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On the roster: Trump tries shucking Giuliani - Warren reeling - Time out: The Halftime report dressing recipe - Trump’s Florida first strategy - Look out Kermit!
TRUMP TRIES SHUCKING GIULIANI
CBS News: “President Trump tried to distance himself from his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani's efforts related to Ukraine on Tuesday in an interview with radio host Bill O'Reilly. …O'Reilly asked the president what Giuliani was, ‘doing in Ukraine on your behalf.’ ‘Well, you have to ask that to Rudy, but Rudy, I don't, I don't even know,’ said Mr. Trump. … Mr. Trump then denied that he had ever directed Giuliani to go to Ukraine on his behalf. However, in May the New York Times reported that Giuliani had planned to go to Ukraine that month, to urge the government there to open several investigations that could aid the president. … The president made it sound as though he did not necessarily have firsthand information about Giuliani's work in Ukraine, that he had ‘heard’ about it or ‘read that someplace.’”
Trump knew about whistleblower complaint before Ukraine aid released - WSJ: “President Trump was briefed about the whistleblower complaint prompted by his dealings with Kiev before the White House lifted a hold on more than $391 million in aid to Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter. The president was briefed about the complaint in August by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and John Eisenberg, an attorney with the White House National Security Council, the people said. The complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry by Democrats in the House, which Trump has dismissed as a hoax. … The White House has defended the president’s actions, in part by saying there was no link between suspending the aid and the president’s request for investigations because the hold on the money was lifted in September.”
Like Clinton, Trump turns to Penn for impeachment advice - WaPo: “As President Trump’s White House battles impeachment, he turned to a familiar face last week: Mark Penn, one of President Bill Clinton’s top strategists. Penn visited the Oval Office for more than an hour last Monday, three people familiar with the meeting said, and provided polling data and impeachment advice for the president. Penn reassured Trump that he would not be removed from office, according to people familiar with the meeting, and encouraged him to travel the country as Clinton did when he was fighting impeachment over 20 years ago, officials said.”
Voters aren’t budging - Quinnipiac University: “Two weeks of public impeachment hearings in the news haven't hurt President Trump's popularity among American voters. While 40 percent of all registered voters approve of the job President Trump is doing, 54 percent disapprove. … The country remains closely divided on whether to impeach and remove President Trump from office. While 45 percent of American voters think President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 48 percent don't think he should be. … Voter opinion on impeachment will be difficult to move as 86 percent say their mind is made up, while only 13 percent say they might change their mind.”
Dems see next week hearings as last chance to gain public support - Politico: “House Democrats have one final shot to drive up public support for impeachment, with a slate of hearings in the House Judiciary Committee beginning next week. But even Democratic lawmakers acknowledge public sentiment might be impossible to move in the weeks before an anticipated historic House vote on impeaching President Donald Trump. ‘I think people have made up their minds on this in a lot of ways,’ said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. ‘But I think, frankly, what should drive us is the evidence and the facts and our oath of office.’ Many Democrats are skeptical that anything they do or say can further tick up backing for impeachment, keenly aware of polling this week showing that support has plateaued in the wake of an explosive set of House Intelligence Committee hearings that unearthed evidence suggesting an abuse of power by Trump.”
Quinnipiac University: “Former Vice President Joe Biden has retaken the lead in the Democratic primary race for president as Senator Elizabeth Warren's numbers have plummeted, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released [Tuesday]. Biden receives 24 percent of the vote among Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic, while South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets 16 percent, Warren receives 14 percent, and Sen. Bernie Sanders gets 13 percent. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who just entered the race, receives 3 percent as do Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Sen. Cory Booker, businessman Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and Sen. Michael Bennet each receive 2 percent. No other candidate tops one percent. Eleven percent are undecided. In an October 24 poll, Warren received 28 percent, Biden had 21 percent, Sanders was at 15 percent, and Buttigieg got 10 percent.”
Buttigieg continues to rise - CNN: “Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead the newly expanded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination for president, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont behind him in a close battle for second, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins them in double digits for the first time. Biden holds 28% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote, followed by Sanders at 17%, Warren at 14% and Buttigieg at 11%. No other candidate reaches 4%, meaning the poll does not result in any changes to the lineup for the Democratic National Committee's December debate. A cluster of four candidates stand at 3%, including the latest entrant to the race, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is joined by Sen. Kamala Harris of California and businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey have 2% each in the poll.”
