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On the roster: Poll: Voters oppose Trump’s executive powers on wall – Schultz uses Bloomberg decision to help his bid – Progressives defend Rep. Omar, anti-Semitism vote delayed – McSally reveals she was raped while in Air Force – Dude, where’s our car!?
POLL: VOTERS OPPOSE TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE POWERS ON WALL
Quinnipiac University: “American voters disapprove 66 – 31 percent of President Donald Trump using emergency executive powers to fund a wall on the border with Mexico, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Republicans back President Trump’s use of emergency powers for the wall 69 – 29 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University National Poll finds. Every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group disapproves of this action. Driven mainly by women, American voters oppose building a wall on the Mexican border 55 – 41 percent. Women oppose the wall 62 – 34 percent. Men are divided, with 49 percent supporting the wall and 47 percent opposed. … ‘‘We didn’t want it in the first place and we certainly don’t want it built by emergency executive order,’ say wall-weary voters in big numbers,’ said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.”
Nielsen declares migration crisis ‘spiraling out of control’ – Fox News: “Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issued a dire assessment Wednesday of the migration crisis on the southern border, telling a House committee that illegal immigration is ‘spiraling out of control’ and predicting that crisis will ‘get even worse’ in the coming months. And in a startling revelation, she said Customs and Border Protection is on track to apprehend almost 1 million illegal immigrants at the border this year. … Nielsen’s testimony came a day after the Trump administration released figures showing that more than 2,000 migrants are apprehended each day, a total of 268,000 since the beginning of the fiscal year. DHS reports that the Border Patrol is apprehending illegal immigrants at the highest rate since 2007.”
Meanwhile Trump tells Republicans to ‘stay united’ – Fox News: “President Trump on Wednesday urged fellow Republicans to ‘stay united’ in the face of a Democrat-led effort to nix his declaration of a national emergency at the border. ‘Senate Republicans are not voting on constitutionality or precedent, they are voting on desperately needed Border Security & the Wall,’ he tweeted. ‘Our Country is being invaded with Drugs, Human Traffickers, & Criminals of all shapes and sizes. That’s what this vote is all about. STAY UNITED!’”
THE RULEBOOK: CONTINUOUS STATE FREEDOM
“Happily for mankind, liberty is not, in this respect, confined to any single point of time; but lies within extremes, which afford sufficient latitude for all the variations which may be required by the various situations and circumstances of civil society.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 53
TIME OUT: TO KEEP THE UNION TOGETHER
History: “On this day in 1820, President James Monroe signs the Missouri Compromise, also known as the Compromise Bill of 1820, into law. The bill attempted to equalize the number of slave-holding states and free states in the country, allowing Missouri into the Union as a slave state while Maine joined as a free state. … Monroe, who was born into the Virginia slave-holding planter class, favored strong states’ rights, but stood back and let Congress argue over the issue of slavery in the new territories. Monroe then closely scrutinized any proposed legislation for its constitutionality. He realized that slavery conflicted with the values written into the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence but, like his fellow Virginians Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, feared abolition would split apart the nation they had fought so hard to establish. Passage of the Missouri Compromise contributed to the Era of Good Feelings over which Monroe presided and facilitated his election to a second term.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 42.4 percent
Average disapproval: 53.2 percent
Net Score: -10.8 points
Change from one week ago: up 1.8 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 44% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 55% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve – 54% unapproved; IBD: 41% approve – 53% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 46% approve – 52% disapprove.]
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SCHULTZ USES BLOOMBERG DECISION TO HELP HIS BID
WaPo: “In Dallas last night, Howard Schultz seized on fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to run for president as a fresh rationale for his own likely bid. The retired Starbucks CEO cited the former New York mayor’s announcement as validation for his theory that the ideological gulf between the two major parties will be so wide in 2020 that an independent candidate like him just might be able to prevail. ‘The Democrats are pushing an agenda that is extremely so far left that, in my mind, it’s very close to a socialistic agenda,’ Schultz said at Southern Methodist University. … Schultz was asked whether he worries about being a spoiler. It’s a question he’s grown accustomed to over the past six weeks. ‘I think that same question could be asked of the Democratic Party if they put up a candidate that is emblematic of a level of socialism,’ the 65-year-old said.”
