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On the roster: Second Trump impeachment draws bipartisan support – I’ll Tell You What: We knew it was going to be difficult – Guard bivouacs in Capitol, 20,000 expected next week – Biden wants Senate to move on nominations asap – The case of the beagle and the Balkan bratwursts
SECOND TRUMP IMPEACHMENT DRAWS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
Fox News: “The House of Representatives Wednesday made history by voting to impeach President Trump for a second time for ‘incitement of insurrection’ after a mob of his supporters besieged the Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden‘s electoral college win. The House voted 232-197 to impeach the president. Ten Republicans joined with Democrats. Trump has just one week left in office, but the supporters of the impeachment push say Trump is too dangerous to stay in office a minute longer. The impeachment resolution condemns Trump for spreading lies that he won the election in a landslide and whipping up a crowd of supporters in Washington D.C. before the riot that killed five people, including a Capitol Police officer. … Unlike the last House impeachment of Trump in December 2019 … Democrats had GOP support. Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, backed impeachment because she said the violent attack at the Capitol could not have happened without Trump.”
McConnell may vote to convict – Axios: “Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell will not consent to reconvening the Senate on Friday under emergency authorities, delaying the start of President Trump’s likely impeachment trial until Jan. 19 at the earliest, McConnell’s team confirmed to Axios. If the House votes to impeach Trump for incitement of the Capitol riot on Wednesday, as is expected, the trial will likely not take place until after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. McConnell’s team informed Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s office on Wednesday that McConnell would not consent to reconvening the Senate immediately under the 2004 emergency authorities. McConnell sent a note to Republican colleagues later Wednesday to say he has not made up his mind on impeachment: ‘While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.’”
McCarthy retreats from efforts to overturn election – WSJ: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said President Trump bore responsibility for last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol, but opposed efforts to impeach the president. ‘The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack by mob rioters,’ Mr. McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor. The GOP leader said he opposes impeachment and would instead support an investigation into the riot and censuring the president. Democrats do not support a censure resolution. … Mr. McCarthy seemed to chastise members of his own conference when Wednesday he said: ‘What we saw last week was not the American way. Neither is the continued rhetoric that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president.’ In votes cast after the storming of the Capitol last week, Mr. McCarthy sided with a majority of House Republicans to object to Mr. Biden’s wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania.”
Pence insider says 25th Amendment decision not about defending Trump – Fox News: “After breaking with his boss last week and certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence this week quickly shot down a push by House Democrats urging him to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump from the presidency. A veteran Republican consultant who’s close to the Trump orbit tells Fox News that the decision by the vice president was less of a move to defend the president but rather of Pence doing ‘what’s right.’ … Just as Pence last week resisted the president’s repeated calls to upend the election results by refusing to accept the Electoral College results in a handful of states where Biden narrowly edged Trump, he also rejected the move by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats to remove the president from office just a week before the end of his term by invoking the 25th Amendment. Pence said invoking the 25th Amendment is not ‘in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution.’”
House MAGA caucus seeks to punish Cheney for vote – Fox News: “Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., is facing calls from some Republican lawmakers to step down from her leadership post as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference after she announced that she will vote to impeach President Trump. ‘I don’t think she should be the chair of the Republican conference anymore,’ Rep. Andy Biggs, the head of the House Freedom Caucus, told Fox News host Shannon Bream. ‘The reality is she’s not representing the conference; she’s not representing the Republican ideals.’ Another GOP congressman, Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale, also released a statement calling for Cheney to step down. ‘When Representative Cheney came out for impeachment today, she failed to consult with the Conference, failed to abide by the spirit of the rules of the Republican Conference, and ignored the preferences of Republican voters,’ Rosendale said in a statement.”
THE RULEBOOK: A POWERFUL HOUSE, TWO YEARS AT A TIME
“…where no other circumstances affect the case, the greater the power is, the shorter ought to be its duration; and, conversely, the smaller the power, the more safely may its duration be protracted.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 52
TIME OUT: ‘ON DOWN TO SAN ANTONE…’
The Writer’s Almanac: “On this day in 1968, country musician Johnny Cash recorded a live concert at Folsom Prison in California. Back in the early 1950s, while serving in the Air Force and stationed in Germany, Cash had seen a documentary on life inside the prison. This inspired him to write the song ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ with its haunting lines, ‘I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.’ He … began dreaming of some day playing the song live for the inmates there. … Released just four months after the concert, Live at Folsom Prison reached No. 1 on the country charts and was a huge pop crossover. Cash said: ‘You build on failure. You use it as a steppingstone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.’”
