Poll: Voters say corruption most important 2018 topic

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On the roster: Poll: Voters say corruption most important 2018 topic - Kavanaugh vows independence as hearing continues - Trump's lawyers open to giving Mueller written answers - Audible: Personal space - Do it for the gram

KFF: “With the 2018 midterm election in full swing, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds corruption in Washington emerging as one of the top topics voters want to hear candidates talk about during their campaigns. Fielded in the days after the indictment of Michael Cohen and jury decision in the Paul Manafort trial, three in ten voters (30 percent) – including about one-third of independent voters and Democratic voters, and one-fourth of Republican voters – say corruption in Washington, D.C. is the most important topic for 2018 candidates to talk about during their campaigns. This ranks among the top topics, which also includes health care (27 percent) and economy and jobs (25 percent). About one-fifth of voters say various other topics including immigration (19 percent), the investigation of whether Russian meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (19 percent), and gun policy (18 percent) are the most important issues for the 2018 campaigns. Similar shares also say it is most important for candidates to talk about President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court (17 percent) and tax cuts and tax reform (15 percent).”

Poll shows dead heat race for Missouri Senate -
NBC News: “Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is tied with Republican challenger Josh Hawley, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll of Missouri, in one of the most high-profile races of 2018 that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. Among likely voters — defined by their probability of voting in November, interest in the election and past participation — McCaskill and Hawley both get 47 percent support, with just 5 percent who are undecided. Among the larger pool of registered voters, Hawley is at 47 percent, while McCaskill is at 46 percent. When the field is expanded to include the Libertarian and Green Party candidates in the race, McCaskill leads by 4 points among likely voters, 44 percent to 40 percent, but that’s well within the survey’s margin of error. McCaskill benefits by having the more enthusiastic supporters: According to the poll, 68 percent of her backers strongly support her, compared with 46 percent of Hawley’s backers who strongly support him.”

Kyl sworn in to fill McCain's seat -
AP: “Republican John Kyl of Arizona, who served three terms in the Senate before retiring in 2012, has been sworn in to fill the seat left open by the death of Sen. John McCain. Kyl has only committed to serve until the end of the current congressional session on Jan. 3. Still, he'll have the chance to cast key votes, including whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. His support will give Republicans more cushion to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections in November. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he could not be happier that the ‘new, not-so-junior senator’ will be working during a time that he described as ‘all hands of deck for the American people.’ Vice President Mike Pence swore Kyl in.”

Capuano faces upset in Massachusetts House race -
NYT:Ayanna Pressley upended the Massachusetts political order on Tuesday, scoring a stunning upset of 10-term Representative Michael Capuano and positioning herself to become the first African-American woman to represent the state in Congress. Ms. Pressley’s triumph was in sync with a restless political climate that has fueled victories for underdogs, women and minorities elsewhere this election season, and it delivered another stark message to the Democratic establishment that newcomers on the insurgent left were unwilling to wait their turn. … Her victory carried echoes of the surprise win in June by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…”

Poll shows Katie Arrington ahead of opponent - [Charleston] Post and Courier: “A poll Tuesday shows Republican Katie Arrington holds a 7-point lead against Democrat Joe Cunningham in South Carolina’s closely watched 1st Congressional District race. … Forty-nine percent of the 628 voters said they would vote for Arrington, the one-term Summerville state lawmaker who defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in the GOP primary by aligning herself with President Donald Trump. About 42 percent of voters polled said they would cast their ballots for Cunningham, a West Ashley construction law attorney and former ocean engineer. Nine percent of respondents said they were undecided. The findings also show Arrington’s staunch support of Trump might not be as powerful of an appeal as it once was.”

GOP gives money to two Kansas House seats - McClatchy: “National Republicans are sinking $1.8 million into deep red Kansas to defend two GOP-held congressional seats in the state… The money is going to reserve air time for political ads that will air from Oct. 9 through Election Day in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District in suburban Kansas City, and 2nd Congressional District, which includes Topeka and Lawrence. In the 3rd District, Democratic attorney Sharice Davids is challenging four-term incumbent GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder. In the 2nd District, the House seat is open after the retirement of GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Republican U.S. Army veteran Steve Watkins is running to succeed her against Democrat Paul Davis, a former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate. The NRCC declined to break down how much the committee was committing to each race.”