How do voters define socialism? – The Hill: “There’s lots of disagreement, even among socialists, about what constitutes socialism. So what are polls measuring when they ask about socialism? Poll respondents seem uncertain themselves, since their answers vary significantly depending on small differences in question wording. Last month, Fox News polling found only 25 percent of respondents with favorable views of socialism while 59 percent were unfavorable. According to Gallup, 37 percent have a positive view of socialism, while the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put that figure at 18 percent. Two clear trends are evident in these data, however. First, younger people are more positive than their elders. For those over 50, the Cold War and Soviet repression were daily realities. … The second clear trend in the data is that Democrats feel more positively toward socialism. Part of this is age related. Democrats are younger, and older Democrats are much more hostile to socialism. But uncertainty also comes into play.”
Dem super PAC says Ohio is not a 2020 target – Cleveland.com: “One of the most prominent Democratic super PACs in the country does not have Ohio high on its list of targets for the 2020 presidential election, further eroding the state’s status as a presidential battleground. A report from Priorities USA, the primary super PAC that supported both President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, significantly downgrades Ohio’s targetability, listing it as a ‘GOP Watch’ state along with Texas and Iowa. That’s below other more traditional swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, but also historically red states like Arizona and Georgia. The Buckeye State is also notably absent from the super PAC’s $100 million early engagement program planned for Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. A second phase without a dollar amount attached will include Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and New Hampshire.”
Report: Hillary wasn’t trying to ‘close the door’ on 2020 – Fox News: “What a difference a day makes. Hillary Clinton made headlines Monday when she told a local New York news channel that she would not run for president in 2020. ‘I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe,’ the former presidential nominee told News 12 Westchester. … But late Tuesday, Maggie Haberman, a political reporter for the New York Times, tweeted that she spoke with a person close to the former secretary of state. The unnamed source said Clinton was not trying to ‘be emphatic and close the door on running’ with the comment and was apparently ‘surprised’ at the reaction. ‘The person also says [Clinton] is extremely unlikely to run, but that she remains bothered that she’s expected to close the door on it when, say, John Kerry isn’t. She has told her team she is waiting at least to see the Mueller report,’ Haberman tweeted.”
Hickenlooper announces million-dollar fundraising haul – Fox News: “Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that he raised more than $1 million in less than 48 hours following the Monday morning launch of his Democratic presidential campaign. Hickenlooper’s campaign highlighted the haul – touting that their candidate ‘is only one of four Democratic primary candidates to reach that level of early support.’ The fundraising figure is significant for Hickenlooper, who’s considered a longshot to win the Democratic presidential nomination against rivals with bigger names or bigger bank accounts, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. … Hickenlooper’s notable fundraising haul gives the newly announced candidate a little bit of cache as he now joins a field of Democratic contenders that currently stands at 14.”
PROGRESSIVES DEFEND REP. OMAR, ANTI-SEMITISM VOTE DELAYED
Politico: “A vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to controversial comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar is set to slip past Wednesday amid intensifying pressure from the left both inside and outside the House Democratic Caucus. An array of progressive groups declared their support for Omar, while both the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus — two of the most important factions among House Democrats — wanted more time to review the situation, lawmakers and aides said. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that the vote would likely happen Thursday. They also said a draft resolution would be updated to include additional language rejecting anti-Muslim bias, although some Democratic sources believe that an entirely new document might be crafted. What is clear, however, is that the furor over Omar’s remarks — the second time in two months … is threatening to overshadow everything else happening in the House.”
Dem leaders slam brakes on Omar rebuke, blame Trump for bigotry instead – Fox News: “House Democratic leaders … are trying to steer discussion away from the controversial comments by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar that started the debate and instead focus on the ‘rise in hate’ in the United States — and President Trump’s role. Asked by reporters Wednesday about the resolution and whether Omar should lose her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee because of repeated comments viewed as anti-Semitic, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, pivoted to Trump. ‘We are committed to decisively condemning anti-Semitism, racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, homophobia, and the rise in hate that has taken place in this country – perhaps coincidentally – over the last two years, since January of 2017,’ Jeffries said. He also ripped into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting there is a rise in controversial remarks among House Democratic freshmen like Omar, accusing Trump of ‘hateful’ comments.”
MCSALLY REVEALS SHE WAS RAPED WHILE IN AIR FORCE
Fox News: “Sen. Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, disclosed during an emotional Senate hearing on Wednesday she was ‘preyed upon and then raped’ in the Air Force by a superior officer. The Arizona Republican, who served 26 years in the Air Force, made the disclosure during a Senate hearing on sexual assault allegations in the military. McSally said she didn’t report the assault because she didn’t trust the system, and was ashamed and confused. ‘My drive to fight against sexual assault in the ranks is not from the outside looking in,’ McSally began. ‘And it is deeply personal.’ McSally said that during her military career, she was ‘greatly privileged to prepare and then lead my amazing Airmen in combat, which is the apex responsibility of any warrior leader.’”
