Trump's legal team responds to Mueller interview request

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On the roster: Trump’s legal team responds to Mueller interview request - Time Out: Smart art - Dems vote establishment over liberal challengers - N.Y. Rep. Collins indicted on insider trading charges - Didn’t see you there!

Fox News:President Trump’s legal team said Wednesday they have responded to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s request for an interview with the president as part of the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. ‘We have responded in writing to the latest proposal from the Office of Special Counsel regarding its request to interview the President,’ said Jay Sekulow, an attorney for the president. ‘It is not appropriate, at this time, to comment publicly about the content of that response.’ Rudy Giuliani, another lawyer for Trump, in a statement reiterated calls to end the Russia probe. … ‘We're re-stating what we have been saying for months: it is time for the Office of Special Counsel to conclude its inquiry without further delay.’ Sources have told Fox News that the letter would largely turn down any Trump-Mueller meeting that would include any questions related to obstruction of justice. Earlier Monday, Giuliani would not go into the details of their offer, but he told Fox News: ‘It’s not a refusal, but at the same time, it’s not a completely unreasonable position. I can see a way in which [Mueller] may agree with it.’ Giuliani acknowledged that Mueller could try to subpoena the president if an agreement for an interview cannot be worked out. The president’s attorneys have repeatedly stated that they will fight any attempt to subpoena Trump.”

Report: Leaked document shows Putin lobbied Trump on arms control - Politico:Vladimir Putin presented President Donald Trump with a series of requests during their private meeting in Helsinki last month, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space, according to a Russian document obtained by POLITICO. A page of proposed topics for negotiation, not previously made public, offers new insights into the substance of the July 16 dialogue that even Trump's top advisers have said they were not privy to at the time. Putin shared the contents of the document with Trump during their two-hour conversation, according to a U.S. government adviser who provided an English-language translation. POLITICO also reviewed a Russian-language version of the document, which bore the header in Cyrillic ‘Dialogue on the Issue of Arms Control.’ The person who provided the document to POLITICO obtained it from Russian officials who described it as what Putin had conveyed to Trump in Helsinki.”

Graham warns ending the Mueller investigation could harm GOP elections - Roll Call: “Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday night that he has told President Donald Trump that ending the special counsel investigation of Robert S. Mueller III would undermine GOP chances in November. The South Carolina Republican, who played golf with Trump on Sunday in New Jersey and discussed several issues with the president, was asked about the investigation of Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election at a Monday evening event hosted by the Greenville County Republican Party. ‘Did Trump ask that question? He must have mentioned that about 20 times,’ Graham quipped in response to an audience question about ending the Mueller probe. Graham said that his message to Trump was in part about the reality of what Republicans could face in November if the Mueller probe is compromised by the actions of the Trump administration or congressional Republicans.”

“Reasons have been already given to induce a supposition that the State governments will too naturally be prone to a rivalship with that of the Union, the foundation of which will be the love of power; and that in any contest between the federal head and one of its members the people will be most apt to unite with their local government.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25

Smithsonian: “To Randall White, a paleoanthropologist at New York University, art is anything but a luxury. One of the foremost experts in Paleolithic art and author of Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind, White suggests that for ‘social and symbolic phenomenon are just as important as the kind of ways that you gain your material existence…art has adaptive value.’ Over the course of his career, White has studied the majestic cave art that began to appear in the human cultural record some 40,000 years ago – the same time, he argues, that the first Homo sapiens arrived in what is now Europe and were confronted with another bipedal, intelligent homonin species, the Neanderthals. Was making art critical to the social cohesion that enabled our early human ancestors to make the transition into the European continent? ‘It may well have to do with art’s role in society creating the capacity for social solidarity, for identity, for people seeing themselves as part of the same population,’ says White.”

