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On the roster: Brazile breaks Hillary’s spell over Dems – I’ll Tell You What: The most perfect roast – GOP targets top earners with tax plan – Northam flips, says he would ban sanctuary cities – Waaaayyyy too hoppy
BRAZILE BREAKS HILLARY’S SPELL OVER DEMS
There’s a great deal of juicy detail in an advance excerpt out today from former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile’s forthcoming book.
Brazile, who came in the fall of 2016 to clean up the wreckage from ousted party boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz, found that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had basically bought out the cash-strapped party and used it to block upstart independent Bernie Sanders.
But we kind of knew that already. After all, Schultz was ousted over the contents of emails hacked and distributed by Russian operatives that showed her and her team deriding Sanders and his supporters.
The details of Brazile’s investigation are fascinating to the politically obsessed among us. But there’s a more important message behind her dirt dishing: The Clinton’s are through.
Forged in the brutal battles of Arkansas politics and hardened by the 1992 Democratic primaries, the Clinton political operation was one of the most fearsome in memory. By the time the scandal that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment was in full flower, the operation’s ruthlessness and vindictiveness was so feared that even conscience-stricken Democrats dared not speak too boldly.
The message in the party by the end of the Clinton years: They always survive and they never forget. Enemies lists, career-killing leaks and long-delayed vengeance. Whatever it takes.
In the wake of her second failed bid for the presidency, Hillary Clinton has been on a weeks-long book tour selling a version of 2016 very different from Brazile’s. In her own telling, Clinton was simply too decent to be like the corruption and cruelty of Republicans. Her chastening message to her party: You let me down when I needed you most.
Some have even suggested that the book tour could, as her last one did, morph into another presidential campaign.
But the very fact that a veteran operative like Brazile with ties to the Clintons dating back decades would be willing to call out the former first lady so directly and unsparingly says otherwise.
Hillary Clinton can hawk books at every Costco from Sault Ste. Marie to San Berdoo, but it is apparent now that the spell is broken. Whatever Democrats thought of Brazile’s leadership of the party, they all owe her a debt of gratitude for that.
THE RULEBOOK: SELECTIVE SPECIFICITY
“The qualifications of the elected, being less carefully and properly defined by the State constitutions, and being at the same time more susceptible of uniformity, have been very properly considered and regulated by the convention.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 52
TIME OUT: PAGING BEN CARSON
Nature: “Physicists have used the by-products of cosmic rays to reveal a large, previously unidentified chamber inside the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. The find is the first discovery since the nineteenth century of a major new space inside the pyramid. Egyptologists have been quick to dismiss any idea of finding lost treasure in the 30-metre-long void. ‘There’s zero chance of hidden burial chambers,’ says Aidan Dodson, an Egyptologist at the University of Bristol, UK, who studies ancient Egyptian tombs. But experts hope that the finding will lead to significant insights into how this spectacular pyramid was built. The Great Pyramid was constructed by the pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops), who reigned from 2509–2483 BC. Constructed from limestone and granite blocks, and rising to 139 [meters], it is the oldest and largest of the Egyptian pyramids and one of the most impressive structures to survive from the ancient world.”
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Trump net job-approval rating: -19.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.4 points
[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: THE MOST PERFECT ROAST
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the aftermath of Tuesday’s terror attack, the current controversy over John Kelly’s Civil War comments and the future of tax reform. The duo share the mailbag again this week and reminisce on a delicious meal they shared over the weekend… including the bibb lettuce. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
GOP TARGETS TOP EARNERS WITH TAX PLAN
Fox News: “House Republicans on Thursday unveiled their long-awaited tax bill which preserves the popular 401K retirement account, lowers rates for many individual households but trims deductions for state and local taxes … reduce the cap on the popular deduction to interest on mortgages to $500,000 for newly purchased homes. The current cap is $1 million. The plan also limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000 while eliminating the deduction for state income taxes. Republicans in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey had come out strongly against it. ‘I view the elimination of the deduction as a geographic redistribution of wealth, picking winners and losers,’ New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin said. … Called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the GOP plan would also leave the top individual tax rate at 39.6 percent. The child tax credit will rise to $1,600 from $1,000, though the $4,050 per child exemption would be repealed.”