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GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to [email protected]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT
In the wake of last week’s events, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the impending the second impeachment proceedings against President Trump, the fracturing of the Republican party following the fallout of the 2020 election, and the impact of social media and tech on the political landscape. Plus, Dana discusses a special programming announcement from the Fox News Channel and Chis answers presidential lifespan trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
GUARD BIVOUACS IN CAPITOL, 20,000 EXPECTED NEXT WEEK
NY Post: “Hundreds of National Guard troops have been forced to sleep in the hallways of the Capitol — believed to be the first time troops have camped there since the Civil War. Images from Wednesday morning show the battle-ready guards sleeping in almost any spot they can find — many with their assault rifles propped up nearby. The troops had slept there overnight after getting the call at 6 p.m. Tuesday — with at least 20,000 National Guardsmen now expected in Washington, DC, amid an alarming surge in threats of violent revolts against next Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. They were still sprawled on floors — some using stairs for makeshift pillows — when the House convened just after 9 a.m. In surreal images, lawmakers were forced to step over the slumped bodies of their guardians as they arrived for the hearings on impeaching President Trump for the very riots that sparked the troops’ presence.”
Airbnb cancels all inauguration bookings – Politico: “Airbnb announced Wednesday that it would cancel all reservations in the Washington, D.C., area during the week of Joe Biden’s inauguration to discourage guests from traveling to the nation’s capital. The popular home rental company said in a statement that it would also take action to block any new reservations from being made in the area. Guests who made reservations prior to the new decision will have their stays refunded, and hosts will be compensated by the company for money they would have earned from the canceled reservations. The move follows pleas from local authorities, including Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, strongly discouraging travel to the city after last week’s deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol. Airbnb also announced that it had banned ‘numerous individuals’ from its platform who participated in the insurrection or were linked to known hate groups.”
Pergram: Weaponized – Fox News: “The events of the past week converted the U.S. Capitol into a house of horrors. … Why anyone would feel comfortable working inside the U.S. Capitol? Be it a lawmaker? An aide? A journalist? A U.S. Capitol Police officer? A custodian? And the last few days proved you don’t need airplanes, hijackers, box cutters, chemical weapons, nerve agents, or even firearms to take out the Capitol. You just need people. That’s ironic. The Capitol serves as the ‘the people’s house.’ The legislative branch is supposed to be representatives of the people and the states. You can erect all of the barricades you want around the U.S. Capitol. Build automated barricades on the streets embroidering the Capitol complex. Keep the Air Force jet fighters hot 24/7 at Joint Base Andrews across the Potomac to shoot down an intruding plane. … But, it turns out, the weapon to pierce the Capitol wasn’t a gun. It wasn’t a bomb. It wasn’t a truck. People were the weapon.”
BIDEN WANTS SENATE TO MOVE ON NOMINATIONS ASAP
Fox News: “With President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration just one week away, his transition team is pressing the Senate to confirm his national security nominees ahead of the event, saying the country’s security is ‘at stake.’ After Democrats were victorious in the Georgia Senate runoff elections earlier this month, the Biden team is making a heavy push for secretary of state nominee Anthony Blinken, homeland security secretary nominee Alejandro Mayorkas, director of national intelligence nominee Avril Haines and defense secretary nominee retired Gen. Lloyd Austin. ‘Regardless of any developments, with our national security at stake, the pandemic costing thousands of lives every day, and our economy in a historic recession, there is absolutely no justification for Republicans to jeopardize the ability of the United States government to keep the American people safe, distribute vaccines, and put Americans back to work,’ Biden transition spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News.”
Power to lead foreign aid efforts – AP: “President-elect Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he has picked Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama, to run the agency overseeing American foreign humanitarian and development aid. If confirmed by the Senate, Power will head the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has an annual budget of about $20 billion. Biden also announced that he is elevating the position to the National Security Council within the White House, a signal that he will prioritize outreach to other nations. Biden said USAID will coordinate America’s work to lead a global response to combat the coronavirus and help the most vulnerable nations.”
