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On the roster: Biden isn’t alone in 2020 top tier – Acosta to address Epstein plea deal Wednesday – Freedom Caucus cuts off top GOP female recruit – Judge denies DOJ to change lawyers in census question – He didn’t use his right to remain silent
BIDEN ISN’T ALONE IN 2020 TOP TIER
HuffPost: “The Democratic presidential primary is no longer dominated by a single front-runner, last week’s polling suggests, breaking the months of relative stasis during which former Vice President Joe Biden carried an extensive lead over the rest of the field. … But the first primary debates appear to have gone some way toward leveling off a top tier among the Democratic contenders. Biden is joined by a trio of opponents: California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose profile rose sharply following a commanding debate performance; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose numbers were rising even prior to the debate; and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders… No other Democratic candidate reliably breaks into the double digits. Taken in aggregate, the latest national horse race polls tell a pretty consistent story about the direction those candidates’ numbers have taken: Harris has spiked upward, Warren has tracked a more gradual increase, Sanders has remained relatively stable, and Biden has dipped.”
Steyer starts strong with TV ad blitz – Politico: “Billionaire activist Tom Steyer’s campaign rolled out a seven-figure television ad campaign promoting his nascent campaign, the largest single television ad buy in the Democratic presidential primary. The pair of ads are backed up by $1.4 million dollars in spending, according to details of the ad campaign shared first with POLITICO. They will run nationally on CNN and MSNBC and locally in the four early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — for two weeks, from July 10 to July 23. ‘I left my business to combat climate change, fix our democracy, and hold President Trump accountable,’ Steyer said in one of his new ads. ‘Last year, we ran the largest youth voter registration in history, helping double turnout and win back the House.’ Few of the other Democratic presidential candidates have hit the television airwaves, and none have committed the amount of money in one buy that Steyer has with his first buy.”
Beto: ‘This country was founded on white supremacy’ – Tennessean: “On his second day of events in Nashville, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke met with immigrants and refugees living in Tennessee on Monday for a roundtable discussion. … The Monday roundtable was organized by TIRRC Votes, the political action committee of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. … ‘I know this from my home state, Texas, places that formed the Confederacy, that this country was founded on white supremacy. And every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression, even in our democracy.’”
THE RULEBOOK: WHENEVER, WHEREVER
“Whenever, and from whatever causes, it might happen, and happen it would, that any one of these nations or confederacies should rise on the scale of political importance much above the degree of her neighbors, that moment would those neighbors behold her with envy and with fear.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 5
TIME OUT: TENNIS BUT MAKE IT FASHION
Atlantic: “This year’s Wimbledon marks the centennial of the tournament’s first, though hardly its last, fashion scandal. In 1919, a 20-year-old Frenchwoman named Suzanne Lenglen made her Wimbledon debut in a shockingly skimpy ensemble: a low-neck dress with short sleeves and a calf-length pleated skirt, her silk stockings rolled down to just above her knees, and a floppy hat covering her cropped hair. She didn’t wear a corset. She didn’t even wear a petticoat. Though the press called her outfit ‘indecent,’ Lenglen went on to win the tournament—and the next four Wimbledon championships, as well as two French Opens and three Olympic medals. … Wimbledon’s dress code applies to male and female players alike, and women haven’t been the only trendsetters and rule breakers. The five-time winner Björn Borg was known for his pin-striped Fila polo shirt with a wide navy collar—a look that would be banned today—and Roger Federer once got busted for flashing orange soles.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 43.6 percent
Average disapproval: 51 percent
Net Score: -7.4 points
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: ABC News/WaPo: 47% approve – 50% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve – 51% disapprove; Gallup: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; IBD: 43% approve – 49% disapprove; Monmouth University: 42% approve – 51% disapprove.]
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ACOSTA TO ADDRESS EPSTEIN PLEA DEAL WEDNESDAY
Politico: “Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will hold a press conference today to address questions about his decade-old plea deal with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — but the embattled Cabinet secretary has no plan to resign, according to a DOL official. Acosta will address the media at 2:30 p.m. and will take questions, the official said. The press-shy labor secretary has stayed mostly silent in recent days as federal prosecutors in New York filed new charges against Epstein for sexually abusing underage girls. Acosta plans to defend his role in brokering the 2008 plea agreement that resulted in Epstein serving just 13 months behind bars, presenting a ‘Kavanaugh 2.0’ rebuttal in an effort to impress President Donald Trump, according to a former administration official familiar with the matter. The strategy is also an effort to push back against acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and other White House officials who believe he hasn’t moved swiftly enough on deregulation.”
Trump says he was ‘not a fan’ of Jeffrey Epstein, despite past comments – Fox News: “President Trump said Tuesday he was ‘not a fan’ of financier Jeffrey Epstein, despite making comments in the past praising the wealthy hedge fund manager. During a meeting in the Oval Office with the emir of Qatar, the president was asked about his relationship with Epstein, 66, who pleaded not guilty Monday to sex trafficking in New York federal court. … ‘I don’t think I’ve spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan. I was not a fan of his. That I can tell you. I was not a fan.’ Back in 2002, when New York Magazine was profiling Epstein, Trump touted their relationship. … Trump banned Epstein from his Mar-a-Lago estate ‘because Epstein sexually assaulted an underage girl at the club,’ according to court documents filed by Bradley Edwards, the lawyer who has represented several Epstein accusers.”
