia University’s campus. Instead, he woke up … to an Uber driver that was taking him home. Not where he was staying with friends in West Virginia, but home home. Like, where he lives. In Gloucester County. More than 300 miles away. ‘I just woke up,’ Bachman told NJ Advance Media in a phone interview. ‘And I’m thinking, ‘Why the f--- am I in the car next to some random ass dude I don’t even know?’ The price? A hefty $1,635.93. … ‘Once the ride ended and I saw how much it was when I was like ‘Alright, this is insane, that’s just crazy.’’ … Still, it would have been just $819.14 -- if not for the surge pricing, which doubled every charge except the booking fee.”
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.