Now they have to sell it to everyone else – The Hill: “Thursday marked the start of Republicans’ mad dash to rally support in Washington and around the country for the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ — the GOP’s attempt to overhaul the U.S. tax system for the first time in more than three decades. [Paul Ryan’s] message is directed as much at his own 239-member GOP conference as it is the voting public. Tax reform has been Ryan’s highest priority since long before he became Speaker, and with the Republicans controlling all levers of power in Washington, he thinks now is the time to make legislation a reality. The pressure is on Republicans to deliver a major legislative win to President Trump, especially after their failure to repeal ObamaCare earlier this year.”
But opposition has already begun – Bloomberg: “The bill ran into opposition almost immediately Thursday. It would cap the mortgage-interest deduction on new home sales at $500,000 — a departure from the current cap of $1 million for couples filing jointly. The National Association of Realtors, which has been wary of the tax plan, said that measure ‘appears to confirm many of our biggest concerns.’ The president of a national small-business group blasted the bill, saying it ‘leaves too many small businesses behind’ with a tax cut for partnerships, limited liability companies and other so-called ‘pass-throughs’ that ‘does not help small businesses.’ As a result, the National Federation of Independent Business won’t support the bill ‘in its current form,’ said President Juanita Duggan. Another provision that’s likely to provoke controversy would tax large university endowment income at 1.4 percent.”
Will it remain intact before votes? – Vox: “But the bill will almost certainly not remain in its current form. As written, it is almost guaranteed to increase the budget deficit by trillions over 10 years, and quite possibly keep increasing the deficit after 10 years are up. That’s a big problem: Under Senate rules, some legislation can pass with only 51 votes only if it doesn’t increase the long-run deficit. So the current draft of the legislation would probably need 60 votes instead, meaning significant Democratic support, which Republican leaders haven’t been even trying to court. They need legislation that can pass with 51 votes, and for that, they need the bill to not raise the long-run deficit.”
George Will: ‘On Tax Reform, Republicans are Defining Victory Down’ – National Review: “Needing a victory to validate their majorities, congressional Republicans have chosen not to emulate Shakespeare’s Henry V before Agincourt. He advocated stiffening the sinews, summoning up the blood, and lending the eye a terrible aspect. The Republicans would rather define victory down. What began with a bang of promises of comprehensive tax reform will end with a whimper: The only large change will be to the national debt. Consider a small proposal — repeal of the estate tax. It will be paid by an estimated 5,500 people dying this year, raising about $20 billion — a pittance in the $3.88 trillion budget. Repeal’s significance would be philosophic rather than economic.”
NORTHAM FLIPS, SAYS HE WOULD BAN SANCTUARY CITIES
Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam said Wednesday that he would sign a bill to ban so-called sanctuary cities if a Virginia locality tries to become one in the future. Republican nominee Ed Gillespie has pushed the issue of sanctuary cities to the forefront of the governor’s race. The term is loosely defined but generally understood as a locality that will not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. No Virginia city or county has tried to adopt policies to impede such cooperation. Northam, Virginia’s sitting lieutenant governor, has insisted he opposes sanctuary cities while also accusing Gillespie of fabricating the issue for political advantage. But in an interview Wednesday with the Norfolk TV station WAVY, Northam said for the first time that, under certain circumstances, he would sign a bill similar to the one he voted against this year, a vote that spawned a wave of ominous ads from the Gillespie campaign linking Northam to the Latino gang MS-13.”
Prominent black Dems for Northam – WaPo: “Virginia’s Democratic ticket got a Wednesday evening boost in northern Virginia from two of the party’s national figures — Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Keith Ellison, the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee — who stressed the national stakes of next week’s election. In a crowded recreation center hall in deep-blue Arlington, Booker urged attendees to rejuvenate Democrats nationally by sending Ralph Northam to the governor’s mansion. ‘This country is looking for hope,’ Booker said. ‘This whole country right now is waiting to see what is going to happen in Virginia on Tuesday.’ Later, Ellison joined Northam, lieutenant governor candidate Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring (D) and Democratic candidates for local legislative seats at a fire house hall in Prince William county, a swing area.”