Biden accepts WH offer to use Blair House night before inauguration – Fox News: “The White House has offered President-elect Joe Biden use of Blair House for the night before the inauguration and he has accepted, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News. Blair House, the president’s guest house, sits across from the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. Presidents-elect have for decades spent the night there on the eve of Inauguration Day. It is larger than the White House and closed to the public. The State Department oversees use of Blair House, a complex of four buildings comprising primarily used to house guests of the state. Still, the invitation to use the home typically comes from the president.”
GOOGLE BANS POLITICAL ADS
Axios: “Google informed its advertising partners Wednesday that beginning Jan. 14, its platforms will block all political ads, as well as any related to the Capitol insurrection, ‘following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration,’ according to an email obtained by Axios. Political ad bans are designed to curb confusion and misinformation surrounding highly sensitive events. Google says a limited version of its ‘sensitive event’ policies went into effect after the violent events in the Capitol on Jan. 6. … Advertisers will not be able to run any political ads or ads ‘referencing candidates, the election, its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the ongoing presidential impeachment process, violence at the U.S. Capitol, or future planned protests on these topics,’ according to the email.”
YouTube pulls plug on Trump – AP: “YouTube has suspended U.S. President Donald Trump’s channel for at least a week amid concerns over ‘ongoing potential for violence,’ making it the latest platform to limit the president’s online activities. The Google-owned platform said it removed content that was uploaded on January 12 from the Donald J. Trump channel for inciting violence, although it was not immediately clear which videos in question were in violation. ‘After careful review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to the Donald J. Trump channel and issued a strike for violating our policies for inciting violence,’ a YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement.”
Report: Kushner stopped Trump from joining fringe social media sites – The Hill: “Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stopped Trump from joining fringe social media platforms Parler and Gab after he was banned from Twitter, according to a report from CNN. Kushner and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino are said to have gone against other aides, such as personnel chief Johnny McEntee, to get Trump not to join other social media platforms, an outside adviser and an administration official told CNN. Trump has now been banned from most major social media platforms. His favorite social media platform, Twitter, suspended him Friday for peddling claims of election fraud.”
Eugene Volokh: Power in perspective – NYT: “We also shouldn’t overstate the danger of corporate power. Facebook and Twitter, unlike the government, can’t send us to jail or tax us. But at least governmental speech restrictions are implemented in open court, with appellate review. … In general, it’s good for private businesses to be able to decide how to use their property. And trying to create laws constraining those decisions may well do more harm than good — always a danger with even the best-intentioned of new laws. Yet both liberals and conservatives should appreciate the perils of power, especially the power of enormous companies that have few competitors and huge influence over political life.”
AUDIBLE: SEE YA!
“Richmond out.” – How Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., ended his remarks during the House floor debate on impeachment. Richmond is leaving Congress to serve as a senior advisor in the Biden administration.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Right now, I am disappointed in the American people, but I am in love with the country and our way of life. The government just needs to stop trying to control the citizens and leave us and the bill of rights alone for a while, and things will get better.” – Jon Phillips, Burlington, Iowa
[Ed. note: Dig it, Mr. Phillips. Two cheers for benign neglect!]
“As a ‘reasonable Democrat’ (and a regular reader of your Halftime Report) I enjoy and appreciate seeing multiple points of view on the government’s topics of the day. I’ve always tried to approach these topics with the understanding that those with opinions different than mine aren’t wrong, they simply have a different way of going about achieving the same ultimate goal, making America a better place. With so much divisiveness in our politics, it’s so heartening to see someone with access to the masses reminding people that ‘You might consider the possibility that those with whom you disagree are sincere.’ which I’ve seen you do multiple times, increasingly in recent months, though not in such an explicit way as you did in response to a reader’s email in yesterday’s edition. Please keep banging this drum! Bang it loud enough so that people on BOTH sides of the aisle, both in public service and in the press can hear it and will want to join in. It’s really the only way we’ll be able to find our way through the current political fog that we’re in.” – John Cantess, New Haven, Conn.
[Ed. note: I promise we will, Mr. Cantess. I am resolved to take people’s positions seriously — for good or for ill — as we go forward.]