Poll: Over 50 percent of voters disagree with Trump impeachment – Monmouth University
Two more arrests in alleged North Carolina election fraud, bringing total to 4 – Fox News
McConnell pushes ahead on confirming Trump judges – Politico
AUDIBLE: DOCTOR TO DOCTOR
“If you’re such a believer in liberty that you should not be vaccinated, there should be consequences if you infect others.” – Senator and Doctor Bill Cassidy, R-La., said to Sen. Rand Paul, also a doctor, during a Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday in response to Paul’s doubts over vaccines.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
DUDE, WHERE’S OUR CAR!?
WTOP: “Four men tried to steal an ATM from a Silver Spring, Maryland 7-Eleven in February, and it turned out to be trickier than they anticipated. … The video shows a pickup truck smashing backward through the storefront, then three masked men climb over the debris, and slowly, but surely, load the heavy machine on their orange-painted steel hand truck, which they brought with them to execute the heist. … ‘It took them a while to get the ATM on the dolly,’ [Officer Rick Goodale] said. ‘It appears the driver of the truck got a little restless sitting out there. … He decided to leave the area before the suspects came out,’ he said. Finally the masked suspects get the cash-filled machine out the door. … ‘The suspects realize their ride has gone,’ Goodale said. At that point the hapless thieves skedaddle, leaving the ATM lying in the parking lot, but returning for the hand truck.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“In the calculus of nuclear deterrence, mobility guarantees inviolability.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for the Washington Post on July 6, 2017.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Trump asks why Facebook blocked Dan Scavino, his social media director
(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he will look into Facebook’s decision to block public comments by White House social media director Dan Scavino.
FILE PHOTO: White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino awaits the start of a joint news conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Scavino posted a screen shot late on Monday of a message from Facebook saying he was temporarily blocked from making public comments because some of his comments had been reported as spam.
Facebook said the issue was an “unintended consequence” of the platform’s policy on spam, adding, it has been in touch with Scavino and has apologized to him.
Explaining the error, Facebook said it caps the amount of identical, repetitive activity coming from one account in a short period of time as to stop automated bots.
“These limits can have the unintended consequence of temporarily preventing real people like Dan Scavino from engaging in such activity, but lift in an hour or two, which is what happened in this case,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
“Dear Facebook—AMAZING. WHY ARE YOU STOPPING ME from replying to comments followers have left me – on my own Facebook Page!!?? People have the right to know. Why are you silencing me??? Please LMK!” Scavino said in his post earlier.
Trump pounced on the issue. “I will be looking into this!” Trump said in a Twitter post.
Facebook said the issue is “content-agnostic and is solely about addressing potentially scammy repetitive behavior.”
On Tuesday, Trump also said that social media platforms including Twitter discriminated against members of his party, and accused the companies of collusion.
“We enforce the Twitter Rules dispassionately and equally for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation,” a Twitter spokeswoman said.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu and David Shepardson in Washington and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Steve Orlofsky and Shailesh Kuber
Beto O’Rourke tried to prank wife with baby poop, report says
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke attempted to play a practical joke on his wife by telling her that a turd he plucked from one of their children’s diapers was an avocado, a friend of the couple told The Washington Post.
A gauzy profile of the couple that was published Tuesday and titled “Are Amy and Beto O’Rourke the future of politics?” described the former congressman as an “impulsive and puckish” character who proposed to his future wife on April Fool’s Day.
Neither Beto nor Amy O’Rourke would confirm the baby poop story, though neither denied it and The Post reported that O’Rourke told the paper it sounded like something he would do. The O’Rourkes have three children: Ulysses, Molly, and Henry. It was not clear which child supplied the raw material for the reported prank.
The Post report also said that O’Rourke deployed a remote-controlled cockroach in the family kitchen and attempted to scare his wife in the shower, a la Anthony Perkins in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic, “Psycho.”
O’Rourke, who nearly unseated U.S. Sen Ted Cruz in last year’s midterm elections, became the latest Democrat to enter the presidential race last week. Almost immediately after O’Rourke threw his hat into the ring, he was criticized for saying that his wife has raised their three children “sometimes with my help” at multiple campaign stops in Iowa.
O’Rourke said the criticism of his “ham-handed” attempt to highlight his wife’s work in their marriage was “right on.”
