**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: DNC fundraising anemic – Mulvaney: Recession would be ‘moderate and short’ – Outside cash floods Maine Senate race – White House pushes back on NRA claims of victory – Good luck reviewing the evidence, officers
DNC FUNDRAISING ANEMIC
Fox Business: “The Democratic National Committee raised $7.7 million in July, far less money than its Republican counterpart brought in, according to new campaign finance disclosures. Last month, the Republican National Committee fundraised about $20.8 million, ending the month with $43.5 million cash on hand, filings with the Federal Election Commission show. The DNC, meanwhile, closed out the month with a little more than $9 million in cash, filings show. It’s not unusual for the party currently in control of the White House to out-earn the opposition — especially when the challenger’s primary field is so crowded.”
Leans on PAC money to stay afloat – Politico: “Democratic candidates for president have sworn off corporate PAC money, but the Democratic National Committee took in more than $155,000 in funds from corporate PACs in July, ahead of a major DNC meeting this weekend that 2020 candidates will attend. The donations flowed in from PACs linked to the audit and consulting firm Deloitte, drug company Pfizer, the National Association of Realtors and the law firm Duane Morris. Deloitte was the biggest contributor, giving the DNC $90,000 in July, according to newly available campaign finance disclosures. The DNC raised additional money from PACs earlier this year, but the funds raised in July represent a sharp uptick in corporate PAC money raised by the Democratic committee in 2019.”
Biden snippy – Fox News: “Fox News reporter Peter Doocy issued a live fact check to former Vice President Joe Biden when the 2020 front-runner claimed to reporters that he drew larger crowds than other Democratic candidates. ‘What I’m trying to do is go around from town to town and I’m drawing as big of crowds, or bigger than anybody,’ Biden said in Iowa on Tuesday. ‘Have you seen anybody draw bigger crowds than me in this state?’ ‘Yes,’ Doocy responded before noting that he saw a bigger crowd for Sen. Elizabeth Warren when she visited Des Moines in January. ‘The vice president didn’t seem to like that because a few minutes later, he singled me out,’ Doocy said on ‘Special Report.’ Biden told Doocy he was a ‘big boy’ and could handle Doocy allegedly coming after him. ‘I mean, I know you, I know you’re going to go after me no matter what I’ve got. Yeah, you and it’s OK. Good. I’m a big boy. I can handle it,’ he said.”
More GOPers line up to definitely maybe challenge Trump – WaPo: “Joe Walsh, a pugnacious former congressman, is preparing a Republican primary challenge to President Trump that he previewed as a daily ‘bar fight’ with the incumbent over his morality and competency. Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, said he is inching closer to a bid of his own… Jeff Flake, a former Arizona senator and Trump antagonist, said he has taken a flurry of recruitment calls in recent days from GOP donors… And former Ohio governor John Kasich will head to New Hampshire next month to ‘take a look at things’ … The anti-Trump movement inside the Republican Party … is feeling new urgency to mount a credible opposition to Trump before it’s too late. With state deadlines for nominating contests rapidly approaching in the fall, potential candidates face pressure to decide on running within the next few weeks. So far, only former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld has declared that he is running, but he has struggled to gain traction.”
THE RULEBOOK: PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
“It would be easy to show, if it were necessary, that no important power, delegated by the articles of Confederation, has been or can be executed by Congress, without recurring more or less to the doctrine of CONSTRUCTION or IMPLICATION.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 44
TIME OUT: HAWAII 6-0
History: “The modern United States receives its crowning star when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state [on this date in 1959]. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star rows. The new flag became official July 4, 1960. The first known settlers of the Hawaiian Islands were Polynesian voyagers who arrived sometime in the eighth century. In the early 18th century, American traders came to Hawaii to exploit the islands’ sandalwood, which was much valued in China at the time. In the 1830s, the sugar industry was introduced to Hawaii and by the mid-19th century had become well established. American missionaries and planters brought about great changes in Hawaiian political, cultural, economic, and religious life. In 1840, a constitutional monarchy was established, stripping the Hawaiian monarch of much of his authority.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 55 percent
Net Score: -13.6 percent
Change from one week ago: down 2.4 points
[Average includes: NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve – 55% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve – 56% disapprove; Gallup: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; IBD: 40% approve – 56% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 40% approve – 54% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
MULVANEY: RECESSION WOULD BE ‘MODERATE AND SHORT’
Politico: “In public, President Donald Trump and top White House officials keep extolling the strength of the U.S. economy. In private, they’re increasingly worrying about a global economic slowdown triggering a U.S. recession — and weighing options to shore up the economy ahead of an election year. … If the U.S. were to face a recession, it would be ‘moderate and short,’ [Mick] Mulvaney told roughly 50 donors [at an event in Wyoming], according to an attendee. White House officials are discussing a broader package of measures than previously disclosed, including a cut of an additional percentage point or two to the corporate tax rate. That’s on top of a potential payroll tax cut, which the Obama administration had used to shore up the economy, and a move to index the capital gains rate to inflation, which potentially could be done through an executive order and has internal support from the National Economic Council, the vice president’s office and Mulvaney.”