Former Kansas GOP governor endorses Democrat over Kobach -
Kansas City Star: “Republicans in Kansas further splintered Tuesday as the last moderate member of the party to hold the governor’s office endorsed a Democrat for governor over Kris Kobach, the GOP nominee. In a statement, former Kansas governor Bill Graves said he planned to support state Sen. Laura Kelly in the November election. Kelly is running against Kobach and independent Greg Orman. ‘Laura Kelly is the only Democrat I have ever endorsed for public office,’ Graves said in the statement. ‘And the reason I’m doing that now is because I believe so much is at stake in the state of Kansas.’”

“Men of this class, whether the favorites of a king or of a people, have in too many instances abused the confidence they possessed; and assuming the pretext of some public motive, have not scrupled to sacrifice the national tranquility to personal advantage or personal gratification.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 6

Merriam-Webster: “The addition of new words to a dictionary is a step in the continuous process of recording our ever-expanding language. It’s important to remember that new words are added to the dictionary only when they have already been used by many people—often initially by specialists or subcultures. Then, gradually, a word’s use spreads to the rest of us. … The tendency to use abbreviated forms in casual speech and writing is well documented in this release of new words, with entries for marg (short for margarita), fav, bougie (a disparaging substitute for bourgeois), and ribbie (a spelling based on the way RBI is pronounced by some baseball commentators and fans). Also, you might think that it’s adorbs that some rando likes zuke along with avo in his guac. Words about food and eating continue to be the largest source of foreign borrowings into English… If beer is more your thing, you might be a hophead heading to a brewery to taste a flight.”
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Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 39.8 percent
Average disapproval: 55.4 percent
Net Score: -15.6 points
Change from one week ago: down 5.6 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; IBD: 36% approve - 56% dispparove; ABC News/WaPo: 38% approve - 60% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 40% approve - 56% disapprove - NBC/WSJ: 44% approve - 52% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
39.2 percent
Democratic average: 50.2 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 11 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 2.2 points
[Average includes: IBD: 50% Dems - 38% GOP; ABC/WaPo: 52% Dems - 38% GOP; USA Today/Suffolk: 50% Dems - 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 42% GOP; Fox News: 49% Dems - 38% GOP.]

Fox News: “Judge Brett Kavanaugh promised to serve as an independent justice if confirmed to the Supreme Court, as he sparred with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about his views and past work for former President George W. Bush. Senate Democrats grilled Kavanaugh on abortion, guns and other issues Wednesday, getting down to substance after an opening day of partisan fireworks -- as protesters continued to disrupt his confirmation hearing and Senate leaders clashed over how late the hearing could go. ‘The first thing that makes a good judge is independence, not being swayed by political or public pressure,’ Kavanaugh said during the second day of his hearing. ‘That takes some backbone, that takes some judicial fortitude.’ Democrats on the panel, including a number thought to be considering a presidential run in 2020, have sounded the alarm about Kavanaugh’s past work in Republican politics, including as a lawyer in Bush’s White House. President Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.”

Liberal groups tell Schumer he’s ‘failing them’ in defeating Kavanaugh’s nomination - Politico: “Progressive groups have a blunt assessment of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s work to defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination: ‘You are failing us.’ Thirteen liberal groups have signed on to a letter, delivered Wednesday morning, that pans the minority leader’s strategy of stopping President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. They say that ‘the Democratic Party’s progressive base expects nothing less than all-out resistance to Trump’s dangerous agenda,’ and question whether Schumer is delivering it. … Among the signees are CREDO Mobile, Indivisible, Democracy for America, and Daily Kos. MoveOn and Demand Justice, groups trying to defeat Kavanaugh, did not sign on. Republicans are targeting Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota as potential Kavanaugh supporters. Schumer is not whipping those members hard against the nominee, but is encouraging everyone to keep their powder dry at least until after Kavanaugh’s hearing.”