Rand Paul endorses Arizona’s Kelli Ward – USA Today: “Arizona GOP Senate candidate Kelli Ward got her first Senate endorsement Wednesday from Kentucky’s Rand Paul. ‘Today shows that conservatives are coalescing around the candidacy of Kelli Ward,’ Paul said in a call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. ‘I think the establishment fears her and will work overtime to oppose her candidacy.’ Paul said he’d also be getting involved with other conservatives across the country ‘to really make sure that this election is conservatives vs. the establishment.’ ‘We need a new generation of new GOP leaders that are fighting to come join you,’ Ward responded to Paul on the call.”
TRUMP NOMINEE TANGLED IN RUSSIA PROBE WITHDRAWS
WaPo: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist nominee, Sam Clovis withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday amid revelations that he was among top officials on the Trump campaign who was aware of efforts by foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to broker a relationship between the campaign and Russian officials. Court documents unsealed Monday revealed that Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in early October to making false statement to FBI investigators about his contacts with foreigners claiming to have high-level Russian connections. In August 2016, Clovis encouraged Papadopoulos to organize an ‘off the record’ meeting with Russian officials, according to court documents. ‘I would encourage you’ and another foreign policy adviser to the campaign to ‘make the trip, if it is feasible,’ Clovis wrote. … In a letter to the president Wednesday, Clovis explained that he did not think he could get a fair consideration from the Senate, which was slated to hold a hearing on his appointment on Nov. 9.”
Russian hackers had other goals besides U.S. election – AP: “The hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election had ambitions well beyond Hillary Clinton’s campaign, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list obtained by The Associated Press. … The AP findings draw on a database of 19,000 malicious links collected by cybersecurity firm Secureworks, dozens of rogue emails, and interviews with more than 100 hacking targets. … The list revealed a direct line between the hackers and the leaks that rocked the presidential contest in its final stages, most notably the private emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.”
U.S. prosecutors consider charging Russian hackers – WSJ: “The Justice Department has identified more than six members of the Russian government involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and swiping sensitive information that became public during the 2016 presidential election, according to people familiar with the investigation. Prosecutors and agents have assembled evidence to charge the Russian officials and could bring a case next year, these people said. Discussions about the case are in the early stages, they said.”
He’s not angry, he just wants to talk – NYT: “President Trump projected an air of calm on Wednesday after charges against his former campaign chief and a foreign policy aide roiled Washington, insisting to The New York Times that he was not ‘angry at anybody’ and that investigations into his campaign’s links to Russia had not come near him personally. ‘I’m not under investigation, as you know,’ Mr. Trump said in a brief telephone call late Wednesday afternoon. … The phone call seemed intended to dispel the impression of a president and a White House under siege.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Where’s all of this going? – Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains what could happen next in the Special Counsel’s Russia probe and what it has to do with President Trump: “The ultimate target of Mueller’s investigation is President Trump. It is standard operating procedure when prosecutors have a high-level target to charge those below the target with something just to get them to cooperate. Though the charges against [Paul Manafort] and [Richard Gates] need not be related to the Russians or to Trump, they must be real. It’s clear they are, as each is facing more than 20 years in prison. Mueller believes that that prospect is enough to dispatch their lawyers to make deals with him.” More here.
TRUMP WANTS DEATH PENALTY FOR N.Y. TERRORIST
NYT: “President Trump touched off a sharply partisan debate over some of the most divisive issues in American life on Wednesday as he cited this week’s terrorist attack in New York to advance his agenda on immigration and national security while assailing Democrats for endangering the country. A day after an immigrant from Uzbekistan was arrested on suspicion of plowing a pickup truck along a crowded bicycle path in Manhattan, killing eight people, Mr. Trump denounced the American criminal justice system as ‘a joke’ and ‘a laughingstock,’ adding that he was open to sending ‘this animal’ instead to the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Shortly before midnight, the president took it a step further, posting a message on Twitter declaring that the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, should be executed. ‘NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room,’ he wrote, referring to the driver’s reported interest in the Islamic State extremist group.”
Trump receives support from senators to end visa lottery program – The Hill:“Senators signaled on Wednesday that they are open to ending an immigration program that President Trump wants to shut down in the wake of the New York City terrorist attack. Trump on Wednesday called for ending the diversity visa lottery system and said he would start ‘the process of terminating’ it. The program was created by an immigration law in 1990, so ending it would require action from Congress. While there are early signs of divisions over how to scrap the program, senators stressed they were broadly supportive of the idea. … ‘There’s always going to have to be a combination of family-based immigration, but we also ought to reward people who we want to see come to this country and help us grow our economy,’ Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who supports the president’s efforts, told reporters.”