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Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
41.2 percent
Average disapproval: 
53 percent
Net Score: 
-11.8 points
Change from one week ago: 
down 0.4 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve - 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve - 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 58% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
41.4 percent
Democratic average: 48 percent
Democrats plus 6.6 points
Change from one week ago: 
Democratic advantage down 1.6 points  
[Average includes: IBD: 45% Dems - 45% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 47% Dems - 40% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 51% Dems - 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 49% Dems - 43% GOP; Fox News: 48% Dems - 40% GOP.]

WaPo: “The Democratic Party’s left-wing insurgency found its limits Tuesday night, with voters favoring establishment candidates over more liberal challengers in almost every closely watched race across several states. In Michigan, former state senator Gretchen Whitmer easily won the Democratic nomination for governor over Abdul El-Sayed, a doctor backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who was vying to become the country’s first Muslim governor. In suburban House districts across the Midwest, left-wing candidates lost to Democrats backed by party leaders, abortion rights groups and labor unions. And in St. Louis, where party giant-slayer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez traveled to help another young insurgent candidate topple an incumbent, Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) cruised to an easy primary win over challenger Cori Bush. Six weeks after Ocasio-Cortez stunned Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), signs of a tea-party-like movement in the Democratic Party that would throw winnable races to far-left candidates appear to be fading. Instead, the party’s establishment has embraced ideas like expanding the Affordable Care Act, shrinking the space between its leaders and its disrupters.”

Ohio special election too close to call -
Weekly Standard: “With a slim lead and votes still being counted, Republicans appear to have skirted outright disaster… Their candidate, state senator Troy Balderson, is ahead by less than 1 percent—or 1,754 votes—a far cry from the comfortable margin of 36 percent that the district’s former congressman, Pat Tiberi, received in 2016. … While Balderson and associated Republican groups were quick to publicly celebrate a win, his Democratic opponent, Danny O’Connor, has not conceded the race. Ohio secretary of state John Husted said Tuesday night that there are 3,435 provisional ballots and 5,048 absentee ballots still to be tallied. Those outstanding votes make the race too close to call, and it will take some time to determine an official winner. As CBS notes, Ohio state law prevents election officials from counting the outstanding ballots until 11 days after an election, in this case, August 18.”

Kobach leads Kansas gubernatorial primary by slim margin -
Fox News: “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is holding the lead by a razor-thin margin in his state’s Republican gubernatorial primary, as election officials reported the unofficial tally in the race Wednesday morning. With the last outstanding county reporting its results, Kobach’s agency posted a count showing him ahead by just 191 votes – leading incumbent GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer. But Colyer hasn’t been ousted yet. His campaign put out a statement saying the race is too close to call, and noted that provisional ballots still need to be counted. The secretary of state’s office, which handles the vote tally, also noted on Twitter that the results are unofficial, and provisional as well as some hand-counted paper ballots are not yet included.”

McMorris Rodgers faces close race in Washington state -
WaPo: “Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the No. 4 in House Republican leadership, only got 47 percent in Tuesday’s jungle primary for her Spokane-area seat. She’s leading her Democratic challenger, Lisa Brown, by 525 votes, or less than a half-percentage point. This is a race that has not been on the national radar. President Trump won the district by 13 points, and McMorris Rodgers will probably be okay in the fall, but her poor performance is especially notable because this was once Tom Foley’s district. As the sitting Democratic speaker of the House, Foley unexpectedly lost reelection in 1994 after a similarly weak showing in that summer’s open primary against Republican George Nethercutt. The wave that year broke late, and incumbents who did not think they were in trouble found themselves washed away.”

Ron Estes beats Ron Estes in Kansas congressional primary -
Fox News: “Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas, fended off an unusual primary challenge Tuesday night, beating… Ron Estes. Estes won the race after being faced with a challenger who spent very little money but did have the power of name similarity. Ron M. Estes, a first-time candidate with no political organization, described himself as ‘The Real Ron Estes’ in the lead-up to Tuesday night.”