“I agree with your very cogent assessment of our educational system especially when it comes to the teaching of history and government in our public schools. I can remember the name of every one of my history teachers in high school, ‘Coach.’ It wasn’t until I got to college that I was taught history by a Historian. Parents and teachers should know that it takes more than reading a single textbook that barely summarizes historical events to have a firm knowledge of our country’s past, or the mechanisms of our complex system of government. Parents and Grandparents should demand that our children and grandchildren become literate in History and Civics. That will not happen unless Parents and Grandparents re-educate themselves and become literate in History and Civics so that intelligent discussions can take place in the home. I’d like to suggest that a reading list for everyone that starts with a copy of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers would be in order.” – Ron Gay, College Station, Texas
[Ed. note: They might even… subscribe to the Halftime Report! Great point, Mr. Gay. Thanks for sharing.]
“I’m in Dublin Ireland by the way but have traveled extensively in America. Mostly off the beaten track on visits around the deep South for music and then Route 66 over several weeks… I was traveling in America in September 2016 and what I saw then convinced me Trump was going to take the presidency. The decline in prosperity right across middle America was appalling to see, poverty, abandoned towns, hollowed out communities and lack of interest from government to help, combined with Trumps campaign, plus the arrogance of Clinton could only have one result. And that’s where you are today. Your point about a lack of civic education is valid but I think the problem goes a little deeper. A lot of people we met were out and out Republicans but were also very isolated. They never traveled, in a lot of cases never got much beyond their own county. They had no idea of the outside world, except the military people. And for them the outside world was Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m not saying they were stupid, far from it, but they were very open to the kind of crap that Trump has peddled. As the saying goes, all politics is local. … I don’t know what the long term answer is but both sides of the divide need to start being honest with people. Civics and education is all very fine but people need proper honest leadership and this hasn’t happened for a long time. The vast majority of Americans I have met on my travels have been fine, friendly, warm and genuinely interested in our story so to see what’s happening now is terrible.” – David Barker, Dublin, Ireland
[Ed. note: First: Go raibh maith agat! We love to hear from our readers overseas. Your observations are keen and useful, but I would tell you that good leaders do not produce virtuous people. It’s the opposite. Virtuous people produce good leaders. America’s lack of civic virtue is not the fault of bad leadership but rather the cause of it. And while I certainly agree with you about the value of travel for making one better understand and love their own country – certainly the case for me – the problem we face most acutely are people disconnected from their neighbors. It’s certainly true that our hearts can be more lovingly inclined to our neighbors having seen the world beyond. But however we go about it, the urgent need for Americans is to find more and better ways to forge meaningful connections that transcend politics. Pints on us when you come to D.C.!]
“What you say is certainly true Chris. One other contributing factor to this is the Internet (the ‘unending reservoir of dumpster juice’), specifically the willingness of people to believe all manner of nonsense if it is written in black and white and presented on a computer screen. In this case the impacts of ‘internet illiteracy’ were overtly political, but it touches many, many other aspects of our lives: teens sharing nudes on snapchat, mothers disowning daughters on Facebook. It’s everywhere!” – Mark DeWitt, Los Angeles
[Ed. note: Were people better before the internet or does the internet give the worst people greater visibility creating the impression of decline? I say yes and yes. I don’t think we’re better or worse people than before, but I do think the incentive structure of social media is just dreadful and will continue to retrain our brains in unhappy ways. As with the new media of the past, the race is between the lasting damage being done and our society’s capacity to adapt to and responsibly employ the platform. No mystery about which side is winning that one so far!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
THE CASE OF THE BEAGLE AND THE BALKAN BRATWURSTS
Fox News: “A U.S. Customs and Border Protection K-9 named Kody discovered 88 pounds of prohibited swine meat in a suitcase coming off a flight from Kosovo on Friday. Kody and his handler were examining luggage at the New Jersey airport when the dog alerted the CBP officer to a suspicious suitcase containing the meat. The passenger who claimed the suitcase admitted he had brought the ‘homemade sausages,’ officials said. Swine meat cannot be imported into the U.S. from certain regions under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations because of the risk of spreading an illness like foot-and-mouth disease. … The passenger who brought the homemade sausages was released without a penalty because he declared them when arriving in the country.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“A candidacy that started out as a joke, as a self-aggrandizing exercise in xenophobia, struck a chord in a certain constituency and took off. The joke was on those who believed that he was not a serious man and therefore would not be taken seriously. They — myself emphatically included — were wrong.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Aug. 5, 2016.
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.