Fox News: “Attorneys for President Trump have told Special Counsel Robert Mueller they may agree to submit written answers to his questions in the long-running Russia probe, provided they are restricted to the issue of collusion allegations. Attorneys sent a response letter Wednesday after Mueller's team notified the president's lawyers they were open to limiting questions to Russia and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Mueller also said he would be willing to accept answers in written form, though he did ask for the possibility of a follow-up in-person interview. The president’s attorneys have made it clear they will not allow any questions that deal with the president’s powers under Article II of the Constitution, which includes hiring and firing of federal officials. In other words, they will not allow any questions that go to the issue of obstruction of justice. Further, the attorneys for now are not committing to an in-person interview with Trump, barring some significant concession from Mueller.”

Mueller to interview comedian Randy Credico - NYT:Randy Credico, a comedian and left-wing political activist, has an appointment on Sept. 7. With Robert S. Mueller III. Before a grand jury. Under oath. And he is planning to do impressions, because that’s what he does. … Mr. Mueller is interested in Mr. Credico’s odd friendship with Roger J. Stone Jr., the self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, Republican consultant and longtime political adviser to President Trump. Mr. Credico is seen in New York political circles as a dedicated if madcap activist. But he acknowledges that he also took part over the years in some of Mr. Stone’s acts of political deception. And Mr. Stone has claimed that Mr. Credico was a conduit to WikiLeaks, telling him when dirt on Hillary Clinton would be released.”

Judge rejects Manafort's effort to move trial outside Washington -
Fox News: “A federal judge on Wednesday rejected ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s effort to have his second trial moved to a venue outside Washington D.C. During a court hearing, District Court Judge Amy Jackson told Manafort’s defense team and prosecutors that she was not convinced by the defense argument that they wouldn't be able to find a fair jury in D.C. Jackson said ‘party affiliation’ is not necessarily ‘a predictor of bias,’ referring to the Manafort team’s assertion that Manafort could not get a fair trial in the District of Columbia, which is overwhelmingly populated by Democrats. Jackson also signaled Wednesday that she will not allow any discussion of ‘Russian collusion’ during the 2016 campaign into the upcoming trial, though she would allow some mention of Manafort's role as the campaign manager of ‘a presidential campaign.’”

Over 300 state legislators call for swift Kavanaugh confirmation - Governing

Facebook, Twitter issue mea culpas on failure to spot Russian meddling
- Fox News

House Republicans to meet with Trump on Wednesday to talk spending - Politico

Jonah Goldberg
: ‘Being Inspired by U.S. Achievements Shouldn’t Be Partisan’ - National Review

Kim Kardashian returns to the White House to discuss criminal justice reform - Politico

“Don't touch me man, I don't know you… I’ll take care of you myself.” – Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in response to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones patted Rubio on the shoulder after repeatedly interrupting the senator during an interview outside a hearing room Wednesday.

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Newsweek: “A sunflower farm in Canada has been forced to close its gates to Instagrammers, Snapchatters and other snap-happy social media users in search of the perfect selfie after thousands of people flooded the grounds to take photos.  The Bogle family, which operates its farm Bogle Seeds in Hamilton, Ontario, roughly 42 miles from Toronto, said on its website that ‘unfortunately, with the police involved, we have had to close the photos opportunities’ after a traffic jam plugged roads for hours on Saturday, July 28.  The incident occurred just over a week after the Bogles decided to open their farm to photographers, charging $7.50 per person. … The news may come as a disappointment for some of the more than 94,300 people who have visited the farm's website, many likely looking to find directions for their next photo shoot location. According to the Globe & Mail newspaper, the family farm has attracted visitors from as far away as Dubai, New York and Australia.”

“A major reason these fights over Supreme Court nominations have become so bitter and unseemly is the stakes — the political stakes. The Supreme Court has become more than ever a superlegislature. From abortion to gay marriage, it has appropriated to itself the final word. It rules — and the normal democratic impulses, expressed through the elected branches, are henceforth stifled.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post, April 6, 2017. 

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.