McCaskill, Hawley set focus on November -
The Hill: “Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) coasted to victory in their respective primaries in Missouri on Tuesday night, setting up a contentious battle for McCaskill's Senate seat in November. McCaskill is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate. Missouri went to President Trump by almost 19 points in 2016, and polls have shown the race to be a tight one. McCaskill on Tuesday night extended a debate challenge to Hawley, calling on him to participate in four town hall-style debates before the general election.”

Trump calls John James ‘future star’ of GOP -
Fox News: “President Trump labeled Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James a ‘future STAR’ of the GOP after the conservative black Iraq War veteran won his party’s primary Tuesday. ‘Congratulations to a future STAR of the Republican Party, future Senator John James. A big and bold victory tonight in the Great State of Michigan - the first of many. November can’t come fast enough!’ Trump tweeted. James, 37, defeated Sandy Pensler in the GOP primary Tuesday.”

Women top 2016 record in nominations for office -
CNBC: “Another round of 2018 primaries brought another strong showing for women candidates. Following primaries in four states Tuesday, the records for women nominated for U.S. House seats and governor's offices both fell, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. With some of the races still undecided Wednesday morning, 182 women had earned spots in House general elections, topping the previous high of 167 set in 2016. At the state level, women have won 11 primaries for governor, beating the record of 10 first set in 1994. Democrats Gretchen Whitmer and Laura Kelly prevailed in Michigan and Kansas, respectively, on Tuesday. The number of female nominees will likely grow: 16 women are running for governor and 94 are seeking House seats in states that have not yet held primaries, according to the CAWP. More women are running for office than ever this year at both the state and federal level.”

Fox News: “New York Republican Rep. Christopher Collins has been indicted on insider trading charges, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. ‘These charges are a reminder that this is a land of laws and that everyone stands before the bar of justice,’ Geoffrey Berman, an attorney for the U.S. Southern District of New York, said during a press conference on Wednesday. The indictment also names the congressman's son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of his son’s fiancée. The fraud counts relate to securities of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the 68-year-old congressman served on the board. … Among the charges, the defendants are accused of multiple counts of securities fraud, along with one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count each of making false statements. Prosecutors allege that Collins passed along secrets to his son, Cameron, in June 2017.”

Poll: Americans found evenly split for who they would like to see win in November - IBD

Sen. Joe Donnelly says he supports giving the president billions for border wall - Politico

Special prosecutor assigned to Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor’s campaign forgery case - Richmond Times-Dispatch

W. Va. lawmakers recommend impeachment of sitting members of state’s Supreme Court - WSJ

Dem candidate Ben Jealous snaps at reporter for socialism question - Fox News

U.S. will impose 25 percent duties on additional Chinese imports in two weeks - Bloomberg

“It is an off-handed F-U. Hell yes it’s going to help them.” – Brothel owner and Nevada Republican Assembly candidate Dennis Hof discussing the billboard campaign he is creating that connects him with Dean Heller and Adam Laxalt. Both men distanced themselves from Hof after his primary victory in June.

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WVIT: “A woman in Canton [Connecticut] had quite the scare on Monday morning when a bear broke into her home. The woman who lives in the home on East Hill Road said the 400-pound bear broke through a screen door, pushed in her front door and entered her home while she was lying in bed around 7 a.m. She said she played dead on her bed as the bear moved her dresser in her bedroom. Once the bear left her bedroom and went into her kitchen, the woman called police. ‘I was awake, but I heard something, and I looked up and he was there,’ said the woman on the 911 call. When officers arrived the bear was still in the kitchen, but it left the house shortly after. Officers shot one round at the bear who kept walking away into the woods, according to police. Police then tracked the untagged bear into the woods, but could not find it.”

“When in his 1964 GOP acceptance speech Barry Goldwater declared that ‘extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,’ a reporter sitting near journalist/historian Theodore White famously exclaimed: ‘My God, he’s going to run as Barry Goldwater!’ … How could anyone (even a journalist) have thought that Goldwater, who later admitted he always knew he would lose, was going to run as anything but his vintage, hard-core self? Same for Trump.” – Charles Krauthammer writing in the Washington Post, June 16, 2016.  

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.