Sean Trende: What is Bloomy doing? - Politico: “Will this work? Probably not. But Bloomberg can easily drop $500 million on this race and still live out the rest of his years quite comfortably. And there’s a chance that the stars will align and he becomes the next president of the United States. It isn’t a bad bet to make. Regardless, his best shot of making that happen is exactly the shot he is taking: Float above the fray by avoiding the debates and early states, define himself through ad buys elsewhere, and hope for a few lucky breaks in who his Super Tuesday opponents turn out to be.”
Meet the swingiest swing voters - NYT: “Midterm victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin gave Democrats hope of retaking the Rust Belt battleground states that handed the presidency to Donald J. Trump in 2016. Yet success in the midterms might not mean as much for Democratic presidential candidates as the party might think. Nearly two-thirds of voters in six battleground states who voted for President Trump in 2016 — but for Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 — say they intend to back the president against each of his top rivals, according to recent polling by The New York Times Upshot/Siena College. The results suggest that the party’s winning formula in last year’s midterms may not be so easy to replicate in a presidential election.”
THE RULEBOOK: DO OR DO NOT
“The question, therefore, whether this amount of power shall be granted or not, resolves itself into another question, whether or not a government commensurate to the exigencies of the Union shall be established; or, in other words, whether the Union itself shall be preserved.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 44
TIME OUT: THE HALFTIME REPORT DRESSING RECIPE
The best part about Thanksgiving dinner is the dressing and the best dressing is simple. Sausage, oysters, mushrooms, nuts and berries can only distract from what is a perfectly elegant American bread dish. So here’s how you do it. Cut a loaf of really good, day-old white bread into ½ inch cubes. Bake it in a 225-degree oven for about a 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and crunchy. Place it in a large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, two tablespoons of finely chopped sage and a tables poon of finely (are you sensing a trend?) chopped thyme. Melt 10 tablespoons of the fattiest butter in a big skillet and then sauté until lightly browned 2 cups of small-diced sweet onion and 1½ cups of small-diced celery. Drizzle this deliciousness over your bread and herbs. Toss it well, adding two teaspoons of kosher salt and a teaspoon of finely ground pepper as you go. Then gradually add 1½ cups of broth, again tossing lightly. (I prefer to use turkey stock made from gizzards and giblets, but any good poultry stock will do.) Adjust the seasoning. In a small bowl, whisk together two large eggs and another cup of cool or room-temperature stock. Fold that gently but thoroughly into your bread bowl. Place the mixture into a well-buttered 13’x9’ dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for ~40 minutes and save the sausage for breakfast.
[Ed. note: If I think about what I would do for our republic if I had three wishes to employ, one of them surely would be used for a great awakening of local and regional news coverage. Maybe nothing so afflicts us today as a replacement of local concerns with national matters. Our attention rightly belongs where we live, work and love. We should care much more about the nature of our local government than the distant considerations of the federal leviathan. The government in Washington is a large, blunt instrument and national politics reflect those characteristics. Dealing with each other on the local level increases the chances that we will see our fellow citizens as individuals with complicated, varied views rather than faceless partisan enemies. Part of the reason for our retreat into dunderheaded national partisan politics has been the long slow death of local news coverage. The internet tipped over the huge, over-leveraged newspaper industry in a seeming flash, leaving behind a terrible void that national news coverage can never and should never fill. One of my favorite newspaper traditions has been for decades my hometown newspaper, the Wheeling [W. Va.] Intelligencer’s annual republishing of the same perfect Thanksgiving column by the late Adam Kelly, known to his readers as “the country editor.” I was privileged to have his son, Bob, a truly great newsman in his own right, as my mentor when I later learned my way around the press and politics in Charleston, W. Va. 20 years ago or so. We’ve kept that Thanksgiving tradition alive here in this note and encourage you to spend some time with Adam Kelly’s words. But the essence is in this paragraph: “Family and freedom are ordinary words … except for those who cannot now experience those blessings, and so, Lord, this day I give You thanks for the priceless privileges which are mine as an American citizen … The freedom to speak, to write, to think, without government interference or control; the right to worship You in any way I choose.” We need now to raise up and sustain a new army of Adam Kellys in newsrooms across the country, in big cities and little towns, to remind us of our blessings and to focus our attention on what needs to be put right where we live. If you count a free press as one of the blessings worth celebrating this Thanksgiving, make sure you’re backing it up. Support local news outlets with your time and money. We need to know each other better, and that’s a great place to start. Fox News Halftime Report is pausing for the holiday and will resume publication on Dec. 2. In the meantime, Brianna and I wish you and your families bounty and blessings, but most of all, the gift of gratitude, especially those facing adversity.]