FREEDOM CAUCUS CUTS OFF TOP GOP FEMALE RECRUIT
AP: “A state legislator aided by hardline conservatives on Capitol Hill won the Republican nomination Tuesday for the North Carolina congressional district seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Walter Jones Jr. Voters in the 3rd District GOP primary runoff chose state Rep. Greg Murphy of Greenville over Kinston pediatrician Joan Perry, a first-time candidate backed by groups seeking to increase the number of Republican women in the House. They were the top vote-getters in the 17-candidate party primary in April, with Murphy finishing first but falling short of the threshold to avoid a runoff. Murphy, a urologist serving in the legislature since 2015, won comfortably, according to unofficial results that show he performed strongly in balloting in his home county of Pitt. He now advances to the Sept. 10 special election to take on Democratic nominee Allen Thomas and two other candidates. That winner completes the remainder of Jones’ two-year term.”
McConnell challenger raises $2.5 million in first day of campaign – NBC News: “Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath raised more than $2.5 million in the first 24 hours of her campaign against Mitch McConnell — over $1 million of it coming in just the first five and a half hours after she announced, according to her campaign. McGrath campaign manager Mark Nickolas said it’s the most ever raised in the first 24 hours of a Senate campaign. … All of the $2.5 million came in online donations with an average donation of $36.15, her campaign manager said. The $2.5 million total doesn’t include any additional traditional fundraising money that may have been raised in the form of checks or promised campaign contributions.”
Markey challenger loans campaign $1 million – Boston Globe: “Shannon Liss-Riordan, the Brookline labor attorney challenging US Senator Edward J. Markey in next year’s primary, has loaned her campaign $1 million for her effort to topple the incumbent, according to a preliminary copy of a fund-raising report from her campaign. She raised just shy of $145,000 and will report about $992,000 in cash on hand for the second quarter, which ended June 30. Liss-Riordan officially began her campaign in May. In a brief phone interview Tuesday evening, Liss-Riordan said she anticipates an expensive campaign, noting that races ‘cost millions of dollars.’ ‘I’m running against an incumbent who’s been in politics nearly half a century,’ she said. ‘He’s been in Washington more than 40 years and he’s got access to special interest money that I don’t have. So I know it’s going to be an expensive campaign.’”
Former Kansas governor rules out Senate run – Politico: “Former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who served as Health and Human Services secretary in the Obama administration, confirmed to POLITICO on Tuesday that she will not be jumping into the race for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Possibly the most prominent and popular Democrat in the state, Sebelius was elected governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006. She left Kansas in 2009 to become HHS secretary, serving during the rocky roll out of the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius said when she stepped down from HHS in 2014 that there was ‘not a chance’ that she would run again for elected office in her home state.”
Freshman Rep. Katie Porter brings in $1-million haul – LAT: “Coming out in favor of impeachment doesn’t seem to have slowed the campaign of Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), one of seven California House freshmen who must defend competitive congressional seats in 2020. Porter’s campaign reported Wednesday that it had raised more than $1 million in the second quarter of 2019 and received a big bump from small-dollar donors. Twice as many small donors gave $100 or less in the second quarter than the first, and more than 17,000 unique donors have contributed since January, according to representatives for the congresswoman.”
JUDGE DENIES DOJ TO CHANGE LAWYERS IN CENSUS QUESTION
Fox News: “A New York federal judge barred the Justice Department on Tuesday from changing its lawyers in a legal fight over the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman, an Obama appointee, said government lawyers’ motion for the change was ‘patently deficient’ except in the case of two lawyers who have already left the department or the civil division which is handling the case. ‘Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,’ Furman wrote. The Justice Department sought to switch out its legal team Monday after some of its attorneys seemed to be giving up on the legal fight. Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press that he had learned from a top DOJ civil attorney leading the litigation effort that multiple people on the team preferred not to continue.”
Pelosi lectures progressives behind closed doors – Politico
British Ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch, submits resignation after Trump memo leak – NYT
Republicans fight over fundraising – Politico
Anxiety growing in the Senate over raising debt ceiling – The Hill
AUDIBLE: THE 48 HOURS THAT ALMOST BROUGHT DOWN TRUMP
“I’ll tell you what I’m hearing. Either you’ll lose in the biggest landslide in history, or you can get out of the race and let somebody else run who can win.” – Former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told President Trump less than 24 hours after the Access Hollywood tape was leaked per Politico’s Tim Alberta’s exclusive reporting.
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HE DIDN’T USE HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT… BUT DEADLY
KMSP-TV: “When tracking down a suspect, law enforcement might use a K-9 to track down a scent. This was not necessary for a recent arrest in Missouri. According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, over the weekend, Liberty police were searching for a person who a felony warrant for arrest. The person was wanted for possession of a controlled substance. The suspect hid to avoid police, but apparently let out a fart so loudly, it gave up their hiding spot. ‘We’ve gotta give props to Liberty PD for using their senses to sniff him out!’ read a Facebook comment from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“A debate over the relationship between religion and government is about the meaning of our national existence. My contention is that important as this debate is, it has become impoverished and embittered because it has been wrongly framed, because it has been so dominated by two warring tendencies—one sectarian, the other secular—both of which fundamentally misapprehend the historical role of religion in American public life.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in The New Republic on April 9, 1984.
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.