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On the roster: Sanders surges days ahead of Iowa - Trump to use State of the Union to relaunch 2020 - Murkowski comes out against impeachment witnesses - It’s Brexit Day - Would you like fries with that?

NBC News: “Just days before the first votes are counted in the Democratic primary, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll finds Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden statistically tied at the top of the Democratic field. Sanders gets 27 percent support from Democratic primary voters around the country, while Biden gets 26 percent. Sanders’ single-point advantage, while well within the poll’s +/- 4.74 percentage point margin of error, marks his first lead of the primary in the NBC/WSJ survey. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the only other Democrat registering in double digits, at 15 percent, while former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg now holds the fourth place spot, at 9 percent. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg gets 7 percent support in the poll; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has 5 percent, and businessman Andrew Yang stands at 4 percent. No other candidate has 3 percent support or more.”

Buttigieg tears into Biden, Sanders - Fox News: “With the Iowa caucuses kicking off the presidential nominating calendar in just four days, White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg turned up the volume on Thursday as he targeted by name two of his top rivals for the Democratic nomination. In some of his most cutting comments to date, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor took aim during a campaign event in Decorah, Iowa, at progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying ‘I hear Senator Sanders calling for a kind of politics that says you've got to go all the way here and nothing else counts.’ … The 38-year-old candidate … also took aim at former Vice President Joe Biden – who along with Sanders is a co-front-runner in the latest polling in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses. … Buttigieg’s blast at Biden followed a similar jab at a Fox News town hall on Sunday, when the candidate took an indirect jab at the former vice president.”

Delaney, first candidate in 2020 race, drops out - Fox News: “John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman who was the first Democrat to announce a run for the party's 2020 presidential nomination, withdrew from the race on Friday, citing a lack of support for his candidacy. Delaney gave up a relatively safe congressional seat in Maryland to run a years-long presidential campaign that began in July 2017, only to exit the race before the first ballots were cast after barely registering in the polls. ‘This decision is informed by internal analyses indicating John's support is not sufficient to meet the 15% viability in a material number of caucus precincts, but sufficient enough to cause other moderate candidates to not to make the viability threshold, especially in rural areas where John has campaigned harder than anyone,’ his campaign said in an announcement Friday morning.”

Outcome of Iowa could determine if TV or digital is superior - Politico: “But among campaign staffers and media strategists, the caucuses will also serve as a referendum for a crucial question in the dark arts of campaign messaging: What’s the most effective way to reach voters in 2020? Should campaigns go heavy on digital spending, or do it the old-fashioned way, on TV? Buttigieg and Warren conducted almost a controlled experiment in these two approaches during the final months of 2019. Perhaps surprisingly, it was the millennial candidate who went retro. Warren’s campaign leaned heavily on a modern, digital-first strategy early in the campaign, believing that the traditional, broad-brush medium of television wouldn’t be effective until later in the contest. Buttigieg invested early, consistently and heavily in television, believing it was the best messaging tool to help a relative unknown break through the pack.”

Politico: “On Tuesday night, Donald Trump will relaunch his 2020 campaign. Likely clear of imminent threats to his presidency, the president plans to use his annual State of the Union speech as a fresh start for his reelection bid, according to seven senior administration officials and White House allies who spoke to POLITICO about the upcoming address. Despite facing a captive audience that includes Democrats who have spent the past few months trying to remove Trump from office, the president is resolved to not even mention impeachment, two of those officials said. ‘I don’t see it happening,’ said one senior White House official. … Of course, the president will have plenty of grievances to air. But the White House wants Trump to do so in a manner that allows him to tout the least controversial achievements of his presidency, including low unemployment rates, steady job growth and the bipartisan trade pact with Canada and Mexico.”

At Iowa rally Trump says he’s not going to lose - Des Moines Register: “President Donald Trump arrived to a crowd of thousands of adoring Republicans Thursday night, briefly wresting attention away from the Democrats who have flooded the state in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses. Trump made the case for a second term, touting victories on new trade agreements and low unemployment while also denigrating the ‘lunacy and the madness of the totally sick left’ and the ‘hoax’ impeachment process. ‘This November we’re going to defeat the radical socialist Democrats who are right down the street,’ he said shortly after taking the stage at the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus in Des Moines. The venue had filled to capacity. … Trump, who came in second in the Iowa caucuses in 2016, carried the state in the general election by more than 9 percentage points. Thirty-one Iowa counties that voted twice for Democrat Barack Obama swung in Trump's favor that year.”