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26 points (↓ 1.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 19.4 points (↓ 3.2 points from last wk.)
Sanders: 17.2 points (↓ 0.4 points from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 10.2 points (↑ 2.6 points from last wk.)
Harris: 3.4 points (↑ 0.2 points from last wk.)
[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: ↑ 1.6 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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TRUMP’S FLORIDA FIRST STRATEGY
WaPo: “President Trump’s raucous Tuesday night rally near Miami, billed by his campaign as a ‘homecoming’ extravaganza, followed his recent decision to move his formal residence from New York to Florida — and underscored the state’s importance to his reelection efforts as he grapples with the impeachment proceedings that threaten his presidency. Florida is now not only Trump’s home but also what Republicans hope is an emerging GOP bastion. His strategy in the state reflects his broader push to galvanize his core voters ahead of next year’s election by unleashing an incendiary defense of his conduct, be it on Twitter, cable news or in front of thousands. By rallying a capacity crowd at the 20,000-seat BB&T Center on Tuesday night, Trump tried to demonstrate broad and determined opposition to his impeachment.”
Set to rake bucks in Britain - Axios: “When President Trump visits London next week for the NATO summit, he'll also use his brief time on the ground there to raise big bucks for his 2020 campaign, according to an invitation reviewed by Axios and conversations with people familiar with the event. Details: The Dec. 3 fundraiser, which hasn't previously been reported, will be hosted by Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, co-chairman Tommy Hicks Jr., national finance chairman Todd Ricketts, and Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale, according to the invitation. The Trump team expects to raise $3 million from the event, according to a source familiar with the planning.”
Trade ministers to meet in Washington on Wednesday to discuss NAFTA deal - Politico
McConnell will have chance to lobby Pompeo for Kansas Senate run in person - McClatchy
The raccoon sent to Calvin Coolidge for Thanksgiving dinner that became a White House pet - WaPo
Thanksgiving advice from Dana Perino: Yoga for social anxiety - YouTube
AUDIBLE: THE LEFTOVERS ARE THE BEST
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.” – President Abraham Lincoln in the 1863 proclamation establishing the precedent for the Thanksgiving
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“‘American citizenship demands discernment and attentiveness.’ Truer words were never written. I suggest one other essential quality, honest self evaluation. For example, suppose a member opposing your side says or does something that rankles you. Ask yourself, if a member of my side said or did the same thing, would I respond the same way? One should also do the same exercise in reverse to evaluate speech and actions by members of one’s own side. I’ll call this the political Golden Rule.” – Bill Ciao, Bellingham, Wash.
[Ed. note: Boy-howdy, Mr. Ciao! Honest self-appraisal – that more-demanding cousin of gratitude – really is the thing. I hereby grant you the rank of brevet colonel in the army of the level-headed, Pacific Command. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
LOOK OUT KERMIT!
CNN: “What should have been a normal day at work took a turn for the surreal for one TV journalist, when he was relentlessly pursued by a pig -- live on air. Lazos Mantikos was in the Greek town of Kineta Tuesday to report on flood damage, but he ended up becoming the story himself when the female pig seemed to take a liking to him. ‘Good morning, we have an issue,’ said Mantikos on the ‘Good Morning Greece’ show from CNN affiliate ANT1. ‘Giorgos, can you hear me? We have a pig here that has been chasing us since this morning ... folks, sorry, I can't stand (still) because it's biting me.’ The segment begins with studio journalist Giorgos Papadakis introducing the reporter.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“We ask ourselves, why do we do this to ourselves? Because dogs make us better people.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) in a conversation with Dana Perino in 2012 after her dog Henry passed away. Dana was reminiscing with Daniel Krauthammer, son of Charles Krauthammer, on her Fox Nation show “Dana Perino's Book Club” this week.
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.