“Not only will I not say that again, but I will be much more thoughtful in the ways that I talk about my marriage,” he said.
The controversy did not appear to lessen enthusiasm among his supporters. On Monday, O’Rourke’s campaign announced that it had raised more than $6 million online with a day of his announcement, the most reported by any 2020 candidate.
O’Rourke raised $80 million in grassroots donations in his race against Cruz last year, all while largely avoiding money from PACs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
U.S. Midwest’s catastrophic floods cause widespread damage
BROWNVILLE, Neb. (Reuters) – Severe flooding caused by rainfall and melting snow devastated farms and towns in Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday, leaving at least four people dead and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, with waters yet to crest in parts of the region for several days.
Flooded Offutt Air Force Base Is seen in this DigitalGlobe Satellite image over Nebraska, U.S., March 18, 2019. Picture taken on March 18, 2019. ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS
The floods inundated stretches of the two farm states along the Missouri River, the longest in waterway in North America. Nearly half of Iowa’s counties have been declared disaster areas.
The floods followed a powerful winter hurricane that slammed into the U.S. Farm Belt last week, killing untold numbers of livestock, destroying grains and soybeans in storage, and cutting off access to farms due to road and rail damage.
“It’s really too early to know for sure how bad this is going to get. But one thing we do know: It’s catastrophic for farmers,” said Matt Perdue, government relations director for the National Farmers Union trade group.
Rescuers could be seen in boats pulling pets from flooded homes. Some roadways crumbled to rubble, while sections of others were submerged. In Hamburg, Iowa, floodwaters covered buildings.
Nebraska officials estimate more than $1 billion in flood damage for the state’s agricultural sector so far, according to Craig Head, vice president of issue management at the Nebraska Farm Bureau. But Head said the number is expected to grow as floodwaters recede.
“We’re hoping it’s only $1 billion, but that’s only a hope,” Perdue said.
Nebraska officials estimate the floods have caused an estimated $553 million in damage to public infrastructure and other assets, as well as $89 million in privately owned assets, according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday.
The water also covered about a third of Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, home to the U.S. Strategic Command, whose responsibilities include defending against and responding to nuclear attacks.
In Niobrara, Nebraska, south of the Missouri River near the border with South Dakota, Mayor Jody Stark said flooding that began on Thursday had devastated his community of 350 people, with businesses being the hardest hit.
“Our road system is shot pretty much in every direction coming into town,” Stark said.
“It’s one day at a time. We will do what we can to get back on our feet,” Stark said. “It’s just so heartbreaking. It’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can all get through it.”
Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, which runs a 120 million-gallon-a-year (450-million-liter a year) ethanol production plant in Council Bluffs on the Iowa-Nebraska border, had to cut production because some corn farmers who supply the plant have determined some of their crops are unusable, said company Chief Executive Mike Jerke.
About 74 Nebraska cities had declared states of emergency by Monday evening, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. More than 600 residents were evacuated and taken to American Red Cross-operated shelters.
Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to survey the damage with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
“Heading to Nebraska today to survey the devastating flood damage. To the people of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas & all regions impacted: we are with you,!” Pence said in a post on Twitter early Tuesday.
The floodwaters were the result of snowmelt following heavy rains last week and warm weather, said Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.
The weather service’s website shows some locales along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri are expected to continue to see waters rise for several more days.
The four reported deaths included one person in Iowa who was rescued from floodwaters but later succumbed to injuries, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Roads leading to the Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper nuclear plant near Brownville were engulfed by floodwaters from the Missouri, but the facility was still operating safely at full power on Tuesday morning.
The plant operator was flying staff members and supplies to the plant with helicopters, said power district spokesman Mark Becker.
Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York, Rich McKay in Atlanta, Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia, P.J. Huffstutter and Mark Weinraub in Chicago; editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis
Mugshot of ‘Mama June’ released after drug arrest
‘The Young and the Restless’ star Kristoff St. John’s cause of death revealed
Trump asks why Facebook blocked Dan Scavino, his social media director
Beto O’Rourke tried to prank wife with baby poop, report says
U.S. Midwest’s catastrophic floods cause widespread damage
Trump fires back at Dems’ court-packing push: ‘It will never happen’
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- Mugshot of ‘Mama June’ released after drug arrest
- ‘The Young and the Restless’ star Kristoff St. John’s cause of death revealed
- Trump asks why Facebook blocked Dan Scavino, his social media director
- Beto O’Rourke tried to prank wife with baby poop, report says
- U.S. Midwest’s catastrophic floods cause widespread damage
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