JEROME POWELL NOMINATED AS NEXT FED CHAIRMAN
WSJ: “The White House has notified Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell that President Donald Trump intends to nominate him as the next chairman of the central bank, according to a person familiar with the matter, a move likely to combine continuity on interest-rate policy with perhaps a lighter touch on financial regulation. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Powell would succeed Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, the central bank’s first female leader, whose four-year term as Fed chief expires in early February. In his five years at the Fed, Mr. Powell has been a reliable ally of Ms. Yellen and would likely continue the Fed’s current cautious approach to reversing the central bank’s crisis-era stimulus policies as the economy expands. That would mean gradually raising short-term interest rates in quarter-percentage-point steps through 2020 while slowly shrinking the Fed’s $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities it purchased to lower long-term rates.”
Trump-backing billionaire dumps trolling website – Bloomberg
AUDIBLE: HAVE YOU TRIED REBOOTING?
“I don’t think you get it.” – Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif. said to technology general counsels whotestified on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I’ve been an avid follower of your always-appreciated Halftime Report since its inception, but only now have I been moved to send you a comment prompted by your on-target complaint today about the growing prevalence of insipid acronyms in public policy discourse and by your apropos call for Congress to enact a SMARM Act, for ‘Stop Making Acronyms Really Monstrously.’ For my own part, as a long-time student of American defense and security affairs, I too have often bridled at the pervasive acronymania that has long since been the stock-in-trade of my calling and have more than once been tempted to advocate in a similar vein for a complete and verifiable ban on the indiscriminate use of UFLAs–that is, ‘Unintelligible Four-Letter Acronyms.’” – Ben Lambeth, Paso Robles, Calif.
[Ed. note: I join you, Mr. Lambeth in ardent opposition to UFLAs! The government’s use of jargon at all levels is a reflection of just how little it’s denizens want people to understand its activities and, how special and important those denizens think themselves to be.]
“The NFL/NBA ongoing controversy appears to have gotten far too convoluted. To see it as simply as it may be, I see it as the property rights of the team owners being high jacked by the malcontents/social justice warriors. Let’s remove any discussion about the Flag, the Military or patriotism. Let’s make the metric fair return on my investment. As an owner, my franchise is designed to deliver a product to a fan base/national audience at a reasonable profit. The crowd that comes to the game or tunes in via the media, is ‘my crowd’. The paying viewers want to see the product they paid for, the product they expected to see. For a moment, let’s assume that all the protests about various injustices are TOTALLY superfluous to this discussion. By ‘taking a knee’, the protesters are impacting the profitability of my product. That’s not just. If you want to protest, STOP MISAPPROPRIATING MY CROWD. The fans/viewers paid to see my product. Go get your own crowd and protest to your heart’s content.” – Gary J. Graupmann, San Marcos, Calif.
[Ed. note: I would imagine, Mr. Graupmann, that most of the owners in your hypothetical league would want desperately for the controversy to just go away. Professional sport franchises are businesses, and this issue is bad for business. If the owners crack down on protesting players, they would alienate those fans sympathetic to the players or their cause. Conversely, if the protests go on unabated, the protests will alienate an even larger amount of fans for the reasons you described. If there was a simple way to address this, money-minded owners would have surely done it already.]
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WAAAAYYYY TOO HOPPY
AP: “It’s legal to drink beer in German movie theaters — but it’s probably not a good idea to try to open your beer bottle with a pepper spray canister. However, that’s exactly what a thirsty moviegoer tried doing at a cinema Monday night in the northwestern German town of Osnabrueck. Instead of opening his beer, the 29-year-old man broke his pepper spray container and some 200 people had to quickly leave the theater in tears. The cinema’s manager told the German news agency dpa on Wednesday that it was ‘chaos.’ Still, he kept his head, calling police, offering beverages to moviegoers and opening the windows. He says the movie was restarted after 30 minutes. Police say so far no moviegoers have complained about eye or breathing problems.”
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.