“The entire separation of the States into thirteen unconnected sovereignties is a project too extravagant and too replete with danger to have many advocates.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 13

Atlantic: “It is not advised, under any circumstances, to look directly at the sun. Our eyes are no match for its blaze, and the light can damage them within seconds, sometimes permanently. … The trick is to get a very expensive telescope to do it for you. Astronomers this week released what they say is the most detailed view of the sun ever captured. There it is, squirming at the top of this article. The amber cells are the scorching plasma that covers the surface of the sun like a honeycomb. Hot gas rises from the brightest centers of the blobs, cools off, and then sinks back down into the dark crevices around them. Each molten cell is about the size of Texas. The image comes from an observatory perched atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, named for the longtime Hawaii senator who died in 2013, just started capturing data last month.”

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Biden: 28.4 points (↑ 2.8 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 23.2 points (↑ 5.4 points from last wk.)
Warren: 14.4 points (↓ 2.2 points from last wk.)
Bloomberg: 8.6 points (↑ 3 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 6 points (↓ 2.4 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: NBC News/WSJ, Quinnipiac University, ABC News/WaPo, Fox News and Monmouth University.]

Average approval: 44.6 percent
Average disapproval: 51.6 percent
Net Score: -7 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 2 points
[Average includes: CBS News: 43% approve - 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; ABC/WaPo: 47% approve - 50% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 54% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve - 51% disapprove.]

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Fox News: “Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski came out Friday against calling witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, all but assuring the Senate will move to wrap up proceedings with a likely acquittal in a matter of days, if not hours. ‘Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate.’ … said Murkowski, a key moderate senator who has been closely watched on the witness question. The announcement came after Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who also had been on the fence on the issue, announced late Thursday that he would not support additional witnesses in Trump's ‘shallow, hurried and wholly partisan’ trial. Right now, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah are the only GOP senators to signal support for witnesses. Presuming Democrats vote as a bloc and no other Republicans defect, this would leave the pro-witness side with just 49 votes.”

Report: Bolton book says Trump told Bolton to help with pressure campaign - NYT: “More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton. Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense. Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.”

Pergram: Trump impeachment trial appears to be winding down - Fox News: “As we say, it always about the math on Capitol Hill. And the math right now dictates that the Senate probably does not have the votes to open the gateway to hear from witnesses at President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on Friday. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and now Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) are indicating that they are for witnesses. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) says he will not support witnesses. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is up in the air. So, if there are 53 GOP senators, and you go to 51 senators to oppose the witness gateway, they lack the votes. Even if Murkowski is a yes, they are at 50-50 (presuming all Democrats vote yes). That means a tie vote. By rule, a tie vote fails in the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts is not expected to inject himself into the issue and break a tie, ala Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.”

NYT: “At 11 p.m. on Friday — midnight in Brussels, and 6 p.m. in New York — Britain will officially depart from the European Union, 1,317 days after voting in favor of leaving the bloc in a referendum that plunged the country into a three-year-long debate over its future. While this will be the official end of 47 years of Britain’s membership in what became the European Union, very little is set to change immediately. It’s the beginning of a transition period, scheduled to end on Dec. 31, during which London and Brussels must hash out the details of Britain’s future relationship with its European neighbors. Still, the moment carries enormous legal and symbolic weight. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet began their day with a meeting in Sunderland, the city in northern England that was the first to announce it had voted in favor of leaving the European Union on the night of the 2016 referendum. It was the first of a handful of celebratory, but noticeably muted, official events to mark the day, suggesting that a pro-Brexit government is seeking to avoid the appearance of gloating.”

How will Brits remembers this day? - Atlantic: “While Brexiteers have lobbied (unsuccessfully) for Big Ben to ‘bong for Brexit,’ those opposed to Britain’s departure have called for protests and vigils to mark the occasion. Now that the day has arrived, though, these arguments have largely subsided. For those who would have preferred that Britain remain in the EU, today is a day of national mourning that marks the official defeat of their years-long struggle. For fervent supporters of Brexit, it’s a day of celebration—the culmination of years of waiting for Britain’s ‘independence day.’ But it’s not entirely clear if January 31 will be remembered as such a year from now, a decade from now, or even at all. Besides the British government’s decision to immortalize Britain’s departure with a commemorative 50-pence coin and a Downing Street light display, little effort has been made to formalize Brexit Day as anything resembling a national holiday.”

Poll: Most Americans feel good about economy, but not the state of the country - CBS News

“Look, there are only two types of politicians. Those who raise money and losers.” – Georgia Republican Rep. Earl L. Carter, per Roll Call.

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AP: “A New Mexico man is facing charges after police said he agreed to pay an undercover officer posing as a prostitute with a hamburger. Dominic Calderon was arrested Tuesday in Albuquerque, police said in court documents. According to a criminal complaint, the 36-year-old Calderon approached the undercover officer while riding his bike and asked her how much she charged. When Calderon said he didn’t get paid until Friday, the officer said he could pay with his burger and he agreed, court documents said. He was arrested and charged with patronizing prostitutes.”

“The Truman Doctrine set out the basic foreign policy axiom of the postwar era: containment.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on June 24, 2001

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.