CBO: Federal deficits will grow more than expected – WSJ: “Federal deficits are projected to grow much more than expected over the next decade thanks to the two-year budget agreement lawmakers and the White House struck last month, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. The agency increased its forecasts for deficits over the next decade by $809 billion, to $12.2 trillion, in updated budget projections released Wednesday. The increase primarily reflects higher federal spending under the new budget deal, partly offset by lower projected interest rates.”
OUTSIDE CASH FLOODS MAINE SENATE RACE
AP: “Democrats vowed last year to make Republican Sen. Susan Collins pay for her vote confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Republicans declared they would have her back. Neither has forgotten its promises. Money is pouring into Maine’s high-profile Senate race, threatening to upend the state’s reputation for genteel politics and giving way to a new era of partisanship. Observers predict the race will set a spending record in the state, with tens of millions of dollars going into the state, even though Collins has yet to officially announce that she’s seeking reelection. Advertising data shows Democrats plan to spend at least $1.2 million on ads through December, including a spot that aired for the first time this month that accuses Collins of failing to protect Medicare. A newly formed GOP group, meanwhile, has $800,000 already in the bank, thanks to a small group of wealthy financiers.”
Steve King still running – WashEx: “Rep. Steve King vowed nothing would keep him from seeking reelection in 2020 as he blamed Republican leaders, Democrats, and the media for the political peril he faces in an otherwise solidly conservative House seat. In an interview with the Washington Examiner following a town hall meeting for constituents in this farming community in the heart of his northwest Iowa congressional district, King reframed his narrow 2018 reelection victory as a triumph over the opposition of turncoat Republican leaders and an energized Left. He said he expected to win a 10th term next year on the strength of grassroots support that he claims has not wavered.”
WHITE HOUSE PUSHES BACK ON NRA CLAIMS OF VICTORY
Fox News: “The White House pushed back late Tuesday on claims by the National Rifle Association (NRA) that President Trump had purportedly said universal background checks were off the table, amid an ongoing push for legislative action following two recent deadly mass shootings. Earlier in the day, The Atlantic published an article saying Trump had opted against expanding federal background checks, citing a ‘person briefed on the call.’ But a White House official told Fox News that ‘meaningful’ new background checks remain a legislative option, and denied that Trump said he supported universal background checks. In a post on the NRA Twitter account, the organization’s CEO and executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, did not disclose the substance of his call with Trump. … The back-and-forth came shortly after Trump had hinted that he supported new background-check legislation following the massacres in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, that left dozens dead.”
Johnson threatens background check, mental health bills – Politico: “Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson is casting major doubt on the prospects of significant gun regulations passing this fall, the latest sign that the effort to pass new firearm laws is starting to falter. The Wisconsin Republican said that a background checks measure based on the bill written by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a national ‘red flag’ bill are both unlikely to pass. He was open to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill that would establish a red flag grant program, but said the Senate would need to ‘attach to those grants very strict guidelines in terms of due process.’ ‘I really don’t see the dynamic having really changed there much,’ Johnson said of an effort to strengthen background checks during gun sales, which generally polls at around 90 percent.”
DHS moves to end limits on detention of migrant families, close ‘loophole’ – Fox News
Markey aide apologizes for insensitive tweet about mental health issues in Kennedy family – The Boston Globe
Trump cancels Denmark visit in retaliation to Denmark’s refusal to entertain his offer to buy Greenland – AP
AUDIBLE: WHITER SHADE OF PALE
“Next time we have an event in Bronzeville, we need some more black faces up in here. We need some more brown faces up in here. Next time, you can’t leave your black and brown friends at home. And if you don’t have some, you need to make some!” – Chris Harris, pastor of the Brightstar Church of God in Christ, said to the crowd at a campaign event for Pete Buttigieg in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, a community that is almost 90 percent African American.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
GOOD LUCK REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE, OFFICERS
WVIT: “Six people ranging in age from 62 to 85 face sex charges after being arrested in a conservation area in Connecticut. Police say the six, five men and an 85-year-old woman, were involved in lewd and sexual activity in the Grace Richardson conservation area in Fairfield earlier this month. Police say the area was being publicized on the internet as an area for people to meet and have sex. Police say they set up surveillance in the area and observed several violations. Those arrested face charges ranging from breach of peace to public indecency. They were released on promises to appear in court.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Twenty-five years ago this week, I wrote my first column. I’m not much given to self-reflection — why do you think I quit psychiatry? — but I figure once every quarter-century is not excessive.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in National Review on Dec. 18, 2009.
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.